A Christmas present in 1881 – ‘The Garden’

A treasured possession at Market Lavington Museum is Volume 8 of ‘The Garden’ a bound collection of this magazine which was an ‘Illustrated Weekly Journal’. Volume 8 was published at Christmas 1875.

Title page of 'The Garden' published in 1875 and a treasured artefact at Market Lavington Museum

Regular readers of this blog will know that all artefacts at Market Lavington Museum have a connection with the broader parish of Market Lavington, past and present and that this includes Easterton (from the past) and areas like Gore, Russell Mill and Fiddington which either were once or now are parts of West Lavington.

A bound volume of ‘The Garden’ is clearly something which might be found anywhere. It is an inscription on the flyleaf, which makes this volume very special, locally.

The inscription in the book - a Christmas gift from Mrs Hay to her gardener, James Lye

Mrs Hay, or to give her full name, The Hon. Louisa Hay was a Pleydell Bouverie by birth – granddaughter of Lord Radnor. She has featured before on this blog and you can read about her by clicking here.

Her home was Clyffe Hall (which has also been mentioned on this blog – click here) and her long-term gardener was James Lye.

James Lye was a gardener of humble origins and he remained a gardener all his life but he rose to become a real village worthy. Our curator gets more requests for information about James Lye than for any other person from the village.

James Lye’s particular penchant was for growing fuchsias. He bred many new varieties and it was this work, which brought him honour and fame. But his interests were wider than just the fuchsias and he also won at least one award for a new variety of potato which he developed.

Not surprisingly, James has featured before on this blog. You can read about his life by clicking here.

So here we have a book produced in Christmas 1875, given as a Christmas present in 1881, now being used as a blog item for Christmas 2010.

Market Lavington Museum would be delighted to receive Christmas gifts. Yes of course money is always useful, for like any other organisation we need to maintain a building, heat it (and what cost will that be this year?) and make sure we have the essential insurance. But whilst cash is crucial, gifts, like the book featured here – remembering that need for a good parish connection – would be very gratefully received. If you have anything which might be suited to preservation in the museum then do contact the curator.


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