Posts Tagged ‘letter’

Condolences on the death of Queen Victoria

February 22, 2015

The death of a monarch produces an outpouring of grief and this was certainly true when Victoria died after more than 60 years on the throne.

This must have been good news for Royal Mail as letters of condolence were sent and replies received.

Here we see one of the replies.

Letter received by Jamwes Welch of Market Lavington following the death of Queen Victoria

Letter received by James Welch of Market Lavington following the death of Queen Victoria

This letter, we see, was sent in reply to a resolution from the Wiltshire Agricultural Association whose secretary was James Welch of Market Lavington. James was the grandfather of museum founder, Peggy Gye.

The actual letter has a black border as befitted a mourning item. We have missed that out on this blog to allow more space and greater legibility for the letter’s content.

We can imagine that thousands of very similar replies were sent. The bulk of the letter is pre-printed with just a few gaps to be hand written in by royal workers – in this case a man called Charles Ritchie.

James obviously felt this letter should be kept and it was handed down through the family and then became a Market Lavington Museum item.


Henry Hussey requires information

July 23, 2014

This is another in the collection of letters and bill heads received by Mr Sainsbury of West Lavington Manor although perhaps in this case it was his wife.

This is a letter, dated April 20th 1914.

A letter from Hy Hussey of Easterton in 1914

A letter from Hy Hussey of Easterton in 1914

‘Madam’ is being requested to send a large waggon to collect her chairs. We do not know if Henry Hussey made them or refurbished them, but he sounds very pleased with them.

Henry was born in Market Lavington in about 1868. His father was a master cabinet maker and Henry followed him into this business.

Henry, or Harry as he is called in the marriage register, married Agnes Andrews in 1893. The 1911 census tells us they had five children of which one had died. The census tells us that Henry was working as a cabinet maker at Fiddington Asylum, but he also ran a taxidermy business from home.

One of the sons, Walter, married a girl called Ellen Mullings which linked the furniture business of the Husseys with the basket business of the Mullings.

Husseys still live in Easterton today – descendants of Henry

A letter to the Bishop of Melbourne, Australia

June 28, 2014

We are truly lucky at our museum in Market Lavington. Items arrive with us from all over the world. A recent visitor was Julie from Australia who brought with her a letter taken out by her ancestor when he emigrated with his family in 1852. The letter was written by the oddly named Mayow Wynell Mayow who was the vicar of Market Lavington at the time.

The first part of the letter is based around a form so no doubt such communications were not unusual.

Form letter from Mayow Winell mayow, Vicar of Market Lavington in 1852

Form letter from Mayow Winell mayow, Vicar of Market Lavington in 1852

Here we see that the Reverend Mayow was commending John and Lucy Sainsbury and 6 children to the care of the Church of England in Melbourne. Interesting to note he refers to Market or East Lavington.

He then writes about the members of the family.

More details about John Sainsbury and family who were emigrating to Australia in 1852

More details about John Sainsbury and family who were emigrating to Australia in 1852

Here we are told that John Sainsbury has not been confirmed and does not take communion. Lucy (née Head) has been confirmed but did not take communion for many a year and has recently started to take communion again. He expresses a wish and hope that this will continue in Australia.

He goes on to say a word about the six children (getting his numbering in a muddle).


Information about the six children (a seventh was born in Australia)

Basically, we have Henry aged about 15, Charles – age not given but about 13, Clara Anne, aged 9, Elizabeth Thirza aged 6, Thomas William aged 3 and Matthew George Frances aged 1.

What a fascinating letter, and how useful to a genealogist.

By the way, we can confirm that this branch of the Sainsbury family is on our huge Sainsbury tree and now, thanks to our donor, Julie, we can correct an error on that tree and extend down through to the 39 grandchildren of John and Lucy.

Letter Scales

February 20, 2014

At Market Lavington Museum we have a set of scales for weighing letters that date back to the 1880s. They were given to the museum, many years ago, by Rose Crouch who had been a Hiscock before she married.

Victorian letter scales at Market Lavington Museum

Victorian letter scales at Market Lavington Museum

The scales are beautifully made in brass on a wood base and with a velvet lining. We think the weights, wrapped up in this photo, come from different scales.

The purpose is obvious. You could weigh a letter and then look up what value stamp was needed to post it. When made, you wouldn’t have needed a separate table of weights and prices for they are embossed on the scale pan.

Postal charges (for 1880) are embossed on the scale pan

Postal charges (for 1880) are embossed on the scale pan

Three rates were given. For letters weighing less than an ounce it was a penny. That’s an old penny of course with 240 of them to the pound. Between one and two ounces upped the cost to a penny halfpenny (1½d) and then up to four ounces cost tuppence (2d).

Using the retail price index as a measure of inflation, that old penny in 1880 is much the same as 35p today which makes stamps much more expensive now. But if you consider incomes, the equivalent of earning a penny in 1880 is £1.82 today, so in terms of income it is much cheaper to send letters now.

We think these scales are lovely items – a real treasure of Market Lavington.

The King thanks the Children

January 30, 2014

2014 may mark the centenary of the start of World War One, but at Market Lavington Museum we have just received a document which relates to the Second World War. Market Lavington and Easterton children were, in common with all children in the country, given a personal letter from the King on Victory Celebration Day – May 8th 1946. No doubt thousands of these letters have survived but we are now pleased to have one given by a lifelong Market Lavington resident. The letter is on card and has punched holes at the top so that it can easily be hung on a wall.

Letter of thanks from George VI to a Market Lavington child in 1946

Letter of thanks from George VI to a Market Lavington child in 1946

The King is thanking all of the children for sacrifices they had to make during the conflict. He hopes that they will be able to grow up as good citizens, working for unity amongst the peoples of the world.

The back of the letter has a Second World War timeline and space for a child to write in their own family’s war record.

The reverse of the letter has a war time line

The reverse of the letter has a war time line

Thanks, Faith, for this interesting record. No doubt other people will recall that they had one of these letters as well.

Post-box terms and conditions

August 1, 2013

In 1933 Mrs Hawes owned Wayside Cottage, on the junction of Drove Lane and Kings Road. It had (and still has) a post box built into the wall.

It would seem that Mrs Hawes wanted to know the conditions attached to having a post-box built into a house. We can imagine – indeed we did imagine – that the Post Office might pay a small rental for the site. Perhaps Mrs Hawes thought this too. We do not have her letter, but we do have the reply sent to her.

It came in an official looking envelope.


And here is that reply.

1933 letter regarding the post-box at Wayside Cottage, Kings Road, market Lavington

1933 letter regarding the post-box at Wayside Cottage, Kings Road, Market Lavington

So there we have it. There’s no rent, but if you want it removed we’ll do it and make good the wall.

The letter box is still in place.

The letter box is still in place.

We are pleased to say that the box is still in place – having now been there for over 100 years. Long may it remain.

Samuel Moore gives his son the news.

June 22, 2013

It is more than two years since we featured a letter from Samuel Moore of the Easterton Jam Factory, to his son Wilf who was serving in France during World War 1. Here we have another.

Samuel Moore of Easterton - headed paper of 1918

Samuel Moore of Easterton – headed paper of 1918

Samuel used his company notepaper and here’s who he was sending to.

The letter was from samuel Moore to his son Wilf who was on WW1 duty in France

The letter was from samuel Moore to his son Wilf who was on WW1 duty in France

Like the previous letter we showed, the date looks like 1915, but we are sure Samuel actually wrote 1918. In the letter, Sam refers to Sunday August 18th as a date on which he was writing. That was in 1918.

The start of the letter

The start of the letter

Let’s transcribe.

Dear Wilfrid I have received your last card & letter and am pleased to hear you are getting on alright. I have had so much to attend to that I have not had time to write to you. Our business has grown to be a very large one. And fruits are very scarce & dear. I have been having a lot of fruit from Hampshire this year. Now everything about here is all different to what it was when you were here. But with all the changes our business of jam making is the best. You can make jams day and night and sell them. I have the large boiler fixed and am putting the building out in line with the front door. I should have said the government fixes all the prices for fruits and jams.

I have had to leave this letter unfinished until this day Sunday August 18th. Since then a great deal has happened. I am now taking fruits and ??? from what is known as the Wiltshire Fruit and Vegetable ???. We are having a lot of blackberries through them at 3d per pound. There are scarcely any apples this year. They are 6d per lb. And plums are not less than 3½d per lb. I have 4 cases of oranges at 50/- per case – 10d per lb – and am using them in my new preserve at 7½d per lb. People rush for it.

Now all that is wanted in the business is money to extend it.

I have plenty of offers but I would rather be my own master.

I now employ several people every week.

Percy Webb – he is just leaving as he will have to join up. ??? Clelford – she works for us constantly.

The rest of the letter is not clear, but for those who would like to try to decypher it, here it is.


The sign off is ‘your loving father S. Moore’.

Barnes Wallis visits Market Lavington.

March 12, 2011

Barnes Wallis was a famous inventor, scientist and engineer. He was born in 1887 and he is best known for inventing the bouncing bombs, which were used in the dambuster raids against dams of the Ruhr Valley during World War II. But he also invented the geodesic airframe as used on the R100 airship, an airship with a short career because of disasters involving the R101 and the Hindenberg vessels.

It is no wonder that such a pre-eminent man should be in demand to give lectures. Dauntsey’s School certainly invited him to speak on a number of occasions.

On these visits to Wiltshire, Barnes and his wife, Molly, stayed at the Cliffe Hall Hotel in Market Lavington, which was run by Stewart and Barbara Reynolds.

Letters sent by the Wallises, requesting accommodation, have survived and are now at Market Lavington Museum.

A letter from barnes Wallis at Market Lavington Museum

In 1959, Barnes signed a typed letter.  Older readers of the blog will remember embossing address stamps, a device swept into oblivion by the word processor. This was the Wallis address and as late as 1959, the phone was just Bookham 27.

The embossed address

A later letter is less formal in style and comes from Molly

A letter from Molly Wallis

It certainly seems that 8 years on, in 1967, Mr and Mrs Wallis regarded the Reynolds family as friends.

The embossing address stamp was in use again, but it had changed.

Embossed address again - but with an updated phone number

The phone number had had 2000 added to it. Of course, this enlargement of phone numbers still has to go on.

In 1971 formality was back in order. Barnes can explain why in his own letter. It looks as though Barnes had been knighted since 1967 and the old address embosser had been discarded

Another letter from Barnes Wallis