John Ashe (of Freshford)
John Ashe (1597 – 1658) was an English clothier and politician who sat in the House of Commons ar various times between 1640 and 1656.
Ashe was the son of James Ashe of Freshford, Somerset and his wife Grace Pitt, daughter of Richard Pitt of Melcombe Regis. He entered the cloth trade and became on the "greatest clothier in his time". He came to the attention of the church authorities in the 1630s, associated with the "Beckington riots" against Alexander Huish, and the distribution of Puritan literature. He spent time in jail as an opponent of the ritualist side of Laudianism. In fact Ashe was important in distributing widely the News from Ipswitch of William Prynne, with Rice Boye.
In April 1640, Ashe was elected Member of Parliament for Westbury in the Short Parliament. He was re-elected MP for Westbury for the Long Parliament in November 1640. During the Commonwealth, Ashe received much favour from Oliver Cromwell, but could not be persuaded to be one of the king's judges.
Ashe pioneered new techniques in textile manufacturer and in 1650 brough Dutch technicians to Freshford to teach new methods to perfect the Spanish warp. By this innovation, the amount of cloth produced from an amount of wool was doubled, and Ashe profited accordingly. He was elected MP for Somerset in 1654 for the First Protectorate Parliament and in 1656 for the Second Protectorate Parliament. On 19 January 1657, John Ashe proposed an amendment to the Speaker's debate congratolating Cromwell on surviving an assassination attempt and adding a hope that Cromwell “take upon him the government according to the ancient constitution”, by which he intended the Crown.
Ashe died at the age of 61 leaving a landed estate valued at £6000 a year.
Ashe married Elizabeth Davidson, daughter of Henry Davison of Freshford and his wife Anne Olivers of Quelmerford, Wiltshire, and had a family. He was the brother of Edward Ashe MP for Heytesbury. His daughter Grace married the clothier Paul Methuen (1613–1667).
- John Burke A genealogical and heraldic History of the Commoners of Great Britain, Volume 2
- Eric Kerridge Textile Manufactures in Early Modern England
- Barry Coward; Julian Swann (2004). Conspiracies and Conspiracy Theory in Early Modern Europe: From the Waldensians to the French Revolution. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. p. 126. ISBN 978-0-7546-3564-2. Retrieved 2 November 2012.
- Keene, Nicholas. "Huish, Alexander". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/14101. (subscription or UK public library membership required)
- Dorothy Auchter (2001). Dictionary of Literary and Dramatic Censorship in Tudor and Stuart England. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 242. ISBN 978-0-313-31114-7. Retrieved 2 November 2012.
- Willis, Browne (1750). Notitia Parliamentaria, Part II: A Series or Lists of the Representatives in the several Parliaments held from the Reformation 1541, to the Restoration 1660 .... London. pp. 229–239.
- Roy Edward Sherwood Oliver Cromwell: king in all but name, 1653-1658
- Rogers, K. H. "Methuen, Paul". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/18630. (subscription or UK public library membership required)
|Parliament of England|
Parliament suspended since 1629
|Member of Parliament for Westbury
With: Sir Thomas Penyston, 1st Baronet 1640
Sir William Wheler, 1st Baronet 1640-1648
Not represented in Barebones Parliament
General-at-sea Robert Blake
|Member of Parliament for Somerset
With: John Buckland
General John Desborough
Sir John Horner 1654
John Preston 1654
Richard Jones 1654
Thomas Hippisley 1654
Samuel Perry 1654
Alexander Popham 1656
Colonel John Gorges 1656
Francis Luttrell 1656
Sir Lislebone Long 1656
William Wyndham 1656
Francis Rolle 1656