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About the study

Like nearly all One-Name Studies, this one began out of a casual interest in the life of an ancestor. His name was Morgan Aubrey (1527-1608), a Salter, and having discovered something about his life, meant there was no holding back.

When I met another Aubrey descendant, author and researcher Pam Buttrey, (GOONS Member 3138) we decided to pool our resources and our accumulated data.

That was some time ago, but our interest in the Aubreys has never waned. It has instead, resulted in a number of publications, recounting the lives of the Aubreys of Clehonger in Salt & Silk, Silk & Sons, and Sons & Spouses. 

Variant names

In the 16th and 17th centuries, before names became standardised, Awbrey was one of the most common variants. Morgan the Salter was referred to in many of the documents as €˜Awbrey€™, as was his son Sir Samuel (1580-1645).

At least one branch in the U.S., descendants of Morgan'€™s cousin Dr William Awbrey, has kept to the old spelling.

On rare occasions, it became Aubry or Aubery.

Name origin

It derives from a Norman forename.

The Aubreys of Wales believed themselves to be descended from the Counts of Boulogne and Danmartin, known before the Norman Conquest as de Alberico.

History of the name

The earliest Aubrey so far found in Wales, was Constable of Brecon Castle in the late 13th century.

Morgan Aubrey (1527-1608) Salter, Citizen and Alderman of the City of London, made his name (and money) in a long and interesting life. It has been well documented and can be read in Salt & Silk  -€“ chronicles of the Aubreys of Clehonger.

Morgan's cousin and contemporary, Dr William Awbrey of Cantref (c1529-1595) D.C.L., was one of the most influential churchman of the Elizabethan age. Among other important positions he held, were Vicar-general to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Ambassador to France and M.P. for Carmarthen and Brecknock.

One of Dr William Aubrey'€™s great-grand children was John Aubrey (1626-1697), famous for his Brief Lives, a miscellaneous set of notes and portraits of some of the great figures of 17th century England. The book provides a valuable primary source for historians.

Morgan€'s son Sir Samuel Aubrey (1580-1645) fell into the hands of the Parliamentary army when they attached Hereford in 1643. Transported with other prisoners to Bristol, he was later released. These dramatic events are described in Salt & Silk.

Herbert Aubrey II, Morgan Aubrey'€™s great-grandson (1631-1691) knew many of the movers and shakers at Westminster, and was elected M.P. for Hereford in 1681 and 1682.

Name frequency


Distribution of the name


Historically, the name of Aubrey was mainly found in South Wales and Herefordshire. The constable of Brecon Castle probably came from Herefordshire where there are records of Aubreys from the 12th century onwards both in Hereford and in the east and north-east of the county.

In Soberton, Hampshire, a fifteenth century parish record refers to a messuage and land called Awbreys

The Aubreys of Aston Ingham appeared in the Ross-on-Wye area about 1700. The descendants of this particular branch have been traced and recorded by Pam Buttrey.

The name also occurs in Northamptonshire and on the Gloucestershire/Warwickshire border. Some moved to London, and many kept their Welsh roots by taking Aubrey as a first name.

Herbert Aubrey IV (1693-1758) married Arabella Harcourt daughter of Queen Anne's favourite Lord Chancellor (Simon Harcourt, 1st Viscount Harcourt 1661-1727).  How he interfered in their lives, is vividly portrayed in Silk & Sons by D Meredith McFadden

In the seventh generation from Morgan Aubrey, Richard Aubrey (1757-1803) died unmarried, leaving his two sisters, Elizabeth (1758-1832) and Martha (1763-1827) co-heiresses to the Aubrey estates.

Both sisters married brothers named Wynne. In 1813, Elizabeth and her husband, Dr Gabriel Wynne were granted royal permission to change their names, adding Aubrey after that of Wynne. Many descendants were subsequently given Wynne-Aubrey as a middle name.

Aubrey was also added to the name of one of Martha's husbands, making him Henry Pinson Tozer Aubrey, while a husband of her daughter Charlotte, became Giovanni Aubrey Bezzi.

These husbands, who took the name of Aubrey, also took much of the money from their wives,  the last of  the Aubrey heiresses.  D Meredith McFadden described how they did it, in Sons & Spouses

Known Aubreys, direct descendants in the male line from Morgan Aubrey, currently live in the U.S., New Zealand and Australia, and in the female line, in the U.K. the U.S., France and Australia.


During the course of this long Aubrey study, some thousands of records of births, deaths and marriages etc. have been found, noted and verified. As well, Chancery cases and other official records have been interpreted and added to the accumulated history of the Aubrey family.