James Lewis, the last Hayward of the Common


James Lewis, the last Hayward of the Common


James Lewis, the last Hayward on the common, was born in 1798 and lived at Bournes Green. He is photographed here in about 1880 with his youngest daughter Harriet, on the left. She married a Peacey and the young girl on the right is Mary Peacey who later married Walter Bucknell and lived at Duttons.


Hayward, or "hedge warden" was an officer of an English parish dating from the Middle Ages. He was in charge of fences and enclosures and a herdsman in charge of cattle and other animals grazing on common land.

The Hayward was chosen by the Lord of the Manor or elected by the villagers to lead the sowing and harvesting, to impound stray cattle, and to supervise hedging and temporary fencing around hay meadows.

The Hayward's symbol of office was a horn, which he blew to give warning that cattle were invading the crops.

Further Notes on James Lewis and Family

James Lewis was born in 1798 and was the last Hayward on the Sisley Common. Harriet married a Mr? Peacey who was a carter and was killed when the horse-drawn,laden hay wagon overturned on top of him while negotiating a gateway. Mary Jane Peacey (Alison Gardiner's grandmother) was 10 years old at the time and could remember her father's body being brought home on a hurdle.

His widow, Harriet, was left to bring up their two children with no source of income. As they were devout Chapel worshipers, the Chapel authorities arranged for her and the children to move to Oakridge Lynch to live in the cottage at the rear of the Methodist Chapel, and she was given the job of caretaker. The chapel caretakers' cottage was demolished in the mid 20th century.

Mary Jane married Walter Bucknell of Tunley at the chapel and after the ceremony they walked to their 'new' marital home, the little cottage at The Frith on the eastern side of Far Oakridge.

They later moved to the nearby cottage called The Trench, following the birth of their first two children, Hilda and Arthur.

They subsequently moved to Duttons at Waterlane and had four more children, Elsie, Rupert, Ada and Edward.

Walter worked at Daneway Saw Mills and walked to and from Daneway each day, stopping at Tunley on the way home for a cup of tea at his parents' cottage, The Forge.




Oakridge History Group


c. 1880




James Lewis, the last Hayward of the Common


“James Lewis, the last Hayward of the Common,” Oakridge Community Archives, accessed January 16, 2019, http://oakridgecommunityarchives.org/items/show/145.

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