AYLOFFE, Sir Benjamin, 2nd Bt. (1592-1662), of Great Braxted, Essex.
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Family and Education
bap. 29 Aug. 1592, 2nd but 1st surv. s. of Sir William Ayloffe†, 1st Bt., of Brittains, Hornchurch by 1st w. Catherine, da. and h. of John Sterne of Melbourne, Cambs. educ. Christ’s, Camb. c.1614. m. (1) Alice (d.1612), da. of Martin Archdale, Grocer, of London, 1da.; (2) 9 May 1616, Margaret (d. 21 May 1658), da. of Thomas Fanshawe† of Ware Park, Herts., 3s. 4da.; (3) Margaret (d.1682), da. of Henry Porter, s.p. suc. fa. 5 Aug. 1627.1
J.p. Essex by 1625-43, July 1660-d., dep. lt. 1640-43, c. Aug. 1660-d., sheriff 1642-3, commr. of array 1642, assessment Aug. 1660-d., sewers Oct. 1660.2
Ayloffe’s ancestors were seated at Hornchurch early in the reign of Henry VI. Under the Tudors they distinguished themselves in the legal profession, his grandfather becoming a judge in 1577. His father, created a baronet in 1611, sat for Stockbridge ten years later. After the battle of Edgehill, Ayloffe, as sheriff, was responsible for proclaiming the parliamentary general, the Earl of Essex, as a traitor. Ayloffe was seized by a troop of horse and imprisoned for five years in the Tower. He was not allowed to compound for his delinquency until 1649, when he paid £1,168 on an estate valued at £725 p.a. He was again arrested after Penruddock’s rising and imprisoned at Yarmouth. ‘Disabled and impoverished’, he found consolation in his ‘good and dutiful children’ and in the cheerful and religious support of his second wife, which he accounted his greatest worldly happiness. Though compelled to alienate the Hornchurch estate, and with his income reduced to £500 p.a., he was able to purchase 107 acres in Boston fen. Together with Sir Edmund Peirce, he presented the declaration of the Essex Royalists to General George Monck on 19 Apr. 1660.3
Ayloffe entered Parliament at the age of 68 when he was returned for the county at the general election of 1661. A court supporter, he was described by his colleague (Sir) John Bramston as ‘a very worthy, honest gentleman’. Despite his age and inexperience, he was very active in the first session of the Cavalier Parliament, being nominated to 41 committees, of which the most important were for the corporations, schismatics, uniformity and regicides bills. He also helped to consider the bill for the better ordering of the Lincolnshire fens, and was appointed to a small committee to draft a proviso to the bill to prevent the poaching of deer. He acted as teller against committing the petition from the fenmen on 28 Jan. 1662, and helped to prepare reasons for a conference on the bill for confirming ministers in their livings. His last committee was on 10 Mar., and he was buried at Great Braxted a fortnight later, the last of his family to sit in Parliament.4
Ref Volumes: 1660-1690
Author: Gillian Hampson
- 1. Morant, Essex, i. 71; Vis. Cambs. (Harl. Soc. xli), 130; H. F. Waters, Gen. Gleanings , 316; Vis. England and Wales Notes ed. Crisp. vi. 149; PCC 29 Cottle.
- 2. HMC 10th Rep. IV, 502-7; Q. Sess. Order Bk. (Essex Edited Texts, i), 160; CSP Dom. 1640, pp. 83, 163; HMC 14th Rep. IX, 280; C191/7/59.
- 3. Morant, i. 69-71; HMC 7th Rep. 551; Bramston Autobiog. (Cam. Soc. xxxii), 119; SP23/211/407, 413; CSP Dom. 1655, p. 368; Thurloe, iv. 435; PCC 136 Laud; Essex Arch. Soc. Trans. v. 149.
- 4. Bramston, 119; CJ, viii. 367; H. B. Archdale, Archdale Mems. 8.