This page has been established to facilitate sharing of information with people researching the surname ASHDOWN primarily in the East Sussex region. While the surname is strongly represented in Sussex, it is perhaps even more so in Kent. Many of the early ASHDOWN families are connected to families there. In Sussex, the village of Rotherfield appears to be a focal point for the surname in the 1500-1700s.
A PDF copy of the book "The ASHDOWN Wills of East Sussex 1578-1858" is available for free download on the Publications page (see main menu on the left).
The family trees below have resulted from my research into the Ashdown family and have been numbered to be consistent with the trees given in the book:
Tree 1 links many families living today in England, United States, South America and Australia. It is particularly notable because of Alice Hook (nee Ashdown) and her brother Richard Ashdown (1813-1902) who converted to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints while living in Sussex and emigrated to Utah in the USA in 1860 and 1861 respectively, where there are many, many of their descendants today.
Richard’s brother William emigrated to New South Wales, Australia in 1838 with his wife Jemima and three children, living in the country town of Tumut.
Also of interest is the emigration of Jane Burt to Brazil in 1850. Jane’s mother was Alice Ashdown (1792-1854), an aunt to the above Richard, Alice and William. Known as Eugenia in Brazil, she she married James Chaplin in 1851, who she likely met on the ship, and founded a large family of descendants living there today. One of those, Angelo Figurelli, is responsible for the good work in putting together that part of the family tree.
The family appears to have a history of religious non-conformity in East Sussex. For example, baptisms have been recorded at the Heathfield Independent Chapel which was Independent Congregational (built 1769) and the Hellingly Burlow chapel which was Independent Clavinist.
A feature of Tree 2 is the degree of intermarriage between the Ashown and Ovenden families at Rotherfield in the early 1700s. This tree connects to the WAITE family at Leigh, Kent which has been extensively researched. See website: https://www.nynne.org/ui100.htm
There are reasons for thinking that Tree 2 and Tree 3 could be connected. See discussion under Tree 2 in the book (Chapter 1), and “Will of William Ashdowne the elder, Yeoman of Rotherfield, 1737” in Chapter 3.
Tree 3 is one of a number of Ashdown family lines that appears in Rotherfield in the 1500s and early 1600s. The tree has an interesting connection to high status families in Sussex through the marriage of John Ashdown and Ann Elliott in 1672. The Eliott’s have connections through marriage to the Fermor family of Walshes Manor at Rotherfield and the Newington’s, a gentry family in the Ticehurst/Burwash area. It may indicate that this branch of the Ashdown family were also considered to be reasonably prosperous.
There are reasons for thinking that Tree 2 and Tree 3 could be connected - see discussion under Tree 2 in the book.
Tree 4 is one of a number of Ashdown family lines that appears in Rotherfield in the 1500s and has yet to be connected to a larger tree.
Tree 5 is one of a number of Ashdown family lines that appears in Rotherfield in the 1500s and early 1600s.
Despite many years of research by Patricia Ashdown Shepherd, Tree 8 has so far proven difficult to extend earlier than c1750s due to religious non-conformity in the early families.
Alexander Ashdowne appears at East Grinstead in 1752 and there is no obvious birth or baptism to be found for him. It is possible that he is linked to earlier occurrences of Ashdown's at East Grinstead (see Tree 8A), in particular to the family of Robert Ashdown who was buried at East Grinstead in 1714 and left a will. There is an Alexander in that family but he moved to Tonbridge and then to Speldhurst and a connection has yet to be made.
The people in Tree 10 lived in parishes near the border of Sussex and Kent. Further research in Kent is required to develop it further.
Tree 11 has strong links to the Ashdowns in Kent.
Tree 12 has been included here because of the marriage of Anne Elliott to John Ashdown in 1672 and the interesting connections to high status families in Sussex at that time. In particular the marriages of Alexander Elliott to Anne Fermor in 1613 at Mayfield (Anne is a descendant of the Fermor family of Walshes Manor at Rotherfield) and then Constance Hepden in 1624 at Mayfield (three of Contance’s sisters married into the Newington’s, a gentry family at that time). This gives some indication to the status of the Elliott family and possibly to the branch of the Ashdown family they later married into.
A key marriage in this tree is that of John Elliott and Ann Barham in 1646 at Wadhurst. Ann’s father, Nicholas Barham of Wadhurst, left a will proved in 1653 which confirms her marriage to John Elliott as it names their first three surviving children. It was their daughter Ann who married into the Ashdown family in 1672. The Barham’s themselves were people of status, and an earlier Nicholas Barham was noted as under-Steward on a Rotherfield manorial court roll in the mid-1500s.
 Will of Nicholas Barham, Gentleman of Wadhurst, made 14 Nov 1652, proved at the Prerogative Court of Canterbury 21 May 1653, TNA: PROB 11/230/148