ASHBURNHAM, William (1679-1710)

ASHBURNHAM, William (1679–1710)

suc. fa. 21 Jan. 1710 as 2nd Bar. ASHBURNHAM.

First sat 4 Feb. 1710; last sat 18 Apr. 1710

MP Hastings 1702-21 Jan. 1710.

b. 21 May 1679, 1st s. of John Ashburnham, 1st Bar. Ashburnham and Bridget, da. and h. of Walter Vaughan of Porthammel House, co. Brecon; bro. of John Ashburnham, 3rd Bar. Ashburnham. educ. M. Foubert military academy.1 m. 16 Oct. 1705, Catherine (1687-1710), da. and event. h. of Thomas Taylor of Clapham, Beds. s.p. d. 16 June 1710; will 11 June, pr. 15 July 1710.2

Associated with: Ashburnham Place, Ashburnham, E. Suss.; Ampthill, Beds.

Ashburnham was a Member of the Commons when he succeeded to his father’s barony. As the Member for the family seat of Hastings he had established a reputation as a moderate Tory and Church man. His succession to the peerage coincided with the heightened political tensions caused by the trial of Dr. Sacheverell. He attended the House throughout Dr. Sacheverell’s trial and entered dissents to the failure of the attempt to adjourn the House on 14 Mar. and to the resolution on 16 Mar. that the Commons had made good the first article of impeachment. On the list of those voting in the division on Sacheverell’s guilt on 20 Mar. he was marked as absent although present at the trial. He returned the following day when he entered a dissent to the decision to censure Sacheverell. Overall he sat on 24 days of the session, 50 per cent of the total after he first sat and was named to seven committees.

Ashburnham died on 16 June 1710 during the smallpox epidemic of that summer, as did his widow a few weeks later on 11 July. His will made a few days before his death left the majority of personal estate to his wife, together with the use of his house in St. James’s Square, which he had ‘lately’ purchased from William Cavendish, 2nd duke of Devonshire. He gave £5,000 to his brother, heir and executor, who succeeded him as 3rd Baron Ashburnham.


  • 1 E. Suss. RO, ASH 845, Ashburnham to Foubert, 23 Oct. 1705.
  • 2 TNA, PROB 11/516.