The first mention of the Pratleys at Fairspear is in the 1881 census. James Pratley is aged 23 and works as a carter on the farm, his wife, 19-year-old Jane, is a gloveress and they have an eight-month-old baby, Walter James. Gloving was a common local industry with outworkers, mainly female, supplementing their family income. The Pratleys lived in what is now the north end of 'Cotswold View' on the Ascott road out of Leafield. The house was built in 1873, evidenced by a stone set in the south end of the building. Their home consisted of a kitchen with a range and a scullery with a larder downstairs; and three bedrooms upstairs. The main bedroom stretched across the whole of the front of the house and two smaller rooms were at the back. The only outside door was at the front of the house. The privy was at the end of the wash house on the northern edge of the property. Their garden covered about one third of an acre. By 1891 the Pratley family has increased. James is still the carter on the farm but he and Jane now have four children, Walter (10), Kate (9), Frank (5) and Henry (2). Kate, Frank and Henry appear to have all been born in the cottage on the farm.
During the 1890s, more children were born, Eden in 1893, Victor in 1896 and Alice Maude (known as Maude) in 1897. Mabel was born in 1901. In 1911, Maude went to London as a lady's maid. Shortly after war broke out, she went to live with an aunt in Hull, where she met her husband, George Johnson. At the age of 83, Maude wrote this account of her childhood in Leafield as well as her later life in Hull. She creates a vivid and evocative account of village life in the early years of the twentieth century seen through the eyes of a little girl.