Richard Assheton of Middleton

Last updated

Richard Assheton incorporated a memorial to Flodden in St Leonard's, Middleton Church of St Leonard, Middleton.jpg
Richard Assheton incorporated a memorial to Flodden in St Leonard's, Middleton

Richard Assheton or Ashton of Middleton (1483–1549) was an English soldier.


Richard's grandfather was Sir Ralph Assheton who was knighted by the Duke of Gloucester at the capture of Berwick (1482) and married Margaret Barton, the heiress of Middleton. Richard's father was Sir Richard Assheton (d. 28 April 1507) and mother, Isobel Talbot. [1]

Ralph de Ashton English officer of state

Sir Ralph de Ashton or Assheton, was an officer of state under Edward IV of England.

Richard III of England 15th-century King of England

Richard III was King of England and Lord of Ireland from 1483 until his death at the Battle of Bosworth Field. He was the last king of the House of York and the last of the Plantagenet dynasty. His defeat at Bosworth Field, the last decisive battle of the Wars of the Roses, marked the end of the Middle Ages in England. He is the protagonist of Richard III, one of William Shakespeare's history plays.

Flodden and the Flodden windows

Richard raised a company of archers to fight at the battle of Flodden in 1513 from Middleton, near Manchester. An heraldic visitation in 1533 by Clarenceux King of Arms Thomas Benolt noted that Richard had captured the courtier John Forman, sergeant porter to James IV of Scotland and Alexander Burnett, Sheriff of Aberdeen, at Flodden. [2] John Forman was taken to Berwick upon Tweed where he identified the body of James IV of Scotland.

Battle of Flodden

The Battle of Flodden, Flodden Field, or occasionally Branxton was a military combat in the War of the League of Cambrai between the Kingdom of England and the Kingdom of Scotland, resulting in an English victory. The battle was fought in Branxton in the county of Northumberland in northern England on 9 September 1513, between an invading Scots army under King James IV and an English army commanded by the Earl of Surrey. In terms of troop numbers, it was the largest battle fought between the two kingdoms. James IV was killed in the battle, becoming the last monarch from the British Isles to die in battle.

Manchester City and metropolitan borough in England

Manchester is a city and metropolitan borough in Greater Manchester, England, with a population of 545,500 as of 2017. It lies within the United Kingdom's third-most populous metropolitan area, with a population of 3.2 million. It is fringed by the Cheshire Plain to the south, the Pennines to the north and east, and an arc of towns with which it forms a continuous conurbation. The local authority is Manchester City Council.

Heraldic visitation tour of inspection by a herald (or other officer-of-arms) to regulate and register coats of arms, and to record pedigrees

Heraldic visitations were tours of inspection undertaken by Kings of Arms throughout England, Wales and Ireland. Their purpose was to regulate and register the coats of arms of nobility and gentry and boroughs, and to record pedigrees. They took place from 1530 to 1688, and their records provide important source material for historians and genealogists.

Richard continued the rebuilding the parish church of St. Leonard's at Middleton. He commissioned the "Flodden Windows" depicting himself and his wife, and seventeen captains of the archers, and the priest Henry Taylor who blessed them before the battle, commemorating them each by name in stained glass. The windows are one of the oldest war memorials in England, second in date to All Souls College, Oxford, founded in 1438 with the provision that its fellows should pray for those killed in the French wars. [3]

All Souls College, Oxford college of the University of Oxford

All Souls College is a constituent college of the University of Oxford in England.

Battle of Agincourt English victory in the Hundred Years War

The Battle of Agincourt was one of the greatest English victories in the Hundred Years' War. It took place on 25 October 1415 near Azincourt in the County of Saint-Pol, in northern France. England's unexpected victory against a numerically superior French army boosted English morale and prestige, crippled France, and started a new period in the war during which the English began enjoying great military successes.

The main inscription on the glass was, as described in 1845; "Orate pro bono statu Richardi Assheton et eorum qui hanc fenestra(m) fieri fecerunt quoru(m) no(m)ina et imagines ut supra ostendatur. Anno d(omi)ni, MCCCCC(X)V", meaning "Pray for the wellbeing of Richard Assheton and those whose names and images they caused to be made in the window shown above, 1515." As there was no "X" in the painted date, it has been argued that the window dates from the decade before Flodden, and commemorates a religious confraternity of archers. [4]

The legible names included; Henricus Taylyer, Richard Kylw (or Wyld), Hughe Chetham, James Gerrarde, John Pylkyngton, Philipe Werburton, William (Ste)le, John Scolefede, Wylliam (—), James Taylier, Roger Blomeley, Crystofer Smythe, Henry Whitaker, Robart Prestwyche, and Richard Bexwicke. [5]

The window is described in a 17th-century poem Iter Lancastrense by Richard James, c.1636;

Richard James was an English scholar, poet, and the first librarian of the Cotton library.

Now go we to the church of Middleton
To find out there some glory of our own
At charge of those good men who went out far
In suite of brave Ashton to the warre
There stands a painted window, where I weene
The show of their departure may be seene
The Lord and Ladye first in skarlett; then
One neere attending of ye chiefest men
Their garments long, his short and bliew, behinde
The chaplaine of ye warfare you may finde
In robe of ye same colour, for to say
Before an altar praiers of ye daye
On bended knees; him follow neighbours bould
Whoe doe bent bowes on their left shoulders hould
Their girdle sheaft with arrowes; as the squire
So are they all, court mantells in attire
Of blewe; like Greeks in Trojan warre, their haire
In curles long dangling makes ye semblance faire
And sterne; each hath his name, and people tell
That on ye same lands now their children dwell
As yet so called. [6]

Originally there was more than one window, with Richard and his wife shown separately, since 1847 the remaining glass forms one window. The window was restored again in 2012.


Richard married Anne Foulshurst, daughter of Sir Robert Foulshurst of Crewe, their son was Richard Assheton of Middleton who married firstly Anne Strickland, and secondly Anne Lady Bellingham. [7]

The Asshetons of Great Lever, Lancashire were Richard's cousins. Two were members of parliament; Richard Assheton of Whalley and Downham, Lancashire, and his half brother Ralph Assheton of Great Lever at Middleton, who was Member of Parliament for Liverpool in 1553. [8]

Related Research Articles

Halton Hall was an English country house that stood in the grounds of the Halton Hall Estates and Manor for several centuries on the "right bank of the River Lune to the south of the church" in Halton, Lancashire.

Middleton, Greater Manchester town within the Metropolitan Borough of Rochdale, in Greater Manchester, England

Middleton is a town in Rochdale, Greater Manchester, England, on the River Irk 5 miles (8.0 km) southwest of Rochdale and 4.4 miles (7.1 km) northeast of Manchester city centre. Middleton had a population of 42,972 at the 2011 Census. It lies on the northern edge of Manchester, with Blackley to the south and Moston to the south east.

Assheton baronets

There have been three baronetcies created for members of the Assheton family, two in the Baronetage of England and one in the Baronetage of the United Kingdom. Two of the creations are extinct while one is extant.

High Sheriff of Lancashire

The High Sheriff of Lancashire is an ancient officer, now largely ceremonial, granted to Lancashire, a county in North West England. High Shrievalties are the oldest secular titles under the Crown, in England and Wales. The High Sheriff of Lancashire is the representative of the monarch in the county, and is the "Keeper of The Queen's Peace" in the county, executing judgements of the High Court through an Under Sheriff.

Thomas Corser (1793–1876) was a British literary scholar and Church of England clergyman. He was the editor of Collectanea Anglo-Poetica.

Honour of Clitheroe

The Honour of Clitheroe is an ancient grouping of manors and royal forests centred on Clitheroe Castle in Lancashire, England; an honour traditionally being the grant of a large landholding complex, not all of whose parts are contiguous. In the case of Clitheroe, this complex was loosely clustered around the ancient wapentake of Blackburnshire.

The Chetham Society "for the publication of remains historic and literary connected with the Palatine Counties of Lancaster and Chester" is a text publication society and registered charity established on 23 March 1843.

Nicholas Assheton, a country squire and writer who lived at Downham, Lancashire, near Clitheroe, is noteworthy on account of a brief diary which he left illustrating the character of the country life of that part of West Lancashire which is associated with the poet Spenser. He belonged to a branch of the Assheton family of Middleton, in the same county, and was the son of Richard Assheton, of Downham.

Robert de Gresle (1174–1230) was a Lord of the manor of Manchester, the first of his family to take up residence in Manchester. Initially the Gresle family, who were Normans, were absentee landlords, living elsewhere, with Stewards to represent them locally.

Thomas Barritt (1743–1820) was an early British antiquary.

Thurland Castle

Thurland Castle is a country house in Lancashire, England which has been converted into apartments. Surrounded by a moat, and located in parkland, it was originally a defensive structure, one of a number of castles in the Lune Valley. It is recorded in the National Heritage List for England as a designated Grade II* listed building. Siuated between the villages of Cantsfield and Tunstall the castle stands on a low mound on a flat plain, with the River Greta on the south side and the Cant beck to the north. A deep circular moat surrounds it.

Abdias Assheton was an English clergyman. He is noted for his part in the Essex Rebellion; at that time chaplain to Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex, he induced the imprisoned Essex to make a full confession.

John Rushton (1798-1868) was Archdeacon of Manchester from 1843 until 1854.

John Parsons Earwaker (1847–1895) was an English antiquary.

Richard Parkinson (priest)

Richard Parkinson D.D. (1797–1858) was an English clergyman, known as a canon of Manchester Cathedral, college principal, theologian and antiquarian.

James Mellor was a Liverpool merchant, local politician, and friend of Richard Cobden.

The Record Society of Lancashire and Cheshire is a text publication society that publishes historical documents relating to the traditional counties of Lancashire and Cheshire. It became a registered charity for public education in the history of the two counties in 1970.


  1. Burke, John. Genealogical and Heraldic Extinct & Dormant Baronetcies, (1838) pp.19-21
  2. Remains Historical and Literary connected with Lancaster and Chester: Visitation of Lancashire and Cheshire, 1533, vol.98, Chetham Society(1876), p.59
  3. "Statute". All Soul's Oxford. Retrieved 10 Aug 2014.
  4. 'War memorial depicts a time of peace', The Times, 22 December 2012
  5. 'The parish of Middleton', in A History of the County of Lancaster, vol.5, Victoria County History (1911), pp. 151-161: Remains Historical and Literary connected with Lancaster and Chester: Iter Lancastrense, vol.7, Chetham Society, (1845), pp.39-40, compares names with records: Common Latin abbreviations expanded in brackets here.
  6. Remains Historical and Literary connected with Lancaster and Chester: Iter Lancastrense, vol.7, Chetham Society, (1845),p.3, 38-39
  7. Burke, John. Genealogical and Heraldic Extinct & Dormant Baronetcies, (1838) pp.19-21
  8. Assheton, History of Parliament, IHR