ASTELL, John, of Gray's Inn, London.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1558-1603, ed. P.W. Hasler, 1981
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Family and Education


s. of William Astell of Whichmore, Staffs.

Offices Held



yr. s. of John Astell (d.1591), of Warws. educ. ?Pembroke, Camb. 1576. m. Mary Wells.

Recorder, Newport 1608-30.

There is no evidence in the Gray’s Inn records that Astell was of that society, though he lived there, and his recordership implies a legal education. His identity in any case remains uncertain.

A John Astell was granted the farm of lands in Skegness, Lincolnshire, in 1597, and in December 1600 Richard Fowler was licensed to alienate the manor of Tilsworth, Bedfordshire, to one of this name. The only certain occurrence of the MP comes in a Star Chamber action which he brought in 1600 against his brother-in-law, John Wells, over property at Harbledown in Kent. In this he refers to his wife as a daughter by her first marriage, of Joan, wife of Richard Garth, clerk of the petty bag. It is possible that this connexion with the Chancery helped to secure him his seat at Grampound. His return for Newport and his appointment as recorder there must have been due to the patronage of John Carey, 3rd Baron Hunsdon. There are occasional references to Astell after 1603, but no will has been found, and his date of death is unknown. He ceased to be recorder in 1630.

St. Ch. 5A/27/17; F. Black, Parl. Hist. I.o.W. 40; Vis. Norf. (Harl. Soc. xxxii), 8; Ancestor, i. 276; G. Inn Pens. Bk. i. 100; pat. roll, 39 Eliz. pt. 17, 43 Eliz. pt. 13; APC, 1613-14, pp. 488-9; CSP Dom. 1618-23, p. 304.

Ref Volumes: 1558-1603

Author: Roger Virgoe