The school was informed that Bob had passed away on 9 February 2013. The following obituary was published in the Independent newspaper:
Born in 1924, (Bob) Ashton was educated at Magdalen College School, Oxford, and after serving in the RAF during the war went to University College, Southampton, where, after taking a First in history, he went on to the London School of Economics. A pupil of RH Tawney, Ashton began life as an economic historian of the reign of James I, and wrote pioneering works on the court and the money market from his berth at the University of Nottingham, which he joined in 1952.
In 1962 he won a visiting chair at the University of California, Berkeley, and it was while there that he received the offer of a chair at the new University to be founded in Norwich. He was interviewed for the post in the convivial surroundings of the Travellers’ Club in New York.
Ashton was a man with a wide hinterland. A great wine connoisseur, he founded the SCR wine cellar, and presided over it with great skill for the whole of its life, and as anyone fortunate enough to dine with him found out, he was extremely generous with his own cellar. He set up home in Brundall, in the Manor House in which Robert (Lord) Blake had been born, something which helped give him one of his most valued friendships, and where his wife, Peggy, would make visitors most welcome. She was the perfect wife for Bob, her sharp wit and hearty pragmatism complementing his high-octane approach to life. They were the most devoted couple, and it is no cliché to say that he never recovered from her death.
Bob was a devout member of the Church of England, and served as church warden at Braydeston Church for more than 30 years, where he successfully fought to keep his beloved Book of Common Prayer in constant use, to hear Bob read from it or from the King James Bible was to realise why both books found their place in our language.
Ashton retired in 1987, but remained active as a scholar (publishing the last of his six books in 1994) and as a lecturer with the Historical Association, to whose Norfolk and Norwich branch he gave his last public lectures in 2002.