James Philpott

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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4 Responses to “James Philpott”

  1. John Philpott Says:

    James Philpott lived with Caroline and John Philpott at the Royal Oak after his family had returned to Market Lavington after the death of his father and an older brother in a farming accident at the family farm in Easterton, his father was also landlord of the Royal Oak, he was apprenticed to the Willis company of organ builders before he was 16 and after his 7 year apprenticeship ended he moved to Exeter where his son Reginald (my grandfather,) was born and started a business there making and repairing organs he travelled to other parts of the country to carry out his craft but his business was located in Exeter, where he lived with his wife Louisa Hopkins Tozer and died there in 1915.

  2. marketlavingtonmuseum Says:

    More from John Philpott.
    James Philpott born 1838 was my great grandfather his father John 1801-1843 was killed along with his eldest son Richard in a farming accident in 1843, during the next few years James lived with his mother in his grandfather Henrys (born 1781-1852) house (landlord of the Green Dragon and farmer of 200acres) and also with his elder brother and his wife Caroline, he had an apprenticeship with an organ building company called “Willis” after this he returned to Easterton and lived with his sister in law, at the time of her husbands ((John Philpott 1826-1859) (his brother) death in 1859, his sister in law Caroline Philpott (Davies) took the licence for the Royal Oak in 1861 and shortly after this he moved to Exeter and started an organ building and repair company based in Exeter, he met Louisa Hopkins Tozer and married 1869, the three children were born in the Exeter area my grandfather Reginald being the last child, he worked away when required and as the business he was in was time consuming he took his family away at times with him, at one point they were in Bristol working but his company was based in Exeter’ he died in Exeter in 1915, my grandfather moved from the area back to Amport near Thruxton (where my father was born ) and later to Fordingbridge , he moved nearer to London and eventually died in Ilford Essex in 1962, he was married to Edith Adeline Gregory 1879-1950, my grandfather had various tailoring and associated businesses my father also went into this line of business but concentrated on theatre and film work, working with Maurice Angle in Shaftesbury Avenue London, my father died in 1966, the boy in the picture is Ernest James William Philpott 1870-1945 who married Amy Grace Stafford 1873-1936, and the girl is Florence Maud Philpott 1872-1959 Florence ran a girls school in Exeter until she retired then she went to live with her brother in Ilford until she died in 1959 she never married, I can remember her as I was 13 when she died and of course I remember my grandfather and had many conversations about the Philpotts with him.

  3. John Philpott Says:

    James Philpott born 1838 son of John ( my great great grandfather) James was my great Grandfather and Reginald his son was my Grandfather my father was Gerald, I have all the information on an extensive family tree going back far further than the Philpott’s you have listed! William and Frances Tozer are my great great grand parents and I have a family tree of the Tozers and Nosworthys (their ancestors) going back many hundreds of years, I also have many many hundreds of years of history about the Philpotts At and before their arriving in Market Lavington, and their connections with the Sainsburys and many other local family’s, I have sent you various pieces of information before ! One day I shall bring this family tree into the museum I am thinking of having it made into printed form but as it includes well over 7000 names it’s a bit of a task!

  4. marketlavingtonmuseum Says:

    Thank you. well done on all your research.

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