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John Aislabie

John Aislabie, politician and landowner, was the owner and designer of Studley Royal, North Yorkshire.

He was born on 4 December 1670 and was baptised at Holy Trinity Church, Goodramgate, York. He was educated at Mr Tomlinson's school in York and then attended St John's College (1687) and Trinity Hall, Cambridge (1692).

Aislabie was elected as mayor of Ripon in 1702. By 1705 he was MP for the same town. In 1714, following a change of ministry on the accession of George I, Aislabie received office in October as Treasurer of the Navy, a post he had coveted since 1710.

Further honours followed, including appointment to the Privy Council on 12 July 1716 and elevation to the chancellorship of the exchequer on 20 March 1718.

His duties included managing the legislation designed to reduce the national debt by associating it with the South Sea Company, and he quickly profited from the stock price rise. The bubble soon burst and Aislabie was forced to resign in January 1721. The seriousness of his role in the affair is reflected in the fact that he was confined to the Tower of London for a short period.

Following this, John Aislabie retired to Studley Royal where he developed the landscape on which he had been working since 1718. He originally created the water garden along the River Skell, and later developed the canal and valley bottom. He was also responsible for building How Hill Tower in 1718.

In 1731 Aislabie bought the land at Hackfall, also in Yorkshire, which was later developed by his son William Aislabie. John Aislabie died in 1742.

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