John Ayliffe, Esq

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John Ayliffe, Esq

Also Known As: "Jacky Ayliffe"
Death: November 19, 1759 (37-46)
England, United Kingdom (executed at Tyburn)
Place of Burial: Redbourn, Hertfordshire, England, United Kingdom
Immediate Family:

Husband of Sarah Ayliffe
Father of John Ayliffe

Occupation: Steward, Commissary of Musters in the War Office
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About John Ayliffe, Esq

John Ayliffe, Esq, late of London was a Steward married to Sarah^ of Redbourn, Hartfordshire, England, John was executed on the 19 Nov 1759 for fraudulent documents regarding the lease of Rusley Park in the parish of Bishopstone in the county of Wills. The second wife mentioned may have been Ann Boyce who married in London on 18 May 1759 which matches the statements in the Old Bailey.

^Quoted from court files, many inaccuracies.

Mr. Goddard Smith had in his service John Ayliffe, Sen., of an illegitimate branch of the Grittenham family. He married the housekeeper at Tockenham : and letters extant speak of them as perfectly respectable and honest persons. They had a son, the unfortunate John Ayliffe, whose career has to be described, and who was born at Tockenham about 1718 or 1719. Whether he was in any way taken up by the Grittenham family with the object of being ultimately adopted, or whether it was intended that he should be qualified to be a kind of companion to young Mr. Jacob, is not clear : but he certainly received an education above the rank of his birth, being sent to Harrow School. That school (founded in 1571) had then by no means approached its present celebrity; but still it was one where a lad of humble connections would be sure to form ideas and associations above his natural rank.

In one of Mr. Goddard Smith's Accounts, I find these items:

  • 1735 J uly 1 7 Jacky Ayliffe for a large pair of Indentures at Broadstock Farm, 1 pound 1 shilling.
  • 1736, Nov. 30. Jacky Ayliffe, a pair Indentures for Cornelius Butler (a Tockenham tenant), 35. 6d.
  • Jacky Ayliffe was Mr. Smith's protege, and afterwards master of the free school at Lyneham, who married in 1738, Miss Brinsden, daughter of the Rector of Tockenham, and afterwards finished his career on the gallows at Tyburn in 1759 for forgery." page 475

John Ayliffe, a member of the Ayliffe family of Grittenham, was born at Tockenham in c. 1718–19. He was educated at Harrow and on his return to Tockenham, taught for a while at the recentlyfounded free school at Lyneham. Soon afterwards, hoping to acquire an interest in the Grittenham estate, he became estate manager there. Subsequently, in his attempts to secure the Grittenham estate, Ayliffe was guilty of many frauds, and was executed for forgery in 1759.

John Ayliffe - England Marriages, 1538-1973

  • Marriage: May 18 1738 - Abbey Or Saint Peter And Saint Paul, Bath, Somerset, England
  • Wife: Sarah Brinsden
  • 1. One of the following Ayliffes' had an illegitimate son whom he supported called John
  • 2. What happened to his son John? Could he be the foreberarer to the Ayliffe's of South Australia?
  • 3. This John worked for a Mrs. Horner, who passed his services to Henry Fox. Susanna Horner inherited the Ayliffe estates, as Judith Ayliffe was daughter of Judith Strangways.
  • 4. Susanna Horner was partner with Henry Fox.
  • 5. 1758 Susanna Horner died.
  • 5. 1759 Henry Fox is involved in charges against John Ayliffe with fraud and he is executed.
  • 6. Henry Fox has the properties in question.
  • 7. Elizabeth Hamilton, Duchess of Hamilton is the sister of Susanna Strangways Horner - Name Hamilton
  • 9. Did Elizabeth Hamilton really die "on the road" in 1729 after only 2 years marriage?
  • 10. This John Ayliffe is mentioned in his fathers will, but seems to be mentioned separately, as if he were from another marriage.

~~Old Bailey~~

On enquiry, it appears from good authority, that Mr. Ayliffe's father was a servant of the better class in the family of Goddard Smith, esq; a justice of peace of Tockenham in the county of Wills , and that his son, John Ayliffe was the issue of a marriage with the house-keeper in the same family, and was born at Tockenham aforesaid - That the last heir male of the Ayliffe family being asked whether the father of John Ayliffe was a-kin to his family? he replied, no, he was not, for that he was of a spurious line. This stands upon the same authority.

When he had been taught the first rudiments of learning at home - it is said, he was sent to Harrow on the hill, to be farther educated, whether as a companion to a young gentleman (as some think) or in a state less dependent, doth not appear. - His next step was teaching a small free-school at Lineham in Wiltshire worth about 10 l. a year.

In this situation he married, about 16 years ago, a young gentlewoman the daughter of a clergyman at Tockenham aforesaid, with whom, he had a portion of five hundred pounds; by her he has left one son about eleven years of age; 'tis said, this was a stolen match, that he consumed his wife's fortune by extravagance, and that she died about December last; and since the beginning of his troubles, about six months after, he married the person who is now left his widow. (Sarah of Redbourn, Hartfordshire, England, who we assume was minding his son)

According to his own account, it is fourteen Years since he was taken into Mrs. Horner's family (to whose notice he was recommended when in distress) as her house-steward; and afterwards advanced to some share of management in her estates; and the advantage of being a commissary of the musters was added to this, by his right honourable benefactor, Mr. Fox, and from this he commenced an Esquire.

First Marriage: (as he requested spending more time with Sarah, I now wonder did she die the previous year?

  • Marriage 18 May 1738 Document Type: Licence Notes: Married at Bath Abbey, Somerset John is of Bath
  • Name: John Ayliffe Parish: Out of Wiltshire Marital Status: Bachelor (Single (Male)) Residence: Out of Wiltshire
  • Spouse: Sarah Brinsden Spouse Residence: Tockenham

~~Following the money~~

In 1541 the Crown granted the manor to Sir John Ayliffe, KGB (knighted 1549, d. 1556) and his wife Elizabeth (fl. 1560). 23 May 1541 Letters patent. Gift of the manor of Grittenham and lands in Grittenham and Braydon, with Grittenham Mill, to John Ayliffe, one of our surgeons. Formerly the property of Malmesbury Abbey. Great seal of Henry VIII , slightly chipped.

4 May 1562 Letters patent. Gift of the manor of North Winterborne, alias Rabson, to John Ayliffe.

From the Ayliffes it passed in the direct male line to

John Ayliffe, of Grittenham (fn. 125) (d. 1579)

John Ayliffe, of Grittenham (fn. 126) (d. 1631),

20 Dec 1600 Bargain and sale of the manor of Foxley, Bremilham's Farm in Westport and lands in Foxley, Brokenborough, Malmesbury, Norton, Westport and Burtonhill. 1 John Hinton 2 John Ayliffe

Sir George Ayliffe, knt. of Rabson (fn. 127) (d. 1643),

John (d. 1645),

and George (fn. 128) (d. 1713).

7 Jun 1672 Exemplification of a fine concerning the manors of Grittenham, Foxley and Rabson with appurtenances also in Brinkworth, Malmesbury and Winterborne Bassett, dated Easter 1636. Sir George Ayliffe to Thomas and Simon Fanshawe.

The manor passed with Foxley manor from George to his relict Judith (d. 1716), (fn. 129)

to their son John (d. 1722),

10 Dec 1718 Deed to declare the uses of a fine concerning the manor of Grittenham with messuages and lands in Brinkworth, Foxley, Malmesbury, North Winterborne, Winterborne Basset, Clyffe Pypard, Rockley, and Westport. 1 John Ayliffe 2 Jacob Smith 3 Edward Downes

and to their daughter Judith (d. 1737),

1 Apr 1737 Will of Judith Ayliffe, leaving the manor and farm of Grittenham, Rapson Farm, Minety, and lands in Foxley to Edward Digby and Stephen and Henry Fox, 1st Baron Holland of Foxley in trust for Susannah Strangways Horner.

to Susanna Horner (d. 1758), ( Susannah Strangways Horner )

4-5Aug 1742 Lease for six months and release of the manor of Grittenham, messuages and lands in Brinkworth, Foxley and Minety. 1 Edward, Lord Digby; Stephen Fox-Strangways, 1st Earl of Ilchester and Henry Fox, 1st Baron Holland of Foxley 2 Susannah Strangways Horner

17-18 Sep 1744 Lease and release of the manors of Grittenham in Brinkworth, North Winterbourne alias Rabson, Foxley, Malmesbury, Winterbourne Bassett, Clyffe Pypard, Rockley, Westport and Bremilham. 1 Susannah Strangways Horner 2 The Hon. Edward Digby.

***Indenture of fine concerning the manors of Grittenham, Foxley and North Winterbourne. Susannah Strangways Horner to Edward Digby.

Statement Old Bailey by John Ayliffe

Before the report, it seems that Mr. Ayliffe sent another petition for mercy, addressed to the right hon. Mr. Pit, one of his majesty's principal secretaries of state which I have seen, and therein he admits the forgery of the lease in question, but declaring that he had no intention to defraud; wherein he says, that about 14 years ago he became steward to Mrs. Horner, late mother of the lady Ilchester deceased, and continued so about eight years. That he having behaved in his stewardship to the great satisfaction and approbation of Mrs. Horner, she thought proper to make a provision for the support of him and his family, and she first, by a codicil annext to her will, gave him a considerable sum of money, and an annuity for the life of himself, his wife, and son; and sometime afterwards revoked that codicil, and by another codicil, gave the petitioner a greater sum and annuity, and in the year 1749, cancelled that codicil, and did by deed of gift grant the petitioner an annuity of 420 l. per annum, and a sum of 3000 l. to be paid him, at and from her decease out of her estates, by her devised to Lord Ilchester, and did also grant the petitioner several beneficial leases for the lives of himself, his wife, and son, to commence from her decease, of lands part of the Ayliffe estate, the fee whereof she had before by deed given to the said Henry Fox, and his heirs.

That Mrs. Horner was a timorous woman, and cautious of letting Lady Ilchester and relations know how she disposed of her estates, lest the same would not be approved of but resented, directed the petitioner not to disclose what she had so done for him till after her decease.

( The will of Susannah Strangways Horner is many pages, and has been altered many times, please see her profile for the images )

8 May 1750 Assignment of mortgage of messuage and lands in Nether Seagry. 1 Joan Rawlins 2 John Campbell, Adam Tuck and Robert Stratton 3 Henry Fox, 1st Baron Holland of Foxley and John Ayliffe (Mortgage of 13 May, 1725)

and to Henry Fox, 1st Baron Holland of Foxley (fn. 130)

11 Jun 1759 Appointment of Lambeth Wyke, alias Wye Court, and lands in the manor of Lambeth, Cobham in Walton-on-Thames, Surrey. House in Albemarle Street, Westminster, Grittenham, Winterbourne, Foxley, Bremilham Mill and elsewhere in Wiltshire. 1 Henry Fox, 1st Baron Holland of Foxley 2 Caroline Lennox, 1st Baroness Holland his wife.

From Henry Fox (cr. Baron Holland 1763, d. 1774) the manor passed from father to son with the Holland title to Stephen Fox (d. 1774), Henry Fox (d. 1840), who took the surname Vassall in 1800, and Henry Fox (d. 1859). The manor, c. 1,761 a. c. 1840, (fn. 131) passed with Foxley to Mary, Lady Holland (d. 1889), Leopold Fox-Powys (d. 1893), and Thomas Powys, Baron Lilford, (fn. 132) who sold it in 1895 to George Llewellen Palmer. (fn. 133) In the earlier 20th century Palmer sold the c. 11 farms of the manor separately, and each has descended separately. (fn. 134) Read more....

John Ayliffe , of Blandford Forum, in the county of Dorset, Esquire

14 pages about his story, The Wiltshire archaeological and natural history magazine:

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John Ayliffe, Esq's Timeline

February 14, 1748
England, United Kingdom
November 19, 1759
Age 42
England, United Kingdom
November 19, 1759
Age 42
Redbourn, Hertfordshire, England, United Kingdom