All we want for Christmas

Tomorrow is Christmas Day. Santa will not have entry to the museum for when we had the roof re slated some years ago we blanked off the chimneys. The one that remains is purely decorative – but it is a proper clay chimney on proper bricks. Many new houses are built with purely decorative chimneys but they are made out of what we’ll rather loosely call plastic.

So what gifts would we like at Market Lavington Museum?

Being cold and mercenary, we’ll have to say donations of cash. Bills keep on rising – boring bills like insurance and electricity. Interior paintwork could do with attention in places. It’s all terribly routine, but these are basic requirements to keep the museum standing still.

Of course we’d love interesting artefacts – items which help to paint the picture of Market Lavington and Easterton and the people who lived here.  Our curator was given a quite surprising book for a recent birthday. No doubt this will find its way to the museum at some time.

Devizes Division Tax Assessments. 1842 = 1860. The book has sections on Market Lavington and Easterton

Devizes Division Tax Assessments. 1842 = 1860. The book has sections on Market Lavington and Easterton

Hmm! Tax returns? It doesn’t look like a book to set the pulse racing, but it contains Market Lavington and Easterton people and, handily, they are arranged by district. Here’s just a bit of a Market Lavington page.

A small section of the Market Lavington residents and their tax dues.

A small section of the Market Lavington residents and their tax dues.

And this gives us a clue as to why our curator is so delighted. Obviously it doesn’t name everybody – only tax payers but amongst those names is William Cambridge – inventor of the Cambridge Roller still used on farms. We can see that he was in the village to pay tax until 1849, but not after. That will have been when Bristol called him.

William Box, the brick maker, on the other hand, arrived in 1855.

We love photographs – even of ordinary things. It was a photo from the church tower which included the old petrol station on The Spring that gave us a lot of pleasure recently. It was taken thirty years ago and is full of information about our past.

We love information. If anyone wanted to write down their memories of Market Lavington or Easterton for us it could make a gift beyond worth. If you’d prefer to talk your memories then get in touch and we can arrange to do it.

Finally, we’d like people to visit the museum. Of course, plenty do, but we make changes every year. If you have connections with our parishes then this is your museum with your history in it. Do find time for a visit. Click here for Christmas opening times.

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