The Aylmer Connection

Confession: As a fan of the Philippa Gregory novels, C.J. Sansom’s Matthew Shardlake series, and the Hilary Mantel series about Thomas Cromwell,  I am particularly intrigued with some of the ancestors who lived during the War of the Roses, and the Tudor years.

Anne Warren’s mother was Catherine Aylmer. The Aylmer family came from landed gentry. They had made many advantageous marriages, creating ties with many other important families including the Plunketts, Barnewells, Flemings and Welles, acquiring both lands and titles in the process.

I am most definitely NOT a medieval historian. Obviously I have not personally investigated birth, marriage and death records for the following ancestors, but have relied on secondary sources. I have, however, researched with a skeptical mind, aware that many of the old pedigrees out there are lacking in credibility. Although it is exciting to discover so-called “important” ancestors, the real thrill is making a connection to history, to feel events from the past come alive.

My research is based on recent research by people who are much more qualified than I am. Therefore I am confident that the following ancestors really are mine.

Sir Christopher Plunkett was Sheriff of Meath, and later became Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Ireland in 1432. By his marriage to Joan Cusack he acquired Killeen Castle. It now boasts a Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course (look here) so I suppose it’s too late to try and claim it.

Christopher Fleming 8th Baron of Slane in 1512 established a Franciscan friary on the Hill of Slane. The Hill has a deep mythological history you can read about  here. Unfortunately only ruins remain.

Picture “hill of slane” by Holly Hayes on flickr, posted under Creative Commons License

Picture “hill of slane” by Holly Hayes on flickr, posted under Creative Commons License

Sir Gerald Aylmer was Lord Chief Justice of Ireland from 1535 to 1559. He was complicit in carrying out Henry VIII’s and Thomas Cromwell’s policy of “dissolution of the monasteries.” This was a policy that served to impose the Protestant Reformation on Britain, as well as enrich the coffers of the crown, and reward those who supported Henry with valuable land holdings.

Oliver Plunkett, was created 1st Baron Louth in 1541 by Henry VIII. Unfortunately this castle is beyond repair.

But the most interesting ancestor is none other than Edward I.


Edward I, also known as “Longshanks” lived from 1239 to 1307. In popular culture he may be most widely (but perhaps inaccurately) known from the movie Braveheart which portrays the Scottish hero William Wallace’s fight against English rule.  He is also known for being the monarch who expelled Jews from England in 1290.

From a King of England and Crusader to a farmer in La Salle, Manitoba, here’s our descent:

1-Edward I PLANTAGENET King of England (1239-1307)
+Marguerite of France (abt 1275-1317)
2-Thomas of Brotherton PLANTAGENET Earl of Norfolk (1300- 1338)
+Alice HALYS (?-?)
3-Margaret PLANTAGENET Duchess of Norfolk (abt 1320-abt 1399)
+John SEGRAVE 4th Lord Segrave (abt 1315- 1353)
4-Baroness Elizabeth SEGRAVE (1338-bef 1368)
+John DE MOWBRAY 4th Lord Mowbray (1340- 1368)
5-Eleanor DE MOWBRAY (abt1364-?)
+Sir John DE WELLES 5th Baron Welles (1352-1421)
6-Eudo DE WELLES (?-bef 26 Aug 1421)
+Maud DE GREYSTOKE (?-?)
7-Sir William DE WELLES (?-?)
+Anne BARNEWALL (?-?)
8-Eleanor DE WELLES (?-?)
+Walter CHEVERS (?-?)
9-Margaret CHEVERS (?-1514)
+Bartholomew AYLMER (?-1501)
10-Sir Gerald AYLMER Lord Chief Justice of Ireland (abt 1470-1560)
+Alison FITZGERALD (?-/)
11-Bartholomew AYLMER (bef 1528-1553)
+Elinor WARREN (?-?)
12-Nicholas AYLMER (abt 1544-1608)
+Margaret PLUNKETT (?-?)
13-Christopher AYLMER (?-?)
14-Gerald AYLMER (?-1662)
15-Sir Christopher AYLMER 1st Baronet of Balrath (?-1671)
+Margaret PLUNKETT (?-4 Dec 1683)
16-Catherine AYLMER (?-1726)
+Michael WARREN (?-1712)
17-Anne WARREN (?-?)
+Christopher JOHNSON (1687-1764)
18-Ann JOHNSON (?-?)
+Richard DEASE (?-?)
19-Dr. John DEASE (1745-1801)
+Jane FRENCH (ca 1754-1802)
20-John Warren DEASE Sr. (1783-1830)
+Genevieve BEIGNET (1796-1860)
21-Margaret DEASE (1818-1905)
+William MCMILLAN (1806-1903)
22-Philomene MCMILLAN (1848-1923)
+Thomas HOGUE (1840-1924)
23-Thomas Joseph HOGUE (1879-1955)

The Warren connection, part 2

Continuing the story of Anne Warren’s ancestors takes us back to the 17th century in Britain. I’ve learned a lot about Irish history as I researched this branch of the family, but my historical explanations on this post must be considered as the “Irish history for dummies” variety!

Anne’s great grandfather was John Warren who had inherited the estate of Warrenstown in County Meath, Ireland. Julian Gwyn, in his biography of Sir Peter Warren, The Enterprising Admiral  tells us that in 1700 the estate was described as:

“some twenty miles northwest of Dublin, lying between the hamlets of Summerhill and Dunshaughlin and the ancient town of Trim. It stood in the midst of good arable land, lush pastures, and a few scattered copses. Well-drained by a rivulet, the Skane, which led to the nearby river Boyne, its 433 acres lay on the southeast slopes of a shallow”

The term “estate” refers to the amount of land, rather than to the buildings, as this was no Downton Abbey, but a large farmhouse, barn and stable! One special feature of this estate was, and still is, St. John’s Well. From the website Ask about Ireland we learn:

“The legend of St. John’s Well at Warrenstown, in the parish of Knockmark, recounts that John the Baptist was passing a rock in the Holy Land when he struck it with his staff, the point of which came out at Warrenstown, accompanied by a spring.”

The Warrenstown estate was in turn inherited by Oliver Warren around 1638. The politics of England, Ireland and Scotland at this time are complicated. Charles I was King, but by 1642 a Civil War broke out between the King and Parliament. Parliament won, Charles was executed in 1649 and Oliver Cromwell  was elected Lord Protector of the Commonwealth in 1653. Cromwell, was a virulent anti-Catholic, and his army successfully fought the Royalists in Ireland. The Act of Parliament in 1652 decided which Catholic landowners in Ireland would forfeit their lands. The Warren family was Catholic, and Warrenstown was lost to them.

However, by 1660, Cromwell was dead and Charles II was on the throne, a period known as the Restoration. A special tribunal allowed some Catholic landowners to appeal the confiscation of their lands, and Oliver Warren had his estate restored to the family.

But then again, in 1685 James II was King, and he had converted to Catholicism. He made many changes in regards to the rights of Catholics which angered the Protestants who threw their allegiance to James’ son-in-law William of Orange. Supporters of James were known as Jacobites.

Oliver Warren’s son Michael was a Jacobite. He was a Captain in the Royal Regiment of Infantry. James II fled England and the throne was taken by William and Mary. This event was known as the Glorious Revolution. As a Jacobite, Michael Warren lost his estate again!

The story doesn’t end there! In Ireland, James and his army continued to fight, a fight which culminated in 1690 at the Battle of the Boyne, that William won, and in which Michael was probably fighting. Under the terms of the Treaty of Limerick, the Jacobites could go to France, thereby losing their land, or choose to swear allegiance to William and keep their estates. Swearing allegiance to William did not mean they had to become Protestants and Michael stayed a Catholic. Although Michael kept the land he had to heavily mortgage it.

William’s victory changed forever the landscape of Ireland. History Ireland notes that:

“Along with King James, Catholics were the real losers of the war. Although the articles of Limerick and Galway gave them some protection, the immediate impact was a fall in their share of land ownership from 22 to 14 per cent; and the proportion diminished further in the eighteenth century to about 5% by 1780. In fact, the severity of their defeat broke for ever the Catholic gentry as a group of political, economic or military significance in Irish life.”

No wonder then, that by 1716 when he joined the British Navy, Anne’s brother Peter Warren had decided it was more advantageous to become a Protestant! History proved him right, as by the time he was an Admiral he was able to pay off the debts on the Warrenstown estate and enlarge the holdings.

For a short and entertaining summary of this part of Irish history, read Turtle Bunbury’s essay Men in Tights here.

Now haven’t you learned a lot about British history?

Here’s the descent from John Warren to Pépère:
1-John WARREN (?-1638)
+Mary BARNABY (?-?)
2-Oliver WARREN (?-?)
+Catherine ROE (?-?)
3-Michael WARREN (-1712)
+Catherine AYLMER (?-1726)
4-Anne WARREN (?-?)
+Christopher JOHNSON (1687–1764)
5-Ann JOHNSON (?-?)
+Richard DEASE (?-?)
6-Dr. John DEASE (1745-1801)
+Jane FRENCH (ca 1754-1802)
7-John Warren DEASE Sr. (1783-1830)
+Genevieve BEIGNET (1796-1860)
8-Margaret DEASE (1818-1905)
+William MCMILLAN (1806-1903)
9-Philomene MCMILLAN (1848-1923)
+Thomas HOGUE (1840-1924)
10-Thomas Joseph HOGUE (1879-1955)