Astle, Thomas (1735 -1803)
Thomas Astle was the son of Daniel Astle, formerly Astley, of Yoxall in Staffordshire, Keeper of Needwood Forest, and Dorothy Suffolk. Articled to an attorney, he did not did not take up a legal profession but went to London, where he occupied himself making an index to the Harleian Manuscripts, published in two volumes in 1759. He was elected a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries in 1763, and was employed by George Greville in various public matters that involved a knowledge of manuscripts. He married, 18 December 1765, Anna Maria, only daughter and heir of the Reverend Philip Morant. In 1766 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society, and, in 1783, appointed Keeper of the Records in the Tower of London. In 1784 he published The origin and progress of writing. On the death of his father?in?law he inherited a number of manuscripts, which with those he had collected himself , made a most respectable collection. His printed books, chiefly inherited from Morant, were bought in 1804, for the sum of £1,000 by the founders of the Royal Institution. The manuscripts were willed to the Marquess of Buckingham in token of Astle's regard for the Greville family, and form part of the Stowe Manuscripts now in the British Library.