Richard Johnson Daventry ASHWORTH


According to his stated age at death, Richard Johnson Daventry ASHWORTH(74) was born in 1771/72. He was the son of John ASHWORTH (936) (1732-1800) of Elland, and Susanna CHILD(937) (1733-1813)1. Elland was a township on the south side of the River Calder, within the parish of Halifax, and about 4 km south of that town. Jan WOOD thinks that Richard may not have been baptised as an infant, as the ASHWORTHS of Elland were Particular Baptists. Certainly there is no record of his baptism that I have found. However, it is likely that he was baptised into the Church of England before being admitted to university.

The death, aged 56, of Richard J. D. ASHWORTH, Barrister-at-Law, on 5 Aug 1828 at his house, Strawberry Hill, was reported2. This implies that he was born betweeen Aug 1771 and Aug 1772. He was buried on 12 Aug 1828 at St Matthew's, Lightcliffe, near Halifax, where he had property3.

According to a family entry in Burkes General Armoury4, one branch of the family "had been long seated at Hall Carr, Co. Lancaster, and the other at Elland Bank in Yorkshire." Richard's father John ASHWORTH of Elland Bank, Elland, was a merchant and corn factor, who had been born in Rochdale, Lancashire, and moved to Yorkshire; in later life he was referred to as a gentleman, and was certainly a small landowner - though probably not on the scale of the FIRTHS and MACAULAYS.

It is likely that Richard was born at Elland Bank, and that he had two older brothers and a sister. Their dates of birth are difficult to establish with confidence.

It is not known where Richard went to school, but it was possibly Manchester Grammar School. At all events, he was admitted as a pensioner to Emmanuel College, Cambridge, on Oct 13, 1789, and was described as Probably s. of John, of Elland, Yorks.5. He matriculated at Michaelmas 1790, and graduated as a B.A. (18th Wrangler) in 1794, so he was no slouch where exams were concerned.

Alumni Cantabrigienses entry

As indicated in his university record above, Richard ASHWORTH was admitted at the Middle Temple, February 6, 1794, and was called to the Bar on 18 Jun 18026, soon after his marriage (see below). He became a barrister-at-law in practice in Manchester, and the family lived in a house at Strawberry Hill, Pendleton, within the Borough of Salford.

Register of admissions to the Inner Tempole

Richard ASHWORTH was known as one of Manchester's early fine-art collectors, and there was an etching of him by William Ford "which conveys a good idea of the man"7. He owned property of his own in Elland, Greetland, Barkisland and other places, as well as a small mansion with garden in Strawberry Hill, Pendleton8. Richard and his brother Philip ASHWORTH were devisees in trust of the will of their father John ASHWORTH of Elland, gent., after he died in 1800.

Richard ASHWORTH married Ann MACAULAY(935), on 26 December 1801 at St. Peter's, Huddersfield9. Ann was the daughter of Dr. Thomas MACAULAY (1750-1801) and Ann FIRTH (1735-1795). The marriage was by licence [dated 24 Dec 1801]10 , he being described as of Middle Temple in the City of London, and she of Clough House. The witnesses were Abraham Firth MACAULAY, Ann's brother, and Philip Howard ASHWORTH, Richard's brother.

Marriage Register entry

Their marriage was reportedly announced in the Halifax Journal (first published on 6 Jun 1801) of January 2, 1803 - but this must actually have been January 1802 11. The report was thus:

On Saturday last, at Huddersfield, R.J.D. Ashworth Esq., of the Middle Temple, London, to Miss Macaulay, of Clough House, near the former place.

Richard and Ann had obviously known each other for a while, as in 1799, both acted as witnesses to the marriage of Richard's sister Agnes ASHWORTH in Elland 12. Richard's marriage to Ann was obviously advantageous to him, as Ann was eventually to bring wealth, in the form of land and property, to the marriage.

In 1802 pastel portraits of Richard and his wife Ann measuring 62 x 47 inches were drawn by John RUSSELL13 (1745-1806).

In 1810, when she was aged 29, his wife Ann ASHWORTH had inherited property in trust for the term of her life under the will of her maternal aunt Sarah NICHOLLS (née FIRTH) 14. This property comprised half of the cottages, farms, lands etc., in Lightcliffe, Elland, Bradshaw, Ovenden, Batley, Silkstone, Cawthorne, Huddersfield, Halifax Bradley and Skircoat; half of Clough House and its lands; half of Clough House water mill and two closes of land in Birkely/Birkby Lane, then in the possession of Abraham Firth MACAULAY (Ann ASHWORTH'S brother); and also it included all her aunt's property or shares of it, including Strangstye Wood; in Birkby, Fartown, North Crosland, Dewsbury, Stainland, Barkisland, Ripponden, and Elland, together with all her enclosures in lieu of common land. The trustees named in her aunt's will - that is, Thomas THOMPSON who died 15 July 1817, and Abraham THOMPSON who died 14 April 1822, both died bachelors and intestate (without leaving a will), leaving James THOMPSON, gentleman of Batley, their brother and surviving heir at law15.

Richard ASHWORTH and his wife Ann had at least ten children, and the list appears to be:

The claim in the printed pedigree of the MACAULAY family that they had seven children - four sons and three daughters - is wrong, as it is based only on the number who were surviving at the time that Ann ASHWORTH wrote her last will in Feb 185816, whereas four of her children died before her.

As indicated at the head of this page, Richard ASHWORTH died, aged 56, on 05 Aug 1828 at his house, Strawberry Hill, and was buried at Lightcliffe, near Halifax, where he had property. His widow Ann ASHWORTH was also buried there when she died on 08 Jul 1863, aged 82, having survived him by almost 35 years.

Vault cover slab at Lightcliffe

I think the above photograph of the slab at Lightcliffe must have been taken by the late Michael ASHWORTH and sent to me around 2004. I have only just stumbled on it again on my old laptop! He was buried on 12 Aug 1828, the ceremony being conducted by his son-in-law the Rev. Hugh STOWELL.

Burial registry entry


1 This information basically came, either directly or through Jan WOOD, from the late Michael ASHWORTH of Alva, Clackmannanshire, Scotland, in various private communications.
2 Manchester Guardian, Sat 09 Aug, 1828.
3 Manchester School Register, Vol.III, Part 1, 1807-1837, ed. Rev. Jeremiah Finch Smith, M.A. Publications of the Chetham Society, vol.93, 1874-5. Entry for Richard Whitfield ASHWORTH, p.66. The burial is noted in the register of St. John's, Halifax, through, accessed 22 Jun 2014.
4 Burkes General Armory, I am not sure which edition. One available online is the 1884 edition, where, on p.29, the ASHWORTH entry says only Ashworth and Hall Carr, co. Lancaster, and Elland Bank, in Yorkshire: represented by REV. JOHN HARVEY ASHWORTH, M.A.,before describing the arms.
5 Alumni Cantabrigienses; A biographical list of all known students, graduates and holders of office at the University of Cambridge from the earliest times to 1900. Compiled by J.A.Venn, Litt.D., F.S.A, President of Queen's College. Part II from 1752-1900; Volume I ABBEY-CHALLIS. Cambridge University Press, 1940. Viewed online - 18 Jul 2014.
6 Middle Temple Admissions Register Vol.II, 1782-1909, p.412, available online.
7 This information appears in the entry for his eldest son, Richard Whitfield ASHWORTH in The Admission Register of the Manchester School with some notices of the more distinguished scholars. Edited by the Rev. Jeremiah Finch Smith, M.A., Rector of Aldridge, Staffordshire, and Rural Dean. Vol.III from May A.D. 1807 to September A.D. 1877, p.66. Printed for the Chetham Society, Vol.93, 1874/5. Viewed online 19 Jul 2014.
8 DX/BAX/S/ 61747/2 (Doncaster Archives), Miscellaneous papers relating to the administration of the Ashworth Trust including letters, law bills, draft accounts, etc., 1853-66, viewed by Jan WOOD.
9 Marriage register, St Peter's, Huddersfield, 1801, p.23, no.67, page image. West Yorkshire, England, Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1512-1812, through, accessed 6 Jul 2014.
10 He was stated in the marriage licence to be 21 but this seems rather young, considering he was born around 1772, and probably the given age simply implies that he was of age, i.e. over 21.
11 The Halifax Journal for the relevant period does not seem to be accessible online, so was presumably seen by the author of the history of the Macaulay family from which this quotation is drawn.
12 There are three references to this marriage between Agnes ASHWORTH and John WHITFIELD at Elland available on 1) Agnes aged 30, marriage date 17 Sep 1799, based on FHL film 1470338; 2) marriage date 21 Sep 1799, based on FHL film 990608; 3) marriage date 21 Sep 1799, based on FHL film 1542244, item 6. No page image amongst these, accessed 23 Jul 2014. A marriage on 21 Sep 1799 at St Mary's, Elland, is also listed on, which lists the witnesses as Rich'd ASHWORTH, Auty(?) ATKINSON, O.H. ASHWORTH, A. MACAULAY, T. ATKINSON and Firth(?) MACAULAY.
13 Dictionary of pastellists before 1800, online: The book John Russell, R.A., by George C Williamson with an introduction by Lord Ronald Sutherland Gower, London: George Bell & Sons, 1894, available as a reprint on demand, indicates on p.166 that the portraits were with the Rev. Canon T A Stowell at Chorley Rectory. They are nowadays with another descendant of Richard and Ann, and I hope to be able to include photographs at some stage.
14 Doncaster Archives, DX/BAX/S/ 61745, Papers relating to the appointing of a new trustee to the Ashworth estate in order to complete a sale of land to the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway Company 1857-58, viewed by Jan WOOD.
15 Doncaster Archives, DX/BAX/S/ 61745, Papers relating to the appointing of a new trustee to the Ashworth estate in order to complete a sale of land to the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway Company 1857-58, viewed by Jan WOOD.
16 As wrongly stated in the history of the Macauley family (compiled by the late Mr G W Tomlinson), page 111, and Pedigree of the Macaulays of Dumbarton, Clough House, Slead Hall, Prospect House and Thirsk, published in an unidentified local history publication.

© John Stowell 2014             Last updated on 25 July 2014.