Posts Tagged ‘2016’

The Museum Miscellany – 2016

September 1, 2016

This year we are holding our annual show, The Museum Miscellany, on Saturday October 8th at 7.30pm in Market Lavington Community Hall. Tickets have still been held at a fiver each.

This year’s show will have a section on schools – mostly the Market Lavington Old School which has been the subject of debate this year and a section on what was always called ‘Hospital Week’. Lest this sounds a bit miserable, it was actually a high spot of the year in Market Lavington and Easterton – a carnival week with money raised going to support health care in those pre-NHS days.

Individuals and firms got involved and here we have a carnival entry from the Easterton Jam factory.


There will be a section on ‘Days Out’. Perhaps a surprise here is that some people from elsewhere took days out in Market Lavington but of course, local people, when they could afford it, had days out elsewhere.

Another section will feature steam power. William Cambridge had a foundry in Market Lavington and he was making steam engines here at much the same time that George Stevenson was building his famous loco, Rocket. This is a William Cambridge engine.


But steam power was also used here for all sorts of purposes – including, for overlap, days out.

Other sections will show the villages and the village people we knew and loved.

And best of all, we plan to have our Museum Food available during the interval which can be washed down with a beverage from the bar.

Don’t miss out. Tickets will be available at the Post Office in Market Lavington.



Easterton Country Fair

August 30, 2016

Let’s put it on record that the sun can shine on a bank holiday. Yesterday – August Bank Holiday Monday was a fine, sunny hot day – perfect for the Easterton Country Fair.

The crowds were out in force to soak up the atmosphere of this event which is held on the field behind the village hall – and in the hall itself.

Of course, Market Lavington Museum was there with a stand for Easterton is very much a part of our museum’s raison d’être.


This is our stall at a time when a small crowd made it almost visible. The punters were, as usual, able to enjoy our museum photos, ask questions and give us information.

Of course, we have competition for gaining the interest of the visitors.

For example, who could resist guessing the weight of the piglet?

He knew where to go in warm weather!


You could learn about beekeeping with a ‘safely behind glass’ demo hive.


Easterton has a regular parade of vintage and classic cars.



The dog show is a big attraction

The band Equinox entertained us. They are great. I don’t know how to style their music but I’ll call it gentle jazz.


We really ought to have photographed more for there was much more to see but time went a tad wrong!

Our stall had an unexpected visitor.


This is the caterpillar of a grey dagger moth. Perhaps they should be welcomed into many gardens for they’ll feed on ground elder. Despite appearances, the name grey dagger comes from the colour and markings of the adult moth.

The museum had a truly lovely day. We hope the organisers did well too.


Young woodpeckers

August 2, 2016

What a welcome to August! Our local woodpecker family has done it again with at least two youngsters. They were first seen on 1st August.

We like to record wildlife at Market Lavington Museum and these fellows were seen in a Northbrook garden.

A 2016 born green woodpecker seeks reassurance that all is well.

A 2016 born green woodpecker seeks reassurance that all is well.

They are much spottier than their parents who, it must be said, look a bit careworn after all of their child rearing exertions.

A second youngster joins the group

A second youngster joins the group

Here’s number two.

Probing for ants - just like mum and dad

Probing for ants – just like mum and dad

They have learned how to hunt for ants.

It looks as though the green woodpeckers locally are secure for this year.


The muntjac again

May 10, 2016

We like to keep a watch on local wildlife and once again our curator found a muntjac deer sampling the tasty plants in his garden. This wasn’t long ago – just last month – but the primroses were clearly in bloom and seemed to be of no interest to the deer.

A muntjac in Market Lavington - April 2016

A muntjac in Market Lavington – April 2016

Compared with other deer, the muntjac is a bit lacking in elegant grace. Roe deer get away with being a garden menace because of that beauty. By and large people don’t like the muntjac. But really he is quite a handsome fellow and what a pleasure to see such animals, gently browsing the shrubs in the garden. They were, of course, introduced into this country and have escaped into the wild. They are not a native species. Their homeland is in South Asia. However they are now well established and seem to be thriving as a species.

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.

On the settle for 2016

April 17, 2016

We do like to ring the changes at the local museum – your museum. It is inevitable that some things are fairly permanently on display, but visitors from 2015 will spot plenty of changes when they make visits this year. One area which changes each year is the old oak settle. The settle itself dates from about 1800 but this is barely visible for we usually drape one of our large bedspreads over it. This year, the choice was obvious for that. It had to be the new and delightful quilt made by the Derby and Joan club in 1971. With it we have put the certificate it won in a Wiltshire wide craft competition and also some essays by Derby and Joan club members. This item is a duplicate and visitors are welcome to read and enjoy these tales from long ago.

The theme on the settle this year is beginnings and endings. On the left hand end we have Mrs Hiscock and one of her babes. The little one is wearing the Hiscock christening gown. On the other end we have Tom, the undertaker wearing his frock coat and a top hat. He carries one of his funeral record diaries and an order of service for a local funeral. We even have a grave marker number from the Drove Lane cemetery and a coffin plate. A widow (head only) looks down. She is wearing her widow’s weeds.

On the settle - a display for 2016

On the settle – a display for 2016

We think the effect is actually very attractive and charming. A photo really doesn’t do it justice so make a point of visiting this year to see it for real.

Felling Poplars

February 28, 2016

There are two parts to this story really. One is about the museum – or maybe about museums in general. Yes, we love old things with the appropriate local connections, but we also see part of our mission as to preserve what happens now for the future. On February 27th we were asked how old things had to be before we were interested. We were watching some poplars being felled at the time so to make a point – the process is already a part of the museum.

There’s an old story that landowners planted poplars on the day their daughter was born. As quick growing trees it was reckoned they could be felled and sold to pay for that daughter’s wedding. Matches are often made of poplar wood so a huge size of tree is not needed.

Three such trees in Market Lavington were in the wrong place and, accepting it is always sad to see trees go, these had to be felled. They were tall, spindly trees and there was no space to fell them in one go. They had to be taken down carefully, bit by bit.

Tree feller at work - Parsonage Lane, market Lavington

Tree feller at work – Parsonage Lane, Market Lavington

This was taken across the yard of the former Volunteer pub. A stump to the left shows that one tree has basically gone. And there’s a chap at work up that high tree.

How do they do it? Hanging by a thread!

How do they do it? Hanging by a thread!

Yes, he’s there with a chain saw dangling from him as he sorts ropes and positions for the next cut.

Each branch needed care and also needed a rope fastened to it so an unseen assistant could lower it gently to the ground.


Swing off the topmost part

And there it goes.

Which is lowered gently to the ground

which is lowered gently to the ground