The Cooksey Family

August 4, 2015

The Cooksey family had all sorts of links with the Lavingtons. We have looked before at Arthur and family who (we think) were the final residents at Pond Farm in 1911 and we have seen their son, Arthur, who was an Easterton school boy in 1905.

Today we look at a large family group partly in the hope that someone might be able to give us and other Cooksey researchers some names.

Elizabeth Annie Cooksey with the baby. But who are all the others? A larger version of the photo can be seen by clicking on this one.

Elizabeth Annie Cooksey with the baby. But who are all the others?
A larger version of the photo can be seen by clicking on this one.

Our information is that the lady with the young child on her knee is Elizabeth Annie Cooksey who was the wife of Arthur at Pond Farm. The date is thought to be late Victorian.

In 1891 Elizabeth and husband Arthur lived near Fiddington asylum. Arthur was a farmer. By 1901 he was farming on White Street in Easterton. The chances are, therefore, that this is a local photo. Can anyone identify the location? We wonder if the one man in the photo is wearing a clerical collar. Perhaps he can be identified. Or, indeed maybe any of the 14 ladies might be named.

If you can help then do get in touch.

Easterton Street

August 3, 2015

Easterton Street has always (or as far as memory goes) been more built up on the east side rather than the west and this photo certainly emphasises that.

Easterton Street - early 20th century

Easterton Street – early 20th century

We are looking pretty well due north along the street heading towards Urchfont. These days we’d expect a line of parked cars to be outside the houses on the right, most of which do not have any off-street parking. But what a different world it was when our photographer snapped this picture. The only vehicle we see is horse drawn and appears to be a water bowser. This had probably been filled at Easterton pump and may well have been on its way to a hill farm. In this Edwardian photo houses would not have had water on tap, let alone electricity.

Boys feel able to pose in the road, near that bowser. One of them is relaxed enough to have sat down in the highway.

People have appeared from their houses, probably hoping to be included in the photo. A postcard copy of the photo could be purchased very cheaply so getting in the shot could be a cheap way to have your likeness taken.

On the right we have the old forge. There’s a couple posing and then a young chap (could he be a Burnett) has what looks like a horse drawn plough. Further people have come out right along the street. These days we see roads as being for cars. Back then they were for people.

The stream is on the left which may explain the fact that there are fewer houses. The land stays low for longer on that side so flooding may always have been a problem.

Opening a clothes store

August 2, 2015

This metal detector find seems an unlikely one for the good old recreation ground in Market Lavington. It’s a medallion commemorating the opening of a clothing emporium in the City of London.

It is remarkably well preserved.

Medallion struck by E Moses and Son, clothiers of London in 1846

Medallion struck by E Moses and Son, clothiers of London in 1846

“In commemoration of opening the cheapest and most spacious fashionable tailoring, ready-made clothing, hosiery, hatter & outfitters establishment in the world.

E Moses and Son 154-155 Minories and 33, 34, 35, 36 Aldgate, London”

Sadly, there is no date but maybe the other side can help.

A calendar of 1846 Sundays is on the reverse of the medallion

A calendar of 1846 Sundays is on the reverse of the medallion

Well, it is a calendar showing the dates of all the Sundays in the year 1846. So we’ll assume the medallion dates from that year – 1846 and E Moses and Son were, perhaps, reminding people that they kept the Jewish Sabbath (Saturday) and may, thus, have been open on Sunday.

What a fascinating item. And we do suggest you look at to discover more about E Moses and the shop.

A Cider Press

August 1, 2015

We have a wonderful carnival picture today. It is utterly redolent of times past.image002

Here we see carnival floats lining up on Easterton High Street. Of course, the leading float commands interest being a horse drawn wagon. The wagon belonged to local farmer and eccentric, Alfred Alexander. He was normally known as Alfie.


We are not sure who the three people on the cart actually are.


However we think the lad on the right was known as ‘Polar’; Ingram and from him we date the photo to the early 1920s.

We believe the Alexanders did operate a cider press and that’s certainly what is on the wagon! It’s topped off with a notice perhaps meant to indicate the fine, strengthening qualities of the local brew.


‘Wiltshire will never go pussyfoot while the old mill turns.

There appears to be a liveried footman behind the wagon, but this being a carnival it is almost certainly a fancy dress.



The bearded and smocked man is leading a waggon which says, ‘All that is left ML&E FC’. Presumably that’s Market Lavington and Easterton Football Club. Had they had a bad season?

Another lovely photo!

July 1915

July 31, 2015

100 Years Ago

by Lyn Dyson

The 1st battalion of the Wiltshire regiment spent the month taking their turn in the trenches at Hooge and St Eloi, with regular rest periods at Busseboom, Abeele and Dickebusch Huts. It seems to have been a quiet spell in hot weather.

The 2nd battalion moved from Lumbres to Tournehem where they were in good billets for a few days before marching onward to Wizernes. The first part of the month was spent in exercises and marches and parades, and it was not until midnight on 22nd July that they were in the trenches again at Richebourg St Vaast. The weather, which had been hot was now very wet. After a quiet morning on 24th July they came under heavy shell fire in the afternoon, during which two men were killed, including George Love of Market Lavington. Four men were wounded.

Towards the end of the month, things were relatively quiet, with some spasmodic shelling. The men passed the time building up the trenches and thickening the parapets.

George Edward Love killed in action 24th July 1915

George was born in Market Lavington about 1888, the eldest son of general labourer George Love and his wife Sarah Ann. In 1891 the family was living in the Market Place in Market Lavington, but in 1901 they had moved to Northbrook.

In 1911 George was serving in South Africa with the 1st battalion of the Wiltshire regiment. He later transferred to the 2nd battalion, and served in France from 7th October 1914.

In July 1915 the battalion was in the trenches at Richebourg St Vaast in France. After a quiet morning on the 24th July, they came under heavy shell fire in the afternoon, and suffered two men killed and four wounded. One of the fallen was George.

Homestead Farm – pre-war style

July 30, 2015

The Homestead Farm of 1936 no longer exists. It was replaced a few years ago by a building more suited to 21st century living. The new building still carries the Homestead Farm name which we at the museum are delighted about.

Back in the late 1930s the old building was more a large detached cottage than a fully-fledged farmhouse. And here it is.

Homestead Farm in the late 1930s. Homestead Farm is on Drove Lane

Homestead Farm in the late 1930s. Homestead Farm is on Drove Lane

It looks homely enough and maybe the ivy covering helped to reduce the penetrating damp. From the fact that the building had a slate roof we imagine it was a Victorian building. Slates are not found in this area and probably were rarely used in Wiltshire, except by the very rich, until railways could transport them cheaply.

The family who lived at Homestead Farm in the late 1930s were a branch of the Gye family. Two of them can be seen in the photo.

The photo isn’t sharp enough to positively identify just who the man and small child are. Almost certainly, though it is James Gye who ran his market garden here and his daughter Elizabeth.


Norman Box

July 29, 2015

This blog post stems for a bit of serendipity. Our curator’s son visited a steam rally in his local (to him) Buckinghamshire village and snapped this shot of one of the road locomotives there.

When Dad, our curator, saw the picture he blinked and commented, ‘Norman Box was born in Market Lavington’. Of course, our photographer had no idea that this was the case. It was just one of those lucky chances that made him take this engine.

Former Norman Box traction engine photographed at a rally in 2015

Former Norman Box traction engine photographed at a rally in 2015

The engine itself is a Fowler and dates from 1902. It probably had no connection with Lavington apart from its owner, and possibly its driver, coming from the area.

Norman Box was born in the first quarter of 1881 in Market Lavington. He was three months old at the time of the 1881 census at which time his father, Edward, was the brickyard manager. He and his wife Mary and 3 year old daughter Lilian lived in the Market Place. Edward was the son of William and Sarah. William owned the brickworks and lived at the brick master’s house by the works.

Edward’s passion, however, was traction engines. It was probably a young Edward who was responsible for the brickworks becoming very early users of this form of motive power – possibly the first traction engine users in Wiltshire. Edward’s brother William was equally enthusiastic and it was him who devised a transmission system to cause less damage to bricks in transit.

Edward moved up to the Liverpool area taking his young family with him. Norman would certainly still have been a schoolboy when they went north.

Edward worked as a traction engine driver, nominally working for his brother. Amongst other drivers was Sam Rumble, also from Lavington and a relative of the Box family.

We can find Edward Box and family in Kirkdale on the 1891 census. In 1901 Norman, still with his parents, is an engineer. The family were in the Bootle area.

Norman married Mary Fishwick in 1907 – still in the Liverpool area.

In 1911 Norman, Mary and a 1 month old baby Mary were living at Rusholme in South Manchester. Norman was a haulage contractor and an employer.

Almost inevitably data gets less from then on.

Sadly, Mary, his wife died in 1921. At some point Norman’s business was bought up by Pickfords.

Norman was in Canada when he died in 1957 but his will was proved in the UK and he left a large sum of £122383 4/9 according to the probate book.


Now that’s at least two and a half million in today’s money. Not bad for the lad from Market Lavington.




Another Diamond Jubilee Medallion

July 28, 2015

It must have seemed amazing that Queen Victoria celebrated 60 years as the monarch of the United Kingdom and the Empire. Well, it is amazing that anyone should be head of state for 60 or more years. Our present Queen, Elizabeth II is only the second English/British monarch to serve for more than 60 years.

So no wonder, when Victoria reached her Diamond Jubilee, it was celebrated and memorabilia manufacturers had a field day. We have already seen two Diamond Jubilee medallions or brooches on this blog and here is a third, found by metal detectorist Norman on the old recreation ground.

Queen Victoria Diamond Jubilee Medallion found on the old Recreation Ground in Market Lavington

Queen Victoria Diamond Jubilee Medallion found on the old Recreation Ground in Market Lavington

The front tells us, or would without the damage, that Victoria the Good had reigned from 1837 to 97.

The reverse has a little more information.

The reverse side of the medallion

The reverse side of the brooch

To commemorate the 60th year of the reign of H. M. Queen Victoria.

It is not clear how this medallion was fixed to a garment. Not all that well, presumably, as it got lost.

But it has been found and is now safely at Market Lavington Museum.


July 27, 2015

Yes, literally scrubbers! That is to say people scrubbing the floor and here they are.

Volunteers scrub the floor at Easterton Village Hall

Volunteers scrub the floor at Easterton Village Hall

The location is the Easterton Village Hall and we assume this was in the 1950s. I’m afraid we are not all that good on people but we reckon Tom Jefferies is on the left in the front row and Gladys Windo is fifth from left in the back row. We rather hope and expect that other names will now be forthcoming.

We note, with interest, that it was clearly the right thing for men doing this work to have the standard collared shirt and tie and a waistcoat. Some had covered up a bit with overalls.

What a lovely picture of the way things were done in the past.


It doesn’t take long to get a list of names. Thanks Jim

Back row L-R,  Alec Chapman, John Dodge, Peggy Chapman, Gladys Moore, Gladys Windo, Mrs Snook, Mrs Sheppard extreme right back row, wife of baker Jim Sheppard.

Front row L-R, Tom Jefferies, Brenda Holmes, Lizzie Smith, Mrs Hale, Mrs Luker, Fred Burgess, Wilf Moore.
Peggy is Alec Chapman’s daughter. Gladys is Wilf Moore’s wife. Brenda Holmes is Lizzie Smith’s niece.



James Philpott

July 26, 2015

We have recently been sent a photo of James Philpott who seems to have been an interesting character. Let’s summarise what we know about him first.

James was born on 10th December 1838 and was baptised at St Mary’s, Market Lavington in January of 1839. His parents were John and Hannah or Anna.

It’s a real shame there is no 1841 census for Market Lavington. It means we can’t trace John for by 1851 Anna Philpott is listed as a widow. At that time she and her eldest son work as gardeners. Twelve year old James was the youngest child and he was a scholar, maybe attending what is now the Old School. Anna came from Edington but the boys were all Market Lavington born.

In 1861 James was a resident at The Royal Oak in Easterton where his sister in law, Caroline Philpott was the victualler. She was a widower at the time. James, aged 22 was a cabinet maker.

At some time in the 1860s James left the Lavington area for he married Louisa Hopkins Tozer in 1869 in the Newton Abbot area of Devon.

In 1871 James, Louisa and baby Ernest were staying in a lodging house in Bristol. James is now described as an organ builder and we can guess at something of an itinerant lifestyle. He’d have needed to be near the building where he was working and when one job was finished he’d have moved elsewhere for the next one.

Our photo dates from about 1875 and is an interesting colour!


James is at back right with his wife, Louisa. Sitting in front we have her parents, William and Frances Tozer and each has a Philpott grandchild on their knee, Ernest and Florence.

In 1881 the family, with a third child called Reginald lived in Exeter. In fact all three children are given Devon birth places so it seems the family home was in that county. James was still building organs and so he was in 1891 when his parents in law, both in their 80s were staying with James and Louisa.

1901 still sees James as an organ builder. Louisa and daughter Florence are still with him. And so they are in 1911. James is now a retired organ builder and the family have remained in the Exeter area.

James died in 1915. Louisa followed in 1920.

The Philpotts had been business people in the Lavington area. We found it interesting to follow James the organ builder through to the twentieth century.





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