Jane Foote Maxton - Hartley-Kent: The Website for Hartley

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Jane Foote Maxton

The Last Lord of Hartley Manor

The last known lord of the manor of Hartley, Jane Foote Maxton was born in Edinburgh on 16 April 1877 to parents Archibald (d 1938) and Jane.  She was the eldest of five, her siblings being David (b 1879), Margaret (b 1881), Barbara (married name Berry, b 1883) and Elizabeth (married name Watt, b 1885).  Her father was a shirt manufacturer (Maxton and Murray) and the family lived at 2-4 Glenogle Hosue, Edinburgh.  By 1901 Jane had got a job as a "clerkess" in an electronic engineering firm.  Late in life her parents came to live at her house in Wolverton Gardens, Hanwell, London W5.

She clearly had a head for business.  In about 1926 she bought the Burleigh House Hotel, 173-175 Cromwell Road, London SW5.  In 1939 she was living there too.  She played on her Scottish roots when advertising in the Scotsman, for the hotel stressed its "Scottish proprietress".  You could stay there for 7 shillings (35p) a night or £2 per week.

She was the company secretary of Small Owners Limited.  They would have become the Lords of the Manor when they purchased the Hartley Manor and Fairby Estates in 1913.  As a prelude to the winding up of the company, Small Owners transferred all its remaining assets, by then very few but including the manorial quitrents, to Jane by conveyance dated 30 January 1928.  She had a London address at 4 Wolverton Gardens W5, but she also lived in Hartley.  She ran a pig farm at Hartley Manor Farm from about 1929.  In that year a newspaper said she had bought a boar called Shawlands Master Hasty 2nd for £24 from a prize winning herd.  It proved to be a good investment, as she won 1st prizes for her pigs in Tonbridge Shows most years between 1929 and 1933 [3].

From 1931-37  she lived at Hartley Manor Farm, before moving to Skips Cottage", Hartley Bottom Road (now just called "The Cottage") for about two years from 1938-39.

We have no picture of Jane, but there is  a description of her for US immigration when she travelled on the Aquitania in 1935 to stay 6 weeks with her sister Elizabeth in Brooklyn, New York.  She is decribed as being 5 feet 4 inches in height, of fair complexion with brown hair and brown eyes.  The document also records she was not an anarchist! (unsurprisingly none of her fellow passengers claimed to be either). [1]

In about 1942 she married Geoffrey Eastcott Pearse, a South African architect, best known for Escom House (1937), a now demolished 21 storey tower block in Johannesburg but in its day the tallest building in Africa [2].  Previously Geoffrey had served in the Royal Engineers during the First World War.  Jane and Geoffrey moved to South Africa where they lived at Magoebaskloof.  She died, aged 88, at the Andrew McColm hospital, Pretoria on 12 October 1965.  They had no children.

Jane's will left her estate to a large number of relatives and charities.  She did not make provision as to the lordship of Hartley manor, which must be presumed to still form part of her estate.
[1] Passenger list - SS Aquitania, sailing from Southampton 7 December 1935

[2] See biography of G E Pearse and South African Electricity Commission heritage page on Escom House
[3] Kent and Sussex Courier - 13.12.1929, 18.12.1931, 16.12.1932; Sevenoaks Chronicle 15.12.1933

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