Theophilus Fielding Ashe (1818-1894)

Theophilus Fielding Ashe was born in Lancashire and has links to Liverpool. While I have some details on his family and his career, I haven’t yet managed to link him into the main Ashe Family Tree so, if anyone has more details on his ancestors, I would love to hear from them ([email protected])!
He was the son of Joseph Rutter Ashe (1780-1861) and Catherine Cartwright (?-1853). Some say that Joseph Rutter Ashe was born in Dublin and may have come to Liverpool from there (if so, he could be part of the Irish branch of the Ashes). However, it seems more likely that he is linked to the English branch of the Ashe Family.  Joseph and Catherine went off to the Isle of Man to get married in 1808, and they then had one daughter and four sons, one of whom was Theophilus Fielding.
The Appendix to the “Leadbeater Papers” (1862) shows that Theophilus entered the Ballitore School in County Kildare, Ireland, on 11 August 1832 (thus, at the age of 14), which indicates a possible link to Ireland.
Theophilus went into the noble profession of being an Export Bottler of Ale, Beer, Wines and Spirits — which, of course, is why he figures as one of the most important Ashes of the 19th century! The interesting aspect about the company which he formed in 1845 is that he used the Cockatrice as the company trade mark. The cockatrice figures prominently in the Ashe Arms, and this therefore indicates a fairly strong link to the main Ashe Family.
The book A Bottle of Guinness, please by David Hughes (2006) provides some interesting information about the company, and shows the Cockatrice Trade Mark, as below:

Based in Liverpool, the book shows that the company existed from 1845 to 1936, when it closed. Beer glasses, bearing the Cockatrice Brand, still exist:

The book claims that Theophilus had a nephew, Frederick Ashe, who became a partner in the business. However, it is difficult to substantiate this, as Theophilus’ oldest brother, John Joseph, was only 17 years old when Frederick was born in 1828. Available evidence from the 1861 census, mentioned in the book, suggests that Frederick Ashe (b. 1828 in Stockport) was married to Sarah A. (b. 1821 in Manchester). By the time of the 1881 census, Sarah A. does not appear (there is a death record for Sarah Anne Ashe; d. 1876, aged 50, in Chorlton, Lancashire, which is probably her). Birth records indicate four children born to Frederick and Sarah Anne Ashe: (i) Sarah Emma; baptised 12 August 1855 at St. Paul, Hulme, Lancashire; (ii) Frederick William; baptised 26 April 1857 at St. Paul, Hulme, Lancashire; (iii) Albert Edward; baptised 23 April 1859 at St. Paul, Hulme, Lancashire; and (iv) Gertrude Eliza; baptised 8 May 1864 at St. Paul, Hulme, Lancashire. A fifth child, Thomas, is recorded in the 1861 census (b. 1860 in Manchester), but it’s possible that he died young. The 1881 census indicates Frederick’s occupation as Cashier to Cotton Goods Merchant:

1881 census - Frederick Ashe bThus, it would appear that the book’s claim that Frederick Ashe was the “nephew” partner in T. F. Ashe & Nephew is incorrect. In any event, the firm was established in 1845 as “T. F. Ashe”, as evidenced by an advertisement that appeared in the 9 March 1867 edition of the Liverpool Daily Post:

1867-TF Ashe advert,Liverpool Daily Post, 9 Mar 1867

Records indicate that Theophilus had three daughters, but no son, and it does not appear that the business was handed over to any of his daughters. However, the following extract from The London Gazette dated 1 November 1904 shows that another nephew of Theophilus, Daniel Edwin Petitjean, who was the son of his sister Harriet Ann Ashe, had taken over the business under the same trading name of “T. F. Ashe & Nephew”:

Contributed by Colin Cornes (April 2013):
“I have checked some of the Liverpool directories:

1860 Theo. F. Ashe wine & spirit merchant and wholesale bottler Olive Pk, Wavertree: stores 47 S. Castle St.

1881 Theo Fielding Ashe & Nephew export bottlers 9/15 Atherton St.

1938 TF Ashe & Nephew wine mts 5/7 Atherton St., Lpl 1.

In 1881 Daniel Edwin Petitjean is specifically listed as a partner in the firm and significantly the name of the firm changes to TF Ashe & Nephew.”

It would thus appear that the ‘Nephew’ is Daniel Edwin Petitjean. In 1889, an advertisement appeared in the 4 April 1889 edition of the Liverpool Echo, showing the change in name to ‘T. F. Ashe and Nephew’:

1889-TF Ashe ad, Liverpool Echo, 4 April 1889

The fact that Daniel Edwin Petitjean, son of T. F. Ashe’s sister, Harriet Ann Ashe, was the partner, is confirmed in the funeral announcement in the Liverpool Mercury dated 19 September 1984:


The London Gazette
dated 9 April 1935 shows that Herbert Petitjean, son of Daniel Edwin Petitjean, had taken over as Chairman of the company, and that the company was being voluntarily wound up:Information available from Companies House indicates that “T. F. Ashe & Nephew” was still alive in 1948, with a Certificate of Incorporation and Articles of Association established on 28 September 1948. It is currently listed as a Private Limited Company and a Non-Trading Company with its Director named as Daren Clive Lowry and its registered office at Whitbread Court, Houghton Hall Business Park, Porz Avenue, Dunstable, Bedfordshire, LU5 5XE. Whitbread archivist, Nick Redman, has traced the de­velopment of Thresher, the UK’s largest specialist drink retailer, which acquired T. F. Ashe & Nephew in 1984. He wrote the following:

“In 1990 many Thresher staff were re­located to Huyton, Liverpool, previously the headquarters of T. F. Ashe & Nephew acquired in 1984. This business, first established in 1845, operated 325 off-licences in the North West, Yorkshire and the Mid­lands. Its acquisition gave Thresher na­tional coverage. To co-ordinate the activities of Ashe & Nephew and Thresher a new compa­ny called Whitbread Off-Licences was set up.”

Given the Ashe family’s association with Otley (Rev. Pat Ashe was Vicar there), it is interesting to note that T. F. Ashe & Nephew made an application in 1976 for an illuminated sign at one of its shops located at 14 Market Place, Otley, Yorkshire, which was refused by the Otley Town Council.

The original founder of T. F. Ashe & Nephew, Theophilus Fielding Ashe, married Mary Baty (1817-1893) in June 1842. They had three daughters:
– Harriet (1845-1919), married Dr. Horace Townsend Newman;
– Mary Penelope (1848-?), possibly died young as it appears only two daughters were living at the time of his death;
– Catherine (1851-1922).

Theophilus Fielding Ashe died on 18 September 1894 and is buried, with Mary, in Toxteth Park Cemetery. His death was announced in the 15 September 1894 edition of the Liverpool Mercury:

1894-death of TF Ashe, Liverpool Mercury, 15 Sep 1894It appears that through the Will of his daughter, Catherine, his legacy of charity to the city of Liverpool lives on, as announced by a relative, Thomas Ashe Baty, in which £14,000 was left for aging mariners (Cork Examiner, dated 18 January 1923):

1923-donation from Catherine Ashe, Cork Examiner,18 Jan 1923