Ayloffe, Sir Joseph

, bart. V.P.A.S. and F.R.S. of Framfield in Sussex, was descended from a Saxon family, anciently seated at Bocton Alof near Wye, in the county of Kent, in the reign of Henry III. who removed to Hornchurch, in the county of Essex, in that of Henry IV. and to Sudbury in that of Edward IV. Sir William Ayloffe of Great Braxtead, in the county of Essex, was knighted by James I. May 1, 1603, and created a baronet, Nov. 25, 1612; and from his eldest son by his third wife, the late baronet was the fourth in descent, and fifth in title. His father Joseph, a barrister, who married a daughter of Bryan Ayliffe, an eminent merchant of London, and died in 1717, and his grandfather, were both of Gray’s Inn. He was born about 1703, received the early part of his education at Westminster school, admitted of Lincoln’s Inn 1724, and in the same year was entered a gentleman-commoner at St. John’s college, Oxford, which college he quitted about 1728; elected F.A.S. Feb. 10, 1731-2, one of the first council under their charter, 1751 | vice-president, 17; and F.R.S. June 3, 1731. He prevailed on Mr. Kirby, painter in Ipswich, to make drawings of a great number of monuments and buildings in Suffolk, of which twelve were engraved, with a description, 1748, and others remain unpublished. He had at that time an intention to write a history of the county, and had drawn up proposals for that purpose but, being disappointed of the materials which he had reason to expect for so laborious a work, they were never published. On the building of Westminsterbridge he was appointed secretary to the commissioners, 1737 and on the establishment of the Paper-office on the respectable footing it at present is, by the removal of the state-papers from the old gate at Whitehall to new apartments at the Treasury, he was nominated the first in the commission for the care and preservation of them. In 1747 he circulated “Proposals for printing by subscription, Encyclopaedia; or, a rational Dictionary of Arts, Sciences, and Trade. By several eminent hands. Methodized, digested, and now publishing at Paris, by M. Diderot, fellow of the Imperial and Royal Academies of Paris and St. Petersburgh and, as to the mathematical part, by M. d’Alembert, member of the Royal Academy of Sciences at Paris and Berlin, aud F. R. S. Translated from the French, with additions and improvements;” in which was to be included a great variety of new articles, tending to explain and illustrate the antiquities, history ecclesiastical, civil, and military, laws, customs, manufactures, commerce, curiosities, &c. of Great Britain and Ireland by sir Joseph Ayloffe, bart. F. R. S. and of the Society of Antiquaries of London, and author of “The Universal Librarian.” Of this work a prospectus was published, in one large sheet, dated Dec. 14, 1751 and the first number of the work itself, June 11, 1752. This nuftiber being badly received by the public, the further prosecution of the business seems to have been dropped. See some account of it in the Gentleman’s Mag. 1752, p. 46. It was proposed to have been finished by Christmas 1756, in ten quarto volumes, price nine guineas, the last two to contain upwards of six hundred plates. In 1772 he published, in 4to, “Calendars of the Ancient Charters, &c. and of the Welsh and Scottish Rolls now remaining in the Tower ofLondon, &c.” (which was begun to be printed by the late Rev. Mr. Morant), and in the introduction gives a most judicious and exact account-of our public records. He drew up the account of the ehapel of | London-bridge, of which an engraving was published by Vertue, 1748, and again by the Society of Antiquaries, 1777. His historical description of the interview between Henry VIII. and Francis I. on the Champ de Drap d’Or, from an original painting at Windsor, and his account of the paintings of the same age at Cowdray, were inserted in the third volume of the Archaeologia, and printed separately, to accompany engravings of two of these pictures by the Society of Antiquaries, 1775. His account of the body of Edward I. as it appeared on opening his tomb, 1774, was printed in the same volume, p. 376. Having been educated, as has been observed, at Westminster, he acquired an early affection for that venerable cathedral and his intimate acquaintance witfi every part of it displayed itself in his accurate description of five monuments in the choir, engraved in 1779 by the same society; who must reckon, among the many obligations which they owe to his zeal and attention to their interests, the last exertions of his life to put their affairs on the most respectable and advantageous footing, on their removal to their new apartments in Somerset Place. He superintended the new edition of Leland’s Collectanea, in 9 vols. 8vo, 1770, and also of the Liber Niger Scaccarii, in 2 vols. 8vo, 1771, to each of which he added a valuable appendix to the latter the charters of Kingston-on-Thames, of which his father was recorder. He also revised through the press a new edition of Hearne’s “Curious Discourses,1771, 2 vols. 8vo and likewise the “Registrum Roffense,” published by Mr. Thorpe in 1769, folio. At the beginning of the seventh volume of Somers’s Tracts is advertised, “A Collection of Debates in Parliament before the Restoration, from Mss. by sir Joseph Ayloffe, bart.” which is supposed never to have appeared. In January 1734, he married Mrs. Margaret Railton (daughter and heiress of Thomas Railton, esq. of Carlisle, in the county of Cumberland, and relict of Thomas Railton, esq. who died in the commission of the peace for the city of Westminster, Sept. 4, 1732) and by this lady he had one son of his own name, who died of the small-pox, at Trinity hall, Cambridge, at the age of twentyone, Dec. 19, 1756. Sir Joseph died at his house at Kennington-lane, Lambeth, April 19, 1781, aged seventy-two; and was buried in a vault in Henclon church, with his father and his only son. His extensive knowledge of our national antiquities and municipal rights, and the agreeable manner | in which he communicated it to his friends and tjie public, made him sincerely regretted hy all who had the pleasure of his acquaintance. Such of his Mss. as had not been claimed by his friends, were sold by auction, February 27, 1782. 1


Nichols’s Life of Bowyer. Morant’s Hist, of Essex,