Posts Tagged ‘1870s’

Joseph Ashley

July 11, 2016

We have met people called Joseph Ashley a couple of times before on this blog. Back in January 2016 we looked at a will (click here) of a Joseph who died in 1849. We have also looked at the cost of a funeral of Elizabeth who died in 1904 – the widow of a Joseph Ashley (click here).

Today we offer a photograph of a Joseph Ashley.

Joseph Ashley on a carte de visite

Joseph Ashley on a carte de visite

This is the style of photo known as a carte de visite or CDV. The back can be useful in helping to date it.

The border on the back of this CDV dates it almost certainly to the 1870s

The border on the back of this CDV dates it almost certainly to the 1870s

The phrase ‘Photographers to the Queen’ dates it to the reign of Victoria. The border on the back of this card would almost certainly date it to the 1870s.

Elizabeth was born a Durnford (which explains Joseph’s presence in this Durnford photo album). Elizabeth was born in Market Lavington but Joseph was a Londoner. The couple married in London in the 1850s where Joseph was a member of the police force. They lived in London whilst Joseph worked but by 1891 they were in Wiltshire at our neighbouring village of Great Cheverell. There is no evidence that Joseph actually lived in Market Lavington but he is buried in the churchyard here. He died in 1900.

In 1901 Elizabeth, his widow, was living with relatives in Market Lavington. She died in 1904.

We haven’t traced any connection between this Joseph Ashley and the one who wrote the will.





A string box

March 29, 2016

String seems to have the ability to get in tangles all on its own. No wonder people use string boxes to help keep the stuff in order. We have recently been given such a box. It belonged to the Cooper family of Parsonage Lane.

For one reason or another, the name Cooper crops up quite often in this blog. It was a common local name and as far as we know there were several unrelated families about. Coopers, of course, were barrel makers and the prevalence of the name probably indicates just how important and useful barrels were. These days we think of them as holding beer, but in past times all sorts of goods were stored in barrels. There were lots of barrel makers (coopers) and their trade gave them their surname – Cooper.

The Coopers on Parsonage Lane were, amongst other things – farmers and coal merchants.

But back to the string dispenser.

Victorian string box which belonged to the Cooper family of Parsonage Lane

Victorian string box which belonged to the Cooper family of Parsonage Lane

Our research into this simply lovely wooden object suggests that it is lignum vitae. This is a very hard and dense wood – dense enough, we understand, to make it sink in water. But fear not, we have not tried that out with this item. It dates, we think, from about 1870. It is in two parts. The lid unscrews so a ball of string can be put inside with the string coming out through the hole in the top.


The box is open so string can be put in

We can see in this picture that the passage of time has taken its toll with a crack down the body of the box. Another crack in the base has had a neat little repair made.


A repair to the base

These faults will, no doubt, drastically cut the cash value but we have no real interest in that. What we like is the thought of old Jacob Cooper pulling string from this for all sorts of tasks associated with his job as a farmer – or Mary his wife cutting off some string to tie a cloth lid on a pudding basin back in the 1880s.

A generation later, perhaps Jacob’s son James had this item up at New Farm on Salisbury Plain and maybe it came back to Parsonage Lane when his son George returned to the old family home.

We are delighted to be able to show our visitors this lovely piece of treen.

Mr Pomeroy in the 1870s

March 14, 2016

The title for this piece may seem odd when we see the post card that introduces him.

High Street and Market Place - 20th century

High Street and Market Place – 20th century

This rather careworn card is very much mid-20th century. It clearly shows the Co-op on the left where we still find a Coop today. It also shows the Midland Bank across the other side of the Market Place.

A bank in 1938 but 65 years earlier it had been Mr Pomeroy's shop

A bank in 1938 but 65 years earlier it had been Mr Pomeroy’s shop

We know it was posted in 1938.


It was posted in Devizes and the date and time are clearly visible.

It is the message that introduces Mr Pomeroy into the story.


The section in question concerns that corner building.


This corner shop is a bank now but it was where father started with Mr Pomeroy about 65 years ago.

That takes us back to 1873. The 1871 census shows various Pomroys around the corner of High Street and Market Place,

Actually on Market Place was the widow Lydia Pomroy who was a retired linen draper’s wife. Around the corner on High Street there was Charles Draper and family. Charles was a linen draper. Also present is Edward Pomroy who was a partner in the drapery business.

Daniel Pomeroy, who was Edward and Charles’ father, had been running the drapery business since 1851 and maybe earlier.

By the way, the presence or not of a letter ‘e’ in Pomeroy seems to be down to chance!


Joshua Hampton’s farm records

October 20, 2015

Joshua Hampton was a hill farmer. In the 1870s he occupied Pond Farm and Meeches Farm which were sited in what is now Easterton parish.

He kept brief records of what he grew. Here’s an entry for 1877


Extract from Joshua Hampton’s farm records from 1877 Click image to see a larger version


Began drilling wheat on Pond Farm (Picked Field) October 20th – about 6 acres across the middle at 2 bushels per acre.
Drilled 10 acres of Old Field below, October 30th and 31st 2 bushels and 1 peck of sanfoin. ??? of field now 5, 2½ bushels seed

Joshua's entry continues

Joshua’s entry continues

Began drilling in wheat in field front of house November 1st. Finished drilling just below the shord top of Pond Hill November 3rd. Ploughed in remainder of field November 5 6 and 7.

It is lovely to have a copy of Joshua’s book which gives an insight into the life and ways of a farmer 140 years ago. It is, of course, so very different from today. And we are informed (see comment) that a shord is a gap between two hills.

Mary Ann Edwards

October 2, 2015

This photo is believed to be very early – possibly the 1870s although this is a later copy. It shows Mary Ann Edwards.

Mary Ann Edwards - possibly from the 1870s

Mary Ann Edwards – possibly from the 1870s

We have met Mary Ann before on this blog. In 1877 she married Charles Smith of the famous pond making family.

Mary actually came, originally, from Everleigh but in 1871 she was in service at Ramsbury.

We do not know how her path crossed that of Market Lavington born Charles Smith. Possibly Mary got an in service job in the Lavington area or maybe (as was common) Charles was with a pond digging team living away from home whilst a pond was made. We can only assume that romance blossomed.

The couple married in the Pewsey registration district which included Everleigh so we suspect the marriage was there. But the Smith family home was Market Lavington and Mary came to live with her husband in this village. By 1881 they already had a couple of Market Lavington born children.

Mary and Charles had been married for 47 years when Charles died. Mary outlived him by 14 years. She died in 1938. She had lived in Market Lavington ever since 1877.

There will be few people in the village now who remember Mary for it is now close on 77 years since she died.

But she does look to be a lovely, determined lady in the very old photo.

The Rough Wallopers

June 25, 2015

One of the earliest ‘musical’ bands in Market Lavington was a rather ad-hoc collection of men who earned the nickname of the Rough Wallopers.

The name was probably apt for their purpose was to make plenty of noise rather than to be strictly musical. We have a photo of them outside the Green Dragon.

The Rough Wallopers outside the Green Dragon in about 1870

The Rough Wallopers outside the Green Dragon in about 1870

This rag, tag and bobtail collection of noise merchants were a band of a type known as a skimmerton band.

A person would be a skimmerton if they tried to impersonate an offending spouse with intent to ridicule. A procession, including a band, would form up behind the skimmerton and make as much noise as possible, thus informing all of the locality of the bad behaviour of the spouse.

Sometimes the procession would form up without a true skimmerton to lead it. For example, a husband seen to be severely hen pecked might get ridiculed by his fellows, perhaps in the hope that he’d stand up for himself better. It sounds almost like the 19th century equivalent of cyber bullying.

Quite often the ‘victim’ was a wife who had been unfaithful to her husband. In mob fashion the band would march to the house of the offending women and make sure all knew of her infidelity.

Perhaps it is fair to say that people haven’t changed much. These days there might be a hate campaign on Facebook but it amounts to much the same thing.

We don’t know who any of our Rough Wallopers were and it is doubtful that anyone would be able to name any. We believe the photo dates from around 1870.

A bill from Mr Pomroy

February 6, 2015

Charles Pomroy was a draper who operated from premises on High Street pretty well on the corner of the Market Place where the chemist’s shop now stands. He had been born in Market Lavington in 1829 but spent the early years of his married life in Sutton Benger. We believe he returned, with wife and family, to Market Lavington in the latter half of the 1860s. We can find him running his business in Market Lavington on the 1871 and 1881 censuses but by 1891 he had retired and was living in West Lavington.

We have a couple of bills from Mr Pomroy’s shop. We have seen one before (click here) and here is another sent to Mrs Gye, probably in the 1870s although a full date is not given.

An 1870s bill from Charles Pomroy of Market Lavington

An 1870s bill from Charles Pomroy of Market Lavington

Mrs Gye had clearly purchased a hat and a hair net. Other items could include blind cord, ruffle and something else connected with windows. We find Mr Pomroy’s writing hard to read. The total bill came to 18/10 (89p). This is in the region of £100 in terms of purchasing items but people were not so wealthy then. In terms of income somebody who earned that 18/10 in 1875 might well earn £600 today.

Times certainly change!

The Market Place in about 1870

January 10, 2014

We have been very lucky to have had the use of professional quality photo copying equipment. The device we were able to use (with many thanks to Roger) just whips through the copying process and does a really high quality job. It means we are copying (we hope) the entire archive, even those photos which are not tip-top quality ones.

Which brings us to today’s offering – a picture of the Market Place believed to be very early, dating from the 1870s.

Market Lavington Market Place in about 1870

Market Lavington Market Place in about 1870

Perhaps the most surprising thing is to realise how recognisable this looks – it is very much Market Lavington Market Place although, in fact, nothing in the photo remains in place today with the exception of one house, lost behind the trees in the photo.

With that exception, all of the buildings seen were deemed outmoded and unwanted in the 1960s and they were demolished to be replaced by buildings and parking space for the agricultural engineers. When that firm closed, its buildings were demolished and flats and shops were built – known as Rochelle Court. The shop on the corner we see here is where the chemist is now – but in an entirely different building.

In fact the last items to vanish, were the pollarded trees. The last of these were removed only recently.

When we wrote about the band, a couple of days ago, we commented on how short the people looked – which they were. Men, on average, are four inches taller now than they were then. Take a look at this chap.

A detail from the photo

A detail from the photo

He looks to be dwarfed by his rake. Maybe he was using the delightful barrow behind him to help him collect horse manure from the road.

So, yet another delightful image of our village, helping to tell the tale of times past.

Philip Draper and Jane Oram

May 12, 2013

Cohabiting may be thought to be something new, but Philip Draper and Jane Oram lived together as man and wife way back in the mid-19th century. Just why they didn’t marry we don’t know, but this extract from Philip’s will makes it clear that Jane was his ‘reputed’ wife and he treated her right by leaving his worldly wealth to her.

Extract of the will of Philip Draper of Easterton

Extract of the will of Philip Draper of Easterton

Philip was born around 1816. His parents were John and Mary and he was baptised at Market Lavington Church on June 3rd. This was well before Easterton was a separate parish.

Jane Oram was born around 1823 in Wilsford where her father, John, was a smith and her mother was Mary. She was at home with her parents for the 1841 census.

Sadly, with no 1841 census for Philip, our next record is the 1851 census. Philip was living with Jane (known as) Draper and two young children in Easterton. Philip was a baker and grocer.

In 1861 the family were in West Lavington with Philip still a grocer and baker.

The will extract tells us that Philip died in 1867 and in 1871 we find Jane (still calling herself) Draper as the landlady at The Kings Arms in Market Lavington.

In 1881 she was a retired innkeeper and her daughter Agnes (registered as a Draper) was a general shop keeper. They lived in Easterton.

We haven’t traced a death for Jane but we don’t find her on the 1891 census.

Known children of Philip and Jane are:

Alfred born 1849
Emma born 1851
Mary born 1853
Agnes born 1855
John born 1858

Of course, we’d love any further information on this family who we know also owned odd bits of land in the Lavington area.

Inside St Barnabas Church

December 19, 2012

By UK standards, St Barnabas is a new church.  It is less than 140 years old. It was built in the 1870s. That was when Easterton became a parish in its own right. The Easterton ecclesiastical parish consisted of Easterton, Fiddington  and Eastcott

For those of us who like bricks, the interior is fantastic for the bricks are there for all to see. Of course, they are Market Lavington bricks.

Interior of St NBarnabas Church, Easterton

Interior of St Barnabas Church, Easterton

The church was designed by Mr Christian, an apt name but very hard to research. It was built by the firm of James Sainsbury of West Lavington. The church was consecrated in June 1875. This was a time of great celebration in the village. The Reverend Allsopp was appointed as the first vicar.

But let’s return to that simple and pleasing interior. Right from the start, chairs were used and there was no attempt to make things over ornate.

Apart from regular services, concerts are held in the church from time to time. St Barnabas is a lovely community building as well as a place of worship.