Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Ashwood, John

ASHWOOD, JOHN (1657–1706), non-conformist minister, was born at Axminster in 1657, and was the son of Bartholomew Ashwood [q. v.]. In his youth he was extremely delicate. He was educated by his father, and admitted 'as a member of his father's church.' Soon after he was sent to London, where he was received into the family of the learned Theophilus Gale, who acted as his instructor. Before he began to preach he taught a school at Axminster, and afterwards at Chard. Being driven from the latter as a conscience-ruled nonconformist by high-church intolerance, he determined along with some friends to emigrate to Carolina in January 1683, but was prevented by a sudden attack of smallpox. He then appears to have resided successively at Ilminster, Haveland, and Buckland, until he received a 'call' to Exeter, where, his biographer tells us, he was 'a vigilant and faithful minister for about the space of ten years.' He subsequently returned to London. For about two years he was evening lecturer at Spitalfields, and morning preacher at Hoxton, when he received a 'call' from a congregation at Peckham, Surrey. He died there on 22 Sept. 1706. His 'Life' was for long a favourite fireside companion among devout nonconformists, circulating as a chap-book, viz. 'Some Account of the Life, Character, and Death of the Rev. Mr. John Ashwood,' by Thomas Reynolds (1707). Added to the 'Account' are two very admirable sermons 'preached a little before he died.'

[Authorities given under Bartholomew Ashwood; Reynolds's Account of Life.]

A. B. G.