Posts Tagged ‘Easterton’

The Grange – Easterton

June 4, 2016

The Grange is a hidden building in Easterton. It is along the main street but is hidden behind a high, evergreen hedge.

Easterton Street with The Grange all but hidden

Easterton Street with The Grange all but hidden

Those chimneys are what you see these days but it wasn’t always so. In times past The Grange was a Public House, known as ‘The Cow’ and landlords would have wanted it visible. Even though its role as a pub went 150 or so years ago, it takes time to grow a barrier hedge like the one shown so The Grange was visible in Edwardian times as shown in this postcard.

The Grange in Edwardian times

The Grange in Edwardian times

There we see quite a handsome house. There is a wall, a low hedge and other shrubs but The Grange is clearly visible.

How many people do you see? Is it 4, 5 or 6? If you don’t make it six, the chances are you’ve missed the chap standing on the wall.

Boy on the wall in front of Easterton Grange

Boy on the wall in front of Easterton Grange

The other people are all together.

Children in front of The Grange entrance

Children in front of The Grange entrance

The Grange clearly had quite a grand entrance.

What a lovely image of a scene now lost from view.

An unverified rumour

May 24, 2016

Just over a month ago we published a sales brochure for a house in Easterton, now known as Willougbys. (click here) The brochure refers to a story that Oliver Cromwell stayed at this house.

A single, small, typed document has just come to light and that refers to this incident as well.

Document about Easterton House which refers to a possible civil war incident in the Market Lavington area.

Document about Easterton House which refers to a possible civil war incident in the Market Lavington area.

This document, as can be seen, is about a house in Easterton called Easterton House which was once used as the Vicarage for the parish. We have no reason to doubt what most of this document says. It is the first paragraph – a kind of preamble to the main focus – which refers, again, to Oliver Cromwell.

It says, ‘A great battle was fought on the Wiltshire Downs just above Market Lavington and it is said that Oliver Cromwell slept in a farm house, in Easterton, the night before the battle.’

We would really like a historian who knows to confirm or deny this story of a battle on the downs above Market Lavington. Of course we are only about 6 miles from the site of the Battle of Roundway but surely nobody would describe Roundway Down as ‘above Market Lavington’ when it is the other side of Devizes.

Any help or ideas on this would be gratefully received.

The Oak at Easterton

May 13, 2016

This is not a tree. It is Easterton’s pub.

The Royal Oak pub at Easterton - between the two world wars

The Royal Oak pub at Easterton – between the two world wars

Once upon a time Easterton certainly had other ale houses. Just along the street what is now a comfortable house was a pub called ‘The Cow’. But that predates living memory. In remembered times the Royal Oak, to give it its full name, has been Easterton’s only pub.

This postcard is by Burgess Brothers of Market Lavington. It dates from after World War One.

The Oak, of course, is a lovely thatched building and features in many postcards. This one shows the long thin building out the front – we think it was a skittle alley and we also think it was demolished when space for cars to park became more important. The house on the hill above the pub is Kestrels – former home of Ben Hayward.

Well done the Burgess Brothers. We have another delightful photo.

George Meech

May 4, 2016

George Meech was born on Feb 26th 1846 in the area of Stoke Abbot in West Dorset.

In 1851 young George was living with his parents at Stoke Abbot. His father, Samuel was a dairyman and his mother was Lucy. The census says that both parents had been born in Stoke Abbot as well. There were six children at home – three older than George and two younger.

George married Fanny Stevens at the start of 1872 in the Wimborne district.   Fanny had been born in about 1846 at More Crichel in Dorset. Her parents were James and Mary and James was a shepherd.

Fanny can be found with her parents in 1861 and 1871. George and the rest of his family seem to vanish from the censuses.

The next time we find George is in 1881, but this tells us that his eldest son was born in Broughton, Hampshire in about 1873 and the next, was born in about 1879 at Eastcott in Wiltshire. George was farm bailiff at Pond Farm, Fiddington, at the time of the census. Fiddington had been an outpost of West Lavington but some sensible boundary changes had taken place by this time.

It is believed, that because George Meech was at this farm it became locally know as Meech’s or Meech Farm.

In 1891, George, Fanny and family were probably still at Pond Farm but by now this was regarded as a part of the new parish of Easterton. The census just says they were at ‘Easterton Hill’ George is still a farm bailiff and as well as Edgar, aged 18 and Ernest, aged 12, Minnie Ethel Meech, aged 11 has arrived on the scene, born at Eastcott.

A Photo appeared in the Shire Album on Shepherds and Shepherding custom by Art Ingram and it shows a shearing gang at Meech Farm in 1892.

Sheep shearing gang at Meech Farm

Sheep shearing gang at Meech Farm

In 1901 George was at a Farm called Wadman’s Farm on The Sands, Easterton, No children are left at home, but Fanny’s mother, Mary Stevens, aged 86 is with George and Fanny.

Pond Farm appeared in postcards – thought to be from the Edwardian era. This one was posted in 1909.

Pond Farm

Pond Farm

Fanny died in the summer of 1928. The death is registered in the Devizes district.

George died on Died Jan 29th 1936. He was buried on 1st February at Market Lavington church yard. The Reverend Sturton officiated.


Easterton Street

May 3, 2016
Easterton Street - probably Edwardian

Easterton Street – probably Edwardian

This photo is undated. It was taken from the bridge over the stream at the bottom of Kings Road – the road that leads past the village hall and up onto the Sands but it shows the main street through Easterton. The people look to be clothed in Edwardian style.

Easterton Street has seen considerable changes, but the terrace hasn’t changed much externally.

The terrace - sometimes known as the barracks

The terrace – sometimes known as the barracks

Further down the street is a tall pole. We see no wires. Any ideas?

A pole for what?

A pole for what?

Let’s see the similar view in the 21st century.

21st century streetview

21st century streetview

Many changes can be seen, but perhaps it is the appearance of cars which marks the biggest difference between then and now.


1923 Hospital Week

April 29, 2016

Back in the 20s and 30s the Hospital Week was carnival time in Market Lavington and Easterton. It was the time for dressing up and having fun and generally enjoying life. And at the same time money was raised to assist those in need with the cost of health care in those bleak days before there was a National Health Service.

Hospital Week in 1923. Fancy dress at Easterton pump

Hospital Week in 1923. Fancy dress at Easterton pump

This little group are clearly entering into the spirit of things and have themselves suitably attired for all the fun on offer – and to entertain those less able to take an active part.

For once, perhaps, it is the man who takes the eye.

 image003 This chap is dressed as a shell petrol man complete with a magnificent head dress and a suitable can as well as various Shell logos. Sad to say we don’t know who he is and neither do we know the ladies.


Any help identifying these people would be gratefully received.

The third lady appears to have done something seen as ‘non PC’ these days. It looks as though she has blacked up or at least darkened her facial skin.


The location is interesting for these people are by the Easterton pump which still stands on Kings Road, close by the bridge.

This clearly shows the chute for delivering water into a bowser. Farmers brought mobile water carriers or bowsers to the pump for filling. This helps to explain why the pump was built on quite a high stand.


Easterton Shop – 1930s

April 25, 2016

We have recently gained a number of postcards of Easterton and this one has excited some interest. The scene is clear. The main focus of the photo is the shop – the one near the bottom of Easterton’s White Street and more or less opposite the Royal Oak pub.

Easterton shop in the 1930s

Easterton shop in the 1930s

The shop is made clear with a zoom in.

Tea and lamp oil are advertised

Tea and lamp oil are advertised

An advert for Brooke Bond tea is clearly visible and, possibly, a poster for a garden fete. The end building advertises Empire lamp oil.

But what generates interest is the factory style chimney beyond the shop.

The factory style chimney on Easterton Street

The factory style chimney on Easterton Street

As yet the purpose of this is unproven. Suggestions are that it could be a bakery or maybe a forge.

We’ll let you know when we discover its purpose.

This was a sent postcard. So let’s look at the back.

The back of the postcard

The back of the postcard

The recipient was Bessie Gye who became Bessie Francis. The senders were members of the Burnett family – well known in Easterton and previously shop keepers there. Bert and Elsie lived on High Street, Easterton. The date of sending appears to be 1938 but the postmark is not good.

Do help us sort out that chimney, if you can. Thanks.


Starched knickers for Mrs Redstone

April 24, 2016

Mrs Redstone was the schoolmistress at Easterton. Holders of such posts are not always popular with the children and that seems to have been the case revealed here. But let’s first see where Lucretia Redstone lived – a lovely photo of a house in Easterton, just opposite the school or rather where the school once stood.


Mrs Redstone, schoolmistress at Easterton lived here.

Sharp eyed folk will notice a couple of girls in the doorway. They are Mrs Redstone’s daughters, another Lucretia on the left and Mary on the right.

image003Mary was born around 1892 so this dates the photo to very early 20th century.

This, of course, has nothing to do with starched knickers. That comes in a tale from Peggy Gye, our museum founder who was asked to write a piece for the Bratton History Association journal in 1997. Peggy recalled:-

There was a little laundry in the village, which used a pony and trap to collect washing from its customers, some of whom would take their laundry home after it had been washed and iron it themselves, especially if they had daughters. A local man came to the Museum one day, and when he told me a little story about the laundry, I suddenly realised he was talking about my husband’s family. It appeared that my husband’s grandmother used to send her smalls to the laundry. The laundry woman’s little grandson didn’t like my husband’s grandmother who was his headmistress; he thought she was too strict. So he got his own back by starching her knickers.

There could be a moral here – avoid telling tales about people because in a village, your listener might be related to them. But in this case it was harmless enough. I suspect we all snigger just a bit at the thought of the prim and proper school teacher being made a tad uncomfortable by starched knickers!

And we have a chance to show you two ‘daughters’ of Easterton as well.

Oak Lane from the air

April 22, 2016

This aerial photo, recently given to the museum shows the area around Oak Lane in Easterton. It was taken from the air but at a good angle to show buildings.

Oak Lane, Easterton, from the air

Oak Lane, Easterton, from the air

Down at the bottom right we have the pub – the Royal Oak.

The Royal Oak

The Royal Oak

This, of course, lines up with the High Street and has Oak Lane at the side.

Further up Oak Lane we get to Kestrels and Sparrows.

Kestrels and Sparrows

Kestrels and Sparrows

Kestrels, on the left was, once, the home of Ben Hayward. We think he named the house for he was a lover of birds and using them for hawking. The white house, Sparrows, was surely named as a kind of joking taunt to Kestrels, It had been the retirement home of James Lye, the gardener and famed fuchsia grower.

The post war development of Hayward’s Place is a turn off Oak Lane.

Hayward's Place

Hayward’s Place

What a lovely photo of this area. The photo dates from the 1990s.


Willoughbys for sale

April 18, 2016

Back in 1930 the house we know as Willoughbys on White Street in Easterton was up for auction complete with a bit of a legend. Seemingly it was called The Old House then.

Auction description for The Old House (Willoughbys) in Easterton

Auction description for The Old House (Willoughbys) in Easterton

Someone has pencilled on to the front of the little brochure that the vendor was Miss Murphy. We know nothing about her. The pages describing the house make lovely reading.


So there’s the legend. It says Oliver Cromwell is said to have stayed and slept in one of the rooms.


This is a lovely document about a lovely house which still stands, of course.