Francis ASTBURY scandal 18th century

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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!