AUBREY, Sir John, 2nd Bt. (c.1650-1700), of Llantriddyd, Glam.
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Family and Education
b. c.1650, 2nd but o. surv. s. of Sir John Aubrey, 1st Bt., of Llantriddyd by Mary, da. and h. of Sir Richard South, Goldsmith, of Cheapside, London. educ. Jesus, Oxf. matric. 29 Oct. 1668, aged 18; M. Temple 1672. m. (1) 1 Mar. 1679, aged 27, Margaret (d. aft. 1680), da. of Sir John Lowther, 1st Bt.†, of Lowther Hall, Westmld., 1s.; (2) c.1691–3, Mary (d. 1717), da. of William Lewis† of Bletchington, Oxon. and The Van, Glam., coh. to her bro. Edward Lewis† (d. 1674) and wid. of William Jephson* of Boarstall, Bucks., s.p. suc. fa. as 2nd Bt. Mar. 1679.1
Sheriff, Glam. 1685–6.
Aubrey’s father was a man of some learning, who not only corresponded with, but from time to time made a home for, his poor relation and namesake, the noted antiquary. He was also a staunch cavalier, loyal to the King during the Civil War and a keen persecutor of Dissent and disaffection in the two decades after the Restoration, described in 1677 as ‘a constant friend to the government in Church and state’. His son imitated him in both respects. A ‘witty knight’, he was likewise a correspondent of John Aubrey, and of Edward Lhuyd; and in politics he started out, at least, in the High Church tradition. He possessed influence enough to enable him to postpone shrieval duty in 1683–4, largely through the intercession of Sir Leoline Jenkins†, the brilliant son of a ‘copyholder’ on the Aubrey estate, whose successful career had owed its origin to the patronage of the first baronet, and who put the case against his being pricked on the grounds, he told Aubrey, of ‘the burthens on your estate’. Although obliged to undertake the office in 1685, his inclusion in the Glamorgan lieutenancy commissioned after James II’s accession indicated the continuance of court favour, which he repaid in this instance by his active participation in the arrest of suspected plotters. He also managed to retain his place on the bench despite evading the King’s questions on the repeal of the Test Act and Penal Laws. To the Duke of Beaufort’s summons he replied that ‘because of his crazy body, as he says, [he is] not able to undertake the journey’.2
Nothing is known of Aubrey’s attitude to or involvement in the Revolution. Subsequently he repaired his fortunes by marrying the widow of William Jephson and rapidly divorcing her, or so it would appear, on terms which preserved for his family the ‘very fair inheritance’ she had brought, especially Jephson’s Buckinghamshire estate, secured under the terms of the marriage settlement. By his death he was said to be worth £3,000 a year. His politics, like those of his kinsman and ally Sir Charles Kemys, 3rd Bt.* (and possibly influenced by them), may now have been veering somewhat towards Whiggery, as he was chosen at Brackley in 1698 on the interest of either the Egerton family or Kemys’ brother-in-law Lord Wharton (Hon. Thomas*). It was, however, Aubrey’s Country sympathies which were more obvious to contemporaries, as an analysis of the House prepared shortly after his election classed Aubrey as a Country supporter. He was also forecast as likely to oppose a standing army, and was not included upon the list of those who voted on 18 Jan. 1699 against the disbanding bill. A year later an analysis of the House into interests classed Aubrey as doubtful or, perhaps, opposition. Otherwise he seems not to have adorned his brief parliamentary career with any particular record of activity. Aubrey died on 15 Sept. 1700, aged 49, after a fall from his horse on his Buckinghamshire property. His body was transported to Llantriddyd for burial, where his memorial offered an ambiguous tribute to his wit and character: ‘What he was, those who conversed with him best know.’3
Ref Volumes: 1690-1715
Author: D. W. Hayton
- 1. Lipscomb, Bucks. i. 75.
- 2. NLW Jnl. xxi. 168; Aubrey, Brief Lives ed. Clark, i. 315; ii. 7–8; Wood, Life and Times, ii. 117; P. Jenkins, Making of a Ruling Class, 118–20, 123, 138, 210, 222, 235; CSP Dom. 1683–4, p. 108; 1685, p. 189; Duckett, Penal Laws and Test Act (1882), p. 280; J. R. S. Phillips, Wales and Mon. JPs 1541–1689, pp. 307–9.
- 3. Index of Cases in Ct. of Arches ed. Houston (Index Lib. lxxxv), 14; Arch. Cambr. (ser. 13), xiii. 210–11; Top. and Gen. iii. 35; NLW Jnl. 163; Midland Hist. iii. 30–31; Luttrell, Brief Relation, iv. 659; Verney Letters 18th Cent. i. 86; Arch. Cambr. 210–11.