Sir Robert Lawrence, 4th Squire of Ashton Hall

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Robert Lawrence

Birthplace: Ashton Hall, Thurnham Parish, Lancashire, England, (Present UK)
Death: Died in Thurnham Parish, Lancashire, England, (Present UK)
Immediate Family:

Son of Robert Lawrence, Sr., 3rd Squire of Ashton Hall and Margaret Lawrence
Husband of Amphilbis Lawrence and Agnes Lawrence
Father of Thomas Lawrence, Sir; Sir James Lawrence, 5th Squire of Ashton; Robert Lawrence, of Ashton; Nicolas (died without issue) Lawrence; Margaret Rigmaiden and 3 others
Brother of John Lawrence; Thomas de Lawrence; Sybil Lawrence; Ann Lawrence; William Lawrence and 2 others

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About Sir Robert Lawrence, 4th Squire of Ashton Hall

Robert Lawrence, 4th Squire of Ashton; knight of the shire

b. circa 1391, d. 3 April 1450 Son of Robert Lawrence b. c 1371, d. 8 Sep 1439 and Margaret Holden

Robert Lawrence was born circa 1391-1393 in Ashton Hall, Lancashire, England. He died on 3 April 1450.

He married first, Amphilis Longford, daughter of Edward Longford [Esq.]. Children of Robert and Amphilis Longford included:

  1. Robert Lawrence b. s 1435
  2. Thomas Lawrence b. c 1420, d. c 1471
  3. James Lawrence b. 1428, d. 1490

He married second, in 1429, Agnes Croft of Dalton, daughter of Nicholas Croft. Children of Robert and Agnes Croft included:

  1. Nicholas Lawrence
  2. Margaret Lawrence d. b 19 Jun 1516
  3. Alice Lawrence d. 14 Aug 1512
  4. Agnes Lawrence
  5. Elizabeth Lawrence


Sir Robert Lawrence was the fourth Squire of Ashton. In 1426 he purchased one-fourth part of the manor of Bolton.

Robert first married Amphibilis, daughter of Edward Longford, Esq., and had a number of children including at least three sons, Robert, Thomas and James, between 1410-1428. Given the time span, more children were likely born.

In 1429, he married Agnes daughter of Nicholas Croft, and upon this marriage he received lands in Middleton, Heysham, and Lancaster. Also that same year, he became Knight of the Shire and complained in Parliament that the men of Bolton had trespassed on his closes at Carnforth (from Schuyler Lawrence, 1936, see below)

Some confusion exists about who his children were and by which wives they were born. Some sources list two older sons, Robert and Thomas, born when Robert was a very young man, circa 1410-1420. In The Lawrences: Squires of Ashton (1936), Schuyler Lawrence notes that Robert's son and heir to Ashton, James, was age 22 when his father died in 1450, which would put his birth date at 1428, a year before Robert married Agnes Croft. From this, it appears that that James was a son of his first wife Amphibilis or perhaps a second wife in between Amphibilis and Agnes. Sir James and Robert are known for certain, while Thomas, if he existed, died without progeny. Somerby also argues that there was a son Nicholas who was the Nicholas of Agercroft who had a seven sons. Schuyler Lawrence indicates that this Nicholas could not have been the Nicholas of Agercroft as his descendants would have inherited the vast Lawrence estates. Schuyler also indicates that the children of Robert could not have had issue for the same reason.

Robert Lawrence who had (or claimed) the advowson of Warton Church held three messuages, etc. of the king in socage by 1d. rent in Warton, acc to William Farrer and J. Brownbill, editors, Victoria History of Lancastershire, Volume VIII, page 163.

At his death in 1450, Robert held the manor of Carnforth of the king as duke in socage paying 4d. yearly, moities of the manors of Scotforth of the king as duke in socage by 1d. rent and Middleton by rent of 2d., four messuages etc. of Richard Molyneux and Henry Pleasington in Ellel in socage, lands in Bolton by rent of 2d., burgages in Lancaster, lands in Skerton, and four messuages in Ashton of the king as duke in socage by a rent of 4d. He also held a moiety of the manor of Carleton of the king as his duchy of Lancaster in socage by 1d. rent and a moiety of the manor of Stavely in Westmorland which was formerly the sixth part of the manor of Kirkby in Kendal.


  • page 6-7 of A genealogical memoir of the family of John Lawrence, of Watertown, 1636; with brief notices of others of the name in England and America by Lawrence, John, b. 1814 Published 1847

History of Ashton Hall

Ashton Hall, the ancient seat of the Lawrences, is located about three miles to the south of the town of Lancaster, in northern Lancashire. It is picturesquely situated, commanding fine views of the estuary of the River Lune, and of Morecambe Bay, an extensive inlet of the Irish Sea. Ashton Hall is noted for the sylvan beauty of its spacious park, which is well diversified with hill and vale. The mansion is a large edifice, with many of the characteristics of an ancient baronial castle, having a square tower at one end, and numerous battlements, turrets, and machiocolations. Successive alterations and additions have been made at different epochs, in harmony with the medieval type of architecture. The oldest portion is probably from the fourteenth century. The interior contains a fine baronial hall.

In 1066 Ashton was one of three manors of Cliber, Machern and Gillemicheld and appears to have been accessed of two plough-lands. (The other twom manors, Ellel and Scotforth, retained their connection to Ashton being held by the Lancaster family.) Afterwards, it was granted to Count Rogers of Poitori and a little later formed part of the lordship held by the Lancaster family, being held by knight's service. In the time of Henry II (1154-1189) William de Lancaster I granted half a plough-land to Gilbert de Ashton to hold by service of half a mark yearly. The second moiety wash shared or inherited by the families of Stableton and Metham, Thweng and Pedwarding, and appears to have been acquired by the Lawrence family of Lancaster.

In 1226, the Millfield at Ashton rendered 5s. a year to the king. in 1323 it was held by many free tenants, who in all paid 5s. to the earl. This Millfield contained 20 acres. Tenants were William and Randle le Gentyl and John and Alice Lawrence.

The free tenants in 1301 were Roger de Slene; another who had a messuage and 5 acres for a rent of 20d.; Lawrence son of Thomas who rendered 6s. 8d. yearly; John de Ashton who held a messuage and 4 oxgangs of land and paid 6s.8d. rent; and Randle who paid 7d. In 1292 Gervase de Ashton claimed land against a Lawrence de Ashton. In a list of free tenants some 40 years later are recorded: William son of Lawrence, 2s. 6d.; the same William, for Brantbreck, 1d.; Alan de Ashton, 17 1/2d.; John Ward, 2s. 6d.; John, son of William the Clerk, 20d.; Gervase del Green, 20d.; Henry Alcok 5 1/2d.; in all 14s. 6d.

Traces of the Lawrence estate in Ashton appear in inquisitions of some of the heirs, though the tenures are not always recorded. By some agreement, the manor descended through Boteler (Butler) of Rawcliffe to Radcliff of Winmarleigh, and so by marriage to Gilbert Gerard woh purchase the other moiety from the Crown. Thus the whole became united in him and his descendants, the Gerards of Bromley and the Dukes of Hamilton. (Richard Skillecorne held part of it of the king in cocage in 1534. Thomas Regmaiden in 1520 held the reversion of the fourth part of the manor. John Boteler in 1534 held the manor of the king as duke in socage.) Sir Gilbert died in 1593 holding the manors of Ashton, Stodday, and Scotforth of the queen as of her crown of England in a fee farm by the hundredth part of a knight's fee and a rent of £16.11s. 4d.

On 10 August 1648, the 1st Duke of Hamilton stayed a night at Ashton Hall on his way to his defeat by Oliver Cromwell's forces. In March 1648 he was beheaded several weeks after the execution of Charles I. William, the 2nd Duke of Hamilton, accompanied Charles II to Ashton Hall in 1651 and died in the battle of Worchester shortly afterwards. Through the marriage of the 4th Duke of Hamilton and the heiress of the Gerard estates the Hamiltons became the owners of Asthton Hall.

Ashton Hall is currently the headquarters of the Lancaster Golf Club. Photographs of Ashton Hall, Lancastershire, England, October 2000 Images of Ashton Hall now part of Lancaster Golf Club


In the 13th century, the lordship of the Manor was held by the De Coucy family and from them passed to John de Coupland. The original hall dates from the late 14th century. It was probably completed in 1381, built by Edmund Lawrence.

It then passed by marriage to the Butlers of Radcliffe and from them to the Gerards of Bromley. In 1698 the estate was acquired by James Hamilton, 4th Duke of Hamilton, on his second marriage to the Gerard heiress Elizabeth Gerard. He fought a famous duel in 1712 with Lord Mohun over the right of ownership of Gawthorpe Hall and was fatally stabbed by General Macartney, Mohun's second. His widow lived for another 32 years, spending most of her time at the Hall.

In 1853, the hall was sold by the Dukes of Hamilton to Le Gendre Nicholas Starkie of the wealthy Starkie family of Huntroyde Hall and in 1856 was largely rebuilt to a design by William Le Gendre Starkie.The only part of the 14th century structure that still remains is the tower that now forms the southern wing of the hall.

After Le Gendre Starkie's death Ashton passed to his younger son, John Piers Chamberlain Starkie who passed it in turn to his eldest son Edward Arthur Le Gendre Starkie. He sold it in 1884 to James Williamson, the linoleum manufacturer, who lived at the hall until his death in 1930. Williamson was High Sheriff of Lancashire for 1885 and on his elevation to the peerage took his title Baron Ashton of Ashton. After his death in 1931 the major portion of the estate was purchased by William Pye and his sons.

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Sir Robert Lawrence, 4th Squire of Ashton Hall's Timeline

Thurnham Parish, Lancashire, England, (Present UK)
Age 17
Thurnham Parish, Lancashire, England, (Present UK)
Age 27
Rumburgh, Suffolk, England, United Kingdom
Age 31
Age 35
Thurnham, Lancashire, England
Age 36
Age 40
England, United Kingdom
Age 42