Yet another C17 coincidence

The English Civil War often looked like Round Two of the Wars of the Roses with, geographically, Yorkists morphing into Parliamentarians and Lancastrians becoming Royalists. One parliamentary commander was a Richard Neville and another bore the name of Ralph Assheton, as we shall show, descended from the Vice-Constable of the 1480s:

Colonel Assheton, of Middleton, near Manchester, was one of the principal Parliamentary commanders in Lancashire. (He should not be confused with his relation (also Ralph) of Whalley and Downham.) He had been elected MP for Lancashire in the ‘Long Parliament’ in November 1640. He was one of those who took part in the defence of Manchester in 1642. In 1643 he was involved in the Battle of Read Bridge (or Whalley as it is sometimes described) where a relatively small force of Parliamentarians surprised a much larger force under the Earl of Derby and routed it. In 1644 he was at the Battle of Nantwich (where his performance was commended by Fairfax) and at Marston Moor. He was to end his career as Major-General and commander-in-chief in Lancashire.

As a Presbyterian, and relative moderate, he was one of those excluded from Parliament in 1648. However, he fought on the Parliamentary side at Preston, in August that year. He died in 1650, and his brass in Middleton Church is said to be the only surviving one showing a Parliamentary officer in armour.




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