Victorian Studio Photos
Victorian Studio Photos

Some of the Maydwells were more associated with Ashtead, but several were in Epsom, probably through a combination of needing to make some kind of living and family support in their advancing years.

Elizabeth Maydwell was running a 'Ladies' Establishment' in Church Street, Epsom by the 1841 census, albeit that several boys were there as well as girls: this was a small school and virtually none of the pupils were Surrey-born. There was another Maydwell contingent at Highland Farm in Leatherhead and some more of them in St Saviour, Southwark. They were all of the same family and they will come together as we continue.

The point of origin for this family is Northamptonshire and Maydwell is a local surname from that part of the country, although it can have different spellings. My first question was why so many of them were in Surrey. I don't know is the short answer, but it was probably something to do with fattening livestock and the proximity of Surrey to the London markets. There were a lot of Maydwells and they spread out all over the place.

I shall start with the Leatherhead people, so that we can move on to Ashtead and thence to Epsom. Daniel Maydwell was a tenant at Highland Farm, Leatherhead, which was around 900 acres, and he also had premises at Smithfield meat market. There were more Maydwells at Village Farm, Ashtead and in 1861 Daniel himself was at Street Farm in Ashtead. This brief article is not about farms at all, but we need to follow the Daniel trail to get where we are going.

One of Daniel's children was Charlotte, born in 1826, and on 2 December 1858 at St Giles, Ashtead she married architect Henry Parsons. Henry was the son of Jonathan Parsons, a builder and proprietor of houses who lived in London, and his wife Mary Ann, who were married in 1826. Mary Ann was a Maydwell and a sister of the aforementioned Daniel, so Charlotte and Henry were actually first cousins.

So, in 1861, Daniel was in residence at Street Farm, Ashtead, then aged 79, and Henry and Charlotte Parsons were with him, along with their first child, who was imaginatively called Maydwell Parsons. Daniel died in 1864.

Jonathan Parsons had died in the 1850s and his widow, Mary Ann, moved to Church Street Epsom to live with her sister, the Elizabeth Maydwell I started with. Another sister, Letitia (Southwark contingent), was also there. We have a photo of one of them, and it is not Mary Ann Parsons, but we are unsure if it is Elizabeth or Letitia, so if anyone knows please contact the webmaster. The photo dates from the early 1860s, we believe, when Elizabeth would have been over 80 and Letitia 70 or so.

'Miss Maydwell', either Elizabeth or Letitia
'Miss Maydwell', either Elizabeth or Letitia
Photograph by Cuthbert John Hopkins, courtesy of Bourne Hall Museum

Elizabeth died in 1864, Letitia in March 1867 and Mary Ann towards the end of 1868. They were all buried in Ashtead.

Linda Jackson 2018