September 1914 by Lyn Dyson

September 30, 2014

100 Years Ago

September 1914

In early September, following the battle of Marne, the German forces retreated to the high ground on the north bank of the River Aisne. As they moved northward, the Germans were closely pursued by units of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) and their French allies. The 1st Wiltshires were stationed at the bridge at Vailly-sur-Aisne, where they formed one of several bridgeheads on the north bank of the river. The Allied intention was to advance north toward Laon, capture the heights, and force the German armies to continue their retreat. Allied commanders were unaware of the real strength of the enemy forces on the Chemin des Dames ridge, but it soon became clear that the German units had dug trenches, were supported by heavy artillery, and intended to stand and fight.

The Wiltshires held their position in trenches in uncomfortable circumstances for nine days. The weather was wet and cold and miserable; they were shelled regularly, and the regiment sustained heavy losses during this time.

After more than a week in the trenches, the battalion was relieved on 22nd September, and they marched to billets at Braine, where they refitted, reorganized and rested. Unfortunately the first casualty from our villages, Herbert Pinchin from Easterton, was mortally wounded on 22nd September in this battle.

Herbert John Pinchin

Herbert John was the son of Jane Pinchin, a widow from Easterton. Her husband William was a clerk, and the couple were married in 1870 when Jane was seventeen and William was thirty-one. They lived in Box, where they had two children. William died in 1875, leaving Jane and his children well provided for with an estate valued at £1000.

In 1881 Jane was living in Morris’s Lane, Devizes with her two children, and working as a laundress. What happened to reduce her circumstances is not known. She then gave birth to Herbert John Pinchin on 12th May 1882.

In 1885 Jane married William Smith, a road contractor and they lived in Church Street, Easterton where they had a son, George born in 1888.

Herbert went to school in Market Lavington and Easterton, and enlisted in the army in December 1898 when he was sixteen and a half years old. As a member of the 1st battalion Wiltshire Regiment, he served in the Boer War. In July 1914 he was promoted to Sergeant, and at the outbreak of WW1 he went to France, arriving there on 16th August 1914.

Herbert was wounded in the action on 22nd September, and was transported back to England where he was admitted to the Northern General Hospital in Newcastle-upon-Tyne. He died of his wounds there on 23rd October 1914. He was buried in Newcastle-upon-Tyne and is remembered on the Easterton war memorial.

Meanwhile the 2nd Battalion were on their way to England from Gibraltar, having boarded the SS Edinburgh Castle on 31st August. On 1st September their escort, HMS Minerva captured a merchant ship flying the Austrian-Hungary flag. The crew of 21 was taken off and put on the Edinburgh Castle. Minerva then sank the enemy ship.

On arrival in Southampton, the prisoners of war were handed over, and the battalion marched to Lyndhurst in the New Forest, where they remained until early October.

A Difficulty for Samuel Moore

September 29, 2014

The jam factory in Easterton has feature fairly often on this blog since the end of August when we were able to copy photos in an album which had belonged to William who was old Samuel’s younger son.

But this document, also received in the last few months, came from that collection of bill heads and letters from Holloway of West Lavington.

This letter came to the executors of Mr Holloway’s will from the Capital and Counties Bank Ltd. It is dated December 29th 1914 and reads


Dear Sirs

You are doubtless aware that the late Mr H J Holloway guaranteed the account the account of Samuel Moore of Easterton for £50 and charges, the total now due being £52-10/4. There appears to be no prospect of our reclaiming the amount from our debtor and therefore have to make application to you for payment and shall be glad if the amount can be cleared off by the end of the year to avoid having to…


…bring it forward into our new ledgers.

So back in 1914, Samuel was in debt to the tune of over £50. That’s equivalent to at least £5000 at today’s rates.

It seems that Mr Holloway’s executors did their duty and paid up for another letter was received on 4th January.


Samuel’s business obviously grew and he’d have become tolerably prosperous. It just shows that start-up companies can all do with a helping financial hand.


A barrel lock

September 28, 2014

A short while ago we featured a barrel tap found by local metal detectorist, Norman (click here). This item set Philip’s mind working. He recalled finding a similar item when clearing his in-laws’ barn at Vicarage Farm in Easterton. It looked interesting and so he stashed it away. And now he has decided it is time this item came to the museum. It is significantly different to Norman’s find. First of all it is a bigger, chunkier item.

Barrel tap from Vicarage Farm in Easterton

Barrel tap from Vicarage Farm in Easterton

We don’t, as yet, have a date for this tap (maybe you can help us with that) but we feel it is much more modern than the tap Norman found.

The other significant difference is that the tap handle is actually a key and is not permanently attached.

The tap handle is a separate key

The tap handle is a separate key

This enabled a boss to be in charge of the distribution of drink. If we imagine harvesters out in a field, wielding their scythes then we can imagine they’d have emptied a barrel in no time. With a barrel lock the flow of drink could be controlled by the person who had the key.

He who holds the key controls the drink!

He who holds the key controls the drink!

The key is a simple, yet elegant piece of metalwork. It was designed to fit through the metal collar on top of the actual tap.

The collar is made to suit an individual key

The collar is made to suit an individual key

The collar is held in place with a simple grub screw. Perhaps an owner had more than one collar and key and could change it to defeat anybody who might make a replica key.

Thanks to Philip for another lovely item which helps to paint a picture of past rural life.



A Jam Factory Lorry

September 27, 2014

We feel so lucky that Karen got in touch with us. She and her brother, great grandchildren of Samuel Moore, came to see us at Easterton’s rain soaked show on August Bank Holiday. This was one of the photos they brought.

Samuel Moore lorry in about 1930

Samuel Moore lorry in about 1930

What a wonderful period shot.

The man leaning on the mudguard is William Moore – son of Sam and grandfather of our contacts. He was born in 1903 and appears to be quite a young man here so maybe the photo dates from the late 20s or early 30s.

A lorry expert can probably tell us more.

The other man, sporting the apron, is not recognised by us – but you never know what you might learn by publishing on a blog.

Loading the lorry has been quite a substantial job. It would have involved lifting all the boxes of jars by hand.

The sign on the lorry tells us it carries Moore’s Jams. The sign on the top of the shed – readable with quite a bit of photo tweaking – says just the same.

Over to you, folks. Tell us some more about the people, or the lorry, or the jam.

The Easterton Fire Engine

September 26, 2014

This wonderful old fire pump has featured before on this blog, but it seemed like time to give it another airing – using a photo previously unused – and here it is.

Easterton's Victorian fire pump - last seen in the village in 1975

Easterton’s Victorian fire pump – last seen in the village in 1975

This device was, at first, the Market Lavington and Easterton fire fighting machine, but it became the property of Easterton and found a home in a cave dug out near the village pump and actually under the grounds of the former jam factory. It was a simple enough device, and would have been effective provided it was near enough to a source of water.

Getting the pump to where it was needed required man power. The pulling handle, attached to the small front wheel, can be seen on the right of the picture. Once in place and with hoses connected, men – perhaps up to three on each handle, could operate the pump so that the fire could be doused with water.

At the end of each stroke of the pump handles, the pump action inevitably had to stop and this might have led to a jerky flow of water. However, the pump is equipped with a pressure smoother. It’s that bubble thing on top. When a handle was pushed down, some of the water went into the bubble and compressed the air in it. That compressed air kept the water flowing whilst the handles were temporarily still.

This fire engine was preserved by the Wiltshire Fire Service. We do not have it at Market Lavington Museum. It had been brought to Easterton as part of the church centenary celebrations in the 1970s.

It had been kept at the fire service museum in Potterne, but that has closed and we do not know where our old engine is now. Neither are we certain of the age of the old engine but maybe somebody out there can help us.

A Persil Advert

September 25, 2014

This is yet another advert from Harry Hobbs’ High Street shop. This one was designed to be used with its product – a giant sized box of Persil.

1950s Persil advert from Harry Hobbs' Market Lavington shop

1950s Persil advert from Harry Hobbs’ Market Lavington shop

Persil is a laundry detergent and when it was introduced, in 1907, it was the first such product to combine bleach with the detergent chemicals. It reached the UK in 1909. The name Persil actually is derived from the two compounds of sodium which went inter it which were sodium perborate and sodium silicate. It was, and still is, a widely used washing product but of course, the style and constituents have changed.

So has the price since Harry Hobbs’ advert was on display. This may have been in the late 1950s. The cheapest we could find a present day Persil family pack – to do 35 wash loads, was £6. That £6 would have bought 192 of Harry Hobbs’ giant size packs.

We believe it is relatively more expensive now as well. Perhaps it is as much as four times more expensive. But maybe the product from more than half a century ago had less to contend with than today’s washing product.

It’s a wonderful item – like all the ads from Harry’s shop.

More Jam Factory Girls

September 24, 2014

Today we have another photo from Karen, the great granddaughter of Samuel Moore. It shows more workers at the jam factory.

In Samuel Moore Foods jam factory in Easterton - probably 1960s

In Samuel Moore Foods jam factory in Easterton – probably 1960s

On the left we have Jackie Danton. In the middle is Mrs Kittle – or should that read Kiddle? And on the right it is Maureen Cooper.

These three ladies are clearly dealing with catering orders, The jam is not being put in jars, but rather into quite substantial cans. Samuel Moore Foods supplied quite a bit to hotels and the like so one assumes that is where the catering packs were going.

We believe this photo dates from the 1960s and, as ever, we’d appreciate any further information about people and/or processes.

The Bell ringers of 77

September 23, 2014

Market Lavington is lucky enough still to have a team of ringers, albeit more are wanted to take up or return to this fun activity (our curator does it)

Sadly, none of the ringers of 1977 are still ringing in this area although one or two might ring elsewhere.

This photo recently turned up in a collection which our former archivist had. We think it is 1977 because many photos in the collection showed 1977 Silver Jubilee events. Maybe this team rang for that event.

Market Lavington bell ringers of 1977

Market Lavington bell ringers of 1977

From the left we have Johnathan Gye who, sadly, died far too early back in 2001. Next to him is a man we are not certain of, but we think he could be a son of Maurice Baker. Maurice is the man on the right and he died a couple of years ago. The third man from the left is Johnathan’s father, Tom Gye. He is still alive, but no longer ringing for he is well into his 90s. We marked him getting an award for 70 years ringing on this blog (click here).

We do not know the fourth man – the younger chap in blue but we think he may have come from the Plymouth area and may have been staying with Tom and Peggy Gye. Next, the fifth man, is Fred Davis. He was another man who died far too young, back in the 1980s. And then, as mentioned before we have Maurice Baker.

How good to have a picture of the ringers of that era, standing outside the tower door at St Mary’s

Ken Mundy’s Shop

September 22, 2014
Ken Mundy's shoe shop in about 1977

Ken Mundy’s shoe shop in about 1977

This isn’t the best photo you ever saw, but sometimes, we feel, a poor photo has a story to tell and is worth sharing. That’s so with this one.

The rather drab looking shop was Ken Mundy’s shoe shop and this picture dates from around 1977. But let’s just look at the left and remind ourselves that the ED visible was at the end of Lloyds Bank Limited – a reminder that not only did we have a shoe shop in Market Lavington, we had banks as well.

Let’s start at the bottom of Ken’s shop with the enamel advert for Craven A. Craven A was a tobacco product and we think it must have been on the shop in much earlier times. Ken never sold tobacco products. That particular enamel sign was quite common and carried the tag line (or should that be tag lie?) ‘will not affect your throat’.

Above that is the shop window. Ken sold shoes but he also soled shoes. Yes, he did shoe repairs. He even made shoes. Ted Maslen told us his wedding shoes were made by Ken. The window was a bit of a jumble, but the shop inside was absolute chaos. Ken was never very tidy or orderly and it was not unknown for people to arrive to collect a pair of shoes after some repairs and Ken could only find one. If you came back a couple of days later, he’d find the other as well. Nothing was ever permanently lost.

New shoes could be a problem as well. They could have been in the shop for a long time with one in the window and another in a shoe box. The one that had been in the light may well have faded and could be significantly different in colour from its partner.

But despite these little quirks, Ken was liked by villagers, and the young lads often gathered at his shop to learn something of his wit and wisdom.

We have a moderate amount of Mundy memorabilia in the museum and it really does remind us of a past time.

But one more thing on that photo. There’s clearly a noticeboard next to the shop window. We can’t remember what it was for, but it could be a proper bus timetable – so much better than the scrappy information you get these days, which tells you almost nothing. But there was a time when many shops had an information board for one organisation or another.

So, some good memories from that rather poor photo.

Betty James

September 21, 2014

Betty, or Elizabeth, was the wife of a Market Lavington baker, Walter James.

This is a good point to remind readers of our Museum Miscellany on 4th October in Market Lavington Community Hall. We always have interval food made from our museum recipes and this might include some Walter James recipes.

But back to Betty who was a James by marriage but who was born a Gye in 1869 in Market Lavington. She was the daughter of James and Mary Ann. James was a carpenter and wheelwright and his descendants followed him into that line of work, setting up the yard on White Street.

In 1904 Elizabeth married Walter James who was establishing himself as a baker in the village. He had taken over the bakery at number one High Street which is now the Post Office.

This picture of Elizabeth is in an album that belonged to a member of the Gye family which we have in Market Lavington Museum.

Betty James  - a photo in an album at Market Lavington Museum

Betty James – a photo in an album at Market Lavington Museum

The photo has a caption which would have been added later.

The photo caption

The photo caption

In 1901 Elizabeth was at home and had work as a dressmaker.

By 1911 the James family – young Walter had been born, were in their High Street premises which stayed in the family until well after World War II.

But Elizabeth (Betty) James died in 1927.


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