Born 12 March 1808, Colyton, Devon, England,
Died 23 March 1883, Ottery St Mary, Devon England.

Charles Mayne (The ‘Down’ does not appear until his first marriage) was born the ilegitimate son of Francis Mayne nee Stedham in Colyton, Devon on 23 March 1808. She was listed as a widow, and her husband Philip Mayne had not been heard of for a number of years. In 1810, she married James Snell. Was James Charles’ real father? His entry in the Colyton parish baptism register appears to have been added at a later date, and only mentions his birth date – his baptism date is given as ‘-‘. Deepening the mystery, the entry does not appear in the Bishop’s Transcripts for Colyton. And where did the name Down come from? Did Charles know who his real father was and add the name to embarrass him? Or did a ‘Mr. Down’ sponsor his education – Charles came from a poor, uneducated background, yet managed to have a book published, and owned a number of bookshops and properties in the Exeter area. Any suggestion welcome!



1808 12 March, Charles Mayne born illegitimate son of Frances Stedham, Colyton.
1810 Elder half-brother, John, dies, age 7, at Colyton.
1810 19 August. Mother, Frances Mayne marries James Snell (widower), Colyton.
1816 29 December, mother, Frances Snell dies, Colyton.
1826 Married Sarah Farrant, 3 August 1826 at Shute Witnesses: Samuel & Mary Farrant
1827 Son, George Down M. born, bap at Shute
1829 Son, Edmund Robert Down M. born, bap. 22 February, Shute. Occupation: Schoolmaster, abode: Shute.
1830 Daughter, Frances (Fanny) Down M. born.
1830’s Began trading as a bookseller in OSM (Long ago in Ottery by Roy Packer)
1833 Daughter, Mary Ann Down M. born, chr 2 June , OSM
1834 Witness to the will of Christopher Salter – OSM
1836 Son, Charles Down M. chr 25 March 1836, Ottery St. Mary
1837 Opened another shop in Exeter (Long ago in Ottery by Roy Packer)
1843 Abt April, wife Sarah dies.
1843 Wrote “Culture, Management and propagation of the Fuchsia” OSM
1843 7 October, married Ann Norrington (widow) nee Carter, Ottery St. Mary. Occ. Scrivenor. Witnesses: James Elias Carter & Charlotte Carter.
1844 Abt September, daughter, Emma Franklyn M. born.
1850 Abt April, wife Ann dies.
1850 Deputy clerk to the Commissioner’s of taxes for east Budleigh and Cliston district. Sub-distributor of stamps, Silver St, OSM (Whites directory)
1851 Bookseller & stationer, Silver St, OSM (1851 census)
1854 Bookseller, Castle Street, Exeter
1855 Bookseller, 4 High St, Exeter
1855 Abt June, married Isabella Stokes in Kensington.
1857 Bookseller, Stationer, House & Land Agent, High Constable for the Hundred of Ottery St. Mary, sub Distributor of Stamps, Agent to the Western Annuity Society of Exeter, Property and Protection Society of London, Atlas Fire and Life Insurance Office and lessee of the Tolls of the Markets and Fairs, Silver Street, OSM. (Billings 1857)
1857 Opened a shop in Exeter 11 June (Exeter Flying Post)
1857 Bookseller, 244 High St, Exeter
1862 In partnership with W Clifford as a Publisher, Exeter St. Leonards
1868 Removal of premises reported 5 August (Exeter Flying Post)
1868 Sold his stock in OSM (Long ago in Ottery by Roy Packer)
1869 Removal of premises reported 24 February (Exeter Flying Post)
1869 Bookseller, Bedford St. until 1875
1875 Bookseller, 24 High St. as Mayne & Co, until 1878
1881 Sub Distributor of stamps & House & Land Agent, Ridgway, OSM (1881 census)
1883 23 March, Charles Down Mayne dies.
Thanks to Carole Sharp for this timeline