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 sit on, is down to one woman: Sophia Sheppard.

There is a very interesting map/plan in the Magdalen College Archives [MP/3/134/1] which shows the lands before the railway is built and appears to respect the tithe plot boundaries.

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. 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.


Toast Rack Tithe Book 1841 apportionments
The Wandsworth Tithe Book – Showing that Sophia Shepherd was the landowner – National Archives – IR29 series

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

Few useful records for All Farthing Manor are extant. The earliest manorial records are held in the Westminster Abbey Muniment Room¹ and span the period 1365 – 1549 overlapping with records held in the Nation Archives spanning 1540 – 1622, Surrey Archives and Northampton Archives hold other parcels of later material. As the materials are scattered building up a full picture of All Farthing Manor is made more complex and we are relying on secondary sources.

The manorial lands were sold to Earl Spencer in 1816 [Brayley, Hist. of Surr. iii, 492] we hope to track down the primary sale documents which we believe are in the Northampton County Archives in the coming months. This is the subject of active research.

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

It is likely that Sophia Sheppard purchased the lands from Earl Spencer in his land sales in the 1830’s to 1840’s period. This is likely documented in extant records [Northampton County Archive, Earl Spencer’s Papers, Printed Auction Catalogues with Maps – SOX278(1). There is another box of interest in these papers SOX236 which is catalogued as Concerning the proposed enclosures of 1790, 1800 and related draft leases 1818-50]. This is the subject of active research.

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

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 from her husband 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 form 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.



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 appears passed to her brother Dr Martin Routh – the President of Magdalen College, Oxford.

When Dr Martin Routh dies in 1854, Dr J Routh was then bequeathed her lands and other assets.

Dr J Routh renounced his claim to their title in favour of Magdalen College in an extant document entitled ‘Renunciation by Dr J Routh of All Right of Title acquired in Estates at Wandsworth & There from his sister Mrs Sheppard & of other property mention in Dr Sheppard’s will’ dated 21st November 1848 [Magdalen College, Oxford archives]. This is the subject of active research.

The value of the estate was considerable for the time.

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 other College dated the 14th of November 1848”

states “£19,000 in 3% Consols …..£4,000 in 4% Consols…….An Estate at Wandsworth of the value of £1006-3-2 per annum……”²


Read on Wandsworth Common: from the manor to the people

¹Personal correspondence with Dr Matthew Payne, Keeper of the Muniments, Westminster Abbey, 30th October 2023 “I am afraid that we have no maps or plans relating to Allfarthing at all ….. Although the manor known as ‘le Frithe’, and later Allfarthing, was purchase by the Abbey in the mid-fourteenth century, it has left relatively little trace among the archives. It was surrendered at the Dissolution in 1540 (having been leased by the Abbey to Thomas Cromwell in 1533), when Henry VIII annexed it to the honour of Hampton Court. So the only limited material we have relating to this estate dates from the late medieval period.”

²Consols stand for consolidated and are a type of bond of the period.