Posts Tagged ‘1914’

A card from Jack to Floss

May 8, 2016

We have seen the picture on the front of this card before. It shows a scene on the ‘lane’ leading to Littleton Mill with a delightful rustic bridge crossing it.

Wick Lane, Market Lavington in 1914

Wick Lane, Market Lavington in 1914

We now have the original card at the museum and can concentrate on the message rather than the delightful view.

Card message side

Card message side

The card was sent to Miss Page of 70 Rugby Road in Brighton in Sussex.

The post mark

The post mark

It was posted at Littleton Panell and from other knowledge we know this was May in 1914.

Miss Page was Floss Page. She and the card sender had become ‘an item’ in August 1910. After a courtship disrupted by WW1 the couple finally married in 1920. So the year on the postmark, ending with a 4 must be 1914.

Let’s read the message.

The message

The message

The message is simple and much like modern electronic communication to start with – short and to the point. Basically write on Sunday addressed to me in Weymouth and I’ll get it. Also have a good day on Monday.

But then it refers to the picture and what sounds as though it might have been a romantic stroll.

‘Do you remember this place (where you kept getting caught in the briars)? Love from Jack.

Jack is Jack Welch – and do we sense he enjoyed his lady friend getting caught in the briars and, no doubt, needing some help getting free. Soon he’d be off to India, for some years before a serious injury threatened his life so even when he did return it was a couple of years before the wedding took place. Perhaps we gather a bit of the poignancy of the summer before the war in this card.

The marriage, sadly, was far too short for Floss died in 1933 aged 40. However she had produced Peggy and Tony by then and Peggy, of course, was our museum founder. Perhaps we should be very thankful for those troublesome briars.


A message from King and Queen

March 20, 2016

Christmas 1914 was supposed to have seen the war over. When it clearly wasn’t the ‘Royals’ thought they should send something to all servicemen. The King and Queen (George and Mary) sent a simple message with slight variations.

One of these cards was in the collection recently shared with us. It must have been sent to a member of the Coleman family but we are not sure which one.

Card Front

Card Front

The front carries an image of King and Queen.

The King is dressed in his army uniform which means this card was sent to a soldier and not a sailor.

The message on the back is signed by King and Queen. It may look handwritten but this is, of course, a print.

Card back

Card back

The message ‘May you soon be restored to health’ indicates that the recipient was sick or had been injured at the time the card was sent.

Of course, we’d love to know just which Coleman received this card, but we do know it definitely came to a Market Lavington man.

At the cricket

May 25, 2015

It’s 100 and a bit years ago – we are not certain if it is 1913 or 14. All is right with a world and life goes on as it has since time immemorial. Well that may have been the way that the well-off saw things and we capture some of this atmosphere in photos taken at Market Lavington’s cricket ground in one of the last summers before the Great War changed everything.

The photo originals belonged to the Awdry family. Charles Awdry had owned the Manor and estate but he had died in 1912. Charles, like many of his family, was a cricket enthusiast and the Market Lavington ground was made very classy by him. It had a pavilion which could have graced a county ground but it never ran to stands for spectators. They occupied benches and deck chairs.

This photo – we do not know who the people are – captures the rather gentile life style of these privileged (by money) people. There was time to sit and enjoy the sunshine and the company of a handsome young cricketer.

At the cricket in Market Lavington in 1913 or 14

At the cricket in Market Lavington in 1913 or 14

Another group are fairly obviously not watching cricket. The women wear the large hats that were fashionable in that era but also have umbrellas or sun shades. The building was the Market Lavington cricket pavilion.

People may not have had much interest in the cricket but it was a social event at which to be seen.

People may not have had much interest in the cricket but it was a social event at which to be seen.

Lavington School was built on the cricket field and for many years the school caretaker lived in the pavilion. The little estate called Pavilion Gardens now occupies the site.

We don’t believe there is an active cricket team in Market Lavington at the moment although back in the 1980s there was a local club using the Elisha Field


A View from the Church in 1914

May 12, 2015

Photographers do like to climb the church tower to take photos of the surroundings. This one was taken by a member of the Burgess family back in 1914.

A Burgess postcard view from Market Lavington church tower

A Burgess postcard view from Market Lavington church tower

It is just a thought as to what equipment had to be carted up the spiral staircase and ladder needed to open the trap door to the roof of the tower.

At the heart of this photo is Knapp Farm.

Knapp Farm

Knapp Farm

The house, of course, still stands but no farm is associated with it any more. The barns have been converted into a complex of dwellings known as White Horse Barns.

Limekiln Farm at the top of Lavington Hill

Limekiln Farm at the top of Lavington Hill

This photo has been stretched a bit far but it shows another farm – Limekiln Farm which was situated near the top of Lavington Hill quite close to where the reservoir is today. We can see the chalky road leading up Lavington Hill. No wonder many similar roads earned the name of White Street.

Church Street roof line and The Muddle

Church Street roof line and The Muddle

In this closer selection we look over the former pub (The Drummer Boy) and 21 Church Street and can see houses on The Muddle as well.

Let’s finish with a similar but more modern view.

Similar view in the year 2000

Similar view in the year 2000

This dates from the year 2000 and was taken by Maurice Baker.



Canadian Soldiers at the Green Dragon

March 12, 2015

The powers that were may have suggested that the conflict we now call the First World War would be over by Christmas, but of course it wasn’t. That means we are still marking 100 years of the First World War now and will mark different events right through until the boys came home.

Or perhaps that should read, ‘until the boys went home’ for many of the fighting men were not UK citizens. Today we look at a photo, sadly with a bit of damage, which reminds us just how many men from Canada were involved. This is a group shot of members of the 8th Battery of the Canadian Field Artillery and it was taken at the back of The Green Dragon as the caption shows.

8th Battery, Canadian Field Artillery

8th Battery, Canadian Field Artillery

The photograph itself is fairly intact.

The men are in the yard at the back of the Green Dragon in Market Lavington

The men are in the yard at the back of the Green Dragon in Market Lavington

You can click on this picture and that of the names, below to see a much larger image.

The photographers are clearly named.


They were Burgess Bros of Lavington.

It is the area with the names of the men that has suffered most, but even so, most are clear to read.


The information below comes from a Libraries and Archives of Canada website at .

8th Battery, Canadian Field Artillery

Background Information Organized in November 1914 in England under the command of Major S.B. Anderson, most of the personnel formerly belonged to the 19th Field Battery (Moncton), Non-Permanent Active Militia.

Arrived in France in February 1915. 2nd Brigade, 1st Canadian Divisional Artillery. Transferred to 12th Brigade in June 1916. One section absorbed by 5th Battery and one by 7th Battery on 21 March 1917. Battery ceased to exist 24 March 1917. Disbanded by Privy Council Order 3417 of 7 January 1918. Perpetuated by 8th (Moncton) Field Battery.

 Mascot: bear (“Winnie”) presented to London Zoo, Jan. 1915 (GAQ 11-22).

Now that last sentence fascinates, for the mascot bear was the one that a certain Christopher Robin Milne fell in love with at London Zoo and, as a result, named his Teddy Bear  ‘Winnie the Pooh’.

At the seaside

March 6, 2015


Seaside pictures from the past can be absolutely charming and this is certainly true of this family group taken at an unknown seaside in that summer before the war of 1914. That’s even though the photo quality isn’t the best.

Mary Ann Matthews, born 1848 in Market Lavington is on the left.

Mary Ann Matthews, born 1848 in Market Lavington is on the left.

It is to the oldest member of the group that we look for our Market Lavington connection. She is Mary Ann Matthews (née Merritt) and she was born in Market Lavington in 1848. Her husband was James Matthews and he came from the building opposite the Co-op in Market Lavington which was for many years an ironmongers or hardware shop. But James moved away to Windsor where we believe he was a part of the Royal household but a member of the Metropolitan Police Force. James’s parents are buried in Market Lavington churchyard. Their graves are easily recognised because they have iron head ‘stones’.

But back to Mary Ann. We are a little uncertain about her origins. On the 1851 census she was living with a grandmother on Church Street in Market Lavington. Grandmother is described as a pauper. In 1861 Mary Ann was a servant, aged 12 in Sussex.  She married James Matthews in 1876. Amongst their children was Hilda who is the younger lady in the photo. The two children are hers.

In 1911 James and Mary Ann were living with Hilda and her family in Kent so perhaps the photo is at a Kent resort.


Market Place – 1914

December 26, 2014

We do not know who drew out this map, but it gives us a good idea of what our village Market Place was like 100 years ago. And that, of course, was nothing like it is today!

A plan of Market Lavington Market Place dated 1914

A plan of Market Lavington Market Place dated 1914

The added words tell a story. Let’s start with ‘The Market House’ – still standing. And yes, it is still standing but it is the only building shown surrounding the Market Place which is in situ in 2014. Buildings that front onto High Street are still there in most cases.

It is interesting to see that the hill down Northbrook from the Market Place was called St James’s Hill. We are tempted to say it is a name that hasn’t survived.

Alongside that hill in rather small writing it tells us we had ‘Doctor’s house – demolished 1920s.

Doctor Lush lived here

Doctor Lush lived here

The fire station was sited in a building that would have been closely adjacent to the current Co-op building.

The Fire Station opened onto High Street

The Fire Station opened onto High Street

Malt houses had been a major feature of Market Lavington but many had gone out of use by this time and other uses were being found.


This area is now Rochelle Court


And for those of us for whom Sayer’s Bus Depot and Wordley’s mean nothing, in 2014 this area is Rochelle Court.

What a handy plan this is. It certainly helps us to understand what the Market Place was like in the past.

November 1914

November 30, 2014

100 Years Ago by Lyn Dyson

1st Battalion

At the beginning of November the 1st battalion of the Wiltshire Regiment was in Locre, Belgium where they were joined by the French and briefly by the 2nd battalion of the Wiltshires. They were to hold themselves in readiness to support the line. The 1st Wiltshires had lost about 350 men and 14 officers, either killed or temporarily out of action after the battle at Neuve Chapelle at the end of October.

On 5th November they marched to Hooge. The roads were very muddy and congested with traffic. They were put in reserve in dugouts in a wood. Over the next few days they found the dugouts were useless against high explosive and common shell, but were good protection from shrapnel. The mornings were foggy, and things were relatively quiet. They made the occasional foray looking for snipers, but found none; there was regular shelling and several men were killed or wounded. On 15th November it started snowing, and the trenches were very wet. On 17th November the battalion executed a bayonet charge when 150 Germans reached their trenches. They were driven out, but 50 Germans were killed and many others were wounded. At the end of that day the battalion had lost 11 killed and 15 wounded.

The weather turned very cold, with snow and freezing conditions. On 21st November after 15 days in the trenches, the battalion marched twelve miles from Hooge to Westoutre, where they were expecting more comfortable billets and some rest. On the way they were shelled by light shrapnel, which caused considerable consternation, and eight men were killed, including Albert Fiddler from Great Cheverell. Twenty one men were wounded.

The battalion spent a week in billets in Westoutre, resting and re-organizing. On 30th November they were back in trenches at Kemmel.

2nd Battalion

The 2nd battalion of the Wiltshire regiment began the month in Ypres. On 3rd November they were ordered to reserve trenches at Gheluvelt, from where after three days they marched to Grapperies in France, where they rested for two nights and then moved on to Ploegsteert in Belgium where they occupied support trenches for two nights.

On 12th November they marched to Bailleul in France where they were in billets. Two men from the battalion were court martialled for deserting. They were sentenced to two years imprisonment with hard labour, 18 months of which was later remitted. After five days in billets, the battalion spent three days in trenches, and the pattern until the end of the month was for three days in the trenches, followed by three days in billets.

Private Albert William Fiddler 6802 Killed in Action 21st November 1914

Albert William Fiddler was born in Easterton in 1886. His father was Thomas Fiddler, a farm carter from Eastcott, and his mother Annie came from Worton.

Albert was the second son and he grew up with seven brothers and sisters. In 1891 the family was living in Bishops Cannings, but by 1901 they had settled in Great Cheverell where Albert and his older brother John were working as under carters.

In 1904, at the age of eighteen, Albert enlisted into the army in the 3rd Wiltshires. At that time he was working for Mr Coleman and the family was living at Great Cheverell Green.

Albert was no longer in the army by 1911, when he was working as an agricultural labourer and lodging with the Ridout family in Little Cheverell. In 1912 he married the daughter of the house, Alice Ridout. They had a daughter, Margery born in 1914.

It isn’t clear whether Albert re-enlisted into the 1st Wiltshires before war was declared, or whether he was on the army reserve and was called up. He was in the very first wave of arrivals in France on 14th August 1914.

The regiment was engaged at Mons and Ypres and on 21st November, after spending fifteen days in the trenches, they were shelled by light shrapnel, whilst marching on the road from Hooge to Ypres for a period of rest. Eight men were killed, including Albert, and twenty- one were wounded. Albert has no known grave but is remembered on the Menin Gate at Ypres and on the war memorials at Bratton and Little Cheverell.

Alice remarried in 1916. Her new husband was William McGuinness, and they had at least two children; Douglas born in 1917 and Kathleen born in 1920.

A corer

November 14, 2014

When you hear the word, corer, you might think of a small, hand-held device to assist with removing the cores from apples. But you miss the reality of this corer by some distance if that is what you have in mind. This device is more a sampler, for making sure a product is as it should be right the way through it.

A sampling corer at Market Lavington Museum

A sampling corer at Market Lavington Museum

This corer is about 80 cm long and whilst the dark, metal part is original it has been fitted with a new handle. It is mounted on the wall of our trades room. Its explanation label says it all.


Corer (modern handle) used in World War 1 for testing and sampling bags of fertiliser. Used by James Welch 1914 – 1918.

So this device could be used to get right to the bottom of a sack of fertiliser to enable James Welch to be certain all of the contents were as they should be.

James Welch was the grandfather of our museum founder, Peggy Gye. He had official roles during the Great War and carried a little card which showed he had the right to commandeer items on behalf of the war effort. That card and other items from Market Lavington are on display at the Stonehenge Visitor Centre during the winter in their ‘Soldiers at Stonehenge’ exhibition.

It is good that during our closed season, the public – a truly international public at Stonehenge – still have an opportunity to see some of our wonderful artefacts.

On display at Stonehenge

November 6, 2014

Market Lavington Museum has now closed for the winter (except by arrangement with the curator, of course) but we are delighted that some of our artefacts are now on display at the Stonehenge Visitor Centre. This building, which opened a year ago, is the point of arrival for all visitors to Wiltshire’s famous stone circle and other associated archaeological sites. It is situated on Salisbury Plain where vast numbers of soldiers from Britain, the Empire and other allied countries were trained prior to going to Europe to fight in what we now call the First World War. It is this military use of the Salisbury Plain area that is ‘celebrated’ in the ‘Soldiers at Stonehenge’ exhibition. Market Lavington and Easterton were very much involved in the training and temporary homing of soldiers and we are pleased to be represented at this display

Photography will not normally be permitted at this exhibition but we were granted an exemption to photograph our items.


Our Valcartier medallion has featured before (as an exhibit at Market Lavington) on this blog but we were moved, here, to see it alongside exhibits from the Imperial War Museum.

The backs of display cabinets are lined with a variety of images from First World War days.


Across the bottom we have the lovely photo of Market Lavington Market Place in full swing as a Red Cross fund raising market in 1915. Our local WW1 group plan to recreate this event in 2015. The top right photo shows Norman Neate, landlord of the Brewery Tap on White Street with two Canadian soldiers. The top left photo is not a Market Lavington one.


This poster has appeared on this blog before – but the name of Market Lavington is now ‘in lights’ at one of the most iconic tourist sites in the world.

We were invited to the official opening of this display which also incorporated a brief commemoration ceremony at the stones. This was a moving and dramatic occasion.

It was dark and Stonehenge was floodlit.


Some of the stones had images of marching First World War soldiers projected onto them.


The famous verse by Robert Binyon was read and then two buglers emerged from behind one of the stones to play The Last Post.


The two minute silence which followed was a deeply moving occasion.

We’d urge one and all to visit the Stonehenge exhibition. The good news is that members of English Heritage or The National Trust get free admission.