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72
AYLESBURY—AYLESFORD

third is remarkable for its extreme slenderness. The foot resembles that of the other lemurs in its large opposable great toe with a flat nail; but all the other toes have pointed compressed claws. Tail long and bushy. General colour dark brown, the outer fur being long and rather loose, with a woolly under-coat. Teats two, inguinal in position. The aye-aye was discovered by Pierre Sonnerat in 1780, the specimen brought to Paris by that traveller being the only one known until 1860. Since then many others have been obtained, and one lived for several years in the gardens of the Zoological Society of London. Like so many lemurs, it is completely nocturnal in its habits, living either alone or in pairs, chiefly in the bamboo forests. Observations upon captive specimens have led to the conclusion that it feeds principally on juices, especially of the sugar-cane, which it obtains by tearing open the hard woody circumference of the stalk with its strong incisor teeth; but it is said also to devour certain species of wood-boring caterpillars, which it obtains by first cutting down with its teeth upon their burrows, and then picking them out of their retreat with the claw of its attenuated middle finger. It constructs large ball-like nests of dried leaves, lodged in a fork of the branches of a large tree, and with the opening on one side.

Till recently the aye-aye was regarded as representing a family by itself—the Chiromyidae; but the discovery that it resembles the other lemurs of Madagascar in the structure of the inner ear, and thus differs from all other members of the group, has led to the conclusion that it is best classed as a subfamily (Chiromyinae) of the Lemuridae.  (R. L.*) 

AYLESBURY, a market-town in the Aylesbury parliamentary division of Buckinghamshire, England, 38 m. N.W. by W. of London; served by the Great Central, Metropolitan and Great Western railways (which use a common station) and by a branch of the London & North-Western railway. Pop. of urban district (1901) 9243. It has connexion by a branch with the Grand Junction canal. It lies on a slight eminence in a fertile tract called the Vale of Aylesbury, which extends northward from the foot of the Chiltern Hills. Its streets are mostly narrow and irregular, but picturesque. The church of St Mary, a large cruciform building, is primarily Early English, but has numerous additions of later dates. The font is transitional Norman, a good example; and a small pre-Norman crypt remains beneath part of the church. There are some Decorated canopied tombs, and the chancel stalls are of the 15th century. The central tower is surmounted by an ornate clock-turret dating from the second half of the 17th century. The county-hall and town-hall, overlooking a broad market-place, are the principal public buildings. The grammar school was founded in 1611. Aylesbury is the assize town for the county, though Buckingham is the county town. There is a large agricultural trade, the locality being especially noted for the rearing of ducks; straw-plaiting and the manufacture of condensed milk are carried on, and there are printing works. The Jacobean mansion of Hartwell in the neighbourhood of Aylesbury was the residence of the French king Louis XVIII. during his exile (1810-1814).

Aylesbury (Æylesburge, Eilesberia, Aillesbir) was famous in Saxon times as the supposed burial-place of St Osith. In A.D. 571 it was one of the towns captured by Cuthwulf, brother of Ceawlin, king of the Saxons. At the time of the Domesday survey the king owned the manor. In 1554, by a charter from Queen Mary, bestowed as a reward for fidelity during the rebellion of the duke of Northumberland, Aylesbury was constituted a free borough corporate, with a common council consisting of a bailiff, 10 aldermen and 12 chief burgesses. The borough returned two members to parliament from this date until the Redistribution Act of 1885, but the other privileges appear to have lapsed in the reign of Elizabeth. Aylesbury evidently had a considerable market from very early times, the tolls being assessed at the time of Edward the Confessor at £25 and at the time of the Domesday survey at £10. In 1239 Henry III. made a grant to John, son of Geoffrey FitzPeter of an annual fair at the feast of St Osith (June 3rd), which was confirmed by Henry VI. in 1440. Queen Mary's charter instituted a Wednesday market and fairs at the feasts of the Annunciation and the Invention of the Holy Cross. In 1579 John Pakington obtained a grant of two annual fairs to be held on the day before Palm Sunday and on the feast of the Invention of the Holy Cross, and a Monday market for the sale of horses and other animals, grain and merchandise.

AYLESFORD, HENEAGE FINCH, 1st Earl of (c. 1649-1719), 2nd son of Heneage Finch, 1st earl of Nottingham, was educated at Westminster school and at Christ Church, Oxford, where he matriculated on the 18th of November 1664. In 1673 he became a barrister of the Inner Temple; king's counsel and bencher in 1677; and in 1679, during the chancellorship of his father, was appointed solicitor-general, being returned to parliament for Oxford University, and in 1685 for Guildford. In 1682 he represented the crown in the attack upon the corporation of London, and next year in the prosecution of Lord Russell, when, according to Burnet, “and in several other trials afterwards, he showed more of a vicious eloquence in turning matters with some subtlety against the prisoners than of strict or sincere reasoning.”[1] He does not, however, appear to have exceeded the duties of prosecutor for the crown as they were then understood. In 1684, in the trial of Algernon Sidney, he argued that the unpublished treatise of the accused was an overt act, and supported the opinion of Jeffreys that scribere est agere.[2] The same year he was counsel for James in his successful action against Titus Oates for libel, and in 1685 prosecuted Oates for the crown for perjury. Finch, however, though a Tory and a crown lawyer, was a staunch churchman, and on his refusal in 1686 to defend the royal dispensing power he was summarily dismissed by James, He was the leading counsel in June 1688 for the seven bishops, when he “strangely exposed and very boldly ran down”[3] the dispensing power, but his mistaken tactics were nearly the cause of his clients losing their case.[4] He sat again for Oxford University in the convention parliament, which constituency he represented in all the following assemblies except that of 1698, till his elevation to the peerage. He was, however, no supporter of the House of Orange, advocated a regency in James's name, and was one of the few who in the House of Commons opposed the famous vote that James had broken the contract between king and people and left the throne vacant. He held no office during William's reign, and is described by Macky as “always a great opposer” of the administration. In 1689 he joined in voting for the reversal of Lord Russell's attainder, and endeavoured to defend his conduct in the trial, but was refused a hearing by the House. He opposed the Triennial Bill of 1692, but in 1696 spoke against the bill of association and test, which was voted for the king's protection, on the ground that though William was to be obeyed as sovereign he could not be acknowledged “rightful and lawful king.” In 1694 he argued against the crown in the bankers' case. In 1703 he was created baron of Guernsey and a privy councillor, and after the accession of George I. on the 19th of October 1714, earl of Aylesford, being reappointed a privy councillor and made chancellor of the duchy of Lancaster, which office he retained till February 1716. He died on the 22nd of July 1719. According to John Macky (Memoirs, p. 71; published by Roxburghe Club, 1895) he was accounted “one of the greatest orators in England and a good common lawyer; a firm asserter of the prerogative of the crown and jurisdiction of the church; a tall, thin, black man, splenatick.” He married Elizabeth, daughter and co-heiress of Sir John Banks of Aylesford, by whom, besides six daughters, he had three sons, of whom the eldest, Heneage, succeeded him as 2nd earl of Aylesford. The 2nd earl died in 1757, and since this date the earldom has been held by his direct descendants, six of whom in succession have borne the Christian name of Heneage.

Many of his legal arguments are printed in State Trials (see esp. viii. 694, 1087, ix. 625, 880, 996, x. 126, 319, 405, 1199, xii. 183, 353, 365). Wood attributes to him on the faith of common rumour the authorship of An Antidote against Poison ... Remarks upon a Paper printed by Lady (Rachel) Russel (1683), ascribed in State Trials (ix. 710) to Sir Bartholomew Shower; but see the latter's allusion to it on p. 753.

  1. Hist. of His Own Times, i. 556. Swift has appended a note, “an arrant rascal,” but Finch's great offence with the dean was probably his advancement by George I. rather than his conduct of state trials as here described.
  2. Ibid. 572, and Speaker Onslow's note.
  3. N. Luttrell's Relation, i. 447.
  4. State Trials, xii. 353.