F. M. Mayor
Flora Macdonald Mayor was an English novelist and short story writer who published under the name F. M. Mayor.

Mayor's father, Joseph Bickersteth Mayor (1828–1916), was an Anglican clergyman and professor of classics and then of moral philosophy at King's College London
King's College London
King's College London is a public research university located in London, United Kingdom and a constituent college of the federal University of London. King's has a claim to being the third oldest university in England, having been founded by King George IV and the Duke of Wellington in 1829, and...

; her mother, Alexandrina Jessie Grote (1830–1927), was niece of the utilitarian George Grote
George Grote
George Grote was an English classical historian, best known in the field for a major work, the voluminous History of Greece, still read.-Early life:He was born at Clay Hill near Beckenham in Kent...

 as well as the Anglican clergyman and Cambridge moral philosophy professor John Grote
John Grote
John Grote was an English moral philosopher and Anglican clergyman.The son of a banker, Grote was younger brother to the historian, philosopher and reformer George Grote...

. Flora Mayor read history at Newnham College, Cambridge
Newnham College, Cambridge
Newnham College is a women-only constituent college of the University of Cambridge, England.The college was founded in 1871 by Henry Sidgwick, and was the second Cambridge college to admit women after Girton College...

, before becoming an actress. She later turned to writing. In 1903 she became engaged to a young architect, Ernest Shepherd, who died in India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

 of typhoid before Mayor was able to travel out to join him. She never married, and lived closely with her twin sister Alice MacDonald Mayor (1872–1961).

Mayor's first book was a collection of stories, Mrs Hammond's Children, published in 1902 under the pseudonym Mary Strafford. Her short novel, The Third Miss Symons, was published in 1913 with a preface by John Masefield
John Masefield
John Edward Masefield, OM, was an English poet and writer, and Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom from 1930 until his death in 1967...


Her best-known novel is The Rector's Daughter (1924). In October 2009, this novel was identified in the BBC's 'Open Book' programme as one of the best 'neglected classics'.

She also wrote ghost stories, which were much admired by M.R. James. Correspondence and some literary papers are held at Trinity College, Cambridge
Trinity College, Cambridge
Trinity College is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge. Trinity has more members than any other college in Cambridge or Oxford, with around 700 undergraduates, 430 graduates, and over 170 Fellows...


Selected works

  • The Rector's Daughter. ISBN 0-14-118642-9
  • The Third Miss Symons. ISBN 0-86068-131-9
  • The Squire's Daughter. ISBN 0-86068-910-7

Further reading

S. Oldfield, "Spinsters of this parish: the life and times of F.M. Mayor and Mary Sheepshanks" (1984)
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