Sunday 6 December 2015

(198) Ash, later Beresford-Ash, of Ashbrook House

Ash of Ashbrook House
This branch of the Ash family has been settled in Ireland since the 16th century, but like all the other gentry families of this name they trace their origins ultimately to the medieval Ashe family from Devon. It was Thomas Ashe (1529-82), the second son of Nicholas Ashe of Clyst Forynson (Devon) who first moved to Ireland, where he married the daughter of Nicholas Bailey of St. John's Abbey in Co. Meath. Thomas probably had four sons, the eldest of whom, Gen. Sir Thomas Ashe (1567-1626) was active under both Queen Elizabeth and James I in defending the Crown's authority in Ireland, and who was in consequence a major beneficiary of the redistribution of forfeited lands in Ulster. Having no sons to succeed him, he gave many of these properties to his relations, and he settled the lands he received at Cornerrin and elsewhere near Derry on Josias Ashe. Josias, whose relationship to Sir Thomas is uncertain, left the estate to his elder son, John Ashe (d. 1684), who was a merchant in Belfast and served as 'Sovraign' of the borough [i.e. Mayor] in 1646; he married three times and had twenty-four recorded children, although many of them died young. It seems to have been John who first made his home at Cornerrin, which he renamed Ashbrook House, and since his surviving sons were mostly apprenticed to trades in Derry rather than Belfast, this may have been during the Civil War or soon afterwards.

John was dead before King James II's invasion of Ireland took place, but many of his adult children were actively involved in the desperate defence of Derry against the king in 1689, and two of his numerous grandchildren were killed - or at least died - during the siege. Ashbrook had been left not to his eldest son but to George Ash (1679-1729), who was perhaps John's youngest surviving son at the time of his death. George was only five when his father died and only seven when his mother remarried. He was taken to safety in Scotland during the war of 1689 with his mother's other surviving children, and the Ashbrook estate was left in the care of his half-brother, Lt-Col. Thomas Ashe (1660-c.1737), who moved into Derry during the siege and left an account of it which is one of the main sources for understanding events there.  When the King's army gave up the siege in 1689 they burned the homes of many leading Protestants in the vicinity, and Ashbrook would have been lucky to escape this, although there is no family tradition of a rebuilding after the war.

George Ash (the final e being dropped about this time) died aged 50, although not before fathering 17 children, six of whom died young. His heir was his eldest surviving son, George Ash (1712-96), who took a French wife (which may imply that he travelled on the Continent as a soldier or a tourist) but had no issue. He is generally thought to have been responsible for giving the house its present appearance by building the front range with a prominent curved central bow. When his widow died in 1803 the house passed to his nephew, William Hamilton (later Hamilton Ash) (d. 1821), on condition that he took the name Ash. William's sons were the first members of the family known to have gone to University, and his heir, William Hamilton Ash (1801-66) was a JP for counties Donegal, Londonderry and Tyrone, implying that he had significant landholdings in all three counties. He married into the peerage (his wife was a sister of the 17th Earl of Morton) but the couple had only one child, a daughter, Caroline (1830-1901), who married John Barré Beresford (1815-95) of Learmount Castle (Londonderry). In 1883, the combined Ashbrook and Learmount estates amounted to some 12,873 acres in Donegal, Londonderry and Tyrone. When John died, the Ashbrook and Learmount estates were again divided, passing to the couple's elder and younger sons respectively. 

Col. William Randal Hamilton Beresford (later Beresford-Ash) (1859-1938) who inherited Ashbrook, was a career soldier who saw extensive service in India and South Africa. He married a daughter of the 5th Marquess of Sligo but they had only one child, Maj. Douglas Beresford-Ash (1887-1976), who followed his father into the army and fought throughout the First World War, retiring in 1924. In 1930 he made a late marriage to the youngest daughter of the Earl of Stradbroke, and they also had only one son, John Randal Beresford-Ash (1938-2010), who saw the estate through the dark days of the Troubles, when the good relations he maintained with both the local Catholic and Protestant populations helped to protect the family and its property from unwanted attention. Like his great-great-uncle, he took a French wife, and they had three daughters, all now married, so it would seem that the Ash name will die out in this generation, unless a future owner follows family precedent and adds Ash to their patronymic. The family currently open the house to visitors by appointment and use it as a wedding venue.

Ashbrook House, Co. Londonderry

Ashbrook House: aerial view showing the front block of c.1760 and the probably older ranges behind.
Image: © Neil Jackman/Abarta

There has been a house on this site (called Cornerrin until c.1690) since at least the middle of the 17th century, and perhaps earlier. It may have been one of the Protestant homes burned by the retreating Jacobite army after their failure to capture Derry in 1689, but the family tradition is of a rebuilding in 1686 rather than after the rebellion. Parts of the back of the house may date from the late 17th century but they have been so altered later that there are no datable features before the 18th century. 

Ashbrook House: a new front range was built about 1760 for George Ash (1712-96)

In the late 18th century (reputedly about 1760) a new front range was built, with a strongly-projecting semicircular bow in the centre; an unusual design although one which was paralleled a little later at nearby Roe Park. The fenestration is unusual, with single windows either side of the bow on the ground floor and two windows above. Despite this solecism, the new front was obviously meant to be fashionable, for the architraves to all the windows and the front door are lavishly treated with Gibbs surrounds in stone.

Ashbrook House: the entrance hall. Image: © Neil Jackman of
Ashbrook House: dining room. Image: © Neil Jackman of

Ashbrook House, from the 3rd edn OS 6" map.
Inside, the house has relatively simple interiors, made memorable by vivid colours and an accumulation of interesting objects. The doors and window frames have lugged surrounds. The addition of the taller new rooms to the front of the house in the later 18th century means that the first floor bedrooms in this part of the house are approached from the rear by a straight stair leading off a top-lit gallery. 

The estate, which is partly in the glen of the River Faughan, was also landscaped in the 18th century: tree planting is recorded in 1773-76.

Descent: John Ash (fl. 1686)...George Ash (1679-1729); to son, George Ash (1712-96); to nephew, William Hamilton (later Hamilton Ash) (d.1821); to son, William Hamilton Ash (1801-66); to daughter, Caroline (1830-1901), wife of John Barré Beresford (d. 1895); to son, Col. William Randal Hamilton Beresford (later Beresford-Ash) (1859-1938); to son, Maj. Douglas Beresford-Ash (1887-1976); to son, John Randal Beresford-Ash (1938-2010); to daughter, Melanie Anne Helena Charlotte Beresford-Ash (b. 1968), wife of Charles Cunningham.

Ash (later Beresford-Ash) family of Ashbrook

Ashe, Thomas (1529-82). Second son of Nicholas Ashe of Clyst Forynson (Devon), born at Bucknell (Oxon), 1529. He married Mary, daughter of Nicholas Bailey of St. John's Abbey (Meath) and had issue including:
(1) Gen. Sir Thomas Ashe (1567-1626) (q.v.);

(2) Nicholas Ashe of Newtown (Meath); married and had issue two sons and one daughter;
(3) John Ashe (d. 1636); received from his eldest brother the St John's Abbey estate and Talbot's Castle (Meath), Moyvalley and Dromshill (Cavan); married Elizabeth, daughter of Thomas Case[y] of Chester and had issue one son and one daughter; died 29 April 1636 and was buried at Trim (Meath);
(4) ?Josias Ashe (b. c.1580) (q.v.).
He settled at St John's Abbey (Meath) in the reign of Queen Elizabeth.
He died in 1582, aged 53.

Ashe, Gen. Sir Thomas (1567-1626). Son of Thomas Ashe (1529-82), born 1567. He was knighted at Dublin Castle, 25 July 1603, as a reward for his part in suppressing the revolt of the Irish earls; MP for Trim (Meath). He married Elizabeth [surname unknown] (d. 1632) and had issue*:
(1) Anne Ashe; married Rev. Joseph Synge, rector of Manfieldstown and vicar of Dundalk, son of Richard Synge of Bridgnorth (Shropshire) and had issue a son.
He lived at St. John's Abbey near Trim (Meath) and Dromshill (later Ashfield Hall) (Cavan), where he was granted 6,500 acres. He was succeeded in these estates by his younger brother, John Ashe (d. 1636) or, according to some accounts, by his great-nephew, Nicholas Ashe (1608-56) of Moyrath at whose death without issue, they were inherited by his cousin, William Ashe of Summerstown. Sir Thomas was reputedly also granted lands near Londonderry including Cornerrin (later Ashbrook) after the flight of the Earls in 1607, which he gave to his relative Josias Ashe. 
He died 14 October 1626. His widow died in 1632; her will was proved in the Prerogative Court of Ireland in that year.
* Some sources say he died without issue.

Ashe, Josias (b. c.1580). A son or possibly a grandson of Thomas Ashe (1529-82) and his wife Mary Bailey (d. 1629), born about 1600. He married Mary Hogan and had issue including:
(1) John Ashe (d. 1684) (q.v.);
(2) Francis Ashe;
(3) Thomas Ashe (fl. 1680);
(4) Anne Ashe (fl. 1680); married [forename unknown] Harvey;
(5) Susanna Ashe; some sources identify her as the daughter of Josias Ashe baptised at Templemore, 13 December 1642 and as the person who married, 15 October 1657, Edmond Thomas, and as the Widow Ash who was buried 15 May 1671, but these events seem unlikely to all relate to the same person and to be too late to refer to a person of this generation.
He appears to have been given various lands in the environs of Londonderry by his relative, Sir Thomas Ashe, no doubt including Cornerrin (later Ashbrook).
His date of death is unknown.

Ashe, John  (d. 1684). Son of Josias Ashe (b. c.1580) and Mary Hogan, born about 1600. A burgess of Belfast; elected 'Sovraigne' [i.e. Mayor] of Belfast, 1646. He married 1st, Thomasin [surname unknown], 2nd,  c.1655, Sarah Williams (c.1639-68), and 3rd, c.1668, Elizabeth Holland, and had issue:
(1.1) John Ashe (fl. 1680); inherited Coolofinny from his father; married 1st, Elizabeth, daughter of Nicholas Ball and had issue four children; he married 2nd, [name unknown] and had issue three further children;
(2.1) Luke Ashe; died at sea without issue;
(2.2) Henry Ashe (d. 1711); tanner; an alderman of Derry and one of the defenders of the city during the siege of 1689; sheriff of Derry, 1687, 1690 and 1694; mayor of Derry, 1696; he married 1st, [name unknown] and had issue one child; he married 2nd, Margaret [surname unknown] and had issue fifteen or sixteen children, many of whom died young; died after 1704; will proved 1711;
(2.3) Elisabeth Ashe; married Thomas Gardiner;
(2.4) Lt-Col. Thomas Ashe (1660-c.1737); educated in Derry city; managed his father's estates from 1684; coroner for Londonderry, 1685; he moved into Derry city at the beginning of 1689 and was an officer in one of the regiments there resisting the siege of 1689, for which his journal (published in 1792) is one of the best sources; he stayed in Derry until 1693 and lived thereafter at Magherafelt (Londonderry) until 1727 and then at Ballymaguigan (Londonderry); high sheriff of Londonderry, 1694; alderman of Derry, 1704-37; JP for Londonderry, 1716-37; officer in a militia regiment from 1715 (Lt-Col., 1724); visited England, 1700, 1710 and 1720; he recorded the genealogy of his family at the end of his life, 1735-37 (published in 1890); married 1st, 13 July 1686, Elizabeth (d. 1688), daughter of Thomas Becke and had issue two daughters; married 2nd, 6 April 1693, Elizabeth (c.1672-1728), daughter of Hugh Rainey of Magherafelt, and had thirteen sons and four daughters; died about 1737, aged 77;
(2.5) Mary Ashe (b. 1661), born 8 May 1661; married 1st, George Stewart (d. 1682) of Inch (Donegal) and had issue a daughter who died during the siege of Derry; married 2nd, 1687, William Browne and had issue four sons (one died young) and six daughters; living in 1735; buried at Muff (Donegal);
(2.6) Susanna Ashe; died young;
(2.7) Sarah Ashe (1665-1726), born 24 April 1665; married 1st, c.1781, John Dougherty (d. 1684), attorney, and had issue one daughter, who died during the siege of Derry, and two other children who died young; she married 2nd, October 1689, Maj. Sam Shaltcross (d. c.1707) and had issue three children, who all died young; lived in Dublin and later Derry after her second husband's death; died in Derry aged 61;
(2.8) Margaret Ashe; died young;
(2.9) George Ashe; married and had issue one son;
(2.10) twin, Josias Ashe (1668-81), born 12 July 1668; died aged 13 and was buried at Muff (Donegal);
(2.11) twin, Capt. James Ashe (1668-1704), born 12 July 1668; apprenticed to his brother Henry, c.1683 and served with him four years; when the Jacobite invasion took place he purchased a commission in the army (Ensign, 1688; Lt., 1690; Capt., c.1691); he had an illegitimate son, who lived in Co. Down; he died unmarried at Barbados, while en route to America with his regiment; will proved 1704;
(3.1) Charity Ash (1669-82), born 23 August 1669 at Coleraine; died of smallpox in 1682 aged 13 and was buried at Clandermont;
(3.2) William Ash (b. 1671), born 18 August 1671; died young;
(3.3) Alexander Ash (b. 1672), born 16 July 1672; died young;
(3.4) Anne Ash (b. 1673), born 8 December 1673; died young;
(3.5) Stephen Ash (alias Holland) (1675-1712), born 26 December 1675; apprenticed to Samuel Leeson of Derry, tanner; had three illegitimate children (including twins by one of Leeson's maids); in business as a tanner in Derry and after his marriage at Liffoy near Coleraine; married Mary (1681-1731), daughter of Edward Edwards MP of Castlegore and had issue four sons and three daughters; got into debt and abandoned his wife and family and went to London and then joined the army; died on campaign, 1712, aged 37;
(3.6) William Ash (b. 1677), born 2 August 1677; died young;
(3.7) Martha Ash (b. 1678), born October 1678; died young;
(3.8) George Ash (1679-1729) (q.v.);
(3.9) Richard Ash (b. 1681), born 12 February 1680/1; died young;
(3.10) Lydia Ash (b. 1682), born 19 February 1681/2; died young;
(3.11) Charity Ash (b. 1683), born 29 July 1683; married, Thomas Lecky (d. 1710), son of Alexander Lecky and had issue eight sons and one daughter; living in 1735;
(3.12) Phillis Ash (b. 1684), born 16 August 1684; married, 16 April 1718, Rev. Thomas Warburton (fl. 1735), rector of Magherafelt and had issue two sons and four daughters; living in 1735.
He lived at Cornerrin (later Ashbrook) which he inherited from his father; he is said to have built a new house there.
He died in November 1684. His first wife died in childbirth and was buried at Muff (Donegal). His second wife also died in childbirth, July 1668. His widow married 2nd, 6 July 1686, John Cromey and moved to Co. Antrim with the four surviving children of her first marriage; during the war of 1689-90 they moved to Glasgow, returning towards the end of 1690; she died in 1735.

Ash, George (1679-1729). Son of John Ash (d. 1684?) and his third wife Elizabeth Holland, born 17 November 1679. Apprenticed to his half-brother, Henry Ash as a tanner, c.1694, but did not complete his articles. Lieut. to Capt. George Tomkins in the Militia; was burgess in the Corporation of Derry, and served twice as High-Sheriff for the City & County of Londonderry. He married, c.1703, his cousin Mary (1682-1764), daughter of John Rankin of Donegal and had issue:
(1) Jane Ash (b. 1704) (q.v.);
(2) John Ash, (b. 1705); died young;
(3) Sarah Ash (b. 1706); died young;
(4) Elisabeth Ash (b. 1707); died young;
(5) Charity Ash (b. 1709); married Robert Thompson and had issue one son and one daughter;
(6) Mary Ash (1710-67); living in 1735; perhaps the Mary Ash of Ashbrook whose will was proved in 1767;
(7) George Ash (1712-96) (q.v.).
(8) Susanna Ash (b. 1714); living in 1735;
(9) Sophia Ash (b. 1716); living in 1735;
(10) William Ash (b. 1717); living in 1735;
(11) Phillis Ash (b. 1718); died young;
(12) Martha Ash (b. 1719); living in 1735;
(13) Thomas Ash (b. 1721); died young;
(14) Rebecca Ash (b. 1722); died young;
(15) Phillis Ash (b. 1724); probably died young;

(16) Elisabeth Ash (1725-1813); living in 1735; married Henry Hewey (d. 1755) and had issue three sons and one daughter; died 1813 and was buried with her husband at Eglinton;
(17) Lydia Ash (b. 1727); living in 1735.
He inherited the Ashbrook estate from his father in 1684 and came of age in 1700.
He died 25 June 1729. His widow died in 1764.

Ash, George (1712-96). Son of George Ash (1679-1729) and his wife Mary, daughter of John Rankin of Donegal, born 1712. A burgess of Limavady. He married, Anne [surname unknown] (d. 1803), a French lady, but had no issue.
He inherited the Ashbrook estate from his father in 1729, and built the new front onto the house in the late 18th century. He initially intended his nephew George Hewey (whom he educated) as his heir, but they had a dispute about a horse and so Ashbrook was left to another nephew, William Hamilton (later Hamilton Ash) (d. 1821).
He died 18 October 1796 and his will was proved in December that year. His widow died in 1803; her will was proved in that year.

Ash, Jane (b. 1704). Daughter of George Ash (1679-1729) and his wife Mary, daughter of John Rankin of Donegal, born 1704. She married William Hamilton and had issue including:
(1) William Hamilton (later Hamilton-Ash) (d. 1821) (q.v.).
Her date of death is unknown. Her husband's date of death is unknown.

Hamilton (later Hamilton Ash), William (d. 1821). Son of William Hamilton and his wife Jane, daughter of George Ash of Ashbrook. He assumed the additional surname of Ash on inheriting the Ashbrook estate in 1803. He married, 29 May 1795, Elizabeth Harriet (d. 1805), daughter of [forename unknown] Henderson of Castle Dawson (Londonderry) and had issue:
(1) Ann Hamilton Ash (c.1796-1867); married, 8 March 1824 at St Peter, Dublin, Rev. Thomas William Dixon, a Roman Catholic priest who converted to Anglicanism and became curate of Drogheda; died at Drogheda (Louth), 16 November 1867;
(2) William Hamilton Ash (1801-66) (q.v.);
(3) Rev. George Hamilton Ash (1802-52); educated at Trinity College, Dublin (BA 1822; MA 1832); curate and later rector of Ballyscullion, 1826-49; rector of Cumber Lower, 1849-52; married, 1826, Mary Elizabeth (1804-66), daughter of Rev. Thomas Spotswood and had issue two sons and two daughters; died in Dublin, 28 October 1852;
(4) Jane Hamilton Ash (d. 1848); married, as his second wife, Robert Algar, later collector of customs at Berwick-on-Tweed (Northbld) and had issue; in 1839 when they were living in Drogheda a violent storm blew down their house and they had to be rescued by neighbours; died 31 August 1848.
He inherited the Ashbrook estate after the death of his aunt in 1803.
He died 29 May 1821. His wife died in 1805.

Ash, William Hamilton (1801-66). Son of William Hamilton Ash (d. 1821) of Ashbrook and his wife Elizabeth Harriet Henderson, born 3 May 1801. Educated at Trinity College, Dublin (BA 1822). JP for Londonderry, Donegal and Tyrone; DL for Londonderry, 1837; High Sheriff of Londonderry, 1843; a burgess of Derry by 1836; Chairman of the Famine Relief Committee for Co. Londonderry, 1845-47; President of the Tirkeeran Farming Association, 1839; a Londonderry Bridge Commissioner, 1859-66. He married, 10 July 1827 at Earls Gift (Tyrone), Lady Elizabeth Emma (1794-1857), third daughter of Hon. John Douglas and sister of 17th Earl of Morton, and had issue:
(1) Caroline Hamilton Ash (1830-1901) (q.v.).
He inherited the Ashbrook estate from his father in 1821, but it was let to Hugh Lyle in the 1820s.
He died 20 November 1866; his will was proved 18 December 1866. His wife died at Earls Gift, 2 February 1857.

Hamilton Ash, Caroline (1830-1901). Only child of William Hamilton Ash (1801-66) and his wife, Lady Elizabeth Emma, daughter of Hon. John Douglas, born 30 September 1830. She married, 7 July 1853, as his second wife, John Barré Beresford (1815-95) of Learmount Castle (Londonderry), eldest son of Henry Barré Beresford of Learmount Castle, and had issue:
(1) Col. William Randal Hamilton Beresford (later Beresford-Ash) (1859-1938) (q.v.);
(2) Emma Clara Beresford (c.1861-1927); married, 20 December 1881, as his second wife, Capt. Francis Coffin Macky JP DL (1847-1920), younger son of James Thompson Macky of Belmont (Londonderry), and had issue a daughter; died 19 November 1927; will proved 21 March 1928 (estate £1,145);
(3) Barbara Caroline Beresford (c.1863-1937); died unmarried, 13 May 1937; administration of goods granted 12 August 1937 (estate £205);
(4) Mary Elizabeth Beresford (1864-1936), born 19 February 1864; married, 6 February 1899, Henry Joseph Cooke (1852-1923), son of Joseph Cooke and had issue one son and two daughters; died in Belfast, 22 January 1936; will proved 21 July 1936 (estate £11,217);
(5) Maj. Marcus John Barré Beresford (1868-1944), of Learmount, born 10 April 1868; an officer in the South Wales Borderers, who served in South Africa; married, 19 December 1914, Alma (d. 1968), daughter of David Methven of London, and had issue one daughter; killed by enemy action, 26 July 1944; will proved 11 January 1945 (estate £10,569);
(6) Louisa Gertrude Douglas Beresford (1870-1941), born 28 September 1870; married, 22 August 1894 at Glendermott (Londonderry), Maj. John Edward Pine-Coffin of Portledge (Devon); died 12 March 1941; will proved 20 November 1941 (estate £1,462).
She inherited the Ashbrook estate from her father in 1866. In 1883 the combined Learmount and Ashbrook estates comprised 12,873 acres in Donegal, Londonderry and Tyrone.
She died 13 January 1901 and was buried at Learmount. Her husband died 30 August 1895.

Beresford (later Beresford-Ash), Col. William Randal Hamilton (1859-1938). Eldest surviving son of John Barré Beresford of Learmount Castle and his wife Caroline, daughter of William Hamilton Ash, born 19 July 1859. An officer in the Royal Welsh Fusiliers (2nd Lt., 1879; Lt., 1881; Capt., 1885; Adjutant, 1890-94; Maj., 1898; Lt-Col., 1904 and Brevet Col, 1907) who served in India, 1885-86, 1888-90 and 1896-1900 and in South Africa, 1900-01 and was mentioned in despatches, 1886; DL for Co. Londonderry. He assumed the additional surname and arms of Ash by royal licence, 1901. He married, 23 October 1886 at St. Marylebone (Middx), Lady Florence Marion (1863-1946), daughter of Henry Ulick Browne, 5th Marquess of Sligo, and had issue:
(1) Maj. Douglas Beresford-Ash (1887-1976) (q.v.).
He inherited the Ashbrook estate from his mother in 1901, but let it initially. His widow lived latterly at Longnor Hall (Shropshire).
He died 8 March 1938; his will was proved 5 July 1938 (estate £6,978). His widow died 22 November 1946; her will was proved 29 April 1947 (estate £3,889).

Beresford-Ash, Maj. Douglas (1887-1976). Only child of Col. William Randal Hamilton Beresford-Ash of Ashbrook and his wife Lady Florence Marion, daughter of 5th Marquess of Sligo, born 3 September 1887 in Lucknow (India). Educated at Eton and RMC Sandhurst. An officer in the Royal Fusiliers (2nd Lt., 1908; Lt., 1912; Capt., 1915; Adjutant, 2nd Battn, London Regt., 1923; retired as Major, 1924), he was wounded and mentioned in despatches in WW1. DL for Co. Londonderry; High Sheriff of Londonderry, 1950. He married, 17 September 1930 at St Martin-in-the-Fields, London, Lady (Betty) Helena Joanna (d. 1969), youngest daughter of George Edward John Mowbray Rous, 3rd Earl of Stradbroke, and had issue:
(1) John Randal Beresford-Ash (1938-2010) (q.v.).
He inherited the Ashbrook estate from his father in 1938.
He died in 1976, aged 89. His wife died 4 November 1969.

J.R. Beresford-Ash
Beresford-Ash, John Randal (1938-2010). Only child of Maj. Douglas Beresford-Ash (1887-1976) and his wife Lady (Betty) Helena Joanna, daughter of 3rd Earl of Stradbroke, born in London, 21 January 1938. Educated at Eton. He served in the Irish Guards. High Sheriff of Londonderry, 1976. He married, 27 March 1968 in Paris (France), Agnès Marie Colette, younger daughter of Comte (Jules Marie) Guy de Lamberterie de la Chapelle Montmoreau, of La Truchere, Soane-et-Loire (France), and had issue:
(1) Melanie Anne Helena Charlotte Beresford-Ash (b. 1968), born 9 August 1968; married, 29 September 2001 in St Columb's Cathedral, Londonderry, Charles C. Cunningham, son of Augustine Cunningham of Templemore (Londonderry); now living
(2) Louisa-Jane Marie Caroline Beresford-Ash (b. 1971), born 7 July 1971; married 16 February 2002, at Londonderry Cathedral, Thomas W.E. Leigh, son of Robert Leigh of Hartfield (Sussex); now living;
(3) Angelique Mary Elisa Beresford-Ash (b. 1978); married, 9 May 2009, at Londonderry Cathedral, Dominic Benthall.
He inherited the Ashbrook estate from his father in 1976. He and his wife also owned a house in Burgundy (France).
He died suddenly, 3 April 2010 and was buried at Christ Church, Limavady, 14 April 2010. His widow is now living.


Burke's Irish Family Records, 1976, pp. 38-39; H. Tyler, The Ash manuscript, written in the year 1735, by Lt-Col. Thomas Ash, 1890; M. Bence-Jones, A guide to Irish country houses, 2nd edn, 1988, p. 12;;

Location of archives

Beresford-Ash of Ashbrook: miscellaneous legal papers, 1795-1951 [Public Record Office of Northern Ireland, D1550/152]

Coat of arms

Ash of AshbrookArgent two chevronnels gules, in the dexter chief a trefoil slipped vert; Beresford of Learmount: Quarterly, 1st and 4th, argent crusilly fitchee three fleurs-de-lis, a bordure engrailed sable (for Beresford); 2nd and 3rd, argent a chief indented sable (for De La Poer), with a crescent for difference.
The Beresford-Ashs quarter the two coats, with the arms of Ash 1st and 4th and those of Beresford 2nd and 3rd.

Can you help?

Here are a few notes about information and images which would help to improve the account above. If you can help with any of these or with other additions or corrections, please use the contact form in the sidebar to get in touch.

  • As so often with Irish families, the genealogical details for earlier generations are sadly deficient and I would be most grateful for any additional information which readers can supply. In particular, it would be helpful to know the dates of death of Jane Ash (b. 1704) and her husband William Hamilton, and the date of birth of their son, William Hamilton (later Hamilton Ash) (d. 1821).
  • Can anyone identify Anne, the French wife of George Ash (1712-96), or explain how they met?
  • Can anyone supply images of portraits or photographs of other members of the family?

Revision and acknowledgements

This post was first published 6th December 2015 and was revised 28 January and 21 May 2016.


  1. I got here through Elizabeth Holland Smith Stinson. A LONG ways from this page!Her daughter, Abigail Smith McCaulley, had been a brick wall for years and years among all of us looking for her. But now with the help of Craig Smith's Smith family blog spot I have the leads I need and this fills in some of the blanks we didn't have. It's been almost 4 months of searching and researching 10 hours a day 7 days a week! It's a good thing this wasn't a hired job! Unless of course, I was the one hired! Thank you so much for posting this. Toni in Iowa USA

  2. I am searching for the burial place of an ancestor, Col. Stephen Holland, who had requested that he be buried in a "most private manner, as near the grave of my dear late friend, George Ash, Esq. as William Hamilton Ash, Esq." Stephen Holland was originally from Coleraine, and became somewhat famous/infamous during the American Revolutionary War. Any help you provide will be appreciated.

  3. This is a comprehensive study of the Ash family history and inheritance. It is accurately informative, interesting and illustrative. The extraordinary detail is to be admired which prompted me to seek advice. I have discovered in my possession a rare survey map of Highmoor near Derry, dated 1780 by the surveyor David Mc Cool. It is not an artistic item but on the reverse it clearly states it belonged to G Ash (1712-1796)..James..Thank you Nicholas


Please leave a comment if you have any additional information or corrections to offer, or if you are able to help with additional images of the people or buildings in this post.