Sir Richard Ashfield (about 1629 – 1684) was a landowner in Acton. He had inherited the property from his father Sir John Ashfield, who was a contemporary of James I’s son, Prince Charles, and indeed was a gentleman of the privy chamber to the prince. When Charles took the throne in 1626 Sir John was the first person the newly crowned king made a baronet. However, this position at court was not matched by his estate, which was largely made up of the land his father owned in Ireland as one of the English settlers in the reign of Elizabeth I. His marriage, in 1627, changed Sir John’s fortunes, he wed Elizabeth, the daughter and heir of Sir Richard Sutton and the widow of Sir James Altham of Oxhey. She brought with her various properties including two houses, Nether Hall at Harkstead, in Suffolk, and another at Acton called Fosters, which the family made their main home, and which may have been on the site later occupied by East Acton Manor House. Sir Richard was a boy of around nine when his father died and he was brought up in Acton by his mother. His marriage firmly secured the family’s fortunes, the first time, in 1650, to the heiress Mary Rogers, daughter of Sir Richard Rogers. She brought with her Eastwood Park in Gloucestershire. In 1655, Sir Richard’s mother remarried, and the following year he sold the Acton estate to a London alderman, John Perryn, who subsequently left it to the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths, which in turn later developed the property. Following Mary’s death, Sir Richard married again, to a widow, Dorcas Burchett, daughter of James Hore, of the Mint, another well-connected man at court having looked after James I’s petty cash as auditor of imprests. Sir Richard left his property to his eldest son also called Sir John Ashfield but speculations in North American property left him heavily in debt and forced him to sell Eastwood Park. This did little to relieve his financial woes, it was said that he had “wasted his estate”. When he died in 1714, the little he had left passed to his sister, Elizabeth Selby. The baronetcy died with him.
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