A Migratory Study 1851-61

We have often alluded to the work of Rowena – Student Teacher – 1958, who produced an interesting study of Market Lavington and was aided in her research by our museum founder, Peggy Gye.

We also have a study by an Open University Student, E E Joslin, a former health visitor in Market Lavington, who was also helped by Peggy much later, in 1982.

This project compared the census data in 1851 and 1861 to find out how many men remained in Market Lavington and how many had moved away. A 20 per cent sample was taken, so every fifth man on the 1851 census was sought ten years later. It is interesting to note the range of occupations of the local chaps. Of course, we do not know from this what the other 400 adult male residents were doing.

In 1851, about a third of the sample 20 percent of the male population over 10 years old were agricultural workers and a third of these were in migrants, having not been born in Market Lavington.

Ten years on and the total population here had dropped considerably.

The author explained that this was not due to mortality rates but by out migration, particularly of the younger men and possibly due to a depression in agriculture and low wages

Of the sample fifth of the adult male population, only about 40 per cent were still here in 1861. Very few were found in local towns, and most were not found at all, so the survey was rather inconclusive.

Modern students might note how much more computer based such studies are today. We imagine this project was produced on a typewriter. The census data found in local libraries was meticulously copied out by hand whereas, nowadays, it could be found on a computer search and printed out.

For those interested in studying local censuses, births and deaths etc, we do have printouts available for our visitors to view in Market Lavington Museum.

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