The McKinnon boys

September 13, 2016

This tiny photo, not in good condition, shows two lads.

The McKinnon boys

The McKinnon boys


Now that’s not too bad for an original image measuring 5.5 by 4 cms.

The back has a hand written caption.


We’ll amend the spelling a bit and say we have here two McKinnon boys of whom one lives at Northbrook.

Now the one who lived at Northbrook was Thomas McKinnon who was born in 1913. His family had been living in Easterton at the time of the 1911 census. They had two daughters then. Ernest, the other lad was born in 1912 so we surmise we have Ernest on the left and Thomas on the right. The Mckinnons clearly moved about for whilst Ernest’s birth was recorded in the Devizes district, Thomas’s was recorded in Pewsey. Subsequent daughters had births recorded in Devizes with one in Westbury.

Thomas married Vi Hurkett in 1936. They had a son called Malcolm.

This family all lived at Northbrook and are listed there on the 1964 electoral roll.

We know little of Ernest who may have been Frederick Ernest. He lived locally, but does not appear on Market Lavington records.


Grove Farm, the church and village

September 12, 2016

Here we have a period postcard of Market Lavington. We date this by TV aerial to about 1960. All of the TV masts we see are of the old 405 lines type.


The Village from Home Field – about 1960

This is a view of the village from the lower slopes of Salisbury Plain. We are looking across Home Field which had once been the recreation ground. The two dominant buildings are…

…Grove Farm …


…and the Church of St Mary.


We can see that Meadow Cottage still had its thatched roof.


It is also interesting to note those three bright white ventilators on the roof of the school.

And here we have more of Church Street and The Muddle.


This postcard has recently been given to the museum. It was part of the collection of former board member and archivist Priscilla. We offer her and her daughter many thanks.


The Bishop Tanner Christmas Coal Charity

September 11, 2016

Amongst documents recently passed to the museum are papers concerning a number of charities. Here we see the accounts of one charity for 1907 – the Christmas Coal Charity funded by Bishop Tanner. The Bishop was the son of a Vicar of Market Lavington and became the Vicar of St Asaph in Wales.

Here are the accounts.

Coal charity accounts - 1907

Coal charity accounts – 1907


We can see that 120 hundredweight of coal was distributed amongst 68 parishioners at a cost of £7-10-0. Of this just a pound came from the old charity with most of the rest being from the offertory on Christmas day. The Vicar put a shilling in the pot

What we think is lovely is that the people who benefited from this charity are listed.


Recipients of the coal charity – 1907

There are many familiar local names here receiving one, two or three hundredweights of coal.

A public weigh-in

September 10, 2016

Brave or what? Standing outside a pub on a pair of scales to see how much weight you have lost. But that is what Mrs Ann Withers, landlady of the old Volunteer Arms, was doing back in September 1976.

Ann Withers weighs in publicly, to see what weight she has lost - September 1976

Ann Withers weighs in publicly, to see what weight she has lost – September 1976

The lady on the right of this photo, Mrs Jenny Dolby, was also involved in this slim-in. She was at the Drummer Boy pub

The aim, apart from fitness was to raise money for charity and the two slimmers shed 28 pounds between them to earn £120 some of which went to the Devizes Hospital Broadcasting Service. The balance of money went to a charity for blind people.

There’s a little reminder of another past thing in the background. Peter Francis’s photographic shop is there. That dates from the time before digital photography, the internet and instant messaging. There would surely be little hope for a photographic shop these days.

John and Sarah Clelford

September 9, 2016

John and Sarah Clelford are buried in the Drove Lane cemetery in Market Lavington.

Grave of John and Sarah Clelford at Drove Lane Cemetery

Grave of John and Sarah Clelford at Drove Lane Cemetery

In loving memory of my dear husband John Clelford who passed away Novr 29th 1894 aged 48

He is not dead but sleeping

Nothing in my hand I bring

Simply to thy cross I cling

Also of Sarah his wife who fell asleep July 29th 1930 aged 85

At rest

John Clelford was born on 9th June 1846 and baptised at Market Lavington on 1st June 1851. His parents were George and Sarah Clelford.

(The family proved hard to trace due to enumerator errors and transcription errors but we believe the following is correct)

In 1851 the enumerator has given the family the surname Culford but four year old John (written Jn) lived in Easterton with labourer father George and mother Ann. John was the third of the four children at home.

In 1861 John was the scholar son of cordwainer George Clelford and his wife, Sarah. John was the second of four children and the entire family had been born in Easterton. The transcriber on the website we use has the surname as Melford.

Sarah Davis was born around 1845. She was probably the daughter of Richard and Ann. This family can be found on the 1851 census on White Street, Market Lavington where Richard was a labourer. Sarah Jane (as she was called) was the third of six children in the home but I speculate that the older two had a different mother.

In 1861 Sarah was still with her parents at The Hollow, White Street, Market Lavington. She had employment as a washerwoman.

John Clelford married Sarah Davis on 24th April 1869.

The 1871 census lists a John and Sarah Culver on Parsonage Lane in Market Lavington. John was an agricultural labourer aged 24 born in Easterton. Sarah, his wife was 26 and born Market Lavington. We think this is an enumerator error and these two are John and Sarah Clelford.

In 1881 John and Sarah lived on Windmill Lane, Market Lavington. John was a market gardener, aged 34 who had been born in Easterton. Sarah was 35 and had been born in Market Lavington. Ann Davis, aged 74 and a widow born in Easterton was listed as the step mother of John – a pauper. Also in the house was Rebecca Spiers, aged 8, a niece born in Cheverell.

In 1891 John and Sarah along with niece Rebecca Spiers were still on Windmill Lane in Market Lavington. To confuse things, the transcriber has given them the surname Clifford and also allocated the home to West Lavington.

John Clelford died in 1894.

In 1901 Sarah, a widow of no occupation lived alone on Northbrook, Market Lavington.

In 1902 Sarah married Thomas Spiers and they lived together in Easterton at the time of the 1911 census.

Thomas Spiers, a market gardener, died in 1923.

Sarah lived until she was 85. She died in 1930.



The Princess Anne Plaque

September 8, 2016

Back in 1985 the Easterton Jam Factory underwent quite a major development. It was enough of a change for it to be officially opened by Princess Anne – no doubt boosting rural industry.

To mark the occasion a plaque was made and mounted outside the factory and this photo shows it in situ on the day it was unveiled.

A memory of Princess Anne's visit to Easterton in 1985

A memory of Princess Anne’s visit to Easterton in 1985

The date is clear – it was 30th April, 1985. After more than thirty years, though, people may wonder who Mrs Mark Phillips was. Officially she is The Princess Royal these days. Samuel Moore of Easterton founded the firm which really took off during World War One.

The jam factory had a comparatively short life after the rebuild. The final pot of jam came off the line on 9th October 1998. The plaque, and the final pot of jam, both have a resting place in Market Lavington Museum. After many delays the factory site was cleared and now has housing on it.

The Reverend George Grisdale Hicks’ gift

September 7, 2016

The small charities which have been administered by the church are probably a cause of much work and soul searching these days. In the 1880s the Reverend George Grisdale Hicks left £50 for the purchase of a consolidated 3% annuity, the income from which was to be spent ‘for the benefit of deserving and necessitous inhabitants of East Lavington to be selected for this purpose by the said Vicar by way of gifts in money, clothing, fuel or other articles in kind, or to be applied in any other way the said Vicar may choose for the benefit of the aforesaid deserving and necessitous inhabitants’.

And here we see the certificate for the 3% consolidated annuity.


Certificate for the Reverend George Grisdale Hicks’ Gift

If our maths is correct this yields £1.50 each year. The paper working administering this probably costs more and the benefits which can be given out are tiny. Sensibly, a number of small and similar charities have been merged.

But the surprising question here is, ‘Who was Reverend George Grisdale Hicks?’ He was not a vicar at Market Lavington Church.

All we can say is that in 1881 he was a boarder at Fiddington House where Charles Hitchcock was in charge. Hicks was listed as a clergyman without cure of souls and he had been born in Coberley in Gloucestershire in about 1835. We have not yet found what brought him to Fiddington House but he is not listed among the patients who were resident at this private lunatic asylum.

He died soon after this census.

Anybody who can tell us more – we’d be interested to hear.


Forty years ago

September 6, 2016

Easterton Echoes is a good source of reminders of what was happening in the last 40 years. These extracts come from the September 1976 issue – precisely 40 years ago.

Local news item on the retirement of Dr Ashford Brown

Local news item on the retirement of Dr Ashford Brown

Back in 1976 we were before the computer age. Desk top publishing was still in the future. Duplication was from stencils cut by typewriters and it all looks really quite amateurish these days. Mind, it is not helped by somebody forgetting to change the month and it being crossed out and then hand written.

But the news item refers to the retirement of Dr Ashford Brown who had been the local doctor since the early 1950s. He chose a bicycle as his retirement present from the good folks of Easterton.

A verse reminds us of one of the top stories, both locally and nationally, of 1976. This was the year of the drought. It was a year in which the government created a special minister to deal with the effects of a real water shortage.

A verse reflecting on a story of local and national importance

A verse reflecting on a story of local and national importance

Well done to M E Faulkner, and well done, too, to that Minister for Drought. Almost as soon as he was appointed the heavens opened and many of us went out to stand in the rain, laughing and smiling and chatting with one and all. The drought was over.

The Townsend Charity

September 5, 2016

In amongst items recently given to the museum concerning charities there is a blue envelope addressed to Revd E B Cockayne Frith who was the Vicar at the time the letter was sent.

Envelope containing documents concerning the Townsend Charity

Envelope containing documents concerning the Townsend Charity

It is clearly marked Townsend Charity and has an official duty paid mark for 1897.

There is, of course, a letter inside.


We do not have the letter sent by the Vicar that elicited this reply but we assume he may have been wanting to simplify charity work The enclosure, which we have transcribed below, gives the details of the Townsend Charity.



Extract from the Printed Parliamentary Reports of the Former Commissioners for Inquiring Concerning Charities. Vol 28. Page 386. Dated 10th January 1834.


James Townsend, of Great Cheverell, by His Will, bearing date 12th May 1725 bequeathed to the Churchwardens and Over-seer-s of the Poor for the time being of the Parish of Market Lavington the yearly sum of 40/- upon trust with the approbation of the Minister for the time being, to layout the same on two cloth coats of a grey colour and two hats for the use of two such poor men of the said parish as had no relief of the said Parish or to buy clothes therewith for two such poor women of the said parish as they should think fit to be delivered to them On St Thomas’s Day yearly; and his will was, that the said sum should be paid yearly out of his closes and lands in Easterton which he purchased of William Edwards for and during the term and estate which he then had or should have therein and he did thereby charge the said closes and lands for the due payment thereof.

The last distribution of clothes under this Charity was made about 60 years ago. A belief exists in the parish of Great Cheverell that the lands Charged with the annual payment of 40/- were only leasehold and that the Charity hath ceased in consequence of the termination of the lease. No mention is made of Townsend’s Charity in the Parliamentary Returns of 1786.

So it seems this charity only really existed in the 18th century although it was still on the books at the end of the 19th.

Mary Redstone marries

September 4, 2016

It is the First World War and Market Lavington and Easterton’s young men are away from home on military service. But young men from the commonwealth – notably Canada, are over here, learning the coarse arts of war on Salisbury Plain. It is no wonder romances sprang up between the local lasses and the overseas men. Some ended, as romances will, when separation occurred. Some ended with the oh so sad death of the serviceman. But some came to fruition and ended in marriage. Mary Redstone, an Easterton lass, married her Canadian, Edward Bliss Taylor, after the war ended in 1919. The marriage was local but the couple made their permanent home in Canada.

We have a copy of a wedding photo.

Group at the Easterton wedding of Mary Redstone and Edward Bliss Taylor in 1919

Group at the Easterton wedding of Mary Redstone and Edward Bliss Taylor in 1919


We are not certain of the location but we think this could be almost the last house in Easterton – we know the Redstones lived there. We don’t know most of the people in the image but imagine there are more Redstone relatives than Taylors. Let’s concentrate on the three we know.


The Reverend King, Vicar of Easterton with the happy couple

Mary is clearly in the middle with Canadian serviceman, always known as, Bliss on her arm. Are they Sergeant stripes he sports on his wrist? The vicar is the Reverend King who was Vicar of Easterton. It was his insistence on improvements to the road that loops round from Easterton to the top of Spin Hill in Market Lavington that led to the road being given his name – King’s Road. No apostrophe is used these days so it is just Kings Road.

We have seen Mary before on this blog – as a much older woman in 1972 when she visited her old home. You can click here to read that.