Posts Tagged ‘gardening’

A Christmas present in 1881 – ‘The Garden’

December 19, 2010

A treasured possession at Market Lavington Museum is Volume 8 of ‘The Garden’ a bound collection of this magazine which was an ‘Illustrated Weekly Journal’. Volume 8 was published at Christmas 1875.

Title page of 'The Garden' published in 1875 and a treasured artefact at Market Lavington Museum

Regular readers of this blog will know that all artefacts at Market Lavington Museum have a connection with the broader parish of Market Lavington, past and present and that this includes Easterton (from the past) and areas like Gore, Russell Mill and Fiddington which either were once or now are parts of West Lavington.

A bound volume of ‘The Garden’ is clearly something which might be found anywhere. It is an inscription on the flyleaf, which makes this volume very special, locally.

The inscription in the book - a Christmas gift from Mrs Hay to her gardener, James Lye

Mrs Hay, or to give her full name, The Hon. Louisa Hay was a Pleydell Bouverie by birth – granddaughter of Lord Radnor. She has featured before on this blog and you can read about her by clicking here.

Her home was Clyffe Hall (which has also been mentioned on this blog – click here) and her long-term gardener was James Lye.

James Lye was a gardener of humble origins and he remained a gardener all his life but he rose to become a real village worthy. Our curator gets more requests for information about James Lye than for any other person from the village.

James Lye’s particular penchant was for growing fuchsias. He bred many new varieties and it was this work, which brought him honour and fame. But his interests were wider than just the fuchsias and he also won at least one award for a new variety of potato which he developed.

Not surprisingly, James has featured before on this blog. You can read about his life by clicking here.

So here we have a book produced in Christmas 1875, given as a Christmas present in 1881, now being used as a blog item for Christmas 2010.

Market Lavington Museum would be delighted to receive Christmas gifts. Yes of course money is always useful, for like any other organisation we need to maintain a building, heat it (and what cost will that be this year?) and make sure we have the essential insurance. But whilst cash is crucial, gifts, like the book featured here – remembering that need for a good parish connection – would be very gratefully received. If you have anything which might be suited to preservation in the museum then do contact the curator.

Frank West Skinn

May 9, 2010

Market Lavington has several large houses with ample grounds. It is no wonder that there were many gardeners in the parish. Frank Skinn was amongst them.

He was not born in Market Lavington, for he hailed from Lincolnshire. Frank West Skinn first saw the light of day in 1859. His father was an agricultural labourer in the flat lands to the northeast of Boston.

As a youngest son it was, perhaps, no surprise that Frank’s mother died before he was a fully-grown man.

We do not know why Frank came south to Market Lavington, but at the time of the 1891 census he was gardener to Miss Ann Pleydell Bouverie who lived at The Old House on Parsonage Lane. Frank, himself, lived at the little cottage which now houses Market Lavington Museum. The picture held by Market Lavington Museum dates from about that time.

Frank Skinn - gardener at The Old House, Market Lavington - 1891

It would also seem that Frank married in 1891. Market Lavington Museum has a document, which shows that the Vicar, Reverend Cokayne Frith, published the banns at St Mary’s Church, but we have not identified just where the marriage took place.

Reverend Cokayne Frith published the banns for Frank Skinn's marriage to Jean Pettigrew

By 1901 Frank (who has now become Mr West-Skinn) and his wife, with sons James and John were living in West lavington but Frank was still a domestic gardener and may still have been in the employ of the Pleydell Bouverie family in Market Lavington.

A third son, Richard was born in the Lavington area in about 1904. (In fact Richard was the fourth child –  message from daughter of Richard received Dec 2011.)

By 1911, Frank and family lived in Glastonbury in Somerset which was to be his home until he died in 1935.

Market lavington Museum has an extract from a Glastonbury paper, which records the death of Frank. The article lacks factual accuracy for the Pleydell Bouverie family were, at the time, the holders of Market Lavington Manor.

Report from a Glastonbury paper on the death of Frank Skinn - 1935

A final message for genealogists. Frank proves quite hard to trace. Partly this is because he is sometimes Frank Skinn and at other times Frank West Skinn but it is also due to the way in which people have heard and written Skinn. Apart from that normal spelling, it appears in some documents as Skin and in others as Skeen. If you can help us fill in gaps in our knowledge at Market Lavington Museum then do contact the curator.

Samuel Moore of Easterton

May 5, 2010

Samuel Moore is a famous son of Easterton. Easterton, of course, was once a part of Market Lavington parish. Market Lavington Museum is seeking more information about Samuel.

Samuel Moore came to fame for running the jam factory in Easterton. The factory outlived Samuel but has now closed and is soon to be redeveloped – just as soon as the house builders can sort out the re-housing of the bats, which now occupy the site.

Samuel was born about 1864. Just where is a little uncertain for some information says Fiddington (then a part of West Lavington) and other data gives the birthplace as Easterton.

In 1871 Samuel was living with his grandparents in Easterton.

In 1881 Samuel lived at Woodbine Cottage in Easterton with his parents Isaac and Elizabeth. Samuel, aged 17, was a gardener, just like his father.

In 1891 Samuel lived on Church Street, Easterton – possibly still Woodbine Cottage. He was married to Bertha, a local girl and was working as a fruit preserver, probably for Samuel Saunders.

In 1901 Samuel, Bertha and the growing family were definitely at Woodbine Cottage on what was then called, The Drove. It is now named after Samuel.

The family were in Easterton in 1911 and Samuel certainly worked in some way with fruit.

At which point, the records we have in Market Lavington Museum stop. We have a photo, given to the museum this week, of a family at Woodbine Cottage.

Woodbine Cottage, the home of Samuel Moore of Easterton

Could that be an elderly Sam and Bertha by the cottage?

We also have a photo of Sam, thought to date from about 1920.

Samuel Moore in about 1920 from a photo at Market Lavington Museum

If you can give any further help with the history of Samuel and his family or his jam factory, then please contact the curator.

Garden sprayers – Market Lavington Museum

April 28, 2010

Once upon a time, Market Lavington, Easterton and Fiddington were all fruit growing areas. A new display of insecticide sprayers at Market Lavington Museum remembers this time.

Garden sprayers or syringes at Market Lavington Museum

The sprayers were all found at an address on Kings Road which was the site of one of the first of the late nineteenth century fruit farms. This was set up by Samuel Saunders whose family had been prominent in the parish for much of the century. In fact, Samuel may well have been in his 70s when he set up his fruit farm.

No doubt his employee, young Samuel Moore, did much of the work. Samuel Moore later found fame as the founder of the Easterton Jam factory.

It could be that in his early days, Samuel Moore used these sprayers.

The Life of James Lye

April 25, 2010

Market Lavington gardener, James Lye was a giant in the field of fuchsia growing and hybridisation. Here – a response to requests for information – we present the details we have of his life.


James Lye was born in about 1830 in Market Lavington. His parents, Richard who was a labourer and Ann had him baptised at St Mary’s Church in Market Lavington on August 22nd of 1830.

A recurring problem with genealogy in Market Lavington is that the 1841 census has not survived for our parish. But a James Lye of the right age was a servant at Cornbury Mill for that census. Cornbury Mill is the first building in West Lavington where the census has survived.

In 1849 James married Maria Smith – a Market Lavington girl by birth.

In 1851 James was a gardener. Documentation suggests he was already in the employ of Louisa Hay at Clyffe Hall. He and Maria lived on Northbrook in Market Lavington with baby daughter Elizabeth.

In 1861 the census tells us that James was gardener to the Hon Mrs Hay. He and Maria now lived on White Street in Market Lavington and they had three daughters with them – Ann, Emily and Louisa.

By 1871, a cottage had been found for James on site – Clyffe Hall Lodge. James was gardener and bailiff for Mrs Hay. He and Maria had four daughters now – Elizabeth Ann, Harriet, Ellen and baby Letty.

Letty died in 1878. James named a fuchsia after her.

For the 1881 census, James was aged 50. He and Maria lived at ‘The Cottage’ Clyffe Hall and still had Harriet and Ellen at home with them – both described as dressmakers (out of employ). James was, of course, a gardener.

James Lye, fuchsia grower and gardener of Market Lavington - about 1890

Moving on to 1891 we find James and Maria together at Clyffe Hall Cottage along with daughter Ellen. Louisa Hay was still at Clyffe Hall and James was still her gardener and Bailiff.

We do not know just when James retired. His employer, Louisa Hay, died in 1898 and perhaps uncertainty over his future made him decide it was time to hang up his gardening gloves.

James and Maria celebrated their Golden Wedding anniversary in 1899 but we have no information about how they celebrated this occasion.

In 1901 James and Maria lived in Easterton on Oak Lane. Easterton had been a part of Market Lavington but became a separate parish in the 1870s. So James was not far from home there.

James died in 1906 and was buried in Market Lavington churchyard. Maria followed him some three years later.

The Gardeners Chronicle published this obituary for James

Gardeners Chronicle February 10 1906

Obituary _ James Lye

On Saturday last, at a ripe age, a victim to paralysis, there passed away at Market Lavington, Wilts a gardener in the person of James Lye, who had the warm esteem and regard of a wide circle of friends, and who had made for himself a good name in horticulture.

For very many years he was Gardener at Clyffe Hall Market Lavington, and there gave his attention largely to the raising and growing of Fuchsia and potatoes. Whilst the varieties of the latter which he raised have been elbowed out of commerce by newer ones, many of his Fuchsias today still rank amongst the very best in cultivation.

Indeed none are more beautiful, have better habit or flower more abundantly. Mr Lye was a very capable raiser and. first class grower of specimens and the noble pyramids he grew at Clyffe Hall 9 to 10 feet tall, and referred to in an article in Gardeners Chronicle February 14 1885, were never excelled out of the West of England.

He had retired from active life for several years, but still retained his love for Fuchsias to the last.

The Ross Family at Market Lavington

April 19, 2010

Joseph Ross was a gardener. He was born in Welford near Newbury in Berkshire in about 1871.

In 1898 he married Florence Smith in the London area.

The couple had five children, all born in Berkshire. They were Ella Ross, born in  1900, Nellie Ross born in 1902, Florence Ross, born in 1904, Charles Ross born in 1908 and Stanley Ross born in 1910.

Sometime around the end of the first war, Joseph became head gardener for Lord Warrington who lived at Clyffe Hall in Market Lavington.

Amongst the few items we have at Market Lavington Museum about the Ross family is a delightful photo portrait, which was made into a postcard. It dates from the early 1920s and shows the entire family.

Joseph Bernhard Ross and his wife Florence Edith in the grounds of Clyffe Hall, Market Lavington

Both Joseph and his wife, Florence lived the rest of their lives in Market Lavington. For Joseph this was sadly short for he died in 1926 and is buried in the churchyard of St Mary’s, Market Lavington. His widow, Florence lived for another thirty-nine years before joining Joseph in the churchyard in 1965.

If you can help with more information about this family we’d love to hear from you.

James Lye

April 7, 2010

James Lye is one of the better-known inhabitants of Market Lavington in times past. He earned renown as a gardener at Clyffe Hall where he worked for the Hon Louisa Hay. No doubt at some time we’ll return to the source of his fame, which was fuchsia growing.

James Lye also won an award for a new variety of potato, which he developed. The medal, awarded to celebrate three hundred years of the potato, is now at Market Lavington Museum.

Reverse of medal won by James Lye for his potato variety, 'Clipper'

Obverse of James Lye potato medal in Market Lavington Museum

His potato variety was called ‘Clipper’ and if anybody knows anywhere to obtain any, we’d love to grow them at Market Lavington.

But what about James Lye’s life? He was born in 1830 in Market Lavington and baptised at the village church on 22nd August. His father, Richard was a labourer and he and his wife, Ann, had a large family.

Inevitably, we know nothing of his early life. He may have been a boy servant at Cornbury Mill in 1841 but as a word of warning for family researchers, the 1841 census for Market Lavington and Easterton has not survived.

By 1851 James was married to his wife Maria (née Smith) and a daughter had been born. The young family lived on Northbrook in Market Lavington and James was earning his keep as a gardener.

In 1861 James was listed as ‘Gardener to the Hon Mrs Hay’. The growing family lived on White Street in Market Lavington

In 1871 James was living, no doubt very conveniently, at The Lodge, Clyffe Hall – on the spot for his gardens and greenhouses. He was there for at least the next twenty years but by 1901 James had retired and he and Maria had moved to Oak Lane in Easterton.

Both James and Maria died during the reign of King Edward VII. They are both buried in Market Lavington churchyard.