ASTLEY, Isaac (c. 1613-62)

ASTLEY, Isaac (c. 1613–62)

suc. fa. 27 Feb. 1652 as 2nd Bar. ASTLEY.

First sat 14 June 1660; last sat 19 May 1662

b. c.1613,1 1st s. of Jacob Astley, Bar. Astley and Agnes, da. of Henry Imple of Blomersham/Bloumerckem, Holland. m. 27 Dec. 1650, Anne, 4th da. of Sir Francis Stydolfe (Stydolph) of Mickleham, Surr. and Mary Altham. 2s. 1da. d.v.p. kntd. 23 Feb. 1643. d. Sept. 1662.

Associated with: Maidstone Palace, Maidstone, Kent.

Astley’s father had already had a distinguished career as a soldier in Holland and Scandinavia when in 1640 he inherited the estates of his ‘cousin’, Sir John Astley (whose children had all predeceased him), the son of the Elizabethan courtier John Astley. His Civil War service was rewarded with a peerage in 1644, and having been captured by the parliamentarians at Stow on the Wold in 1646 and given his parole, he seems to have sat out the rest of the war and Interregnum at his Maidstone home, where he died on 27 Feb. 1652.2

Little is known of Astley’s youth, although, aged about 15, he was the eldest of four sons naturalized by act of Parliament in 1628. By the time of his father’s death these three brothers were dead, the youngest, Bernard, having perished at the siege of Bristol in 1645. A younger brother, Edward, and a sister Elizabeth were naturalized by act in 1656; Edward served as a soldier with the Dutch, before his death at Maastricht in 1676.3 At his father’s death in 1652 Astley inherited lands in Maidstone, including Maidstone Palace, Alsford and Boxley, Kent. Whether he was actually in England to take possession of those lands is uncertain, for Astley and his wife had received a pass on 30 Jan. 1651 to travel into Holland, and a younger son, Francis, was born in Delph (Delft) in about 1654.4

Having taken his seat in the Lords on 14 June 1660, Astley was then present on 99 days of the remainder of the session, 82 per cent of the total. He was present on 13, 16, 17 and 22 Nov. 1660 to see through a bill to naturalize his son Francis (his eldest son had been born in England). On each day the bill was either the first item of business or close to the beginning of the day’s agenda which suggests that he was either very lucky or on good terms with those who managed the business of the House. He was less fortunate when the bill reached the Commons where, despite a reminder, it was lost at the end of the session.5 However, Francis was included in the naturalization bill which passed in May 1663.6 Astley did not attend the first part of the opening session of the Cavalier Parliament and was absent from a call of the House on 20 May 1661. He was present when the House resumed after its summer adjournment on 20 Nov. 1661, and attended on 59 days of the remainder of the session, 47 per cent of the total. On 24 Mar. 1662 he was given leave to be absent ‘for some time’, duly returning on 6 May. He last sat on the day Parliament was prorogued, 19 May 1662.

Astley died in September 1662, being succeeded by his son, Jacob Astley, 3rd Baron Astley. He left no will, but on 6 May 1663 his widow proved the will of his father, the first baron, in the local church court rather than in the prerogative court of Canterbury.7 An inventory was taken of Astley’s goods in Maidstone Palace on 28 Jan. 1663, including his parliamentary robes (valued at £30), but the total value of goods and personal estate was only £682 18s.


  • 1 Huguenot Soc. 4to ser. xviii, 40.
  • 2 J.M. Russell, Hist. Maidstone, 391.
  • 3 Huguenot Soc. 4to ser. xviii, 40, 70; Arch. Cantiana, lxxiii.132; J. Childs, Nobles, Gents. and Profession of Arms, 3.
  • 4 CSP Dom. 1651, p. 519; Letters of Denization … 1603-1700, p. 79.
  • 5 CJ, viii. 201, 228.
  • 6 Huguenot Soc. 4to ser. xviii, 92.
  • 7 Arch. Cantiana, lxxiii. 131, 134-40.