Posts Tagged ‘chapel’

Building the chapel

November 22, 2015

Back in the 1880s the Congregational Church in Market Lavington felt it had outgrown the old Quaker chapel they had used for 80 years. Plans were drawn up and a new chapel was built just opposite the old one at the Townsend area of High Street.

Market Lavington had its own brick makers, run by the Box family so it was natural for the church to turn to that company for building materials.

Market Lavington also had its own photographer and he was able to get out and organise a photo of a brick delivery to the site.

The Box family, as we know, were enthusiastic users of traction engines. And so that was the motive power that transported the bricks to the site.

Bricks delivered to build the Congregational Chapel in 1891 or 1892

Bricks delivered to build the Congregational Chapel in 1891 or 1892

The engine is obviously of interest and we imagine the men near the engine were the crew.


Locomotive and crew

The bricks have already been offloaded and are stacked where the new chapel is to be.

Bricks stacked and ready for use

Bricks stacked and ready for use

The chapel opened its doors to the public in 1892.

It is interesting to note that the wall around the chapel appears to pre-date the building of the chapel. It is already there.

The chapel, of course, still stands but is now a private house. The church community now meet in the very convenient Community Hall.


Remembering the Cemetery Chapel

October 28, 2015

In 2010 the chapel at the Drove Lane Cemetery was deemed to be in an unsafe state and was demolished. We did feature the chapel at the time on this blog and you can click here to see that.

For those that don’t bother to click, here’s what the chapel looked like back in 2008.

Drove Lane Cemetery Chapel in 2008

Drove Lane Cemetery Chapel in 2008

A plan, at the time of demolition was to sell the building for re-erection so it was demolished with care and offered for sale. We don’t think it attracted a buyer but it was photographed during demolition and that’s what we are looking at today.


An interior shot. It was not in good order!


Demolition is underway.


A window still in place and window quoins laid out and numbered.


The chapel has gone and no trace of it remains at the cemetery. But it is not forgotten.


The Independent Chapel

August 15, 2015

It’s time for a bit of history. We are looking at a building erected in 1716. It was erected as the local Quaker Chapel – the Friends Meeting House. The dissenting Quakers were at their peak, locally, about then and, inevitably, they were sadly abused for their simple views and opinions.

But by the end of the 18th century they had faded away and could no longer justify their meeting house.

But at this time more Methodist like dissenters were in need of their own independent chapel and they were able to take over the old meeting house.

So by 1855 the Independent Chapel was well established. That was the year in which the Reverend Henry Atley produced his book with a rather long title. It was called ‘A Topographical Account of Market Lavington Wilts, Its Past and Present Condition also The Rise and Progress of the Independent Church in That Place and the Authentic History of David Saunders the Pious Shepherd of Salisbury Plain’. Oh, I almost forgot, ‘With Illustrations’.

By the time you got through that title you’d wonder there was any space left for text, let alone illustrations. But here is one of them, being the former Friends Meeting House and by then the Independent Chapel.

Illustration of the Independent Chapel from Henry Atley's 1855 book.

Illustration of the Independent Chapel from Henry Atley’s 1855 book.

We are not convinced that the artist was all that spot on although, of course, we weren’t around in 1855 to really know. However modern photos have the side with the single large window lined up with the street and the many windowed side at right angles to it.

Modern photo of the chapel. Perhaps it has better perspective than the sketch.

Modern photo of the chapel. Perhaps it has better perspective than the sketch.

At the moment we are not planning to use the sketch in our ‘Paint and Pencil’ section at the Museum Miscellany on Saturday October 3rd but at least you can see it here.

Henry Atley was born in Romford in Essex, probably near the end of the 18th century. He was minister at this chapel from 1854 to 61.

Mr Dempsey’s shop

February 1, 2015

Mr Dempsey had a shop on Church Street into the 1980s – and here it is.

Mr Dempsey's shop on Church Street, Market Lavington - 1980s

Mr Dempsey’s shop on Church Street, Market Lavington – 1980s

Let’s position this shop, for it is no longer there as a shop. Actually, it is quite hard to define its place. People who have been in the village a long time might say things like, ‘next to Peter Francis’s photography shop’ or ‘opposite the Volunteer Arms’. But these will mean nothing to newer residents.

The building on the right (and that was clearly a shop back then) still looks the same. Mr Dempsey’s shop is on the south side of Church Street 30 yards or so from the crossroads.

It is a much altered building. Back in Edwardian days it looked like this.

In Edwardian times the same building still looked like a chapel

In Edwardian times the same building still looked like a chapel

It was still betraying its chapel origins.

Older residents tend to refer to the shop as Potter’s store.


Mr Potter had the building as a shop in the 1950s


The old school ‘torch’ sign adds interest to this image as does Mr Reid’s garage selling Cleveland petrol across the pavement.

By the 1970s the shop had become a Spar

It was a Spar shop in the 70s

It was a Spar shop in the 70s


The shop next door was in a sorry state and was subsequently rebuilt as in the Dempsey photo. Petrol pumps were still by the old garage but we don’t believe they were still in use at that time.

Mr Dempsey was the last shop keeper here and if we look back at his picture we’ll see that he sold fruit and veg as well as being a general store. After he left, the building reverted to being a private house.

The building has reverted to a private house - a 21st century image

The building has reverted to a private house – a 21st century image

And there it is with a hanging basket on each corner.

A former chapel

February 4, 2014

At the Easterton end of High Street in Market Lavington there stands a rather odd looking building – this one.

This building near the Easterton end of Markiet Lavington was built as a Meeting House for Quakers in the early 18th century

This building, near the Easterton end of Market Lavington, was built as a Meeting House for Quakers in the early 18th century.

It is right alongside the pavement, yet has only the one window on that side. The building is oriented at right angles to the road.

The building was, originally a Quaker meeting house. The Wiltshire Community History website at has this to say about the Quakers in Market Lavington and the chapel building.

There was a strong Quaker influence in the village by the 1650s and this continued for several generations with three or four families as the mainstay of the Friends. These included the Selfe, Gye and Axford families. A meeting had been established by 1656 and the Friends were persecuted by the authorities from around 1660. Members of the Selfe family were imprisoned along with Edward Gye and John Smith. This continued into the 1670s. They continued meeting through the latter 17th century and the 24 dissenters recorded in 1676 were probably all Quakers. It was a fairly small group of families which, in c.1680, formed the Lavington Monthly Meeting, which continued until 1775. A meeting house, on the north side of the High Street and at a right angle to the road, measuring 33 feet by 22 feet, was built in 1716, but by the mid-18th century Quakerism was in decline throughout Wiltshire and Market Lavington felt the effect of this. By 1790 there were only three Quakers in the parish and by 1799 this was reduced to one. The meeting house, with its small graveyard was sold and in 1809 was taken over by the Congregationalists, who enlarged it, using it first as a chapel and later, after 1892, as a schoolroom.

In fact the Congregationalists used the building until about 1960 when they built the Powner Hall alongside their church, across the road. The old chapel was sold into private hands.

Back in 2009 a chance came to see the inside which was in use as a store for an artist. But it still retained features of a chapel.


Here we look at the entrance and above, the balcony which provided extra seating in church days is still there.

The building, along with its graveyard, is owned privately and is not normally available to the public.

The top end of High Street

December 21, 2013

This postcard dates from the early days of such cards, when only the address appeared on the back. A small space has been left underneath the image for a message to be written.

Market Lavington High Street in an Edwardian postcard

Market Lavington High Street in an Edwardian postcard

On the left we have the Police House – still there although no longer used by the local constabulary. We look up Market Lavington’s High Street in the direction of Easterton. The Congregational Chapel is more or less central.


Vehicles are horse drawn

The vehicles are, of course, horse drawn.

Over on the right hand side of the road some of the properties retained thatched roofs.


There is thatch on some of the roofs.

There is thatch on some of the roofs.

This, as we can see, is not the most sharply printed card but the view is not the most usual and it reminds us of the early days of postcards.

A Clock Face

July 18, 2013

Today we look at a clock face which once kept the time in the old Baptist Chapel on Chapel Lane. As far as we know the clock works are still in situ above the counter in what is now the fish and chip shop.

This J A Smith of Devizes clock face was onced the timekeeper in Market Lavington Baptist Chapel

This J A Smith of Devizes clock face was onced the timekeeper in Market Lavington Baptist Chapel

The clock is thought to date from about 1865 and clearly carries the name of J A Smith of Devizes. It is not in good order with missing white paint and added daubs and splashes of blue.

Sadly, we know almost nothing of J A Smith. We believe he operated from Devizes Market Place.

The dial measures about 16 inches across and we believe the clock would have been of a kind known as a gallery clock.

We would, of course, love to know more for our records.


April 6, 2013

The tradition amongst bee keepers is that you have to tell the bees the news. Here it is the other way around. An old picture of beehives is giving us some old news.

1920s photo of beehives in the garden behind the fish and chip shop in Market Lavington

1920s photo of beehives in the garden behind the fish and chip shop in Market Lavington

Let’s consider the hives first. There have been two main types used in Britain – the functional ‘National’ hive and the prettier ‘WBC’.  These have the look of the WBC which was named after its inventor, William Broughton Carr. These were photographed in 1920 in the garden behind what is now the fish and chip shop and Chinese takeaway opposite the Co-op. The hive on the right is clearly doing well for extra honey holding ‘supers’ have been added to cope with the produce.

The bees belonged to Mr Elisha. He was the father in law of Mrs Elisha the school teacher and he had the premises on the corner of High Street and Chapel Lane as his tailoring and haberdashery shop. As we can now realise, he was also an avid bee keeper

The buildings on the right of the photo were in the yard behind the butchers shop.

Now we’ll look at the odd bit of structure to the left of the hives.


This is a grave. That area behind the fish and chip shop was once the graveyard of the chapel on chapel lane. That building, of course, is now the fish and chip shop.

We published a list of chapel burials on this blog a couple of years ago. Click here to see it.

60 Homely Years

January 3, 2013

The Women’s Homely was a part of the Congregational Church in Market Lavington. It was, as the name implied, a group for the ladies of the church to get together and enjoy the company of each other. They first met in 1923 – now 90 years ago. But it meant that in 1983 the group celebrated its diamond jubilee – 60 years of existence. The ladies had a bit of a party and a rather splendid cake was shared – as shown in our photo.

The Women's Homely  clebrate 60 years - a photo at Market Lavington Museum

The Women’s Homely clebrate 60 years – a photo at Market Lavington Museum

The cake was cut by Mrs Lily Oram – the older of the two ladies wearing blue. She was assisted by Mrs Ken Ellis.

Lily Oram had been born in 1891 as Lilian (or Lillian) Rose Bryant. She was born in Chittoe which is near Bromham in Wiltshire. Her parents were James, a Chittoe born farm worker and market gardener and Alberta who hailed from London.

In 1910 Lilian married Market Lavington born Herbert Oram and in 1911 the couple lived in Market Place, Market Lavington.

Herbert died in 1962 with his address given as ‘Vale’, Northbrook.

Lily just made it to the age of 100. She died in 1991 and she was still a Market Lavington resident. By that time she had left the Northbrook house and was a resident at Dalecare – then the name of the nursing home based in the old Vicarage in the village.

We do not know, but Lilian could have been an original member of the Homely.

We’d love to know who the onlookers are.

Ada Askey Remembers

November 5, 2012

Today we have another memory from the Link magazine, marking the centeneray of the Congregational Church which took place in 1992.

The author of these memories was Mrs Ada Askey. They appeared in Link for April 1992.

Extract from Ada Askey’s memories of the Congregational Church in Market Lavington

Here’s her whole piece.

This was truly a ‘Congregational’ church when it was built. Members and friends were urged to buy a brick to be laid in their name and no one wanted to be left out.

At first the pulpit had no side panel to it but when one unfortunate minister fell out sideways to the floor a protective panel was added, much to the disappointment of the lads who always sat in the back row.

Chapel outings were always Red Letter days when open topped charabancs were hired to go to exotic places such as Edington Tea Gardens or even the seaside. It never rained! On one occasioin a lady dropped her hadbag overboard into the lake at Edington. It was retrieved by means of a long-handled rake and we went home singing, ‘Rake, Daddy rake, in the bottom of the lake’.

The choir deserves a mention. Wonderful people – so dependable. Come rain or shinje they were always there to lead the singing so enthusiastically. Did they go with the beautiful carved rail they stood behind?

Ada was born Ada Bishop in 1922 so she was 70 when these memories were written. She had married Bill Askey in 1943. She died in 1995.

Her memories of the brick purchasing dates from 30 years before she was born so were not her personal memories. Most probably Ada learned these tales from her maternal grandparents, the Drapers, who were Lavington based people.