Posts Tagged ‘craft’


October 26, 2014

Peter has lived in Market Lavington for fifty years. He is a true, wonderful craftsman working in wood (mostly) and manufacturing bespoke furniture and cabinets for all sorts of major customers from his workshop in the village. He’s now well past retirement age and doesn’t do so much work now.

Some 30 or so years ago, he was persuaded by a niece to try selling at craft fairs. He was able to make use of offcuts of timber to produce all sorts of items, ranging from miniature furniture (not toys as he is still keen to say) through puzzles and right down to very small items.

He was recently kind enough to give us some buttons he made from yew wood. And truly lovely they are.

Buttons made of yew by Peter in Market Lavington

Buttons made of yew by Peter in Market Lavington

As you’d expect, every button is different for each one has been hand crafted by Peter. They show the yew off so well.


These buttons, of course, are now kept for posterity. They can remind future residents of the village that crafts and trades still went on here even into the age of computers.

We’d like to thank Peter – a quiet and retiring man – for sharing some of his work with us.


Henry Cannings – once more

July 10, 2014

We have met Henry before. He was a plumber starting off being trained by his father back in the mid nineteenth century. He was also called Henry and after Henry (the second) married he had a son called Henry – it all gets a tad confusing.

Henry lived virtually all his life living on High Street in Market Lavington. Born in 1940, he died in 1904.

Now to be strictly honest we can’t be sure if the item we show today – a small trade plate – belonged to Henry the elder or the middle one. We do think it is 19th century.

H Cannings, plumber - a trade plate

H Cannings, plumber – a trade plate

This little plate – is about the size of a current business card. It is made of brass. It is clearly labelled




The odd thing is that this plate was found in a garden in West Lavington.  We do not know what its actual function was, but presumably Henry carried it with him when out on jobs.


Jubilee Bunting

April 13, 2014

It is always good to receive items of art or craft produced by the many talented folks who live in Market Lavington and Easterton. We were recently given a triangular pennant, used as bunting as part of the W.I.’s Diamond Jubilee of the queen celebrations in 2012. The pennant, we believe, was used alongside similar items from other branches of the Women’s Institute at various get-togethers the association had.

Our pennant was made by Jeannie who is also prolific amongst the local quilters. It depicts an Easterton scene on one side.

Easterton depicted on a pennant made in 2012

Easterton depicted on a pennant made in 2012

What we see here is the village pump in Easterton.

The Market Lavington side shows the road up Lavington Hill leading to the vedette (the gate) on the edge of the military range with the red warning flag flying.

The road up Lavington Hill is on the other side of the pennant

The road up Lavington Hill is on the other side of the pennant

We’d like to thank the WI for this donation.

A Paint Muller

December 12, 2013

Some tasks have just vanished from life. Once commonplace activities now have no place in anyone’s life. Mulling paint is one of them. Actually, artists do still mull their own paint sometimes.

The idea of mulling is to produce pigments in a very fine powder form and mix them with ‘oil’ to produce a usable paint.

Our muller dates from more than 100 years ago and is made of wood. It looks like a large darning mushroom (perhaps something else which has vanished from everyday life).

It was used in a kind of sweeping, circular or figure of eight motion to get a really good dispersion of the pigment in the oil. It could take hours so no wonder we are willing to let industry do the hard work these days.

A nineteenth century paint muller at Market Lavington Museum

A nineteenth century paint muller at Market Lavington Museum

This is our muller.


The well-worn mulling surface

It has a lovely, comfortable handle and then the head which, as we see, was well worn.

This is a lovely reminder of past times when painters had to produce their own paint.

The Museum Miscellany

September 14, 2013

The day has come. This evening at 7.30 in Market Lavington Community Hall the team will present their mix of photos, talk, sounds and food – all with a local theme. It’s a fantastic fivers worth.

Our men at work section (including women of course)  takes us from the farms of Eastcott through Easterton and Market Lavington and includes builders, publicans, shop workers, demolition – in fact many of the jobs that people do – in this case its local people – it could even be you.

Porters on Lavington Station in the 1950s

Porters on Lavington Station in the 1950s

We’ll do a tour of the villages – mostly photos we haven’t used before – maybe that will include your house, school or place of work. People appear in this too – like this photo at St Barnabas School in the late 1980s.

A performance at St Barnabas School in the 1980s. There are lots of people to recognise there.

A performance at St Barnabas School in the 1980s. There are lots of people to recognise there.

The chances are you won’t see yourself during our piece on the extraordinary Saunders family. They form part of our village history in the nineteenth century – and not just our village. Family members had huge influence right round the world.

In Church and Chapel life we’ll look at the people and how religion influenced social life. Expect to see people performing in theatrical events or just having a knees-up at the seaside.


A Congregational Church outing at Edington

In ‘Sybil Remembers’, we’ll share some of the memories of Sybil Perry who was a pupil at Market Lavington School in the 1920s who, later, became a teacher there.


Sybil and Des Perry in 2005

 We plan to end the evening by showing just a few of our magic lantern slides. These date from about 1860 and were owned by Charles Hitchcock who owned Fiddington Asylum.

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If time permits, which it probably won’t, we’ll share some metal detector items, ‘Found in the Soil’ with you.

And don’t forget the food interval – the high spot of the evening for some.

The Basket Maker

September 6, 2013

This is another article from that 1949 Market Lavington School Magazine which is called Lavington Forum.

It is about Sid Mullings, the last in a long line of basket makers in the village. It was written by Gordon Baker.

Let’s open with sketches of basket maker’s tools.

Basket making tools as sketched by Gordon Baker of Market Lavington

Basket making tools as sketched by Gordon Baker of Market Lavington

And now the article.

Basket Making in Lavington

Mr Mullings is our basket maker and he and his family have been at the craft for over 200 years. Even this however is a very short time in the history of basketry for we know it was practiced in Utah over 9000 years ago. It is even far older than this as, no doubt, the pit dwelling cover or roof made of interlaced branches and twigs evolved the basket and perhaps one lined with clay to stop things falling out got burnt and so was discovered our first pottery.

Mr Mullings started basket making in 1919, just thirty years ago and his father, grandfather and great grandfather all made good baskets in their day as Mr Mullings himself does now.

A number of interesting looking tools are used in this craft some of which I have drawn for you. I suppose the most useful implement is the bodkin which has many uses from opening the weave to insert extra stakes to splitting rods for making the tic at the bottom of a basket. A tool which rather resembles a large file minus the cutting teeth is a closing or beating iron used to bang down the rods and keep the sides of the basket level during making.

Mr Mullings will make you any type of basket you require and in a very short time. To make a medium sized clothes basket takes him only three hours and he makes three in a day.

Although he has two withy beds in the district – one at Russell Mill and the other at Dauntsey’s School grounds, Mr Mullings also buys some withy from Bridgwater. There is a reason for this – the local withys are what he describes as white willow and Mr Mullings uses them in this colour, but buys his brown and buff rods as he prefers not to boil the whites with the bark on for himself. He does, however, stain some of the baskets so they have the appearance of having been made in brown withy. The method of boiling the rods for five hours, before removing the skin was explained to me. The action of boiling passes a stain from the bark or skin into the white rod, making it a golden brown colour, and this colour does not fade. Incidentally, the bark is more easily removed after boiling.

A rod is called a brown rod, not because of its colour but because the bark is left on. The boiled rods are known as ‘buffs’. White rods, which are cut and peeled in April when the sap is rising, also buff rods, need to be soaked for only a few hours before use but brown rods must be soaked for up to a week before use. Although first, second or third year’s growth can be used for basketry, Mr Mullings uses only the first year’s growth as these rods are more pliable and less liable to split than older wood. They appear to make terrific growth in one year – rods of about twelve foot in length being cut, which may mean Mr Mullings uses a soft rod of the variety kelham, which is well known for its vigorous growth.

It is interesting to note that whilst we use the term withy beds in this part of the country in the great osier growing districts round the River Trent in Nottinghamshire the beds are called ‘rod holts’.

Mr Mullings pointed out to me there is a great deal of difference between osier and cane, each having its own special characteristics and being suited to its own type of work and market. Cane work and osier work are two quite different crafts and should not be thought of as one.

Gordon Baker

A Market Lavington winner in the Summer of Sport

August 2, 2013

2012 and 13 both seem to have been regarded as great summers of sport here in the UK. But we are looking back to 1987. It possibly wasn’t a great year for British sport. No UK team won the rugby world cup. None won the cricket world cup although England did win an Ashes series in Australia.

But in Market Lavington a sports themed craft exhibit made by Market Lavington Darby and Joan Club was a winner in an Age Concern craft competition.

The competition piece was a cube with each of the six  23 centimetre square sides representing sports which might, back, then, have been seen on the Grandstand program.

1987 made sports themed cube, produced by members of the Darby and Joan Club in Market Lavington

1987 made sports themed cube, produced by members of the Darby and Joan Club in Market Lavington


The cube is at Market Lavington Museum

The six sides featured bowls, cricket, darts, football, snooker and swimming and the cube perched on a wooden stand.


The cube on its stand

The cube on its stand

The makers of this entry were:

Snooker – Lily Fielding

Lettering and construction – Mary Greening

Darts and football – Norah Hitchings

Swimming and cricket – Betty Martin

Wooden stand – John Martin

Bowls – Audrey Wilks

Perhaps this item will get a turn on display within the next 12 months. Like most of our 7000 plus items it is in store at the moment, but we do have a policy of different temporary displays each year. Its turn will come.

Some craft work by James Jeremiah George Gye

July 29, 2013

It seems to be the habit in many local families to have an official first name but to actually use a middle name. It can cause great confusion and here we have a case in point. James is the name used in all official documents, but this young man was known as George. So from now on, we’ll call him George.

George was born in about 1876. His parents were James Gye, a wheelwright and carpenter and his wife Mary Ann (née Durnford).

We do not know a huge amount about George. In 1881 he was a scholar and the family lived at Fiddington Clay. By 1891, the family had moved to White Street, Market Lavington and had premises where the dwellings known as Gye’s Old Yard now stand. George was an apprentice carpenter, aged 15.

In about 1896, George produced this piece of carved cotton wood.

Carved panel produced by George Gye of Market Lavington in about 1896

Carved panel produced by George Gye of Market Lavington in about 1896

It looks like a quality piece of work but is clearly unfinished.

George may well have been ill by the time he carved this. Our records say it was done as a hobby rather than for any known real purpose.

Sadly, George died in 1899, aged 23.

He appeared recently in photo of the family. Click here.

It is believed he died of TB.

Charles Burnett

July 28, 2013

We looked at Charles (or Charlie) Burnett a couple of years ago. You can click here to see that page.

We add a bit more information about Charles here, together with a wonderful, characterful photograph of him. Let’s start with that.

Charlie Burnett of Easterton - wheelwright for the Gyes of Market Lavington

Charlie Burnett of Easterton – wheelwright for the Gyes of Market Lavington

And now that little bit of extra information.

Charles Burnett, wheelwright, was brought up in Easterton where his parents kept the grocery shop opposite the Royal Oak. He was apprenticed at the age of 14 to Colletts, carpenters and wheelwrights in Poulshot. He started to work for Gyes of Market Lavington in the 1900s and worked for them until his death in the 1950s. His brother, Herbert, was the blacksmith.


May 19, 2013

Very few Market Lavington Houses retain their thatched covering. Over the years, the thatched roof has been replaced with more durable and less fire hazardous tiles or slates. Off hand we can think of just four thatched properties in the village. This is one of them, at 25 White Street. It is getting a 21st century make-over.


25 White Stret, Market Lavington receives new thatch

Throughout the wider area there are enough thatched properties to keep several thatching firms alive and kicking. Easterton has several thatched buildings including, of course, its pub, The Royal Oak.

As is usual, the firm here are not re-starting the thatch from scratch. A new layer is being added. A thatched roof tends to get thicker over the years helping the thatch to do its job of keeping the house warm in winter and cool in summer.

Thatching is a country craft which has survived and is thriving in the 21st century.