Though there is an early reference to a Mayhew in Ropley in 1562 – 1562. ‘John Maihew holds Boures grove at 6s 8d’ (Winchester college), Elizabeth Mayhew appears to be the most well documented.
The 1841 census suggests that Elizabeth was the wife of Thomas Mayhew, a farmer but the 1851 census has Elizabeth and Thomas recorded as widow and widower, brother and sister. Elizabeth is the Head and listed as ‘Farming 160 acres’. Thomas is listed as a ‘Land Proprietor’ But there is no evidence that Elizabeth ever married and her will states that she is a spinster.
Previously in 1839, the Tithe map (see below) of Ropley Parish had been created. It listed the owners and occupiers of the land. A substantial amount of land is owned and occupied by Elizabeth Mayhew. Robert Mayhew is not mentioned on the tithe awards for Ropley, though he may have owned land in a different parish
Moving on to the next census in 1861 we find George Lailey is the farmer at North Street Farm – the occupier, but not the owner. His wife is Martha Lailey and Elizabeth Mayhew at the age of 90 is still in residence. She is listed as a Land Proprietress and her relationship to George Lailey is Aunt. In fact, she is the aunt of Martha Lailey, the daughter of Thomas Mayhew.
Elizabeth Mayhew died in 1864. She’d have been 93. She was the last of this line of Mayhews.She left legacies to a number of family members but the bulk of her estate went to her niece Martha Lailey. George Lailey was named as her executor. A transcription of the will is available –
George and Martha were still at North Street Farm in 1871 but were not there in 1881. It is not clear from the census which family occupied the farm in this census year – Henry Maffey or Thomas Barford are most likely. Similarly in 1891 there are two options – George Holloway and George Kennett.
In to the 20th Century
The 1901 census tells us that Albert Allam is the farmer at North Street Farm and in 1911 the farmer is Arthur Kemp.
In 1921 the occupier is Albert Broad. Albert Broad at the previous census was the farmer at King’s Farm in Lower Wield. Also living at King’s Farm was James Lailey who was related by marriage to Broad’s wife Edna.
The census returns have told us who was living at the farm but we have no indication as to who owned the farm until we get to 1937 when we have documentation of the farm’s sale by the Shorter family. Harold James Shorter is listed on the Register of Electors in 1930 and 1931 and in 1939 we find that the Wright family were in residence.
Current Ropley residents refer to North Street Farm as Wright’s Farm and many of the farm buildings are now private dwellings.
Research and sources
Research by Hilary Oldham, cataloguer, Ropley History Network and Archive
Available on this website –
- Photographs and sale documents donated to the Tim Day Collection by Mrs S J Wilson from Hove in Sussex – Mrs James Shorter’s granddaughter.
- To see the original and transcription of the TitheAwardsTranscription transcription – https://www.ropleyhistory.org.uk/catalogue_item/manni-kirchner-collection/ropley-award-transcription-for-tithe-maps
- Transcription of Elizabeth Mayhew’ Will
- Transcriptions of Census’ related to the article 1841 – 1921https://www.ropleyhistory.org.uk/catalogue_item/brian-lawes-collection/north-farm-census-returns-transcrptions-north-street-ropley-1841-1921
Online resources, Ancestry.co.uk and FindMyPast.co.uk. Hampshire parish records are currently being digitalised by Ancestry.co.uk.
Elizabeth Mayhew’s will is available from the GRO Probate Service.