Sophia Sheppard’s ownership of All Farthing’s Lands

The next stage of the ownership of the parcels of land that The Toast Rack and The Magdalen Estate now sit on, is down to one woman: Sophia Sheppard.

Sophia and Thomas Sheppard were married on 11th February 1801, at St Peter in the East, Oxford by licence.

Thomas Sheppard was a very wealthily man, a doctor of divinity and a Fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford.

arriage register for Sophia and Thomas Sheppard
Marriage register for Sophia and Thomas Sheppard dated 11th February 1801 – St Peters in the East Oxford

On Thomas’ death in 1814(c), under his will, Sophia inherited substantial wealth and became a major philanthropist. A number of her benefactions were to Magdalen College, Oxford as well as to Bromley and Sheppards College, Holy Trinity Church, Theale, Berkshire.

Dr Thomas Sheppard's will
Extract from Dr Thomas Sheppard’s very long will dated 13th September 1812. England & Wales, Prerogative Court of Canterbury Wills, 1384-1858 – Bridport Quire Numbers 152-209 (1814). Proved 23rd March 1814.

It appears that Sophia Sheppard owned at least part of All Farthing Manor by around 1822. Oddly we cannot find the original deeds that were presumably between Earl Spencer and Sophia Sheppard. However, there are notes that allude to it in Earl Spencer’s papers in particular a summary sheet entitled ‘Allfathing Manor in the Parish of Wandsworth, purchased by Earl Spencer in 1821’. [Northampton Country Archives SOX278(1)].

‘Conveyance of the Manor of Allfarthing’ to Earl Spencer by The Rev Edward White is dated 16th August 1821 [Northampton Country Archives SOX278(1)].

There is a copy of a note from John Hodgson of Lincoln’s Inn to [presumably] Sophia Sheppard dated 10th December 1821 commenting on the quality of title and the status of Walsh Porter’s mortgage secured for the term of 1000 years [Magdalen College Archives].

There is a further copy of an ‘Opinion on Abstracts of Title to Mr Walsh Porters’ estates at Wandsworth’ by John Hodgson dated 27th April 1822 [Magdalen College Archives].

In a ‘Schedule of Deeds in the First Part – as to the Fee and Inheritance’ running between 1728 and 1822, Sophia Sheppard is named as a party from 18th October 1822 [Magdalen College Archives].

There is an interesting reference in Earl Spencer’s papers that he bought back, from Sophia Sheppard, some interest in All Farthing Manor on 12th November 1823 for an annuity of £600 [Northampton Country Archives SOX278(1)].

Earl Spencer's list of Sales and purchases of All Farthing Manor
A note of the relevant deeds from Earl Spencer’s archives entitled “Allfarthing Manor in the Parish of Wandsworth – Purchased by Earl Spencer in 1821. By kind permission of Northamptonshire Archives Service. SOX278(1).

There is a very interesting map/plan in the Magdalen College Archives, reproduced below, which shows the lands before the railway is built. However, The London and South Western Railway was formed in 1838 so it must predate that. It is possible that this plan was drawn up as part of the sales process by Earl Spencer. The Manor was regularly transacted between 1790 and the 1820’s so it is hard to pin this down with any certainty. [Note: This is a relatively old digital image and we will update this with a a higher resolution version, in the near future, and hopefully it will be possible to decipher the pencil marks on the page!]

Before Magdalen Estate was built
Undated plan of the All Farthing Lands – it is reasonable to suppose that this is from before 1840 as there is no railway shown and the scale is solely in chains which would put the date somewhat earlier. We would tentatively suggest 1820’s. By kind precision of the President and Scholars of Magdalen College, Oxford. MP/5/22


The Wandsworth Tithe Map of the 1841’s showing the revised 1841 apportionments.

Toast Rack Wandsworth before Baskerville, Dorlcotte, Nicosia, Henderson, Patten or Routh Roads were built.
Tithe Map showing the 1841 apportionments to show the wider area with The London & South Western Railway  now present dividing the common for the first time. Here you can see the lake/pond, know as The Black Sea, to the top right hand of the image that was infilled to provide lands for Spencer Park as part of the quid pro quo for Earl Spencer questing to the 1871 Wandsworth Common Act. The railway now divides the common. Curiously Trinity Road is shown much more clearly on this map that on the later Ordnance Survey map. National Archives IR34/126/32. Surveyed by C. Lee of Golden Square dated 1841 on the printed copy to a scale of chains.
Tithe Map zoomed in on what is now The Toast Rack – which was on a section section of land known as, All Farthing Piece showing it as market gardens, but clearly with permanent structures on it. National Archives IR34/126/32 showing that there are probably permanent structures in the enclosed area.

The Tithe Book [1841] then shows the owner of the land to be Sophia Shepherd [correctly Sheppard]. Sophia Sheppard was the sister of Martin Joseph Routh [1755-1854], who was President of Magdalen College from 1791 until 1854.

The Toast Rack is built on Old Farthing Piece, which was a part of All Farthing Manor.

Toast Rack Tithe Book 1841 apportionments
The Wandsworth 1841 Tithe Book – Showing that Sophia Shepherd [correctly Sheppard] was the landowner – National Archives – IR29 series
There are considerable extant records of Sophia Sheppard’s stewardship of the All Farthing lands in the Magdalen College, Oxford archives. This includes deeds with the Surrey Iron Railway and the two railways lines that, to this day, cross the common. Whilst it is temping to be critical of these sales to the railway companies and the loss of common lands; the reality was that the land could have been purchased compulsorily by private act of Parliament so it was best to do a deal that safeguarded the landowners perceived interests by negotiation.

Sophia Sheppard died intestate in September 1848 in Andover, Hampshire [England & Wales, Civil Registration Death Index, 1837-1915].

Under the rules of intestacy her property then passed to her brother Dr Martin Routh – the President of Magdalen College, Oxford.

Dr Martin Routh created a codicil to his will dated 28th November 1848, that left the lands in trust to The President and Scholars of Magdalen College, Oxford. Open full multi page PDF here.

Magdalen Estate left to Magdalen College Oxford.
Codicil to the will of Dr Martin Routh. By kind permission of the President and Scholars of Magdalen College, Oxford. Click to open the full text as a PDF. EMD/119/10

A contemporaneous memo entitled “Report of the Committee appointed to assist the President in the drawing up of a Report of the Property accruing to the College by virtue of the Will of the Late Dr Sheppard – appointed by orders of the College dated the 14th of November 1848”

The value of the estate was considerable for the time “£19,000 in 3% Consols …..£4,000 in 4% Consols…….An Estate at Wandsworth of the value of £1006-3-2 per annum……”¹

Read on Wandsworth Common: from the manor to the people

Read on The planning, by the architect Edward l’Anson, and building of The Toast Rack by Mr Charles Kynock

Read on The planning and building of The Magdalen Estate with Holloway Bros


¹Consols stand for ‘consolidated’ and are a type of bond of the period.