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Simeon Ashe

Simeon Ashe or Ash (died 1662) was an English nonconformist clergyman, a member of the Westminster Assembly and chaplain to the Parliamentary leader Edward Montagu, 2nd Earl of Manchester.


He was educated at Emmanuel College, Cambridge.[1] He began his career as minister in Staffordshire, but was ejected from his living on account of his refusal to read the Book of Sports and to conform to other ceremonies. On his dismissal Sir John Burgoyne befriended him and allowed him the use of an 'exempt' church at Wroxhall; and he was afterwards under the protection of Robert Greville, 2nd Baron Brooke. He was a regular Sunday preacher at Warwick Castle, and friend of Thomas Dugard.[2]

When the First English Civil War broke out, he became chaplain to the Earl of Manchester. At the close of the war he received the living of St. Austin, and was also one of the Cornhill lecturers. He was nominated to the Westminster assembly after the death in 1643 of Josias Shute.[3]

Although he had joined the side of the parliament, Ashe was strongly opposed to the extreme party of the Cromwellians; and when the time was ripe for the English Restoration he was among the divines who went to Breda to meet Charles II of England. He died a few days before the passing of the Act of Uniformity, and was buried on 24 August 1662. Had he lived to see the passing of the act, he would have vacated his living. Ashe was a man of some property, and while he held the living of St. Austin, his house was always open to his clerical brethren. Walker charges him with exercising severity against the conforming clergy.


In 1644 he joined with William Goode, another chaplain of the Earl of Manchester, in writing a pamphlet entitled A particular Relation of the most Remarkable Occurrences from the United Forces in the North. This was followed by another pamphlet, for which Ashe alone was responsible, entitled A True Relation of the most Chiefe Occurrences at and since the late Battell at Newbery. The writer's object in both cases was to vindicate the conduct of his patron. In John Vicars's Parliamentary Chronicle there is a letter of his, describing the proceedings of the Earl of Manchester in reducing several garrisons after the battle of Marston Moor.

Ashe was the author of sermons, including

  • 'A Sermon on Ps. ix. 9,' preached before the House of Commons on 30 March 1642.
  • 'A Sermon before the House of Lords,' 26 Feb. 1644.
  • 'A Funeral Sermon on the Death of the Countess of Manchester,' 12 Oct. 1658, &c.

He also edited some treatises of John Ball, John Brinsley, Ralph Robinson, and others.


  1. ^ "Ash, Simeon (AS613S)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  2. ^ Ann Hughes, Politics, Society and Civil War in Warwickshire, 1620-1660 (2002), p. 73.
  3. ^ "House of Commons Journal Volume 3: 14 June 1643 | British History Online".


 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain"Ashe, Simeon". Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900.

6 Annotations

Second Reading

Bill  •  Link

Simeon Ashe, who was educated at Emmanuel college, in Cambridge, under Dr. Stooker, was intimate with Hildersham, Dod, Ball, Langley, and other nonconformists eminent in their day. He exercised his ministry in London for about three and twenty years. In the time of the civil war, he was chaplain to the earl of Warwick. As he was a man of fortune and character, his influence was great among the Presbyterians. He had no inconsiderable hand in the restoration of Charles the Second. Dr. Calamy speaks of him as a man of sanctity, benevolence, and hospitality. "He was," says that author, "a Christian of primitive simplicity, and a nonconformist of the old stamp." How far the narrow bigotry of a sect, and acrimony of railing, may accord with "primitive simplicity," I leave the reader to judge. I am very certain that he proves himself to be a nonconformist of the old stamp by bitter invectives against the conforming clergy, whom he calls "blind seers, idle drones, misguiding guides, and scandalous ministers, who plucked down more with their foul hands than they built up with their fair tongues" Ob. 1662. He published Ball's works, and several sermons of his own composition. The reader is referred to Walker and Calamy for the particulars of his character.
---A Biographical History of England. J. Granger, 1779.

Third Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Nothing about Simeon Ashe in Wheatley or L&M Companion.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

At Breda, Puritan representatives stressed that although they were not enemies of a moderate form of Episcopacy, they were concerned the Book of Common Prayer would be re-introduced in the royal chapel, along with the surplice and ceremonies they objected to.

According to Chancellor Edward Hyde, Charles II replied “with some warmth, that whilst he gave them liberty, he would not have his own taken from him; that he had always used that form of service, which he thought the best in the world … [T]hey were very much unsatisfied with him, whom they thought to have found more flexible.”[8]
[8] Interview of the Presbyterian Ministers with King Charles II at Breda in Clarendon’s History of the Rebellion, Book xvi, §§ 242-4, (Oxford, 1849), vol. vi, pages 261-263 as reprinted in Gould, Documents Relating to the Settlement of the Church of England by the Act of Uniformity of 1662 (London: W. Kent & Co, 1862), page 5.

Richard Baxter’s account of the discussions they had with Charles II once he was back in London is more positive and hopeful. On hearing of Charles’ zeal to search for peaceful compromise between the religious parties he records that “old Mr. Ashe burst out into Tears with Joy and could not forbear expressing what Gladness this Promise of his Majesty had put into his heart.”[9]
[9] Baxter, Reliquiae Baxterianae, page 231.

Mr. Ashe’s heart would soon be broken. All was not as it appeared behind the scenes. “It seems the king was sincere enough in his statements,” writes historian Gerald Bray, “but he was surrounded by men who were thirsting for revenge. Once he was safely back on the throne, Charles found he had to make concessions to these extremists, and the good intentions of Breda were seriously compromised as a result.”[10]
[10] G. Bray, Documents of the English Reformation (Cambridge: James Clarke & Co., 1994), page 544.

In 1660 the country was unprepared for the immediate restoration of Anglicanism as well as monarchy; most anticipated there would be liberty, toleration, and a new settlement to be negotiated and debated by Parliament in due course. “For some months,” says historian R. S. Bosher, “Charles II and his Chancellor, as well as the High Church leaders, paid lip service to this general expectation. At the same time they proceeded quietly and cautiously to put into effect the measures necessary for the recapture of the Establishment by the church party.”[11]
[11] R. S. Bosher, The Making of the Restoration Settlement: The Influence of the Laudians 1649-1662 (London: Dacre Press, 1951), page 149.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link


So while Charles II “might speak graciously to his Presbyterian subjects … his favor was showered on the Laudians.”[12]
[12] R. S. Bosher, The Making of the Restoration Settlement: The Influence of the Laudians 1649-1662 (London: Dacre Press, 1951), page 155. The ‘Laudians’ are so named for Archbishop Laud, a fervent opponent of the Puritans but who was at this point long dead (since 1645).
The use of “Anglican” and “Anglicanism” to describe the same interest group (despite being based on the Medieval Latin ecclesia anglicana, “The English Church”) is anachronistic, being a 19th century usage, but one so convenient and readily understandable today that it is difficult not to use it.
On “Anglicanism” as a term originating in the 1830s see M. Burkill, The Parish System: The Same Yesterday, Today and Forever? (London: Latimer Trust, 2005), pages 42-43 who notes that the idea of “Anglicanism” probably dates from the “imposition of Episcopacy in 1662”.

In Ireland, where Parliament was suspended, and there was little need to negotiate with Puritans, they were quickly repressed and the Church of England restored.

In England it happened more insidiously: petitions in favor of Episcopacy and the Prayer Book were organized in many English counties by the country gentry, probably at the instigation of the Court, with the effect that one contemporary commented, “[t]he generality of people are doting after prelacy and the Service-Book”.[13]
[13] Sharp, quoted in Bosher, Restoration Settlement, page 156.

At the same time, a standing committee of Episcopal divines led by the Bishop of London “was enabled to use the Crown’s patronage to establish its members in strategic posts” in both the Church and Universities.[14] [14] Bosher, Restoration Settlement, pages 161.
See his highly suggestive evidence for this on pages 159-160 which I. M. Green, The Re-Establishment of the Church of England 1660-1663 (Oxford: OUP, 1978), page 24 contests, claiming particularly that “Episcopal government was not functioning fully in May 1661”. This may be correct in many places, given the lack of experienced diocesan administrators (Green, chapter VI passim); but Bosher’s detailed work strongly suggests a resurgent Anglican attempt to influence things in their direction and in London the Bishop was active in seeking to further a Laudian agenda from 1660.
Green’s evidence points to a functioning and authority-wielding Episcopacy early on given the Episcopal ordinations and institutions of clergy which occurred from as early as June 1660, on pages 129-131).

San Diego Sarah  •  Link


In less than 2 years both old Mr. Ashe, who cried for joy at Charles II’s apparent desire for compromise, and old Mr. Jackson, who gave the king a Bible, would be cast out of the Church - along with most of their fellow Puritans.[15]
[15] See Calamy Revised page 290.
I presume “old Mr. Ashe” who accompanied Richard Baxter to see Charles II is Simeon Ashe “[o]ne of the leading London Presbyterian ministers” and Rector of St. Austin’s, London who “went seasonably to Heaven at the very Time when he was cast out of the Church. He was bury’d the Even of Batholomew-Day” (Calamy Revised page 16).

This catastrophic event was foreshadowed on September 9, 1660 by the Act for Confirming and Restoring of Ministers, which was a curious mixture of Puritan and Anglican concerns.…

Excerpted from
The Tragedy of 1662
The Ejection and Persecution of the Puritans
by Lee Gatiss…

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

The Lambeth Palace Library has a Missal with a wonderful woodcut showing a big chicken with -- I think -- 6 chicks. They posted a picture of it on Facebook with this information:

"This woodcut from a Missal in our Sion College collection was given to Sion College by Simeon Ashe in 1655, who was a Westminster Puritan and chaplain to Edward Montagu, a Roundhead leader.
"The markings around the chicks feet appear to give an illusion as to how many chicks there actually are."

This relates to Matthew 23 - "how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings".

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Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.


  • Nov