Staffordshire Historical Collections, Vol. 4. Originally published by Staffordshire Record Society, London, 1883.
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The manor of Wood Eaton has been held with that of Church Eaton ever since the Conquest, and may be considered as parcel of the same. The greater portion of these manors have always been held in demesne.
The principal sub-tenants in these townships under the Barons of Stafford were the families of Astley of Wood Eaton, (fn. 1) and Aston of Haywood and Leigh, in the county of Stafford. In 10 Henry VIII. (1518–19) John Astley held lands both in Wood Eaton and Church Eaton, which were formerly in the possession of Sir John Brenton (Brinton or Brimpton), and certain lands in Wood Eaton, which had formerly been held by William Aston.
Among the smaller free tenants of that date were William James, Lady Hill, William Haywarde, Alice Clarke, and John Stepulton, in Wood Eaton, and John Blake and Isabella London in Church Eaton. (fn. 2)
In 23 Henry VIII. (1531–32) John Astley was still in possession, and Dame Elizabeth Aston was then represented by Sir Edward Aston, Knight. (fn. 2)
Dame Elizabeth Aston will have been the widow of John Aston, Esq., who was Sheriff of the counties of Stafford and Warwick in 16 and 20 Edward IV. (1480), one of the eighty-nine knights and esquires, retainers for life to William, Lord Hastings. She was the daughter of John Delves, of Doddington, co. Chester, Esq., (fn. 3) who died in 1 Richard III. (1483–84), seised of Heywode, and a third part of the manor of Leigh, and, amongst others, of messuages, &c., in Wollaston and Onne, in the manor of Church Eaton. (fn. 4) Their eldest son, Sir John Aston, was made a Knight of the Bath at the marriage of Prince Arthur, eldest son of Henry VII. He accompanied Henry VII. in his expedition into Brittany, and was present at the sieges of Terrouenne and Tournay. For his bravery at the battle of Spurs he was made a Knight-Banneret by the King on the field. He was Sheriff of Staffordshire in 16 and 24 Henry VII., and Sheriff of Leicestershire and Warwickshire in 2 Henry VIII. He died on 28th March, 14 Henry VIII. (1523), seised of lands and tenements in Wollaston and Onne, which he held of the King, as of his manor of Church Eyton, by fealty only, of the value of 100s., the said manor of Church Eyton having come into the King's hands by the forfeiture of Edward, late Duke of Buckingham, attainted for high treason. (fn. 5) He married Joan, daughter of Sir William Littleton, Knight, son of the famous Chief Justice Littleton, from whom she inherited Tixall; and from her mother, Helen, daughter and co-heir of Robert Walsh, Esq., and his wife Margery, daughter and co-heir of Sir Richard Byron, Knight, she inherited Wanlip, in the county of Leicester. Besides daughters, they had two sons, namely, Edward, who succeeded them, and William, who married Elizabeth Stapleton, of Carlton, co. York, and had issue Francis Aston, who in 1564 married Mary, daughter of Anthony Astley, Esq., of Church Eaton. (fn. 6)
Sir Edward Aston, of Tixall, Knight, was Sheriff of Staffordshire in 20, 26, and 32 Henry VIII. He built, in 1555, the fine old mansion at Tixall. He died in 1568, and his son, Sir Walter Aston, Knight (one of whose daughters, Margery, married Thomas Astley, Esq.), was father of Sir Edward, and grandfather of Sir Walter Aston, who was created a Baronet in 1611 by King James I., and in 1627 was made a Scotch peer, by the title of Baron Aston, of Forfar. (fn. 6)
In Michaelmas Term, 4 and 5 Elizabeth, was a fine between Thomas Asteley, complainant, and Richard Lovatt and Ellen his wife, defendants, concerning an eighth part of a messuage and lands in Churche Eyton and Wood Eyton, the right of Thomas. (fn. 7)
In 42 Elizabeth licence was granted to George Onslow, Gent., and Jane his wife, to alienate one messuage, garden and orchard, with 120 acres of land, 20 acres of meadow, 160 acres of pasture, and 20 acres of wood in Gnosill and Church Eyton, in the county of Stafford, to Walter Gyfford, Esq., John Talbot, Esq., and Thomas Asteley, to the use of them and their heirs. (fn. 8)