Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 02.djvu/223

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Aston
Aston
211

him from preaching. According to Foxe (Acts, iii. 47, ed. Townsend) he was cited and condemned later by Archbishop Arundel; but this statement seems to rest upon the notice in the St. Albans Chronicles (Walsingham, ii. 65 sq., ed. Riley; Chronicon Angliæ, 1328-1388, p. 350, ed. Thompson) of the popular disturbance at his trial, which evidently relates to that held by Archbishop Courtney (cf Fasc. Ziz. p. 329).

A few writings by Aston are enumerated by Bale (Scriptorum Illustrium Catalogus, p. 495, ed. Basle, 1559).

The name is spelled variously. The authorities last mentioned give 'Astone;' the 'Fasciculi Zizaniorum' alternate between 'Astone' and 'Aston;' while the Lambeth registers (see Fasc. Ziz., p. 310, n. 8) have 'Ashton,' and Wilkins prints 'Asshton.' Other forms are 'Ayston' (Wood, l. c.) and 'Aysliton' (Tanner, Bibl. Brit.-Hib., 54).

[Fasciculi Zizaniorum, pp. 273-90, 309-14, 329-33 (ed. Shirley, Rolls series); Knighton, De Event. Angl., coll. 2656-9 (in Twysden's Decem Scriptores); Wilkins's Concil. Magn. Brit. iii. 157-69, 202 et seq. (1737); J.Lewis's Life of Wiclif, pp. 262-6, ed. Oxford, 1820; Lechler's John Wiclif and his English Precursors, pp. 215-22, 433-9, Engl, tr., ed. 1881.]

R. L. P.

ASTON, JOSEPH (1762–1844), journalist, dramatist, and miscellaneous writer, was born in 1762, the son of William Aston, gunsmith, of Deansgate, in Manchester. In 1803 he opened a stationer's shop at 84 Deansgate, where, on 1 Jan. 1805, he issued the prospectus of the 'Manchester Mail,' published at sixpence, and professing 'no political creed.' From 1809 till 1825 he was publisher and editor of the 'Manchester Exchange Herald,' a conservative journal. Afterwards he removed to Rochdale, where he started the 'Rochdale Recorder.' He died at Chadderton Hall, 19 Oct. 1844, and was buried at Tonge, adjoining Middleton. Aston was the friend and executor of Thomas Barritt, the antiquary. For about thirty-four years he also enjoyed the closest intimacy with James Montgomery, the poet, and editor of the 'Sheffield Iris,' who submitted to him most of his manuscripts for revision and criticism. He himself was a facile writer of verses, the majority of which appeared in his own paper. Of his dramatic pieces, 'Conscience,' a comedy, was performed at the Theatre Royal, Manchester, in 1815, with moderate success; and he also wrote 'Retributive Justice,' a tragedy, and 'A Family Story,' a comedy. His published works nearly all relate to Manchester. They include 'The Manchester Guide,' 1804, 2nd edition, 1815, 3rd, with plates, 1826; 'History and Description of the Collegiate Church of Christ, Manchester;' 'Lancashire Gazetteer,' 1st edition 1808, 2nd 1822; 'An Heroic Epistle from the Quadruple Obelisk in the Market Place to the New Exchange,' 1809; 'A Descriptive Account of Manchester Exchange,' 1810; 'Metrical Records of Manchester, in which its History is traced (currente calamo) from the days of the ancient Britons to the present time,' 1822.

[Fishwick, Lancashire Library, 1875, 37, 119, and 285; Procter, Memorials of Manchester Streets, 1874, pp. 164-174; Memoirs of the Life and Writings of James Montgomery, by John Holland and James Everett, 1854-56; Notes and Queries, vol. xii., 2nd series, 379, and vol. i., 3rd series, 97.]

T. F. H.

ASTON, Sir RICHARD (d. 1778), judge, was a younger son of Richard Aston, Esq., of Wadley, Berks, by Elizabeth, daughter of John Warren, Esq., of Oxfordshire, grandson of Sir Willoughby Aston, Bart., and great-grandson of Sir Thomas Aston, created baronet by Charles I, sheriff of Cheshire in 1635, who exerted himself energetically on the side of the king in the constitutional struggle, and lost his life through a wound received in a skirmish in 1645. The Astons derived their name from Aston in Cheshire, where the family had been settled since the time of Henry II. It is not known at what date Richard Aston began practice as a barrister. His name appears with tolerable frequency in the first volume of Sir James Burrow's 'Reports of Cases in the King's Bench' (1756-8), but seldom in connection with cases of first-rate importance. He became king's counsel in 1759, and in 1761 was made lord chief justice of the court of Common Pleas in Ireland, on the resignation of Sir William Yorke. In this office he seems to have displayed considerable energy. Discovering that it was the practice of grand juries in that country to find bills of indictment upon the mere perusal of depositions without examining any witnesses, he set himself to reform so scandalous an abuse. He failed, however, to carry his colleagues with him, only two out of nine disapproving of the practice, which remained unaltered until 1816, when a bill making the examination of witnesses obligatory was introduced into the House of Commons by Horner and passed into law. Few English judges have been popular in Ireland, and Aston was not one of the few. Accordingly, on the resignation of Sir Thomas Denison, one of the judges of the King's Bench in England, which happened in 1765, he resigned his Irish post, and was