Aldworth, Elizabeth (1692/5?–1772?), freemason, was born probably in Doneraile, Co. Cork, daughter of Arthur St Leger , 1st Viscount Doneraile (1703), and his wife Elizabeth, heir of John Hayes. Around 1710 she accidentally overheard a masonic lodge meeting in Doneraile Castle, and her father, the ‘master mason’, had her sworn in as a freemason to avoid the threatened penalty of death for eavesdropping. She maintained her connection with masonry, and is reputed to be the only woman ever to be a member of a regular lodge; she bought masonic books and is said to have worn masonic regalia (as shown in a portrait owned by her descendants, reproduced in R. F. Gould, Concise history of freemasonry) while attending masonic charity events. Her masonic apron was still in existence in 1977. She married (1713) Richard Aldworth (1694–1776), of Newmarket, Co. Cork, MP for Lismore 1728–60. One of her two sons, St Leger Aldworth (c.1715–1787), sat as MP for Doneraile (1761–76), took his mother's surname on inheriting the St Leger estates (1767), and was created Baron (1776) and Viscount Doneraile (1785). Elizabeth Aldworth's gravestone in St Finn Barre's cathedral, Cork, gives her date of death as 1775; however, the Public Gazetteer, in a long eulogy published on 19 May 1772, states that she died on 11 May at the age of 80.
Public Gazetteer, 19 May 1772; Burke, Peerage (1912); G.E.C., Peerage, iv, 397, 622; Cork Hist. Soc. Jn., 1st ser., ii (1893), 144–5; F. L. Pick and G. Norman Knight, The pocket history of freemasonry, revised by G. N. Knight and F. Smyth (1977), 148–9; HIP, iii, 73, 74–5