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
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
by george Aynsley-smith 1866-1942
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!!