The Museum Miscellany

November 22, 2014

We are looking back about 6 weeks today – to the evening of 4th October 2014 – the evening of our Museum Miscellany. This is the evening when Rog, our curator, does one of his talks. Rog always says he can’t talk for all that long about any single subject which is why the idea of a miscellany developed. Talks are prepared, with many museum photos, on a variety of themes with some lasting about five minutes and others, perhaps twenty minutes or so. There’s something for everybody. This year, the First World War featured but the mood was lightened with Harry Hobbs shop adverts. There are always (this was the fifth miscellany) photo tours of the village and this year Rog only used photos given to the museum since the miscellany in 2013.

Rog always says the best part of the evening is the interval. ‘Our wonderful stewards’, he says, ‘have made delightful food using recipes we have in the museum. We literally get a taste of the past’.

We make the interval a bit longer than might be expected to allow plenty of time for people to eat, fill their glasses at the bar, and to chat. It makes it a wonderful social occasion.

The museum team are usually too busy to think of photographs but other folks manage some.


The hall is set out and ready – except that more chairs were needed.


An old gramophone is ready. The record is a very old one from the collection of Charlie Williams, formerly of Easterton. It pre-dates the First World War but is a piece of martial music to set the tone.


Food begins to appear and is set out alongside the recipe that is used. There will always be items made to suit people with varying dietary requirements.


The hall fills but there’s still time for a chat.


And there’s Rog explaining something during the show.

We are lucky that we have such a fantastic hall. It is equipped with a superb sound system, a fantastic screen not to mention a bar and a kitchen. It is always warm enough. It’s a wonderful venue and heavily used. That turned out to be to our advantage on this occasion for we had arranged with users earlier in the day to leave the chairs in place.

Preparations are in hand for next year’s event – the date isn’t finalised yet but it’s likely to be at the start of October.

We’ll look forward to seeing even more of you there next year.


The Community Hall is a fantastic venue and centrally placed within Wiltshire. It’s ideal for Wiltshire wide gatherings and events. The Wiltshire Buildings Symposium is held in the hall each year and we open the museum during their lunch interval. This year (November 8th), the outcome was truly memorable with 76 generous visitors coming into our small cottage museum. It’s an example of the knock on effect that the hall can have – benefitting the wider community. It certainly made a great end to the open season for us.

Herbert Pinchin

November 21, 2014


The recent Easterton Remembrance Lunch was a truly lovely affair. The local chefs had produced a wonderful array of curries and other dishes for the main course and a truly sumptuous assortment of desserts to follow. The Easterton hall was packed to capacity and, although the day is sombre in that we are remembering those who died as a result of war, the chatter was all jolly and cheerful.

The special diners were members of the Pinchin family who live in Staffordshire. They had brought along some memorabilia related to Herbert, their relative, who was the first person from our parishes to die in World War One. He has already featured in the first of Lyn Dyson’s monthly reports which you can read by clicking here.

Let’s start with a photo of Herbert which the family found. It’s a newsprint photo so lacks some quality.

Herbert Pinchin who was raised in Easterton

Herbert Pinchin who was raised in Easterton

Herbert had been a professional soldier and the photo shows him with medals from his time in South Africa.

A small report was issued alongside the photo.

Newspaper report concerning Herbert's death which followed injuries at Mons in France

Newspaper report concerning Herbert’s death which followed injuries at Mons in France

The fact that Herbert received his fatal injuries at Mons was noted by a recently arrived Easterton resident who had been living in that French town. He was wearing a French blue cornflower which is their remembrance symbol along with his British poppy. He felt Herbert should have the cornflower and this was added to Herbert’s little case.

The family have other items which may well appear on this blog in the future.

A bill for bricks

November 20, 2014

Bricks were made in Market Lavington for at least 200 years and were made up until the Second World War. In the twentieth century, the ownership of the brickworks had passed to the Holloway family at West Lavington. What we have here is a bill for bricks, purchased by one of the Holloway brothers. It is dated February 1924.

A bill for Market Lavington bricks in 1924

A bill for Market Lavington bricks in 1924

Interesting to see that 90 years ago 600 best hard bricks cost £1-19-0 (that’s £1.95 in present money). For the same amount today you might, at best, get about 4 bricks.

The billhead is interesting, partly for what is not shown. It’s 1924, a big company, but no telephone number seems to be available. Huge reliance was placed on a next day postal service.

But it is also interesting to note that hollow partition blocks were a speciality. These were blocks or bricks with a hole right through them. They have been plain versions of the plinth brick we showed earlier this month.

Most interesting, though, is the roundel at top left.

The mark of the National Scheme for Disabled Men

The mark of the National Scheme for Disabled Men

We were only 6 years after the end of World War One and there were many disabled men in the country following that conflict. It seems that Holloway Brothers did their bit to help such men – or at least they were part of a scheme to do so. This scheme was announced, by the King, in 1919 and actually, the roundel is topped off with a crown. This is hidden under the stapled fold on our document.



Floss Welch

November 19, 2014
Floss Welch of Market Lavington

Floss Welch of Market Lavington

Floss, as she was known, was born Florence E Page

She was born in Brighton in Sussex in about 1892. Her father, Henry, was a house painter. In 1911 she was a servant in Brighton.

In 1912, on holiday in Weymouth, she met Jack Welch and a relationship developed. The Great War intervened, taking Jack away for more than three years and he returned injured. The couple were not able to marry until 1920. They set up home in Market Lavington where they had two children. Marjory was born in 1921. She was known as Peggy. Tony followed in 1924. The family lived at two different cottages – Meadow Cottage and then Spring Villa.

Sadly, Floss’s life was to be too short. She died in 1933, aged 40 and was buried in St Mary’s, Market Lavington.

Reverend Allsopp’s children

November 18, 2014

The Reverend Allsopp was the first Vicar of Easterton. He was appointed in 1876, arriving with wife and the first of what grew to be a large family. We have a photo of Richard Allsopp’s youngsters.

Children of Reverend Richard Allsopp, first Vicar of Easterton

Children of Reverend Richard Allsopp, first Vicar of Easterton

This picture was taken outside the Vicarage which was on Vicarage Lane and is now called Easterton House. The children are (in age order and with years of birth), Frederick George (1874), Richard (1876), Marian was born in about 1877, Margaret in 1878 and Jerome in 1880. Next came Dorothy in 1881, Robert in 1883, Francis in 1885, Agnes in 1886 and Joan in 1887.

The picture dates from about 1889.

We think Jerome is the lad in light clothes in front of the cart. Jerome, sadly, was killed in World War One. In 1901 his dad had become Vicar at West Lavington so he is recorded there, rather than in Easterton where he spent his childhood.

The following comes from Richard Broadhead’s book, ‘The Great War – Devizes and District Soldiers’.

Regular soldier Jerome was the third son of the Rev. Richard Winstanley Allsopp the vicar of West Lavington and Harrietta Baker Boileau Allsopp. He was educated at Stubbington House School where he was a keen cricketer. He was training in engineering at the outbreak of the South African War when Jerome joined the Imperial Yeomanry where he was given a commission and was severely wounded at Philippolis and received two medals with five clasps.

In May 1902 he was posted to the 1st Battalion South Lancashire Regiment and served with them in India until November 1916. While in India he married Gertrude Hilderbrand at Bombay and served as Adjutant of the South Lancashires from 1912 to 1915. He was given command of a company in March 1914 and promoted to Major and was sent to the Western Front in January 1917. In April 1917 he was given command of the 8th Battalion South Lancashire Regiment and led them at the Battle of Messines in June 1917 and the Third Battle of Ypres in August 1917 where he was mentioned in dispatches three times.

He was wounded during the latter and returned to the Front in November 1917 and in February 1918 he was transferred as commanding officer to the 2nd Battalion South Lancashire Regiment with whom he was awarded the Distinguished Service Order in April 1918.

Jerome was killed in action on Monday 27 May 1918 near Bouvancourt, northwest of Reims, France, during the Third German Offensive.

He is remembered on the Soissons Memorial and has no known grave.


A Jew’s harp

November 17, 2014

Amongst the more amusing metal detector finds recently given to us at Market Lavington Museum is this piece of slightly mangled metal.

Remains of a Jew's harp found in Market Lavington

Remains of a Jew’s harp found in Market Lavington

This is what remains of a Jew’s harp. We should say that these rather basic instruments are not harps or Jewish in origin. Actually, origins are lost in the depths of time and as a musical device they are truly worldwide.

There should be a twangy strip of metal attached at the left hand end and passing between the two points at the open end. Our metal detector find is mis-shapen.

The idea is that the two pointed ends are held between front teeth and the twangy strip (known as the reed) is flicked with fingers so it passes between the teeth. The player’s mouth acts as a sound box and by altering the shape of the mouth and the tongue position the tone, and to some extent the note, can be altered.

The fact that jaws are used to hold the device leads to its alternative and more sensible name of a jaws harp.

We don’t have this item dated but it looks in pretty good condition so is probably 20th century. It may have been a piece of litter. Once the reed breaks off it is useless and a careless youngster may have discarded the rest of it. It was found on what used to be the village recreation ground.

A digging plate

November 16, 2014

Many spades have a kind of lip on the top of the blade so that when pressure is applied ordinary footwear is adequate to protect the digger from pain.

Some spades, though, have quite a sharp top to them and tough soles are needed on boots or shoes.

Or alternatively, you could attach a digging plate to your boot or shoe. This consists of a sturdy metal plate and a leather strap to fasten it under the sole of a shoe.

A digging plate at Market Lavington Museum

A digging plate at Market Lavington Museum

This dates from late in the nineteenth century and was used by a man who had an allotment on Northbrook.

From the underside we can see that the plate had a little lip to make sure it didn’t slide off the spade.

The lip on the underside

The lip on the underside

Now there’s a real reminder of past times.

A Moore family group

November 15, 2014

This year we have been given quite a few photos with a Samuel Moore/jam factory connection. It is pure coincidence that these have arrived just as the old factory was being demolished. One of the nicest of the photos shows the Moore family.

Samuel Moore and family - of Easterton

Samuel Moore and family – of Easterton

We are not certain of the location. It doesn’t look like Woodbine Cottage which was the Moore family home, but it does seem to be an entire Moore family in about 1911. Let’s name them all.


Sam was, of course, the founder of the jam factory although he learned his trade from Cedric Gauntlett who in turn had learned it from Sam Saunders.

Jane was his second wife and in 1911 they had only been married a couple of years. We guess his first wife – the mother of his children – died as a result of complications after giving birth to Bertha.

The two sons, Wilf and Bill became active partners in the jam factory business.

Wilf, Sam, Bertha, Jane and Bill Moore. The donkey's name is not known.

Wilf, Sam, Bertha, Jane and Bill Moore. The donkey’s name is not known.

What a charming photo and many thanks to Karen, a granddaughter of Bill who gave us a copy of it.

A corer

November 14, 2014

When you hear the word, corer, you might think of a small, hand-held device to assist with removing the cores from apples. But you miss the reality of this corer by some distance if that is what you have in mind. This device is more a sampler, for making sure a product is as it should be right the way through it.

A sampling corer at Market Lavington Museum

A sampling corer at Market Lavington Museum

This corer is about 80 cm long and whilst the dark, metal part is original it has been fitted with a new handle. It is mounted on the wall of our trades room. Its explanation label says it all.


Corer (modern handle) used in World War 1 for testing and sampling bags of fertiliser. Used by James Welch 1914 – 1918.

So this device could be used to get right to the bottom of a sack of fertiliser to enable James Welch to be certain all of the contents were as they should be.

James Welch was the grandfather of our museum founder, Peggy Gye. He had official roles during the Great War and carried a little card which showed he had the right to commandeer items on behalf of the war effort. That card and other items from Market Lavington are on display at the Stonehenge Visitor Centre during the winter in their ‘Soldiers at Stonehenge’ exhibition.

It is good that during our closed season, the public – a truly international public at Stonehenge – still have an opportunity to see some of our wonderful artefacts.

Union Business

November 13, 2014

The letter we look at today was sent to Holloway Brothers of West Lavington. It was sent by a trade union and concerns expected rates of pay in 1920.

Letter from Fred Burgess of the National Federation of Building Trades Operatives

Letter from Fred Burgess of the National Federation of Building Trades Operatives

The letter was sent by Mr F Burgess of Easterton on behalf of the Lavington Composite Branch of the National Federation of Building Trades Operatives. It appears to be stating that rates of pay should be 1/8 per hour for skilled workers with painters to get 1/7 and labourers 1/5. In present money that’s between about 7p up to slightly more than 8p per hour. Also the working week should be 44 hours.

Fred Burgess was born in about 1884 in Market Lavington. His father, George, was a shepherd or farm labourer. By 1901 Fred was a building labourer. In 1908 he married Edith Price and the couple settled in Easterton. In 1911 Fred called himself a carpenter.

We do not think the couple were blessed with children which may have given Fred time to get involved with his union.

We wonder if our builders actually got what they wanted. The employers seemed to favour slightly lower rates of pay and a 50 hour week.


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