D Prior, March 1992
Historical Manuscripts Commission
John Ashby (1722-79) was born at Quenby (Leicestershire) but his family also owned property in Shropshire (Yockleton) and it was in Shrewsbury that he established himself as an attorney. Amongst his clients were many of the county's leading families and individuals, including Robert, 1st Baron Clive (1725-74).
Clive's family originally owned an estate at Styche, in north-west Shropshire, but following his return from India in 1760 he embarked upon a programme of estate acquisition and purchased property neat Shrewsbury (Montford) and Bishop's Castle (Walcot Hall). In later years Clive bought other estates, including Okehampton (Devon) and Claremont (Surrey) and in 1771 his Shropshire property was increased by the acquisition of Oakly Park near Ludlow from the Earl of Powis. Ashby became chief agent for Clive's estates in 1769, but was also involved in his political activities and played an important role with respect to the General Election of 1774.
The manuscripts described in this list, which owe their survival to a chancery case which followed Ashby's death in 1779, mainly reflect Ashby's involvement with Clive, but there are papers relating to other clients including the Forester family. In addition, some items concern Ashby himself and the estate at Benthall near Shrewsbury which he purchased in 1774. The main series of rentals and accounts for the Clive family's estates are held by Shropshire Records and Research Centre (SRO 552).
For a short biography of Ashby see J D Nichol, 'Social and political stability in 18th century political life. A study of the career of John Ashby (1722-1779) of Shrewsbury' in Transactions of the Shropshire Archaeological Society, LIX, 53-62.
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Survey of Benthall estate 18th cent (1 vol).
Miscellaneous papers 1739-85 (loose).
Correspondence and papers 1761-81 (letters to Ashby, accounts, bills of costs, drafts of wills, etc); rental of Dowles manor (Shropshire) 18th cent. (1 bundle, 1-99.)
Accounts of rent receipts for Ashby's estates 1767-79 (1 bundle).
Volume relating to the Shrewsbury election of 1747.
Volume relating to the petition of William Pulteney against the return of the 1st Baron Clive and Noel Hill at the Shrewsbury election of 1768.
Correspondence 1770-6, mainly letters to Ashby and mostly concerning elections at Bishop's Castle, Ludlow and Shrewsbury (correspondents include the 1st Baron Clive, George Clive and Henry Strachey) (1 bundle, 1-40).
Canvass books and other volumes relating to the Shrewsbury election of 1774 (37 vols).
Volume giving names of Capital Burgesses of Bishop's Castle 1778.
Bills, accounts and vouchers 1767-79 (mainly relating to Clive family affairs), including bills 1767-8 for work done by Ashby in respect of the Bishop's Castle and Montgornery turnpike roads Act (bundle R, 1-133).
Correspondence, election papers and other items relating to Shrewsbury 1768-75 (bundle Q).
Letters to Ashby 1769-79 (bundle A, 1-100).
Correspondence and papers 1770-8 relating to political affairs at Bishop's Castle (including letters from the 1st Baron Clive to Ashby concerning the re-election of Alexander Wedderburn January 1771), Ludlow, Okehampton, Worcester and also in Radnorshire; list of freeholders in Clun and Purslow (Shropshire) 1766. (Bundle P.)
Financial correspondence and papers 1770-9 (letters to Ashby from Gosling, Clive and Gosling, accounts, etc) (bundle T).
Accounts and vouchers relating to Ludlow election expenses 1774-5 (small bundle).
Printed items relating to the Shrewsbury elections of 1768 and 1774 (including lists of the poll) (bundle N, 1-27).
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Box 73 (part 1)
Legal papers relating to the Benthall estate 17th-18th cent (1 bundle).
Miscellaneous legal and estate papers 18th cent relating to the Benthall estate, including particular 1773 (loose).
Refusal by the 2nd Baron Clive of Ashby's offer of the Benthall estate 1779 (1 item).
Poll book for the Shrewsbury election of 1747.
Poll books for the Shrewsbury election of 1768 (3 vols).
Volume giving names of those burgesses whose votes were refused at the Shrewsbury election of 1768.
Poll books for the Shrewsbury election of 1774 (4 volumes, 1 not used).
Books giving names of those burgesses whose votes were refused at the Shrewsbury election of 1774 (2 vols).
Appointment of Ashby as Clerk of the Peace for Shropshire 1778.
Box 73 (part 2)
Miscellaneous legal and estate papers relating to the Benthall estate 17th-18th cent; canvass book for the Shrewsbury election of 1734. (1 bundle and loose items.)
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Letters to Ashby 1758-77, correspondents include Henry Arthur Herbert, Earl of Powis (1 bundle, 201-300),
Letters to Ashby 1763-78. correspondents include the 1st and 2nd Barons Clive, Lady Margaret Clive and George Clive (1 bundle, 301-431),
Correspondence and papers 1766-78, including copies of letters relating to the Shropshire election of 1766, list of those invited to dine on a turtle provided by the 1st Baron Clive at the Talbot Hotel in Shrewsbury on 3 August 1767 and Shrewsbury election papers (1774) (1 bundle, 101-200).
Papers relating to the Shrewsbury elections of 1768 and 1774 (bundle Q).
Accounts, vouchers and bills 1770-81 (mainly relating to the Clive family); notebook of memoranda concerning affairs of the 1st Baron Clive 1770. (1 bundle.)
Correspondence and papers 1770-8, mainly letters to Ashby (1 bundle, 101-82).
Miscellaneous papers 1770-8 (1 bundle).
Letters to Ashby 1772-4 (loose).
Labour book 1774-5.
Oakly Park labour books 1774-8 (4 vols).
Fencing, draining and planting book (Oakly Park) 1774-5.
Walcot labour books 1774-9 (4 vols).
Walcot estate accounts 1777-9 (2 vols).
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Letters to Ashby 1770-6 (1 bundle, 1-9).
Household papers, Clive family (Claremont, Oakly Park and Walcot) 1770-c1777, including lists of servants, account of receipts and payments by T Crisp 1771, hunting and game papers; copy of a letter from the 1st Baron Clive to J Luxmore 13 September 1773. (Bundle H, 1-36.)
Vouchers and other papers relating to the collection of rents, land tax, etc (including Clive estates) 1771-8 (1 bundle, 1-210).
Vouchers, accounts, etc relating to the Clive family and their estates c1770-8; list of furniture sent from Bath to Oakly Park August 1771, household inventory of the 1st Baron Clive (decd) December 1774. (1 bundle, 211-341.)
Bills, accounts, etc (Clive estates) 1772-6, Styche estate rentals 1770-8, proposals for an exchange between the 1st Baron Clive and John Kinchant of estates near Bishop's Castle July 1771 (bundle D, 1-100).
Volumes in a bundle:
Accounts (disbursements by Ashby for the 1st Baron Clive) 1770-5 (4 vols)
Rentals (Montford, Oakly Park, Styche and Walcot estates) 1770-8 (10 vols).
Volumes in a bundle:
Montford estate rentals 1769-74 (5 vols)
Okehampton estate rental 1772-3 (1 vol).
Box 76 (part 1)
Rentals (Oakly Park and Walcot estates) 1774-8 (17 vols).
Oakly Park house and demesne accounts 1775-7 (2 vols).
Walcot house and demesne accounts 1775-7 (2 vols).
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Box 76 (part 2)
Walcot estate rentals 1769-73 (6 vols).
Rent books (Oakly Park and Walcot estates) 1770-9 (21 vols).
Oakly Park estate rentals 1771-3 (4 vols).
Oakly Park establishment accounts 1776-9 (2 vols).
Walcot establishment accounts 1776-9 (2 vols).
Oakly Park house and demesne accounts 1777-8 (1 vol).
Walcot house and demesne accounts 1777-8 (1 vol).
Box 77 (part 1)
Deeds 18th cent (1 bundle).
Legal papers 18th cent (bundle marked 'Davenport', 1-50).
Papers relating to an estate at Ryton (Shropshire) 18th cent (1 bundle).
Volume relating to a proposal to extract coal at Ketley (Shropshire) 18th cent.
Form of a draft of a lease for William Forester 18th cent (1 vol).
Miscellaneous deeds and papers 18th cent, including lease of Willey furnace, weld to Knight, 1711 (loose).
Correspondence and papers 1757-78 (mainly letters to Ashby from George Forester) (1 bundle, 1-41).
Correspondence and papers relating to the Forester family 1757-1778, including letters to Ashby from George Forester, draft legal papers, account relating to the Shrewsbury Hunt Ball at the Lion Inn, Shrewsbury, on 12 November 1778 (1 bundle, 42-109).
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Box 77 (part 2)
Papers relating to the affairs of Alexander Hewitt, Sir Charles Holte, John Kinchant and Nicholas Smythe 18th cent (4 bundles and 1 vol).
Miscellaneous deeds and papers 18th cent, including accounts, vouchers, etc (4 bundles and loose).
Legal and other papers 18th cent (deeds, vouchers, copy will of William Forester 1758, etc) (bundles and loose items).
Rent roll of William Forester 1758 (1 vol).
Gathering roll for rents due to William Forester 1758 (1 vol).
Survey and valuation of estates in Shropshire and Staffordshire formerly belonging to Edward Careswell 1769 (2 vols).
Inventory and valuation of the contents of the Lion Inn, Shrewsbury 1780 (2 vols),
Catalogue of the possessions of John Ashby to be sold by auction at the Lion Inn, Shrewsbury, on 8 October 1779 (printed).
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