Friday, 5 November 2010

Biographies: Maude Egerton King

Maude Egerton Hine was born in 1876, and was the youngest of the 15 children of Henry George Hine (1811-1985) the watercolour landscape painter and Mary Ann Eliza Egerton, her mother’s maiden name of Egerton appears in most of the children’s middle names.  Maude was an author, editor of The Vineyard journal and is accredited with instigating the Peasant Arts movement in Haslemere.

Maude is first recorded on the census at 4 years old living at 26 Park Road, Hampstead.  It is interesting to note that Maude’s eldest sisters, Mary and Esther, are 25 years older than her.  In 1881 the family were living at 130 Haverstock Hill and Maude is described as a scholar in the census.

In 1887 Maude married Joseph King.  In 1891 the Kings are living in 6 Wedderburn Road, Hampstead where they have a cook and a housemaid.  Maude’s  sister Marion Hine (who in 1901 is living at Greenbushes, Foundry Lane) is visiting, whilst Maude’s husband, Joseph King, is visiting his brother, John Godwin King in Lymington.  In 1894 the Kings moved to Lower Birtley, Witley, near Haslemere.  In approximately 1897 Maude had a daughter, Katherine King, their only child.  In 1901 the Kings were living at Upper Birtley with Maude’s mother, Mary Ann Hine, who by then a widow of 84.  The Kings have three servants: a parlour maid, housemaid and betweenmaid, as well as a trained sick nurse, presumably to look after Mrs Hine, and a Swiss governess.  Maude is described as a ‘writer’.

Maude is accredited with instigating the Peasant Arts movement through her weaving skills.   The Surrey Times in 17th November 1900 writes of Joseph King’s address to visitors to the Weaving House explaining that “it was about eight years since the work was commenced, largely through the fact that Mrs King had been very interested in the working of the handlooms of some Swedish ladies.  She had a loom in her own in London, and on moving to Lower Birtley (sic?  As census has the Kings living at Upper Birtley in 1901) they had first a room in the house set apart for the work, then an outhouse, and later the present premises (in Foundry Lane / Foundry Meadow, now Kings Road) were designed and built in order to be near a centre of population.”

Maude wrote a number of books which are still available: My Book of Songs and Sonnets (1893), Round about a Brighton Coach Office (1896) and Bread and Wine: A Story of Graubunben (1902).  Maude edited ‘A Cottage Wife’s Calendar’ with Elizabeth Stedman.  Maude also published numerous short books (perhaps as Peasant pamphlets) ‘The Christmas Tree.  A tale’ (1898), ‘The Conversion of Miss Caroline Eden’ (1900), ‘Studies in Love. Tales’ (1900), ‘Gothic Ruin and Reconstruction’ (1910), ‘The Country Heart and ther stories’ (1911) and ‘How the Children Met the Three Kings.  A little Christmas play for home or school acting’ (1912).

Maude was the editor of The Vineyard which launched in 1910, a journal launched to promote the principles of the Peasant Arts Society, citing itself as "A Monthly Magazine devoted to the Literature of Peasant Life".  It was primarily dedicated to non-fiction, supplemented by works of fiction and poetry.
Originally published monthly, the magazine went on hiatus during World War I, after the September 1914 issue. It resumed quarterly publication with a Christmas 1918 issue, before ceasing again two years later, in September 1920. It returned after several months under the name The Country Heart, but permanently ceased publication at the end of 1922 (  On some of these edition Maude is joint editor with Greville MacDonald. 

In 1911 the Kings had moved to Sandhouse, Witley, the large new arts and craft mansion designed by Francis Troup.  Now at 43 years old, Maude is described in the census as an ‘authoress’.  The household’s servants comprise: a housekeeper, cook, parlourmaid, kitchenmaid and two housemaids.

As Maude became ill and died in 1927, so too was the Peasant Arts movement was coming to the end of it’s life.

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