David Fairs was the 3rd child and 2nd son of Thomas Fairs and Mary Jupp. He was born about 1826 in England and baptised in December of that year at West Grinstead, Sussex. His family lived in the village of Cowfold, nearby. After his mother’s death in 1838 and by the time of the 1841 census, David and the rest of the family were living at Springhead Farm, Parham.
David married Ann Woolven in 1854. They lived at Little Brook, in the Cowfold area, when the 1861 census was taken and at Gratfields Farm by 1871. The house at Gratfields was part of a large estate where David worked as a gamekeeper and estate worker. Their children grew up there.