|Aston of Tixall, Barons Aston of Forfar|
Tixall Hall and its extensive estates passed in 1568 to Sir Walter Aston (1530-89), who added the surviving great gatehouse at Tixall in the years around 1575. A little later, in 1586, he was briefly host to Mary, Queen of Scots, who was held at Tixall for seventeen days while her lodgings at Chartley were searched for evidence of treason. Through his marriage to Elizabeth Leveson, Sir Walter added Shustoke in Warwickshire to the family's property portfolio. He had a large family to provide for, and left the manor of Parkhall in Great Haywood to his second son, to whose descendants it later passed, and Milwich to a younger son, William Aston. His eldest son, Sir Edward Aston (c.1551-98) received the bulk of the estates, which were said to provide the enormous income of £10,000 a year, although this was almost certainly an inflated figure. In 1579, Sir Edward married the daughter of Sir Thomas Lucy of Charlecote (Warks) and they seem to have lived at Charlecote with their growing family until they inherited Tixall ten years later.
When Sir Edward died in 1598 his heir was a youth of fourteen, Sir Walter Aston (1584-1639), who was made a ward of Edward Coke, the Attorney General. Although Coke's chief concern was no doubt the rich income from the Aston estates, he does seem to have exerted his influence for the boy, securing his admission to the Inner Temple in 1600, introducing him to the new royal court of King James I, and arranging for him to become a Knight of the Bath in the coronation honours. As soon as he came of age, Sir Walter married Gertrude, the daughter of Sir Thomas Sadleir of Standon (Herts), who was a noted beauty.
|Gertrude, Lady Aston (fl. 1635).|
Image: Philip Mould Ltd.
Sir Walter Aston, 1st Baron Aston of Forfar, died in 1639, and the Tixall estate passed to his eldest son, Sir Walter Aston (c.1609-78), 2nd Baron Aston of Forfar. The 2nd Baron, who was a fervent Catholic, was a Royalist in the Civil War and stayed with the King until the final surrender at Oxford. He was then obliged to compound for his estates, and he claimed later that this, and his direct losses during the war, had cost him £100,000. Although this figure must be inflated, he was undoubtedly hurt in his pocket, and he must have been duly grateful when in 1660 his maternal uncle died and bequeathed him the manor of Standon in Hertfordshire and the great house of Standon Lordship which stood there. Standon indeed superseded Tixall for a time as the family's main seat.
Sir Walter Aston (1633-1714), 3rd Baron Aston of Forfar, although based at Standon, was widely seen as the leader of Staffordshire's large Roman Catholic community. For this reason, he and his younger brother were among those implicated by perjured evidence from a former estate steward (who bore a grudge for his dismissal) in the supposed Catholic plot against King Charles II which was 'revealed' by Titus Oates, and both men were briefly imprisoned, although never charged. Under King James II, as a prominent Catholic peer, the 3rd Baron's star was in the ascendant, and he was made Lord Lieutenant of Staffordshire. When William of Orange invaded England at the end of 1688 he moved swiftly to take control of Chester and hold it for James, and he remained loyal to the old regime even after James fled the country and the cause was effectively lost. His younger son Charles was killed fighting for King James at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690.
The 3rd Baron was succeeded in 1714 by Sir Walter Aston (1660-1748), 4th Baron Aston of Forfar, whose interests seem to have lain more with his family and estates than with national politics. The Scots Peerage records that "Owing to the severity of the penal laws against Roman Catholics, he was compelled to reside very privately at Standon", and there is no record of his implication in either the 1715 or 1745 Jacobite rebellions. After living at Standon for many years, he began, in the 1720s, to undertake improvements, repairs and partial rebuilding of the old house at Tixall. These interests were continued by his son, Sir James Aston (1723-51), 5th Baron Aston of Forfar, who in 1750 began building a completely new house at Tixall to the designs of William Baker of Audlem. Unfortunately, in 1751, the young 5th Baron died of smallpox (reputedly caught while attending the funeral of a friend in Stafford), before he could sire a male heir. This had wide repercussions, as there was no living male line descendant of the 1st Baron to inherit the title, and only a clause in the original patent allowing it to pass to the male heirs general of the 1st Baron ensured it did not die out altogether. The title was claimed and used by descendants of William Aston (c.1560-1628) of Milwich, a younger son of Sir Walter Aston (1530-89) until the mid 19th century, but it later emerged that other potentially senior claimants existed, and it is now regarded as having become dormant in 1751.
The Tixall and Standon estates passed to the 5th Baron's two daughters, as co-heiresses, and it would seem that during the ensuing minority Tixall in particular fell into disrepair. By 1767 both daughters were married, and a family arrangement was agreed under which Standon was sold and Tixall passed to the younger daughter, Barbara Aston, and her husband, Thomas Clifford. They resumed the rebuilding of Tixall Hall and the landscaping of the grounds, but the work was still unfinished when Thomas Clifford died in 1787; it was left to their son, Sir Thomas Hugh Clifford (later Constable) (1762-1823), 1st bt. to finish it off. In 1821 he inherited the Burton Constable estate in Yorkshire, and in 1845 his son, Sir Thomas Aston Clifford-Constable, 2nd bt., sold Tixall to Charles Chetwynd-Talbot (1777-1849), 2nd Earl Talbot of Hensol, owner of the neighbouring Ingestre Hall estate, ending an association with the Astons which had lasted more than 300 years.
Tixall Hall, Staffordshire
The manor of Tixall was held for many years by the Littleton family until 1507 when the Littleton heiress married Sir John Aston. The medieval manor house was replaced by Sir Edward Aston in the mid 16th century with a new largely timber-framed building that had elaborate stone Gothic bay windows, jettied upper floors and gables. An inscription on one of the windows recorded that "William Yates made this house 1555".
The earliest recorded work to update the Elizabethan house was undertaken for the 4th Lord Aston of Forfar (1660-1748) from 1721. The Staffordshire architect and builder, Richard Trubshaw, built a new gate lodge in that year, perhaps creating the so-called Bottle Lodge. Pevsner wondered whether this was 16th century, but Mowl and Earnshaw have long since shown that the gate lodge as a building type is no earlier than the 17th century, and the details of this little building of rendered brick with stone dressings are unconvincingly Tudor. Trubshaw also restored the Elizabethan gatehouse and in 1729 began the rebuilding of the east front of the old house. Works were still in progress in 1745 when Richard Trubshaw died, and his son, Charles Cope Trubshaw completed the contract, supplying new chimneypieces for the house.
|Tixall Hall in 1775, with the ruins of the Tudor house behind. The part of the new house built in 1750-51 does not appear in this view, either through artistic licence, or because it was hidden from this viewpoint by the bulk of the gatehouse.|
While the two young girls grew up and found husbands, the Old Hall, which was perhaps largely abandoned, fell into decay. By 1768 when a family arrangement between the daughters and their husbands was put in place and Barbara and her husband Thomas Clifford took possession of Tixall, the upper floors of the old house were unsafe. An engraving of 1775 shows indeed that by then it had substantially collapsed or been taken down. The Cliffords moved at first into the Baker quadrangle while they drew up plans for completing the partly-built house. They commissioned designs from Thomas Atkinson of York in about 1770 and from Capability Brown in 1773, but it is not known whether either was the architect finally chosen when work began later in the 1770s; Brown is perhaps more likely as the relatively plain house is rather in his style, and as he was engaged in landscaping works at Tixall, with the assistance of William Emes, while building was in progress.
|Tixall Hall: engraving of 1830, showing the new house built in the 1770s and 1780s, and the later trelliswork veranda.|
Work on the shell of the new south range was completed in 1782; it consisted of a seven bay. two-storey block with a central portico of Doric columns, set against a three-bay centrepiece, with attached Doric columns framing the windows on the first floor. To either side of the central block, the line of the walls was continued by a single-storey screen, decorated with Doric columns and pilasters, concealing the offices. Each screen was surmounted by a large pedestal, on which were placed lions couchant commissioned a few years later from the Coade manufactory. After the shell was complete, there was a change of architect for the design of the interiors, with Samuel Wyatt taking over the fitting out of the main apartments; the change is further slight evidence, perhaps, for the earlier involvement of Brown, who died in 1783. Only the first-floor rooms were complete by the death of Thomas Clifford in 1787, and the ground floor rooms were finally only finished for his son and heir, Sir Thomas Hugh Clifford (later Constable), 1st bt. One further change was made before 1817, when Sir Thomas and Arthur Clifford published A topographical and historical description of the parish of Tixall; the addition of a two-storey trelliswork veranda that incorporated the earlier Doric porch.
|Tixall Hall: stables built in the 1820s, prior to residential conversion. Image: Historic England|
|Tixall Hall: the RC chapel created in 1823-27 from the ruins of the Tudor house and demolished in 1844. |
Image: © Trustees of the William Salt Library, Stafford. Used by kind permission.
Finally, in the 1820s, two further significant changes were made to the estate. A new semicircular single-storey stable block was built behind the house, with three taller pavilions in the middle and at either end. In conception it is neo-classical, but the details are all Tudor Gothic. The exact date of the stable block is unknown, but it was called 'newly-built' in 1833. The architect may perhaps have been Joseph Ireland, who in 1823-27 converted the surviving, single-storey ruins of the Tudor house into a Roman Catholic chapel. This stood only until 1844, when on the sale of the Tixall estate, the chapel was taken down. Much of the stonework, including the great bay window of the Tudor house, was taken to Great Haywood with the intention that it be incorporated into the new Catholic church which was built there in 1845 to replace the Tixall chapel; the medieval stained glass from the Tixall chapel, meanwhile, found its way to Burton Constable (Yorks ER), which since 1821 had been the main home of the Clifford Constable family; Burton Constable also houses a model of the Tixall chapel made in the 1840s by a member of the family.
For some unknown reason the Tixall stonework was not incorporated into Great Haywood church, and instead the stones were acquired by a Mr. Corvesor, who used them to make an ornamental stone archway in the grounds of Wharf House in Great Haywood village. They remained there until the 1980s when the arch was demolished and the stones were moved to the Presbytery Garden of the Catholic church.
|Tixall Hall: the surviving gatehouse in its landscaped setting, 2007. Image: igb99. Some rights reserved.|
Descent: Sir William Littleton (1450-1507); to daughter, Joan, wife of Sir John de Aston (c.1471-1523); to son, Sir Edward Aston (c.1494-1568), kt.; to son, Sir Walter Aston (1530-89), kt.; to son, Sir Edward Aston (c.1551-98), kt.; to son, Sir Walter Aston (1584-1639), 1st bt. and 1st Baron Aston of Forfar; to son, Sir Walter Aston (c.1609-78), 2nd Baron Aston of Forfar; to son, Sir Walter Aston (1633-1714), 3rd Baron Aston of Forfar; to son, Sir Walter Aston (1660-1748), 4th Baron Aston of Forfar; to son, Sir James Aston (1723-51), 5th Baron Aston of Forfar; to daughters as co-heiresses, of whom Barbara (1744-86), wife of Thomas Clifford (1732-87) gained sole possession; to son, Sir Thomas Hugh Clifford (later Constable) (1762-1823), 1st bt.; to son, Sir Thomas Aston Constable (1807-70), 2nd bt., who sold 1845 to Charles Chetwynd-Talbot (1777-1849), 2nd Earl Talbot of Hensol; to son, Henry John Chetwynd-Talbot (1803-68), 3rd Earl Talbot and (from 1856), 18th Earl of Shrewsbury; to son, Charles John Chetwynd-Talbot (1830-77), 19th Earl of Shrewsbury; to son, Charles Henry John Chetwynd-Talbot (1860-1921), 20th Earl of Shrewsbury; to grandson, John George Charles Henry Alton Alexander Chetwynd-Talbot (1914-80), 21st Earl of Shrewsbury, whose trustees demolished the house in 1927; he sold off the estate in 1960.
The Lordship, Standon, Hertfordshire
|Standon Lordship: an engraving made by S. Drapentier for Chauncy's History of Hertfordshire, 1700.|
The present house represents a much-rebuilt fragment of the early Tudor courtyard mansion of Sir Ralph Sadleir, one of the most successful of King Henry VIII's 'new men'. Sadleir is recorded as having built at Standon in 1543-46, but a plan of the house suggests strongly that his house was not all of one build, and that he added three ranges of building set around a courtyard onto the front of an older pile of buildings, which no doubt represented the medieval house that belonged to the Mortimer family and later the Dukes of York. Henry VIII gave it in dower to Catherine of Aragon and Jane Seymour successively, and it was a good enough house for Sadleir to entertain Thomas Cromwell in in 1540.
|Standon Lordship: ground plan, redrawn from a survey made before substantial demolition in the early 19th century.|
Image: RCHME/Crown Copyright. Licenced under the Open Government Licence
|Standon Lordship: west front, from Queen Elizabeth's Progress, vol. 2, 1788. Image: Society of Antiquaries of London.|
|Standon Lordship: as reconstructed in 1872 for 2nd Duke of Wellington. Image: VCH/University of London|
Most of the very large 16th century house was pulled down in the early 19th century, except for part of the west wing and a smaller section of the south wing. The former contained the main entrance; the latter the hall. The carriageway arch with its four-centred arch remains, and the lower parts of the flanking turrets on the inner face. The surviving fragment of the house was incorporated into a hunting lodge built in 1872 by John Thorpe for the 2nd Duke of Wellington, which was in turned largely burned down in 1925. By then the house was let, and the present house, with its elaborate brick chimneys and panelled interior, represents a further reconstruction of 1927. The house is now divided into two dwellings.
|Standon Lordship: the house as it exists today (from the north). Image:|
Descent: Crown granted 1539 to Sir Ralph Sadleir (d. 1587), kt.; to son, Sir Thomas Sadleir (d. 1606), kt.; to son, Ralph Sadleir (d. 1660); to nephew, Sir Walter Aston (d. 1678), 2nd Baron Aston of Forfar; to son, Sir Walter Aston (1633-1714), 3rd Baron Aston of Forfar; to son, Sir Walter Aston (d. 1748), 4th Baron Aston of Forfar; to son, Sir James Aston (d. 1751), 5th Baron Aston of Forfar; to daughters as co-heiresses, who sold 1767 to William Plumer (d. 1767) of Blakesware; to son, William Plumer (d. 1822); to widow, Jane, later wife of Robert Ward (later Plumer), who sold 1843 to Arthur Wellesley (1769-1852), 1st Duke of Wellington; to son, Arthur Richard Wellesley (1807-84), 2nd Duke of Wellington; to son, Henry Wellesley (1846-1900), 3rd Duke of Wellington; to brother, Arthur Charles Wellesley (1849-1934), 4th Duke of Wellington, who let the house...Hugh Trenchard (b. 1951), 3rd Viscount Trenchard.
Aston family of Tixall Hall, Barons Aston of Forfar
Aston, Sir John (c.1471-1523) KB. Eldest son of Sir John de Aston (d. 1483) of Parkhall and Haywood (Staffs), and his wife Elizabeth, daughter of Sir John Delves of Doddington (Cheshire), born about 1471. MP for Staffordshire, 1495, 1497, 1504, 1510, 1515 and 1523. A military knight under Kings Henry VII and Henry VIII; made a Knight of the Bath at the marriage of Prince Arthur and Catherine of Aragon in 1502, and knight banneret for his conduct at the Battle of the Spurs, 1513. He distinguished himself further at the subsequent successful sieges of Thérouanne and Tournai. Awarded a general pardon, 1509. High Sheriff of Leicestershire and Warwickshire, 1510-11 and of Staffordshire, 1500-01, 1508-09 and 1513-14. He married, c. 1488, Jane, daughter of Sir William Littleton, kt. of Frankley (Worcs) and Tixall (Staffs) and had issue:
(1) Sir Edward Aston (c.1494-1568), kt. (q.v.);
(2) William Aston (fl. 1536) of Milwich (Staffs) and Rufford (Notts); married Elizabeth Stapleton of Carlton (Yorks) and had issue;
(3) Anne Aston (d. by 1533); married Thomas Curzon (d. 1541) of Croxall (Staffs) (who m2, 1533, Elizabeth, daughter of Richard Lygon of Madresfield (Worcs) and had further issue) and had issue three sons and seven daughters; died before 1533 and was buried at Croxall, where Thomas and his two wives are commemorated by a monument;
(4) Helen Aston; married 1st, 1526?, Hugh Erdeswick and 2nd, John Morgan;
(5) Isabel Aston; married Thomas Blount;
(6) Elizabeth Aston.
He inherited Parkhall and Haywood (Staffs) and Ashtead (Surrey) from his father in 1483 and came of age in 1492. He inherited the manors of Wanlip (Leics) and Tixall (Staffs) in right of his wife in 1507.
He died 14 March 1523 and was buried at Leigh (Staffs), where he and his wife are commemorated by a monument; his will was proved 25 April 1523. His wife survived him, but her date of death is unknown, as it is missing from the inscription on their tomb.
Aston, Sir Edward (c.1494-1568), kt. Elder son of Sir John de Aston (c.1471-1523) and his wife Joan, daughter of Sir William Littleton, kt. of Frankley (Worcs) and Tixall (Staffs), born about 1494. He is said to have been knighted at Calais in 1532. JP for Staffordshire from 1526; High Sheriff of Staffordshire, 1528-29, 1534-35, 1540-41, 1556-57. Keeper of Cannock Chase in 1538. Awarded general pardons, 1553 and 1558/9. He married 1st, Mary (d. 1525), daughter of Sir Henry Vernon, kt., and 2nd, 1525, Jane (d. 1562), daughter of Sir Thomas Bowles of Penhow Castle (Monmouths.), one of the barons of the exchequer, and had issue:
(2.1) Giles Aston; died young;
(2.2) Sir Walter Aston (1530-89), kt. (q.v.);
(2.3) Leonard Aston (fl. 1578) of Longdon (Staffs); his father settled the manor of Milwich on him in 1541; married, c.1564, Elizabeth Barton, widow of Thomas Cresswell and had issue one son and one daughter; living in 1578;
(2.4) Anthony Aston (fl. 1589) of Parkhall; married Elizabeth, daughter of [forename unknown] Lawley and widow of Henry Brough (1531-57) of Gainsborough and Stow (Lincs) and had issue three sons and one daughter; living in 1589;
(2.5) Catherine Aston (d. 1585?); married, c.1548 (but settlement 1530), Sir William Gresley (1525-73), kt. of Drakelow (Derbys) and had issue three sons and three daughters; died before September 1585;
(2.6) Mary Aston (d. by 1563); married, c.1545, Simon Harcourt (1517-77) of Stanton Harcourt (Oxon), and had issue five sons (ancestor of the Earls of Harcourt) and four daughters; died before 1563, when her husband married again;
(2.7) Frances Aston (c.1536-1601); married*, 1555, Robert Needham (1535-1603) of Shenton (Shropshire), and had issue two sons (ancestor of the Viscounts and Earls of Kilmorey) and six daughters; buried at Adderley (Shropshire), 31 August 1601;
(2.8) Elizabeth Aston (d. by 1559); perhaps the first wife of Thomas Lawley (d. 1559) of Wenlock (Shropshire), ancestor of the Lawley baronets (later Barons Wenlock) (who m2, Beatrix Hinton (d. 1571)); died before 1559.
He inherited the Tixall, Ashtead and Wanlip estates from his father in 1523 and built a new house there in 1555. He exchanged the manor of Ashtead (Surrey) with the Crown in 1543 for a number of ex-monastic properties in Staffordshire, including Mayfield, Bradnop (in Leek) and the site of Hulton Abbey.
He died 8 September 1568 and was buried at St Mary, Stafford, where he and his second wife are commemorated by a fine monument. His first wife died in 1525 and was buried at Wanlip (Leics). His second wife died 15 September 1562.
* A marriage settlement was drawn up in 1537 for her marriage to Richard Bagot, son of Thomas Bagot of Blithfield, but the marriage seems never to have taken place.
|Sir Walter Aston (1530-89)|
(1) Sir Edward Aston (c.1551-98), kt. (q.v.);
(2) Robert Aston (c.1552-1623) of Parkhall; educated at Grays Inn (admitted 1568; called to bar, 1581); barrister-at-law; married Joyce, second daughter of William Dallyson, justice of Kings Bench, and had issue four sons, to whose descendants the manor of Parkhall descended;
(3) Jane Aston (c.1554-1624); married, 1573/4, William Crompton (d. 1603) of Stone (Staffs) and had issue fourteen children; buried with her husband, December 1624, at Stone (Staffs), where they are commemorated by a monument;
(4) Richard Aston (d. 1610); married 1st, Julia, widow of N.N. Clerke, and had issue three sons and four daughters; married 2nd, Anne [surname unknown]; died 1610;
(5) Margery Aston (d. 1628); married, 1585, Thomas Astley (d. 1632) of Patshull (Staffs) and had issue seven sons and six daughters; she was excommunicated from the Church of England and was buried at Patshull by special licence, 1628;
(6) William Aston (c.1560-1628) of Milwich (Staffs); educated at University College, Oxford (matriculated 1579); married, 21 April 1590, Elizabeth, daughter of Waldive Willington of Hurley Hall near Tamworth (Warks), and had issue two sons (from the elder of whom descended the men who claimed and used the title Barons Aston of Forfar in the late 18th century) and one daughter; buried at Tixall, 6 May 1628;
(7) Eleanor Aston (d. 1637); married William Peyto (d. 1609 or 1619) of Chesterton (Warks); died 1636/7 and was buried with her husband at Chesterton where they are commemorated by a monument designed by Nicholas Stone;
(8) Mary Aston (fl. 1596); married, after 1583, Christopher Collier (d. 1609) of Yarlet; living in 1596;
(9) Hastings Aston (1564-86), baptised at Wanlip (Leics), 13 March 1564; died unmarried, 1586;
(10) Elizabeth Aston (b. c.1565); married, by 1585, Basil Feilding (c.1567-1633) MP of Newnham Paddox (Warks) and had issue three sons (from whom descend the Earls of Denbigh) and one daughter;
(11) Catherine Aston (c.1566-1646); married 1st, Stephen Slaney (d. 1597), son of Sir Stephen Slaney, Lord Mayor of London, and had issue one daughter; married 2nd, 21 June 1604 at St Mary Woolnoth, London or 18 January 1605 at Ingestre, Sir William Chetwynd (d. 1614), kt., of Ingestre (Staffs) and 3rd, 1617 at St Giles-in-the-Fields, Holborn (Middx), Sir Edward Cope (1551-1619), kt. of Canons Ashby (Northants); died 1646 and was buried at St Giles-in-the-Fields;
(12) Devereux Aston (c.1571-1635); educated at Christ Church, Oxford (matriculated 1587); married 1st, Godith (fl. 1609), widow of Richard Skeffington of London, and 2nd, 1 April 1624, Margaret (fl. 1635), daughter of William Barratt of Wymeswold (Leics) and widow of [forename unknown] Botham, but died without issue, 1635.
Through his marriage he acquired the manor of Shustoke (Warks) from James Leveson. He inherited the Tixall and Wanlip estates from his father in 1568 and added a new gatehouse to the house at Tixall in about 1575.
He died 2 April 1589; he was apparently intestate, but an inquisition post mortem was held 15 August 1589. His wife's date of death is unknown.
Aston, Sir Edward (c.1551-98), kt.. Eldest son of Sir Walter Aston (1530-89), kt. and his second wife, Elizabeth, daughter of Sir James Leveson of Lilleshall (Shropshire), born about 1551 (he was 38 in August 1589). Educated at Grays Inn (admitted 1568). Knighted 1588. High Sheriff of Staffordshire, 1590-91. He married 1st, 1574, Mary, daughter of Sir John Spencer of Everden, and 2nd, 27 April 1579 (settlement 1579) at Charlecote, Anne (1550-96), only daughter of Sir Thomas Lucy, kt. of Charlecote (Warks), and had issue:
(2.1) Joyce Aston (1579-1619), baptised at Charlecote, 25 July 1579; married, 25 February 1598 at Charlecote (Warks), Sir Martin Colepeper (d. 1604), kt. of Deane (Oxon) and had issue one son (who died in infancy) and three daughters (one of whom died in infancy); died 2 January 1619 and was buried the following day at Feckenham (Worcs);
(2.2) Elizabeth Aston (b. 1582), baptised at Charlecote, 21 November 1582; in 1600 she scandalously eloped with and married*, 20 July 1600 at Broadway (Worcs), John Sambach (d. 1614) of Broadway, and had issue three daughters; she married 2nd, 1618 at Broadway, William Martin;
(2.3) Sir Walter Aston (1584-1639), 1st bt. and 1st Baron Aston of Forfar (q.v.);
(2.4) Edward Aston (1586-1626?) of Bishton in Colwich (Staffs), baptised at Charlecote, 17 July 1586; married, 1608, Anne (b. 1588), only daughter of Leigh Sadler of Temple Dinsley (Herts) and grandson of Sir Ralph Sadleir, ambassador to Scotland; will proved 1625/6;
(2.5) Thomas Aston (fl. 1596); barrister-at-law; died without issue;
(2.6) Anne Aston (d. 1660); married, 1618, Ambrose Elton (1578-1659) of The Hazle, Ledbury (Herefs), son of Anthony Elton of Ledbury, and had issue three sons and fourteen daughters (of whom eight survived into adulthood); died 5 February 1659/60;
(2.7) Jane Aston (d. c.1647); married, before 1610, Thomas Elton MD (1573-1618), son of Anthony Elton of Ledbury, and had issue two sons; said to have died in Bath about 1647;
(2.8) Catherine Aston; died unmarried before 1596.
He inherited the Tixall, Wanlip and Shustoke estates from his father in 1589 and further property in Staffordshire, Derbyshire, and Warwickshire, reputedly to the value of £10,000 a year.
He died 1 February 1597/8; his will was proved 26 June 1598. His first wife's date of death is unknown. His second wife was buried at Holy Trinity Minories, London, 23 September 1596.
*This incident is said to have furnished Shakespeare with the inspiration for the Anne Page and Fenton sub-plot of The Merry Wives of Windsor.
|Sir Walter Aston,|
1st Baron Aston of Forfar
(1) Walter Aston; died in infancy;
(2) Sir Walter Aston (c.1609-78), 2nd Baron Aston of Forfar (q.v.);
(3) Hon. Herbert Aston (1614-89), baptised at Chelsea (Middx), 16 January 1614/5; accompanied his father, as secretary, on his second embassy to Spain, 1635-38; lived on a small estate at Colton (Staffs), which he called Bellamour; married, c.1638, Catherine, daughter of Richard Thimelby and sister of Sir John Thimelby of Irnham (Lincs), kt, and had issue one son; buried at Colton (Staffs), 9 January 1688/9; administration of his goods granted 21 June 1689;
(4) Hon. John Aston (fl. 1685); married and had issue;
(5) Hon. Thomas Aston; died in infancy;
(6) Hon. Gertrude Aston; died in infancy;
(7) Hon. Honoria Aston (1610-), baptised at Islington (Middx), 17 July 1610; died at Vittoria (Spain) during her father's embassy, and was buried at St. Martin-in-the-Fields, London;
(8) Hon. Frances Aston (1612-), baptised at Chelsea, 16 April 1612; married, before June 1635, as his second wife, Sir William Pershall of Canwell (Staffs) and had issue; living in 1635;
(9) Hon. Gertrude Aston (d. 1668); married Henry Thimelby (d. 1655), son of Richard Thimelby and brother of Sir John Thimelby, kt.; after her husband's death she became a nun at Louvain in Flanders; died 1668;
(10) Hon. Constance Aston; married, 1629, Walter Fowler of St. Thomas' Priory, near Stafford; living in 1635.
He inherited the Tixall, Wanlip and Shustoke estates from his father in 1598, but sold Wanlip in 1626 and Shustoke in 1631.
He died 13 August 1639 and was buried at St Mary, Stafford; his will was proved 31 October 1639. His wife was living 3 June 1635, but her date of death is unknown.
Aston, Sir Walter (c.1609-78), 2nd Baron Aston of Forfar. Eldest son of Sir Walter Aston (1584-1639), 1st bt. & 1st Baron Aston of Forfar, and his wife Gertrude, daughter of Sir Thomas Sadleir of Standon (Herts), born c.1609. Steward of the Honour of Tutbury and Constable of Tutbury Castle, 1639. He was a Royalist during the Civil War, and was at the siege of Lichfield, 1646 and the surrender of Oxford, after which he had to compound for his estates and live in retirement. A Roman Catholic in religion. He claimed that his loyalty to the Stuart cause in the Civil War had cost him £100,000, but the only recompense he received was the free grant in 1668 of a weekly market and two annual fairs at Standon. He married, 1629, Lady Mary (b. 1602), second daughter of Richard Weston, 1st Earl of Portland, Lord High Treasurer of England and had issue:
(1) Sir Walter Aston (1633-1714), 3rd Baron Aston of Forfar (q.v.);
(2) Hon. Thomas Aston; married Elizabeth, daughter of Thomas Ogle of Dissington (Northbld), but died without issue;
(3) Hon. Charles Aston; died in infancy;
(4) Hon. William Aston (fl. 1679); like his eldest brother he was involved in the accusations by Titus Oates and was arrested 28 January 1679; died without issue;
(5) Hon. Elizabeth Aston; married, by 1673, Sir John Southcote (d. 1685), kt. of Merstham (Surrey);
(6) Hon. Frances Aston; married Sir Edward Gage (d. 1707), bt. of Hengrave (Suffk);
(7) Hon. Gertrude Aston (1637-82); a Sepulchrine nun at Liege; (entered 1658 but left 1659 and returned to England); a Carmelite nun at Lierre (professed 1671); died unmarried;
(8) Hon. Mary Aston; died unmarried;
(9) Hon. Anne Aston; married, c.1662/3, Henry Somerset, Count of the Holy Roman Empire, of Pauntley Court (Glos), son of Lord John Somerset and grandson of the 1st Marquess of Worcester, and had issue.
He inherited the Tixall estate from his father in 1639, and the Standon Lordship estate in Hertfordshire from his maternal uncle, Ralph Sadleir, in 1660, and Standon was thereafter his principal seat.
He died at Tixall, 23 April 1678 and was buried at St Mary, Stafford. His widow was living in August 1678.
Aston, Sir Walter (1633-1714), 3rd Baron Aston of Forfar. Eldest son of Sir Walter Aston (c.1609-78) and his wife Lady Mary, daughter of Richard Weston, 1st Earl of Portland, born at Tixall, 1633. A Roman Catholic in religion and the effective leader of the large Catholic community in Staffordshire. As such, he was a principal target of informers during the Popish Plot. His former steward Stephen Dugdale, whom he had dismissed for stealing money to pay his gambling debts, gave perjured evidence which sent Aston to the Tower of London in 1679 on charges of conspiracy to kill King Charles II. Dugdale was a charming, educated and plausible man, who gave sufficiently credibility to the charges that even King Charles II, "began to think there was something in it". However it proved impossible to find any corroboration of Dugdale's charges, and Aston was never brought to trial and was released from custody on bail in the summer of 1680. Under King James II he was made Lord Lieutenant of Staffordshire, 1687-89; JP for Staffordshire, 1687-88; he remained loyal to King James when William of Orange invaded in 1688, moving, with Lord Molyneux, to hold Chester for the King. He married, 1st, by 1656, Eleanor (d. 1674), daughter of Sir Walter Blount, 1st bt. of Sodington, and widow of Robert Knightley of Offchurch (Warks), and 2nd, after 1680, Catherine (d. 1720), daughter of Sir Thomas Gage, 2nd bt., of Firle (Sussex), and had issue:
(1.1) Hon. Edward Walter Aston (1658-78); died in the lifetime of his father at Clermont College, Paris (France), 1678;
(1.2) Hon. Francis Aston (d. 1694); died without issue, 1694 and was buried at Standon;
(1.3) Sir Walter Aston (1660-1748), 4th Baron Aston of Forfar (q.v.);
(1.4) Hon. Charles Aston (1664-90); captain of the band of pensioners of King James II; he was unmarried and without issue; killed at the Battle of the Boyne, 1 July 1690;
(1.5) Hon. William Aston; died in infancy;
(1.6) Hon. Mary Aston; died unmarried;
(1.7) Hon. Catherine Aston; died in infancy.
He inherited the Tixall and Standon estates from his father in 1678.
He died 24 November 1714 and was buried at Standon, where he is commemorated by a monument; his will was proved 10 December 1714. His first wife died 3 December 1674. His widow died 2 April 1720 and was also buried at Standon.
Aston, Sir Walter (1660-1748), 4th Baron Aston of Forfar. Third but only surviving son of Sir Walter Aston (1633-1714), 3rd Baron Aston of Forfar and his first wife, Eleanor, daughter of Sir William Blount, 1st bt. of Sodington, and widow of Robert Knightley of Offchurch (Warks), born 1660. "Owing to the severity of the penal laws against Roman Catholics, he was compelled to reside very privately at Standon". He married, about 1 October 1698, Lady Mary (d. 1723), only daughter of Lord Thomas Howard of Worksop (Notts) and sister of the 8th and 9th Dukes of Norfolk, and had issue:
(1) Mary Aston (1703-04), born 27 October 1703; died in infancy, 10 December 1704;
(2) Anne Aston (b. & d. 1705), born 4 April 1705; died in infancy, 24 July 1705 and was buried at Standon;
(3) Hon. Catherine Elizabeth Aston (1706-39), born 7 March 1706; married, 1727 (settlement 13 June), Edward Weld (1705-61) of Lulworth Castle (Dorset); died 25 October 1739;
(4) Mary Anne Aston (1709-12), born 31 May 1709; died young, 2 April 1712 and was buried at Standon;
(5) Hon. Walter Aston (1712-17), born 16 February 1711/2; died young, 19 June 1717;
(6) Hon. Edward Richard Aston (b. 1713); born 17 January 1712/3; died young;
(7) Hon. Margaret Aston (1714-69), born 28 May 1714; an Augustinian nun at Paris (professed 1733); died in Paris, 31 October 1769;
(8) Hon. Thomas William Anthony Aston (d. 1739); died between 16 June and 25 October 1739;
(9) Hon. Eleanor Aston (1717-27), born 22 May 1717; died young, 12 April 1727;
(10) Hon. Charles Joseph Aston (1720-30), born 19 March 1719/20; died young, 12 April and was buried at Standon, 15 April 1730;
(11) Sir James Aston (1723-51), 5th Baron Aston of Forfar (q.v.).
He inherited the Tixall and Standon estates from his father in 1714; after 1721 he undertook extensive repairs and improvement works at Tixall.
He died at Tixall, 4 April and was buried at Standon, 8 April 1748; his will was proved 15 August 1748. His wife died in childbirth, 23 May 1723 and was also buried at Standon.
Aston, Sir James (1723-51), 5th Baron Aston of Forfar. Youngest but only surviving son of Sir Walter Aston (1660-1748), 4th Baron Aston of Forfar, and his wife Lady Mary, only daughter of Lord Thomas Howard of Worksop (Notts) and sister of the 8th and 9th Dukes of Norfolk, born 23 May 1723. "He is said to have been remarkable for his good humour and easy temper, and for his affability and condescension to all ranks of people". He married, 30 June 1742 at Twickenham (Middx), Barbara, daughter of George Talbot and sister of George Talbot, 14th Earl of Shrewsbury, and had issue:
(1) Hon. Mary Aston (1743-1805), baptised at Standon, 14 August 1743; married, 21 September 1766 at Worksop Manor (Notts), her cousin, Sir Walter Blount (d. 1785), 6th bt., of Mawley Hall (Shropshire) and had issue three sons; accidentally burned to death when her clothes caught fire, 6 February 1805, at her son's house at Basford (Staffs); will proved 2 March 1805;
(2) Hon. Barbara Aston (1744-86) (q.v.).
He inherited the Tixall and Standon estates from his father in 1748, and planned to build a new house at Tixall, on which work was begun in 1750-51. In 1767 Standon Lordship was sold, and in 1768 under a family arrangement the Tixall estate passed to his younger daughter.
He died of smallpox (caught while attending the funeral of a friend at Stafford) at Tixall, 24 August 1751 and was buried at St Mary, Stafford; his will was proved 5 December 1751. With his death the baronetcy conferred in 1611 expired, and the Barony passed to his heirs male, general. Under this provision, the title was taken and used by Philip Aston (d. 1755) and other members of his family, although later research shows that others with a senior claim existed. The title is now regarded as dormant, as no claimant has been able to prove the extinction of all potential senior branches of the family. His widow died in Paris, 9 November 1759; administration of her goods was granted 26 July 1760 and 3 July 1766.
Aston, Hon. Barbara (1744-86). Younger daughter of Sir James Aston (1723-51), 5th Baron Aston of Forfar, and his wife Barbara, daughter of George Talbot and sister of the 14th Earl of Shrewsbury, born 4 September and baptised at Standon, 8 September 1744. She married, 2 February 1762 at St James, Westminster, the Hon. Thomas Clifford, fourth son of Hugh Clifford, 3rd Baron Clifford of Chudleigh (Devon), and had issue twelve children including:
(1) Sir Thomas Hugh Clifford (later Constable) (1762-1823), 1st bt., born 4 December 1762; topographer and botanist; educated at the English Jesuit Academy in Liege, Navarre and in Paris; a zealous Roman Catholic, he was created a baronet at the special request of King Louis XVIII of France, 22 May 1815; he lived at Tixall and in Paris until in 1821 he succeeded to the Yorkshire estates of Francis Constable of Burton Constable (Yorks ER) and took the name of Constable in lieu of Clifford; married, 17 June 1791, Mary McDonald (d. 1825), daughter of John Chichester of Arlington Court (Devon) and had issue one son and two daughters; died at Ghent, 25 February 1823 [the Cliffords and Clifford-Constables will be the subject of a future post on this blog];
(2) Mary Clifford (d. 1811); married, 13 December 1792, as his first wife, Sir Charles Wolseley (1769-1846), 7th bt.. and had issue two sons and one daughter; died 16 July 1811;
(5) Lucy Bridget Clifford (d. 1815); married, 7 June 1796 at Ugbrooke (Devon), Thomas Weld (1773-1837) (who became a RC priest in 1821 and a Cardinal in 1830) of Lulworth Castle (Dorset) and had issue one daughter; died 1 June 1815;
(6) James Francis Clifford (1774-1833), born 16 August 1774; Chief Clerk in the Navy Pay Office, Chatham (Kent); married, 10 August 1809, Elizabeth, daughter of William Symonds, but had no issue; died 18 April and was buried at Gillingham (Kent), 24 April 1833; will proved 6 May 1833;
(7) Constantia Clifford (1776-1857), born 24 February 1776; married 1st, 1802, Julian Austin Montriou (d. 1827) and 2nd, 1831, Thomas Burges (d. 1844) of Clayton Woods; died 24 October 1857;
(8) twin, Arthur Clifford (1777-1830), born 5 July 1777; educated at the English College, Douai, Stonyhurst and Old Hall Green, 1786-95; an antiquarian and man of letters, who edited the state papers and letters of Sir Ralph Sadleir with help from Sir Walter Scott in 1809; and published Tixall poetry, 1813; Tixall letters, or the correspondence of the Aston family and their friends during the seventeenth century, 1815; Collectanea Cliffordiana, 1817; and (with his eldest brother), A Topographical and Historical Description of the Parish of Tixall, 1817; he lived in Paris for many years and in addition to editing a paper for the French publisher Galignani, he also wrote guides for him to Paris (n.d.), France (1822), Italy (1823), and Switzerland (1823) and acted as editor of the Antiquities and Anecdotes of the City of Paris (n.d.); on returning to England he published at Oxford several works on the teaching of languages, especially Greek and Latin; he married, 15 June 1809, Eliza Matilda (d. 1827), second daughter of Donald Macdonnell of Berwick-on-Tweed, and had issue one daughter; died at Winchester, 16 January 1830;
(9) twin, Lewis Clifford (1777-1806), born 5 July 1777; educated at the English College, Douai, 1786-92; articled to William Iveson of Hedon (Yorks ER), attorney-at-law, 1796; solicitor at Furnival's Inn; buried at St. Pancras (Middx), 4 August 1806;
(10) George Lambert Clifford (1779-1854), born 9 January 1779; educated at Liege and Stonyhurst; banker at Stafford before his marriage; married, 6 April 1812, Mary (d. 1854), daughter of Walter Hill Coyney of Weston Coyney and had issue; died 31 January 1854; will proved 7 May 1854.
Under a family arrangement in 1768 she and her husband gained possession of the Tixall Hall estate, which passed to her eldest son.
She died after a miscarriage, 2 August 1786 and was buried at St Mary, Stafford. Her husband died 16 July 1787.
Burke's Dormant and Extinct Peerages, 1883, pp. 13-14; Sir. T. & A. Clifford, A topographical and historical description of the parish of Tixall, 1817; Sir J.B. Paul, The Scots Peerage, vol. 1, pp. 319-414; VCH Hertfordshire, vol. 3, 1912, pp. 347-66; Sir N. Pevsner, The buildings of England: Staffordshire, 1974, p. 283; D. Stroud, Capability Brown, 1975, pp. 153-54; J.T. Smith, English Houses 1200-1800: the Hertfordshire evidence, 1992, pp. 49-50; J.T. Smith, Hertfordshire Houses: selective inventory, 1993, pp. 173-74; Sir H.M. Colvin, A biographical dictionary of British architects, 4th edn., 2008, pp. 79, 91, 556-7, 1054, 1058, 1195; M. Girouard, Elizabethan architecture, 2009, pp. 97-100, 196-97; http://vidimus.org/issues/issue-90/catholic-collecting-in-nineteenth-century-england-the-stained-glass-of-the-long-gallery-burton-constable-hall/
Location of archives
Aston family of Tixall Hall: estate and household papers, 17th-19th cents [East Riding of Yorkshire Archives, DDCC]; deeds and papers, 16th-18th cents [Staffordshire County Record Office WSL 45/57; H.M. Aston; D4295; 109/41]
Aston, Sir Walter (1584-1639), 1st Baron Aston of Forfar: official correspondence as ambassador to Spain, chiefly 1621-39 [British Library, Add MSS. 36444-36452]; commonplace book, c.1635 [Staffordshire County Record Office, D988]
Coat of arms
Argent, a fesse sable; in chief, three lozenges of the last
Can you help?
Here are a few notes about information and images which would help to improve the account above. If you can help with any of these or with other additions or corrections, please use the contact form in the sidebar to get in touch.
- Is anyone able to tell me when the Dukes of Wellington sold Standon Lordship, and whether it passed directly from them to the Trenchards?
- There are lots of omissions in the genealogy of this family, especially after they became Roman Catholics and ceased to be recorded in Anglican church records. If anyone is able to supply any of the missing information, or portraits of any further members of the family, I should be very interested to hear from them.