Posts Tagged ‘1855’

Ladywood Vale

May 5, 2016

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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The Independent Chapel

August 15, 2015

It’s time for a bit of history. We are looking at a building erected in 1716. It was erected as the local Quaker Chapel – the Friends Meeting House. The dissenting Quakers were at their peak, locally, about then and, inevitably, they were sadly abused for their simple views and opinions.

But by the end of the 18th century they had faded away and could no longer justify their meeting house.

But at this time more Methodist like dissenters were in need of their own independent chapel and they were able to take over the old meeting house.

So by 1855 the Independent Chapel was well established. That was the year in which the Reverend Henry Atley produced his book with a rather long title. It was called ‘A Topographical Account of Market Lavington Wilts, Its Past and Present Condition also The Rise and Progress of the Independent Church in That Place and the Authentic History of David Saunders the Pious Shepherd of Salisbury Plain’. Oh, I almost forgot, ‘With Illustrations’.

By the time you got through that title you’d wonder there was any space left for text, let alone illustrations. But here is one of them, being the former Friends Meeting House and by then the Independent Chapel.

Illustration of the Independent Chapel from Henry Atley's 1855 book.

Illustration of the Independent Chapel from Henry Atley’s 1855 book.

We are not convinced that the artist was all that spot on although, of course, we weren’t around in 1855 to really know. However modern photos have the side with the single large window lined up with the street and the many windowed side at right angles to it.

Modern photo of the chapel. Perhaps it has better perspective than the sketch.

Modern photo of the chapel. Perhaps it has better perspective than the sketch.

At the moment we are not planning to use the sketch in our ‘Paint and Pencil’ section at the Museum Miscellany on Saturday October 3rd but at least you can see it here.

Henry Atley was born in Romford in Essex, probably near the end of the 18th century. He was minister at this chapel from 1854 to 61.