Posts Tagged ‘money’

Sing a song of sixpences

July 2, 2015

Our local metal detectorist found quite a few pre 1971 sixpence coins or tanners as they were affectionately known as. They all come from the old recreation ground. Here’s a sample to show changes.

Some 6d coins found on the old recreation ground in Market Lavington

Some 6d coins found on the old recreation ground in Market Lavington

These coins were known as ‘silver’ unlike the penny and ha’penny which were ‘coppers’. In times past they were probably made of silver metal but silver content was gradually reduced over the years. The oldest coin there, the one at top left, dates from 1923 and features a lion and crown on the reverse side which we show here. It has retained its silver colour so will have some silver content. The second coin at top right dates from 1929 and still has silver. It has an oak leaf and acorn pattern on the back. These coins are fifty percent silver. In the front row we start with a 1942 coin. This is still a 50% silver coin but by 1949, the next coin, all silver content had gone. The coin, like the last one form 1958 is cupro-nickel and both have tarnished in the ground. The 1958 coin shows the plant emblems of England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. None of these coins have much cash value but they had actual value back then. A person who earned sixpence in 1958 would earn about £1.54 now – an annoying amount to lose. In connection with other finds they start to paint a picture of the way the old recreation ground was used. It was certainly a place where money changed hands and got lost as well.


A Penny for your Thoughts

July 26, 2014

It isn’t only metal detectorists who turn up old coins. So, too, do gardeners and here we have such a find. It isn’t Roman nor even medieval, but it is more than 100 years old. It’s a good old penny coin.

Old penny found at Beech House in Market Lavington

Old penny found at Beech House in Market Lavington

It features the head of King George V who reigned in the United Kingdom from 1910 to 1936. This coin dates from the early years of his time as King as we can see on the reverse side.

The coin's reverse side.

The coin’s reverse side.

It is dated for 1913.

This penny was found in the garden of Beech House on White Street in Market Lavington in 2014.

If the coin had been lost when it was new, then it would have been a member of the Viner Johnson family who lost it. But coins like this had a life of fifty years or more. From the 1930s, Beech House was the home of James Welch and family and in the 1960s Tom and Peggy Gye moved in. The coin could have been lost by any of them or of course by any house visitor.

Incidentally to purchase what that penny bought in 1913, you’d need about 36p today. And remember the old pennies needed 240 to make a pound which means about 90 fold inflation over the 101 years. But we are all much better off now and in income terms that penny is now about £1.37.

The letter box

February 17, 2014

Our villages, Easterton and Market Lavington, have several letter boxes and some have been in place since the reign of Queen Victoria. We looked at one of them and some correspondence about it a year ago (click here).

But we are actually looking at a child’s money box this time. It is shaped like a pillar box and that’s something we don’t actually have in the villages. Here it is.

1930s money box in the shape of a pillar box for mail

1930s money box in the shape of a pillar box for mail

The fact that it is a George V box dates it to between 1910 and 1936. We think it is probably from the 1930s. Children are invited to post their pennies and in those days they’d have been the lovely, big old pennies.

The other side of the box has information about the old British coinage.

The back of the box helped to ensure children understood the rather strange old British currency

The back of the box helped to ensure children understood the rather strange old British currency

This lovely little item stands about ten centimetres tall.

It was given to the museum by a resident of White Street in Market Lavington.


Metal detecting finds, August 2013.

August 28, 2013


With the harvest over and the soil scratched up, it was no surprise that metal detectorists appeared on the fields above the village. The metal detectorists we find in Market Lavington all seem like good sorts. They record their finds, seek out the help of professional archaeologists and absolutely always have permission to work the fields.

They also have an enthusiasm and dedication which almost beggars belief.

The lonely life of the metal detectorist on the fields above Market Lavington

The lonely life of the metal detectorist on the fields above Market Lavington

There we see a detectorist at work in rather drab weather slowly patrolling the big fields. Later in the day it drizzled and then rained but our friend continued his patrol.


Yes, it is a man with detector and shovel

Yes, it is a man with detector and shovel

Our curator wandered out into the field to meet this chap with the hope of photographing any finds. This he did, but he was also given some items.

People have been losing money in these fields for close on 900 years, as evidenced by the finds of the day.

Let’s work through time.


This is a penny. It is made of silver and probably dates from the reign of King Edward II in around 1290.

If you want to know how annoyed the person was who lost that coin just consider that the time taken in earning that penny would have earned today’s labourer some £56. It was significant money.

Lost in the same field, but more than three hundred years later is this rose farthing, probably from the reign of Charles I


This might be like us losing a £2 coin

Now we’ll move on to the 20th century where some poor soul lost this 1919 penny.


The loss of this was probably more like us losing 50p – assuming the coin was lost when it was quite new.

And finally, a 1960 sixpence.


That shows the use of base metals for coinage. The silver coloured sixpence is very tarnished. Inflation has been significant in the last fifty years so even that sixpence loss would be more like losing a one pound coin now.

Our thanks go to ‘Cooky’ of the Trowbridge metal detecting club for his time and for the gift of these and other items.

Paying the Tithe

October 11, 2012

Traditionally, people gave ten per cent of their livelihood to the church. This, presumably, guaranteed the payer their place in heaven and also ensured a very rich and well fed church.

By the twentieth century this had been commuted to a cash sum, perhaps more appropriate than a tenth of all a person had. At Market Lavington Museum, we have a tithe receipt for money paid by Mrs Joseph Ashley.

Receipt for tithe of 10/4 (52p) paid by Mrs Joseph Ashley of Market Lavington in 1904

We struggle to know as much about Mrs Ashley as we’d like to. What a shame it is made that bit harder by women being treated as property of their husbands. We only know, for sure, the forename of Mrs Ashley’s husband.

However, we think she was Elizabeth, born around 1823/24 in Market Lavington. Our best bet is that she was Elizabeth Durnford who married a Joseph Ashley in Kensington (London) in 1852. This couple lived in various locations in London until they settled back in their home county of Wiltshire, at Great Cheverell.

Joseph died in 1900 and in the Market Lavington burial register he is said to be ‘of Great Cheverell’.

For the 1901 census, Elizabeth was lodging with the Gye family on White Street, Market Lavington.

But now a little doubt creeps in. Elizabeth was buried in Market Lavington churchyard on 24th February 1904 less than a week before this receipt was issued to her. Was paying her tithe of ten shillings and four pence about the last thing Elizabeth did? Or was an executor/relative very keen to make sure the Reverend Edward Blackstone Cockayne Frith got his tithe to smooth Elizabeth’s way to eternal happiness?

Or have we got the wrong Mrs Joseph Ashley?

Do let us know if you can help us.

A Market Lavington Bank

February 7, 2011

Back in the mid nineteenth century, Market Lavington was a market town and it had the services that might be expected in such a place. This included a number of banks.

Gradually, Market Lavington lost some of the services, as it became more a village than a town. Of course, it is a first rate village and boasts many facilities, which other villages will envy. We have two pubs, a small supermarket, a chemist, a couple of hairdressers, a newsagents, a butcher’s shop, a couple of pubs and a thriving post office. There are take-away premises of various kinds, but many will regret that we no longer have a bank although, of course, the Post Office does offer many banking services.

The last bank to close, in Market Lavington, was Lloyds Bank, which closed its doors for the last time on 29th August 1996.  The name lives on for the building which included the bank was always known as Bank House and it still is.

Memories are kept at Market Lavington Museum where amongst our exhibits we have the money weighing scales that were in use until the very last day that the bank operated.

Money weighing scales from the former Lloyds Bank in Market Lavington

The scales have weights marked, not in pounds and ounces or grams, but in quantities of money such as, £10s of 50p coins

A weight used with the money scales

We have other bank memorabilia, at the museum, so if this happens to be your interest then do visit the museum.

Candown Farm – an 1897 agreement

March 12, 2010

Market Lavington Museum is very pleased with the recently given documentation concerning the Parrotts and their agreement to lease Candown Farm up on Salisbury Plain. They took over the farm in 1898 which means agreements were signed in 1897. This document (it goes with the cropping plan) covers how much the Parrotts paid for the hay, straw, etc which was left on the farm by previous tenants.

1897 inventory and valuation - Candown Farm, Market Lavington

The hay and straw on the farm (along with half payment for the stamp and the inventory document) were agreed to have the value of £110.13.4 (£110.66 in present money)

I’m sure the Parrotts were delighted that the dung was left for free. Dung is needed on the thin chalk soils.

How lovely, too, to see the signatures of father and son, John and Edwin Parrott.