Lt. Col. Thomas ASHE
- Born: 1660, Londonderry, Ireland
- Marriage (1): Elisabeth BECKE on 13 Jul 1686
- Marriage (2): Elizabeth RAINEY on 6 Apr 1693 in Londonderry, Ireland
- Died: Cir 1737 aged about 77
Extract from "Dictionary of Ulster Biography" (Online)
Thomas Ashe (c.1660-?): Chronicler of the Seige of Derry
Thomas Ashe was born in Eglinton, County Londonderry, and went to school in Derry in 1671. In 1684 he was manager of his father's estates in County Antrim and at the age of twenty-five was appointed coroner for County Londonderry. In 1689 he moved from Ashbrook into Derry city to live. At the beginning of the siege in this year, he was lieutenant and then a captain in one of the city regiments. During this period, he kept a journal which recorded the incidents and events which happened during the hundred-and-five-day blockade. It was not published until 1792.
Lt. Col. Thomas Ashe was married twice. His second wife was Elizabeth, daughter of Thomas Rainey of Magherafelt. They had seventeen children. According to the Ash Manuscripts, Captain Thomas Ash was then in his 75th year, meaning that he must have been born c.1660. He kept a diary of the Siege which was not published until 1792. His brother Henry was also one of Derry's defenders in 1688-9.
The "Ash Manuscript" was written by Lieut. Colonel Thomas Ashe, the hero of the siege of Derry in 1688. He started the Manuscript in 1735, when he was 75 years of age, and the last date was 1737.
Extract from "Loyalists: War and Peace in Northern Ireland" by Peter Taylor (1999)
Captain Thomas Ash, recorded in a famous contemporary diary. On 26 July, almost eight months into the siege, he wrote the following entry:
"God knows, we never stood in such need of supply; for now there is not one week's provisions in the garrison. Of necessity we must surrender the city, and make the best terms we can for ourselves. Next Wednesday is our last, if relief does not arrive before it. This day the cows and horses, sixteen of the first, and twelve of the last, were slaughtered; the blood of the cows was sold at four pence per quart, and that of the horses at two pence ... There is not a dog to be seen, they are all killed and eaten."
The day after Captain Ash wrote that entry, two ships loaded with supplies '97 the Protestant fifth cavalry '97 broke the `boom' that the besiegers had placed across the neck of Loch Foyle to prevent re-supply of the besieged city. The captain of the flagship of the squadron, the Mountjoy, was Michael Browning, who was also coming to the aid of his wife, Elizabeth Ash, who had taken shelter with her mother inside the walls after Ashbrook had been overrun by the advancing Jacobite army. But Captain Browning never saw his wife or mother-in-law. `It was rather sad really,' explained John, `because almost within sight of the walls of Derry, he stopped a bullet and so never had this joyful reunion.' Captain Thomas Ash recorded the scene in his diary:
"Captain Browning stood upon the deck with his sword drawn, encouraging his men with great cheerfulness; but a fatal bullet from the enemy struck him in the head, and he died on the spot. King William did his widow the honour of tying a diamond chain round her neck, and settled on her a pension."
Note: After the Jacobites failed to take the City from the Williamites it was decided by James and his followers to burn all the Protestant homes in the district including the Ash family home and this is also recorded in the journal.
Extract from "The Ash MSS, written in the year 1735, by Lieut. Colonel Thomas Ash", published by Henry Tyler (1890)
Thomas was in Derry till the month of April, 1693.
On the 6 of that month he married Elisabeth, the only daughter of Mr. Hugh Rainey, merchant in Magherafelt; he was high sheriff of the City and County of Londonderry in the year 1694. He lived with his wife in his father-in-law's house till the month of March 1697, and then took up for himself in Magherafelt. He was made high sheriff for the City and County of Londonderry, 2 February 1693-4. In the year 1700 he went over to England with Mr. Rainey, and that I may put his three voyages and journeys to that kingdom and to London together, he was there in 1710 and 1720. In the year 1704 he was chosen Alderman in the Corporation of Derry, and so continues.
In 1707 Mr Rainey, his father-in-law, died, made his will some months before, and left him one of his Executors and considerable effects, amounting to about £4,650, to purchase an estate, which, when purchased, he left the one half to his grandson, John, and the other half to charitable and pious uses, by the will is set forth.
In 1710 Thomas purchased an estate in the Mannor of
Downpatrick, from the Rt Hon. Edward Southwell, Esqr, with the effects of his father-in-law, and what he borrowed on his own credit, amounting now to £400 a year, which cost about £7,000, with what expenses attended it, and other incumbrances, &c. In 1715 he got a commission to be major to Col. Joshua Dawson's Regiment in the militia. In 1716 was made a Justice of the Peace for the County of L.D, and so continues. Upon the death of Col. Dawson, who died in the year 1724-5, the militia regiment fell to Col. George Conyngham. Thomas was then made Lieut.-Col. to him, and his commission accordingly and so continues.
In May, 1727, he removed from Magherafelt and came
to the country town called Ballymaguigen, which his son William purchased ye lease of which is in the Mannor of Castledawson and parish of Artrea, joining to the great Lough Neagh.
His second wife, Elisabeth, died in that town the 8 of November, 1728, and was buried in the Church of Magherafelt; he had by her 17 children, 13 sons and 4 daughters.
Extract from "History of Magherafelt" by W. H. Maitland (1916)
The Old Parish Church: The Churchwardens for the year 1717 were Major Thomas Ash and Captain William Watson.
The Rainey School: He purchased the freehold estate in County Down known as "The Ten Towns of Lecale", which comprised 2,529 acres of the richest land in that county for £6,545, subject to the yearly rent of £5. The purchase money, it seems, exceeded the available fund of the trust estate, which amounted to £4,064, and he borrowed the balance, £2,481, on mortgage. The estate was then valued at £400. Thomas Ash was succeeded by his son, John Ash, who adopted the name of Rainey, and at his death his brother William succeeded. He also adopted the name of Rainey.
Extract from "Mackenzie's Memorials of the Siege of Derry"; Introduction by W. D. Killen, D.D. (1861)
Among Ihe officers who distinguished themselves this day, and who were under the command of Colonel Monro during the siege, was Captain Thomas Ash, He kept a Diary of the Siege, first published by his granddaughter in 1792. His father John Ash, one of the Sheriffs of Derry in 1676, was thrice married, and had in all twenty-three children. In consequence of the premature death of her brother, his third wife, Elizabeth Holland, became heiress to a considerable property, including a townland called The Heagles, about three miles from Ballymoney. This lady survived him; and Mr. John Cromie, of the County of Antrim, married the rich widow. Her son, Stephen Ash, was married to Mary Edwards, daughter of Edward Edwards, Esq., of Castlegore, and aunt to Hugh Edwards, Esq., the prroprietor of a valuable estate at Derg. Their daughter Elizabeth was married to the Rev. John Thomson, Presbyterian minister of Macosquin. In early life Mr. Thompson obtained a commission in the army, but becoming deeply impressed by the truths of the Gospel, he withdrew from the military profession, and entered the Presbyterian ministry. He was minister of Macosquin for nearly 44 years, and died there in 1771. His only child was married to the Rev. James Whiteside, minister of Tobermore; and one of Mr. Whiteside's daughters was married to the Rev. Alex. Martin, minister of Dervock, farther of the Rev. Edward Thompson Martin, of Dundonald. Captain Thomas Ash was twice married - first, in 1686, to the only daughter of Mr. Thomas Beck of Magilligan, by whom he had two daughters; and secondly, in 1693, to Elizabeth Rainey, only daughter of Mr. Hugh Rainey, a rich Presbyterian merchant of Magherafelt. Mr, Rainey bequeathed a considerable sum for the establishment of a school in that place under Presbyterian supervision; but, by some management, an act of the Irish Parliament placed the institution under the care of the Primate of Armagh! Capt. Ash was High Sheriff of the city and county of Derry in 1694. By his marriage with Miss Rainey he had seventeen children, thirteen sons and four daughters. His son Luke Ash, who was born in 1705, after receiving the elements of a classical education at Magherafelt, was placed under the tuition of the Rev. Charles Masterton, Presbyterian minister of Connor. Having subsequently graduated in the University of Edinburgh, and passed through the usual trials before the Presbytery of Tyrone, he was licensed to preach; and, on the 9th of August, 1732, was ordained to the pastoral charge of the Presbyterian Congregation of Sligo, where he remained till his death in 1742. Sarah, the third daughter of Captain Ash by his second marriage, became the wife of Mr. John Jackson, by whom she had three sons, William, Hugh, and Luke. Captain Ash was himself an Episcopalian, but at least some of his children by Elizabeth Rainey adhered to the Church to which their mother belonged. He lived to an advanced age. I have been indebted for much of the information contained in this note to a MS. history of the family drawn up apparently by one of themselves about 1786. A copy of this MS. has been kindly lent me by the Rev. George Hill of Belfast Queen's College. Captain Thomas Ash was ancestor of William H. Ash, of Ashbrook, Esq. 2
Thomas married Elisabeth BECKE, daughter of Thomas BECKE and Unknown, on 13 Jul 1686. (Elisabeth BECKE was born in Magilligan, County of Londonderry, Ireland, died in Mar 1688 and was buried in 1688 in Church of Clandermont.)
Thomas next married Elizabeth RAINEY, daughter of Hugh RAINEY (of Magherafelt) and Unknown, on 6 Apr 1693 in Londonderry, Ireland. (Elizabeth RAINEY was born circa 1672 in Magherafelt, County Londonderry, Ireland, died on 8 Nov 1728 and was buried in 1728 in Church of Magherafelt, Ireland.)