Posts Tagged ‘horse’

Horse harness decorations

July 5, 2016

Metal detectorists tend to do us proud. Their finds help to paint a little of the history of our area. And here we concentrate on the time when horses ruled the road and the field; a time when people loved their animals and wanted them to look their best and that included the leather harness. These were decorated with what are traditionally called horse brasses but often were made of other metals.

Sadly, in the rough and tumble of a working life, some fell off and were lost. But metal detectorists find them again.

Here are some recently donated ‘brasses’

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Attractive decoration.

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We read PB into that monogram. Could it be Pleydell Bouverie?

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Possibly 16th century??

Once again, our thanks go to Norman for these lovely items which can be seen in the new ‘Ashmolean’ drawers at the museum

Maintaining some tension in a rope

July 2, 2016

This item was recently given to us at Market Lavington Museum. It came, originally, from Vicarage Farm in Easterton.

rope tension weight for use with horses in stables

Rope tension weight for use with horses in stables

This is a roughly made metal ball, a little smaller than a cricket ball, with a large hole right through it. It had an agricultural use in the days of horses.

Imagine a horse tied up in a stable at the end of a hard day’s work. It needed to be able to sit or stand and have some chance to stretch its legs. But if given a long rope there was a chance it could get its legs tangled in it which would do it no good at all.

The solution was simple. The lead from the horse was passed through a substantial loop fastened to the wall. Then the lead was passed through this ball and then the free end of the lead was fastened to the wall. The sketch below might give the idea.

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Using the tension weight

The weight on the rope meant there was always a small amount of tension that kept it taut near the horse. Of course, the horses were hefty farm animals used to hauling heavy loads. A metal (sometimes they were wooden) ball on a rope was no problem to such a beast.

Thanks to Philip and Elizabeth for this interesting item.

One that got away

May 19, 2016

Here we have a news item which has been sellotaped into an album (and thus damaged).

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This news item dates from 28th February 1952. The person who kept it hasn’t named the paper. It shows a wonderful toy found in the home of the late George Cull of Easterton. The toy represents a double decked horse drawn bus. The bus appears to be made of basket work. Whilst the age of the toy was uncertain, it had been found wrapped in an 1887 newspaper so it is assumed to be that old at least.

Of course, back in 1952 we had no museum here in Lavington. As far as our museum is concerned we missed the bus and it got away. But now we have begun enquiries to find out if this lovely looking toy still exists.

Before World War One

October 20, 2014

This year, and quite rightly, there has been much talk about World War One – and we’ve done our share of that. But of course, parts of our area were militarised before the Great War – that war which was supposed to end all wars – began. In an attempt to keep body and soul comfortably together, our Manorial Lord had sold his lands on Salisbury Plain to the War Department. Tenant farmers continued to user the land for several years but at Pond Farm, now in Easterton parish, an annual summer camp for reservists took place.

In the Edwardian era the whole area was closed and it became a permanent military training area. Local photographers made sure the last of the fairly open summer camps were well recorded. And here we have one such photo.

Soldiers at Pond Farm Camp in 1909

Soldiers at Pond Farm Camp in 1909

This card shows signs of its past life as a piece of pub décor. It has been in the museum for some years but had an earlier home at The Drummer Boy which has now closed.

The card gives a real sense of the vast openness of Salisbury Plain. If it wasn’t for the soldiers, the area would really look empty. Somehow that distant horse and rider on the horizon adds to the sense of huge space.

The year is clearly given on the card. It is 1909. The regiment here are obviously ‘of horse’. Regular summer campers were a regiment known as the London Rough Riders. Here the troops look anything but rough as they maintain a neat formation led by their officers.

The vast open space of Salisbury Plain

The vast open space of Salisbury Plain

What a lovely image and it can remind us that when the war started, just five years later, the horse was still the mainstay for haulage and transport. Sad to say horses suffered very badly in the war, just as the men did.

The Horse Bus

January 26, 2014

Edwin Potter’s horse bus service connected Market Lavington to the rest of the world. Until the railway arrived in 1900, the only way out of our parish was by road and the only regular bus service was that provided by Mr Potter. This photo is a lovely portrait of the bus. We do not know just where it was taken. Clearly it is on a country lane. It is dated at around 1900.

Edwin Potter's Market Lavington to Devizes bus in about 1900

Edwin Potter’s Market Lavington to Devizes bus in about 1900

Our photo is clearly a copy of one in an album.

We can see the bus in the charge of two horses. They may have been deemed a little flighty as blinkers are being worn.

By 1900, Mr Potter was finding this service uneconomical but it looks as though he would earn money as a carrier. His bus roof is heavily laden.

Operating the bus tended to be a family affair. That could be Edwin, himself, driving and possibly a son leaning on the bus at the back.

There is a rather attractive young lady making use of the bus service.

A bus passenger

A bus passenger

She must have decided she’d be in the photo.

The arrival of motor buses ended the reign of the horse on this service. By 1911 Edwin was earning his keep on his farm.

The top end of High Street

December 21, 2013

This postcard dates from the early days of such cards, when only the address appeared on the back. A small space has been left underneath the image for a message to be written.

Market Lavington High Street in an Edwardian postcard

Market Lavington High Street in an Edwardian postcard

On the left we have the Police House – still there although no longer used by the local constabulary. We look up Market Lavington’s High Street in the direction of Easterton. The Congregational Chapel is more or less central.

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Vehicles are horse drawn

The vehicles are, of course, horse drawn.

Over on the right hand side of the road some of the properties retained thatched roofs.

 

There is thatch on some of the roofs.

There is thatch on some of the roofs.

This, as we can see, is not the most sharply printed card but the view is not the most usual and it reminds us of the early days of postcards.

A Trowbridge Carnival

October 7, 2013

A Trowbridge Carnival? What has that got to do with Market Lavington?  Well in this case, the vehicle in use was Market Lavington based.

Edwin Potter's Market Lavington to Devizes bus in use at a Trowbridge Carnival

Edwin Potter’s Market Lavington to Devizes bus in use at a Trowbridge Carnival

This was Edwin Potter’s bus, which had normally plied between Lavington and Devizes. We wonder if it is use to portray transport in times past. In fact we don’t know the date of the photo, but it may well have been towards the end of the Edwardian era. By then, Edwin had reduced his service to just three days a week, so the bus would have been available for other uses.

The give-away on this photo is the banner on the roof line of the bus.

 

The Lavington to Devizes legend can be seen under the added carnival banner

The Lavington to Devizes legend can be seen under the added carnival banner

We can’t read the stuck on paper message – the last three words are ‘to the carnival’. But under it we can see the beginning of the word Lavington and the end of the word Devizes. This, we know, was Potter’s bus.

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Of course, it would be grand to recognise the people. Then we’d know if they were Market Lavington folk or others from the Trowbridge area. Here are some of the folks enlarged. Maybe a reader will know them???

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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.

A horsewhip

August 7, 2013

Those of us who are not horsemen or women might be surprised at the savage looking nature of this item. It could surely inflict a huge amount of pain to any victim who was whipped. But of course, cruelty was never the best way to get an animal to work for you. Sparing the whip may have been said to spoil the child, but it made for a much more biddable horse.

Riding crop/horsewhip used by Stuart Reynolds of Clyffe Hall, Market Lavington

Riding crop/horsewhip used by Stuart Reynolds of Clyffe Hall, Market Lavington

This item is described as a combined riding crop and whip. A crop is usually a stick (often fibre glass these days) with some feathered leather at the end. Riders use them to back up other prompts they can give to a horse offering them a gentle tap of encouragement. The whip was more often a ground level training device. Many people, old enough to remember when circuses had animals, will recall ringmasters cracking a whip to encourage animals. It was the noise that did it.

This particular device has a carved horn handle.

 

The horn handle on the riding crop

The horn handle on the riding crop

It dates, probably, from the 1950s and was used by Mr Stuart Reynolds of Clyffe Hall.

Photos that beg a question

March 4, 2013

We are going to see, today, a couple of photos showing ‘The Grove’ in Market Lavington. The photos are certainly not brilliant in quality or condition. Here’s the first – it could be almost anywhere.

The Grove, Market Lavington in 1923 = not the most exciting photo!

The Grove, Market Lavington in 1923 = not the most exciting photo!

The Grove showing St Mary's church, market Lavington in 1923. AShame about the photo condition!

The Grove showing St Mary’s church, market Lavington in 1923. AShame about the photo condition!

This one is in shocking condition but at least has St Mary’s Church visible and a grazing horse.

We have some information about these images. They are dated as 1923. The pictures were taken by Maude Wright who emigrated to Canada and married there. She sent these pictures to Peggy Gye prior to 1985.

The question for us, which we hope someone can answer, is ‘who was Maude Wright?’  We know nothing at all about her. We do not know if Maude Wright was her married or her maiden name. We don’t know when she emigrated – but presumably after 1923. Do get in touch if you can tell us anything.

Let’s finish with a ten minute digital clean up of that second photo.

Ten minute's work at improving the photo with Market Lavington Church.

Ten minute’s work at improving the photo with Market Lavington Church.