Ladywood Vale

One of the treasures of Market Lavington is a little book published in 1855 with the longest full title you could imagine – so here we’ll shorten it to ‘A Topographical Account of Market Lavington’. This was written by the Reverend H Atley and includes some sketches of various locations within the village.

Let’s quote from the book.

A small stream rises at the farther end of Easterton, and supplies the sheet of water in the grounds at Fiddington (where there is a pleasant and comfortable asylum .for lunatics), winds to Northbrook, passes on through the meads at Ladywood to Russell mill, where it joins another stream (which rises at Newlam, a mile from West Lavington; this formerly covered a space of seven acres, but is now reduced to very narrow limits).

United in one it pursues its way towards Bath and Bristol, where it falls into the Avon and Severn. A branch which turns off towards Devizes empties itself into the Avon and Kennet canal; in its progress it forms the moving power to several mills, and imparts fertility to the various meads in its course.

The meads at Ladywood get a mention here and Ladywood Vale gets a lovely sketch.

Ladywood Vale - an 1855 sketch by H Atley

Ladywood Vale – an 1855 sketch by H Atley

We find it just about impossible to tie this picture into 21st century reality. A 1900 large scale OS map does show Lady Wood and also a pine wood so maybe our artist stood in that area.

1900 map extract showing Lady Wood and nearby pine woods

1900 map extract showing Lady Wood and nearby pine woods

It’s a lovely sketch and a lovely little book. The whole area is entirely changed now for Ladywood is a road name on the Grove Farm estate. The sketch, which predates common photography, gives us some idea of the rural nature of what was actually a market town at that time.


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