Posts Tagged ‘1880s’

A clay pipe

July 12, 2013

These days smoking is regarded as a self destructive and antisocial habit but it wasn’t always so. Until fairly recently smoking was considered normal amongst men and many thought it beneficial to health. Of course, we now know that was a mistaken belief but relics of smoking are often found and we have several at Market Lavington Museum.

Clay pipes were very common items. There will be few local gardeners who have not turned up lengths of stem as they have worked their plots. Indeed, a few days ago a length of stem was left just outside the museum. Someone had found it and deemed it interesting enough to leave for us. If that person could identify where it was found, it would be more interesting to us.

This length, complete with broken bowl, was found in 1990 and given to the museum.

Clay pipe with bowl found at Palm Hose, market Lavington,

Clay pipe with bowl found at Palm Hose, market Lavington,

We think this one dates from about 1865 – certainly between 1850 and 1880. It was found in a wall crevice at Palm House on High Street, Market Lavington.

More recently, other pipes were found in a wall crevice at 13 High Street which was once the home of Alf Burgess, the photographer. You can click here to read about one of those pipes.

We wonder if the presence of old clay pipes in walls is just chance or whether they were placed in walls for some ritual or superstitious reason.

Any thoughts?

General Gordon

June 7, 2013

General Charles George Gordon was regarded as a British hero for many military successes and triumphs. He was born in 1833 and saw service in the Crimean War.  His reputation stems more from his time in China where he led a brigade known as the ‘Ever Victorious Army’

In 1873 he entered the service of the Khedive, becoming Governor General of the Sudan. He was instrumental in putting down revolts and suppressing the slave trade. He returned to Britain in 1880, but returned to the Sudan soon after to try to defeat Muhammad Ahmad. This proved to be a struggle too far for Gordon who was beheaded by his adversary in 1885.

This was a time when General Gordon memorabilia came into the market and we have a piece at Market Lavington Museum.

Plaque depicting General Gordon of Khartoum - which can be found at Market Lavington Museum.

Plaque depicting General Gordon of Khartoum – which can be found at Market Lavington Museum.

This is a cast iron plaque depicting General Gordon, complete with medals and wearing a fez. We know of no original purpose for this other than a decoration. We believe it dates from soon after 1885.

This plaque, with some obvious damage, was given to the museum by Mrs Cox of White Street.

Once again, we’d appeal for any further information about this item.

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.

Believe it or not?

April 8, 2013

Can we believe the written word? Often we can, but certainly not always. Today’s blog is a case in point.

We were looking through some old CDVs we had. CDV stands for Carte de Visite and they were quite a standard style of nineteenth century photograph. They measure 54 by 85 millimetres and were an ideal shape and size for a small full length portrait photo. They were exceedingly popular and it is no wonder we have quite a lot of them at Market Lavington Museum.

Here is one of them, a charming shot of two young lads.

Charming CDV showing two lads - a photo at Market Lavington Museum

Charming CDV showing two lads – a photo at Market Lavington Museum

Our records do not tell us the names of the lads. Indeed, it is really the back of the photo which holds definite Market Lavington interest,

The photo is by A Burgess of Market Lavington

The photo is by A Burgess of Market Lavington

We’ll ignore that bit of hand writing at the top for a moment and consider the main features. Well straight away we can see that this was a studio photo by A Burgess of Market Lavington and that he could use the new instantaneous process when photographing children. He kept his negatives so copies could be made later. But actually, we can learn more from the general style of the back of this CDV. A wonderful website at allows us to date the backs of these old photos. From that we think this card dates to around the late 1880s and possibly into the early 1890s.

Now to that hand written bit at the top. It barely shows on the original CDV. The enhanced photo here makes it easy to read – Wally and Eric James. Presumably someone decided this was a photo of these two lads. There is certainly a similarity between the younger lad and another picture we have of Eric which you can see here.

But that photo dates from 1918. If this one is a similar age, it surely wouldn’t have been printed on 1880s card. We don’t think this photo can be Wally and Eric. But those brothers had a father called Walter who was born and raised in Market Lavington – born in 1879. He fits with the supposed age of the CDV. Sadly he had no brother called Eric. Walter’s brothers were Charles born in 1876 and Arthur born in 1885.

At present we have no way of knowing if those two lads are members of the James family. It will be a long shot, but perhaps someone out there in blogland can help.

Whoever the lads are we can admire the skills of our Alf Burgess, our Market Lavington photographer.

Tom Gye’s Dad, Aunts and Uncles

March 16, 2013

Tom Gye, widower of our museum founder Peggy, begins to wonder if he might be the oldest living villager – if he excludes residents at the nursing home.  He’s certainly amongst the oldest and museum folk visit him fairly regularly both to offer him company and to learn more about past times. Tom is old enough to remember events in the 1920s.

We recently came upon a photo which had the word ‘Gye’ scrawled across the back so we took it to Tom for identification. Tom’s eyes lit up and he smiled as he said, ‘well that’s my dad.’

Here’s the photo.

father, aunts and uncles of Tom Gye, all born in Market Lavington

Father, aunts and uncles of Tom Gye, all born in Market Lavington

Tom’s dad is the youngest lad at bottom right. He was called Joseph Edward Gye and he was born in 1883 which gives us a rough date for the photo of 1888-1890. Talking to Tom always brings extra bits of information. Apparently his father was always known as Teddy as a youngster. It was Tom’s mum who decided he should be called Jo.

Tom says this photo was taken at the back of the family home on White Street in Market Lavington

Tom’s grandparents James and Mary Ann had the nine children. The six girls came first followed by the three boys.

Tom was the youngest child of a youngest child. The aunts were approaching 60 when Tom was born and he did find it hard to identify them, for certain, in this photo of them as youngsters. But he thinks, in the back row  from the left there is Aunty Het (Hester), Aunty Sal (Sarah), Aunty Em (Emily) and Uncle George. In the middle row there was Aunty Bet (Elizabeth), Aunty Flo (Florence) and Aunty Win (Winifred).  At Bottom left is Uncle Tom (Thomas) and his father is the other lad.

Brief  BMD information of these nine, as far as is known, is given below.

  1. Hester Ann b 1862 M Thomas Richard Reed in 1894 D 1927
  2. Sarah Sophia  b 1864 M James Francis Weston 1899
  3. Florence Mary b 1867 M Henry Edward Perrett 1896 D 1942
  4. Elizabeth Hannah b 1869 M Walter John James 1904 D 1927
  5. Winifred Amelia b 1871 M Gilbert Ludford 1902 D 1951
  6. Emily Jane b 1873 D 1933
  7. James Jeremiah George  b 1875-1899 – known to have had breathing problems so possibly a victim of TB.
  8. William Thomas b 1879  M Rosa Ring 1905 D 1951
  9. Joseph Edward  b 1883 M Lucretia Redstone 1909 D 1944

Thanks to Tom for this information and for so much more.

Wilsons at the Vicarage

February 19, 2013

We have already learned of the Wilson family who lived with the Reverend Frith and his wife at Market Lavington vicarage. Mrs Frith was the Wilson family aunt and she took care of the children following the death of their mother.

We now have photos of some of these Wilsons.

Let’s start with just one girl.

Violet Dottie Wilson who lived at Market Lavington Vicarage from about 1878 to 1900

Violet Dottie Wilson who lived at Market Lavington Vicarage from about 1878 to 1900

This is Violet Dottie Wilson. Sadly, her mother died giving birth to her and that resulted in the move to Market Lavington. It was a long move, for the Wilson family were based in India. But in 1881 we find Violet, the youngest of the Wilson clan, at the Vicarage in Market Lavington.

Violet was still with her uncle and aunt at The Vicarage in 1891. This census also lists a daughter, adopted by the Reverend Frith called Catherine and a Frith niece known as May but properly, Agnes. Violet’s older sisters were still present as well.

Violet was a bridesmaid at the wedding of her cousin, Agnes May Cokayne frith which took place at Market Lavington in 1897. Perhaps the photo dates from about that time.

We think Violet married Harold Jones in 1900. Such a marriage was registered in the Devizes district. The couple lived in Camberwell, South London for the 1901 census. They had a six month old son called Donald.

Our correspondent in Richmond Virginia is keen to know more about this family and the other Wilsons. We’d love to know more about their life and times in Market Lavington.

At the Vicarage in the 19th Century

February 16, 2013

It is so good when things come together and you can start to get a bit more understanding.

This story had better begin in 1983 although it concerns the Vicarage in Market Lavington 100 years or so before that. It was in 1983 that a piece of paper, with some limited information was sent to or maybe given to Peggy Gye, our museum founder.

When the museum was founded – it opened in 1985 – the piece of paper became part of the collection. It contains a photocopy of a sketch of the vicarage.

Sketch of the Vicarage in Market Lavington dating from about 1880

Sketch of the Vicarage in Market Lavington dating from about 1880

The piece of paper has been headed, in a 1983 hand.


The Reverend Edward Blackston Cokayne Frith was the incumbant at the time

In addition there is an attribution, giving the name of the artist.

The artist is said to be Francis Hamilton Northeste Wilson

The artist is said to be Francis Hamilton Northesk Wilson

This tells us that the drawing was by Francis Hamilton Northesk Wilson of home he lived in England.

But who on earth was the artistic Francis Wilson?

A clue came from a correspondent who wrote:

Rev Frith is not a direct ancestor of mine, but his wife, Maria Sankey Frith, was the sister of my paternal great-great grandmother Henrietta Sankey Wilson. My great grandfather, William H. Wilson, was the son of Charles Watson Wilson and Henrietta Sankey Wilson. He was born in Meerut, Uttar Pradesh, India in 1863. Charles W. Wilson was a military officer and, unfortunately, Henrietta died with the birth of their last child, Violet, about 1877. Unable, or unwilling, to care for his many children, Charles sent them to live with the Friths at the vicarage in Market Lavington. The 1881 census record of the Frith household includes those Wilson children living at the vicarage. My great grandfather, William H. Wilson, is listed among them as age 17 and a Seaman Apprentice in the Merchant Marine.

For the record, it seems that the much travelled William Wilson eventually settled in Texas in 1889, after surviving a shipwreck near the Falkland Islands.

Unfortunately, we can find no trace of Francis Wilson ever living in Market Lavington but maybe he was a brother of William who missed out on written records for some reason. We do know that William had a sister called Frances who lived with the Friths at the time of 1881, 1891 and 1901 censuses.

And while we haven’t traced Francis our correspondent has. It seems that Francis was the older brother of William. We also know that the people who sent the sketch to our Peggy were the granddaughters of Francis and that they died a few years ago.

A mystery is solved.

Mrs Allsopp – a Vicar’s Wife

November 13, 2012

Harriett Baker Boileau Dawson was born in about 1846 in Jubbulpore, India.

In 1851 she appears to be in the Bath area under the care of a governess.

We have not located Harriett in records until she married Richard Winstanley Allsopp in the third quarter of 1873. The marriage ceremony took place in the Farringdon district of Berkshire/Oxfordshire.

A first child, Frederick George was born in Buscot, Berkshire in 1874 or 5.

In 1876 Richard was appointed vicar of Easterton and the family moved to a house on Easterton Sands. Easterton was a new parish and Richard was the first vicar. His house became known as The Vicarage and is still there on what we now call Vicarage Lane, although the dwelling is now called Easterton House.

The second child, Richard must have been born soon after the family arrived in Easterton.

Further children followed. Marian was born in about 1877, Margaret in 1888 and Jerome in 1890. Next came Dorothy in 1881, Robert in 1883, Francis in 1885, Agnes in 1886 and Joan in 1887.

Robert, Harriett and the youngest 8 children can be found living at The Vicarage, Easterton at the time of the 1891 census. This photo of Harriett dates from around that time.

Mrs Harriett Allsopp, wife of the first Vicar of Easterton in about 1890

By 1901 the family had moved to West Lavington. Richard was now 68 and Harriett weas 55. There were still eight children at home, the youngest  being 14. Home was now The Vicarage in West Lavington.

Richard died in 1907.

In 1911 Harriett was boarding, along with a couple of her daughters, at a house in the Marylebone area of London.

Harriett died in 1918 with the death being recorded in the Devizes district.

An Easterton Sampler

November 12, 2012

We know little about this framed sampler which was made using long and short stitch embroidery.

An 1880s sampler which used to hang over an Easterton bed. It is now in Market Lavington Museum

It is believed to date from the 1880s and hung over a bed in Easterton. The message is simple and clear – ‘The gift of God is eternal Life’.

One of the benefits of modern technology is that we can get a pretty good closu up view of the stitch work. So here is the word ‘The’ in close up.

Close up on ‘The’ to show the stitchwork

Any further information on this item would be gratefully received.

Willow Pattern

November 10, 2012

Aha! Blue decorated plates with a Chinese look to them. That’s willow pattern – a style popular for many years and still available today.

At Market Lavington Museum we have several examples and here’s one of them – an old and somewhat battered plate.

Willow pattern plate, some 25cm in diameter, at Market Lavington Museum

This plate, we believe, dates from the 1880s and was used by the Welch family when they lived at Spring Villa on Church Street in Market Lavington.

We know nothing more about the plate, or its larger and more crazed brother but this one does have an impressed mark on the back.

The embossed mark on the back of the plate. It could be upside down!

Maybe an expert could tell us more about the maker and origins of this plate.