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.


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.





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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