Robert Lawrence, Sr., 3rd Squire of Ashton Hall

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Robert Lawrence, Sr.

Also Known As: "Robert Lawrence", "Sr.", "3rd Squire of Ashton Hall"
Birthdate: (68)
Birthplace: Ashton Hall, Thurnham Parish, Lancashire, England, (Present UK)
Death: Died in Thurnham Parish, Lancashire, England, (Present UK)
Immediate Family:

Son of Edmund Lawrence; Edmund Lawrence and Agnes de Lawrence (de Washington)
Husband of Elizabeth Lawrence
Father of John Lawrence; Sir Robert Lawrence, 4th Squire of Ashton Hall; Sybil Lawrence; Ann Lawrence; Edmund Lawrence and 3 others
Brother of John Lawrence, MP and Nicholas Lawrence

Occupation: of Ashton Hall
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Robert Lawrence, Sr., 3rd Squire of Ashton Hall

  • LAURENCE, Robert (c.1371-1439), of Dillicar, Westmld. and Ashton, Lancs.
  • b.c.1371, 1st s. of Edmund Laurence† (d.c.1382) of Ashton by his 2nd w. Agnes, da. of Robert Washington (fl. 1388) of Carnforth and Bolton-le-Sands, bro. of John*. m. by 1399, Elizabeth, 4s. inc. Robert† and Thomas†, 2da. Kntd. c.1415.1
  • Offices Held
    • Coroner, Lancs. by Jan. 1400-aft. Mar. 1402.2
    • Commr. of array, Lancs. May 1400, Aug. 1402, Apr. 1418,3 Mar. 1430, July 1431; to prevent the spread of treasonous rumours May 1402; raise and lead men against the northern rebels July 1403; of inquiry June 1418 (lands of John, Lord Harington);4 to treat for a royal loan Nov. 1419; recruit archers to serve in France May 1421.
    • Collector of a tax, Lancs. c. Nov. 1402;5 assessor May 1436.
    • Escheator, Lancs. 26 Nov. 1402-bef. 20 July 1410.6
    • J.p. Lancs. Mar. 1418.7
    • Sheriff, Lancs. by 2 Dec. 1425-5 Nov. 1437.8
    • Constable of Lancaster castle by 1436-d.9
  • In addition to the manor of Ashton, which, from the mid 13th century was their home, the Laurence family owned property in Lancaster, Skerton, Poulton, Carleton, Scotforth, Heysham and Ellel. Edmund Laurence was able further to extend his inheritance by marrying, as his second wife, Agnes, the daughter of Robert Washington, through whom he acquired land and reversions in Bolton-le-Sands and Carnforth. Thanks to his increased prosperity, which was in part due to his work as a royal servant, he also bought an estate at Overton, although his title was challenged by successive dukes of Lancaster, who refused for many years to relinquish their claim. Edmund spent much of his life in Ireland, where he was employed first as a receiver by Edward III’s queen, Philippa of Hainault (d.1369), and then as escheator and keeper of weights and measures by the King. He did, however, find time to discharge a number of administrative offices in Lancashire, notwithstanding an early scandal in 1361, when, as deputy sheriff, he not only returned himself to Parliament but also fraudulently diverted the expenses for his own use.10 He died in the early 1380s, leaving his young son and heir, Robert, as a ward of John of Gaunt, his feudal overlord and sometime adversary for control of the Overton properties. The boy came of age in about 1393, and two years later he agreed to stand surety for the farmer of land belonging to Gaunt in Crompton. No more is heard of Laurence until, in 1398, one David Walsman was bound over in £40 to do no harm either to him or to Christine Routh. Given his earlier connexion with Gaunt, it is not surprising to find him among the supporters of the latter’s son, Henry of Bolingbroke, who retained him with an annuity of ten marks in November 1399, just a few weeks after mounting the throne. In 1403 this grant was increased, retrospectively, to 40 marks, although the payments sometimes fell into arrears. Laurence’s appointment as coroner of Lancashire probably also dated from the beginning of the new reign. In August 1401 it was claimed that, as a kinsman of both the sheriff, Sir John Boteler, and Sir Robert Urswyk*, a defendant at the Lancaster assizes, he had shown bias in the selection of jurors, but otherwise his term of office passed without incident. He also acted as a royal commissioner and tax collector at this time, being rewarded in November 1402 with a gift of £12 4s.2d. in recognition of the work undertaken by him and his colleagues in levying a parliamentary subsidy. King Henry was, moreover, prepared to sanction an inquiry into the seizure by officials of the duchy of Lancaster of the land which Robert’s father had purchased in Overton, but even though investigations were begun fairly quickly, matters were still awaiting settlement 14 years later.11
  • Laurence was first elected to Parliament in January 1404, while serving as escheator of Lancashire. In the following year, he and his wife obtained an indult from the archbishop of York for the plenary remission of sins at the hour of death. During this period he also became involved in the affairs of such Lancashire notables as John, Lord Harington (who employed his services as a mainpernor), and Sir Robert Rokley (whom he assisted in the endowment of two chantry chapels). Laurence attended the Lancashire elections to Henry V’s first Parliament in the spring of 1413, and shortly afterwards the King confirmed him in his annuity. Another archiepiscopal licence, this time permitting the appointment of a personal confessor, was issued to him in the following year, which also saw his third and last appearance in the House of Commons. His colleague on this occasion was John Stanley, with whom he joined in December 1414, just after the session ended, in offering bonds worth £100 to Sir William Fulthorpe. Together with Stanley and many other Lancashire gentlemen, Laurence took part in Henry V’s first invasion of France, serving with a modest private retinue of two men-at-arms and six foot archers. He was evidently knighted during the campaign, as his account for the wages of £113 5s. which he paid to the 50 Lancashire archers placed under his command refers to him as ‘lately an esquire’.12
  • Royal patronage may well have helped Laurence to secure for himself the wardship and marriage of the young Thomas Hesketh, whose father had held his estates in Rufford and Harwood of the duchy of Lancaster. In August 1417 he and the boy’s current guardian, Gilbert Hesketh, offered mutual securities of £500 as an earnest of their willingness to observe an undertaking whereby Laurence agreed to buy Thomas’s marriage for £100, and pay an annual rent of 40 marks for his inheritance. The boy was duly betrothed to one of Laurence’s daughters, while her sister married Sir Richard Kirkby’s son, Roger. This second contract, drawn up at Furness abbey in 1418, cost Laurence an even larger sum of £200, so he was clearly a man of considerable wealth. His friend, Lord Harington, died at this time, and besides sitting as a juror at his inquisition post mortem he was also commissioned by the Crown to survey the Harington estates. On both occasions he was accompanied by his younger brother, John, whom he subsequently helped elect to the Parliament of 1419, being probably assisted by their kinsman, the sheriff. He was later, when himself in office as sheriff, to return his two sons, Robert and Thomas, to the Parliaments of 1429 and 1435, respectively.13
  • Meanwhile, in 1423, Laurence not only received further royal letters confirming his annuity, but was also licensed to hunt freely once every year in various parks and chases belonging to the duchy of Lancaster in Yorkshire and Lancashire. He was anxious to consolidate his hold on his mother’s estates in Bolton-le-Sands, and three years later he came to an arrangement with one of her relatives over the leasing out of property there. Not all his neighbours proved friendly, however, and in 1429 he complained that ‘the men of Bolton’ were poaching on his closes nearby at Carnforth. Yet he himself had but recently been indicted for trespass before the master forester of Quernmore, albeit without due process being made. Laurence’s last years were as busy as ever, not least because his duties as sheriff of Lancashire dragged on for 12 years and proved so financially burdensome. While in office he was required to take the general oath of May 1434 that he would not support persons disturbing the peace, although in the event it was debt rather than maintenance which led to his committal, two years later, to Liverpool castle. A combination of outstanding arrears and advancing years probably forced retirement upon him in November 1437, and he began to give some thought to the settlement of his affairs. By a series of deeds, drawn up in December 1438, he made provision for his three younger sons by giving each a life interest in the manors of Dillicar and Routhworth, together with other property, worth 30 marks in all, which had come to him in Westmorland. He must have been at least 70 years old when he died on 8 Sept. 1439, leaving his eldest son, Robert, to succeed to the rest of his estates.14
  • Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
  • Author: C.R.
  • Notes
  • 1. C139/100/44; E101/47/12; Chetham Soc. n.s. xciii. 64-65; xcvi. 101; VCH Lancs. viii. 52, 134, 168; DKR, xxxii. 355; CPL, vi. 19; J. Foster, Lancs. Peds. sub Hesketh of Rufford.
  • 2.Chetham Soc. n.s. lxxxvii. 27, 53, 54, 94, 100.
  • 3. Ibid. xcvi. 100; DKR, xl. 528, 531.
  • 4.Chetham Soc. n.s. xcvi. 101.
  • 5. E404/18/248.
  • 6. Somerville, Duchy, i. 465.
  • 7.Chetham Soc. n.s. xcvi. 100.
  • 8. Somerville, 462.
  • 9. Ibid. 497; DL42/18, f. 66.
  • 10.Chetham Soc. n.s. xciii. 64-65; xcv. 83-84; CFR, viii. 283; VCH Lancs. vi. 301; viii. 52, 134, 168.
  • 11. DL28/27/3; DL29/738/12100; DL42/15, f. 165v, 16, f. 36v, 17 (2), f. 39; E404/18/248; Chetham Soc. xcv. 55; n.s. lxxxvii. 27, 53, 100; DKR, xxxii. 355; CCR, 1396-9, p. 398.
  • 12. C219/11/1A; DL42/17 (1), ff. 2v, 40; E101/47/12; E404/31/241; CPL, vi. 19, 402; CPR, 1408-13, p. 107; CCR, 1413-19, p. 197; CFR, xiii. 97.
  • 13. C219/12/3, 13/6, 14/5; Chetham Soc. xcv. 134; n.s. xcvi. 101; DKR, xxxiii. 22, 29; VCH Lancs. vi. 121; Foster, loc. cit.; M. J. Bennett, ‘Late Med. Soc. in N.W. Eng.’ (Lancaster Univ. Ph.D. thesis, 1975), 58.
  • 14. C139/100/44; DL29/89/1631; DL42/18 (1), f. 80, (2), f. 26v; Chetham Soc. n.s. xcvi. 101-2; Somerville, 462, 497; VCH Lancs. viii. 134, 168; CPR, 1429-36, p. 379.
  • From:


  • A genealogical memoir of the family of John Lawrence, of Watertown, 1636; with brief notices of others of the name in England and America (1847)
  • It is, however, to one ROBERT LAWRENCE, of Lancashire, we are to look for the first individual of the name whose family and circumstances entitle him to be considered the Ancestor of the Lawrences of England. Born, probably, as early as A. D. 1150, he accompanied his sovereign, Richard Coeur de Lion, to the war of the Crusades, in the Holy Land, and so distinguished himself in the siege of Acre that he was knighted Sir Robert of Ashton Hall, and obtained for his arms, " Arg. a cross raguly Gu. " — A. D. 1191.
  • Seized of Ashton Hall in Lancashire, his successors held this seat for many generations, and it has been said to have belonged, even of late, to some of Sir Robert's descendants. His son and immediate successor married a daughter of James Trafford, Esq., of Trafford, Lancashire, by whom he had a son and heir, James, who succeeded Sir Robert, his father.
  • JAMES married Matilda de Washington, daughter of John Washington, of Washington, in 1252. She was an heiress, the only daughter. The son and successor of James Lawrence " living in the thirty-seventh year of Henry III. " by Matilda, was John, who married Margaret, daughter of Walter Chesford, whose son, named John, succeeding his father, married Elizabeth, daughter of --- Holt, of Stably, in Lancashire, and died A. D. 1360.
  • Sir ROBERT, a knight, son and heir of John and Elizabeth Lawrence, married Margaret Holden, of Lancashire, by whom he had sons: first, Robert, ancestor of the Lawrences of Standish, Crich Grange and Sevenhampton ; second, Thomas; third, William; fourth, Edmund; — ancestors of other principal branches of the name in England.
  • I. Sir ROBERT, son of Sir Robert and Margaret Lawrence, born before 1454, married Amphilbis, daughter of Edward Longford, Esq., of Longford, and had sons : first, James, a knight, styled " Sir James of Standish," to distinguish him from another of the name living at the time. He married Cecily, daughter of --- Boteler, Esq., of Lancashire, an heiress, and had issue, two sons and a daughter.
    • Sir Thomas, first son of Sir James and Cecily Lawrence, married
    • Eleanor, daughter of Lionel Lord Welles, and thus acquired estates in the counties of Lincoln, Nottingham and York. Sir John, a son by this marriage, the seventh knight in a direct line, is said to have possessed, in 1591, thirty-four manors; but being outlawed for crime, died without issue, an exile in France. Cecily, a daughter, married William Gerard, ancestor of the Bromley family of Gerards, to whom Ashton Hall and other estates passed, about 1600.
  • Robert, second son of Sir Robert and Amphilbis Lawrence, married Margaret, daughter of John Lawrence, Esq., of Rixton, in Lancashire, by whom he had Sir Robert, who married a daughter of Thomas Stanley, Esq., and died in 1571. Also John, who commanded a wing of the English army under Lord Stanley at the battle of Flodden Field, and died without issue, aged thirty-eight years. William; a third son, born 1509, or before, married Isabel Molyneux, daughter of John Molyneux, of Chorley, in Lancashire, and held great estates — Sevenhampton, &c., in Gloucestershire, the manor of the Sea House, Somerset, &c. He had several children, of whom John, Doctor of Laws, was Archdeacon of Worcester, &c. Robert, born at Withington, 1521, married for his second wife Eleanor, daughter of John Stratford, of Farncot, by whom he had: first, William, who received from his father the estates of Shurdington. He married, and had Anthony, his heir, who also married, and had a son William, who died without issue, and the estates went to Littleton Lawrence, Esq., of Cricklade.
  • Robert, second son of Robert and Eleanor Lawrence, died without issue, 1585. He was of Sevenhampton. Anthony, a third son, married a daughter of William Gradwell, Esq., of Gray's Inn, and had by her Anthony, his heir, a daughter Frances, or Elisabeth, who married William Rogers, Esq., of Sandiwell, and a son William. Anthony Lawrence, Esq., married Mary, daughter of Giles Broadway, Esq., and had two sons and three daughters. Robert Lawrence, Esq., was of Sevenhampton, and the second son, and married Mary, daughter of John Rogers, Esq., of Hazleton, and was the ancestor of " Walter Lawrence, Esq., said to be the last heir-male of the elder branch of the Shurdington family, who died in May, 1810," and likewise of John Lawrence, living unmarried, in 1806, aged 73 years, who was Rector of Sevenhampton.
  • Nicholas, third son of Sir Robert and Amphilbis Lawrence, living in 1454, married, and had a son Littleton Lawrence, Esq., of Cricklade, who inherited estates under the will of William Lawrence, Esq., of Shurdington, which are still held by his descendants.
  • The arms of this branch at Shurdington and Sevenhampton, &c., were : " Argent, a cross, raguly gu." Crest — " The tail or lower part of a fish erect and couped." Estates " in Gloucestershire." Seat, " Sandy-Well Park."
  • II. THOMAS, second son of Sir Robert and Margaret Lawrence, was the father of Arthur Lawrence, Esq., who was seated at Prior's Court in Gloucestershire. This Arthur was ancestor of John Lawrence, Esq., of Delaford, in Iver, Bucks, and of Chelsea, Middlesex, who was created a baronet in 1628. He married Grisel, daughter of Jarvis Gibbon, Esq., in the county of Kent, and died in 1638.
    • Sir John Lawrence of Chelsea, his son and successor, married, and had a son, Sir Thomas, who married, but had no issue, and was the last of this baronetcy, which was established in 1628, and became extinct in 1717. It is said that this person just named spent all his estate, and about 1700 emigrated to Maryland, in America.
  • III. WILLIAM, third son of Sir Robert and Margaret above, born 1425, or before, fought under the Lancastrian banner at St. Albans, in 1455, where he fell, and was buried in the Abbey of St. Albans.
  • IV. EDMUND, (the youngest of the four sons of Sir Robert Lawrence, who married Margaret Holden) is said to have married a daughter of Miles de Stapleton, a descendant of the distinguished family of that name of Norman extraction, found in England, by which marriage he derived his title.


  • Sir Robert Lawrence1
  • M, #27921
  • Father John Lawrence d. 1360
  • Mother Elizabeth Holt
  • Sir Robert Lawrence was born at of Ashton Hall, Lancashire, England. He married Margaret Holden.
  • Family Margaret Holden
  • Children
    • Thomas Lawrence
    • Edmund Lawrence
    • Sir Robert Lawrence+
    • William Lawrence b. c 1425, d. 1455
  • Citations
  • 1.[S8723] Unknown author, Families Directly Descended from all the Royal Families in Europe, by Elizabeth M. Rixford, p. 91; Ahnentafel charts from Douglas Scott Robertson.
  • From:


Robert Lawrence was born circa 1371 in England.2 He married Margaret Holden.3 Robert died on 8 September 1439 in England.3

    Robert was also known as [Sir] Robert Lawrence.
    Sir Robert was the third Squire of Ashton. He was Knight of the Shire in 1403, 1406, and 1414. In 1402 he was a commissioner to arrest sedition mongers. In 1403 he assembled knights and yeomen in Lancashire and brought them to the king to fight against the Earl of Northumbland in Scotland.3
    Robert Lawrence was escheator of the county in 1404 and later complained of disseisin in 1407, and it was alleged against him that Edmund had left no heir. He was made a knight and had a son and heir of the same name.2
    He not only inherited his father's lands and manors, but added to those estates in Ireland and the manors of Southworth and Dillicar in Co. Westmoreland.
    A considerable contingent from Lancaster accompanied Henry V in 1415 on a campaign that ended at Agincourt during the Hundred Years' War. John Lord Harcourt, bannert, took two knights, twenty-seven men-at-arms, and ninety archers; seven knights, James de Harrington, Richard de Kighley, Ralph de Stavely, Nicholas de Longford, William Botiller, John Southworth, and Richard de Radcliffe, and two esquires, John Stanley and Robert Laurence each served with fifty archers.2 A History of Lancaste Golf Club also states that Robert Lawrence fought against the French at Agincourt in 1415.
    In 1419 he was a commissioner to raise a loan for the King and in 1421 commissioner to bring 400 archers to France during the Hundred Years' War.
    He was knighted in 1417 or 1437 according to Schuyler Lawrence.3 I believe it probably was 1417 as he is referred to as Sir Robert Lawrence in 1426.
    Nicholas Hesketh died in 1416 leaving a son and heir Thomas who was ten years old. Later it appears that Sir Robert Lawrence was guardian. Thomas Hesketh died in 1458 and it is usually said that he married Sir Robert's daughter, Sibyl.2
    In 1426 Sir Robert agreed to pay Maud Wyresdale of Bolton 10s a year for her life for the fourth part of the lordship of Bolton with lands, etc.2 In 1429, Robert complained that the men of Bolton had trespassed on his closes at Carnforth.2
    Walter Strickland, receiver of the lordship of Kendal in 1439 accounted for £6 13s. 4d. of the arrears of Sir Robert Lawrence, late farmer of Ashton and Carnforth.2
    1440, Inquest taken at Burton ..... 18 Henry VI, before Walter de Strikland, esquire, escheator, by the oath of John Berwyk etc., who say that :Robert Laurence, knight, was seised of the manors of of Rauthesworth and Dilacre; by his charter dated Thursday next before St. Thomas the Apostle, 17 Henry VI (18 December, 1438), he granted certain messuages and lands in the vill and hamlet of Nateland to his son Thomas Laurence to hold for his life, with remainder to Robert's right heirs by virtue whereof Thomas became and stil is seised thereof. The premises in Nateland worth 10 marks yearly clear, are held of Thomas Strickland "chivaler" by service unknown. By another charter dated Friday next before St. Thomas the Apostle, 17 Henry VI (19 December 1438), he granted the manor of Dulacre to his son William Laurence to hold for his life, with the remainder to Robert's right heirs, by virtue whereof William became and is still seised of the said manor, which is worth 10 marks yearly clear, and is held of Thomas del Parre, knight, in socage, by service unknown. By another charter of the laste date (19 December) he granted the manor of Rauthesworth to his son Edmund Lawrence for life, with remainder to Robert's right heir, by virtue whereof Edmund became and still is seised of the said manor, which is worth 10 marks yearly and is held of Roger Petwardyn, esquire, in socage, by services unknown. Robert Laurence, esquire, his son, is his next heir, aged 40 years; Excheq.Inq. p.m., ser. i, file 167, n. 9.4

Family Margaret Holden Children

   Robert Lawrence b. 1399, d. 3 Apr 1450
   Thomas Lawrence b. s 1410
   William Lawrence b. 1425, d. 1455
   Edmund Lawrence
   Sibyl Lawrence d. 1459/60
   Ann Lawrence


   3rd Squire of Ashton.
   [S272] Farrer, William and J. Brownbill editors. The Victoria History of the County of Lancaster. 8 volumes. London, England: A. Constable and Company, 1906-14).
   [S173] Schuyler Lawrence, The Lawrences: Squires of Ashton, Lancs., Part II, The Lawrence Family Record Series. New York, New York: New York City Public Library Main Branch, January 1936 Microfilm no. ZI-315, reel 10, item no. 26.
   [S2382] British History Online. Online



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Robert Lawrence, Sr., 3rd Squire of Ashton Hall's Timeline

Thurnham Parish, Lancashire, England, (Present UK)
Age 19
Agercroft, Lancaster, England
Age 28
Thurnham Parish, Lancashire, England, (Present UK)
Age 39
Chelmarsh, Bridgnorth, Shropshire, England
Age 39
Age 41
Age 54
St. Albans, Hertfordshire, England
Age 54
Lancashire, England
September 8, 1439
Age 68
Thurnham Parish, Lancashire, England, (Present UK)