Broadwell – about 1880

Broadwell features quite often on this site and that is only right and proper. For Broadwell was until living memory for the oldest residents the source of water which allowed our community to develop and prosper. Without Broadwell there’d have been no Market Lavington.

Our earliest image is the 1837 sketch by Philip Wynell Mayow – click here to see it. This painting, recently passed to the museum, dates we think, from around 1880.

Broadwell ca 1880 - a painting believed to be by James Gye

Broadwell ca 1880 – a painting believed to be by James Gye

The cottage we see belonged to Merritt’s the blacksmiths so let’s imagine it is Mr Merritt in the doorway. We can see the pump on the left. It’s no longer there but its former position can easily be spotted. In the 1837 image another cottage stood at the extreme left but that has clearly been demolished and it looks as though the wood may have been planted and fenced off.

The crossing is clearly a ford which has ducks swimming over it (not a common site at Broadwell) but for those who needed dry feet there are some well spaced stepping stones. It all looks an idyllic scene.

We believe this may have been painted by James Gye, grandfather of Tom who died last year. It isn’t signed but is clearly charmingly naïve and similar to another painting which the late Tom had told us was by his grandfather.

Whilst not pre-photography this dates from before common use of the camera so helps fill in a gap in our history. We feel very pleased to have this item in the museum.


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