Francis ASTBURY scandal 18th century

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Last seen: 3 years 15 weeks ago
Joined: Saturday, 20-02-2021


Re FRANCIS ASTBURY (born 1730/40)

I've started my family tree and have traced my maternal great grandfather back to the early 1800s.

My 3x great grandma (Caroline Astbury née Matthews) wrote out a family history when she was 80 in 1879 and she has a great story about my 5x great grandparents. 

She said that my 5x great grandfather grew up in a farmhouse his father Francis Astbury (sometimes Asprey, Astbury) had bought or built at The Lloyds in Madeley. In her words:

A nobleman's daughter from Ireland was sent to Madeley and put under the care of the Catholic Priest - with a lady attendant, and every indulgence was allowed for some time - but her father - about to be married a second time, advised that his daughter be sent to a Convent. This troubled her much, and having become intimate with the family at the farm she went there to tell her troubles and begged young Francis to marry her, as that would relieve her from the power of her father and the Priest. The parents consented - her father after that, disowned her....

... She was tall, thin, very dressy, but could not cook a potato....

I can't find her in Ancestry - although I have got dates for her son William Astbury (1764-1827) as Caroline says he was married to Susannah Botfield (1766-1832). I've got the dates from American researchers who have them in their trees but haven't verified via parish records / census. Their links to a Francis have him marry a girl from the Welsh border. 

They were burgesses of Bridgnorth. 

Caroline wrote Francis was an only child himself, but had 4 boys John, William (my ancestor), George and Henry. 

William and Susannah had 10 children, including my 3x great grandfather Thomas Astbury, twin of William, married to the writer of this history, Caroline. 

Has anyone come across this story before? 

I have read up on Madeley history and know that there was a Catholic priest there, serving many families in the area (I imagine in their homes at this time as the Church was yet to be built), so it is feasibly true? I am wondering whether she's from Ireland's Cross near Woore rather than across the water? Any nobility there?

I would be grateful for any help!






Last seen: 14 weeks 2 hours ago
Joined: Monday, 26-02-2024

I think the Irish noblemans family name might be O'Mara. The Astbury name is in my maternal line. A Mary O'Mara appears in the lifestory but I haven't much documentary evidence other than census data. I've only just discovered our Madley area connection and I've got alot more work to do. The transcript gave me a lot of leads but I've yet to sort it all out. One or two of the census entries mentions a village lay preacher but I've yet to finish the research. I will be pursuing this line and would appreciate any more information.

Judy Evans
Last seen: 6 weeks 2 days ago
Joined: Thursday, 24-11-2011

I hadn't seen the original post about Francis Astbury until today. I'm an Astbury descendent too and William Astbury & Susanna Botfield are my 4x great grandparents, their son Joseph is my 3x g grandfather. I can verify many Astbury facts with documents but hadn't heard some of the things Caroline Matthews wrote. Francis Astbury married Ann Goodman in Madeley in 1763. I can confirm Ann was a catholic as her name appears along with her  2 sons William (1764) and Francis (1766) on the 1767 papist list. This papist list has been published by the Catholic Society and I have a copy of the list on CD. What bothers me is that Caroline doesn't mention that Francis had son Francis born 1766 but what really pleases me is that she mentions other sons John, George and Henry (I have no record of them)

As I said earlier Ann Goodman is listed on the papist list of 1767 and she stated she had lived in Madeley all of her life (age given is 26) which makes me question the Irish connection. Until now I believed her father to be Giles Goodman who lived in Madeley. The list also stated her husband (not named as he wasn't catholic) was a collier. I will check this further.

Be very careful when looking at other people's trees, there is a lot of wrong information floating around as people do not check records before adding people to trees. The wrong Ann Goodman is a good example, many people say was born in Bitton and have named her parents but that particular Ann married someone else and Bitton isn't particularly close to Madeley where the Goodman's and Astbury's lived.

DNA backs up the fact that Francis and Ann had a son Francis, I share DNA with several of Francis (junior) descendents. I also have quite a few matches with the descendents of Thomas Astbury