Posts Tagged ‘1902’

Timber for Market Lavington

April 3, 2016

We think of villages being very self-reliant in times past but of course, as the 20th century started, they did not live in total isolation and some goods needed to be brought in from elsewhere. Timber would have been available, grown, seasoned and readied for use in Market Lavington but we had no specialist saw mill so timber needed buying in. And here we see a bill for timber purchased from the saw mill at Honeystreet.

Bill to Gyes from the Honeystreet sawmill in 1902

Bill to Gyes from the Honeystreet sawmill in 1902


The bill was issued to the Gye company who were carpenters, undertakers and more general builders later. It was issued by the firm of Robbins, Lane and Pinniger, timber merchants of Honeystreet just a few miles along the Vale of Pewsey and conveniently placed alongside the canal for transport. It is interesting to see that the firm also made chemical fertilisers, were coal merchants and barge builders. Sawmills still operate at Honeystreet more than 200 years after they started in 1811.


The items bought appear to have measurements and limited descriptions. We assume the dimensions are in feet and/or inches.

image004To be honest, the items are hard to comprehend but we are sure they made sense to the Gyes. The price seems high at a time when the average wage of a labourer was around 17 shillings per week (85p in decimal money).

We love this bill which really does seem to come from a past age.



A show schedule

June 5, 2015

This is another recent gift from items discovered at Spring Villa. It’s an agricultural show schedule from 1902.

Wiltshire Agricultural Show schedule for 1902

Wiltshire Agricultural Association show schedule for 1902

OK, so what’s its specific connection with our parish? Well first of all, it was where it was found and secondly local farmers were almost certainly exhibitors. But mostly this schedule would have been put together by the secretary of the Wiltshire Agricultural Association and he was James Welch who lived at Spring Villa. He’s named on the back of the schedule.

James Welch of Market Lavington was the association secretary

James Welch of Market Lavington was the association secretary

The schedule lists all the different classes of item which could be exhibited and which might win a prize. The value of the prize is given. Most of the classes are for livestock. There are 21 different classes for horses plus extras for harness etc. Sheep and pigs have four classes each and for cattle there were 15 different classes.

For this blog we have chosen the cheese category. Wiltshire is not now a county we associate with cheese.

The different cheese categories

The different cheese categories

Clearly cheese making had been important. Class 50 is for the best one hundredweight (just about 50 kg) cheese – Wiltshire make and class 51 was only for past or present students at Wilts County Council Cheddar Cheese schools.

And clearly, from class 52 we can see that North Wilts cheese must have been different from Wilts cheese.

Cheese was produced in Market Lavington. The cheesemaker we know of was Mr Seymour who operated at Frieth Farm in the extreme north of the parish.

A Dance Card

June 3, 2015

We were recently given a few items found at Spring Villa. Spring Villa had been the home of the Welch family for at least three generations. Indeed, our museum founder, Peggy (née Welch) Gye had lived there as a little girl and we know her father and grandfather had lived there.

The card donor, who wants no publicity, said to us, ‘You won’t want that card. It’s a grubby little thing’. But we think it is just grand, partly because we have knowledge of the family and can piece together a story.

This is a homemade card on which the names of the dances to be played were written down and against it the name of the partner who had been pre-asked.


One side looks like this. We can see that the dance took place in the school room in Market Lavington on the 17th January 1902. The other side names the dances and has some hard to read names alongside.


Of course it is interesting to see just what dances were played back in 1902 – the waltz, the polka, a gallop, lancers, quadrille and so on. But let’s now think about who wrote this card.

From the writing, as well as the place this was found, we are just about certain this card belonged to Jack Welch – Peggy’s father. James Frank Welch, to give him his full name, was born towards the end of 1888 so he would have been 13 at the time. No doubt he felt very grown up completing a dance card like this.

OK, we can’t work out who many of his partners were but certainly ‘Doff’ features and we think this was his little sister, Dorothy. He had the pleasure of a polka and a barn dance.

Mrs Akers appears as a waltz partner. Her husband was a grocer. In 1901 the family lived in Easterton but between 1901 and 1911 Dad Rupert Akers, his wife Jane Acres and a daughter called Dorothy had moved into the middle of Market Lavington and Rupert was the manager of the grocery department of Mr Walton’s department store.

Later, Jack danced with Miss D Akers. This was Dorothy, the daughter of Rupert and Jane who was a year or so younger than Jack.

Some of Jack’s partners are only given initials and others just first names. We are not sure who they were.

But we do feel we get a peep into Edwardian life with this card – it all sounds elegant and quite formal. We think it is a really lovely item and we thank our donor (who doesn’t live in the Lavingtons) very much indeed.