Posts Tagged ‘1906’

Finding James Lye

April 28, 2016

James Lye is one of the more famous sons of Market Lavington. You won’t find much about him in history books for James was a humble gardener, working for much of the second half of the nineteenth century as the gardener at Clyffe Hall. Louisa Hay, the long term widow who occupied the hall must have been a bit indulgent with James for she let him have time for his passion – hybridising and showing fuchsias. If you dip a toe into the world of fuchsias you’ll come across the name of James Lye for his cultivars are keenly sought by experts.

We always knew James was buried in Market Lavington churchyard but extensive searches had failed to find his grave. Spurred on by an impending visit by Kristopher Harper, who runs the James Lye Fuchsia Collection, and by the recently given grave location books, we set about finding his grave location. Actually, it wasn’t easy, but with a bit of persistence and a small amount of lateral thinking it was discovered. Almost to our surprise there was and is a headstone. Knowing it was the right grave made it possible to make enough out on the grave to be sure we had found it. We ran it tight for a couple of hours later Kristopher was with us and standing by the grave. James died back in 1906.

Kristopher Harper of the James Lye Fuchsia Collection stands by the grave of James Lye

Kristopher Harper of the James Lye Fuchsia Collection stands by the grave of James Lye


Writing can be made out on the three tiers, but it isn’t readable so no wonder it had proved hard to find.

But it didn’t take all that much to uncover James Lye – not literally, of course – just the writing on the stone. Kristopher set to work with toothbrush and water.


Kristopher cleans the grave of James Lye

And there, clear as anything is the name ‘James Lye’.


After much more work the whole grave was readable. James’ wife Maria is commemorated on the side of the monument. So, too, are a number of their children. It is all clearly visible

We’ll return to this grave and family in the near future.


Gye’s Yard

September 2, 2015

Gye’s Yard on White Street had been a part of the Market Lavington scene for more than 100 years when this photo was taken.

Gye's YHard, White Street Market Lavington in 1989

Gye’s Yard, White Street Market Lavington in 1989

This dates from 1989 and was taken from in the yard, looking out. But we can compare it with a much older view, looking in. This was in 1906.


Gye’s Yard in 1906 – from the opposite direction

The lean to shelter on the right of the old photo is on the left in the 1989 version.

Of course, in 1989 the yard had reached the end of the line and the buildings we see in the old photo were on the verge of conversion into dwellings.

The 1989 view looks out onto White Street. The house we see across the road were once a single storey pub called the Brewery Tap. And yes, there was indeed a brewery. When that pub closed, back in the early 1920s, Market Lavington lost its last commercial brewery, which had been run by Norman Neate.

We keep such memories alive at Market Lavington Museum.

Paying James Neate

August 15, 2014

Today we look at another of the bills paid by Holloways of West Lavington. This time the recipient of money was James Neate.

Receipted bill paid to James Neate of Market Lavington by Holloways of West Lavington

Receipted bill paid to James Neate of Market Lavington by Holloways of West Lavington

We can see that James Neate established his business in Market Lavington in 1852. We understand he came to Market Lavington on the strength of a proposed railway line. The line never materialised, but James weathered some financial storms and became well established in Lavington as a brewer, wine and spirit merchant and Maltster.

We see he also traded in cigars and worked as an insurance agent.

It has to be said we do not fully understand this receipted invoice for the half share of a fence at the back of the stores in West Lavington.  This might suggest that James had business interests in our neighbouring village.

If we consider the address we note James was at ‘The Brewery’ in Market Lavington. James and family lived at The Red House on High Street. The brewery was behind that and the sales outlet from the brewery was at a little pub called The Brewery Tap which was on White Street (Market Lavington).

As ever it is interesting to note that traders like James had to cope with substantial time delays before bills were paid.  This one is dated 1906 and maybe the Ap.  Means April. James received his money on 2nd March 1907 so perhaps for almost a year he had to make do without his rightful £1-17-7½.

In present day terms it sounds a trifling amount but in terms of earnings, that 1906 amount of money equates to about £1000 today. It was a load of money!

By the way, several of our James Neate items can be seen at present in Salisbury Library as a part of the Dusty Feet exhibition.

Gye’s Yard in 1906

December 31, 2013

These days an interesting development of houses is known as Gye’s Old Yard. But of course, Gye’s Yard was where the family firm of builders, carpenters, blacksmiths, wheelwrights etc. actually worked

Gye's Yard, Market Lavington in 1906

Gye’s Yard, Market Lavington in 1906

This charming photo shows some of the workforce, and maybe the odd visitor too, in 1906. The various carts are of course a delight. Maybe an expert out there can tell us more about them.

But now the people. From left to right we have:


John Merritt Senior – the father of the John Merritt who was bandleader in Market Lavington for 60 or more years. The Merritts ran a blacksmithing business just across Broadwell from Gye’s Yard.


John James was a carpenter and may well have been employed by the Gyes.


Walter James was John’s son – he had married Elizabeth Gye in 1904 so was a family member by marriage. He was a baker and had the premises now occupied by the Post Office in Market Lavington.


Charlie Burnett was the Gyes wheelwright. He originally came from Easterton.


Tom Gye. Gyes often confuse by not being known by first names. We think this is the present Tom’s grandfather – boss of the firm.


This one is just recorded as J Gye. We think it is Joseph who later became head of the family firm.


Fred Burgess who worked as a labourer and at some time became a butcher.


Seymour Buckland was a painter who lived on High Street in Market Lavington.

It seems appropriate that members of the Gye family should mark the end of another year. Our museum owes so much to them for their support and generosity.

The Robber’s Stone

October 19, 2013

We were recently given a postcard of one of the two robber’s stones erected in the area. This one says it is the one on Chitterne Down. The other is at Gore which was once in the parish of Market Lavington but is now, more sensibly, in West Lavington.

The Robbers Stone commemorates a victory for law and order over highwaymen who roamed the lonely downs in the Lavington area

The Robber’s Stone commemorates a victory for law and order over highwaymen who roamed the lonely downs in the Lavington area

The plaque is unreadable on the postcard, but this is what the one at Gore says.

At this spot Mr Dean of Imber was attacked and robbed by four highwaymen in the evening of October 21st 1839. After a spirited pursuit of three hours, one of the felons, BENJAMIN COLCLOUGH, fell dead on Chitterne Down. THOMAS SAUNDERS,  GEORGE WATERS & RICHARD HARRIS were eventually captured and were convicted at the ensuing quarter session at Devizes and transported for the term of fifteen years. This monument was erected by public subscription as a warning to those who presumptuously think to escape the punishment God has threatened against theives and robbers.’

Yes the stone does have an e before i in thieves!

It is the other side of this card which gives us an intriguing mystery.

The card is addressed to Miss Draper of The Sands in Market Lavington. We are almost certain this was Edith Annie Draper who, it transpires, was the grandmother of the person who gave us the card. She was born in about 1882 in Market Lavington and in 1901 she was living with her parents on the sands in Market Lavington. She married Gilbert Bishop in 1910 so it seems a fair bet that she was the recipient of this message sent on November 8th 1906.

Now to the message – a strange one.

If you rob anyone you will fear and then you will run and you may get the same as this man got. I mean the thing you can’t see. I believe that you want this kind.

M. R. P. M.

What does it all mean? Is the sender threatening Miss Draper with death? Is ‘this man’ Benjamin Colclough which you certainly can’t see on the postcard?

But then the last sentence might imply that the kindly sender had found a card he thought Miss Draper would like. And presumably she thought enough of it to keep it. Edith Bishop – the former Miss Draper died in 1969 and the card was obviously passed on. It is now well over the 100 years old.

We are left wondering who M R P M was. Presumably they were closely connected with Market Lavington as the post mark carries the village name. There’s a chance that this person was closely connected with the Congregational Church for the Drapers and the Bishops certainly were. But as yet we have not thought of a way to identify the sender.

A mystery football team

October 6, 2013

How we’d love to be able to tell you more about this group of young men who formed a football team.

Unknown football team in 1906/7. This postcard is at Market Lavington Museum

Unknown football team in 1906/7. This postcard is at Market Lavington Museum

Our records just say, ‘Postcard: Market Lavington Football Club’

Well we can do better than that but we can also cast some doubt on the truth of the record.


There’s the ball. We are not certain whether the top line says ‘FSB’ or ‘F&B but the rest is clear. It’s a football club and the year was 1906-7.

Maybe the back of the card can give a little extra. It has a name on it.


Apart from the post card information and our museum code numbers, it has the name Mr C Coleman of Easterton written on.

At the time in question there were two Mr C Colemans living in Easterton – actually, both were Charles.

One was a baker on High Street born in about 1869 so in his late 30s when the photo was taken. The other was a tad older – in his early 40s in 1906/7. He was a carter on a farm.

Yet again, we appeal for help. Can anybody name any of the players? Can anybody tell us which Mr Coleman and how he was involved? Can anybody tell us which football club is shown?

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In the Museum – in 1987

March 20, 2013

In 1987 our museum was young. No doubt, at the time, it seemed as vibrant and lively as we think it is today. But a look at a photo taken at that time makes it look quite an empty environment. Mind you, there are advantages to that. Less items on display means the things can be seen better. However, this photo also shows something of a cyclical nature. One item that was on display in 1987 has been stored away since then, but, as we saw on yesterday’s blog, it has re-emerged for 2013. It was clearly time for an airing.

In Market Lavington Museum in 1987

In Market Lavington Museum in 1987

Yes, back in 1987 the 1906 wedding dress and veil were on display. The mannequin it was on is the same one shown in yesterday’s blog – the one from Mrs McKinstry’s shop in Market Lavington. We see that the fan held by the bride is displayed behind her.

In the middle of the room is the school desk. This early 20th century desk was used at Market Lavington School and would have had drawers then. Back in 1987 it was displaying items used at the school.

A Market Lavington School desk of the early twentieth century. It can still be seen at the museum.

A Market Lavington School desk of the early twentieth century. It can still be seen at the museum.

Of course, we still have the desk but these days its use has become rather more functional. It houses all sorts of written and photographic items – folders about different aspects of Market Lavington and Easterton.

The display case we see in the background is now in the trades room. None of the shelving or cabinets we now have in the museum can be seen in this photo.

These days we have items on display on this side of the stairway, and the wall behind the stairway is covered in exhibits.

When we look at a photo like this one it is clear that the museum has developed hugely over the intervening period.

But that bride is back again to represent marriage in 1906.

I’m getting married – in 1906

March 19, 2013

In less than two months our museum, preserving the heritage of Market Lavington and Easterton, will be open for the 2013 season. The team have been at work preparing and once again our mannequins have been re-dressed with a new theme. This year it is all early 20th century. This young lady, still to have hands attached, is wearing a 1906 wedding costume.


Here we have an ecru silk wedding outfit in two parts – skirt and bodice. It has elaborate lace panels and a flared, frilled skirt. At some point its sleeves have been removed. The veil in net and lace was worn by the same bride to the same wedding.

The mannequin itself is not period. This came from Mrs McKinstry’s shop which was on the corner of High Street and White Street. She dates from the 1950s.

The bride for this wedding also wore a petticoat which we have (and which will be displayed elsewhere this year) which has a name tag ‘Cox’. She also carried a fan.

Sadly, despite best endeavours, we are not able to trace who the bride was. It would be good to have a photo of the actual event so, if anybody has any ideas, do get in touch.