Charles Herbert Mayo was born in 1845 at Folke, a village in north west Dorset, England, situated in the Blackmore Vale 3.5 miles south-east of Sherborne. He was the third of three children of William Mayo, the rector of Folke, and his wife Charlotte Dyer.
He received a Master of Arts degree from Lincoln College, Oxford. He was appointed Rural Dean and Non-Residentiary Canon of Salisbury and was vicar of Longburton from 1872 to 1912. Whilst there he lived at Longburton Rectory.
His great enthusiasm was local history and he promoted its study by publishing many books and articles on the subject, of which 34 are held in the British Library. His greatest work was the Bibliotheca Dorsetiensis published in 1885, which has yet to be supplanted as the standard Dorset antiquarian bibliography. This was derived from his large personal collection of Dorset ephemera and publications.
From 1888 until 1921 Canon Mayo was the Dorset Editor of the journal ‘Somerset and Dorset Notes and Queries’. He also transcribed many of the registers of local parishes, the municipal records of the Borough of Shaftesbury and the Civil War Minutes of the Dorset Standing Committee, 1646-50. He wrote A Genealogical Account of the Mayo and Elton Families originally published as a limited edition of 50 copies in 1882 but enlarged for a new edition in 1908.
He died unmarried in 1929.
His correspondence and research papers are now held by the Dorset History Centre except for a collection of typewritten notes about the Mayo family held by the Bodleian Library and two volumes of notes about Bristol and Gloucestershire families held by the Gloucestershire Record Office.