Seats of the Ashe Family

(1) Rose Ash (formerly called Ralph Esse)

Extract from “History, gazetteer and directory of the County of Devon including the City of Exeter, and comprising a general survey of the County and separate historical, statistical and topographical descriptions of all the hundreds, unions, parishes, townships, chapelries, towns, ports, villages & hamlets; the Diocese of Exeter; the Seats of the Nobility and Gentry” by William White (1878)

Rose Ashe, formerly called Ralph Esse, is a parish in South Moulton union, county court district, rural deanery and petty sessional division, Meshaw polling district of North Devon, Barnstaple archdeaconry, and Witheridge hundred. It had 563 inhabitants (286 males, 277 females) in 1871, living in 105 houses on 5082 acres. Rose Ash village is pleasantly situated on an eminence, 6 miles S.E. by E. of South Moulton, 41?2 miles from Bishops Nympton and Molland Railway Station on the North Devon and Somerset branch of the Great Western Railway. The parish rises in bold hills on the east and north, and comprises the hamlet of Yard. Ash moors were enclosed in 1867, when three acres were reserved by the Enclosure Commissioners for public recreation ground. The manor belonged, in the reign of Henry III, to Ralph de Esse. The three (grand) daughters of Sir Ralph Esse carried it in three moieties to the familes of Dennis, Giffard and Halse.

(2) Musbury

Extract from “History, gazetteer and directory of the County of Devon including the City of Exeter, and comprising a general survey of the County and separate historical, statistical and topographical descriptions of all the hundreds, unions, parishes, townships, chapelries, towns, ports, villages & hamlets; the Diocese of Exeter; the Seats of the Nobility and Gentry” by William White (1878)

Musbury, in the vale of the Axe, 3 miles S.W. of Axminster, is a parish and village in Axminster union, county court district, petty sessional division and hundred, Eastern division of the county, Exeter archdeaconry, and Dunkeswell and Honiton rural deanery. It had 536 inhabitants (251 males, 285 females) in 1871, living in 113 houses, on 2178 acres of land, and includes the hamlet of Maidenhayne. Ash, now a farmhouse, was anciently the seat of the De Esse or Ash family, and afterwards of the Drakes.

John Prince, in his “Worthies of Devon” (1701), gives the following in regard to the ancient history of Ashe:– “Ashe was sometimes the dwelling of Quandus de Ash, the most ancient inhabitant that I find there, who gave to, or took name from the place, after whom it was given by John Lord Courtenay, Lord of the manor of Musbury, unto Henry de Esse, or Ash, who gave it to Julian (likely his daughter), wife of John de Orway, of Orway, in the parish of Kentisberr, nigh Cullompton, in this shire; whose son Thomas had issue: John, o.s.p., and two daughters, Joan, wife of John Stretche; and Phillippa, wife of Warren Hampton. Stretch left issue, that died without issue, upon which Ash fell to Hampton, who had issue: first, Joan, thrice married, to Bonvile, Sachvile and Farringdon; and, secondly, Alice, wife of John Billett, unto whom Ash was allotted; John Billett and Alice, his wife, had issue: Christian, their sole daughter and heiress, who married John Drake of Exmouth.”

Extract from “The Book of the Axe” by George Pulman (1875)

Ashe House

(3) Sowton

Extract from “British History on-line”

SOWTON, in the hundred of Wonford and in the deanery of Aylesbeare, lies about three miles and a half from Exeter. The manor of Sowton, alias Clist Fomeson, (erroneously printed in Risdon’s survey Somson) belonged, in the reign of Henry III., to the family of Fomeson, whose heiress brought it to Ash. This family possessed it till the death of Henry Ash, Esq., the last heir male, in 1763. In 1775 it was adjudged to Miss Salter, as heir-at law to the Ash family. The manor now belongs to Lord Graves, who purchased it of the heirs of Miss Salter, about the year 1800. Part of Clist Sachville is in this parish.

(4) Ashbrook

Extract from: “A visitation of the seats and arms of the noblemen and gentlemen of Great Britain and Ireland (Vol II) by Sir Bernard Burke (1855)

ASHBROOK, in the area of Londonderry, and province of Ulster, near the city of Londonderry, the seat of William Hamilton Ash, Esq., a magistrate and deputy lieutenant for the county. This mansion was built in 1686 by John Ash, Esq. It has a picturesque appearance and stands in a part of the country by no means deficient in acquired and natural advantages.

Article on “The Ashbrook Estate” written by Timothy Belmont (19 Feb 2010)

Ashbrook has been home to the Beresford-Ash family since 1686, when John Ash built the first dwelling. A two-storey, bow-fronted, gable-ended 18th century house was reputed to incorporate the original house. There is unusual fenestration: Two windows on either side of the central, curved bow in the upper storey; while there is only one on either side below. The windows on the entrance front all have rusticated surrounds; and both sides of the house are gabled and irregular. Ashbrook is situated near the City of Londonderry. In 1872, the estate comprised 10,420 acres.

In the grounds there are fine, mature trees with glen-side walks leading to the River Faughan, to which there is public access. This area was recently improved following a report by Dr Tim Edwards of Ulster University, which emphasised the importance of this area as a public amenity. Tree planting is recorded in A Register of Trees in County Londonderry 1768-1911, for the years 1773 to 1776. The house is set in lawns, with shrubs and trees a short distance away. The walled garden has not been cultivated in the last twenty years. Half of it was an orchard, separated from the rest by a beech hedge, which still exists.

Peter Taylor wrote a most interesting article about the history of the Beresford-Ash family; how Ashbrook was a gift to General Thomas Ash from Queen Elizabeth I; and their experiences during the Troubles in Northern Ireland. The Beresford-Ashes are distantly related to the Beresfords of Learmount Castle.

(5) Ashgrove

Oral history given by John Doherty (born Bansha, Co. Tipperary c. 1900, died Bansha, Co. Tipperary 1982) There was a landlord on the land and his name was Ashe, Trevor Lloyd Ashe. He joined the Catholic Church and studied to become a priest. He was never ordained. He met with an accident and through the accident he couldn’t be ordained. He lived in a castle. He built his castle on the sand and before it was finished, it began to disintegrate. The remains of what he built were at Ash Grove until a few years ago. Ash Grove is where the Connerys came from. It is spelled today “Ashgrove”, but the original spelling was “Ashe-grove”. Ash Grove then (1761) was the property of Lovett Ashe, Esq.

From the Ireland GenWeb: Ash-Grove Castle, or Castle-Mary, the seat of the Rev. Trevor Lloyd Ashe, lord of the manor of Bansha, is a castellated mansion in the Italian style of architecture, situated at the base of the Galtee mountains, 4000 acres of which are attached to the estate; the mountain scenery is exceedingly wild and romantic, and the rich and well-wooded vale beneath presents a pleasing contrast with the grandeur of the adjacent heights.  On the estate is an ancient well, dedicated to St. Berryherth, which is much frequented by the peasantry; and in the demesne is a small temple, in the Grecian style, with pleasure grounds attached, dedicated to the Virgin.

(6) Cambridge Park

A Jacobean, brick mansion of three storeys, built c. 1610 and demolished in 1937. Frescoes and a fireplace surround uncovered during the demolition have been held to date from the middle of the 16th century, suggesting that an earlier building was incorporated into the building of the house.

Sir Joseph Ashe (1617–1686) 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. Two of his daughters made connections with Norfolk families: Katherine marrying William Wyndham of Felbrigg and Mary marrying Sir Horatio Townshend of Raynham.

(7) The Manor of Wawne

The village of Wawne (or Waghen) is just to the north of Hull, on the East bank of the River Hull. The Corporation of the City of London acquired Wawne in 1629. In 1651 they made a grant of some of the land and rents to Joseph Ashe (1617-1686), who was the third son of a London clothier. He became a successful London merchant and built up estates in Wawne quickly, though he did not reside in the village. Catherine Ashe (1652-1729), married William Windham of Fellbrigg Hall, Norfolk when the Wawne property transferred. The Windham family were also wealthy London merchants, who had owned Fellbrigg since at least the early part of the fifteenth century. Joseph Windham Ashe (1683-1746) was a merchant in London specialising in wholesale linen drapery and was cashier to the salt commissioners between about 1718 and 1734, and 1741. Wawne passed down through his descendants until transferring to the Smijth family in 1779. Joseph Smijth (1792-1857), became the first family member to live at Wawne. In 1816 he applied to take the extra name Windham. He was a captain in the 10th Hussars and 17th Lancers. His son, William George Smijth Windham (1828-1887) dropped the name Smijth. He died unmarried and the estates passed down through the family of his brother. The estate, which in the late nineteenth century was about 3500 acres in size, began to be a financial drain on the family and in the 1910s everything was sold except for the Hall, which was ultimately sold in the 1950s.

(8) Freshford House (Manor)

The family of the Ashes had long prospered in the village of Batcombe for many years. James Ashe (1554-1642) lived with his wife, Grace, at Westcombe, Batcombe and their eight children. Their eldest son John (1597-1658), at the age of 23, decided to make his fortune and moved from the village to marry Elizabeth, the daughter of Henry Davison in 1621. No doubt with help from his father and father-in-law he quickly built up his own business. But he was clever in realising that the market for cloths had changed to a lighter, smoother material called Medleys. The process involved striking an abb of soft, fine gauge Spanish wool on a warp of stronger, coarse homegrown yarn. These medleys were then woven from previously dyed wool of two or more colours producing an appealing range of new colours. Within a decade he completely reversed the decline in the western cloth industry with the new cloths. From his base in Freshford, he quickly purchased property and land from his father-in-law and others using his profits. In 1627 he was able to buy the important Freshford Mill (also known as Ladcombe) from Henry Davison and built himself a mansion called “Freshford House” adjoining it. Part of this building still survives in the grounds of the Peradin factory.

On the death of John Ashe in 1658, he left his most important property – the village of Freshford – to his wife Elizabeth, with his son Edward as next in line after her death. So for a short period the tenants of Freshford paid their rents to Elizabeth Ashe who continued living in her mansion, Freshford House, by the mill. In the meantime, her son Edward married Mary Chappell and they had a daughter, also named Mary, who was born in 1661. Tragically, the father Edward died in the same year and until recently in Freshford church could be seen an inscription carved in a Memorial by his wife lamenting his sudden death.

Mary was a widow only for a short time for she soon after married Stephen Odiarne a Lawyer in the Middle Temple in London. Unfortunately, Edward had not made a will so when Elizabeth Ashe in turn died in 1679 his widow was to receive nothing and the large Ashe inheritance including Freshford was to go to his 12 year old daughter Mary. Her stepfather, angry at his wife not receiving anything, carried out a wicked plan. As guardian he had a document written up with him and his wife as the new owners of Freshford with a forged signature from Mary the daughter. He then departed this country for France so that nothing legally could be done to change the deed and stayed there until his daughter was 20 years old and made sure she would never learn to read or write during this time.

He mortgaged the properties up to 15 times their value to support him and his new family’s life style. Mary eventually escaped from her step-father and in time returned to England, where she married William Thompson and lived in Englefield in Berkshire. Finally in 1687, with William’s help she took Odiarne and her mother to court and, with a number of witnesses, showed that the original deed was a fake and she knew nothing about it as she was only 12 at the time and could not write. She recovered her inheritance, which was now heavily mortgaged, and she was, with her husband, the chief landowner in Freshford. She received rents for one part of the Village while the remainder was rented out for £120 a year to Joseph Davison who lived at Pittes Place (Freshford Manor) with a life interest in it. Sadly William Thomson died in 1705 and left Mary, now 44 years old, with an 11 year old son, William. In 1707 she remarried to John Martin of London, but her finances did not improve, for a deed shows her taking a £1,000 loan from Mr Manlove using her Freshford Estate as security.

This debt was later taken over by the wealthy John Hall of Bradford-upon-Avon. She finally sold her entire Estate in Freshford for £3,300 to her relative, Anthony Methuen, who had become a wealthy Clothier living at the Priory in Bradford-upon-Avon.

(9) Halsted Manor

Extract from “The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 3” (1797) Sir William Pope, of Wilcot, in Oxfordshire, knight of the Bath and baronet, who was in 1628, anno 4 king Charles I, created baron Pope, of Belturbett, and earl of Downe, in the kingdom of Ireland owned Halstead Manor, which is situated about half a mile westward from the high London road, leading through Farnborough towards Sevenoke, at the distance of about eighteen miles from London. He had issue two sons, William, who died in his life-time, leaving a son Thomas, heir to his grandfather, and earl of Downe; and a second son, Thomas, afterwards likewise earl of Downe. Thomas, earl of Downe, succeeded his grandfather here, and afterwards passed away this manor, with the seat called Halsted court-lodge, and the lands belonging to it, to Mr. Edward Ashe, of Heytesbury, in Wiltshire, who bore for his arms, Argent, two chevrons sable. Edward Ashe left a son Joseph, and a daughter Elizabeth, married to Thomas Foley, of Kidderminster, father of the late lord Foley. Joseph Ashe was of Twickenham, in Middlesex, and was created a baronet in 1660. His descendant, Sir James Ashe, bart. was likewise of Twickenham, and sold this estate to Lansdell, in whose descendants it continued till the year 1738.

(10) Heytesbury Manor

Edward Ashe bought the Manor and Hundred of Heytesbury in 1641. The Ashe family had become extremely wealthy in the early 17th Century from making woollen cloth in Somerset and selling it in London and abroad, which enabled Edward to buy the ‘Manor and Hundred’ of Heytesbury from a Thomas Moore. The Manor of Heytesbury had earlier been in the possession of the Hungerford family since at least the 13th Century, but when Walter Hungerford (created First Baron Hungerford of Heytesbury in 1536) was executed at the Tower of London in 1540/1, it is believed that the Heytesbury Estates were confiscated by the crown. The Manor of Heytesbury (and apparently Tytherington) was granted to Henry Wheeler by the Crown in 1553, who later sold it to the Moore family. Edward Ashe represented the Borough of Heytesbury in the Long Parliament, and ownership of the Borough helped to establish his family as a leading parliamentary family for the next 100 years.

Extract from the Wiltshire Archaeological and Natural History Magazine, Vol. XXXIII (1904): “The Heytesbury Family: The Devizes Gazette, August 20th, 1903, has a notice on the descent of the manor and lordship of Heytesbury from the Hungerfords to Henry Wheeler, who sold it to the Moore family, of the Priory, Taunton. Sir Jasper Moore, of Heytesbury, and Thomas, his father, were both high sheriffs of Wilts. The son of the latter sold the property to Edward Ashe, Esq., of Halsted, Kent, a London merchant, whose grand-daughter and heiress married Pierce A’Court, of Ivychurch. Their grandson, Sir William Pierce Ashe A’Court, was created a baronet in 1795, and died 1817 ; and his son. Sir Wlliam, born 1799, was created first Baron Heytesbury 1828, and died 1860. He was succeeded by his son, William Henry Ashe, second baron, born 1809, who assumed the additional name of Holmes on his marriage with Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Leonard Worsley Holmes, Bart. His grandson, the the third Baron Heytesbury, died Aug. 15th, 1903.”

(11) Ashe Manor (sometimes known as Langley House or Ashe House Manor), Langley Burrell

By 1660 the manor was owned by John Widman, a grandson of the first Henry White, who sold it to Samuel Ashe of Freshford, Somerset. So began the long association of the Ashe family with Langley Burrell. The present date of construction of Langley House appears to be open to question. Joseph Ashe succeeded his father Samuel and it has been written that his account book indicates that he built the new house in 1711. However various writers have also given the date of 1750 (by Robert Ashe), c.1770 and 1780. Although estate accounts are missing for 1750 the only indication of building work occurs in the accounts for 1780 and the house certainly has the appearance of a late 18th century building.

Extract from the Wiltshire Archaeological and Natural History Magazine, Vol. XXXV (1908): “Notes on the History of St. Peter’s, Langley Burrell: As to the name of the parish, it is noted that the Earl of Salisbury, Edward the Sheriff, to whom William the Conqueror granted the manor, leased it to Borel, or Burel. In 1304 it was held by the Delameres, and Sir John Delamere sold it in 1343 to Thomas, Lord Berkeley, whose daughter married Sir Reginald de Cobham. The manor thus passed to the Cobhams and De Burghs, the last of the latter selling it in 1565 to John Reed. In 1637 it was owned by Henry White, who also owned Grittleton, and in 1655 or 1657 it was purchased by Samuel Ashe, youngest son of John Ashe, of Freshford (Som.), the ancestor of the present owner.”

Photographs, which were kindly provided by Norm Lawler and which were most likely taken in the 1860 to 1885 time period, show Langley House and Langley Church (St. Peter’s), both of which were closely associated with the Ashe family for some 300 years.

Langley House

Langley Church

In his book, A Wiltshire Diary, published by Penguin in 2009, Francis Kilvert has this to say about the Manor House:

“The old Manor House of Langley Burrell used to stand on the knoll just beyond the fishpond below the terrace walk, where an oak stands now. The new Manor House was built about 100 years ago by Robert Ashe, Rector of the Parish and Lord of the Manor, my great great grandfather.”

As the diary entry was written in 1872, this would tend to corroborate the construction date suggested above of around 1770 (given that Squire and Rev. Robert Ashe died in 1774).

(12) Villa Lampu

Villa Lampu, or the ‘House of Light’, located at Senggigi on the Island of Lombok in Indonesia, was constructed by Aam and Robert Ashe, MBE, in the year 2000. Situated on sloping land of some 1.6 hectares, it commands stunning views of the sea from the higher elevations.