ASTER (HASTER), John (by 1522-58 or later), of Calais and Boulogne and Ambleteuse.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1509-1558, ed. S.T. Bindoff, 1982
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Oct. 1553
Apr. 1554

Family and Education

b. by 1522, ?s. of John Aster of Calais and Boston, Lincs.1

Offices Held

Clerk of council, Boulogne Sept. 1544-27 Sept. 1546, sec. of the French tongue in 1546; bailiff, Ambleteuse 27 Sept. 1546-50, councillor by Dec. 1546-50, sec. to the council 8 Jan. 1547-50; commr. to hear and determine causes criminal and civil, Ambleteuse and Cap Gris-Nez 1546; bailiff, Marck and Oye 21 Feb. 1551-8 Jan. 1558.2


John Aster, a merchant of the staple, was probably the son of a namesake described in a pardon of 26 May 1512 as of Boston and late of Calais, weigher, serjeant and merchant of the staple. It was one or other of them who accommodated members of the French court accompanying Francis I on his visit to Calais in 1532.3

Early in February 1543 the younger Aster successfully appealed to the Privy Council against the impounding at Dover by Richard Cavendish of a barrel of his herrings as the goods of a Frenchman. He was to have many later dealings with the Council and its members, particularly Sir William Paget, who was a frequent visitor to Calais and who seems to have thought well of him. It is not known whether Aster served in the campaign of 1544 which led to the capture of Boulogne, but in the autumn of that year he was appointed clerk to the council set up to administer the new possession: he retained this post, with that of secretary of the French tongue, until the council’s own recommendation, and Paget’s support of it, gained him those of bailiff of Ambleteuse and secretary to the council there under Sir William Stourton, 7th Baron Stourton. After Boulogne was surrendered he was given, probably in compensation for these offices, the bailiffship of Marcke and Oye: in the new grant he was described as the King’s servant.4

Aster was returned to the first Marian Parliament on 20 Sept. 1553 and to the second on 20 Mar. 1554. His combination of local experience with knowledge of government at the centre made him an appropriate Member for Calais, and the fact that he was not among the Members of the first Parliament who ‘stood for the true religion’, that is Protestantism, suggests that he supported the Catholic restoration. Of the remainder of his life and career all that is known is that he retained his bailiffship until the fall of Calais. A namesake, probably a kinsman, was by 1563 dean of Guernsey, an appointment almost certainly obtained for him by Aster’s fellow councillor at Boulogne and governor of Jersey, (Sir) Hugh Paulet.5

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: A. D.K. Hawkyard


  • 1. Date of birth estimated from first certain reference, LP Hen. VIII, i.
  • 2. Ibid. xix, xxi; CPR, 1550-3, p. 49; APC, ii. 439.
  • 3. CPR, 1494-1509, p. 448; LP Hen. VIII, i, v; P. T. J. Morgan, ‘The govt. of Calais, 1485-1558’ (Oxf. Univ. D.Phil. thesis, 1966), 71.
  • 4. LP Hen. VIII, xviii-xxi; APC, ii. 11; CSP For. 1553-8, p. 223.
  • 5. CPR, 1560-3, pp. 523-5.