Posts Tagged ‘Thatch’

Court Close Farm

July 14, 2015

There are some photos you just have to love and this is one of them. It says so much about past times. It shows Court Close Farm in about 1940.

Court Close Farm, Easterton in about 1940

Court Close Farm, Easterton in about 1940

This is taken from the front garden of recently renovated Manor Cottage and the buildings we see are on White Street, Easterton. Court Close Farm is the further away building.

In this 75 year old picture Court Close Farm looks resplendent under its thatched roof and the cottages, this side of it and often lumped together and called Kandy Cottages look pretty good too.

But let’s take a closer look at something on the side of the road.

The milk churn stand

The milk churn stand

Just in front of the farm house there was a stand for milk churns. A couple of empty churns stand next to it. When full, those churns would have weighed close on a hundredweight (50kg).  They were put on the stand by the farmer to make it easier for a dairyman to get them onto a lorry. They may well have been taken to Lavington Station for onward transport by train. We do not know when churn collection ceased in this area but it was probably stopped by about 1970. So we have a real link with past times here.

And of course in the 1950s and 60s road improvement was the thing and Kandy Cottages became a victim of that. It was decided to straighten a kink in the road as it left Easterton heading for Market Lavington. Those cottages, or part of them, stood in the way and so they were swept into oblivion. This is a similar but much more recent view.

21st century - a similar view

21st century – a similar view

Court Close Farm is still there and still looks grand. If we hadn’t got the older picture we’d suspect it had once been thatched. The steep pitch of the roof tiles now on it is a bit of a giveaway.

Where one end of the cottages once stood there is now a verdant lawn. This end of the cottages would have been in the road. We now get a better view of the rather ramshackle collection of barns behind Court Close Farm.

Knapp Farm Barn

March 23, 2015

The second half of the 1950s was a time when wartime austerity was ending, we’d ‘never had it so good’ and it was time to get rid of old fashioned things and replace them with new. And that is precisely what happened to this barn.

Knapp Farm barn in 1957

Knapp Farm barn in 1957

This is a 1957 photo and work is in progress to remove the thatch from the barn roof.

Work is in progress to remove the thatch from the roof

Work is in progress to remove the thatch from the roof

There we see (just) a couple of men working on the barn roof with a tractor and trailer down below for collecting the discarded old thatching straw. The farmhouse can be seen beyond the barn and the photo must have been taken from somewhere near Broadwell.

This was very much an era for the removal of thatch. On dwelling houses it was replaced by tiles but a former thatched roof can often be picked out because they are much more steeply pitched than a standard tiled roof.

On a barn, it was deemed OK to replace the tiles with asbestos sheeting! Like Jesus on the cross, we must forgive the people who did this for at the time it was true to say, ‘they know not what they do’.

Some of this barn area has now been converted into desirable dwellings – ‘White Horse Barns’. That means these buildings look smart and tidy – far removed, of course, from their original purpose.

The top end of High Street

December 21, 2013

This postcard dates from the early days of such cards, when only the address appeared on the back. A small space has been left underneath the image for a message to be written.

Market Lavington High Street in an Edwardian postcard

Market Lavington High Street in an Edwardian postcard

On the left we have the Police House – still there although no longer used by the local constabulary. We look up Market Lavington’s High Street in the direction of Easterton. The Congregational Chapel is more or less central.


Vehicles are horse drawn

The vehicles are, of course, horse drawn.

Over on the right hand side of the road some of the properties retained thatched roofs.


There is thatch on some of the roofs.

There is thatch on some of the roofs.

This, as we can see, is not the most sharply printed card but the view is not the most usual and it reminds us of the early days of postcards.

A Northbrook View

April 15, 2013

The street known as Northbrook leads out of The Market Place. It goes down a hill and at the bottom it crosses the stream, also called Northbrook. It then rises up, quite steeply on to the sands. The present tarmacked road ends at this point but footpaths continue – there’s a choice of five paths radiating out from the top of Northbrook.

There are potential views over the village from points up Northbrook. Photographer Alf Burgess found a spot in about 1910

Northbrook, Market Lavington from the sands in about 1910

Northbrook, Market Lavington from the sands in about 1910

It is quite hard to get this photo to match anything from the present day. So much has changed. But the terrace of cottages at bottom right is still there with the Northbrook stream running past this end gable.

The thatched roof is probably that of ‘The Rest’ also still in existence. The little corner of tiled roof at the bottom left of the photo would be on cottages demolished in about 1950.

On the right hand side of the picture there are cows grazing where now you’d find the houses on Bouverie Drive.

In the middle of the picture we can see Northbrook (the road) making its way up to The Market Place where all has changed.


The Doctor’s House and Ivydene – amongst many long gone properties in Market Lavington

The cottages lining Northbrook on the right of this enlargement have either gone or been altered. The thatched cottage in the centre alongside the raised footpath is still there, but not thatched.

To the left of that cottage, and almost behind it we have another cottage now demolished. The white building beyond must be part of a house we sought – Ivydene. This was the home, later, of Fred Sayer, the bus company proprietor.

He also became the owner of the large house behind the tree. The other side of that house faces the Market Place. That house had belonged to Doctor Lush at one time. It was demolished in the mid-1920s to allow more space for Fred Sayer’s fleet of buses.

Whither now the Thatcher?

September 29, 2012

Albert Hiscock was a long term Market Lavington thatcher. We have read about him a couple of times on this blog. (Click here and here). Albert and his wife lived at Hillside at the bottom of Lavington Hill.  One of the nicest photos we have of their house was taken in 1936 – a quickly snapped photo taken when military tanks came off Salisbury Plain and into Market Lavington.

Hillside Cottage, Market Lavington, looks to be well thatched and well protected by a tank – a great photo snapped with a box camera in 1936.

Harriet, Albert’s wife, died in 1954 and Albert joined her in St Mary’s graveyard in January 1955.

Soon after, scaffolding appeared on Hillside cottage.

Hillside Cottage on White Street, Market Lavington in 1955. Now you see the thatch!

And now you don’t. Later in 1955 Hillside Cottage is under a new roof.

By the end of the year, the thatch was gone and Hillside Cottage sported a new, tiled roof.

Once upon a time many houses in Market Lavington were thatched and there was plenty of work for the thatcher. Someone will correct us if we are wrong, but we can place just three thatched houses now.

So, whither now the thatcher? For a while his future looked bleak, but now he’s in his van and maybe operating over a wider area, but the trade is certainly still very much alive and kicking.

The Workman’s Hall and the east end of The High Street in about 1900

February 25, 2011

The Workman’s Hall was a Victorian building provided for the village by members of the Saunders family. Their aim was to further their temperance ideals but whatever anyone thinks of that, they provided a meeting and eating house for local people, with games and books for them. They also provided a fine building, still in use in three ways. Market Lavington Library, under threat of closure as we write, is in one downstairs room. There is also a local firm’s office downstairs and the large upstairs is used as a scout hall by the local Sea Scouts.

The Workman's Hall and High Street in about 1900 - a photo at Market Lavington Museum

In our photo, the hall is the building with a carriage arch and a young man with cart standing outside. A square section gas lamp hangs over the carriage arch. The bracket for this still exists.

The building is a listed building and the citation reads:-

Workman’s Hall, now library, surgery and meeting hall over. 1865-6 for Edward Saunders Temperance Fund. Flemish brickwork with slate roof. Tall 2-storey facade of 4 bays, with carriage entry in fourth bay. Entrance central to the three bays, with flush stone portico on four pilasters and attic bearing inscription and date. Bays defined by giant brick pilasters with stone caps, eaves and sill bands. Sixteen-paned sashes with eared moulded stone architraves and cornices. Carriageway arch is of gauged brick with stone keyblock, and clock over with stone surround and dripmould. Gable stacks. Late C19 two-bay wing on left. Rear elevation altered. Loading door over carriage arch and simpler 16-pane sashes. Dentilled eaves. Interior has the large meeting hall on first floor. Window shutters in reveals. The building was erected by the temperance society and provided dole of soup and bread pudding when needed. Included for group value, and as an interesting example of the confidence of the social provision for the needy in the mid C19.

A boy with a cart stands outside the hall. No doubt it’s asking too much to hope anybody might recognise the lad.

Boy with cart outside the Workman's Hall

Next door to the hall is Palm House which, in the early 19th century was the forerunner of the Fiddington House Asylum. Mr Willetts set up his home here and some say it was noise and disturbance from residents which caused him to move to Fiddington House. Others rather feel he thought bigger premises offered scope for bigger profits.

Palm House was once a private lunatic asylum

Further down High Street, one of the properties still had a thatched roof. It no longer does. The same building is now under tiles.

This house, thatched in 1900 is now under a tiled roof