Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Ashley, John (1734?-1805)

ASHLEY, JOHN (1734?–1805), was the father of a remarkable family of musicians who flourished towards the end of the eighteenth century. He became a member of the Royal Society of Musicians 7 April 1765. At the Handel commemoration in 1784 he was assistant conductor to Joah Bates. On the same occasion the double bassoon was played by a 'Mr. Ashley of the Guards,' who is sometimes supposed to have been the same individual, but was more probably another member of the family, possibly his brother Jane, who was born in 1740 and died at Westminster on 5 April 1809. John Ashley in 1795 undertook the management of the oratorio concerts at Covent Garden. He died in Abingdon Street, Westminster, on 2 March 1805, where also his wife died on 22 Dec. 1809, aged 75. Richard Ashley (1775–1836), one of John Ashley's sons, was a performer on the violin, but he does not seem to have made any mark as a musician. He became a member of the Royal Society of Musicians 17 April 1796, and died in October 1836.

[Gent. Mag. for 1805; Burney's Commemoration of Handel, 1786; Gardiner's Music and Friends, 1838; Records of Roy. Soc. of Musicians.]

W. B. S.