The Reverend Frith

February 11, 2016

Also some Coleman Family History

We have seen this photo before – or rather this composite photo which shows the Market Lavington Vicar with a wonderful name (The Reverend William Blackstone Cockayne Frith) hovering over St Mary’s church in the village.

The Reverend Frith and Market Lavington Church on a card posted in 1905

The Reverend Frith and Market Lavington Church on a card posted in 1905

It’s a lovely image and we rather expect Alf Burgess enjoyed putting it together.

What makes this card different is the family history contained in the message.

The back of the card

The back of the card

The card was sent to Miss A Coleman and was posted in Chippenham at 10.45 pm on May 27th 1905. Although posted in Chippenham the writer has given his address as Chapel Gardens, Easterton and he has sent this card to ‘Dear Sister’.

‘Just a line wishing you many happy returns of the Day’

With the speed of postcards in 1905 it’s a fair bet that Miss A Coleman’s birthday was the next day – 28th May.

After a quick ‘hope you are well’ the card is signed by ‘your loving brother Charlie’

What is effectively a PS then goes on to say that ‘Stephen and Alice had a son this morning.’


Alice, Charlie and Stephen are three of the children of William Coleman, a shoe maker and one time Town Crier for Market Lavington. Alice was in service in Kensington, working as a cook. Charlie, as we saw, lived in Easterton where he was a Baker. Stephen was living in Market Lavington where he worked as a groom and gardener. The son born that day was also Stephen – the father of the person who has let us copy the card but understandably, with so much information he wishes to retain the original for the family.

An Owen Carter watercolour

February 10, 2016

Sadly we don’t have the original of this painting, just a photo of it. It’s a watercolour by Owen Carter painted in 1850 and it depicts Church Street.

Church Street in 1850 - from a watercolour by Owen Carter

Church Street in 1850 – from a watercolour by Owen Carter

Although there are many changes, the scene is instantly recognisable. It looks as though children are just tumbling out of the school gate with the church above them. There is still a ledge between the path up to the church and the track which used to lead to Grove Farm and now serves as a footpath to the Community Hall. There are still trees, now pollarded, on that ledge. The ledge has been neatened with steps put in.

Interesting that Owen just got in the sign for the New Inn.

The biggest changes are in the V between the main road and that track to Grove Farm. Let’s take a look at a 21st century image.

Similar 21st century view

Similar 21st century view

This Streetview image isn’t identical. We can see the ledge but the slightly overgrown trees hide the church and the Old School gate. There is still a pub sign in this picture which gives the name the pub took from the 1970s of The Drummer Boy. That pub is now closed.

The little bier house now stands in that V and a plethora of cottages have gone leaving just Church Cottage (which would have been a terrace of three in Owen Carter’s time.)

One of the displays we are creating for the 1916 season concerns pubs past and present. There have been many in Market Lavington and a couple in Easterton. Now we have one in each village.

1000 Hints for Housewives

February 9, 2016

The title of this publication really does make it hark back to a past era. And that’s not surprising for it does date from the mid-1930s.

1000 Hints for Housewives is at Market Lavington Museum

1000 Hints for Housewives is at Market Lavington Museum

We can see that this book was by Helen Burke of the Sunday Pictorial. This paper ran under that name from 1915 to 1963 at which point it became the Sunday Mirror.

Helen Burke was described as the ‘Home Expert’ for the paper and no doubt her name would have been well known in the 1930s. Apart from her newspaper work she was responsible for cookery books, knitting patterns and was employed by a North London housing developer to endorse their houses as ‘honest houses – well planned, well built – so labour saving’.

This is one of many such books and booklets we have at the museum which belonged to local families. This one looks to have been well used.

Of course, we offer a chance to sample recipes from some of these books at our annual Museum Miscellany event which, this year, will be on Saturday October 8th at 7.30 in Market Lavington’s wonderful Community Hall.


Broadwell Playground 1980 style

February 8, 2016

Sometimes it can pay to look at what may seem to some of us like fairly recent photos. The one we look at today was taken just as a family snapshot by our curator back in 1980. It shows his son at the Broadwell play area.

Broadwell playground in 1980

Broadwell playground in 1980

There is a surprising amount of history in this photo. It shows the space themed items in this little playground, dating, one assumes, from the mid-1960s. The little lad is on what to all intents and purposes was a rocking horse but it is shaped like a space rocket. The youngsters climbing on the frame in the background were on a structure shaped just like an American Gemini space capsule.

In case anyone thinks there is a little bench at the left side, there isn’t. This was the tail end of a traditional slide.

Should anybody happen to fall then it was straight onto the hard asphalt at ground level. There was no soft rubberised surface back then.

It was a very different world almost 36 years ago!

Bill Elisha

February 7, 2016

Back in 2012 we showed one of two sketches drawn of Bill during World War 2. Today we look at the second of them.

A 1944 sketch of Bill Elisha

A 1944 sketch of Bill Elisha

We can see that bill is the CQMS or Company Quartermaster Sergeant in the Wiltshires.

We can’t make out the name of the sketcher but they have thoroughly caught our Bill. As folks say, this is like him to a T.

Bill had many village roles. He was chair of the Parish Council and a long time stalwart of the football club – as a player in younger days and then as a club official. He is remembered because the Elisha Field is named after him.

Bill was born in about 1902 and died in 1984.

The Scouts of 78 again

February 6, 2016

Last year we looked at this photo.

Lavington Sea Scouts in 1978

Lavington Sea Scouts in 1978

We asked if any names could be identified and, at the time we got just one.

However, a sketch of the photo with some names has now been sent to us, with a hope that we might find more of the names. Here is the sketch.


The names we have there are the four leaders – Mark Ewart, Brian Ewart, Richard Dalton and Roy Chapman.

The named scouts are John Smith, Sean Moger, Bill Cole, Simon Smith, Mark Thomas, Derek Beg, Matthew Knight, Philip Onslow and Paul King.

Do get in touch if you can name the other dozen sea scouts from the Market Lavington and Easterton area.

John Baker

February 5, 2016

John Baker was a fine, upstanding Victorian gentleman living in Market Lavington.

His day job was as a dealer and worker in ‘light’ metals and enamelled goods. Sometimes such workers were called Whitesmiths. His premises were immediately opposite what is now the Coop shop, just to the right of Woodland Yard. Many locals will remember this building being an ironmongers or hardware shop.

John was very involved in many aspects of life in the parish, not least by being a sharp shooting member of the Loyal Volunteers. Our picture shows him in that guise.

John Baker of Market Lavington in about 1890

John Baker of Market Lavington in about 1890

One of his descendants gave this description of this photo.

John Baker in the full splendour of his Colour Sergeant uniform in the Wilt’s Militia. He was quite a famous “shot” and won many splendid trophies at such places as Bisley. Like his father he was also a whitesmith- that is a dealer in light metals – tin and enamelled goods. He had a forge in the market place and at time fulfilled orders for the armoury located on Salisbury Plain. He was secretary for the Parish Council and a collector of the parish rates. He also kept the parish church clock in repair, my mother having on several occasions gone up the tower with him when repairs were necessary. He was on ardent collector of fine books, furniture and artefacts, interests he shared with his favourite nephew Joseph Sainsbury.

John was born in about 1844 and sadly, died rather young in 1903. Perhaps as a result several of his young adult children set off for new lives in Canada. The Baker family have remained very interested in their Market Lavington home and have donated many items to the museum.

Funeral Expenses

February 4, 2016

It is always a little hard to talk of or write about death. But it remains the one certainty of life – that it will end with death. True, Benjamin Franklin added taxes as a certainty as well and we suppose that for humans in most parts of the world some kind of taxation is inevitable but really death remains the one absolute certainty.

Funerals are expensive. In October 2015 the BBC reported that the cost of a funeral had risen to £3700. If we compare that with the cost of a Market Lavington funeral in 1964, it does seem that costs have outstripped the value of money. Here is a bill for a funeral back in January 1964.

Funeral bill for Emily Letitae Pomeroy 1963/64

Funeral bill for Emily Letitae Pomeroy 1963/64

The funeral needs were provided by Gye’s the builders and carpenters who had been trading under the name of Tom Gye’s mother Mrs L E Gye. The job was done for £46 – 12 – 0. That recent figure of 3700 would pay for about 72 funerals at this 1964 price.

We have no further information about the deceased here – Emily Letitae Pomeroy.

Unknown family group

February 3, 2016

This image was amongst Peggy Gye’s postcards of Market Lavington. When we copied this it had no caption so we do not know who where or when. Peggy usually got things right so we assume it was a Market Lavington family.

Unknown family group - believed to be in Market Lavington

Unknown family group – believed to be in Market Lavington


Does anybody recognise people or location?

Let’s zoom in on the people.


Do get in touch if you can help or have any ideas about this photograph.

William and Elizabeth Hopkins (and baby Henry Charles Hopkins)

February 2, 2016

In recent weeks we have looked at various items found under floorboards at 21 Church Street. Today we look at a family who may have lost some of these items.

William Hopkins was born on 4th May 1848 in Market Lavington, Wiltshire.

A John Hopkins married Sarah ‘Penchin’ on Christmas day 1847. These seem likely to be the parents of William particularly as a Sarah Ann Pincheon was baptised at Market Lavington on October 11th 1829, the daughter of John the bricklayer and his wife, Sarah.

William was baptised on 14th May 1848

The death of a Sarah Ann Hopkins was recorded in the Devizes district in the June quarter of 1850.

In 1851 William was aged two and lived with grandparents. His grandfather was 44 year old John Pincheon, a bricklayer who lived on White Street in Market Lavington. His wife was Sarah and two year old William had a number of aunts and uncles in the house with him – aged between 2 and 14.

So it would seem that William was brought up by his maternal grandparents where he must have seemed like a twin to his uncle Charles who was much the same age.

In 1861 William was still with grandparents John and Sarah Pincheon. Both William and his same aged Uncle Charles worked as mortar boys, presumably helping John in his work as a bricklayer.

Elizabeth Brown was the daughter of James and Elizabeth Brown and was born about 1848 in West Lavington – the Littleton area. In 1841 James was a gardener. By 1851 he had died and his widow, Elizabeth was listed as the gardener. Young Elizabeth was the last child born to that marriage.

In 1861, the thirteen year old Elizabeth Brown was a servant in Edington working for Publican Jacob Hale.

William Hopkins married Elizabeth Brown in the Devizes district in the September quarter of 1869.

We find the couple together in 1871 and living on The Spring (next to Grove Farm). William was a bricklayer journeyman and the oldest child of the union, Samuel was aged ten months.

In about 1874, young William was born and Emily followed in 1876.

Henry Charles Hopkins was born in about April 1877 but only lived 11 months.

John was born in about 1879.

The family lived at Mount Pleasant, White Street, at the time of the 1881 census. Head of the family, William, was now a master builder employing two men and two boys.

A further daughter, Lilian, was born in about 1885.

In 1891 the family lived on Church Street, next to The New Inn (In 2009 The Drummer Boy) William was now a bricklayer and builder.

In 1901 young Samuel had married, but the family, including Samuel and wife still occupied premises next to The New Inn. William was described, on this census as a general builder – an employer.

Elizabeth, the former Miss Brown, died on February 7th 1907 and is buried in the Drove Lane cemetery. But William stayed in business on Church Street as this post card, posted in 1914 shows.


21 Church Street in about 1914

This is Number 21 Church Street.

Another photo, sadly undated, shows the shop front with some of the stock for sale on the pavement. Did members of the Hopkins family come out to get in the photo?

This could be members of the Hopkins family posing for the photo

This could be members of the Hopkins family posing for the photo

The Hopkins shop in the 1930s. This stood where Milsom Court is now.

The Hopkins shop in the 1930s. This stood where Milsom Court is now.


Whether the Hopkins just needed more space or whether the premises at 21 Church Street became just a house, we are not sure. These are 1930s premises, also on Church Street, Market Lavington. Old William would have known this shop before he joined his wife in the Drove Lane cemetery having died on April 27th 1936. These premises were where Milsom Court now stands.

Members of this family, who were non-conformists as far as religion went, are buried in the Drove Lane Cemetery.

Hopkins grave at the Drove Lane Cemetery

Hopkins grave at the Drove Lane Cemetery


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