ASSHETON OF DOWNHAM
Summary of Family History
Local historians and genealogists interested in the area around Pendle will come across the Assheton family, variously at Middleton, Cuerdale, Lever, Whalley and Downham. A branch of the family purchased part of the lands of Whalley Abbey at the Dissolution of the Monasteries. Many of the Asshetons had the name Ralph making the family tree particularly confusing. In addition there are marriages between cousins and as some of the branches ran out of male heirs property was bequeathed to cousins or nephews. The tree that follows is provided to help identify the individuals who may be encountered in local history studies. It is not a complete tree of the family but traces the descent of the Asshetons of Downham.
According to Burke's Landed Gentry of 1879, page 43, this family took its name from Ashton-under-Lyne. Orm Fitz Edward obtained from his father-in-law land in Ashton and a knight's fee in Dalton, Parbold and Wrightington. However, I have been contacted by John Kirby, who states that Orm fitz Edward was Orm fitz Ailward that the Asshetons are not descended from him.
Dr. Whitaker's account begins in generation 9 below with the Ralph Assheton who married Margaret Lever. However, at generation 14, Whitaker follows the line of the eldest son, Sir Ralph Assheton, whose second wife was Eleanor Shuttleworth. Radclyffe Assheton, the second son, is covered in a separate tree on page 121 in Vol 2.
Additional information has been added from the pedigree shown in Vol 2.
- 1. Orm Fitz Edward (Orm de Assheton)
- + Emma, dau of Albert de Gresley. They had two sons, Sir Thomas and Roger de Assheton
- 2. Sir Thomas de Assheton
- 3. Sir John de Assheton, living 1335, summoned to Parliament in 1323. He had an heir Robert and second son Gilbert.
- 4. Sir Robert de Assheton, Vice-Chamberlain to King Edward III. He was a commissioner to treat for peace with France, Governor of Guynes, Warden of the Cinque Ports and Admiral of the Narrow Seas. He was Justiciary of Ireland, Lord Treasurer of England and Constable of Dover Castle. He had an illegitimate son William, who became Doctor of Laws to King John of Castile and Leon.
- + Elizabeth ?
- 5. Thomas de Assheton, fought at the battle of Neville's Cross, and captured the Royal Standard of Scotland. Accompanied John of Gaunt to Spain.
- + Eleanor, dau of Sir Robert Davenport of Bramall in Cheshire.
- 6. Sir John de Assheton, drowned at Norham.
- + A daughter of Sir Robert Standish of Standish. Their second son, Nicholas, was a Knight of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem.
- 7. Sir John de Assheton, Knight of the Bath, Seneschal of Bayeux, Governor of Hadupais, Bailliff of Constance in France and knight of the shire for Lancashire.
- + 1st wifeJane, dau of Sir John Savile of Tankersleigh, by whom he had a large family. From these were descended Sir Thomas Assheton the alchemist, from whom descended the Asshetons of Ashton-under-Lyne, the Asshetons of Chadderton and the Ashtons of Shepley, all extinct in the male line by 1879.
- + 2nd wife, Margaret, dau of Sir John Byron of Clayton. They had one son.
- 8. Sir Ralph Assheton, first called of Middleton. Page of Honour to Henry VI, Knight-Marshall of England, Lieut. of the Tower of London, and Sheriff of Yorkshire in the 12th and 13th years of the reign of Edward IV. In 1482, he was made Knight-Banneret on the field of battle at Hattonfield in Scotland. Later Vice-Constable of England, and rode in the procession for the coronation of Richard III. He acquired Middleton through his wife.
- + Margaret, dau and heiress of John Barton of Middleton and heiress of her uncle, Richard Barton. They had several children of whom we look only at the eldest two sons.
- 9. Sir Richard Assheton, eldest son, from whom the Asshetons of Middleton, now extinct.
- 9. Ralph Assheton, second son
- + Margaret, dau & sole heir of Adam Leaver of Great Leaver in 6 Edw. IV.. They has Ralph, Robert, Adam, John, r.
- 10. Ralph Assheton of Leaver
- + Eleanor, dau of Adam Hulton of The Park. In addition to the heir Ralph they had Richard, an associate of Lord Burleigh who became very wealthy and purchased Whalley Abbley and the estates of Downham and Malham. He died without issue in 1578 and waas buried at Whalley on 30 Jan. He left Whalley and Malham to Richard the son of his eldest brother, Ralph.
Other children were Roger, Alexander, Nicholas, Patricius, Margaret and Anne.
- 11. Ralph Assheton of Leaver
- + Margaret, dau of William Orrell of Turton Tower in Lancashire. Their eldest son was Ralph.
Other children were Richard, Andrew, Eleanor, Alice, Elizabeth and Anne.
- 12. Ralph Assheton of Lever, Whalley and Malham, inherited Leaver from his father and Whalley and Malham from his uncle, Richard.
- + Alice, dau of William Hulton of Farnworth. In addition to the heir, Ralph, there was a second son Richard, who inherited Downham from his great uncle Richard, married Margaret, dau of Adam Hulton of the Park and had a family: Richard, who died in 1597; Nicholas Assheton. author of the diary, born 1590 and died 16 Apr 1625, whose son Richard died without issue in 1657 and left Downham and Worston to his second cousin, Sir Ralph Assheton of Whalley.
- 13. Ralph Assheton of Great Leaver, Whalley and Malham, eldest son. He married twice and Whitaker indicates that his first wife was Joanna Radclyffe. The second wife was Anne dau of John Talbot of Gatehouse, who died without issue.
- + 1st wife, Joanna, widow of Edward Radclyffe of Todmorden and one of the co-heirs of Thomas Radclyffe of Wimberley. This couple had two sons and daughers Jane, Alice, Elizabeth, Margaret and Anne.
- 14. Sir Ralph Assheton, 1st baronet of Great Lever, Whalley, Malham, born 1579, created baronet 1620, buried Whalley, 18 Oct 1644. See separate tree later.
- + 1st Dorothy dau of Sir James Bellingham of Levens, Westmorland.
- + 2nd Eleanor, dau of Thomas Shuttleworth of Gawthorpe, married 1610. This couple had a large family including their son and heir Sir Raphe the 2nd Baronet, Richard, Alexander, Thomas, Nicholas, John, Radcliffe, James, William, Sir Edmund, who was the 3rd Baronet, Sir John the 4th Baronet, all of whom either died young, without issue or with issue who themselves died without issue. The male line ran out. However, their daughter married Sir Raphe Assheton of Middleton and this line died out in the male line in two more generations.Sir Raphe's granddaughter, Mary Assheton, married Sir Nathaniel Curzon of Keddleston in Derbyshire.
- 14. Radclyffe Assheton, 2nd son, first called of Cuerdale, born 1582, will proved 1646.
- + Elizabeth, dau of John Hide of London and in addition to their son John they had James, Ralph, Richard, Hellen, Johanna, Alice, Elizabeth, Juliana, Margaret and Dorothy.
- 15. John Assheton of Cuerdale, Captain of Foot in the Royalist Forces, killed at Edgehill.
- + Ann, eldest dau of Richard Shuttleworth of Gawthorpe near Padiham and had one son.
- 16. Richard Assheton of Cuerdale, born 1644. He acquired Downham under the will of Sir Ralph Assheton, 2nd Baronet of Lever.
- + Mary, dau of George Pigott, of Preston. In addition to the eldest son there were: Radcliffe, godson and legatee of Sir Ralph Assheton of Whalley, who died without issue; two John's and a George who died young; Richard, Edmund, Elizabeth, Anne, Mary and Lucy..
- 17. Ralph Assheton of Downham and Cuerdale, born 1666.
- + Sarah, dau and eventual heiress of Tilston Bruen of Bruen Stapleford in Cheshire and left two son of whom the younger, Richard, died without issue. The eldest was Ralph, see next section
- 18. Ralph Assheton of Downham and Cuerdale, born 1696 died 1729.
- + Mary, dau of Thomas Lister of Arnoldsbiggin, Yorkshire. and had in addition to the heir Ralph the following: Revd: Richard Assheton, D.D., Rector of Middeton and Warden of Manchester; Elizabeth who married Richard, brother or Sir Ralph Assheton; Mary who married first the Rev. John Witton of Lupet Hall and then Peregrine Wentworth of Tolston Lodge; Sarah died unmarried.
- 19. Ralph Assheton of Downham and Cuerdale, died 3 Jan 1759, aged 47.
- + Rebecca, eldest dau and co-heir of William Hullis, Merchant of London, of Freelands in Kent and Popes, Hertfordshire. In addition to the eldest son thee were: Mary-Elizabeth; Ann, who married Right-Rev. William Cleaver, D.D., bishop successively of Chester, Bangor and St. Asaph; and Rebecca, who married Francis Penyston and Ralph who died young.
- 20. William Assheton of Downham and Cuerdale, High Sheriff of Lancashire in 1792 Born 1758, married 1787, died 1833 buried at Downham.
- + Lettice, dau of Sir Richard Brooke of Norton Priory, Cheshire, baronet. In addition to the heir William there was Mary, born 1790 who married John, eldest son of Sir George Armytage, baronet, of Kirklees, Yorkshire.
- 21. William Assheton of Downham and Cuerdale, born at York on 16 March 1789, died 8 Aug 1858
- + Frances-Annabella, dau of the Hon. William Cockayne, and co-heiress of Borlase, 6th Viscount Cullen. She died in 1835.
- 22. Ralph Assheton of Downham and Cuerdale, M.P. for Clitheroe from July 1868. Born 20 Dec 1830, married 3 Aug 1854.alive at the time of Burke's Landed Gentry in 1879.
- + Emily Augusta, 4th dau of Joseph Feilden of Witton Park, Lancashire/
- 23. Ralph Cockayne Assheton, born 13 Sep 1860
- 23. Richard Assheton, born 23 Dec 1863
- 23. William Orme Assheton, born 16 Feb 1866
- 23. Nicholas Radclyffe Assheton, born 5 July 1870
- 23. Frances-Annabella Assheton
- 23. Dorothy Assheton
- 23. Joan Assheton.
- 22. Richard Orme Assheton, M.A., Christchurch, Oxford, Rector of Bilton in Warwickshire, born 12 July 1835, married 22 Oct 1863.
- + Charlotte Emma Willoughby, 6th dau of Joseph Feilden of Witton, Lancashire.
- 22. Frances, born 1823 and died unmarried.
Sir Ralph Assheton of Great Lever.
The following tree continues from generation 14 above with Sir Ralph Assheton, elder brother of Radclyffe, to show how this branch ran out of male heirs even though Sir Ralph had 11 sons.
- 14. Sir Ralph (or Raphe)Assheton, 1st baronet of Great Lever, Whalley & Malham, born 1579, created baronet 1620, buried Whalley, 18 Oct 1644.
- + 1st Dorothy dau of Sir James Bellingham of Levens, Westmorland.
- + 2nd Eleanor, dau of Thomas Shuttleworth of Gawthorpe, married 1610. This couple had a large family including their son and heir Sir Raphe the 2nd Baronet.
- 15. Sir Raphe Assheton, 2nd Baronet, baptised Whalley, 22 June 1617, buried Downham where he made a family vault in the chancel, 3 March 1679/80. He pulled down the old Abbey Church and Tower at Whalley.
- + 1st wife, Dorothy, dau of Nicholas Tufton, Earl of Thanet, buried at Downham.
- 16. Raphe Assheton, died young at London
- + 2nd wife, Elizabeth, dau of Sir Sapcote Harrington of Royde, Lincolnshire. Died 8 June 1686
- 15. Richard Assheton, died 14 Car. II (1639)
- 15. Alexander Assheton, died young.
- 15. Thomas Assheton, a merchant
- + Anne, dau of Sir Sheffield Clapham of Bethmesley, Yorkshire, knight.
- 16. Thomas Assheton, Commoner of Brazenose College, Oxford, where he died and was buried in the cloister, 9 Aug 1670
- 16. Radcliffe Assheton, a student at Oxford, died unmarried 27 Dec 1670
- 15. Nicholas, died unmarried
- 15. John died in infancy
- 15. Radcliffe, died 1661
- 15. James died without issue.
- 15. William died without issue.
- 15. Sir Edmund Assheton, 3rd Baronet, born 1620, of Grey's Inn, barrister at law, buried Whalley 31 Oct 1692, no issue
- 15. Sir John Assheton, 4th Baronet, born 1621; died Lower Hall, Gisburn, June 9th 1697, without issue.
- 15. Anne Assheton, married in 1650, buried 2 Nov 1684 at Middleton
- + Sir Raphe Assheton of Middleton, Baronet, bapt Middeton 9 July 1626 and created a Baronet in 1660. MP for Clitheroe and died 23 April 1665, buried Middleton.
- 16. Sir Raphe Assheton of Middleton, 5th Baronet, born 11 Feb 1651, took possession of Whalley Abbey as final heir via his mother on 11 June 1687 and died 4 May 1716, buried at Middleton. His second wife was Mary, daughter of Robert Hyde of Denton, at Denton Chapel on 30 July 1696. She died 11 Jan 1725.
- + 1st wife, Mary, daughter and heiress of Thomas Vavasour of Spaldington, buried at Middleton 1694.
- 17. Dorothy, baptised 6 Nov 1683, died in infancy
- 17. Frances baptised 27 June 1685, died in infancy
- 17. Edmund, baptised 25 Nov 1686 died in infancy
- 17. Richard Vavasour Assheton, baptised 20 May 1689, died without issue in his father's lifetime 14 Feb 1707/8
- 17. Anne Assheton, eldest surviving daughter, baptised Middleton 21 July 1681, married at Eccles 15 Aug 1701, died 1730. Enjoyed mother's estate at Spaldington.
- + Humphrey Trafford of Traffford
- 18. Humphrey Trafford, baptised Eccles 29 Aug 1703, died without issue 1779 and left Trafford to John Trafford of Croston.
- 18. Cecil, baptised 11 March 1705, died young.
- 18. Sigismund Trafford, died young
- 18. Anne, married P. Barnes and died without issue.
- 18. Elizabeth Trafford had her mother's estate at Spaldington and died in 1728.
- + Maghull Yates of Maghull died 1757. This couple had two daughters.
- 19. Ann Assheton Yates
- + Lieut.-Col. Henry Nooth who took the name and arms of Vavasour 26 March 1791 as directed by the will of Thomas Vavasour and was created a baronet on 20 March 1801. He died 15 March 1813.
- 20. Edward Trafford Vavasour, died without issue 1796
- 20. Sir Henry Maghull Mervin Vavasour, 2nd Baronet, born 19 July 1768 and died 4 Jan 1838
- + Ann, dau of William Vavasour, LL.D., of Dublin. She died 7 June 1845.
- 21. Sir Henry Mervin Vavasour, 3rd Baronet of Spaldington in Yorkshire, bon 17 Jun 1814
- + The Hon. Louisa Anne Neville, 2nd dau of Richard, 3rd Lord Braybooke, married 1853 and had a daughter, Consance.
- 19. Mary Assheton Yates, died in 1794. She married first John Aspinall, serjeant at law of Standen Hall then Henry Aspinwall of Reedley.
- 17. Mary Asshheton, baptised May 1695, married Middleton 19 Feb 1716/7 died 1776 aged 81
- + Sir Nathaniel Curzon, Bart of Keddleston, Derbyshire
- 18. Nathaniel Curzon, created Lord Scarsdale in 1761 and had issue.
- 18. Assheton Curzon, created Lord Curzon in 1794 and Viscount Curzon in 1802.
- + 1st wife Esther, dau and heir of William Hanmer of the Fenns
- 19.. Penn Assheton Curzon, died 1797
- + Sophia Charlotte, eldest dau of Richard Earl Howe, whom she succeeded as Baroness Howe of Langar, died 1836.
- 20. George Augustus William Curzon, born 1788, died 6 Jan 1805
- 20. Marianne Curzon, born 1790 and died 1820
- 20. Leicester Curzon, born 1792 and died 1793
- 20. Richard William Penn Curzon-Howe, born 1796, owner of Whalley Abbey, succeeded as Baron and Viscount Curzon 1820 and created Earl Howe 1821, died 1870 and had issue.
- + 2nd wife Dorothy sister to Richard 1st Earl Grosvenor
- 19 Assheton Curzon born 1771
- 19. Robert Curzon, married Henrietta Anne, Baroness of de la Zouche
- 19. Elizabeth Curzon, died 1859
- 19. Charlotte Curzon, married Dugdale Stratford Dugdale of Merevale, MP>
- + 3rd wife Anne Margarette, sister to Sir William Meredith, Baronet.
- 17. Catherine Assheton, married Middleton 27 Nov 1716
- + Thomas Lister of Arnoldsbiggin
- 15. Jane Assheton, died 23 October, 17 Car II. She married first Thomas Owen of Condover then Peter Bold of Bold
An History of the Original Parish of Whalley by Dr. Thomas Dunham Whitaker, 1st edition, 1801, 4th edition, revised and enlarged by John Gough Nichols and Revd: Ponsonby A. Lyons, 1872. Pedigrees in Vol II, following pages 2 and 120.
Burke's Landed Gentry, 6th edition of 1879, volume II, page 43.
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