Earldom of Aylesford

Arms of Finch, Earls of Aylesford: Argent, a chevron between three griffins passant sable[1]
Creation date1714
Created byGeorge I
PeeragePeerage of Great Britain
First holderHeneage Finch, 1st Earl of Aylesford
Present holderCharles Finch-Knightley, 12th Earl of Aylesford
Heir apparentJames Daniel Finch-Knightley, Lord Guernsey
Remainder toheirs male
Subsidiary titlesBaron Guernsey
Seat(s)Packington Hall
MottoAperto vivere voto ("To live in open faith")

Earl of Aylesford, in the County of Kent, is a title in the Peerage of Great Britain. It was created in 1714 for the lawyer and politician Heneage Finch, 1st Baron Guernsey. He had already been created Baron Guernsey in the Peerage of England in 1703. Finch was the younger son of Heneage Finch, 1st Earl of Nottingham and the great-grandson of Elizabeth Heneage, 1st Countess of Winchilsea. Lord Aylesford's eldest son, the second Earl, represented Maidstone and Surrey in Parliament. In 1712, he married Mary Fisher, daughter of Sir Clement Fisher, 3rd Baronet. Through this marriage Packington Hall in Warwickshire came into the Finch family.

Their son, the third Earl, sat as a Member of Parliament for Leicestershire and Maidstone. His eldest son, the fourth Earl, represented Castle Rising and Maidstone in the House of Commons, and after entering the House of Lords on his father's death, served as Captain of the Yeomen of the Guard from 1783 to 1804 and as Lord Steward of the Household from 1804 to 1812.

His second but eldest surviving son, the fifth Earl, was a Tory Member of Parliament for Weobly. His son, the sixth Earl, represented South Warwickshire in Parliament as a Conservative. His grandson, the tenth Earl, assumed by Royal licence his grandmother's maiden surname of Knightley in addition to that of Finch. His son, the eleventh Earl, served as Lord Lieutenant of the West Midlands. As of 2015, the titles are held by the latter's son, who succeeded in 2008.

The Hon. Charles Finch, younger son of the third Earl, was Member of Parliament for Maidstone. His son Charles Griffith-Wynne (who assumed the surname of Griffith-Wynne in lieu of his patronymic), was Member of Parliament for Caernarvonshire. His son Charles Wynne sat as Member of Parliament for Caernarvon.

The family seat is Packington Hall, in Great Packington, near Meriden, Warwickshire.

Earls of Aylesford (1714)

Present peer

Heneage Charles Finch-Knightley, 12th Earl of Aylesford (born 27 March 1947) is the son of the 11th Earl and his wife Margaret Rosemary Tyer. Styled as Lord Guernsey from 1958, he was educated at Oundle School and Trinity College, Cambridge.[4] He is also now known as Charles Aylesford.

In 1986, he was appointed a Deputy Lieutenant of the West Midlands and in 1990 was promoted to Vice-Lord-Lieutenant of the West Midlands,[4] from which post he retired in 2015.[5]

On 19 February 2008 he succeeded his father as Earl of Aylesford and Baron Guernsey.[5]

In 1971 Lord Guernsey, as he then was, married Penelope Anstice Crawley, daughter of Kenneth Arnold Gibbs Crawley and a niece of Aidan Crawley, and they had four daughters and one son:[4][6]

In 1997 Lord Guernsey and his family were living at Packington Hall, Meriden.[4]


  1. ^ Debrett's Peerage, 1968, p.102
  2. ^ The great landowners of Great Britain and Ireland
  3. ^ Charles Coventry was the father of Francis Coventry, 12th Earl of Coventry (1912–2004) who succeeded to the title in 2002, and died leaving no sons. He was succeeded by an elderly first cousin living in Canada, born 1917. Francis was younger brother of Pamela, Countess of Aylesford (d. 1990).
  4. ^ a b c d e Peter W. Hammond, ed., The Complete Peerage, Volume XIV (Stroud: Sutton Publishing, 1998), p. 54
  5. ^ a b c "Aylesford, 12th Earl of (Charles Heneage Finch-Knightley) (born 27 March 1947) Vice Lord-Lieutenant for West Midlands, 1990–2015" in Who’s Who, online edition, revised 1 December 2022, accessed 26 January 2023
  6. ^ Descendants of the Conqueror: Clarence 25, accesssed 10 December 2008
  7. ^ Morris, Susan; Bosberry-Scott, Wendy; Belfield, Gervase, eds. (2019). "Aylesford, Earl of". Debrett's Peerage and Baronetage. Vol. 1 (150th ed.). London: Debrett's Ltd. pp. 441–443. ISBN 978-1-999767-0-5-1.