John ASHWORTH

(1732-1800)



Most of this page is based on notes by Jan WOOD, also a descendant of John ASHWORTH, which were updated to Oct 2005 and kindly sent to me with an email on 15 Oct 2005.

John ASHWORTH(936), of Elland Bank, Elland1, within the parish of Halifax in the West Riding of Yorkshire, was born at Knot Hill, Rochdale, Lancashire, on 22 May 17322. I do not know who his parents were. Knot Hill is a hill in the countryside within the large parish of Rochdale, to the north of the town, and it is likely that the ASHWORTHS were a farming family. It is not known whether John moved to Yorkshire with his parents and siblings, or by himself, as a young adult. The Elland branch of the ASHWORTH family was obviously only in Yorkshire from the first half of the 18th century, which was not very long at all, and they were originally Lancastrian.

John ASHWORTH was married at the age of 22 to Susannah CHILD(937) at Birstall parish church, in Yorkshire, on 20 Jan 17553. Susannah was the daughter of Thomas CHILD of Roberttown, in the parish of Birstall, and his wife Susannah HANSON 4. John was a merchant, maltster and corn factor; in later life he was referred to as a gentleman, which implied he was living off the proceeds of land rentals and investments, and he was certainly a small landowner and shareholder. According to the memorial tablet in Jepson Lane Chapel, Elland, which he built as a Baptist Chapel at his own expense, he led a '-life of indefatigable exertion, judicious economy, exemplary temperance and steady rectitude of conduct', and - acquired a competent fortune and a character eminently respectable' 5.

He purchased at least three batches of stock in the Calder and Hebble Navigation, between 1781 and 1798. In Aug 1781, John ASHWORTH, mal[t]ster and corn factor, of Elland in the parish of Halifax, purchased some of these stocks from the trustees of the late Thomas SAYER of Halifax, for the sum of £747 3s 6d6. In Aug 1785, John ASHWORTH, corn factor, purchased more of these stocks from the widow and son of the late Dr Roger SEDGWICK of Manchester, for £747 0s 0d7. Then in 1798, John ASHWORTH the Elder of Elland, Esquire, purchased another lot of stock for 2,050 0s 0d from Joseph Robinson PEASE of Kingston upon Hull8. The signature of John ASHWORTH was the same on all of the deeds of purchase.

The signature was also identical on a lease by the same John ASHWORTH, corn dealer, made on 8 Jan 1799, of one of his messuages (a property with dwelling-house) on the north side of Westgate in Elland for 14 years to the trustees of the late Mr Brookbank's Charity School, for £9 16s 0d per annum9. The property was in the tenure of the Rev. Josiah TOWNSEND, who also occupied two rooms over the gateway into Luke TOWNSEND's yard, which also belonged to John ASHWORTH, and which adjoined the leased property on the west side. For these rooms, the Rev. TOWNSEND paid an extra £2 per year. John's son Philip was occupying the property on the east side; it also belonged to his father 10. When his oldest? son Thomas ASHWORTH had died young in about 1786, John took over his affairs, settled his debts, and arranged that the rents from properties in Westgate and other places in Elland, were paid to his widowed daughter-in-law Agnes, an as annuity in settlement of the dower to which she was entitled on the death of her husband11.

In March 1798, John bought properties in Spotland, Rochdale and other places, from the devisees under the will of the late Robert ENTWHISTLE Esquire of Foxholes, Rochdale, for the large sum of £2,45012 . John also owned fields adjoining Gibbett and Hopwood Lanes in Halifax, which were leased by his two sons as his trustees, on his behalf in Jan 1801, not long after his death, to a merchant, a grocer/tallow chandler and a gentleman, for a total of over £42 per annum13. It is likely that John owned a lot of other properties. Some of those in Elland are mentioned in the deed of grant relating to his daughter-in-law Agnes's annuity14, and his will may mention others.

John ASHWORTH was obviously a Baptist, and it is likely that he grew up in a Baptist family. There were a number of ASHWORTHS living in the area close to Rochdale who are recorded as early members of the Baptist church in that area, and he was not baptised in Rochdale parish church. Baptists do not believe in infant baptism, which makes it very difficult to trace their family history. The published history of Blackley Baptist Church, near Elland15, states that two Baptist chapels were founded in Elland, Yorkshire, in 1789 one in Elland proper and the other at Blackley. The history records that one of these had been founded in the village that year [1789] by a man named in the history as 'James' ASHWORTH. Whether or not there were two ASHWORTHS living in the village, it is clear from a plaque on the interior wall that John ASHWORTH was a founder of Elland Baptist Chapel, and built the Baptist chapel in Jepson Lane, Elland himself. It states that he did so '- for the worship of God and the cultivation of morality'16.

The other chapel, in the nearby coal mining hamlet of Blackley, "poached" the Rev. James HINDLE from Elland Chapel. When he left, it caused the Elland Chapel to break up, because most of the congregation followed HINDLE to Blackley Chapel. He preached his last service at Elland in Sep 179217.

According to the publication Olde Elland, the building in Jepson Lane was owned by the ASHWORTHS who lived at Bank House, until the Misses ASHWORTH gave it to the Church of England18. John's children do not appear to have been baptised locally in the Church of England as infants, and neither were his grandsons Thomas Ramsden ASHWORTH and John Harvey ASHWORTH, the sons of his son John ASHWORTH Junior. John's youngest surviving son Philip ASHWORTH, was a member of Pellow Lane Particular Baptist Chapel in Halifax for many years19. Philip's children were later baptised into the Church of England at Elland, in one batch, as adults or older children. This was part of a movement among the Elland ASHWORTHS towards established religion as they became wealthier.

In 1799, John ASHWORTH the Elder entered into an agreement with his eldest son and heir, John ASHWORTH the Younger, also a maltster, whose financial affairs he had already been managing for some time. It appears that he had been regularly paying off his son's debts, and John the Younger was now responsible, as arranged in a previous indenture written in 1797, for the maintenance of his estranged wife and their two young sons, since she had left him for a second time.

ohn ASHWORTH the Elder was about to discharge more debts, and fulfil the arrangements relating to his daughter-in-law and her sons. In return, his son was to sign over his property and stock in trade, together with his business account books. His father was to sell the presonal effects and estate, and discharge his son's financial responsibilities to his wife and children, after paying off his other debts. The boys were to come under the legal guardianship of their grandfather on the death of their father20.

However, John ASHWORTH the Elder is said to have died "suddenly" at Elland Bank, Elland, Yorkshire, not long after this, on 19 Jan 1800, at the age of 6721, and was interred in the burial ground adjacent to the Jepson Lane Chapel22. He predeceased his son John by about 6 months, so he never took over legal guardianship of his grandsons, and was not alive to ensure they were educated under his control. In the event, they soon came under their uncles' guardianship instead23. According to his oldest grandson's entry in Burkes Landed Gentry24, John ASHWORTH Senior died seized of (i.e. in possession of) certain lands in Whitworth, "which formed part of the ancient possessions of the family"25. This would have been just part of his estate at death. John meant to make some alterations to his will, but he died before doing this. Because of this, his three sons John, Philip and Richard and their mother Susanna ASHWORTH, had instead made an agreement on 7 Feb 1800, that SYKES, WRIGHT of Walton, the Joseph CARTLEDGE, of Brow Bridge, should value the real estate of their late father, before it was conveyed to John's two brothers Philip and Richard, and sister Susanna. They also agreed that £250 should be paid to their mother Susanna26 .

John ASHWORTH's will was written on 12 Apr 1794 and was submitted for probate, probably in Yorkshire in 1800.

John's widow Susannah ASHWORTH is said to have died at Elland Bank, Elland, Yorkshire, on 8 Jun 181327.


Footnotes

1 Burkes Landed Gentry , Vol.I (A-O), 1862, p.29.
2 Information from a tablet on the north wall of Jepson Lane Chapel, Elland, commemorating John ASHWORTH, transcribed by descendant Michael ASHWORTH of Scotland, sent to Jan WOOD by email on 25 Feb 2005.
3 Information from an unidentified documentary source, from descendant Michael ASHWORTH of Scotland, by email to Jan WOOD, 25 Feb 2005; this marriage is also listed in the IGI, Familysearch, online.
4 Entry for their grandson the Rev. John Harvey ASHWORTH in The Heraldic Register, 1849-1850, p.64, by J. Bernard Burke, Esq., London: E. Churton, 26 Holles Street, 1850.
5 Information from a tablet on the north wall of Jepson Lane Chapel, Elland, commemorating John ASHWORTH, transcribed by descendant Michael ASHWORTH of Scotland, sent to Jan WOOD by email on 25 Feb 2005.
6 West Yorkshire Archives Service, Calderdale [Halifax Archives]; The Brayshaw collection, ref. BRA:5, viewed by Jan WOOD.
7 West Yorkshire Archives Service, Calderdale [Halifax Archives]; The Brayshaw collection, ref. BRA:6, viewed by Jan WOOD.
8 West Yorkshire Archives Service, Calderdale [Halifax Archives]; The Brayshaw collection, ref. BRA:7, viewed by Jan WOOD.
9 West Yorkshire Archives Service, Calderdale [Halifax Archives]; The Brayshaw collection, ref. BRA:8, viewed by Jan WOOD.
10 West Yorkshire Archives Service, Calderdale [Halifax Archives]; The Brayshaw collection, ref. BRA:8, 10:, viewed by Jan WOOD.
11 West Yorkshire Archives Service, Calderdale [Halifax Archives]; The Rushforth collection, ref. RU:6:, viewed by Jan WOOD.
12 West Yorkshire Archives Service, Calderdale [Halifax Archives]; The Rushforth collection, ref. RU:388:, viewed by Jan WOOD.
13 West Yorkshire Archives Service, Calderdale [Halifax Archives]; The Brayshaw collection, ref. BRA:63-65:, viewed by Jan WOOD.
14 West Yorkshire Archives Service, Calderdale [Halifax Archives]; The Rushforth collection, ref. RU:6:, viewed by Jan WOOD.
15 Blackley Baptist Church, Elland: 175 Years of Witness, 1789-1964, chapter 1, viewed by Jan WOOD.
16 Information from a tablet on the north wall of Jepson Lane Chapel, Elland, commemorating John ASHWORTH, transcribed by descendant Michael ASHWORTH of Scotland (died 2013), sent to Jan WOOD by email on 25 Feb 2005.
17 Blackley Baptist Church, Elland: 175 Years of Witness, 1789-1964, chapter 1, viewed by Jan WOOD.
18 Olde Elland, being Reminiscences of Elland , by Lucy Hamerton, Elland, p.119. Viewed by Jan WOOD at Sheffield City Library.
19 See IGI, 1992, for the births of Philip and Ruth's children, recorded in the Pellow Lane Particular Baptist Chapel register.
20 West Yorkshire Archives Service, Calderdale [Halifax Archives]; The Brayshaw collection, ref. BRA:11:, viewed by Jan WOOD.
21 Information from a tablet on the north wall of Jepson Lane Chapel, Elland, commemorating John ASHWORTH, transcribed by descendant Michael ASHWORTH of Scotland, sent to Jan WOOD by email on 25 Feb 2005. See also the Will of John ASHWORTH [the Younger] of Elland Esq., proved 1800. West Yorkshire Archives Service, Calderdale [Halifax Archives], in the Rushforth Collection, ref. RU:9.
22 Information from a tablet on the north wall of Jepson Lane Chapel, Elland, commemorating John ASHWORTH, transcribed by descendant Michael ASHWORTH of Scotland, sent to Jan WOOD by email on 25 Feb 2005.
23 Will of John ASHWORTH [the Younger] of Elland Esq., proved 1800. West Yorkshire Archives Service, Calderdale [Halifax Archives], in the Rushforth Collection, ref. RU:9. Death Duty Register, 1800, National Archives, Kew.
24 This grandson was John Harvey ASHWORTH, the older of the two sons of John ASHWORTH the Younger, who was a small boy when his grandfather and his father both died.
25 Burke's Landed Gentry, Vol.I (A-O), 1862, p.29
26 Will of John ASHWORTH [the Younger] of Elland Esq., proved 1800. West Yorkshire Archives Service, Calderdale [Halifax Archives], in the Rushforth Collection, ref. RU:9.
27 Information from an unidentified documentary source, by descendant Michael ASHWORTH of Scotland, by email to Jan WOOD, 25 Feb 2005.


© John Stowell 2014             This file last edited on 17 July 2014.