John Mays was the third child of William Mays & Mary Cox christened February 26th, 1843 at East Grinstead, Sussex.
In 1851 John, his 2 sisters & 1 brother were with their parents at part of Hollywich House, Hartfield, Sussex where his father was an agricultural labourer.
John was found in Cavendish Square, Marylebone, London by 1861. He was working as a waiter at a gentlemen’s club at 18 Harley St.
By 1871 John had become a valet for (Augustus) Henry Vernon, a peer of the realm, in St George Hanover Square. They were at the home of Lord Vernon’s brother, William J B W Vernon, J.P. at 43 Grosvenor Square.
John was present at the coming of age celebrations of Lord Henry Vernon’s son, George William Henry Vernon, at Sudbury, Derbyshire in 1875. A newspaper article (Derby Mercury, September 1st, 1875) describes John as Lord Vernon’s butler. John presented George William Henry Vernon with a small drinking cup on behalf of the household servant.
At the time of the 1881 census John was living at 5 Granville Place, Marylebone, London, the residence of Lord Augustus Henry Vernon. He was still employed as Lord Vernon’s butler.
Lord Augustus Henry Vernon died in 1883 & his eldest son George William Henry Vernon succeeded to the title of 7th Baron Vernon. The 7th Baron suffered from ill health, spending winters abroad in France. His main dwelling in England was Sudbury Hall, Derbyshire. He died, aged 44 years, at Bournemouth in December 1898 & left a will which was published in the Nottinghamshire Guardian of March 18th, 1899. Mentioned in the will was a bequest to Lord Vernon’s butler, John Mays, of £500 (equivalent to £45,000 in today’s money!).