A timber dog

October 18, 2020

The timber dog in Market Lavington Museum is not an animal, but an iron hook used for moving logs.

A bit of research suggests that tools for this purpose might be called cant hooks, cant dogs or peaveys. They often seem to have long handles. The information we have on our record card says that a pole was inserted through the ring and then tree trunks could be moved by rolling them.

We have no expertise on this subject and would be delighted to receive a comment from someone who has experience of using such a tool.

Fragments of church history

October 17, 2020

Many of England’s parish churches have dominated our towns and villages for centuries. We know their outer shape in our local landscape and may well be familiar with their internal features too. But these large buildings were constructed from smaller components, often hidden from view.

St Mary’s Church stands very close to Market Lavington Museum and, from time to time, during alterations and repairs or when new graves are being dug in the churchyard, fragments come to light and sometimes make their way into our museum collection. We change many of our displays every year or two but, at present, have many such bits and pieces out on view.

Here we can see a collection of eight hand made nails dating from the 19th century, which were brought down during work on the roof in 2000. The key was dug up in the churchyard in 2002 and is thought to be a box key, dating from the 19th century. We hope it didn’t cause too much inconvenience when it went missing.

On the right of the shelf, there are various bits of coloured glass and associated leadwork, which would have formed part of a stained glass window.

Over the years lead from the roof has been removed and replaced. It is fascinating to see that the roofers signed and sometimes dated the lead, a soft metal, easy to inscribe. On the left, the graffiti reads, ‘A Whiting 1952.’ Alan Whiting worked at Gye’s Yard at the time. In the centre, the lead, which was taken down in 2000, had been inscribed by James, who worked for the Gyes in 1862. The lead on the right of the display, merely reads RM.

Almost out of sight, on the extreme right of our photo is a framed collection of coins. They were donations posted into a wall safe inside the church. Unfortunately, the key to this was mislaid and, by the time the box was opened, British currency had changed from £.s.d to decimal pounds and pence! The coppers were mounted in a frame and given to the museum.

The last item in our display is a piece of carved stone, dug up in the churchyard in 2000. Who knows what other interesting items are tucked away waiting to be found on this historic site.

Two 18th century ladies

October 16, 2020

Well, not really! We wouldn’t have had a photograph from that era, but we do have this one –

We would love to know more about these ladies, so do add a comment if you know who they were. Our information is limited to what’s written on the back of the photograph.

This lovely picture is a recent donation to Market Lavington Museum, but we did already have some more information about this event as the accounts have been preserved. (See Market Lavington Church Fete in 1955)

An old pair of sunglasses

October 15, 2020

A recent donation to Market Lavington Museum included a pair of sunglasses.

They are quite small, so we imagine they must have belonged to a child. The small round shape of the lenses looks very much like the fashion of the 1920s.

They had belonged to Flo Shore, formerly Florrie Burbidge, who was born in 1908 and grew up in School Cottage, Market Lavington, which now houses our museum. (See Flo Burbidge or type Burbidge in the search box for many more blogs on this family.)

They have been kept safe for about 100 years in this sturdy little case, which is only 11cms long on its shorter edge.

Inside the case, the gold lettering reads Curry & Paxton Ltd. This firm still exists today and their history can be read on Curry&Paxton.com/blogs/our-story/our-story.

The writing in ink is a little harder to decipher. The word Burbidge is clear. The family comprised of Mr Alf and Mrs Louisa Burbidge, but the sunglasses are too small for an adult face, and their two daughters, Dorothy (Dorrie) and Florence (Florrie). The first word could possibly be Flo or maybe even Mrs! We presume the glasses belonged to Florrie as she was the younger daughter and the more likely to have fitted the glasses in the early 1920s or before.

Also, the glasses came in an attaché case full of items from Bert and Flo’s home, suggesting they had belonged to Flo. The couple had no children to wear the glasses later, so they must just have been kept through Flo’s lifetime as a treasured item. We will be glad to present them along with other optical artefacts in our 20-20 vision display.

Another carriage lamp

October 14, 2020

At Market Lavington Museum we have two mid 19th century carriage lamps, used to illuminate horse drawn carriages in the dark. (See A Bread Cart Carriage Lamp for our other one.)

This lamp is not in quite such good condition as the Notton’s bakery one. Its glass is cracked.

It would have had a red rear light, but the glass disc for this is missing.

The catch for opening the lamp to change the candle is reluctant to move and we would not like to risk forcing it.

Through the cracked front glass, we can just see where the candle would have been inserted. Like the Notton’s bread cart lamp, this one also had a spring candle holder, to raise the candle as it burnt down.

Despite its poor condition now, about 150 or so years ago it was a good enough design to warrant a patent – number 2070. We still rate it as a great object to remind us of how motive power and vehicle lighting has advanced over the years.

It will feature in our new display on horse power.

Notton’s carriage lamp

October 14, 2020

We have seen this mid 19th century lamp before at A Bread Cart Carriage Lamp This previous blog gives more information about Notton’s bakery, but now we will look at the lamp in a bit more detail.

On the back of the lamp, there is a small circle of red glass, giving a rear red glow from the candle, to warn traffic coming from behind in the dark. Above the red disc is a catch, which allows the back section to open.

Inside, we can see the oval glass of the front window and, to the right, the clear rectangular glass of a side window. In front of these is the housing for the light source – a candle. This spring candle holder was designed to lift the candle as it burnt down, so that the flame remained in a good position for sending light out through the three windows.

A doll’s head

October 13, 2020

At Market Lavington Museum, we are often made aware of the history in the ground, just below our feet. We are very grateful to the metal detectorists and gardeners, who share their finds with us.

It must have come as a surprise to dig up this pretty little object. The label says it all really. All we can add, is that it was found in the garden of the Fives Court in Market Lavington. This building, sometimes also known as the Racquets Court, was formerly a sports hall for the lords of the manor, but is now a house.

For more information, see From The Fives Court and The Racquets Court.

Church fête 1961

October 12, 2020

Well, Hello ‘me old pal, me old beauty’. That was a familiar greeting from Walter Gabriel, the character played by Chris Gittins in the radio programme, The Archers. We will see him later.

On 17th June 1961, St Mary’s Church in Market Lavington held its annual fête in the garden of Clyffe Hall. (See Market Lavington Village Fete.) On this occasion, Bob Arnold, who played Tom Forrest in The Archers, opened the proceedings. (See Bob Arnold opens Market Lavington Fete.)

Bob Arnold on the steps at Clyffe Hall

A recent donation to Market Lavington Museum included various souvenirs of that event, kept by a local couple. This included a leaflet of photographs of the cast of the popular serial, based on a farming community.

Inside we see pictures of the cast with their character names above and their real names below the photo.

Bob Arnold wrote inside this copy, signing his real and character names …

… and dedicating it ‘To Mrs F G Shore’. Florrie Shore, née Burbidge, spent her childhood in School Cottage, now our museum building. She married Bert Shore from West Lavington and the couple made their home in Market Lavington. (See A wartime wedding, A greetings telegram and 1940’s wedding cards.)

Bert and Florrie had also preserved three signed photographs of characters from The Archers. Walter Gabriel (me old pal, me old beauty), Tom Forrest and Ned, Jack, Peggy and Tom in the Ambridge pub, The Bull.

Mowing Clyffe Hall lawns

October 11, 2020

Clyffe Hall is a grand house on the western edge of Market Lavington. Typing ‘Clyffe Hall’ into the search box on this museum blog will give you a choice of about a dozen previous entries with information about and pictures of this building, its grounds and staff. Take a look at Clyffe Hall Lake to catch a glimpse of just a small part of the extensive lawns surrounding the property. They must take a lot of mowing, presumably with a large motorised vehicle these days. Hopefully, a motor can be switched on and the mower will be ready to start work.

In times gone by, horse power would have been used for the job. At Market Lavington Museum, we have boxes full of the pony harness worn by the animal who provided the motive power to cut all that grass. We believe it was in use in the early 1900s and up to about 1938.

The Wiltshire Museums Service must have spent a lot of time and effort caring for the leather and making bespoke storage for all the tack. For this is not all of what was needed to ready the pony for work.

There was this too…

and this …

and, finally, what is presumably a muzzle to restrict the intake of grass for overweight equines. Maybe the Clyffe Hall pony wore it when working, to dissuade it from stopping for a nibble.

It is quite a problem to find room to store these large boxes of tack in our little museum cottage. The harness has not been out of the boxes for a long time, but will feature in a new display on Horse Power.

Next time you plug in your electric mower or start the motor on your petrol mower, spare a thought for the time it must have taken to put all that harness on the hard working pony and to look after the beast on its working days and days off.

A photographic poser

October 10, 2020

Alf Burgess was a professional photographer in Market Lavington from 1886 and he died in 1918. Those facts help us to date some of his photographs, which are in our collection at Market Lavington Museum. The carte de visite we are considering here poses more questions than we are able to answer.

Unlike many of these popular small photos, this one is not mounted on card and does not feature either of the styles of attribution we see on many of our other cartes de visite. See A carte de visite and Posing for a photograph, where the photographer is named on the front or the back of the mount. This card just has

printed on the back of the picture. Does this simpler style suggest an earlier date or was it just a cheaper option for the customer?

The fur that the child is sitting on is one of Mr Burgess’s props for it features here too – Alfred Burgess photographs.

We know nothing about the subject of our picture. We assume the photograph was taken in the late 1880s or the 1890s. The child could well be a little boy. Small Victorian boys wore dresses until they were ‘breeched’ when they were about three years old. We can see the lower edge of knickerbockers just above the knee, but these were also worn by boys from the 1860s onwards. And as for the hat …!!!

The child looks very suspicious of the whole process.

If anyone out there has knowledge of children’s fashion from the late Victorian era, we would love to hear your opinion.