Posts Tagged ‘Parish Room’

Opening the Parish Room

March 6, 2016

Our old, wooden parish room had its life terminated some twenty years ago – long enough ago to be fading into history. Its demise was met with sadness, but we think it was fair to say that it had had its day and our 21st century Community Hall is a more than fantastic replacement. The old hall had nowhere sensible to park cars, a stepped entrance, a teeny kitchen and was getting on a bit for it was almost 90 years old. And here we look back to the opening with a typed copy of a report.


We learn that the room was officially opened on November 27th 1908 although somebody seems to have changed that to 1907 on this document. There was music and mind reading by Alfred Capper. We are told he was well known and indeed he is well enough remembered to have a web entry at .

The Vicar (Reverend Sturton) made a short speech and the official opening was done by Lady Warrington. My Bouverie gave a vote of thanks.

A repeat performance, followed by a dance, was held in the evening.

The document ends with a statement of accounts – laughably cheap by today’s money standards.

Now I’d like to be able to say click on the picture to see a larger version but the service provider for this blog appears to have put a stop to that oh so useful facility. If you are using Windows then you should be able to hit CTRL and + to magnify the view. Other formats may allow magnification by use of finger and thumb.

Hopefully, you can read it.


At the 1994 Victorian Evening

December 28, 2015

Back in 1994, the Village Festival was quite a grand affair with all sorts of events. One was an evening of Victorian entertainment which was held in the old Parish Room in Market Lavington. We have reached the stage now where many residents won’t recognise the term Parish Room and won’t know where it was, so I ask them to imagine a large wooden hut, parallel with the road where the entrance to the nursing home is now. Here we see some of the audience, presumably during an interval or maybe before proceedings began.

Some of the audience at the 1994 Victorian Evening

Some of the audience at the 1994 Victorian Evening

There are many stalwarts of the village there, but we’ll pick on two of them first.


Here we see Mary and Harry Greening. Harry was the founder headmaster of Lavington School. He saw it change from a secondary modern school to a comprehensive and pioneered the Dauntsey link which saw some sharing of staff between Lavington – the state school and Dauntsey’s School which was private. The link also enabled local students to take a place in the sixth form at Dauntsey’s, paid for by county. Harry really was a pioneering chap who took his leisure, after his cricketing days, tending the lovely garden at the cottage just below the church.

Mary was an arts and crafts lady. There seemed to be nothing she couldn’t turn a hand to. When the WI or other local groups needed anything in that line then Mary was there to oblige. Both she and Harry entered the produce show which was revived as a part of the village festival. Both are still much missed in the parish.

A third person we’ll look at doesn’t actually live in Market Lavington. But she was at this event and sitting just behind Mary and Harry.


This is Polly and although not a Lavingtonian, she was well known in the village. For many years she was the librarian who looked after our village library. She knew – and still does – all her regular customers from 30 or 40 years ago and we still see Polly at village events from time to time.

Apologies to other people in the photo, unnamed and unmentioned. We are fairly sure we know some of the others but if anyone can come up with names we’d be pleased to hear from them.

Dancing in the Parish Room

April 19, 2014

Uncaptioned photos are a bit of a nuisance. What we are looking at today is a group of people who appear to be doing a ‘grand chain’ as part of a country or barn dance.

Dancing in trhe old Parish Room in Market Lavington, possibly 1960s

Dancing in the old Parish Room in Market Lavington, possibly 1960s

We think this was probably in the 1960s. There’s a young man near the back who appears to have modelled himself somewhat on George Harrison of the Beatles.

This young man is something of a George Harrison lookalike

This young man is something of a George Harrison lookalike

The blobs are photographic error – not part of the suit – but we can just imagine all the older folk telling him to, ‘get your hair cut’.

We have no caption to tell us what the event was but perhaps it was a church social. None of the participants are named but we do know that Peggy Gye was amongst those present.


Perhaps some of this group might be identifiable.

We do have other photos of the same event which have been put in a scrap book by Peggy Gye at some point in the past.


That group has a man smoking – it wouldn’t be allowed these days – and could that be Sybil Perry at the far end?


This looks like Peggy Gye serving some refreshments.


Did they really play musical chairs?

We certainly get something of a feel of the old Parish Room here. At the time when we had this hall, it seemed fine and it did feel a sad day when it was demolished. But what a small, gloomy, cramped place it actually was when compared to our new (2007) Community Hall. Now that is a building our community can be truly proud of.

We also can remember that good honest wholesome fun was still available in those days, away from the TV and the as then un-thought of electronic devices of today.

A Message in a Bottle

April 17, 2014

This is another under the floorboards posting – but this time with a difference for today we look at something deliberately placed under floorboards when a new building was erected.

Somewhat more than 100 years ago Market Lavington decided it needed what was, in effect, a village hall but which was always called The Parish Room. A site was located on High Street, more or less opposite the Workman’s Hall, money was raised and construction got under way. The building was completed in 1908 and it served the community well until 1996 when it was demolished to make more space for the Nursing Home.

In 1907, the builders and the movers and shakers who got things organised, put a list of names on a piece of paper, put the paper in a bottle and rested it under the floorboards.

And there it stayed until 1948 when the floor needed some replacement. The message in a bottle was found, photographed and replaced and it is these photos we see today.

Builders of the old Parish Room in Market Lavington. The list was left in a bottle, under the floorboards.

Builders of the old Parish Room in Market Lavington. The list was left in a bottle, under the floorboards.

We start with the committee, headed by the Vicar who would have been J A Sturton at the time. With him were J E Gye, G Bishop and J H Merritt. The Gyes were carpenters, George Bishop was a builder and John Merritt was a blacksmith. Possibly the trades were deemed potentially useful in the building work.

The paid workers, who built the hall were; J James, F Burgess, W Ring, H Dole, P Lie?? and J Goodall.

In addition there were free workers, J H Merritt, S Axford, G Gillett, ? Hussey, Mr Sea, A Baker etc. Mr Lea was the architect.

The other side of the paper has been signed and dated.

Reverse of the list - signed by W Ring

Reverse of the list – signed by W Ring

It was signed by W Ring on November 16th 1907. Presumably this was when the flooring was completed.

Sad to say, we do not know what became of bottle and message when the hall was demolished in 1996. It would be good if it was preserved somewhere.

But at least we have a photograph and that should enable us to find out more about the men who built the old Parish Room.

The end of the world is nigh

September 9, 2013

The date is April 1996 and the end of the world is nigh for the old Parish Room in Market Lavington. This village hall had served the community well for almost 90 years, but in truth it had limitations. Perhaps the worst, by then, was the lack of adequate parking. Events at village halls need equipment – probably brought by car. Attenders at events often prefer to arrive by car. There just wasn’t enough street parking available.

Apart from that the hall stood in the way of development at the nursing home. That’s one of the largest employers in the area so does much for the local economy.  They got the site and were able to expand.

It was a shame it took so many years for the new Community Hall to be built, but now we all wonder how we survived without this first class facility.

But let’s return to April 1966. Demolition of the old building is under way.

The old Market Lavington Parish Room under demol;ition in April 1996

The old Market Lavington Parish Room under demolition in April 1996

That was the rear of the hall. Yes, there was a little road round the back but if you drove in forwards, then reversing out was a nightmare – particularly if another car felt it could use the space as well. The tall chimney (which is upright really) is on Greystone House

Soon, this was a very similar view.

It's gone!

It’s gone!

The hall has been razed to the ground. The tall chimney and parts of Greystone House are more visible. We can also see buildings on the other side of High Street.  That’s number 38 with a roof light.

Many people regretted the passing of the old Parish Room, but there can surely be no doubt that the new Community Hall is a much better building.

You could visit it at 7.30pm on 14th September 2013 to see Rog, our curator, present this year’s Museum Miscellany.