Posts Tagged ‘19th century’

Agricultural labourer wages

June 9, 2016

This document is not specific to Market Lavington but refers to the whole of Wiltshire and other counties. The Wiltshire wage is compared with the highest and lowest wages paid elsewhere at various times in the 18th, 19th and 20th century.

Agricultural labourer wages - Wiltshire compared with other counties

Agricultural labourer wages – Wiltshire compared with other counties

We can see that the Wiltshire farm labourer was amongst the lowest paid getting something akin to just two thirds of the best paid and sometimes little more than half.

Let’s take that 1892 figure of 10 shillings per week (which is equal to 50p in decimal money). Changes in value are difficult to calculate but goods that cost ten shillings in 1892 would cost about £50 now. In fact a present day farm worker probably earns £300 a week and would still be classed as low paid. It gives an idea of how impoverished our Victorian labourers actually were.


A Carriage Lamp

February 25, 2016

It is hard to imagine the difficulties people had getting around after dark – before the advent of batteries, torches and electric lights. Yet people did, and possibly at the speed of a fast horse pulling a carriage. We have a rather battered 19th century carriage lamp at our museum.

A 19th century carriage lamp at market Lavington Museum

A 19th century carriage lamp at Market Lavington Museum

This lamp is believed to have been made by a firm called Miller and Sons of Piccadilly in London and was given to the museum by Peggy Gye.

It is a paraffin lamp with a double wick burner and a polished reflector behind it so it can send as much light forwards as possible.

The double burner has a reflector behind it

The double burner has a reflector behind it

Here we can see the paraffin tank, the filler cap and the double wicks and the bottom of the reflector. It is a simple and elegant device.

Side windows allow some of the light to spill out that way which could be useful for spotting the edge of a road.

Side windows and the fastening clip

Side windows and the fastening clip

The substantial fastening clip can also be seen in this view.

This lovely item can be seen in our display of vehicle lights and other items at the museum.

A candle snuffer

February 23, 2016

Contrary to popular belief, candle snuffers were not always for extinguishing the flame of a candle. Back in the 19th century wicks did not burn as they do now. They just got longer and longer which resulted in all sorts of problems. The candle got smoky and wax could melt faster than it burned, causing run off. This made a mess but was also waste and so was to be avoided. Candle snuffers were for removing excess wick.

This one is at Market Lavington Museum.

This 19th century candle snuffer belonged to the Hiscock family

This 19th century candle snuffer belonged to the Hiscock family

It is always good when we have the identity of the original users and in this case the snuffer belonged to the Hiscock family of Market Lavington High Street.

This is a view down onto the implement which has three little legs to act as a stand. The basic format is of a pair of scissors with an attached box. The idea was that you trimmed the wick and the piece cut off (the snuff) fell into the box, rather than onto a hearth rug, setting fire to it.

The pointed end could be used to stab fallen bits of wick, including any in the molten wax at the top of the candle.

This snuffer is thought to be late 19th century.

Amram Saunders

November 19, 2015

Amram Saunders is a name that has cropped up a few times in this blog. We thought it was time to see the man. Amram was born in 1779 and died in 1849. This means there are no actual photos of the man. But the Saunders were well to do and a portrait was created – artist unknown – and we have a black and white copy of this.

Amram Saunders - 19th century Market Lavington corn miller

Amram Saunders – 19th century Market Lavington corn miller

On the face of it, Amram was a miller with a water mill, known as Russell Mill, which was then in Market Lavington. But in truth he had a wide ranging business, much of it based in Bath. His children rose to prominence in a variety of fields of endeavour and in a variety of places across the world.

This simple tree shows his children.

Amram's wife and children

Amram’s wife and children

Perhaps a major feature of the whole family was non conformity both in religion and politics. The non-conformity was very human in nature. The family were keen to see all people treated well. Sometimes they suffered themselves for beliefs truly held.

You can discover much more about this extraordinary family by visiting the museum.

Another Box brick

September 9, 2015

We don’t suppose everybody thinks bricks are amazing – but plenty of people do and we certainly like the right bricks at Market Lavington Museum. The right bricks should, of course, have been made at the local brickworks. The one we were given in mid-August certainly fits that bill and is interesting in shape and style as well. Its location, when found adds a little to its story too.

Semi circular brick for capping a wall

Semi circular brick for capping a wall

The brick is clearly semi-circular and is about 11 inches across the base. It is standard brick width. This was a capping brick for a wall. That 11 inch measurement means it would be wider than a double brick wall and its shape means rain that fell on it would drip off the ends and not into the wall.

It carries the maker’s name, embossed into it when made.

The brick was made by Box who had Lavington brick works for the second half of the nineteenth century

The brick was made by Box who had Lavington brick works for the second half of the nineteenth century

The brick was made by Box. William Box owned the Market Lavington brick works for most of the second half of the 19th century so we can get a rough date for this special brick.

The brick was dug up at Roundway Down Farm which is on the edge of Devizes. We know Lavington made bricks travelled but this is the first authenticated one we had that came from outside the Lavingtons.

We think this is a great item and we are delighted to have it at the museum.

James Philpott

July 26, 2015

We have recently been sent a photo of James Philpott who seems to have been an interesting character. Let’s summarise what we know about him first.

James was born on 10th December 1838 and was baptised at St Mary’s, Market Lavington in January of 1839. His parents were John and Hannah or Anna.

It’s a real shame there is no 1841 census for Market Lavington. It means we can’t trace John for by 1851 Anna Philpott is listed as a widow. At that time she and her eldest son work as gardeners. Twelve year old James was the youngest child and he was a scholar, maybe attending what is now the Old School. Anna came from Edington but the boys were all Market Lavington born.

In 1861 James was a resident at The Royal Oak in Easterton where his sister in law, Caroline Philpott was the victualler. She was a widower at the time. James, aged 22 was a cabinet maker.

At some time in the 1860s James left the Lavington area for he married Louisa Hopkins Tozer in 1869 in the Newton Abbot area of Devon.

In 1871 James, Louisa and baby Ernest were staying in a lodging house in Bristol. James is now described as an organ builder and we can guess at something of an itinerant lifestyle. He’d have needed to be near the building where he was working and when one job was finished he’d have moved elsewhere for the next one.

Our photo dates from about 1875 and is an interesting colour!


James is at back right with his wife, Louisa. Sitting in front we have her parents, William and Frances Tozer and each has a Philpott grandchild on their knee, Ernest and Florence.

In 1881 the family, with a third child called Reginald lived in Exeter. In fact all three children are given Devon birth places so it seems the family home was in that county. James was still building organs and so he was in 1891 when his parents in law, both in their 80s were staying with James and Louisa.

1901 still sees James as an organ builder. Louisa and daughter Florence are still with him. And so they are in 1911. James is now a retired organ builder and the family have remained in the Exeter area.

James died in 1915. Louisa followed in 1920.

The Philpotts had been business people in the Lavington area. We found it interesting to follow James the organ builder through to the twentieth century.




Clarke’s blood mixture

May 13, 2015

Amongst the many medical items we have in the museum there is a blue glass bottle which once contained Clarke’s blood mixture.

A 19th century Clarke's medicine bottle at Market Lavington Museum

A 19th century Clarke’s medicine bottle at Market Lavington Museum

Clarke’s were a medicaments firm based in Lincoln in England.

Clarke's were based in Lincoln, UK

Clarke’s were based in Lincoln, UK

And apparently the blood mixture was world famed.

The bottle once contained the 'world famed blood mixture

The bottle once contained the ‘world famed blood mixture

Clarke’s blood mixture dates from the nineteenth century and into the twentieth. It was the era for cure-all medicines. These words appeared in an advert for the blood mixture in an 1876 Australian newspaper.

Clarke’s World-famed blood mixture

The great blood purifier and restorer for cleansing and clearing the blood from all impurities cannot be too highly recommended.

For scrofula, scurvy, skin diseases and sores of all kinds it is a never-failing and permanent cure.]

It cures old sores, cures ulcerated sores on the neck, cures ulcerated sore legs, cures blackheads or pimples on the face, cures scurvy sores, cures cancerous ulcers, cures blood and skin diseases, cures glandular swellings, clears the blood of all impure matter.

As this mixture is pleasant to the taste and warranted free from anything injurious to the most delicate constitution of either sex, the proprietor solicits sufferers to give it a trial to test its value.

 With all these alleged virtues it seems amazing that Clarke’s went out of business and his blood mixture vanished. Or perhaps it wasn’t able to live up to the proprietor’s claims!

We love the bottle and you can see it amongst our medical display at the museum.


The Cradle Field

April 5, 2015

The Cradle field is set in a valley on the sandstone ridge. The top end is on Parham Lane and the field extends down to West Park Farm. It is a part of that farm and is private land but in the leafless months of winter it can be seen well from Parham Lane. The field has history which was recorded in the WI produced local history book of the 1950s.

Extract from the Women's Institute history book of the 1950s

Extract from the Women’s Institute history book of the 1950s

The field was used for picnics and tea parties, complete with bands and dancing. Rumour has it that these events were not all as genteel as might be expected at a chapel tea party. We have no photos of such events but of course this pretty field is still there and does look a wonderful spot for a picnic, being sheltered from most wind directions.

The Cradle Field - March 2015

The Cradle Field – March 2015

The field continues down to West Park Farm and beyond there are views along the scarp slope of Salisbury Plain and across the Avon Vale.

Cradle Field, West Park Farm and the view beyond

Cradle Field, West Park Farm and the view beyond

It’s a lovely location holding a piece of almost lost parish history.


The cradle field is magnificent at any time of year. So many thanks to Mike who sent me this winter image of the field.


The Pondmaker’s sign

March 5, 2015

This would be a fine sign to actually own. We don’t. We just have a photograph of this simply fantastic item which probably no longer exists.

Pond maker's sign from Broadwell House, Market Lavington

Pond maker’s sign from Broadwell House, Market Lavington

It would once have adorned the front of Broadwell House on White Street where the Smith family had their residence.

The sign quite clearly tells us what the Smiths did. They dug ponds and wells.

C. J. Smith was Charles, born in Market Lavington in the 1850s. We have met him before on this blog. Click here. He was rarely at home for the ten yearly census. The family business was well known throughout the south of England so pondmakers were often away working.

It is good to record that a descendant of Charles is a regular reader and commenter/information provider on this blog.

These days we all (or nearly all) have piped mains water so the days of the pondmaker are pretty well over. The Smith family had a goodly 150 years in the trade – and a highly skilled one it was too.

The sad tale of Archibald Fergusson

February 14, 2015

Archibald W J Fergusson is buried in Market Lavington churchyard

The grave of Archibald Ferusson

The grave of Archibald Ferusson

His grave is not easy to read – except the name, but the burial records can help to tell the story.

He was buried on 4th September 1869 with an age of nought (zero years). The officiating minister was F Daubenay and Archibald was recorded as an infant.

A small monument has Archibald’s initials but doesn’t quite line up as a footstone.

Is this a footstone? If so it is a bit out of allignment

Is this a footstone? If so it is a bit out of allignment

The FreeBMD website tells us that Archibald’s birth was registered in the June quarter of 1869. The little lad did not last long.

His parents had married a year before. George Burbidge Fergusson married Jane Kite in the Lambeth district of London. Archibald, their firstborn, was born in the Devizes district and it’s a fair assumption that it was in Market Lavington.

And so we find that at the time of the 1871 census, George and wife Jane Fergusson were living, without any children, at Market Place, Market Lavington. George was a master maltster, employing one man. He had been born in Trowbridge in 1835.

But the story, for the Fergussons, was about to improve and maybe the presence of a nurse in the household was an indication that a baby was imminent.

In 1881 the family, with four children, lived on White Street, Market Lavington and George was now a farmer.

We lose the family from then on, so they must have moved away from the Lavington area. One of the children – a brother of Archibald who rests in Market Lavington, is in Stockport, Cheshire at the time of the 1901 census.

In the 18th century, Market Lavington had no fewer than 27 maltings. One of the last to operate was in the Market Place. Perhaps Archibald’s father, George, operated that one before he became a farmer.