William Assheton 1642-1711
William ASSHETON 1642-1711
Born at Middleton, Lancashire, son of William Assheton, rector there. BA Brasenose College, Oxford 1662, fellow 1663, MA 1665, BD 1672, DD 1674. He was regularly preaching in Oxford around 1670, became chaplain to James Butler, Duke of Ormond in 1673, and vicar of Knaresborough, Yorkshire in 1674. He briefly held other livings in London and Hampshire before becoming rector of Beckenham, Kent in 1677, where he was based for the rest of his life. He preached numerous times at court and city occasions in London and was a voluminous author and editor. During the 1670s and 80s he published many anti-nonconformist tracts, while in later life he turned to works of popular devotion for lay people (e.g. The plain man’s devotion, 1698, Directions for prayer, 1702). Some of these were printed in large numbers to be distributed via the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge. He also produced collected editions of works by major establishment theological writers, such as Stillingfleet and Tillotson, to distribute widely.
ODNB refers to Assheton's large library, and shipping duplicates to Wales and Scotland. His library was sold by auction in London, 14 November 1711. The sale catalogue contains 2083 lots, divided between Latin theology, history, philology, etc (759 lots), and English books (1324); it also refers to "a large collection of near 200 volumes of pamphlets ... and several very good wainscot presses".
- Alston, R. C., Inventory of sale catalogues ... 1676-1800, 2010.
- Bibliotheca Asshetoneana, [London, 1711], ESTC n43387.
- Key, Newton E. '"Assheton, William (bap. 1642, d. 1711), Church of England clergyman."' Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.