Aylmer of Balrath

Aylmer of Balrath

During the reign of Henry VI, Richard Aylmer of Lyons, a Keeper of the Peace for both Dublin and Kildare, was appointed Sovereign of the Borough of Tassagard, a position that put him in charge of protecting the settler community from attack by the neighbouring O’Toole and O’Byrne septs. Richard’s grandson Bartholomew served as High Sheriff of County Kildare in 1495 and married a daughter of the wealthy Meath magnate, Sir Christopher Chevers. The family subsequently rose to become one of the most prominent families in Meath and Kildare and, from 1530 onwards, key figures in the Dublin administration. By the close of Henry VIII’s reign, the Aylmer’s landholding extended from Kildare to Meath to Dublin.[1] Before the end of the 16th century they had established two independent branches at Donadea in north Kildare and at Dollardstown in County Meath. The first Aylmer of real significance, in terms of land acquisition, was John Aylmer who married Helen Tyrell of Lyons, an heiress, at the end of the 14th century and so the family acquired Lyons Manor. He may have been a successful merchant and was descended from a family that had been prominent in the Lyons area since the Norman invasion.[2]

[1] Sir Gerald’s brother-in-law, Sir Thomas Luttrell, Lord Chief Justice of the Common Pleas, was another beneficiary of the monastic spoils.

[2] Sir Richard Aylmer the 16th Baronet, a Canadian, in a lecture given at Donadea Church in 1992.

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