Posts Tagged ‘poultry’

Some of the loves of Bill Elisha

August 16, 2015

We’ll leave May, his wife, out on this occasion. As far as we know Bill and May had a long and happy marriage which lasted from 1929 until Bill died in 1984.

We are not even going to talk about football, well known as one of Bill’s passions. The Elisha Field is named after Bill.

Today we’ll look at a couple of other things Bill was fond of – dogs and birds – particularly poultry and cage birds.

At the museum we have some photographic negatives taken by the Elishas and this is one of them, converted by modern technology into a positive.

Bill Elisha of Market Lavington with dog and poultry

Bill Elisha of Market Lavington with dog and poultry

Here we see Bill, complete with dog sitting on his poultry pen which contains what looks like some youthful hens. Bill almost certainly constructed the pen himself. He was a gardener by trade, working at Clyffe Hall at one time. No doubt he’d have been expected to turn his hand to the odd bit of carpentry.

Negatives by their very nature have no caption but the same set of negatives has photos of Bill and May’s wedding so we think it dates from around 1929. The location isn’t known but the first home of Bill and May was Hillside on White Street so it could be there.

It’s a pretty decent portrait of a young man with his ‘family’.

Lavington and District Poultry Show

August 31, 2014

Time was when many a householder kept poultry who could be fed, to some degree on food waste and thus form a vital part of the cottage economy. And, as well as that, there were commercial poultry keepers. No wonder there was a local poultry show.

These days we call it sponsorship and we have two examples of it in one document here. A chicken feed company have sponsored the letter heading – and very pretty it is too.


Letter to Mr Holloway from The Lavington and District Poultry Show

These days we call supporting events like this sponsorship and we have two examples of it in one document here. A chicken feed company have sponsored the letter heading – and very pretty it is too.

Compant logo for Chamberlain and Pole

Company logo for Chamberlain and Pole

Now isn’t that sweet!

The content of the letter tells us that Mr Holloway of West Lavington made a donation to the show, presumably for 1925 as that’s the date on the letter.

We see the chairman of the show was Arthur Walton who, in addition to his department store in Market Lavington also owned a poultry farm.

The secretary who wrote the letter was William Edward Elisha. He’s better known as Bill and he was a stalwart of Lavington in many, many ways.

Bill Elisha was the show secretary

Bill Elisha was the show secretary

The letter is another from the Holloway collection. These bills and letters make a very interesting addition to our museum.

Crossways Poultry Farm

July 6, 2014


Recently we looked at a memo from Mr Walton about the Wiltshire Down Poultry Farm. Today we have a strangely similar letter from another Market Lavington Poultry farm, this one at Crossways.

Letter from the Misses Chambers of Crossways Poultry Farm

Letter from the Misses Chambers of Crossways Poultry Farm

Here we have the misses F and E Chambers of Crossways Poultry Farm paying their rent and then, like Mr Walton, saying the roof is leaking and could it be dealt with. It looks as though Mr Holloway had decided this was a job for the Hopkins to do. So it would have been workers from that Market Lavington firm who made their way up to the crossroads where Parham Lane, Drove Lane and Kings Road all cross.

We don’t know much about the Miss Chambers. They were at Crossways and running a chicken farm at the time of the 1911 census. Florence and Eleanor were both in their upper thirties and single and the head of house was their father who was a retired solicitor. The family came from Yorkshire.

The two ladies were still running the business when they sent this letter, in 1914 but had left by the time the 1926 electoral roll was drawn up.

We asked Pat, one of our stewards who lived, until recently, at Crossways and he came up with a collection of photos he had (all poor photocopies which is not Pat’s fault – it is what he was given) and the collection included this one.

Poultry at Crossways

Poultry at Crossways

This could be a little bit of a poultry farm but it is the greenhouse which takes the eye. That looks massive. We think this is more probably a photo of the domestic fowl of a 1920s resident, Mr Fairbairn.

We wonder if anybody out there can tell us more about the Chambers.

Arthur Walton – Poultry Farmer

June 23, 2014

Much can be discovered from bill heads and letter heads and here is something we only knew about when we were given the opportunity to copy a collection of such bill and letter heads recently. It concerns the activities of Arthur Walton.

We knew of Arthur as the owner of the Lavington Supply Stores. This was Market Lavington’s very own department store, with a separate branch in Easterton and another at Pewsey.

We did not know of Arthur Walton, the poultry farmer which this letter head shows. It was sent on February 19th 1915.

Letter from Wiltshire Down Poultry Farm signed by Arthur Walton

Letter from Wiltshire Down Poultry Farm signed by Arthur Walton

The Wiltshire Down Poultry Farm seemingly shares its phone number with Mr Walton’s shop and this letter is signed A M Walton. He must have been renting a property from Mr Holloway at West Lavington. Arthur is having a gripe about the state of the building – presumably where his poultry man lived.

The letter is about the cottage at Brazen Bottom

The letter is about the cottage at Brazen Bottom

Brazen Bottom was one of the hill farms. Much of it still exists, but it is under military occupation now

On the Third Day of Christmas…

December 27, 2012

According to the song, my true love sent to me three French hens.

We have hens on offer today. We doubt they had much direct connection with France. They were probably English hens, bred and hatched. There are many more than three of them.

Hens at Cherry Lodge, market Lavington.

Hens at Cherry Lodge, Market Lavington.

Their keeper’s home was a small house with a long and colourful history.

These extracts come from the WI history produced in the 1950s.

Cherry Lodge – at the far end of Common Road was at one time a Cherry Orchard.  It was owned by a family named ‘Gray’.  They lived there during the summer and sold the cherries and garden produce and back to the village for the winter.  The old couple died many years ago.

 Materials from the Old Mansion at Cherry Lodge were used by Samuel Saunders to build The Hollies and The Hawthorns.

The proceedings at Cherry Lodge on Great Cheverell Feast Day (29th June, St. Peter’s Gooseberry Feast) can hardly be published!  Apparently barrels of beer and other good things were carted up there and a good time was had by one and all, celebrating the Festival of the Cherries.

The poultry farm was set up by Mr George O’Reilly in about 1920 when he retired from working with the bus company. He ran the farm until after the Second World War. Then he sold house and business to James brothers who had been the bakers in Market Lavington. We think the photo dates from their era.

Death of George O’Reilly

February 11, 2012

From the Wiltshire Gazette and Herald – 7th October 1948

Wiltshire Gazette and Herald entry about george O'Reilly of Market Lavington

Fought in Two Wars

Mr George O’Reilly Dies at Market Lavington

The death of Mr George Watson O’Reilly, resident of Market Lavington for the past 28 years and a member of an old Devizes family occurred at his home, ‘The Red House’, Market Lavington on Thursday, aged 72. A man who did not look his age, he had a short time past survived three major operations.

He was the eldest son of Mr Thomas George O’Reilly, an Irishman who was in business as a silk mercer at 4 and 5 High Street, Devizes (now Messrs W S Budd and sons) and who married a Devizes woman. He was born in Devizes and educated at a private school in Salisbury. For a time he took over his father’s business but later emigrated to Africa and Canada. An old member of the Royal Wiltshire Yeomanry, he saw active service in the South Africa War, in which he gained seven decorations. He was in Canada when the 1914-18 War broke out and he left immediately to re-enlist seeing service with the ‘Princess Pat’s’

Afterwards he was with the late Mr F H Sayer, manager of the Lavington and Devizes Motor Services. When this was acquired by the Bath Tramways Company he took Cherry Orchard, Market Lavington, as a poultry farm going to live at Market Lavington in 1920. As a poultry farmer he won many awards with his birds. Three years ago he retired, selling the farm to Messrs James Bros.

On 10th July 1945 he married Miss Florence Anna Eldin of Market Lavington, well known as the organist at the Parish Church.

The funeral took place at Market Lavington on Tuesday, the service being taken by the Vicar (Rev J S Arthur) and burial followed in the churchyard. Mrs M Oatley was at the organ. The immediate mourners were Mrs O’Reilly (widow), Mr and Mrs C O’Reilly (brother and sister in law), Mrs C Essington Boulton, Mr and Mrs Tigwell, Mr Stanton, Mrs W Tucker and Mrs T Draper (friends).

Members of the choir present were: Mr V Osmond, Mr George Davis, Mr C Hurley, Mr Gordon Sheppard, Mrs R Milsom, Miss M Mundy, Mrs W Giddings, Miss J Arthur.

There were also present: Mr F W Payne, Mr H Pritchard (also representing the Old Comrades of the Royal Wiltshire yeomanry and Mr E G Jolliffe) and Mrs Pritchard, Mr Philip Johnson, Mr W G Holloway, Mr E James (Messrs James Bros), Mr T Neate, Mr H Hyde, Mr D C Tate Smith, Mr John Cooper, Mr E Hayball, Mr G A Southway, Mr and Mrs H Hutton, Mr G H Pike (also representing Mrs Pike), Mr B F Pomeroy, Mr H C Hobbs, Mrs Butler, Mrs T Razey, Mrs B Gale (also representing Mr Gale), Mrs H Ellis, Mrs A F Burbidge, Mrs Ross, Mr W Little, Mrs A Haking, Mrs Blake, Miss Hiscock, Mrs E heard, Mrs M A Sheppard, Mrs L E Gye and Mrs Saunders.

Unable to be present were the Rev C Essington Boulton (Alderholt) who would have read the lesson had he been present, Mr Harry Chivers and Mr T Sturton.

The funeral arrangements were carried out by Mrs L E Gye and wreaths were sent as follows:-

To my own darling sweetheart and husband with all my everlasting love of years to you. May you have peace in God’s care who called you. From ‘The Kid’; To George with loving and pleasant memories  from his brother and sister-in-law, Charlie and Madeleine; Smiler and Robin; Major the Rev and Mrs C Essington Boulton (Alderholt Vicarage); Bertha Richards; William and June Holloway; Win and Tig; Mr and Mrs N Andrews, Stanley and Ian; John and Reg Cooper; Mr and Mrs Ron Francis; Mrs Trotter, Ivy, Jess and Fred; Mr and Mrs H G Ellis and family; Neighbours and friends; Mr and Mrs W Crisp, Ethel Gye, Maureen and Nora; Enid and Lesley; Will and Min Tucker; Members of St Mary’s Church Choir, Market Lavington; Fred Payne;  Bert and Edith Pritchard; A, F and MJ Burbidge; All at Cherry Orchard Poultry Farm.

Lavington and District Poultry Club

March 1, 2011

First can we thank our readers for the 1571 views this blog received in February. It may be the shortest month, but it now holds the record for the best month for the blog.


And now that poultry club.

In the days before mass media entertainment – TV and the World Wide Web, small communities were much more dependant on their own resources than is the case today. Clubs and societies flourished, amongst them the Lavington and District Poultry Club.

In truth we know little of this group which probably appealed to the small scale poultry keeper, rather than the professional like Fred Phillips of Spin Hill. Back in the 1930s, it was even possible to get teenagers involved although in this case we are considering a teenager who had lost her mother and who may well have been attempting to run a house – and the domestic fowls that were kept. But this youngster still found the time to present her birds to a high standard, winning a Highly Commended certificate at the 1936 show.

Highly Commended certificate for Miss P Welch at the 1936 Lavington and District Poultry Show

We can see that this show was the 31st such show organised by the club, suggesting that the first was in 1905, or possibly earlier if shows were not held during the years of the First World War. Our exhibitor was Miss P Welch. This young lady became much better known in the village as Mrs Peggy Gye amongst whose many achievements was the founding of our museum.

It is interesting to note that Peggy was exhibitor number 92. That, we believe, would mean that there were at least 92 people exhibiting poultry at the show.  Class 8, for which Peggy won this award had 6 entries.

As ever, we’d like to know more. Where were the shows held? Were there regular meetings? When was the club founded and when did it cease its activities? If you have answers then please get in touch with the museum curator.

Fred Phillips

February 28, 2011

Today we look at Fred Phillips who ran a poultry farm on Spin Hill.

Fred Phillips of Spin Hill, Market Lavington

Fred was born around 1888. We think he was born in Devizes where his father, William worked in the tobacco business. In 1891 young Fred lived in Devizes. In 1901 the family were in Potterne. Fred was still in the area in 1911.

It’s reasonable to guess that Fred served in some capacity in the First World War. In 1919, Fred married Eleanor Cressweller (or Crassweller). You can learn more of the Crasweller family by clicking here.

A son, Edward W Phillips was born in 1931.

At this time, Fred was running his poultry farm, as shown in our photo.

Fred Phillips with his poultry in the early 1930s - a photo at Market Lavington Museum

Sadly, Fred died in 1934. He was just 46 years old.

Eleanor continued to live on Spin Hill. The 1939 electoral roll which we have at Market Lavington Museum shows Eleanor there.

Eleanor Phillips on the 1939 electoral register

Of course, we at Market Lavington Museum would like to know more  about this Phillips family. Can you help?