Sir Joseph ASHE 1st Baronet of Twickenham, MP for Downton
- Born: 16 Feb 1617
- Marriage: Mary WILSON circa 1650
- Died: 15 Apr 1686 aged 69
- Buried: 21 Apr 1686, Twickenham, Middlesex, England
Extract from "A Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry of Great Britain and Ireland: Vol. I" by Sir Bernard Burke (1879)
Lineage: James Ashe, Esq. of Westcombe, Somerset (whose ancestry is deatiled in Burke's Extinct Baronetage), sat in several Parliaments during the reigns of James I and Charles I; he married and had five sons:
- John, his heir, of Westcombe, ancestors of the Ashes of Ashgrove, co. Tipperary;
- Edward, of Heytesbury, from whom the Ashes of that place, the representative of whom, William Ashe, Esq., of Heytesbury, married Anne, daughter of Alexander Popham, Esq., of Littlecote, and had a daughter, Elizabeth, who married, 1705, Pierce A'Court, Esq., M.P. for Heytesbury, and was great-grandmother of William, 1st Lord Heytesbury;
- Joseph, of Twickenham, created a Baronet in 1660;
- Jonathan, of London, who left an only daughter, Rebecca, who married Sir Francis Vincent, M.P. for Surrey;
Extract from "A Political Index to the Histories of Great Britain and Ireland: Vol. I" by Robert Beatson (1806)
Created a Baronet on 1 August 1660: Joseph Ash of Twickenham, esq. Middlesex. Ext.
Extract from "A Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Commoners of Great Britain and Ireland, enjoying Territorial Possessions or High Official Rank, but uninvested with with Heritable Honours: Vol. II" by John Burke (1835)
Joseph Ashe of Twickenham, created a Baronet in 1660, in consideration of loyal services rendered to the Crown. Sir Joseph married Mary, daughter of Robert Wilson, Esq., and dying 15 April 1686, aged sixty-nine, left, with four daughters, who d.s.p.:
- James (Sir), second baronet, who d.s.p.
- Catherine, married William Wyndham, Esq. of Felbrigge, in Norfolk, and was great grandmother of the celebrated statesman, William Wyndham.
- Mary, married to Viscount Horatio Townshend.
- Anne, married to Lord Fairfax, whose daughter married his Grace, the Duke of Buckingham.
Extract from "Records of the Ashe Family" by Waller Ashe (1876)
Sir Joseph Ashe, bart of Cambridge House, Twickenham, created bt. in 1660 "for loyal service to the Crown", married Mary, daughter of Robert Wilson, and dying April 21st, 1686, left two sons and seven daughters:
I. Sir James Ashe, bt.
II. Joseph Ashe, killed at the Camp August 1, 1686.
1. Catherine Ashe, married to William Wyndham of Felbrigge Hall, and great grandmother of William Wyndham, the Statesman. From this marriage derive the Wyndhams of Cromer in Norfolk and the Earls of Dunraven.
2. Mary Ashe, sister of Mrs Wyndham, married Horatio, 1st Viscount Townshend and was ancestress of the present Marquess Townshend.
3. Anne Ashe
4. Martha Ashe, born 1658, died 1714.
5. Grace Ashe, died 1665.
6. Elisabeth Ashe, died 1668.
7. Diana Ashe, born 1666.
Cambridge House, Twickenham, was built in the early part of the 17th Century by Sir Humphrey Lynd. It then became the property of Joyce, Countess of Fotness till 1636. Soon after it was purchased by Joseph Ashe, Esq., created a baronet in 1660. Wyndham Ashe, a subsequent representative of the family on the female side, built the West front and greatly enlarged the house. Its late occupier was Lord John Chichester.
Extract from "The History of Parliament Online"
M.P. for Downton 15 Dec. 1670, Mar. 1679, Oct. 1679, 1681.
Family and Education
b. 16 Feb. 1617, 4th but 3rd surv. s. of James Ashe, clothier, of Westcombe, Batcombe, Som. by Grace, da. of Richard Pitt, merchant, of Weymouth, Dorset; bro. of Edward Ashe, John Ashe and Samuel Ashe. educ. Merchant Taylors' 1627-32. m. by 1652, Mary, da. of Robert Wilson, Draper, of London, 2s. (1 d.v.p.) 7da. cr. Bt. 19 Sept. 1660.
Member, Drapers' Co. 1650; commr. for assessment, London and Mdx. 1657, Mdx. Aug. 1660-80, Wilts. 1673-80, Yorks. (E. Riding) 1679-80, militia, Mdx. and Wilts. Mar. 1660; committee, E.I. Co. 1661-2, 1682- d. , gov. 1684- d. ; j.p. Mdx. 1662- d. , commr. for recusants 1675.
Keeper of briefs, common pleas Nov. 1660- d. , commr. for trade Nov. 1660-8.
Ashe came from a leading family of west-country industrialists, who had been steadily rising in the world since the middle of the 16th century. His eldest brother was chairman of the committee for compounding, and a Cromwellian; but Ashe himself, a merchant, was probably abroad during the Civil War, and shortly after his return was arrested on a charge of corresponding with the enemy. Although he succeeded in covering his traces, he may have been associated with his niece's husband, John Shaw, in transferring funds to Antwerp for the use of the exiled Court, in which case his baronetcy was well earned. He was called as a juryman for the regicide trials, but challenged by the defence. He first stood for Parliament unsuccessfully at Heytesbury in 1661 in partnership with John Jolliffe during the minority of his cousin William Ashe. Soon afterwards he leased the manor of Downton from the bishop of Winchester. Although an absentee landlord, he greatly improved the estate by the construction of water-meadows, to such good effect that its annual value rose from £600 to £841 in 20 years. He was elected for the borough at the first vacancy, though not without opposition from a henchman of Lord Ashley ( Sir Anthony Ashley Cooper). He was not an active Member of the Cavalier Parliament, in which he was named to only 15 committees, including five concerned with the cloth trade, and made no speeches. In 1675 he was appointed to the committees on the bills for preventing illegal exactions (in which his common pleas office might be involved), and for excluding Papists from Parliament, and took part in considering a petition against the East India Company. He was noted by Danby as an official, and his name appears on the working lists as one of the Members to be influenced by the Speaker ( Edward Seymour). But in 1675 he was marked 'bad' on the list of servants and officers, Ashley (now Lord Shaftesbury) listed him 'worthy' in 1677, and he remained in opposition for the rest of his parliamentary career, though he was never conspicuous. On 18 Dec. 1678 he acted as teller in favour of excusing Sir John Duncombe for his default in attendance.
Ashe was re-elected to the three Exclusion Parliaments, though he would have stood down in favour of his Norfolk son-in-law, William Windham, if the borough had not proved adamant against electing strangers. Shaftesbury again marked him 'worthy', and he voted for the first exclusion bill. Otherwise he leaves no trace on the records in 1679 or 1680, and in 1681 reports probably emanating from Shaftesbury reached his constituents that he had 'neglected the service of the House'. This he vehemently denied:
It's very true this Parliament being very unanimous in opinions, there was the less cause to be constantly there, and 'tis as true in the last long Parliament there was as much cause to give due attendance, for you may remember one, two and three votes carried then the question, and I am sure I stuck to it close, oftentimes till 8 o'clock at night. Now I go to town Tuesdays and come home on Saturdays, unless by accident I have not been well, and I have been present when all our great businesses have been debated.
His activity in the Oxford Parliament was unquestionable, for he was appointed to the committees to examine the Journals about the impeachment of Danby and to prepare the third exclusion bill. Nevertheless he was allowed to serve as governor of the East India Company in 1684-5, perhaps through the mediation of (Sir) Josiah Child, to whom he bequeathed 20 guineas 'for his kindness'. Ashe does not seem to have stood in 1685, and died 'very rich' on 15 Apr. 1686, aged 69. He must have been one of the largest investors in the East India Company, since at the Revolution his widow held £9,000 stock and another £1,000 remained in the hands of his trustees. 'A great benefactor in this parish', he was buried at Twickenham. His charitable bequests included £100 to the free grammar school which he had founded at Downton. Portions of £7,000 each were provided for his two unmarried daughters, and his sons-in-law, Windham and Lord Townshend ( Sir Horatio Townshend), received £100 each for mourning. His 'very feeble son', the second baronet, sat for Downton from 1701 to 1705.
Joseph Ashe was the third son of a London clothier. He became a successful London clothier with a hunger for land. He built up estates in Wayne quickly, as well as Cambridge Park, Twickenham. He drained and enclosed land in Wayne and bought into the rectory, but his efforts were those of investment and he rarely inhabited the houses he owned. He was created baronet by King Charles II on 19 September 1660 in consideration of the servics he had rendered to the Crown. He was M.P. for Downton from 1670 to 1681.
He married Mary Wilson, who was the daughter of a London draper, in about 1650. They had a large family of daughters, many of whom died young, and one son was born to them late in their marriage in 1674. This was James Ashe, 2nd baronet, a cruel man whose marriage to Catherine Bowyers ended in separation without leaving a male heir.
From the Twickenham Museum:
Sir Joseph Ashe was a royalist merchant and Whig M.P. He came from Somerset, the third surviving son of James Ashe Esquire, a clothier. He supported the Royalist cause and was created a baronet at the Restoration in 1660.
He came to Twickenham with his family in 1657, buying the property later known as Cambridge Park, from Thomas Lawley, heir of Sir Thomas Lawley (d.1646). His family were to remain here for a century. He extended his land ownership in the parish and, by the time of the 1661 Survey, in addition to 59 acres adjoining the house he had acquired 134 acres elsewhere.
He was active in local affairs, a churchwarden between 1659 and 1661, and a benefactor to the parish. His monument, erected in St. Mary's Church, survived the collapse of the nave in 1713 and is at present on the south wall of the tower.
Two of his daughters made connections with Norfolk families: Katherine marrying William Wyndham of Felbrigg and Mary marrying Sir Horatio Townshend of Raynham. Their son Charles (Turnip) Townshend married, for the second time, Robert Walpole's sister Dorothy. So he became, by marriage, uncle of Horace.
Extract from Register of Admissions to the Middle Temple
Feb. 4, 1663: Joseph Ashe, of Twickenham, Middlesex. Baronet.
Extracts from "Memorials of Twickenham: Parochial and Topographical" by Rev. R.S. Corbett (1872)
On September 6th, 1670, it was ordered, "that the Church Wardens wait upon Sir Joseph Ashe and return him thanks in the name of the parish for two silver flaggons which he gave them for use of the Communion table".
On March 8th, 1685, it was ordered "that in regard the Worshipfull Sir Joseph Ashe, Bart, who hath been a great benefactor to this Parish, that a vault be made on the south side of Twickenham Church as near to my Lady Harriet's Vault as may be, and the Vault to contain seven feet square".
Opposite, on the south wall, is another handsome marble monument:
"In a vault underneath this monument lieth the Body of Sir Joseph Ashe of Twickenham, Bart, IVth son of James Ashe of the County of Somerset, Esq., descended from the ancient family of the Ashes of Devonshire. He married Mary, daughter of Mr. Robert Wilson, of Low, Merch. He had by her two sons, Joseph and James, and 7 daughters, Catherine, married to William Windham of Norfolk, Esq., Mary, the late wife of Horatio, Lord Viscount Townshend, Anne, Martha, Grace, Elizabeth and Diana.
He died the 15 of April, 1686, in the 69th year of his age, his wife and 4 children, James, Catherine, Anne, Martha, surviving him."
CAMBRIDGE HOUSE. Near Richmond Bridge, charmingly situated in Twickenham Meadows, is a house called, after its most celebrated occupant, Cambridge House. It was built in the early part of the seventeenth century, by Sir Humphry Lynd. After his death it was occupied by Joyce Countess of Totness, who died there in 1636. Not long afterwards it became the property of Joseph Ashe, Esq., who was created a baronet in 1660. The title became extinct on the death of his son. Windham Ashe, Esq., a subsequent representative of the family, built the west front and greatly enlarged the house. Richard Owen Cambridge, Esq., purchased it in 1751.
Extract from "A Topographical Dictionary of England: Vol. II" by Samuel Lewis (1831)
Downton: a borough town and parish, in the hundred of Downton, County of Wilts. A free school was founded in 1679, by Joseph Ashe, for the instruction of twelve poor boys, the sons of free burgage holders, or in default of such, the children of other inhabitants of the borough, and endowed with a school house, the rent of the ground on which the fairs are held, and the interest of £130 in the funds.
Extract from "Synopsis of the Extinct Baronetage of England" by William Courthope (1835)
ASHe, of Rwickenham, co. Middlesex.
Created 19 September 1660.
I. Sir Joseph Ashe, created as above, married Mary, daughter of Robert Wilson, of London, merchant, and died circa 1686.
II. Sir James, son and heir, married Catherine, daughter and co-heir of Sir Edmund Bowyer, of Camberwell, co. Surrey, knt., but dying s.p.m. 8 November 1734, the title became extinct.
Noted events in his life were:
• Created 1st Baronet of Twickenham: in consideration of loyal services rendered to the crown, 19 Sep 1660.
• MP for Heytesbury, 1661.
• MP for Downton, 1670-1681.
Joseph married Mary WILSON, daughter of Robert WILSON and Katherine ASHE, circa 1650. (Mary WILSON was born in 1631, died on 28 Nov 1705 and was buried on 6 Dec 1705 in Twickenham Park, Middlesex.)