Mary and Edward Ward farmed at Crickheath. Both came from farming families and seem to have been reasonably wealthy. Edward had received a private education and Mary’s father had owned large farms, (Bryn Farm, Llanyblowel and Morton Hall, Morton). Mary was born in Llanyblodwel, Shropshire in 1852. Edward was born in Oswestry and he was ten years older than 26-year-old Mary when they married in 1878.
In 1881 they were living at Crickheath, the Ward family farm, with their one year old son, Edward Walter. A daughter had been born 5 days before the census was taken and had not yet been named (Mary Eleanor). She was looked after by a monthly nurse, Jane Bickley, and the family also employed a 13-year-old girl, Mary Edwards from Oswestry, as a nurse, and another girl as housemaid. On the farm of 230 acres Edward employed four men and a boy.
They had a second daughter Gertrude, born in 1884. On the date of the 1891 census, Gertrude was listed as an ‘imbecile’ and was at home with her father. Mary and Mary Eleanor were visiting a cousin in Oswestry and their son Edward was at boarding school in Shrewsbury. Mary Rogers was employed as a nurse, probably to look after Gertrude. They also employed a dairymaid, housemaid and a groom. Head of the household, Edward Walter Ward died later that year on 15 September 1891. In addition to the amount of £4920 2s 4d, he left Mary with the farm and three children to look after. They remained at Crickheath and Mary took over the farm, helped by her son, Edward. Her staff included – Minnie L Parry, 21, a domestic born in Oswestry; Margaret E Jones, age 20, a dairymaid from Kinnerley; Annie E Francis, age 16, a housemaid born in Llanrhaeadr and three male farm workers.
By the time of the 1911 census, Mary was still running the farm with her three children still at home. She employed four servants including two girls: Sarah Jane Rogers, age 18 from Norton, Salop, a dairymaid and Annie Emily Taylor, age 19, born in Oswestry, a house servant.
Mary’s son Edward was still farming at Crickheath in 1933 when he died on 21 June 1933, leaving £1507 11s 2d to his widow, Ethel Alice, nee Jones. We do not know the date of Mary’s death.