George Ayscue came from a distinguished Lincolnshire family, and was knighted by King Charles I in 1641. However during the English Civil War he supported the Parliamentarians and served as a captain in their navy. After serving as governor of the Isles of Scilly in January 1647 he returned to sea as captain of the Antelope (1647) and the Lion (1648). When William Batten defected to the Royalists in 1648, it was Ayscue’s influence that kept most of the fleet loyal to Parliament. He was rewarded with the appointed of Vice-Admiral to the Earl of Warwick in the fleet that confronted the Prince of Wales and blockaded the Royalists in Helvoetsluys in August 1648.
A further promotion saw Ayscue appointed to Admiral of the Irish Sea fleet and had the responsibility of keeping the sea route open. In 1650, Ayscue was appointed commander of the squadron sent to capture Barbados from the Royalists. He arrived in October and blockaded the island resulting in the Royalist governor surrendering to Ayscue in January 1652 and Barbados submitted to the Commonwealth. Other colonies in the West Indies and America then also submitted without further resistance.
In 1652 Ayscue arrived back in England and was active in the First Anglo-Dutch War 1652. On 16 August, he clashed with Admiral de Ruyter at the battle of Plymouth and shortly afterwards he retired from his command claiming to be unwell, although it is thought that his dislike of going to war with a Protestant nation played a part in the decision. Ayscue retired to Chertsey for several years until 1658 when Cromwell persuaded him to go to Sweden to be a naval advisor to King Charles X, where he remained until the Restoration.
Under the restored monarchy Ayscue was appointed an Admiral in Charles II’s navy and fought in the Second Anglo-Dutch War. In June 1666, during the Four Days’ Battle, Ayscue’s ship ran aground and he was taken prisoner by the Dutch until the war ended in 1667. He was appointed to another command when the Third Anglo-Dutch War broke out, but died in April 1672 before he could take it up.