AINSWORTH, John (by 1523-58/59), of Pershore and Worcester.
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Family and Education
b. by 1523. educ. ?Camb. by 1522, BA 1526/27. m.1
Member of the Twenty-Four, Worcester 1544, auditor 1547-8, 1553-4, chamberlain 1548-9.2
Although John Ainsworth claimed gentle birth, nothing has been discovered about his parentage. As he had a brother called Ralph and the master of Peterhouse of that name was of Worcestershire origin, John Ainsworth was perhaps the student at Cambridge whose name follows the future master’s on the subsidy list for the university in 1522: an academic training, and then perhaps a spell at an inn of court, would explain the style esquire occasionally accorded him. With his election to the Twenty-Four at Worcester in 1544 speculation yields to fact: Ainsworth paid £7 10s. to avoid holding either the stewardship of the Trinity guild or the low chamberlainship of the city, but in the years that followed he did not shirk other civic offices. By 1545 he was living in St. Peter’s ward where he was assessed towards the subsidy on goods worth £30: the size of his assessment suggests that he was a clothier.3
Ainsworth’s Membership seems to have been his only brush with national affairs. Both he and Thomas Hill were nominated by the city council, but when their names were announced at the guildhall the citizens demanded a further nomination and an election, to which the council reluctantly agreed. The citizens’ candidate came bottom of the poll, but he refused to accept defeat and petitioned the council in the marches for redress. How the council responded is not known, but it was Ainsworth and Hill who were returned and who were paid for this attendance. The Journal does not mention Ainsworth, but he doubtless supported, and may have promoted, the Act setting aside a seven-year apprenticeship for clothiers in Worcester and other towns (1 Mary st. 3, c.7).4
In the charter granted to Worcester by Queen Mary in 1555 Ainsworth was named one of the city’s capital burgesses, but when he came to make his will on 19 Aug. 1558 he was living at Pershore. His sickness at the time probably accounts for its brevity: after asking to be buried in the church at Pershore he remembered his servants and several kinsmen, and appointed his brothers Ralph and Lawrence executors. The will was proved on 29 June 1559. Ainsworth made no provision for his wife, although he left several small legacies to her relatives, so that she had presumably died before him.5
Ref Volumes: 1509-1558
Author: M. K. Dale
- 1. Date of birth estimated from first certain reference. PCC 31 Chaynay.
- 2. Worcester Guildhall, audit of accts. 1540-1600.
- 3. C219/22/107; Letter Bk. of Robert Joseph (Oxf. Hist. Soc. n.s. xix), pp. xxv, 150; LP Hen. VIII, xvii, xx, add; E179/200/162; Worcester Guildhall, audit of accts. 1540-1600.
- 4. Worcester Guildhall, chamber order bk. 1540-1601, ff. 48-51.
- 5. CPR, 1554-5, p. 81; PCC 31 Chaynay.