A party at Paxtons

October 8, 2015

Paxtons is an interesting Edwardian built house on the edge of the former jam factory site. It was built in the earliest years of the twentieth century so perhaps this photo show a celebratory get together soon after it was completed.

An Edwardian party at Paxtons in Easterton

An Edwardian party at Paxtons in Easterton

We see a party of smartly clad ladies and gentlemen sitting around a table just outside the house.

Close up on the people

Close up on the people

There appears to be a table laden with goodies. The ladies – we have not identified them – are nearly all wearing large hats. For men the straw boater seems to be required head covering. Those large hats and boaters are very much of the Edwardian era so we certainly date the photo to those early 20th century years.

It looks as though a maid is standing by, ready to jump to it as and when needed – a part of the scene but apart from the grander ladies and gents.

For the record, the occupants of Paxtons at the time of the 1911 census were Eleanor Tindall a 65 year old spinster born in London who was living on her own means and her 18 year old general servant Helen Maria Alexander who had been born in Market Lavington. Helen (sometimes Ellen) was the daughter of Richard, landlord at the Kings Arms

Along the High Street – 1960s

October 7, 2015

We have recently acquired this postcard which we believe was taken by Peter Francis, probably from his upstairs window which was above his Church Street shop. The picture, however, shows the crossroads and High Street.

Along Market Lavington High Street in the 1960s

Along Market Lavington High Street in the 1960s

Let’s start on the left.


Here we have what had become the Post Office. Oh dear! The Parsonage Lane sign was falling off.


Let’s hope it was quickly refixed.


It looks as though A R Rees had the shop. The Stop sign is actually for the end of Parsonage Lane. In those days, with no Grove Road, Parsonage Lane had to cater for traffic in both directions.


Looking a little further up the street – we think it says Little on what closed as the Newsagent last year and we can clearly see that Lloyds Bank were in business as well.


It’s just possible that people might be recognised.


Looking a bit further round, we’ll start with that light – a single street lamp suspended over the middle of the cross roads. Beneath it, the car looks like a 1950s built Austin. We can see that the Agricultural Engineers had removed the buildings on the corner of the Market Place and we also see a Midland Bank sign on the next building. There is also a Walls ice cream sign there. A Pepsi sign adorns the corner of Chapel Lane.


A couple of girls with a dog are just rounding the corner onto White Street. It’s possible they could be recognised.

What a great picture of Market Lavington High Street about 50 years ago.

A fantastic sketch

October 6, 2015

Some little while ago we managed to acquire some sketches of Market Lavington, most dating from the 1830s. They were drawn by Philip Wynell Mayow whose brother, Mayow Wynell Mayow, was Vicar of Market Lavington.

They received their first public airing at our Museum Miscellany, a few days ago. Now a wider audience can see them via this blog.

This is Broadwell.

Broadwell as sketched by Philip Wynell Mayow in 1837

Broadwell as sketched by Philip Wynell Mayow in 1837

But this is not Broadwell as we know it now. The lovely jettied house on the left didn’t survive to be photographed or remembered by our oldest inhabitants. It is sited where the children’s playground is now and that area was remembered as a wooded enclosure by those ninety year old residents.

However, it does appear on old maps.

Portion of tithe map which is at the Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre in Chippenham

Portion of tithe map which is at the Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre in Chippenham

This is a small part of the tithe map of 1840. The blue area is the water at Broadwell and the cottage we see is numbered 55. Despite having a copy of the tithe apportionment, we cannot find out anything about number 55.

The other cottage we see in the sketch is number 51 on the map and this was the home of John Merritt, the blacksmith. That building was said to be very damp and was converted to a single storey workshop. The Merritt family used it for smithing, for milking their small herd of cows and many old villagers recall it in use for band practices into the 1950s.

We know that our artist has drawn that cottage accurately so we assume the other one is accurate as well. We think it is fantastic to get a glimpse of the village when it was still regarded as a market town. This sketch is clearly placed and dated – Market Lavington; 1837.


Three working men

October 5, 2015

This photo is in the collection at Market Lavington Museum. It shows three men, very much dressed for work.


We know the names of the three men for they are on the back of the photo.


They are Perce or Percy Notton, Albert Cooper and Stanley (Stan) Cooper.

We believe the location could be at Fred Sayer’s bus depot which was in the Market Place.

Perce Notton was born in 1900. His father was a Baker and shopkeeper on High Street. It looks as though Percy lived at home until at least 1939. When he died, in 1958, the death was registered in the Marlborough area.

Albert Cooper may well have been born around 1878. He was married to Annie and worked at the brickworks as shown on both 1901 and 1911 censuses. He died in 1940.

Stan Cooper was not an immediate relative of Alberts although they may well have been some kind of cousins. He was born around 1914 and in adult life he lived with his sister. He died in 1997.

On that basis we think the photo dates from the late 1930s.

As ever, we’d love to know more.



Well well!

October 4, 2015

Back in 1996 the old Parish Room was demolished and the site cleared as part of developments at the nursing home on High Street. Strange things can be found under an early twentieth century hut like building. This strange item is a well.

Well unearthed during 1996 developments at the nursing home

Well unearthed during 1996 developments at the nursing home

The team of workers may not have been aware of that well when they had their digger precisely on the top of it. It is interesting, though, to see the construction of a well from the outside.

That doesn't look the safest place to be

That doesn’t look the safest place to be

The well is made of ordinary brick – probably Lavington made ones. If the finish looks a bit rough, then that’s not surprising since wells were constructed from the inside. This outside part was never seen when the well was in use.

We assume it has been safely capped by now.



The doctor’s inhaler

October 3, 2015

One of our former village doctors has had this inhaler in his possession for at least 40 years. He recently passed it to the museum.

An inhaler owned by a village doctor

An inhaler owned by a village doctor

This is a lovely ceramic item with a cork and glass breathing tube. The writing on it explains all.

Full instructions are glazed into the ceramic

Full instructions are glazed into the ceramic

So this is Dr Nelson’s improved inhaler and its function seems to be to make people breathe hot steam.

The item is British made by Burleigh Ironstone of Staffordshire.

The manufacturer's mark is on the underside

The manufacturer’s mark is on the underside

Dr Nelson invented this inhaler in the 1860s but it is hard to date the item because they can still be bought new. Singers might use them to hydrate the vocal flaps.

However, we know ours has some antiquity as well as the required local connection.

Mary Ann Edwards

October 2, 2015

This photo is believed to be very early – possibly the 1870s although this is a later copy. It shows Mary Ann Edwards.

Mary Ann Edwards - possibly from the 1870s

Mary Ann Edwards – possibly from the 1870s

We have met Mary Ann before on this blog. In 1877 she married Charles Smith of the famous pond making family.

Mary actually came, originally, from Everleigh but in 1871 she was in service at Ramsbury.

We do not know how her path crossed that of Market Lavington born Charles Smith. Possibly Mary got an in service job in the Lavington area or maybe (as was common) Charles was with a pond digging team living away from home whilst a pond was made. We can only assume that romance blossomed.

The couple married in the Pewsey registration district which included Everleigh so we suspect the marriage was there. But the Smith family home was Market Lavington and Mary came to live with her husband in this village. By 1881 they already had a couple of Market Lavington born children.

Mary and Charles had been married for 47 years when Charles died. Mary outlived him by 14 years. She died in 1938. She had lived in Market Lavington ever since 1877.

There will be few people in the village now who remember Mary for it is now close on 77 years since she died.

But she does look to be a lovely, determined lady in the very old photo.

Supporting Rochelle Court

October 1, 2015

This is certainly an unusual view of things – a photo which dates from 1993.

It shows the building of a retaining wall and improvements to the footpath below Rochelle Court – alongside Northbrook.

Building the retaining wall and improving the Northbrook footpath in 1993

Building the retaining wall and improving the Northbrook footpath in 1993

Memories fade. Even long term Northbrook residents have forgotten this happening some 22 years ago.

At the top of the hill and on the right hand side of this photo is the old Market House which, of course, still stands having been renovated in the last few years. The house on the extreme left – we just see a corner of it – is still in place as well. So, too are the metal pipe railings on the rather grey coloured concrete wall. The present view (actually in 2011) looks like this.

Similar view today

Similar view today

September 1915

September 30, 2015

100 Years Ago

By Lyn Dyson

It had been all relatively quiet on the western front for the 1st battalion of the Wiltshire Regiment during August. They started off in St Eloi and moved to St Jean, then La Brique, and ended the month in Hooge. Here the battalion was working on an old advanced trench at the end of August when a party of Germans laying barbed wire came within two yards of their position. The Germans were apparently unaware that the trench was occupied, and laid barbed wire on the parapet. Orders were given to the battalion not to fire and draw attention to their presence.

September opened with heavy artillery bombardment on both sides during which 14 men were killed, 38 wounded and 2 missing, believed killed.   Reginald Marsh of Great Cheverell was one of the men killed.

On 3rd September a message was received from General Haldane:- “Convey to Wiltshire Regt my appreciation of stout hearted manner they stood bombardment yesterday. Regret heavy casualties.”

From the middle of the month the battalion was at Ypres were they were billeted in the ramparts. They spent their nights digging, and found it difficult to sleep during the days because of the continuing heavy bombardment. By 24th September when they received orders to mount an offensive, they were all feeling the strain and lack of sleep. There was a heavy battle on 25th September during which 15 men were killed and53 were wounded.

The following day the battalion was relieved, but during the changeover they were bombed , followed by rifle and machine gun fire along the front. Artillery support was called for, and they promptly opened fire on the enemy, who replied by shelling the trenches. During this time two men were killed and 22 were wounded. One of the killed was William Sainsbury from Easterton.

The 2nd battalion also had a quiet month in August in France. At Les Harisoirs on 6th August they played a football match against the newly arrived 6th Battalion. The score was 2-1 to the 6th Battalion. During the month they were in the trenches at Festubert and ended the month at Cuinchy.

During September they moved to Vermelles where they were engaged in digging trenches during the nights. On 21st September they commenced a bombardment of enemy lines, to which the Germans responded very weakly. The bombardment continued for serveral days. When the battalion was relieved on 23rd September there was a heavy thunder storm, and the men arrived at their billets in Verquin soaked through.

The battalion was ordered to attack on 25th September, having been re-supplied with picks, shovels, bombs, flags. Smoke signals etc. As they advanced they came under very heavy machine gun and rifle fire, and suffered heavy losses. The following evening they took up new positions immediately behind the German trenches, and on the morning of the 27th they were ordered to advance across the open to support a battalion of the Cameron Highlanders. Again they suffered heavy losses. Some of the men did reach the Highlanders, but it was a misty morning and some took the wrong direction, but were later rounded up.

Reginald James Marsh killed in action 1st September 1915

Reginald was born in in 1892 in Great Cheverell, the son of blacksmith Silas Marsh and his wife Emma. He had an older brother and two older and one younger sisters.

Reginald served initially with the 2nd Battalion of the Wiltshire Regiment, arriving in France on 7th October 1914. He was later transferred to the 1st Battalion, and on 1st September he was in the trenches at Hooge in Belgium. At 4.30am the heavy artillery began bombarding the German lines. The enemy retaliated by heavy shelling and the trenches were badly damaged and telephone wires were cut. Four men, including Reginald, were killed and twenty six were wounded.

Reginald is remembered on the Ypres Menin Gate.

Corporal William George Sainsbury killed in action 26th September 1915

William Sainsbury was born in Trowbridge in 1880 or 1882, the son of Annie Eliza Sainsbury. Annie married William Strugnell, a mattress maker, in Melksham in 1884, and they had a son Arthur born in 1886. William Strugnell died in 1902, and Annie married Alfred Richardson, a carpenter in 1909. They lived at Jubilee Buildings in Easterton.

William Sainsbury used the name Strugnell during his early life.

In 1911 he was serving with the 1st Battalion of the Wiltshire Regiment in South Africa, but on census night he was staying with a friend, Frederick Harmon and his family in Slough.

On 26th September the battalion was entrenched at Hooge in Belgium, and about to be relieved by the 4th Royal Fusiliers. The trenches were very wet and so the day was spent in clearing the ground. During the handover, the trenches were greatly congested, and some bombing activity was started. Artillery support was called for and the covering battery promptly opened fire on the Hooge front. The enemy replied by shelling the fire trenches. During this action two men were killed, one of whom was Sgt Sainsbury, and 22 were wounded.

William was buried in the Brandhoek Military Cemetery, Belgium.

A prize draw ticket

September 29, 2015

We have published this ticket before on the museum blog.

1924 draw ticket

1924 draw ticket

We are grateful that somebody thought to save such a thing just over 90 years ago. We make sure we still do the same today so here we present a similar ticket, 2015 style.

2015 draw ticket

2015 draw ticket

Sadly the old ticket had no price, but we can be sure it was nothing like a pound – the price of the current one. But the information we have about prizes shows a huge difference.

What would people have done with a fat lamb in 1924? To be honest, we don’t know but we can be equally sure that it could be seen as an unlikely top prize in 2015 even though many have freezers these days and could, in fact, make use of it.

Then as now, sponsors gave prizes because they supported the causes. Back in 1924 a cash prize would surely have been very welcome, but golf for four at Castle Combe just couldn’t have been on the agenda. How would people have got there? It was probably all but impossible. Obviously there could not have been helicopter rides. The first real helicopter took to the skies in 1936.

The prizes in 2015 reflect the leisured nature of 21st century life. The prizes, apart from the cash, are not things people need but maybe are very much wanted by some.


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