ASTON, Walter (1530-89), of Tixall and Heywood, Staffs.

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



Mar. 1553

Family and Education

b. 1 Oct. 1530, 1st s. of Sir Edward Aston of Tixall and Heywood by 2nd w. Jane, da. of Sir Thomas Bowles of Penhow Castle, Mon. m. (1) ?Aug. 1544, Mary, da. of Sir John Spencer of Althorp, Northants. And Wormleighton, Warws., s.p.; (2) by 1551, Elizabeth, da. of James Leveson of Lilleshall, Salop, 6s. 6da. suc. fa. 8 Sept. 1568. Kntd. 18 July 1560.1

Offices Held

Sheriff, Staffs. 1570-1, 1580-1; j.p. by 1574-5, q.1577-d.; commr. musters 1586; dep. lt. by 1586.2


It was as a young man of 22 that Walter Aston sat in his only Parliament, and that for a mere 31 days. This glimpse of the Commons he owed in the first place to his parentage and connexions, and in the second, so it appears, to the sheriff. It is not clear why his father, who so far as is known was never a Member, did not take this opportunity to become one, but with his friend Viscount Hereford’s son William Devereux, then in his late twenties, as a competitor Sir Edward Aston may have chosen to put forward his son rather than find himself yielding place to Devereux. As it was, the conservative Lord Stafford expected his own son Henry Stafford to carry the day and the outcome seems to have rested with the sheriff Sir George Blount, who like Hereford supported the Duke of Northumberland, under whose aegis the Parliament was summoned, and may have taken his cue from the duke. The younger Aston was presumably supported by the Giffards, Sir John and Sir Thomas, with whom he had been associated in 1551 as a feoffee to a marital conveyance, and by his cousin Sir Philip Draycott who had made Aston his heir.3

Knighted by the 4th Duke of Norfolk for his service before Leith in 1560, Aston came to the fore in Staffordshire only after his father’s death eight years later. After his first shrievalty Sir Ralph Bagnall brought a Star Chamber case against him, alleging corruption in the election of John Grey to the Parliament of 1571. In 1586 Mary, Queen of Scots was temporarily lodged for 17 days with Aston at Tixall while her custodian, Sir Amias Paulet, sought evidence against her among her belongings at Chartley; his connivance in this manoeuvre earned Aston the thanks of the Privy Council. He died on 2 Apr. 1589 at Tixall, where he had completed his father’s remodelling of the mansion by adding the celebrated gatehouse. Aston seems to have died intestate, but the inquisition held at Tixall on 18 Aug. 1589 found that his son and heir Edward was aged 38.4

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: A. D.K. Hawkyard


  • 1. Date of birth given at fa.’s i.p.m., C142/152/149. Wm. Salt Arch. Soc. iii(2), 38-39; v(2), 18; HMC Talbot and Shrewsbury, ii. 343; C142/222/43.
  • 2. CSP Dom. 1581-90, p. 440; APC, xii. 45; xiv. 210.
  • 3. A. H. Anderson. ‘Henry, Lord Stafford (1501-63) in local and central govt.’ EHR , lxxviii. 227-9; PCC 47 Noodes; CPR , 1550-3, p. 70; HMC Talbot and Shrewsbury , ii. 343.
  • 4. CPR, 1566-9, p. 378; APC, viii. 276; ix. 118; xi. 57; xiii. 30, 425; xiv. 82, 210; HMC Talbot and Shrewsbury, ii. 142, 145, 304, 305; J. C. Wedgwood, Staffs. Parl. Hist. (Wm. Salt Arch. Soc.) i. 329; VCH Staffs. i. 252; Pevsner, Staffs. 283; C142/222/43.