1815 – 1888
In the early part of the nineteenth century, John Lay the elder came to farm at Prince’s Manor, bringing his young family and his father. His first wife, Mary, bore him five children, but died young, in 1845. Her tombstone is clearly visible in the old churchyard. John remarried soon afterwards, another local farmer’s daughter from Rowstock. She was Hannah (nee Hazel) Lay, and bore him twelve more children, so that he had seventeen sons and daughters in all.
In 1864 he built a new granary, and his initials can be seen on the church side of that building, high in the eave. Later, tragedy struck, and young Hannah died aged nine, and the three youngest children died of scarlet fever in 1868. However, in the same year a new baby was born called Joseph, who naturally become his mother’s darling. Consequently he had more privileges than his older brothers and sisters; he even had his very own white pony.