One Hundred Years Ago

September 1, 2014

Today we introduce a guest writer on the blog. Lyn Dyson has written many local books and is producing articles for five local parishes about World War One. She hopes to produce one article per month, initially for inclusion in parish magazines. Today we have her first article.

August 1914

When war was declared on 4th August 1914, many men from the Lavingtons were already serving in the Wiltshire Regiment. The 1st Battalion was stationed at Tidworth, and the 2nd Battalion was stationed in Gibraltar.

The 1st Battalion received their orders to mobilize on 4th August and immediately began their preparations for war, which included musketry drills and range practises, route marching, and inoculations against typhoid. There was also a church parade.

On 13th August they left in two trains, the first carrying 505 men and equipment departed  at 7.22am, arriving in Southampton at 11am. They had some difficulty loading the vehicles on to the SS South Western, as they had to remove all the shafts and wheels from the wagons in order to get them through the hatch. All the horses had to be boxed and slung, and it wasn’t until 4.30 pm that the troops embarked. They sailed at 7.15pm, but anchored in Sandown Bay.

The second train, which left Tidworth at 9.12am, containing 509 men, arrived in Southampton at 10.45. The troops embarked on the SS Princess Ena at 2.30pm.

They arrived in Rouen on 14th August, and on 16th August they travelled by train to Aulnoye. They then had several days of marching, during which they received an ecstatic reception from the inhabitants of Avesnes, where they were loaded with flowers.

On 22nd August they arrived in Ciply. German planes passed over them as they arrived, and the next day, they were ordered to dig trenches to the north of Ciply and facing Mons. They were shelled by the enemy until nightfall, but they continued to entrench throughout the night. The Battle of Ciply began on 24th August and the Wiltshire’s suffered their first casualties. A captain and three men were killed in the trenches, and 20 men were wounded. The Commanding Officer’s horse was shot from underneath him.

The men now had some indication of what lay ahead, but they were probably still optimistic that they would be home for Christmas.

The 2nd Battalion received orders to return to the United Kingdom, from where they sailed to Zeebrugge on  5th October 1914. They were destined for the trenches at Ypres.

Over the next four years I hope to give a regular monthly report of what the men from our villages were doing a hundred years ago.

Lyn Dyson

Lavington and District Poultry Show

August 31, 2014

Time was when many a householder kept poultry who could be fed, to some degree on food waste and thus form a vital part of the cottage economy. And, as well as that, there were commercial poultry keepers. No wonder there was a local poultry show.

These days we call it sponsorship and we have two examples of it in one document here. A chicken feed company have sponsored the letter heading – and very pretty it is too.


Letter to Mr Holloway from The Lavington and District Poultry Show

These days we call supporting events like this sponsorship and we have two examples of it in one document here. A chicken feed company have sponsored the letter heading – and very pretty it is too.

Compant logo for Chamberlain and Pole

Company logo for Chamberlain and Pole

Now isn’t that sweet!

The content of the letter tells us that Mr Holloway of West Lavington made a donation to the show, presumably for 1925 as that’s the date on the letter.

We see the chairman of the show was Arthur Walton who, in addition to his department store in Market Lavington also owned a poultry farm.

The secretary who wrote the letter was William Edward Elisha. He’s better known as Bill and he was a stalwart of Lavington in many, many ways.

Bill Elisha was the show secretary

Bill Elisha was the show secretary

The letter is another from the Holloway collection. These bills and letters make a very interesting addition to our museum.

Friendly Society March

August 30, 2014

We live in a wonderful time for all sorts of reasons – not least in that we have health care as and when we need it. Yes, people moan about the National Health Service. But looking back 100 or more years we can realise that in times before it, most people just didn’t have health care and if they had to, they relied on charity to pay for it. Friendly Societies were a huge help in supporting their members. Today we have a picture of a meet and march in the early years of the 20th century.

Friendly Society march in Market Lavington - early 20th century

Friendly Society march in Market Lavington – early 20th century

The venue is outside the Volunteer Arms, the pub which was on Church Street – and although it has been a house now for twenty years or more, it still has the bracket from which the pub sign hung.

People are dressed up in their smart clothes and the band are there, ready to provide musical support for a march.

Unfortunately, this copy isn’t quite clear enough to read the signs.

But we can see that the film processor managed to get a thumb print on the negative and we can see some of the people quite clearly.


It’ll be a tall order to recognise anybody, but hope springs eternal!

Golden Jubilee medallion

August 29, 2014

It was a couple of years ago that we really had a royal year at the museum as we celebrated the diamond jubilee of our present queen.

Today we look back to 1887 and the golden jubilee of Queen Victoria via another of Norman’s metal detector finds.

1887 Queen Victoria Golden Jubilee medallion - a Market Lavington metal detector find

1887 Queen Victoria Golden Jubilee medallion – a Market Lavington metal detector find

This medallion measures less than two inches (5cm) across. It shows a profile view of Victoria in the middle and traces four major events in her life on the four branches of the cross.

Starting on the left we have that she was born in 1819 and this branch of the cross shows a shamrock plant to represent Ireland which was all, then, a part of the one country.

At the top we have that she was crowned in 1838 (she became queen in 1837). That branch of the cross shows a crown.

On the right we have that she married in 1840. Her husband, of course, was Albert. We also see here a thistle to represent Scotland.

And at the bottom we have jubilee year of 1887 with an English rose.

The medallion looks as though it might have had a bar at the top and may have been held to a garment with a ribbon and pin.

We imagine somebody was sorry to lose it. Maybe they’d be happy to know that nearly 120 years after it was made it now has a home at Market Lavington Museum.

Emms – Evacuees

August 28, 2014

History is continuous. This year we may commemorate 100 years since the start of World War One and 100 seems important because we have a decimal number system. It is also 75 years since the start of World War Two – not so important to us, but maybe it should be because there are still people about who remember that event.

It’s World War II we remember today with a photo of three evacuees who were members of the same family – the Emms.

The Emms brothers were Second World War evacuees in Market Lavington

The Emms brothers were Second World War evacuees in Market Lavington

These three are Albert, Fred and Tom Emms, from London. They had spells living near Chippenham and Devizes and then the family were offered accommodation in Market Lavington Market Place. This meant the three boys, their two sisters and their mum could all be together.

We have included some of their memories before on this blog.

Easterton Country Show and the Moore family

August 27, 2014

Bank Holiday Monday was as wet as wet could be. There’s a kind of tradition, which actually most of us there thought wrong, that it always rains on bank holidays. 2014 August bank holiday will surely go down in memory as very, very wet and will help keep that urban myth alive.

The show organisers were philosophical and kept a smile on their faces as they reorganised people to inside venues or under good, waterproof marquees.

We of the museum were lucky to get a spot inside the church – by our usual standards it was cramped and small but it was dry, warm and we had an absolutely lovely day.

The Easterton show is always lovely. How could it be otherwise with such friendly people. One person we met and chatted with had moved into the village only a month ago. He reckoned more people had chatted to him in that month than in 14 years when he lived in a town elsewhere. He absolutely loved the place.

There was many an old friend to chat to as well, but pride of place, for us, goes to some young adults from Bristol who put a message on a post on this blog just the day before the show.

It read  ‘Hi, some photos and information I didn’t know. Samuel Moore was my great grandad.’

And the next day they were at the show with photo album in hand. Here’s one of the photos.

Sons of Samuel! Wilfred and William Moore with a jam factory pan

Sons of Samuel Wilfred and William Moore with a jam factory pan

This shows two sons of Samuel Moore, both of whom worked in the jam business in Easterton. On the left we see Wilfred (officially he was Samuel Wilfred) and on the right his younger brother, William. They are holding a large preserving pan, obviously used in the business.

William is the grandfather of our visitors at the show.

Now for us, the rain might have been falling in torrents, but the sunshine was in our hearts as we learned more about the family and were able to copy some wonderful photos.

Well done Easterton – a great day for us and, as ever, a lovely friendly show.


August 26, 2014

There was a time when Market Lavington was full of malthouses. In the 18th century there were 27 of these ‘factories’ where barley was sprouted to produce malt.

Very little remains today, to remind us of these old buildings. They have all been swept into oblivion.

One of the last Malthouse survivors was in the Market Place – and that went some 60 years ago but it can be seen in photos.

A rather careworn photo shows a malthouse in Market Lavington Market Place

A rather careworn photo shows a malthouse in Market Lavington Market Place

This photo has suffered damage, but the malthouse is clear, close by the old coach.

We do have a few relics in the museum and amongst them is this tile.

A ventilation tile from a Market Lavington malthouse

A ventilation tile from a Market Lavington malthouse

This was made locally at the Lavington brick works and measures some 25 cm square. It was part of the ventilation in a maltings kiln.

With a local brick industry we have many examples of different styles of local brick and tile in the museum, but this one, which links to another long gone industry, is rather special.

Easterton Fete

August 25, 2014

Today is the day of the Easterton Country Fair. We hope the weather will be OK, but sadly it may be a tad damp. But of course, the local folks will show up and make the best of the circumstances. We certainly hope to meet you there.

We’ll take a look at a fete some eighteen years ago. This one was in Market Lavington and featured a donkey cart to give people rides.

Market Lavington Church Fete in 1996

Market Lavington Church Fete in 1996


It looks as though that fete – on June 1st 1996 – was blessed with very good weather. The fete was at Clyffe Hall and that’s Dave driving the donkey hauled vehicle.

We can’t promise donkeys for Easterton 2014, but there will be something for everybody whatever the weather.


Blue and White China

August 25, 2014

First of all, in our photos it looks less than blue. But it is! Honest!

Blue and White Poppy pattern chine by T Till and Sons

Blue and White Poppy pattern chine by T Till and Sons

We are looking at vegetable tureen and a serving plate. There is also a sauce boat.

Matching tureen and lid

Matching tureen and lid

This china carries this makers’ mark.

The makers' mark

The makers’ mark

These items were made by T Till and Sons and the design was called Poppy. If you want to know more about these Staffordshire potters then visit the website at

Now what makes these items so special to our museum in Market Lavington?

The answer is simple. These items are the remains of a dinner service that belonged to Alf and Louisa Burbidge. Alf and Louisa lived in the cottage which is now our museum so these items are in their very rightful place.

In fact we have quite a full history of these items for when the Burbidges died the crockery went to Mrs Lily Gilbert. Lily was born a Shore and her brother had Married Flo Burbidge, the daughter of Alf and Louisa.

The items were given to the museum by Lily’s daughter, Mrs Clarke in 2001.

After fifty years, the Poppy china had come home. And you can see it now in the kitchen where once it would have been used by Louisa and her family.

Round the Bend

August 24, 2014

We have had many new items in the museum this year and that’s fantastic both in the museum and for this blog. We do like to make this blog a bit random – rather like our Museum Miscellany which will be on October 4th this year, in the Community Hall in Market Lavington. Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased at the Post Office in the village.

We could also remind you that there is a ‘search this site’ facility on the blog. Just type a word into that box and you’ll get a list of all of our posts which contain that word. That’s very handy for genealogists searching for a particular name.

Amongst those new items this year we still have some of the Harry Hobbs’ shop adverts top look at and it is one of these we’ll look at today.

Domestos advert from Harry Hobbs' shop in Market Lavington

Domestos advert from Harry Hobbs’ shop in Market Lavington

This item is large – about 90 cm long and quite tall as well. The picture shows it is a bit battered and we hope our friends and helpers at the Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre will be able to make this item a bit more secure.

Our Mrs Mop type character can be seen about to use Domestos and a couple of scary and scared looking germs are rushing off in hope of escape.

This advert has a base with a circle marked for the shopkeeper to place a bottle of Domestos to complete the display.

This lovely item is not yet on display, partly because of its condition. But at least we can display it photographically just here.




Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 217 other followers