Posts Tagged ‘marriage’

Beatrice Bolter Married.

May 21, 2015

This blog post has been sparked off by a brief message in Ben Hayward’s wonderful record of his life. We have an electronic copy of this. Ben lived at Kestrels in Easterton for the second half of the nineteenth century and recorded village events, his farming program and, often, what bird life he saw. Here’s our extract – one line from 122 pages.

Beatrice Bolter married - an extract from Ben Hayward's note book. Click to enlarge

Beatrice Bolter married – an extract from Ben Hayward’s note book.
Click to enlarge

This gives us one simple fact – Beatrice Bolter married on August 28th 1878.

But it begs many questions such as:

Who was Beatrice Bolter?
Where did she live?
Who did she marry?
Where did they live?

Well Ben has given us something to start with – a marriage date and a name and we can quickly discover – and no surprise about it – that Beatrice’s marriage was recorded in the Devizes district. With the odd way in which marriages are recorded we have two possible spouses William Kyte or Joseph Webb. If we purchased a marriage certificate that would tell us which one it was, but we won’t do that – a real waste of museum money. Instead we’ll find out using censuses.

The first census we used is from well before the marriage, but it seemed a fair bet that a lass who married in 1878 was around for the 1861 census and we can find Beatrice on that census on High Street, Market Lavington with an age of 3 years so born about 1858. Her father was a grocer – a shopkeeper.

We can use that information to trace Beatrice on censuses after she was married. We searched the 1891 census for anyone called Beatrice born in Market Lavington in 1858 plus or minus a year. We find a Beatrice Webb married to Joseph so the ‘which of the two marriage riddle’ is solved. She married Joseph Webb. By 1891 the Webb family lived in Brentford in West London and Bromham (in Wiltshire) born Joseph was a carpenter and joiner. No doubt that was a trade much needed in rapidly expanding London. The Webbs had probably lived in that part of the world for all of their married life for the eldest of their five children, also called Beatrice was 11 and born in Hounslow.

Twice before we have tried to find further information about a Webb family in Easterton. These probably are not related but do get in touch if you can tell us anything further.

Who were the bridesmaids?

July 1, 2013

We feature the Potter family quite often. This might reflect their central role in village life, coupled with their comparative ordinariness. The Potters ran pubs, a bus company, farms etc. so they were well above the plain labouring strata of society. But they most certainly were not gentry. Helena May Potter achieved almost legendary status in the village but this was under her married name of Mrs Elisha. Miss Potter/Mrs Elisha spent a working lifetime as the local infant teacher. For people still alive over 90 years old – Mrs Elisha was their teacher. For people under 40 she is remembered as an occasional supply teacher, treated with awe and reverence by other members of staff. But not everything is recorded or remembered. We are hoping a blog reader may be able to help us solve the mystery of the bridesmaids.

Helena May Potter married William Elisha on 27th July 1929. Here’s a wedding group.

Wedding group at the marriage of Helena May Potter and William Elisha at Market Lavington Church.

Wedding group at the marriage of Helena May Potter and William Elisha at Market Lavington Church.

Bill and May are in the middle. We want to know who the two little bridesmaids are.

Now here’s another picture.


Bridesmaids at the wedding of May Potter and Bill Elisha – but who are they?

This picture is captioned, ‘Amy Potter, bride’s sister, with her two daughters as bridesmaids leaving the church.’

But this cannot be true.  We are confident that this is the 1929 wedding of Helena May Potter and William Elisha and the lady in the middle could well be Amy Kathleen Potter. But Amy married in 1931 and her two daughters, Barbara and Geraldine were born in 1933 and 1938 respectively. So it isn’t Amy’s daughters being bridesmaids in 1929.

It’s a mystery that needs solving. Can you help us? Who are the bridesmaids?

A 1948 Wedding

February 14, 2012

Here’s a  bit of romance for Valentine’s Day

A much loved and missed village character was Percy Wilkins. He is remembered by folks as the elderly chap who bustled around, invariably wearing wellingtons and helping out by delivering the papers. Percy had been on the ground staff at Lavington School and before that worked in agriculture around the area.

Our photo shows Percy on his wedding day – the formal picture of him with his bride, Lilian Blake.

Percy Wilkins and Lilian Blake wed in 1948 - a picture at Market Lavington Museum

What a handsome pair they make – but we can just guess that people who knew Percy are checking to see if he wore his trademark wellies for his wedding.

The couple married in the last quarter of 1948. Descendants might be able to tell us where the marriage took place.

Percy was born in 1912. His parents, Ernest Wilkins and Catherine Marsh had married earlier in the year.

Lilian was born in about 1921. We have not traced her origins

We are not sure when the family moved to their cottage on the Terrace in Market Lavington. Percy and Lilian are listed on the electoral roll compiled for 1964

Percy hit the news by having a part in the1967  film of Far From the Madding Crowd. Click here to see more.

Both Lilian and Percy are buried at St Mary’s, Market Lavington. Lilian died in 1994 and Percy followed in 1997.

Mrs Smith

April 3, 2011

Regular readers of this blog will recall the wonderful wedding smock made for pond digger, Charles Smith by his bride. (Click here to see it).

Today we introduce that bride, Mrs Smith.

Mrs Mary Jane Smith, wife of pond digger Charles Smith, sits on the settle at Market Lavington Museum

Here is Mrs Smith, wearing a pinafore, which she also made. Obviously the models are not real people, but the clothes – that wedding smock and the pinafore really did belong to a Mr and Mrs Smith. The baby in the photo above was just visiting at the time this photo was taken. Experts might note that the clothing on that doll is from the wrong period.

So let’s find out a little about Mrs Smith. Mrs Smith was born Mary Jane Edwards in Everleigh, a Salisbury Plain village to the southeast of Pewsey. She entered this world towards the end of 1854. Her parents were William Edwards and his wife, Mary. Both had been born in Everleigh in about 1825. William was an agricultural labourer.

At the time of the 1861 census, the family – our Mary Jane had two younger brothers – were living in Everleigh.

In 1871, Mary Jane was a housemaid working for a surgeon and his family in Ramsbury.

Of course, we do not know how Mary came to meet Charles Smith. Charles was a pond digger and they worked away from home, anywhere with chalk as the underlying rock. So possibly Charles was digging a pond in the Everleigh or the Ramsbury area. What we do know is that Mary Jane Edwards married Charles Smith towards the end of 1877. The marriage was registered in the Pewsey district, which included Everleigh.

But home for the couple was to be Charles’s village of Market Lavington. By 1881 the couple already had two children and Charles was employed as an agricultural labourer.

In both 1891 and 1901 Mary was at home with children whilst husband, Charles was away pond digging. Home, by then was White Street, which had become the hub of the Smith’s pond digging business. The same still applied in 1911, but censuses only apply to the one day in each ten years. Judging by children born the couple were very much together at other times.

The 1926 electoral roll for Market Lavington shows Mary Jane still on White Street although Charles had died a couple of years earlier.

Mary herself died in 1938. She spent more than 60 years living in Market Lavington.

And now, a representation of Mr and Mrs Smith sit on the settle in the museum, wearing clothes made by Mary Jane herself.