As many of my regular readers are aware, my introduction to family history came at an early age when I was presented with a beautifully handwritten copy of the family tree. It was given to the family by Philip Aynsley-Smith my grandfather’s cousin during one of his visits to Northumberland. The tree was the result of many years of painstaking research carried out by his father George, which as I am sure you can image, generated a mountain of supporting documentation.
Earlier this month I was lucky enough to become the custodian of part of this wonderful collection when it was passed to me by second cousin Viv, one of George’s granddaughters, whom until this moment I had never met, and can now honestly say, I wish didn’t live so far away!
The collection contains some amazing information, the mystery of a disappearing skeleton, a case of English cholera, and the poor unfortunate chap who met his end when a hen collided with his bicycle! It also contains numerous letters exchanged between George Aynsley-Smith and George Grey-Butler, son of Josephine Butler in the quest to resolve the “Grey” areas of the family’s mutual pedigree. These letters amongst other documents highlighted my total lack of familiarity concerning the Aynsley family, so this month I have decided to introduce you to them through the notes on the family written by George himself, with a foreword written by his son Philip.
Foreword by philip aynsley-smith 1907-1997
"These notes on family history were probably written by my father in 1940. Certain omissions and queries in the original manuscript clearly suggest that he was writing from memory and without access to .the information he had himself assembled over the years. This suggests in turn that in turn the notes must have been written in the months after he and my mother had left their flat in Lissenden Mansions, Highgate (following the outbreak of war). Their furniture and effects were put into store, where they remained until late in 1940, when my parents moved into Westcroft, Norham-on-Tweed. It was at this time that my father's health was beginning to fail (though, characteristically, he said nothing of this to his family) and he tired more easily.
Perhaps this explains why, for instance, his account of the complex Grey connection under the Aynsley section seems to lack clarity. My impression is that by the time he had reached this stage in his narrative he was wanting to bring it to a conclusion as quickly as possible. Had he been in better health and, possibly, had he been prompted (for he was a reticent man), he could undoubtedly have said so much more. He does not mention, for example, that his mother Hannah Aynsley and her sister Mary were strikingly beautiful as young women and were known locally as "The Flowers of Coquetdale. Not important, perhaps, but a charming legend and worth preserving.
The letter which has survived from my great uncle George to his sister Jane, written in the year of Queen Victoria's accession, illustrates admirably the friendly relations between the Trotters and the Smiths.
Lastly, I have taken it upon myself to correct one or two small slips that I happen to have noticed in transcribing the notes."
Westleton February 1986
PHILIP AYNSLEY SMITH
The "Flowers of coquetdale"
notes on the aynsley pedigree
Augustine Birrell KC (19 January 1850 – 20 November 1933) was an English Liberal Party politician, who was Chief Secretary for Ireland from 1907 to 1916. In this post, he was praised for enabling tenant farmers to own their property, and for extending university education for Catholics. But he was criticised for failing to take action against the rebels before the Easter Rising, and resigned. A barrister by training, he was also an author, noted for humorous essays.
His Grandfather was Henry Grey who married his first cousin Margaretta Grey, sister of John Grey of Milfield. (Father of Josephine Butler nee Grey)
The “Grey” area continues to rumble on and myself and Claire Grey of the http://milfieldgreys.co.uk/ are now firmly of the opinion that it will only finally be resolved through DNA, so if you are a direct male descendant of the Earl Grey of Howick line, and would be willing to spit in a tube in the name of science, Claire and I would dearly love to hear from you too!!
Hi S. Wonderful blog ! We have finally finished moving. Buying & settling contracts now busy with the builder ordering things for a January start to renovate the house we purchased. Would you believe I have had no time to even look at the Longformacus photos !! We are waking up in our rental house to the sounds of many birds in the trees. I feel like I'm camping !! Have a wonderful Xmas both of you xxx
Thanks for sharing all your brilliant work Susie, it is such a pleasure to see such well researched work. I have been working with Clair Grey for some years now on the Grey of Milfield branch and know the family like the back of my hand.
Just thought I would make small detail of note, Margaret Grey's father Edward Grey was a cousin to her husband John Grey, as mentioned on the Grey of Milfield Pedigree, not a 1st cousin to her husband John.
Also in the memoirs of John Grey of Dilston he mentions Thomas Grey of Angerton's wife as a buxon farmers daughter!
We are only assuming Edward Grey of Bolam was the same Edward Grey of Angerton mill, as John Grey Jun of Alnwick sold the Mill in 1773, so who was he?
Susie: Very excited to come across this site when searching for my ancestor John Aynsley who was descended from the Little Harle Aynsleys (who held Harelaw), believed baptised 1752 Chollerton, apprenticed 1762 to Thomas Jeffereys engraver of the Strand, established Aynsley pottery c1770 at Lane End (Longton) in the Potteries, buried 1829 at Longton. His Aynsley gt grandma was born a Grey, connected with nearby Bitchfield. BTW, I too inherited family research - that of my gran's cousin who was researching with the help of professional genealogists in the sisties & seventies.
Hi Fiona. How kind of you to contact me. It would be very interesting to compare notes, as although there are a couple of Aynsley Grey marriages, not sure that I find one that fits that profile! I am not so sure that 'our' Aynsley's are the same strain as those of Little Harle. Would love to hear more.
I fear I might not have replied to this. Replies might be too detailed for this site: would you consider contacting me by my personal e-mail?
Fiona - Oxford UK
I've been researching my ancestors and they include John Aynsley b1815c and Barbara Mark b1816c. They lived in Norham on the borders. Does anyone have any information at all
Mine were in the Chollerton area, but my ancestor John Aynsley -founder of the original Aynsley pottery - had left Northumberland so sorry - can't help you
Hello, I've been researching my ancestors as my great grandmother Kathleen Mary meigh is still alive she'll be 102 year old on 8th Feb 2019 and her great great great great grandfather is the founder of aynsley pottery John aynsley 1752-1829.
Congratulations to your gt grandmother! Yes, the name Meigh is on my "Descent from John Aynsley " chart. I descend from John Aynsley & Sarah Gallimore, via their son James Aynsley & Charlotte Anderson. Very happy to share what I have - can you reach me by e-mail?
Hi fiona hedges, thank you yes you can reach me from my email email@example.com
John aynsley and Sarah gallimore has 7 children and one of them is called Joannah aynsley 1780 that's where we come from.
Thank you Laura! I'm working tonight & much of tomorrow, so will be in touch directly as soon as possible thereafter.
George Aynsley Smith is my great-grandfather (If I have worked out the generations correctly). My father has a copy of the same family tree I think. I can't add anything, but that top photo looks so much like my grandfather I just felt like replying!
Lovely to hear from you! Yes, you and I are 3rd cousins. You will find many (but not all) of the posts on my website have embraced and expanded upon George's original research. If you have a rummage you will no doubt stumble upon something that you didn't already know. Feel free to get in touch with me directly - it would be lovely to hear the news from this branch of the family. If you use the contact form initially it keeps the email addresses secure!
Look forward to hearing from you.
Hi Liz and Susie I have been using the enforced spare time to try to check and expand on the family tree 'book' when I came across this message from Liz - a lovely surprise. My efforts are not as detailed as Susie's but I hope will be of interest to other family members. I have been revisiting the 'naughty' Thomas conundrum and am determined to solve it one day. Maybe, Susie, you have more recent findings? Liz - if you would like to get in touch do please email me. Cathy
Hi, I'm interested in Mary Aynsley who married Ralph Grecian, in Ingram, Northumberland. Her parents were John Aynsley and Mary Gleeholm.
Does anyone have these on their tree please?
Hi, great article!
I'm always on the hunt for information on the Aynsley family. One of my great great aunts married a convict from Rothbury - Robert Redhead - who was transported in 1855 to Western Australia for sheep stealing ( aka he got 14 years for not paying agistment after moving some of his own sheep that were kept on John Aynsley's property in 1852).
THere are newspaper reports on the Assizes but I've always wondered which branch of the Aynsley's the event involved!
Leave a Reply.