Here is another interesting email from David Barlow...
One of the original founders of the cotton industry in Hyde, Thomas Ashton also held the Office of Justice of the Peace (J.P.) for Lancashire and also Cheshire.
He was also the Great-Grandfather of Beatrix Potter with the family link described below...
Thomas Ashton married Harriet Booth in 1804 and they had a daughter Jane Ashton born 1806
Jane Ashton married John Leech and they had a daughter Helen Leech born 1839
Helen Leech married Rupert Potter in 1863 and they had a daughter Helen Beatrix Potter born 1866
Of course looking at the dates Thomas Ashton never did get to see his great-grand daughter as he died about 20 years prior to her birth.
Incidentally one of Thomas Ashtons sons, Thomas junior became Hydes first Mayor when it was incorporated as a Borough. Thomas junior died in 1898 ( in his late seventies I think)
Thomas Ashton b.1775 d.1845
Beatrix Potter with parents Rupert Potter and Helen Potter (nee. Leech).
Many Thanks, David ! :)