Posts Tagged ‘harvest’

Harvest – men and horses

August 20, 2013

As this is written, the harvesting of corn on Lavington Hill is all but over for 2013.

The mighty combine has hurried round the fields, cutting huge swathes of the crop at each pass. Tractors with grain trailers have bustled to and fro, removing the valuable crop.

The giant baler followed the combine and most of the huge rectangular bales have been carted off. Some have passed through the village on their way to unknown destinations.

Ploughs aren’t used, but some fields have already turned brown as the stubble has been turned in and broken up. The downs have an autumnal look to them.

With all that in mind we’ll look back at a past harvest which would have been much slower and more manual in style.

A past harvest at Eastcott. Note the pitchforks.

A past harvest at Eastcott. Note the pitchforks.

Our information about this photo is limited. The back of the cards says ‘Bowyer Farm’. Our records say it is to do with the Cook family of Eastcott Farm.

With such poor information it is over to you. Please get in touch if you can identify people, location or even the horse. It’s a lovely image of past times so it would be good to have proper facts about it.

Harvest Festival, Then and Now

October 8, 2012

Yesterday, a regular annual event was celebrated by members and friends of Trinity Church. This was the church’s celebration of the safe gathering in of the harvest of the year.

Back in about 1910, a photo was taken of a harvest festival at the Congregational Church in Market Lavington.

Harvest Festival at Markat Lavington Congregational Church in about 1910

The display is not all that clear, but we can see it features fresh produce and flowers. Flowers also adorn (rather riskily perhaps) the attractive oil lamps that were then in use to add light to the scene. We’ll zoom in on the main collection.

Close up on the display of produce in 1910

And now we’ll move on 100 years to October 7th 2012. The Congregational Church have combined with two local Methodist churches to form Trinity, and then decided to sell off the old church, seen above. Instead they hold services in Market Lavington’s Community Hall.

This was the display in 2012.

A very different display in Market Lavington Community Hall in 2012. This was for Trinity Church’s Harvest Festival.

Here are many differences in the 100 years. Today’s display of gifts reflects less of the immediate products of the soil and more convenience foods. This makes sense since most of the food will go to food banks for distribution at some time in the future. Fresh foods would be a problem. Tinned and packaged products are much more appropriate for food banks.

There is also clear evidence of input by youngsters, some of whom were busy bread making during the service – bread which was a part of the sumptuous feast offered to participants at the service.

And how good of the church to invite museum curator, Rog, to do a short presentation on Harvests in Lavington as a part of the whole event.

A Harvest Bonnet

July 23, 2012

A lady must always protect herself from the sun – even if she is out labouring in the fields. That was an unwritten rule in the 1880s. But a young lady always wanted to look her best, particularly when young men were around. This mix of required protection and desired perfection led to the harvest bonnet. We have such a bonnet at Market Lavington Museum.

A cotton harvest bonnet from the 1880s – find it on display at Market Lavington Museum

The bonnet is made of cool cotton and has pleats down the back to make sure that the neck is protected from the sun. At the front, the bonnet is large and floppy, giving a good chance of keeping the sun off the wearers face.

And, of course, the bonnet is pretty. Harvest time was one of the rare occasions when hired young men and hired young women actually worked together. Many a romance began and blossomed during the time when crops were gathered safely in. The idea was that the pretty and distinctive bonnet helped to catch the eye of an eligible young man. Unlike much of a working servant’s wardrobe this bonnet has been factory made. The stitching has been done by machine. It must have been important that this was a really good item of apparel.

Hospital week children in 1927

April 2, 2011

This charming photo of youngsters dressed for the carnival in 1927 was taken by the Burgess photographers.

Children in fancy dress for Market Lavington Hospital Week in 1927

We know the names of many of the children. From left to right they are:

  • Bessie Gye who later became Bessie Francis, the wife of Peter who took over the photography business
  • Tom Gye, the soldier, is still living in the village.
  • The tall girl is Lily Drury
  • Bob Drury is dressed as a golly – now politically incorrect but blacking up was not seen as any kind of a problem then.
  • Eric Hopkins looks to be a bus conductor.
  • The next two boys are not named. I wonder if anybody can help there.
  • This brings us to Peggy Welch as a flower girl. Peggy married Tom Gye and was, of course, our museum founder.
  • The next girl is actually Peggy’s brother, Tony Welch.
  • The right hand girl is Phyllis Hatswell who appears to be dressed as a candle.

Bessie and Tom Gye and Lily Drury from a photo at Market Lavington Museum

Here we have zoomed in on Bessie and Tom Gye and Lily Drury.

Behind them we get a seasonal clue for stooks of corn stand in the field. It was harvest time.

A Harvest Bottle

October 13, 2010

In the early years of the 21st century huge combine harvesters make quick work of the corn harvest, managed by one person sitting in an air conditioned cab. In times past things were very different, as teams of men worked all day, swinging the scythe to cut the corn down.

Then, as now, it was dusty work but then there was no escape in that wonderfully comfortable combine cab. And also then it was hard physical work so no wonder the men were thirsty. Each carried out to the harvest site, a bottle of drink – quite probably cider to help keep them refreshed at the fairly frequent short breaks. But their bottles needed topping up from time to time and the farmer would have provided liquid refreshment from a large eartehware bottle. We have such a bottle at Market Lavington Museum.

A harvest bottle at Market Lavington Museum

The thick earthenware structure helped to keep the vital liquid inside reasonably cool as the men worked away.

We do not have a date for this bottle but guess at nineteenth century.

The drink really must have provided relief to the labourers out in the open fields of the parish under the hot harvest sun.

You can find this bottle in the kitchen room at the museum.