James May was a gentleman at Englefield in succession to his father, also James. James May senior was born at Long Sutton in Hampshire but came later to Englefield where he was a tenant farmer, and also a miller at Burghfield Mill. He married Ann Lucy Prince from the village and they had nine children, all born in Englefield.
The younger James was born in 1760 and married Isabella Catherina Lovegrove by licence in St Giles, Reading on 7 April 1790. Isabella was born in 1769 at Benson where her father Robert was tenant of a substantial farm at Crowmarsh with 656 acres and an annual rent of £420. She brought with her a dowry consisting of some 52 acres of land at Long Wittenham mortgaged to her by a family member for £1,000. Unusually, the income was to go to her and not to her husband.
James May lived at Park Farm, just behind the church, now called Wimbleton’s, although his will mentions “the several farms in my occupation”. James and Isabella had a three sons and a daughter, all born in Englefield. The eldest was James, born in 1790 who died in Englefield in 1840. In 1809, after his father’s death in 1805 at time when the parish was undergoing the final stages of enclosure, young James had a claim by right of common made to the Commissioners on his behalf by his mother (he not yet being of age) in respect of two houses, gardens, orchards and three already enclosed fields amounting in all to just over 9 acres.
Isabella May died on 2 March 1835 and is buried in the May family vault beneath a chest tomb in St Mark’s churchyard.