Ashby, John (DNB00)

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ASHBY, Sir JOHN (d. 1693), admiral, a native of Lowestoft, and presumably a follower of Sir Thomas Allin, was, in 1665, appointed lieutenant of the Adventure, and in October 1668 captain of the Deptford ketch. From that time onward he seems to have served without intermission, and in September 1688 was appointed to the Defiance, a third-rate vessel. The revolution made no change in his position, and, still in command of the Defiance, he led the van of the fleet in the battle of Bantry Bay [see Herbert, Arthur], 1 May 1689. For his good service on this occasion Captain Ashby was knighted, and presented by the king with a gold watch set with diamonds. In July he was made rear-admiral of the blue, and the following year he was vice-admiral of the red, in the fleet under Lord Torrington off Beachy Head on 30 June. After Torrington's disgrace the command of the fleet was assigned to a committee of three—Richard Haddock, Killigrew, and Ashby—who hoisted their joint flag on board the Royal Sovereign, and, together with a body of land forces under the Earl of Marlborough, reduced Cork and Kinsale. In 1691 the command was given to Admiral Russell, with whom Sir John Ashby servd as vice-admiral of the red, and the next year as admiral of the blue; in that rank he commanded the rear of the fleet at Barfleur on 19 May, and, by taking timely advantage of a slight shift of wind, placed the French in such a position that they would be forced either to surrender or fly. They scattered and fled; some to La Hogue, where they were burnt by Russell; some to Cherbourg, where they were burnt by Delavall; and many through the Race of Alderney, where none of the English pilots would venture to take the pursuing ships under Ashby. They thus got safely into St. Malo, where they were blockaded through the rest of the summer. In England there was a strong feeling that more might have been done, and on 19 Nov. Sir John Ashby was called to the bar of the House of Commons to render an account of his conduct; but with his own, and Russell's further explanation, the house expressed itself satisfied (Parl. Hist.). The following year, 1693, the command was again put in commission, in which, however, Ashby had no part. When the fleet sailed, he remained at Portsmouth, possibly on account of his health, for on 12 July he died. He was buried in the first instance at Portsmouth; but his body was afterwards removed to Lowestoft, where there is a mural monument to his memory.

[Charnock's Biographia Navalis, i. 302; Brit. Mus. MSS. Add. 19098, p. 418.]

J. K. L.

Dictionary of National Biography, Errata (1904), p.9
N.B.— f.e. stands for from end and l.l. for last line

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166 ii 27 Ashby, Sir John: after he died insert He was comptroller of the store-keeper's accounts in the navy from 1690 till his death