Posts Tagged ‘church’

A Sunday School Treat in 1921

September 18, 2016

This event took place 95 years ago and could just remain in the memory of a centenarian. For others it represents a past and very different age. In fact it is hard to imagine what life was like 95 years ago. This was six years before electricity came to Market Lavington – there were none of those electrical items we take for granted these days. These are things like refrigerators, vacuum cleaners and washing machines, not to mention radio, TV and all the countless electronic gadgets we rely on now. Life must have been simpler and slower but probably no less happy. It just meant that events like a Sunday School Treat were much looked forward to, hugely enjoyed and became something to talk about afterwards.

We have here a news cutting about the treat in 1921 which, for the first time, saw church and chapel unite to provide one joint treat.

image002 It comes from the Wiltshire Advertiser for August 25th 1921.


Transcript below.

United Sunday School treat. – Yesterday (Wednesday) afternoon the scholars attending the Market Lavington Congregational Sunday School and the Church Sunday School held their united Sunday School tea and sports. Some 200 children assembled at the top of the village at three o’clock and, headed by the Market Lavington Brass Band marched to the Drill Barn where a sumptuous tea was provided, to which the children did full justice. After the wants of the younger generation had been supplied, the parents and friends of the children sat down to tea, A vote of thanks was accorded Miss Bouverie for the loan of the barn, and to the many friends who had helped make the tea a success, and the company adjourned to one of Mr Walton’s fields where sports took place many novelty races being included in the programme. Football, cricket etc. were also much enjoyed and swings had been erected on the trees for the younger children.

This united Sunday School treat was an innovation and the success which attended the first venture fully justifies carrying out the treat on similar lines in the future.

Amongst the workers who made the function such a success were the Rev. J. A. Sturton, Mr Peters (pastor of the Congregational Church), Mr G. Pike, Mr G. Price, Mr V. Osmond, and Mr H. Merritt, Miss L Pike, Mrs G Davis, Mrs Burbidge, Mrs Eldin, Mrs Elisha, Miss Curtis, Mrs Potter, Mrs Giddings, Miss Gale, Miss B. Pike, Mrs Smith, Miss Wiffen, Mrs B Cooper, Mrs S Hopkins, Miss D. Draper and Mrs Price


Grove Farm, the church and village

September 12, 2016

Here we have a period postcard of Market Lavington. We date this by TV aerial to about 1960. All of the TV masts we see are of the old 405 lines type.


The Village from Home Field – about 1960

This is a view of the village from the lower slopes of Salisbury Plain. We are looking across Home Field which had once been the recreation ground. The two dominant buildings are…

…Grove Farm …


…and the Church of St Mary.


We can see that Meadow Cottage still had its thatched roof.


It is also interesting to note those three bright white ventilators on the roof of the school.

And here we have more of Church Street and The Muddle.


This postcard has recently been given to the museum. It was part of the collection of former board member and archivist Priscilla. We offer her and her daughter many thanks.


Church and Grove – 1920s

August 19, 2016

Some photos capture the quiet and rural nature of a place and we think this one did just that.


St Mary’s Church, Market Lavington – 1929

We are looking at the west end and north side of St Mary’s church. We think this was taken in 1929. The photo is in an album we acquired from an internet auction site and other photos in the album are captioned with the year 1929. We do not know who the photographer was but on this occasion they have got a truly pastoral view across fields to the unchanging church.

By the way the church is the Church of England and that is why St George’s Cross – the English flag – flies over the tower. It looks as though there was quite a strong westerly wind blowing that day.

This area has been reshaped to allow for an access road to the Community Hall but it has not been built on. Here’s a similar modern view.


The church – 21st century


The church in colour

August 8, 2016

Collectors of postcards often seem to dismiss the images which have been colour tinted. However, they give us an idea of what places actually looked like, 100 or more years ago. It reminds us that it wasn’t a black and white only world. Here is a view of St Mary’s Church in Market Lavington.

We can get a rough idea of the date of this image from the postmark – but it is always worth remembering that such a mark shows the date the card was posted, not the date the original photograph was taken.

St Mary's Church in about 1911

St Mary’s Church in about 1911

We can see it was posted in Market Lavington on July 25th and we think the year was 1911.

Posted in Market Lavington

Posted in Market Lavington

The big difference in that south side of the churchyard is that the path shown has now entirely grassed over. Now we use the cobbled path, unseen in this image, which heads up to the porch.

The church itself is comparatively unchanged. We can see this in a snowy view from February 2009.

The church in 2009

The church in 2009

Church choir outing

July 3, 2016

Let’s start by looking at the back of a postcard for that has the caption.

A rather battered postcard

A rather battered postcard

We can see the postcard is battered but we can also read that this is St Mary’s Church choir outing 1923 or 24

The image caption

The image caption

And here’s the actual picture.

Fred Sayer Charabanc with choir members probably at Salisbury

Fred Sayer Charabanc with choir members probably at Salisbury

Bus enthusiasts will, as is so often the case, be disappointed that the photographer has concentrated on the people and not the front end of the vehicle. This photo was in a recently acquired envelope labelled F Sayers Photographs so we assume it is one of Fred Sayer’s buses with the hood down for an open air experience. This is the kind of conveyance we call a charabanc.

The destination was clearly Weymouth. We think the photo was taken in Salisbury.

We could comment on the size of a church choir over 90 years ago – and on the number of youngsters. This, of course, was pre almost anything that gets called entertainment these days. It was enjoyable to go and meet your mates at choir practice and then there was the almost amazing excitement of the treat – like this one to Weymouth.

There’s a fair chance we won’t get any names here. Even the youngsters on the trip would now be over 100 years old (The baby on board would be about 94). But let’s take a closer look just in case.

image007 image008


Printer’s blocks

July 1, 2016

We can get some unlikely items given to us here at the local museum serving Market Lavington and Easterton. At first sight this looks like a picture of St Mary’s Church – the parish church for Market Lavington and, prior to about 1875, for Easterton as well.

Market Lavington Church but why is it back to front?

Market Lavington Church but why is it back to front?

Observant viewers might realise, though, that this is back to front. This is because what we have here is a half tone printing block. It is mounted on a suitable piece of wood.

Because this is for printing. It is a half tone block.

Because this is for printing. It is a half tone block.

The science and manufacture of these items is quite complex. If you want to know more look at this post on the British Library blog.

We were actually given two of these blocks. This one shows the church interior.

The church interior is also back to front for printing

The church interior is also back to front for printing

Blocks like these were used in the printing of magazines and newspapers until comparatively recent times. These days computers have made the job much simpler.

Merging Market Lavington and Easterton

June 23, 2016

The two church parishes of Market Lavington and Easterton have separate identities but in 1962 they were merged into one benefice.

This document, published by HMSO, explains.

Document setting out the formation of the combined benefice of Market Lavington and Easterton

Document setting out the formation of the combined benefice of Market Lavington and Easterton

It looks as though this document has been used as a drink coaster at some point in the past so let’s transcribe this legal document.


The 28th day of November, 1962



Whereas the Church Commissioners have duly prepared and laid before Her Majesty in Council a Scheme bearing date the 14th day of November, 1962. in the words and figures following, that is to say:

“We, the Church Commissioners, acting in pursuance of the Pastoral Reorganisation Measure, 1949, and the Union of Benefices Measures, 1923 to 1952, now humbly lay before Your Majesty in Council the following Scheme which we have prepared with the consent of the Right Reverend William, Bishop of Salisbury, (in witness whereof e-has signed the Scheme)

for effecting the union of the benefice of Market Lavington and the benefice of Easterton, both situate in the diocese of Salisbury.


“1. Union of Benefices. The benefice of Market Lavington and the benefice of Easterton shall be permanently united together and form one benefice with cure of souls under the style of ‘The United Benefice of Market Lavington and Easterton’ but the parishes of the said benefices shall continue in all respects distinct.

“2. Taking effect of union. Upon the day when notice of the making of any Order of Your Majesty in Council affirming this Scheme is published in the London Gazette the union shall forthwith take effect.

“3. Patronage. After the union has taken effect the right of presentation to the united benefice shall be exercised by the patrons of the two benefices alternately, the patron of the benefice of Easterton having the first presentation to the-united benefice to be made after the union.”

And whereas the provisions of the Union of Benefices Measures, 1923 to 1952, the Union of Benefices Rules, 1926 and 1930, and the Pastoral Reorganisation Measure, 1949, relating to the preparation and submission of this Scheme have been duly complied with:

And whereas the said ‘Scheme has been approved by Her Majesty in Council:

Now, therefore, Her Majesty, by and with the advice of Her said Council, is pleased hereby to affirm the said Scheme and to order that it shall be and become effectual in law immediately upon the publication of notice of the making of this Order in the London Gazette.

W. G. Agnew.

The main effect was to be a shared Vicar. The next Rector that this area gets will have to serve five parishes.

Restoration of the Market Lavington Church Sundial – April 2004

June 10, 2016

The restoration was carried out by Harriet James who still operates. Her web site is at What follows is her report.


The sundial is set into the wall about 20ft from the ground, over the door of the south porch of the church. It is carved into a piece of shelly sandstone different from the local stone from which the church is built. The stone measures approx. 490 (w ) x 590 (h) x 50 (d) mm, perhaps 20″ x 24″ x 2″ originally.

The date of the sundial is unknown, but its layout and the shape of the numerals suggest that it is perhaps late 16th century, or 17th century.

The design of the sundial is a simple east-decliner reading local solar time. There are hour lines from 6am to 5pm and shorter intermediate half-hour lines, all in an inner rectangle 359 (w ) x 457 (h) mm (perhaps originally 14″ x 18″) with Roman numerals 1.75″ tall in an outer border.

The numerals and lines appear to have been carved in v-section although some of the detail is badly weathered. The numerals are quite well designed and carved with thin and thick strokes 1/8″ wide and W’-3/8″ wide respectively. Four is delineated as 1111 not IV. Noon is indicated by a cross. There was no trace of paint in any of the carved detail, but it was decided to paint the detail black to make the dial readable from the ground.

The dial’s gnomon is missing although there was one in existence within living memory. It was probably not the original as there were several lead and mortar-filled holes where there might have been a foot to the gnomon and various attempts at correct fixing had been made, including one attempt to make the sundial a west-decliner.

image005Embedded in one of the plugs of lead was the foot of an old iron gnomon W’ – 3/8″ roughly circular in diameter. This foot was not discovered until the restoration was underway, by which time the replacement gnomon had been made in 3/8″ square (not round) section brass bar.

There was a further rectangular hole in the stone within the semi-circle centred about the dial’s origin which must have been for another foot. A hole at the origin itself was filled with mortar. The new gnomon was designed to reuse the hole at the origin and a new hole for a foot was drilled in sound stone just above the site of the multiple lead fixings.

image007The declination of the sundial is 16° 52′ east of south. The latitude of the church is 510 I7’ N and longitude 10 58′ W. There are some errors in the layout of the hour lines. Some are at the wrong angle and not drawn accurately from the dial’s origin.

Carrying out the Restoration

The dial stone was cleaned with water to remove lichen. The lead plugs were removed from the dial stone. This was a difficult task as there is a hollow behind the stone and the end of the lead had plugs had dripped into it. The resulting holes were filled with a mortar to match the original stone. The missing segments of hour lines were scribed into the mortar while still wet.


Later the carved detail was tidied and painted with black signwriter’s enamel. A small iron clamp exposed near the bottom right corner of the dial stone was cleaned and filled round with new mortar as water dripping from it had made a hole in the original mortar. Otherwise the original mortar and segments of a very iron-rich orange stone (Guiting stone?) which had been used to wedge the dial into its niche were in very good condition.

The replacement gnomon was set into the stone with an epoxy stone glue. It was positioned so that the centre of its shadow lies along a line when it is the hour or half-hour local solar time.


The finished sundial

Mary Ann Potter

May 14, 2016

We couldn’t take every bit of personal memorabilia at our small museum, but some items belonged to a special enough person that we feel we’ll squeeze them in. This little book is a case in point. From the outside it might look a bit special with its pocket and handles. It looks rather like a small handbag.

Is it a bag? No! It is a small book.

Is it a bag? No! It is a small book.

If we look at the spine we see it is a Book of Common Prayer along with Hymns Ancient and Modern.

It's a Book of Common Prayer

It’s a Book of Common Prayer

It is the name inside which adds real interest to this item.

It belonged to M A Potter

It belonged to M A Potter

This copy was the property of M A Potter who attended St. Mary’s Church, Market Lavington and is dated twice. The fancy hand has marked it July 1926. A more prosaic date just says 19-7-26.

But who was M A Potter? She was Mary Ann and she had been born around 1881 in Milton Lilbourne near Pewsey. In 1903 she married Edwin Potter, a Market Lavington man whose father operated a horse bus between Market Lavington and Devizes and also served as a carrier and had a small farm on which Edwin worked.

The Potters were blessed with a number of children. The first was Helena May born in 1904 at their home on Parsonage Lane. Helena May went on to become a teacher and in 1929 she married Bill Elisha. This made her Mrs Elisha the hugely long term infant teacher in the village.

So Mary Ann joined a well-known local family and then gave birth to perhaps the best known of them all. We are pleased to have this small memento of her life.

Mary Ann died in 1951, just making her three score years and ten


St Mary’s Church to Imber

April 20, 2016

It’s easy to forget now that once upon a time and still within living memory, real people lived in Imber and carried on real and very normal lives. One of our postcards of St Mary’s Church was sent to a recipient in Imber so we see not only a part of our own village but also get a reminder of our lost neighbour.

Lavington Church interior before the organ was moved

Lavington Church interior before the organ was moved


This is the village church here in Market Lavington in a colour tinted card. We know it is an early postcard because we can see the organ in its old place at the right of the church rather than behind the choir stalls where it is now. But actually, if you didn’t spot that this could have been a taken recently image for little has changed. The font cover, in the foreground is still the same. The pews haven’t altered. As is often the case the village church is unchanging or very slow to change.

Now let’s turn the card over.


Card reverse – sent to Mrs Meaden in Imber

We can see this was a Walton’s series card and it was posted in 1908 and it was sent to Mrs Meaden of 32 Imber. The message is what we’d send by text or some other electronic form these days. Annie is telling her aunt she’ll be home on Saturday evening.

We think Mrs Meaden was Anna the widow of Jack and that Annie, her niece was Annie Collins. But Meaden was about the commonest surname in Imber so we could be wrong there. But Anna Baker Meaden (née Sainsbury) was related to the Baker family who were white smiths in Market Lavington. Ida Baker of Market Lavington lived with her at the time of the 1911 census. She had become an Imber school teacher.