Brian Moseley, Plymouth
Webpage created: March 27, 2018
Webpage updated: January 01, 2020




Elizabeth Mary Bayly was born at Tor Grove, in the parish of Weston Peverel, near Plymouth, in 1870.  She was the second child and first daughter of Mr Robert Bayly (1839-1901).  Her mother was formerly Miss Emma Sophia Sewell.

On November 1st 1919 she stood as an Independent candidate for election to the Plymouth Town Council but lost by 20 votes.  However, not long afterwards, on November 29th 1919, she was returned unopposed to fill a vacancy in the Mutley Ward.  She thus became Plymouth's first female councillor.  In 1921 and again in 1924 she was re-elected but lost in 1927, when she was appointed as Plymouth's first female Justice of the Peace.

Known always as Mary, she worked untiringly for her constituents and was not influenced by party politics.    She was an active member of the Plymouth Citizens' Association, the Plymouth Council of Social Service and the Women's Representative Council, which was advocating women police officers, amongst other things.  She once claimed that probation was sentencing boys and girls to good behaviour instead of punishment.

During her life she maintained a keen interest in Plymouth and used to take care of the garden of the Elizabethan House in New Street.  In January 1930 she was elected to the first Committee of the Old Plymouth Society.  She also presented to the City Museum a tract giving a contemporary account of the Siege of Plymouth in 1643 and the dress worn by her grandmother at the wedding of Her Majesty, Queen Victoria.  The first of Mr Alexander Graham Bell's telephones that was set up at Tor Grove in 1877 was also presented to the City Museum.

It was she who re-purchased Island House, on the Barbican, for the family after it had been disposed of back in the 1920s.

When the family sold Torr House, as it became after it was rebuilt by her father in 1882, she moved to Inceworth, on the Tavistock Road, at Hartley.   The property was destroyed by a bomb during the Second World War and never rebuilt.

Miss Elizabeth Mary Bayly died at Elfordtown, Yelverton, on January 8th 1958, at the age of 87. 

  Compiled with the kind and valued assistance of Mr R D Bayly.