Posts Tagged ‘family history’

The Burbidge family at home

October 26, 2015

We are quite amazed to realise that we have never used this photo on the museum blog. It shows the Burbidge family in the front garden of their Market Lavington front door.

This family lived at the house which is now our museum building. Most of them moved there in 1907 when Mr Burbidge, Alf, got a job as gardener for Miss Pleydell Bouverie at the Old House. A year later, the younger daughter Florence was born at that house.

The Burbidge family at home

The Burbidge family at home

From left to right we have Florence who was known as Flo, Louisa the mother of the children who, we gather, was quite insistent on being called Mrs Burbidge. Then we have Alf and then the older daughter Doris who was known as Dorrie.

Dorrie left home in 1934 when she married and moved, with her husband to Bristol.

Flo married Bert Shore in 1940 and continued to live in Market Lavington.

Both Louisa and Alfred died in 1954 and both are buried in the churchyard in Market Lavington. Their cottage then fell into disuse until the school made use of it. It became the museum in 1985.

JAMES NEATE (1829 -1920)

October 21, 2015

This account of the life of James Neate was written by a descendant – Patrick Lee who lives in New South Wales, Australia

James Neate - a photo by Burgess of Market Lavington

James Neate – a photo by Burgess of Market Lavington

James was born in 1829 at Caversham, Oxfordshire and died in 1920 at Devizes, Wiltshire.

“Misleading information brought one young would-be entrepreneur from Reading, Berkshire, to Market Lavington in mid-century. This was James Neate, who had had a casual meeting with a railway engineer who had a map showing that the proposed extension of the western railway from London to Bristol would pass through the village, with the railway station to be sited in Church St opposite St Mary’s. Neate had raised the money to purchase a property in High St by 1852 but before he discovered the true facts. Nevertheless he opened “The Brewery Tap”, a small brewery in White St which also supplied wine and spirits; and his good ale, in nine, 18 and 36 gallon casks, selling for sixpence a gallon at harvest time, was very popular. Customers were served through the window of “The Tap” and drank their beer on the pavement. Neate prospered but died in 1920 at the age of 91, after which, by wish of the family, the business was closed down and the brewery demolished.” When I visited England in 1998, I found this account in a book titled “Village Under The Plain – The Story Of Market Lavington”, (Bedeguar Books, Wiltshire, 1995), splendidly written by a local Market Lavington historian, Brian McGill. The village of Market Lavington sits on the edge of Salisbury Plain, the site of prehistoric Stonehenge and of some defining battles throughout English history.

After the “The Brewery Tap” was demolished, the site was soon converted to tenement housing. In McGill’s book there is a wonderful photograph of Norman Nunney Neate, a son of James, posing in the brewery grounds with two jolly-looking Canadian soldiers during the First World War. Norman, who had a shooting accident as a young man, leaving him partly disabled and requiring a wheel-chair in later life, managed the brewery for some time before his father died.


Norman Neate in the grounds of “The Brewery Tap” with two Canadian soldiers during the First World War

A local newspaper article dated 21 June 1857, which referred to James as “Jasper” Neate, announced to its readers that he established “The Brewery Tap” in Market Lavington, near Devizes, Wiltshire in 1852.

Some of James’s business ventures were not smooth sailing. In The London Gazette, 27 July 1866, it is recorded that the Chief Registrar of the Court of Bankruptcy registered on 25 July 1866 trust deeds for the benefit of creditors, nominating debtor, James Neate of Market Lavington, Wiltshire, ale and porter brewer and wine and spirit merchant and the deed trustees as chemist and druggist, Charles Crook of Hungerford, Berkshire, John Hazell of Market Lavington, and Thomas Neate of West Lavington. Thomas Neate might have been a brother or cousin of James.

The London Gazette, 26 March 1872, also records the dissolution of a partnership to carry on business as brewers and wine and spirit merchants, which was signed by James Neate and John Stratton and dated 20 March 1872.

James and his family resided at what was known by locals as “The Red House” in Market Lavington. The Kennett District Council in its Market Lavington Conservation Area Statement July 2002 reports on the architectural and historic character of local buildings. On “The Red House” it states: “Nearby is the 19th century Kings Arms one of the three public houses. This has a yard entry to the side against the Red House, a former farmhouse of 17th century origin, now of red brick with stone mullioned windows. Some windows to the street are blocked where the interior accommodation also has a rear aspect to the garden and access off The Clay”.

James is the rifleman referred to in the report in the Westminster Herald, 1 September 1866, of which I have an original copy, and on the silver cup and pewter mug in the possession of Pamela Lee (nee Poole). Peggy Gye, a Market Lavington family historian, informed me that Qr. M. Sgt. Neate was my great-grandfather. The silver cup is inscribed: WILTS RIFLE ASSOCIATION, Presented by THE MOST NOBLE THE MARQUIS OF BATH, President of the Association 1866. The pewter mug is inscribed: 7th WILTS VRA, Given by Lady Charlotte Watson Taylor August 1873, Won by Qr. M. Sergt. Neate.

The Market Lavington 1871 Census books contain the following information: “James Neate, head, 42 years of age, born Caversham, Oxfordshire, brewer and spirit merchant; Martha, wife, 42 years of age, born Wantage, Berkshire; Ellen 9, Frederic James Neate 8, Florence 5, Alfred 3, Norman Nunney 1 year, Caroline Louise 1 month”.

When James died in 1920, probate of his will was passed to his son, Frederic James Neate.

The Market Lavington Museum has a wealth of information and photographs about members of the Neate family, including photographs of James’s personal rifleman’s helmet box and of stoneware jars used by him, in “The Brewery Tap” on its internet site. Go to:

Louisa Baker

June 7, 2015

We have a very soft spot for the Baker family in Market Lavington. They have always been exceptionally kind to us. Today we look at the matriarch of the family – Louisa.

Louisa Baker at about the time of her wedding

Louisa Baker at about the time of her wedding

Louisa was born in 1857 (or thereabouts) in West Lavington but in 1877 she married John Baker. The photo dates from about the time of the marriage.

John, according to the 1881 census was a dozen or so years older than his wife and was a ‘whitesmith’. This meant he made and traded in tinplate and enamelware. His premises were in what remained a hardware shop until quite recent times – opposite the present Co-op and next to the entrance into Woodland Yard.

Bearing and caring for children must have occupied much of Louisa’s life. The 1891 census lists Annie (12), Margaret (11), Hilda (9), Mabel (7), John (5), Archibald (3), Ida (1) and Amy (3 months).

The final child, Mollie, was born in about 1905 and sadly she never knew much of her parents. In fact her father died in 1903 so either her birth date is wrong or she actually had a different father. Louisa died in 1910. Both John and Louisa are buried in Market Lavington churchyard.

A number of the children emigrated to Canada and took family treasures with them. Quite a few of these have re-crossed the Atlantic and now have a home at the museum.

William Merritt

April 20, 2015

This photo of William Merritt comes as a result of the visit of Peter from Leicestershire the other day but it is, actually, a photo that was held in Market Lavington. It shows William Merritt.

William Merritt - 1850 to 1892. Blacksmith of Market Lavington

William Merritt – 1850 to 1892. Blacksmith of Market Lavington

So, once again we look into the Merritt family history.

William was born in 1850 and was the son of John Hampton Merritt and his wife Mary Ann. John was the blacksmith based at Broadwell.

After the 1861 census we lose track of William. Our photo shows a young man in military uniform so perhaps he was overseas. But when we find him on the 1891 census he was married (to a Littleton girl called Elizabeth) and children up to the age of 15 were all shown as born in Market Lavington.

That 1891 census shows William as a blacksmith on White Street. It seems likely he had taken over the premises formerly occupied by his father. It is also probable that the census enumerator made a mistake, for William married Emily Jane Lye in 1874.

William died in 1892 and is buried in the churchyard at Market Lavington. Emily followed him in 1914.

The sad tale of Archibald Fergusson

February 14, 2015

Archibald W J Fergusson is buried in Market Lavington churchyard

The grave of Archibald Ferusson

The grave of Archibald Ferusson

His grave is not easy to read – except the name, but the burial records can help to tell the story.

He was buried on 4th September 1869 with an age of nought (zero years). The officiating minister was F Daubenay and Archibald was recorded as an infant.

A small monument has Archibald’s initials but doesn’t quite line up as a footstone.

Is this a footstone? If so it is a bit out of allignment

Is this a footstone? If so it is a bit out of allignment

The FreeBMD website tells us that Archibald’s birth was registered in the June quarter of 1869. The little lad did not last long.

His parents had married a year before. George Burbidge Fergusson married Jane Kite in the Lambeth district of London. Archibald, their firstborn, was born in the Devizes district and it’s a fair assumption that it was in Market Lavington.

And so we find that at the time of the 1871 census, George and wife Jane Fergusson were living, without any children, at Market Place, Market Lavington. George was a master maltster, employing one man. He had been born in Trowbridge in 1835.

But the story, for the Fergussons, was about to improve and maybe the presence of a nurse in the household was an indication that a baby was imminent.

In 1881 the family, with four children, lived on White Street, Market Lavington and George was now a farmer.

We lose the family from then on, so they must have moved away from the Lavington area. One of the children – a brother of Archibald who rests in Market Lavington, is in Stockport, Cheshire at the time of the 1901 census.

In the 18th century, Market Lavington had no fewer than 27 maltings. One of the last to operate was in the Market Place. Perhaps Archibald’s father, George, operated that one before he became a farmer.

The Cooper Family at New Farm

January 14, 2015

New Farm is, or rather was, one of the farms on Salisbury Plain, in the parish of Market Lavington. To reach New Farm now you’d have to go to the top of Lavington Hill and then, if the flags weren’t flying, continue on the track across Salisbury Plain. After a mile and a bit you’ll find the track passes through a bit of a wooded area. New Farm was in that wooded area on the right hand side of the track. We have looked briefly at New Farm before and this page,  has a photo of the area taken in 2008.

Today we are looking back at a photo believed to have been taken in 1909. The person who gave it to the museum believes it is New Farm although it has to be said, we have doubts because stone like that big blank wall is made of just isn’t found on Salisbury Plain. However, the family shown is a Market Lavington family so the picture is definitely worthy of being seen.

The Cooper family, possibly at new Farm, Market Lavington.

The Cooper family, possibly at new Farm, Market Lavington.

This is the Cooper Family (possibly) at New Farm, Market Lavington in about 1909. Seated at the right is James T Cooper, born around 1865. Next to him is his wife, Sarah Jane (née) Taylor also born around 1865. Behind them in the dark suit is their son, George Thomas Cooper born about 1887. The other people are not known, but on the 1901 census (at New Farm) the other children of James and Sarah are Mary, born 1889, Walter, born 1891, Charley, born 1894 and Jacob (named after his grandfather) born 1898.

Sadly, nobody alive is going to recognise New Farm. It is now over 100 years since it vanished. But we remain hopeful that people just might be recognised.

Random acts of kindness

December 24, 2014

In truth we get many acts of kindness at Market Lavington Museum. I could start with well over 7000 items, all of which have been given. But most of these gifts have not been entirely random. They have been made by people with a close interest in our parishes.

But just sometimes, things arrive from out of the blue. One, recently, was Lady Warrington’s Mothers’ Union certificate.

Sometimes, people do random acts of work for us as well and we have received information from a genealogist as a follow up to our post about Sergeant Tarrant – a Daguerreotype photograph.

John has looked up the military record of a James Tarrant of Market Lavington. The conclusion he comes to, and we come to, is that it is not the man in the photo, but nonetheless it makes for fascinating information.

James Tarrant enlistment papers - 1860

James Tarrant enlistment papers – 1860


We can see, from this enlistment paper that James Tarrant of Market Lavington was 18 when he joined up on 23rd May 1860. His bounty was two pounds and his kit.

Enlistment papers give a brief description of the person.


A description of James Tarrant of Market Lavington


So we get a little picture of James who was 5 feet 4¾ inches tall with light complexion, hazel eyes and light brown hair. The height was about average for that time.

James joined the 62nd regiment of foot and enlisted for ten years. He was clearly of good conduct and never appeared in the defaulter’s book. He remained a Private throughout his military service.

In fact he served only about nine years and was released from service in 1869. The discharge papers say he was returning to Market Lavington but in 1871 he was a shop porter in Bath. We think he died, still a young man, in 1879.

We’d like to thank John for this real act of random kindness (not his first). We do always like to learn a little more about our local people, what they did and how they lived.

And of course, James may be related to Sergeant Tarrant as seen in the Daguerreotype.

Number 2 Parsonage Lane

October 25, 2014

We have commented before that Parsonage Lane is not well represented in photos at the museum. Just recently this lack was slightly redressed with some photos at Number 2 – generally of a wedding but with one that showed the house. It has a big crease across the photo.

The photo was found in the house by the present occupant. He’s been in the house for fifty years and has allowed us to make copies. It stands to reason that the owner was not the original owner and he knows nothing about dates or people. But despite that crease, here is a lovely photo.

Number 2 Parsonage Lane in Market Lavington - possibly in about 1912

Number 2 Parsonage Lane in Market Lavington – possibly in about 1912

The house still looks much the same now. We can only guess at the age of this photo which could be the 1910s to 1930s.

At that time the house was occupied by George Cooper and family. George was a coal merchant. He married Mabel Brown in 1909. The family were at Parsonage Lane for the 1911 census and were there as shown on electoral rolls in 1926 and 1939. George died in 1956, still living at Parsonage Lane. Mabel followed in 1968 but she had moved to a smaller house by then.

It seems likely that the family here are George and Mabel with two of the children.

Are these people George and Mabel Cooper with two of their children?

Are these people George and Mabel Cooper with two of their children?

The two children look to be girls. If all our guesses are right this would suggest this is an earlier photo.

Winifred was born in 1910 and is on that 1911 census. Irene was born in 1912. The next two children were Herbert in 1914 and Henry in 1919. Gwendoline May was born in 1921 and finally there was Robert in 1926.

But we’ll emphasise again, this is guess work. We have no other photo of George and family for comparison and this could have been visitors at the home.

And you may have guessed it by now – we hope you can help us with a positive identification.

Betty James

September 21, 2014

Betty, or Elizabeth, was the wife of a Market Lavington baker, Walter James.

This is a good point to remind readers of our Museum Miscellany on 4th October in Market Lavington Community Hall. We always have interval food made from our museum recipes and this might include some Walter James recipes.

But back to Betty who was a James by marriage but who was born a Gye in 1869 in Market Lavington. She was the daughter of James and Mary Ann. James was a carpenter and wheelwright and his descendants followed him into that line of work, setting up the yard on White Street.

In 1904 Elizabeth married Walter James who was establishing himself as a baker in the village. He had taken over the bakery at number one High Street which is now the Post Office.

This picture of Elizabeth is in an album that belonged to a member of the Gye family which we have in Market Lavington Museum.

Betty James  - a photo in an album at Market Lavington Museum

Betty James – a photo in an album at Market Lavington Museum

The photo has a caption which would have been added later.

The photo caption

The photo caption

In 1901 Elizabeth was at home and had work as a dressmaker.

By 1911 the James family – young Walter had been born, were in their High Street premises which stayed in the family until well after World War II.

But Elizabeth (Betty) James died in 1927.

James Gye

September 7, 2014


The Gyes have, for many a year, been a part of village life in Market Lavington but actually, when James was born in 1840, he was born in the parish of West Lavington. He became a Market Lavington man when parish boundaries were reorganised and the area known as Fiddington was transferred to Market Lavington.

We have an old and rather fragile photo album of Gye family members. It is not usually on display but do feel free to ask to see it.

Photo album inscription

Photo album inscription

It was given to S Gye by Ada D’Albertausne

The first photo in the album is of Sarah Gye. Maybe she was the recipient.

However, here we see a picture of James that graces a page of this album.

James Gye of Market Lavington - 1840 to 1900

James Gye of Market Lavington – 1840 to 1900

This photo is cabinet sized and as we can see it slots into a frame within the album.

The writing which gives names and dates is a later addition and whilst we believe it tells us the truth, we cannot be certain.

Let’s zoom in on this fine Victorian gentleman.


There’s James whose grandson still lives in the village.

Grandson, like grandfather, was a carpenter.

We find James on the 1851 census living with his parents, William and Sophia. William farmed 50 acres at Fiddington and was born in Market Lavington. Sophia had been born in Easterton.

By 1871 James had become a carpenter and was married to Mary Ann. They lived on Stobbarts Road and already had four daughters.

In 1881 the family lived at Fiddington Clay. A couple of boys had been born and five children still lived at home.

By 1891 the Gyes had moved to White Street and, no doubt, had the yard now known as Gye’s Old Yard.

And despite the photo caption, James died in 1900. Mary Ann, his widow lived until 1919. Both are buried in Market Lavington churchyard.