Posts Tagged ‘grave’

Finding James Lye

April 28, 2016

James Lye is one of the more famous sons of Market Lavington. You won’t find much about him in history books for James was a humble gardener, working for much of the second half of the nineteenth century as the gardener at Clyffe Hall. Louisa Hay, the long term widow who occupied the hall must have been a bit indulgent with James for she let him have time for his passion – hybridising and showing fuchsias. If you dip a toe into the world of fuchsias you’ll come across the name of James Lye for his cultivars are keenly sought by experts.

We always knew James was buried in Market Lavington churchyard but extensive searches had failed to find his grave. Spurred on by an impending visit by Kristopher Harper, who runs the James Lye Fucshia collection (see and by the recently given grave location books, we set about finding his grave location. Actually, it wasn’t easy, but with a bit of persistence and a small amount of lateral thinking it was discovered. Almost to our surprise there was and is a headstone. Knowing it was the right grave made it possible to make enough out on the grave to be sure we had found it. We ran it tight for a couple of hours later Kristopher was with us and standing by the grave. James died back in 1906.

Kristopher Harper of the James Lye Fuchsia Collection stands by the grave of James Lye

Kristopher Harper of the James Lye Fuchsia Collection stands by the grave of James Lye

Writing can be made out on the three tiers, but it isn’t readable so no wonder it had proved hard to find.

But it didn’t take all that much to uncover James Lye – not literally, of course – just the writing on the stone. Kristopher set to work with toothbrush and water.


Kristopher cleans the grave of James Lye

And there, clear as anything is the name ‘James Lye’.


After much more work the whole grave was readable. James’ wife Maria is commemorated on the side of the monument. So, too, are a number of their children. It is all clearly visible

We’ll return to this grave and family in the near future.


A historic grave

April 2, 2015

This grave doesn’t look out of the ordinary. Like many a grave it is a bit unkempt but an ivy growth on it has been cut away. It is in the Easterton church yard and stands close by the road just below the former jam factory and near the entrance from that side.

A grave in Easterton church yard

A grave in Easterton church yard

We need to enlarge and enhance to read its history.

It is the first ever burial on this site

It is the first ever burial on this site

It reads – In memory of William Doel who died June 9th 1875 aged 69 years. He was the first buried in this churchyard. Also of Joseph Doel who died Sep. 19th 1882 aged 82 years.

Now William is a hard chap to trace. We think he might be the 58 year old general labourer who was living in Easterton in 1871. This census said he was married but he seemed to be living alone.

If you have already done your arithmetic you’ll have worked out that being 58 in 1871 doesn’t match the age 0f 69 on the 1875 grave. But was he 69 then? The entry in the records gives a very clear age at death of 63 – a much better match.

How old was William when he died? The grave says 69. The records say 63!

How old was William when he died? The grave says 69. The records say 63!

Joseph Doel can be found earlier, living with his brother, John, in 1851 in Market Lavington.

We’d love to know more about William Doel, with that historic ‘first’ in Easterton.


April 6, 2013

The tradition amongst bee keepers is that you have to tell the bees the news. Here it is the other way around. An old picture of beehives is giving us some old news.

1920s photo of beehives in the garden behind the fish and chip shop in Market Lavington

1920s photo of beehives in the garden behind the fish and chip shop in Market Lavington

Let’s consider the hives first. There have been two main types used in Britain – the functional ‘National’ hive and the prettier ‘WBC’.  These have the look of the WBC which was named after its inventor, William Broughton Carr. These were photographed in 1920 in the garden behind what is now the fish and chip shop and Chinese takeaway opposite the Co-op. The hive on the right is clearly doing well for extra honey holding ‘supers’ have been added to cope with the produce.

The bees belonged to Mr Elisha. He was the father in law of Mrs Elisha the school teacher and he had the premises on the corner of High Street and Chapel Lane as his tailoring and haberdashery shop. As we can now realise, he was also an avid bee keeper

The buildings on the right of the photo were in the yard behind the butchers shop.

Now we’ll look at the odd bit of structure to the left of the hives.


This is a grave. That area behind the fish and chip shop was once the graveyard of the chapel on chapel lane. That building, of course, is now the fish and chip shop.

We published a list of chapel burials on this blog a couple of years ago. Click here to see it.

The Vicar approves Mr Doubleday’s memorial

December 15, 2012

Edward Doubleday was a Market Lavington butcher during the 1920s (probably earlier) until his death in 1936. He was buried in Market Lavington church yard and, as we see on the photo above he was joined by his wife, Ellen, some 13 years later.

The Doubleday Headstone in Market Lavington church yard

The Doubleday Headstone in Market Lavington church yard

But it was 1938 when plans were in hand for the memorial on the grave. Clearly, the opinion of the Reverend Sturton, Vicar of St Mary’s, Market Lavington was asked to approve the design. We have his reply to White and Co of Wellingborough.

Letter from Reverend Sturton, Vicar of Market Lavington regarding the Doubleday memorial

Letter from Reverend Sturton, Vicar of Market Lavington regarding the Doubleday memorial

We do not know who White and Co are (or were) but guess they might be monumental masons. But why choose a mason in Wellingborough for a grave in Market Lavington? It is possible that White and Co of Wellingborough were family. Mrs Ellen Doubleday had been born Miss White in 1868. In 1871 she lived with the rest of her family in Wellingborough. Interestingly, her father, James, was a stone mason. Ellen’s brother, Harry, followed his father and became a stone mason.

It is interesting to see that the vicar and a clerk were entitled to some money. Their fees (for something) came to £2-17-0.

Some more family history

May 25, 2012

A very recent email came to our curator from Trevor. It read,

Could you let me know if the museum is open over the jubilee weekend? I have found out that my Great Great Grandfather came from Market Lavington and would like to see some of the history of the town.

Richard Asher and Ann Holloway born (1812), married (1831) and left about 1847.

The short answer is, ‘yes, we are open Jubilee weekend. We are open each day of the four-day weekend from 2.30 to 4.30, and may be open at other times as well.

But our curator can’t resist a bit of a challenge and also replied.

As soon as I saw the name Asher, I thought ‘non conformist’ because many with that surname were. That maybe why baptisms don’t seem to show up.

The reply came,

First any of my family has been called ‘non conformist’!!!

Actually, our curator had confused Ashers and Ashleys, but even so, it seems he was right,

A few years ago he had permission to look at the graves around the old Independent Chapel in the village. Two proved readable. This is one of them.

A grave at the former Independant Chapel at Market Lavington. It reads,  ‘Sacred to the memory of Robert Holloway died July 16th 1829 aged 48 years. Also of Elizabeth, daughter of Edward and Eliza (surname can’t be read) died February 7th 1843 aged 1 year and 9 months and of Elizabeth daughter of the above (there is more but it is not readable).

It was emailed off to Trevor.

The next reply came –

WOW! You found my Great Great Great Grandfather, Robert Holloway. I had not looked at the Holloway side too much but this has opened a lot of connections on Ancestry.

Thank you very much and I look forward to looking around the museum on Sat.

We are always pleased to be of service.

And here is the other readable grave at the old chapel.

In Memory of Joseph Ashley, died April 3rd 1843 aged 53 years. He was a (can’t read) and respected man. A second name is underneath. It was not readable but the age at death was 32. Even further down the name Ashley recurs.

Hopkins (and companies)

April 6, 2010

A small metal label in Market Lavington Museum carries the message, ‘Hopkins & Co. Acetylene generator makers and lighting engineers. The Lighthouse, Market Lavington’.

Hopkins & Co. acetylene label - early 20th century

Several buildings in Market Lavington have large square brackets on the wall (The Workman’s Hall for one) which once held gas lamps, no doubt supplied with gas by the Hopkins family.

The Hopkins ran a number of businesses in Market Lavington. Generating acetylene gas and supplying it was one thing they did. The family also were builders’ merchants as well as builders.

The Museum’s little copper plate, some 8cm across, is one artefact amongst several we have. What the Hopkins called ‘The Lighthouse’ we now know as ‘8, Church Street’. The Hopkins main shop was next to what is now the Drummer Boy pub. There were also premises where Milsoms Court now stands.

Some of the Hopkins family are buried in the Drove Lane Cemetery. A click here will lead you to information about it.

John Legg – a Market Lavington Naturalist

January 27, 2010

John Legg lived in Market Lavington from about 1755 to 1802. In 1780 he published a book – one of the first to tell the truth about bird migration. But it seems John was a shy man and did his best to hide his identity by just saying it was ‘by a naturalist’.

Title Page of John Legg's book on bird migration

But John Legg left clues in this and other publications – not least that his initials were J L and that he came from Market Lavington.

In 1894 the Reverend A C Smith carried out research to identify who J L of Market Lavington actually was. His research was published in the 1896 journal of the Wiltshire Archaeological and Natural History Society. I quote from his research here.

John Legg lived and died a bachelor, and for some time at least, if not to the end of his short life, his sisters lived with him. He appears to have had no profession, but to have devoted himself in his early years to the study of Nature and he is reported by his descendants to have practised the art of grafting and inoculation of trees in his own garden at Lavington: but in the latter part of his life, for he died in middle age, he was absorbed in religious speculations; and he appears to have latterly given way to melancholy thoughts and unhappy broodings, to which he was doubtless predisposed by much infirmity of body. Family tradition reports that towards the end of his life he shut himself up almost completely, seldom moving beyond his garden, where he indulged in reveries, and mused in solitude: nay, so persistently did he shun the society of his fellows that he objected to be seen in the village street, and to avoid observation he is said to have made a private path to the Church, by which he could go unseen by any: and even when a young relative was taken by her mother to visit him, all she ever saw of the recluse was his pigtail as he darted upstairs to avoid the interview. His nephew, too, recorded that he never saw him but once, and that then he never spoke to him.

John was buried at Market Lavington. His gravestone is inside the church, near the entrance and another memorial is on the south wall of the Chancel.

John Legg's grave inscription - St Mary's, Market Lavington

At Market Lavington Museum we are trying to piece together as much of the story of John Legg as we can. If you can help then do contact us.