ASHE, Edward (?1673-1748), of Heytesbury, Wilts.
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Family and Education
b. ?1673, 1st s. of William Ashe, M.P., of Heytesbury by his 1st w. Anne, da. of Alexander Popham, M.P., of Littlecote, Wilts., sis. of Sir Francis Popham, M.P. educ. Wadham, Oxf. 7 Apr. 1690, aged 16. m. 17 Aug. 1710,1 Frances, da. of Col. Francis Luttrell, M.P., of Dunster Castle, Som., wid. of Edward Harvey, jun., of Coombe, Surr., s.p. suc. fa. 1713.
Storekeeper of the Ordnance Apr. 1710-June 1712; clerk of the Ordnance Dec. 1714-Mar. 1718; ld. of Trade 1720-46.
Edward Ashe’s grandfather, Edward Ashe, draper, of London, was the elder brother of Sir Joseph Ashe, 1st Bt., M.P., whose daughter Mary married the 1st Viscount Townshend. This Edward bought the Heytesbury estate in 1641, representing the borough as an active Member of the Long Parliament. His son William, who was Whig M.P. for Heytesbury in ten Parliaments and for the county in 1701, acquired complete political control of the borough, which was retained by his descendants till 1772.2 Edward himself sat for Heytesbury as a Whig for 52 years, during which he was also returned for Marlborough in 1705, standing unsuccessfully for the county in 1713. Deprived of his place in the Ordnance by the Tories in 1712, he was reinstated at the accession of George I, voting for the septennial bill in 1716. During the split of the Whig party in 1717 he followed his kinsman, the 2nd Lord Townshend, into opposition, again losing his place. He voted against the repeal of the Occasional Conformity and Schism Acts and the peerage bill in 1719. When Townshend and Walpole returned to office in 1720, he was given a seat at the board of Trade, thereafter supporting the Administration in all recorded divisions. His only known utterance in Parliament was on 2 Feb. 1733, when, on the army estimates, he ‘moved that the orders of the House might be strictly observed as to strangers’.3 In 1746 he resigned office, writing to Pelham:
I find myself so unable to do my duty there ... I could say much more upon the subject but the weakness of my hand will not permit me; I can only therefore add that I rely upon the continuance of your favour and friendship.4
He did not stand in 1747, dying 22 May 1748.