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 Jane Foote Maxton Last updated 7.10.2008

The last known lord of the manor of Hartley, Jane Foote Maxton was born in Edinburgh in February 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 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.

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 usually lived in London, but did for a while in the 1930s live in "Skips Cottage", Hartley Bottom Road (now just called "The Cottage").

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).  Another string to her bow is also recorded, as her profession is given as hotel proprietress. [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