ASTON, Hugh (by 1496-?1558), of Leicester.
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Family and Education
b. by 1496, poss. s. of Robert Aston of Leicester. m. at least 1s.2
Auditor, north quarter, Leicester 1532-5, south quarter 1538-9, 1545-8, 1551-2, 1555-8, coroner 1536-7, mayor 1541-2, alderman 1557; bailiff, Kenilworth priory, Warws. by 1535; commr. relief, Leicester 1550.3
Hugh Aston may have been the son of Robert Aston of Leicester, living in the South Walk in the early 1490s; he himself was admitted as a freeman during 1516-17. His father was perhaps the younger brother mentioned in the will of Sir Edward Aston of Onhipp, Leicester, a relationship which would explain his description as gentleman in the register of freemen. He appears, however, to have been unrelated to either of the famous Hugh Astons, clerics and scholars, of Oxford and Cambridge, and he was unconnected with the Ashtons of Huntingdonshire who spread into Leicestershire in the second half of the century.4
Hugh Aston may have been a monastic lay servant; he was sufficiently well placed to obtain an annuity from five houses in Leicestershire, Northamptonshire and Warwickshire. It is unlikely, however, that he was the Hugh Aston who was organist and choirmaster at Newarke College, Leicester, at the time of its dissolution. Fifteen years were to elapse instead of the usual two to five between Aston’s admission to the freedom of Leicester and his first appointment to municipal office, but apart from this his municipal career followed the usual pattern. He was returned, with Francis Farnham, the borough’s recorder, to the Parliament of November 1554. It was the only Parliament in which he was to sit but not the only occasion on which he was a candidate: he had evidently been one of four candidates named in the Leicester hall book at the election for the Parliament of April 1554, for although the Christian name of the candidate is given as Henry there is no other record of a Henry Aston at Leicester. Aston was not one of the Members found to be absent when the House was called early in January 1555. In the absence of a will, the date of Aston’s death can only be inferred from the disappearance of his name from the borough records after 1558. His undocumented end may mean that he perished in the epidemic of that time.5
Ref Volumes: 1509-1558
Author: S. M. Thorpe
- 1. Huntington Lib. Hastings mss Parl. pprs.
- 2. Date of birth estimated from admission as freeman. Leicester Mayors, ed. Hartopp, 61; Leicester Freemen, ed. Hartopp, 79.
- 3. Leicester Recs. ed. Bateson, iii. 458, 465, 467, 471-4; Val. Eccles, iii. 64; CPR, 1553, p. 362.
- 4. Leicester Recs. ii. 331; Leicester Freemen, 64, 79; Vis. Leics. (Harl. Soc. ii), 198.
- 5. LP Hen. VIII, xiii, xvi; DL rentals and surveys, Newark; Nichols, Leics. i(2), 395; Leicester Recs. iii. 77.