Posts Tagged ‘Potter’

Mary Ann Potter

May 14, 2016

We couldn’t take every bit of personal memorabilia at our small museum, but some items belonged to a special enough person that we feel we’ll squeeze them in. This little book is a case in point. From the outside it might look a bit special with its pocket and handles. It looks rather like a small handbag.

Is it a bag? No! It is a small book.

Is it a bag? No! It is a small book.

If we look at the spine we see it is a Book of Common Prayer along with Hymns Ancient and Modern.

It's a Book of Common Prayer

It’s a Book of Common Prayer

It is the name inside which adds real interest to this item.

It belonged to M A Potter

It belonged to M A Potter

This copy was the property of M A Potter who attended St. Mary’s Church, Market Lavington and is dated twice. The fancy hand has marked it July 1926. A more prosaic date just says 19-7-26.

But who was M A Potter? She was Mary Ann and she had been born around 1881 in Milton Lilbourne near Pewsey. In 1903 she married Edwin Potter, a Market Lavington man whose father operated a horse bus between Market Lavington and Devizes and also served as a carrier and had a small farm on which Edwin worked.

The Potters were blessed with a number of children. The first was Helena May born in 1904 at their home on Parsonage Lane. Helena May went on to become a teacher and in 1929 she married Bill Elisha. This made her Mrs Elisha the hugely long term infant teacher in the village.

So Mary Ann joined a well-known local family and then gave birth to perhaps the best known of them all. We are pleased to have this small memento of her life.

Mary Ann died in 1951, just making her three score years and ten


Mr Dempsey’s shop

February 1, 2015

Mr Dempsey had a shop on Church Street into the 1980s – and here it is.

Mr Dempsey's shop on Church Street, Market Lavington - 1980s

Mr Dempsey’s shop on Church Street, Market Lavington – 1980s

Let’s position this shop, for it is no longer there as a shop. Actually, it is quite hard to define its place. People who have been in the village a long time might say things like, ‘next to Peter Francis’s photography shop’ or ‘opposite the Volunteer Arms’. But these will mean nothing to newer residents.

The building on the right (and that was clearly a shop back then) still looks the same. Mr Dempsey’s shop is on the south side of Church Street 30 yards or so from the crossroads.

It is a much altered building. Back in Edwardian days it looked like this.

In Edwardian times the same building still looked like a chapel

In Edwardian times the same building still looked like a chapel

It was still betraying its chapel origins.

Older residents tend to refer to the shop as Potter’s store.


Mr Potter had the building as a shop in the 1950s


The old school ‘torch’ sign adds interest to this image as does Mr Reid’s garage selling Cleveland petrol across the pavement.

By the 1970s the shop had become a Spar

It was a Spar shop in the 70s

It was a Spar shop in the 70s


The shop next door was in a sorry state and was subsequently rebuilt as in the Dempsey photo. Petrol pumps were still by the old garage but we don’t believe they were still in use at that time.

Mr Dempsey was the last shop keeper here and if we look back at his picture we’ll see that he sold fruit and veg as well as being a general store. After he left, the building reverted to being a private house.

The building has reverted to a private house - a 21st century image

The building has reverted to a private house – a 21st century image

And there it is with a hanging basket on each corner.

Potter’s Steps

December 18, 2014

Edwin Potter (junior) was the son of Edwin Potter the horse bus operator and also the mother of May Potter who became Mrs Elisha.

Amongst many jobs he had one was as a member of the ground staff for Dauntsey’s School. It fell his lot to produce a handy footpath so that the boys (the school was boys only in those days) could walk easily from the main site in West Lavington to the former Manor House in Market Lavington. The path he built started on the main road between Market and West Lavington and had to cross the Broadwell stream and the Northbrook before reaching the manor. Edwin constructed flights of steps to go in and out of each of these two steep sided valleys. He was obviously proud of his work for our photo shows him with a broom, keeping his walkway clean and tidy.

Edwin Potter of market Lavington cleans the path he made to the old Manor House. This path was once known as Potter's Steps.

Edwin Potter of Market Lavington cleans the path he made to the old Manor House. This path was once known as Potter’s Steps.

This route became known as Potter’s Steps and is still in existence and use today. But it is on private land and is not a public right of way. We can see that in times past – the 1930s – a rural chap was expected to be able to turn his hand to anything and constructing a path like this really did involve thought in the layout, engineering in bridge construction and a large dose of hard graft and heavy labour.

Aunty May with Granny Potter

July 8, 2014

That is what is written on the back of a photo we have at Market Lavington Museum, which was given to us by folks in Canada.


Added to that we have a rough date of 1920 and a location, which is the garden at 6 Parsonage Lane.

Now the front of the photo.

Helena May Potter with her mother Mary Ann Potter (née Pike)

Helena May Potter with her mother Mary Ann Potter (née Pike)

Aunty May – her full name was Helena May Potter – is fairly instantly recognisable as one of the mainstays of the village for many a year.

She was an established infant teacher by the time she married in 1929. Her husband was Bill Elisha and she became the legend that was Mrs Elisha. But here we see her with her mother, Mary Ann Potter. Mary Ann was born Mary Ann Pike but as far as we know she was not in any way closely related to another village stalwart of the era, George Pike. According to the census of 1911 Mary Ann may have come from Milton near Pewsey. We are a tad uncertain about her family history though.

Close up on the ladies

Close up on the ladies

May was born in 1904. She was never a big lady but barely looks to be 16 in that image. Perhaps the photo is more like 1918.


Mr and Mrs Potter

June 14, 2013

Potter has been a common surname in Market Lavington. Mr Edwin Potter, who ran the horse bus service to Devizes, had a large family. Here is one of his sons, also called Edwin and his wife. The photo was taken at Easter in 1925.

Mr Edwin and Mrs Mary Ann Potter of Market Lavington - Easter 1925

Mr Edwin and Mrs Mary Ann Potter of Market Lavington – Easter 1925

Edwin was born in around 1875 in Market Lavington. By 1891 he was helping his father in the bus trade and, no doubt, also on the Potter farm.

Edwin married Mary Ann Pike in 1903. Their first born daughter was Helena May Potter who was to become that enormously long time infant teacher, Mrs Elisha.

In 1911 Edwin was described (presumably by himself) as a farmer’s son working on farm.

Later, we know he worked as a gardener at Clyffe Hall and also as a groundsman for Dauntsey’s School. He constructed the up and down footpath (not public) that linked Market Lavington Manor with Lavington lane. Older residents still refer to the path as ‘Potter’s Steps’.

Edwin and Mary Ann lived on Parsonage Lane, next to the Racquets Court. The topiary in this garden has featured before on this blog. You could click here, here or here to see that grand bit of clipper work.

Two Potters

May 23, 2012

Following yesterday’s post about Edwin Potter’s bus, we were asked if Edwin Potter was in any way related to Hannah Potter, born 1861 in Market Lavington. We did not know, but a few minutes spent looking things up produced the following facts which, with a little guess work, suggests that these two Potters are, indeed related.

Hannah was the daughter of John and Martha. John was born in Market Lavington in about 1819. (source – 1851 census)

John was the son of Thomas and Ann. He was baptised in Market Lavington  on  11 4 1819 (source – IGI)

Thomas Potter married Ann Leonard at Little Cheverell on 25 12 1809 (source – IGI)

Edwin was the son of Thomas and Jane. Thomas was born at West Lavington in about 1784 (source – 1851 census)

Thomas Potter married Jane Wheeler at Market Lavington on 19 3 1831 (source – IGI) Jane was 20 years his junior.

I believe that there is only the one Thomas Potter although as yet I can’t prove this. Circumstantial evidence is that both Thomas and John were butchers. Also, Hannah spent time at the old Angel Inn which was run by other members of Edwin’s family.

I think this makes Hannah the half niece of Edwin.

Hannah became Mrs George Crassweller in 1886. You could click here to see the wonderful bedspread she made at the time of her marriage.

Edwin and Hannah were both buried in the Market Lavington churchyard.

Edwin Potter’s grave in Market Lavington churchyard

The grave of Hannah Crassweller (née Potter) is also in the Market Lavington graveyard