Posts Tagged ‘Religion’

Building the chapel

November 22, 2015

Back in the 1880s the Congregational Church in Market Lavington felt it had outgrown the old Quaker chapel they had used for 80 years. Plans were drawn up and a new chapel was built just opposite the old one at the Townsend area of High Street.

Market Lavington had its own brick makers, run by the Box family so it was natural for the church to turn to that company for building materials.

Market Lavington also had its own photographer and he was able to get out and organise a photo of a brick delivery to the site.

The Box family, as we know, were enthusiastic users of traction engines. And so that was the motive power that transported the bricks to the site.

Bricks delivered to build the Congregational Chapel in 1891 or 1892

Bricks delivered to build the Congregational Chapel in 1891 or 1892

The engine is obviously of interest and we imagine the men near the engine were the crew.


Locomotive and crew

The bricks have already been offloaded and are stacked where the new chapel is to be.

Bricks stacked and ready for use

Bricks stacked and ready for use

The chapel opened its doors to the public in 1892.

It is interesting to note that the wall around the chapel appears to pre-date the building of the chapel. It is already there.

The chapel, of course, still stands but is now a private house. The church community now meet in the very convenient Community Hall.


A former chapel

February 4, 2014

At the Easterton end of High Street in Market Lavington there stands a rather odd looking building – this one.

This building near the Easterton end of Markiet Lavington was built as a Meeting House for Quakers in the early 18th century

This building, near the Easterton end of Market Lavington, was built as a Meeting House for Quakers in the early 18th century.

It is right alongside the pavement, yet has only the one window on that side. The building is oriented at right angles to the road.

The building was, originally a Quaker meeting house. The Wiltshire Community History website at has this to say about the Quakers in Market Lavington and the chapel building.

There was a strong Quaker influence in the village by the 1650s and this continued for several generations with three or four families as the mainstay of the Friends. These included the Selfe, Gye and Axford families. A meeting had been established by 1656 and the Friends were persecuted by the authorities from around 1660. Members of the Selfe family were imprisoned along with Edward Gye and John Smith. This continued into the 1670s. They continued meeting through the latter 17th century and the 24 dissenters recorded in 1676 were probably all Quakers. It was a fairly small group of families which, in c.1680, formed the Lavington Monthly Meeting, which continued until 1775. A meeting house, on the north side of the High Street and at a right angle to the road, measuring 33 feet by 22 feet, was built in 1716, but by the mid-18th century Quakerism was in decline throughout Wiltshire and Market Lavington felt the effect of this. By 1790 there were only three Quakers in the parish and by 1799 this was reduced to one. The meeting house, with its small graveyard was sold and in 1809 was taken over by the Congregationalists, who enlarged it, using it first as a chapel and later, after 1892, as a schoolroom.

In fact the Congregationalists used the building until about 1960 when they built the Powner Hall alongside their church, across the road. The old chapel was sold into private hands.

Back in 2009 a chance came to see the inside which was in use as a store for an artist. But it still retained features of a chapel.


Here we look at the entrance and above, the balcony which provided extra seating in church days is still there.

The building, along with its graveyard, is owned privately and is not normally available to the public.

David Saunders – Shepherd of Salisbury Plain

November 14, 2013

Yesterday we had a picture and information about William Saunders and we mentioned that he was a direct descendant of ‘The Pious Shepherd of Salisbury Plain’ Very recently we were given a book called ‘The Shepherd of Salisbury Plain’.

The Shepherd of Salisbury Plain

The Shepherd of Salisbury Plain

We can see that this is a rather dull looking book with no particular feature to make anyone pick it up.

It does, indeed, contain a story, no doubt versed in fact, about David Saunders, the ancestor of William.

An owner of this copy had been Thomas Chapman, a postman in Potterne who was born back in 1864 in the Littleton Panell part of West Lavington.


Once owned by Thomas K Chapman, a Potterne postman

This handwriting matches exactly that on the 1911 census written by Thomas.

It has to be said that David Saunders was more of a West Lavington man than a Market Lavington man, but as we have seen his descendants certainly lived in our parish and David’s influence spread across the parishes.

The title page

The title page

The story, as told by Mrs Hannah Moore explains now a passing rich man came upon the uncomplaining shepherd and was so impressed with him that, when the time came, he was able to get him installed in a better cottage where he could be superintendent of the Sunday School as well as carrying on his employment as shepherd.

We believe the book was published in about 1795 and it is still available.

Our copy has one illustration.

Illustration - the Shepherd in his cottage

Illustration – the Shepherd in his cottage


Grave inscription at West Lavington

At the end of the story in our copy is information about the grave of the shepherd which is at West Lavington.


The book is an interesting addition to our collection at Market Lavington Museum

A Charity Collection Box

October 22, 2013

The sealed box into which a householder put money for a chosen charity, used to be a part of life for many people. Each year there was what may be called a grand opening day which revealed just how much money had been put in the box and could go to the charity.

We have just been given such a box at Market Lavington Museum. The charity was the London City Mission which was supported by members of the local Congregational Church.

The box is a simple wooden affair, with each side having a photograph stuck on which explains the needs and functions of the Mission.

London City Mission collection box, now at Market Lavington Museum

London City Mission collection box, now at Market Lavington Museum

Each side has a photo and information about the Mission

From a village point of view it is the bottom which is most interesting for it has the local names of box holder and the local secretary.

The box holder and local secretary get a mention on the base of the box

The box holder and local secretary get a mention on the base of the box

The box holder was Mrs Bishop and this is none other than the former Miss Draper who received that odd message on a postcard of the Robbers’ Stone which we saw just a few days ago.

The box had last been opened on 21st March 1968. By this stage Mrs Edith Bishop was well into her 80s. It seems she had collected thirteen shillings which is 65p in present money. It may not sound much but as an elderly pensioner Mrs Bishop probably had very little to spare. Incidentally, thirteen shillings works out precisely as 3d per week.

The secretary was Anna A Hopkins. The Hopkins family were long time members of the Congregational Church in Market Lavington but it seems Annie was a Devizes resident and was the collection secretary for a wide area around Devizes.

What an interesting little addition to our collection.

David Saunders – The Pious Shepherd of Salisbury Plain

September 19, 2013

Today we look at an oft-told story, that of the life of David Saunders who became known as the Pious Shepherd of Salisbury Plain. We are looking at the story in the words of Betty Gye as written for that 1949 edition of the school magazine, Lavington Forum.

Betty now lives in Devizes but remains a good friend of the museum. She has shared many photos with us and this one shows Betty in 1948, not long before her article was published.

MarketLavington School hockey team in 1948 - a photo given to the museum by Betty Gye

MarketLavington School hockey team in 1948. The photo was given to the museum by Betty Gye

We see the entire the Market Lavington School hockey team and the girls are:

Back Row (L to R) – Barbara (Trixie) Jones, Margaret Reid, Betty Gye, Joy Razey, Marion Phillips, Shirley Porter. Front Row Peggy Perry, Janet Stiles, Joan Perry, Georgina Gibbs, Mavis Bolton

Betty told us that the picture was taken before her birthday in December that year for she had her hair permed on that occasion.

And now to the article about David Saunders.



Well done Betty. Great stuff.

The Museum Miscellany

September 14, 2013

The day has come. This evening at 7.30 in Market Lavington Community Hall the team will present their mix of photos, talk, sounds and food – all with a local theme. It’s a fantastic fivers worth.

Our men at work section (including women of course)  takes us from the farms of Eastcott through Easterton and Market Lavington and includes builders, publicans, shop workers, demolition – in fact many of the jobs that people do – in this case its local people – it could even be you.

Porters on Lavington Station in the 1950s

Porters on Lavington Station in the 1950s

We’ll do a tour of the villages – mostly photos we haven’t used before – maybe that will include your house, school or place of work. People appear in this too – like this photo at St Barnabas School in the late 1980s.

A performance at St Barnabas School in the 1980s. There are lots of people to recognise there.

A performance at St Barnabas School in the 1980s. There are lots of people to recognise there.

The chances are you won’t see yourself during our piece on the extraordinary Saunders family. They form part of our village history in the nineteenth century – and not just our village. Family members had huge influence right round the world.

In Church and Chapel life we’ll look at the people and how religion influenced social life. Expect to see people performing in theatrical events or just having a knees-up at the seaside.


A Congregational Church outing at Edington

In ‘Sybil Remembers’, we’ll share some of the memories of Sybil Perry who was a pupil at Market Lavington School in the 1920s who, later, became a teacher there.


Sybil and Des Perry in 2005

 We plan to end the evening by showing just a few of our magic lantern slides. These date from about 1860 and were owned by Charles Hitchcock who owned Fiddington Asylum.

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If time permits, which it probably won’t, we’ll share some metal detector items, ‘Found in the Soil’ with you.

And don’t forget the food interval – the high spot of the evening for some.

The Museum Miscellany – 2013

August 13, 2013

On September 14th, The Community Hall in Market Lavington will be the venue for our fourth annual Museum Miscellany. This year’s topics will include people at work

Bessie Gye at work in Market Lavington

Bessie Gye at work in Market Lavington

Here we see Bessie Gye as a butcher’s van driver

There will be a section called ‘In the Soil’ and this features metal detector finds in the parish.

13th century penny found in Market Lavington

13th century penny found in Market Lavington

This is a Scottish silver penny from the 1280s.

We’ll feature church and chapel life

Plaque on the former Congregational Chapel, Market Lavington

Plaque on the former Congregational Chapel, Market Lavington

There will be a photo tour of the villages


Our venue under construction

All this and more and, of course, our famous food made from recipe books we have in the museum. Maybe, this year, we’ll have Uncle Walter James’s fruit cake.


We hope to show some of our wonderful collection of magic lantern slides as well – a kind of Victorian horror show.

The event starts at 7.30 pm and admission is still just a fiver. Tickets are on sale in Market Lavington Post Office.

The Church Lads Brigade Football Team

April 14, 2013

The England football team, despite an 8 –  0 victory, seem to be making slightly heavy weather of qualifying for the next world cup. I wonder how the local Church Lads would have got on.

This photo shows the lads – and some who might be more senior in the 1911/12 season.

Market Lavington Church Lads Football Team - 1911/12

Market Lavington Church Lads Football Team – 1911/12

Sad to say this is a ‘don’t know where, don’t know who’ photo. But maybe somebody out there will recognise some of the lads. That’s what we hope.

So let’s enlarge the team, bit by bit.



As an added bonus we have the person peering out of the window.



Please do get in touch if you think you know any of the lads.

An Easter Play

April 8, 2012

Churches have long traditions of theatrical events to mark the major festivals and in Christianity, they don’t come more major than Easter. No wonder our local established church, St Mary’s, Market Lavington, has been known to stage a play for Easter, involving the children in the church community.

Our picture shows a play entitled ‘Go Tell’. This was performed in the church for Easter, 1953, the Coronation year of our present Queen, Elizabeth II.

Easter Play, 'Go Tell' performed at St Mary's Church, Market Lavington in 1953

Now that, sadly, is all the information we have. There appear to be fifteen children involved and we can also make out a man who might be an organist.

We are certain that someone out there will be able to tell us who most of the youngsters are.

Do get in touch if you can name any of the people – please.

Here’s some close ups to help.


Church Gift Day – 1972

March 31, 2012

Our picture today shows three people on a church gift day in 1972.

Martin Chadwick, Vicar of Market Lavington, receives an envelope from Mary Taylor, on holiday from Canada

Mary Taylor (right) was born as Mary Lavinia Redstone in Marden, Wiltshire towards the end of 1891. Her mother was a certificated teacher and in the early years of the twentieth century she became head of Easterton School. The family moved to Easterton and in 1911, when Mary was 19, she was living with her parents and a brother on High Street in Easterton.

Mary married Edward Taylor in 1919. Edward was a Canadian soldier, known as Bliss. The couple set up their home in Canada. We have seen Bliss before on these pages. Click here.

Mary’s sister, Ethel married Jo Gye. This means Mary was the aunt of Tom Gye. In 1972 she was on holiday, no doubt visiting her relatives.

Lionel Thynne (centre) was a churchwarden in 1972. His full name was Arthur Lionel Thynne and he had been born in Devon in 1918. Arthur married in 1951. By 1964, the Thynne family lived on The Spring in Market Lavington.  Arthur Lionel died in 1995. There are still relatives in the area.

The Vicar (left), in 1972, was Martin Chadwick. He held office in the parish from 1967 to 1979.

In our photo Martin is receiving a gift envelope from Mary outside the Old School in Market Lavington.