Fonds MAYR - Mayor Papers

Identity area

Reference code

MAYR

Title

Mayor Papers

Date(s)

  • 1664–1949 (Creation)

Level of description

Fonds

Extent and medium

29 boxes

Context area

Name of creator

Biographical history

John Mayor, son of Thomas, was vicar of Shawbury in Shropshire. His son, Joseph Mayor was fellow of St John's College, Cambridge from 1812 to 1814 and later Rector of South Collingham in Nottinghamshire. Another son was Robert Mayor who married Charlotte Bickersteth and was one of the first missionaries in Ceylon before returning to England on health grounds and eventually becoming Rector of Acton near Nantwitch. Three of Robert's sons went up to and became fellows of St John's College: Robert Bickersteth Mayor, who became Mathematical Master at Rugby and was Rector of Frating; John Eyton Bickersteth Mayor, who was University Librarian, [Kennedy] Professor of Latin and a great proponent of vegetarianism; and Joseph Bickersteth Mayor, who became Professor of Classics at King's College London. It was the latter who married Alexandrina Jessie Grote and connected the family with another of renown. Robert and Jessie's children included R. J. G Mayor, fellow of King's and Flora Macdonald Mayor, author.

Name of creator

Biographical history

The Grote family came over to England in the eighteenth century. By profession they were bankers, Andreas (known as Andrew in Britain) moved to London and established himself as a merchant before becoming a founder member of Prescott, Grote, Culverden and Hollingsworth.His sons Joseph and George Grote senior followed him into the bank. George senior married Selina Mary Peckwell, establishing a link with the Peckwell, Blossett, de Salis and Le Coq St Leger families. George and Selina had 11 children. The oldest, George, originally followed this father into banking, and sat as MP for the City of London from 1831 to 1841. His great literary achievement was his voluminous history of Greece, but he also wrote on other classical and philosophical subjects. Four of George junior's brothers joined the Indian civil service; one, Andrew, married Isabella Macdonald. A further brother, John was fellow of Trinity College, Knightbridge Professor of Moral Philosophy and Vicar of Trumpington.

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Teresa, Lady Rothschild

Content and structure area

Scope and content

The Mayor Papers comprise papers of three intermarried families, the Mayors, Grotes and Bickersteths, all of whom had some connection with Cambridge. The vast majority of the material is correspondence with family and friends on subjects such as health, bereavement, faith and the like.

The earliest member of the Mayor family represented in the papers is John Mayor, vicar of Shawbury in Shropshire. Of his sons, Joseph became a Fellow of St John's College, Cambridge and later Rector of South Collingham in Nottinghamshire. Another son, Robert, became a missionary for the Church Missionary Society and spent much of the 1820s in Ceylon (Sri Lanka) with his wife Elizabeth Bickersteth, before returning to England and eventually becoming Rector of Acton near Nantwich. Robert and Charlotte's missionary work and their life in Ceylon is well represented in the archive by many detailed letters home to family.

Three of Robert and Elizabeth's sons became Fellows of St John's, Robert Bickersteth Mayor, who later became Mathematical Master at Rugby and Rector of Frating, John Eyton Bickersteth Mayor, who was University Librarian and Professor of Latin at Cambridge and Joseph Bickersteth Mayor, who became Professor of Classics at King's College, London. Their letters home and to each other give a vivid view of college life in the mid-nineteenth century. Joseph Bickersteth Mayor married Alexandrina Jessie Grote, and their children included Robert John Grote Mayor, always known as 'Robin', Fellow of King's College, Cambridge, and Flora MacDonald Mayor, author.

The Grote family came over to England in the eighteenth century. By profession they were bankers and a few early letters of Andreas, Joseph and George Grote senior are preserved, giving some idea of their banking business and financial links to mainland Europe. George sen. married Selina Mary Peckwell, establishing a link with the Peckwell, Blossett, de Salis and Le Coq St. Leger families. They had 11 children, the eldest of which, George, followed the family business before becoming MP for the City of London and later writing a history of Ancient Greece. Four of his brothers joined the Indian civil service; one, Andrew, married Isabella Macdonald and the correspondence with members of this family give a view of nineteenth century Scottish life. Another brother, John, was a Fellow of Trinity College, Knightbridge Professor of Moral Philosophy, and vicar of Trumpington.

Much of the correspondence representing the Bickersteth family is from Henry and Elizabeth Bickersteth to their son John Bickersteth, a student at Trinity and later vicar of Acton. Henry and his son Robert were surgeons in Liverpool, and there is comment both on life in Liverpool and in Kirkby Lonsdale, Henry Bickersteth's original home. There are also some letters from Edward Bickersteth, secretary of the Church Missionary Society, and Henry Bickersteth, Baron Langdale, Master of the Rolls. Robert, Edward, and Henry the younger were brothers of Robert Mayor's wife Charlotte.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling

Accruals

System of arrangement

The letters are arranged firstly by family and then chronologically by recipient, and form sections B to H of the catalogue. There are many letters which are undated and unsigned, and these are generally placed at the beginning of the series to which they belong. Legal documents relating to all families concerned have been placed in section A, and photographs in section I.

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Papers relating to the Bickersteth family, particularly those of Edward Bickersteth (1786-1850) and his descendants, are held at the Bodleian Library, Oxford: https://archives.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/repositories/2/resources/3198

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