Although I have so far not made any progress on Asty George’s coat of arms, I have discovered that he was certainly well-connected!
Following a query posted on the Norfolk Family History Society facebook page, a kind fellow-researcher pointed me in the direction of ‘The History and Antiquities of the County of Norfolk’, published in 1781. Available to search on Google Books, this publication gives a lot of detail on East Dereham, the town, church and notable residents. From it I learn that in 1625 one Thomas Asty, gent, was lord of the manor of East Dereham of the Queen. I have yet find where exactly this manor was situated. In 1703 he was succeeded by Asty George, Gent. He was in turn succeeded by Thomas George in 1724 and then in 1764 by Asty George of Norwich. The book also mentions a notable house in East Dereham owned by Samuel Rash, and I remember that Thomas George married a Mary Rash.
It looks entirely possible, then, that Thomas Asty is related to Asty George and if he inherited the manor from him no wonder he chose to name his first son after him. And I see that he became lord of the manor in 1703 – two years before his marriage to Elizabeth in Norwich. I had assumed up till now that he had been living in Norwich, but now I think not. I wouldn’t mind betting that Elizabeth was also from a well-off family – I will have to see what I can find on her.
Meanwhile I’ve been taking another look at the will of an Ann George which I transcribed some time ago. In it she refers to her brother Thomas and sister Frances and Asty George, son of my brother. Since Asty George senior, in his will leaves £150 to his daughter Ann, I now strongly believe that this is the same Ann, dying in 1737 and having been born around 1691. She must therefore be a daughter from Asty’s first marriage. (The ‘Mrs’ on her memorial stone threw me, but I now believe that this is short for ‘Mistress’ rather than denoting a married person.) Ann leaves Asty junior, aged 3 years old, 4 large silver spoons and 2 silver cups!
I now realise that on a previous visit to Norfolk Record Office I found reference to the wills of two Elizabeth Georges dying in 1732: one a spinster from Colney and the other a widow from East Dereham. I definitely need to have a look at these wills, as I am now pretty certain that one of these is her stepmother Elizabeth, Asty’s widow. These wills might throw more light on the property of this family, which seems to have been extensive.
But will I ever find a connection with my own George family in East Dereham? I live in hope….