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William Aiton

Birthdate: (60)
Birthplace: Boghall, Carnwath, Lanarkshire, Scotland
Death: February 2, 1793 (56-64)
Immediate Family:

Son of John Aiton and Jean Aiton
Husband of Elizabeth Aiton
Father of William Townsend Aiton and John Townsend Aiton
Brother of John Aiton; Un-named Aiton; Jane Riddle; James Aiton; Daniel Aiton and 3 others

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About William Aiton

William Aiton



Variations of the name: – Aiton, Aitton, Ayton, Aytone, Aytoun, Eaton, Eyton, Aitoune

Origin of the name: – Scottish: habitational name from Ayton in Berwickshire, ‘the settlement on the Eye river’

[3] “ The name, which was originaly Eytoun, is derived from two saxon words, Ey a riover, and tun or ton, a habitation; but it has been altered into several forma. Sir William Dugdale writes the name “Ayon.” The family whike in Berwickshire, wrote in Eyton, Eytoun, or Eytoune. The families of that name in Fife, write it Ayton, Aytoun, and for a century past generally written their names Aiton, sometimes Aitoun”

Birth date: – 1731

Birth Place: – Boghall, Hamilton, Lanarkshire, Scotland

Baptism – 28 April 1731 (O.P.R. Births 621/00 001 046 Avondale – Scotland’s People) “William son to William Aiton of Wailsely? was baptized upon the 28 of April last”

CJB Conflict here – baptism suggests William’s father was William whereas other sources suggest John [3]

Date of Death: –2 Feb. 1793 He died of a disease of the liver

Burial: There is an image of his Grave at

Place of Death: He is buried at nearby St. Anne's Church, Kew.



According to [3] Father: John Aiton farmer at Boghall, on the estate of Westshields until he went to Woodhall - died at 1750 leaving 4 sons – John – born at Boghall Carnwath in 1711 Died 1798 – married twice but no issue James – born at Boghall – employed as gardener in Lanarkshire – where he died unmarried William – 3rd son not born at Hamilton but at Boghall, Carnwath in 1731 and ? – went to Russia where he was employed in the gardens of the Emperor

Four daughters who were all married to farmers or respectable people of their own rank in the vicinity of Woodhall – one married Riddle and lived to be 88 years old.

Four Daughters Eliza, Jane, Sarah and Anne [3]

Marriage: Elizabeth Townsend


William Townsend Aiton born at Kew 2 Feb 1766 – died 1849 St Ann’s, Kew Free BMD index Deaths Dec 1849 Aiton William Townsend REG District Westminster Vol1 Page 335

Occupation: Trained as a Professional Gardener; Director of the botanical garden at Kew; Writer Career:

He entered school at Chiswick, and when he was thirteen transferred to one at Camberwell. He remained there until, at the age of sixteen, he entered Kew as assistant to his father. Apart from gaining practical knowledge of horticulture and experience with a wide range of living plants, Aiton became greatly interested in landscaping and acquired a considerable reputation as a landscape gardener. Indeed, he received commissions from many eminent people, …

One William Aiton was the Royal Gardeners For King George III his Son William Townsend Aiton Aka Smith followed in his father Footsteps and succeeded him (as )Royal Gardener in 1793 had My 5gtgrandmother out of Marriage and three son to other daughter Ann Aiton, Smith Foster b 1802 if anyone can help me with this family will share What I have on Ann Aiton Smith I have God Bless Frankie

John Townsend Aiton - placed in charge of the Royal Garden at Windsor

Brought up and trained as a gardener. He went to London in 1754 in search of employment where he was employed as an assistamt to Philip Miller, gardener to the Physic Garden at Chelsea. In 1759 he was appointed direcxtor of the Botanic Garden at Kew, which was then owned by the Princess Dowager of Wales. He raised the importance of the gardens and started the reputation Kew has today. Aiton initially worked with John Haverfield and Lord Bute whilst introducing to Europe many new species from around the globe

In his mission to increase the collection at Kew he and Joseph Banks were instrumental in sending Francis Masson out to the Cape in 1772. Masson was one of the earliest botanical collectors. A house was built for him at Kew by George III after he was promoted to the management of the royal forcing and pleasure gardens at Kew whilst still retaining his former post.


In 1789 he published Hortus Kewensis, a catalogue of the plants cultivated at the Royal Gardens at Kew. 3 vols. 8vo, with 13 plates

1841 Census

Surrey, Kew District 12 HO107/1075/17Folio 18 page 30

Richmond Road

William Aiton 70 Ind not born in the county

Sarah Aiton 65 Ind Not born in the county

On Feb 19th 1831 a Jane Townsend Aiton was buried at Kew, Richmond upon Thames, Surrey aged 62 est. birthdate 1769 –

On 9th Aug 1828 an Anne Augusta Townsend Aiton was buried at Kew, Richmond upon Thames, Surrey aged 46 est. birthdate 1782 [4]

On 2 Jul 1834 an Elizabeth Townsend Aiton buried at Kew, Richmond upon Thames, Surrey aged 67 est. birthdate 1767

Death of Sarah Townsend Aiton registered 1843 JunQ Richmond Surrey Volume 4 page 261

CJB - How do these fit in – possibly a sisters of William Townsend and John Townsend?

Notes, References, Sources/Links, Family Trees etc.



[3] 1830 PAGE 38 of an enquiry into the Aiton family b William Aiton published in 1830


M L D L D L [P M de L'Ecluse des Loges]: Memoires de Maximilien De Bethune - Duc de Sully London, For Richard Phillips. 1803.

First edition. Six volume complete set. Scarce set. Quarter tan calf with marbled boards. Hardbacks. 16mo. Spine chipped at head and foot. Hinges cracked. Edges rubbed and worn. Two labels missing. A few pages have loosened. Armorial bookplate of Aiton family with the Latin motto 'et Decerptae Dabunt Odorem' (Roses plucked will give a sweet smell). Anne Augusta Townsend Aiton, daughter or poss. wife of Kew Gardens, William Aiton. Mary Hays (1760-1843) was a feminist and radical.

Ancestry chart - not entirely Substantiated

Scotland's People OPR

29/04/1733 AITON WILLIAM

Parents JOHN AITON/JEAN WEIR FR106 M BOTHWELL /LANARK 625/00 0010 0224

Page 38 at an inquiry into the origin, pedigree, & history of the family, or clan, of ... By william aiton published in 1830

"William Aiton, third son of John Aiton in Woodhall, was not born at Hamilton, as has been stated in some publications, but at Boghall in the parish of Carnwath, in 1731: and recently before his father removed from thence to Woodhall. He was bred a gardener, and having gone to London in 1754, to acquire greater knowledge in that art, he found employment in the Royal Gardens at Kew, where he conducted himself so correctly, and became such a proficient in his business, and in Botany, that he was pointed out to the Princess Dowager of Wales, and his late Majesty George III, in 1750, as well qualified to form and arrange a Botanical Garden at Kew: and which he did, to his own credit, and to the satisfaction of the Royal Proprietors of that National Institution. He continued to superintend that garden, till the period of his death in 1793. It was mentioned in his Funeral Sermon preached at Brentford, 17th February that year, and afterwards published, that Mr. Aiton, under protection and encouragement of his Royal patrons, ---"studied, and laboured for thirty four years, collecting from every corner of this country, and procuring from the remotest climes, the most rare and valuable productions of the vegetable creation. How far he has susseeded in this arduous, this useful, and laudable pursuit, the present state of that place, the accut-rate and elegant description, lately published by himself, with the unanimous appronation and praise of all proficients in the science of botany; are, the most undeniable testimonies"

That sermon, and indeed, every other account given of Mr Aiton, is highly credible, not only to him, but "honourable to human nature" "His rising in the world, went hand-in-hand, with the good-will and comfortable subsistence, of all around him. To the meanest labourer under him, he behaved with affability and gentleness. To him the poor man, who could, and would work, seldom or never sued for bread in vain." Many gardeners were bred by him, ands under his recommendations obtained comfortable situations in their profession. --- Of these, Mr. Douglas at Loudoun; Mr. Hill at Kelburn; Mr. Wilson at Halket; Mr. Laughland at Eglington; Mr. Henderson at Woodhall, etc., are all known to the author to have been educated and patronized by Mr. Aiton; and all of them have shown themselves worthy of his support"

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William Aiton's Timeline

April 29, 1733
Lanarkshire, Scotland
Lanarkshire, Scotland
February 2, 1766
Age 33
London, England
Age 44
February 2, 1793
Age 60