Posts Tagged ‘road’

Fixing the Road

November 15, 2013

It is tempting to say that both Northbrook and Drove Lane are roads to nowhere. Northbrook starts at the Market Place and makes its way down and over the Northbrook stream and then up on the sandstone. It stops near the Davis (football) Field and various footpaths radiate out from there.

Drove Lane also starts from the main road in the village – roughly at the point where the flowing waters of that Northbrook stream move away from the road. It too makes its way up onto the sands and peters out into a track.

But Drove Lane is home to St Barnabas School and Northbrook is very handy for the back access to the school. Apparently, it was the presence of the school which had these roads marked out for major carriageway repairs.

It was a slightly inconvenient time for residents for both roads became ‘out of bounds’ when the work was in hand at the end of October. But in the usual way of village life, people quite near at hand offered space on their drives for the cars of affectesd residents. Life went on as normal – or as near normal as possible in our car dependant age.

The first step was to find the edges of the roads. Inevitably, the soil had crept down the embankments and onto the road surface. Then huge machines came in to scrape the old surface off. This revealed the tops of former road works, when pipes had been laid.

Then the surface was thoroughly cleaned before more huge machines came to lay the new tarmac.

This was the scene near the top of Northbrook.

Northbrrok - October 2013. A lorry load of tarmac arrives and the men jump to the task of getting a new surface on the road.

Northbrook – October 2013. A lorry load of tarmac arrives and the men jump to the task of getting a new surface on the road.

As we can see, this vehicle blocked the road. Forewarned residents had got cars out already, for there is no alternative route for cars. The huge machine worked slowly down towards the village. It took the better part of two days to get Northbrook done.

The roller, to compact the surface, came behind – a much smaller machine.


A roller compacts the tarmac at the top of Northbrook in Market Lavington

An interesting point here is that Keith Davis at the newsagents remembered the last time the road was surfaced and recalled that the roller, then, had been steam powered.

When the job was done, we had a beautiful smooth surface.

Northbrook has a wonderful new surface

Northbrook has a wonderful new surface

A couple of days ago, on this blog, we were recalling the times of William Saunders, a road mender in the first half of the twentieth century. We wonder what he’d have made of the huge machines in use now. Probably he would have been in absolute awe of them and the amazing work they do.

Let’s hope that the new surface doesn’t encourage people to drive faster. Northbrook is still a narrow road and for much of its length there are no pavements. And it is used by children – both residents and those going to and from school.

The Tar Gang

January 13, 2012

There is little to say about this image, except that it is a fantastic picture. It shows a road gang, with employees of Wiltshire County Council, at work on Parsonage Lane in Market Lavington in 1937.

This was a time when much was being done to improve roads so that motorists could use them fairly easily.

Road gang at work on Parsonage Lane, Market Lavington in 1937

However, as we see, the road gang themselves were horse powered and had basic manual equipment to go with their tar barrel.

As is often the case, we know the location and the year but we don’t know the names of the workers. They may well not have been Market Lavington or Easterton people. They were probably fairly local, however.

Once again, if you can help identify any of the people then do get in touch with us.

Three members of the road gang


More from the tollgate removal notebook

August 5, 2011

We recently looked at the book that explained the collecting of money that paid off the turnpike companies, in the Market Lavington area. We looked at the people who made donations from Market Lavington. Today we are looking at a much smaller list of people who came from Easterton. In truth, Easterton was a part of Market Lavington so probably some of those listed as ‘from Market Lavington’ may have come from Easterton.

People of Easterton who contributed to the removal of the turnpikes in 1825

In Easterton we can see that the collectors were Mr L Grant and James Dowse.

The donations were:

Mr L Grant £10-0-0
Mr William Culley £5-0-0
Mr Samuel Draper £2-0-0
Mr Thomas Grant £5-0-0
Mr W Maynard £1-0-0
Mr Jacob Dowse £2-0-0
Mr John Clelford £1-0-0
Mr John Crook £2-0-0
Mrs Mary Wise £0-5-0
Mr James Sainsbury £2-0-0

The money was collected in 1824/25 and the notebook was compiled by Francis Smith who was the clerk to the council in Market Lavington at the time. The money raised by these Easterton people is equivalent to several thousand pounds at today’s prices.

The whole book has now been copied and an enlarged version is available for inspection at the museum. Donations came from West Lavington, Urchfont,eastcott, Wedhampton,  Devizes, Imber, Chitterne, Tillshead, Shrewton, Seend, Bulkington, Potterne, Worton, Poulshot, Erlestoke, Coulston, Tinhead, Bratton, Great and Little Cheverell.

Market Lavington Turnpike Subscribers

July 16, 2011

We looked, a couple of days ago, at the fact that money was raised to pay off the turnpike companies which freed the Market Lavington area of road tolls back in 1825. Today we look at those people of Market Lavington who subscribed to the campaign. The note book, compiled by parish council clerk, Smith, lists the names and amounts subscribed (in old money – pounds, shillings and pence) by people in the Lavingtons, the surrounding area and some from further afield.

For those not familiar with our pre-decimal money, a sum like 20.10.6 means twenty pounds, ten shillings and six pence.  Pounds haven’t changed. Ten shillings is the same as 50p and six pence is 2.5p.

Of course, purchasing power has changed. The £705.7.0 raised by Market Lavington in 1825 is equivalent to at least £70,000 today.

The photo shows one double spread from the notebook but all of the Market Lavington subscribers are listed below.

A page from the notebook listing subscribers for the removal of the turnpikes in 1825. The notebook is at Market Lavington Museum

Name Contribution
The Hon D P Bouverie 100.0.0
Mr A E Saunders 100.0.0
J Gauntlett 20.0.0
W Smith 30.0.0
T Stagg 25.0.0
T Fowle 100.0.0
Messrs Box and Ives 40.0.0
Mr R Dowse 40.0.0
T Potter 10.0.0
J Compton 15.0.0
R Box 20.0.0
A Cannings 15.0.0
T Box 20.0.0
R Willett 15.0.0
Staylor 5.0.0
H Cleaver 20.0.0
H Philpott 20.0.0
R Hopkins 5.0.0
Stobbart 5.0.0
J Gye 5.0.0
Worthy 5.0.0
R Gye 5.0.0
J Sloper 10.0.0
Turkey 10.0.0
W Sloper 10.0.0
T Notton 5.0.0
S Street 3.0.0
J Street 1.0.0
John Merritt 2.0.0
J Self 2.0.0
R Giddings 2.0.0
J Sainsbury 1.0.0
Samuel Draper 2.0.0
J Dyke 1.0.0
T Atkins 1.1.0
J Cooper 0.5.0
W Park and J Park 0.6.0
Mrs Betty Hopkins 1.0.0
Mr T Newman 1.0.0
Rev. W Guard 1.0.0
Mr David Blagden 2.0.0
T Sainsbury 1.0.0
B Ward 2.0.0
Harper 1.0.0
G Lanham 0.10.0
Miss Cole 1.0.0
Mr T Few 1.0.0
Miss M Legg 1.0.0
Mr John Grant 1.0.0
R Lanham 1.0.0
G Biffin 1.0.0
T Biffin 1.0.0
Merritt 1.0.0
J Baker 0.10.0
W James 2.0.0
D Topp 1.10.0
J Smith 0.5.0
John Philpott 0.10.6
H Philpott 0.10.6
W Marshment & B Hobbs 0.10.0
John Gray 3.0.0
Francis Oram 3.0.0
Tucker 1.0.0
Mrs Saunders 1.0.0
Mr R Webb 1.0.0
H Green 0.9.0
 TOTAL 705.7.0

Stop the tolls

July 14, 2011

At the start of the nineteenth century, you paid to use the roads. This was proving a problem for trade and just for people getting about. At various locations there were gates and they were manned by the toll collectors. If you didn’t or couldn’t pay then you didn’t get through what was often called the paygate or the turnpike.

In Market Lavington, a prominent local miller and trader by the name of Amram Edwards Saunders was, in large part, instrumental in getting rid of the gates. It was done without recourse to violence or nastiness by the simple expedient of buying out the turnpike company.

Amram could not afford to do this himself but he organised people to collect from the wealthier people in many of the local parishes. The money was raised and the gates removed in 1825. A notebook of contributions was kept by Francis Smith who was Market Lavington’s parish clerk at the time. We have that notebook at the museum.

Today we present some extracts from it, starting with the front of the book and then following on with what might be called the preamble.

In a later blog, we’ll look at contributors to the fund.

From the cover of the removal of the turnpikes notebook at Market Lavington Museum

Market Lavington Turnpike Roads

The following is a list of the contributions obtained to discharge the debt on the Market Lavington Turnpike Roads and the manner in which that debt was discharged.

The inhabitants of Market Lavington and its vicinity preferred raising money by voluntary subscription in order to accomplish the taking down the Turnpike Gates rather than endeavour to effect that object by other means.

The plan by which it has been accomplished has been for some time past under consideration but it was not offered to the public attention till August 1824 since that time it has met with great encouragement and the object proposed has been effected.

The demands of the mortgagees have been satisfied and all the Turnpike Gates have been taken down.

The roads of this Turnpike Trust measure near 21 miles they are repaired and with some few exceptions for may years past have been repaired by the parishes through which they pass.

The Tolls at the Turnpike Gates have lately been let for about Four Hundred and Fifty Pounds a year. Probably Six or Seven hundred were annually collected from the public who thus by the payment of what was raised from them in rather more than three years in Tolls have relieved themselves from a Tax which might have been a lasting burthen  on them.

There was a general and enthusiastic demonstration of joy shown at Market Lavington and its vicinity on the 8 of February when the Turnpike Gates were taken down.

Easterton, Then and Now

November 29, 2010

Kandy Cottage

Once upon a time a cottage known as Kandy Cottage stood at the bottom end of Easterton’s White Street. The cottage was demolished to straighten the road between Easterton and Market Lavington. We can look back now and consider it a real shame, but at the time it seemed the right thing to do. The improved road is now subject to a speed limit to keep speeds down!

Kandy Cottage and Court Close Farm on White Street, Easterton - a photo at Market Lavington Museum

This was Kandy Cottage. It is on the right side of the photo. The black and white building, beyond, is Court Close Farm. This picture featured in the 2010 Easterton fete quiz.

As is often the case, we’d love to know more about the people. Can any Easterton residents help on that?

Another photo – nothing like so clear as the one above looks along the street towards Market Lavington.

Kandy Cottage - early 20th century

 This features Kandy Cottage although a little of Court Close Farm can be seen. This picture is thought to date from the early years of the twentieth century.

The site of Kandy Cottage in November 2010

The picture below, covering much the same scene was taken on 27th November 2010.

We can see that Court Close Farm sports a bigger upstairs window and that tiles have replaced the old thatch on the roof. But it is still recognisably the same building. The agricultural buildings may have changed and been added to, but rooflines are similar. Kandy Cottage has entirely gone, replaced by a wider, straighter road, which does offer pavements as well. That, at least, is surely a good thing.