Aylmers on the land

From this page, find out more about the landowning Aylmers of Ireland and Jamaica.

Barons and Baronets

Coat of arms

Coat of arms of the Donadea baronets

The Aylmer baronage was established by Admiral Matthew Aylmer in 1718. It is an Irish title, attached to Balrath in County Meath. The baronage may be Irish but the barons have all been English-born. The baronage is now in its thirteenth succession, but it’s been down a few genealogical byways as you will see.

Balrath is also the seat of one of the Aylmer baronets, a more junior rank than baron, but in the case of the Aylmers, held for longer than the barony, since 1662 in this case.

The baronets of Donadea, in County Kildare, go back even longer, to 1631. The first baronet had by then commenced the building of Donadea Castle, where Aylmers (though not, by then, the baronets) lived until 1935. The castle is now in the care of Coillte, the Irish equivalent of the Forestry Commission. The forest park that surrounds the castle includes an Aylmer Walk, so the heritage is not forgotten; indeed, the current 16th baronet returned there to talk recently.

Both lines of baronet can show common ancestry from Bartholomew Aylmer, 1452-1501. I’ve traced the genealogies of all three titles to the present day on the Barons and baronets page.

An Essex farmer

chicken sheds at Fyfield

The chicken sheds at Fyfield

My uncle Roy Aylmer was a farmer in Essex. His first venture was chicken-farming in Fyfield, in the early 1960s – he was one of the first to realise that there was money to be made from intensive indoor rearing. The chicken sheds are still there, though no longer used for that purpose.

After a few years in that, he moved to a cattle farm at Lindsell, which he tended until he retired.

My early memories of visiting the farms were to prove unexpectedly fruitful. When I was preparing my pitch for the Cicerone guide Walking in Essex, I put those memories of a rural Essex into the foreground; and very effective they seem to have been.