Posts Tagged ‘tree’

1901 vandalism

June 14, 2015

When does an act of vandalism become a bit of interesting history? This piece of minor vandalism was carried out at a property owned by the perpetrator’s family. And it is minor, being initials and dates carved into a tree.

The person who committed his initials to history was James Frank Welch, otherwise known as Jack. He carved his initials into a beech tree at Beech House in 1901. Of course it would have been good to have a 1901 photo so that changes could be seen. In fact we have one photo which was taken just before the tree was felled in 1965 (We have had pictures of the felling on this blog. Click here.)

Jack Welch carved his initials in this family owned tree in 1901

Jack Welch carved his initials in this family owned tree in 1901

This reasonably clearly says JFW 1901. That means this engraving was 64 years old at the time.

The photographer chose the best time of day for this photo with the sun casting deep, dark shadows within the engraving.

Jack didn’t see his handiwork chopped down for he had died the previous year.

The Catalpa Tree

July 31, 2014

61 years ago, George Dobson, who was then Market Lavington’s oldest inhabitant, planted a tree to mark the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. We have featured this before on the blog and you can click here to see the occasion.

It flowered for the first time in 1976 and it is now a handsome and well grown tree.

The Coronation Tree in Market Lavington. This catalpa or Indian bean tree was planted in 1953.

The Coronation Tree in Market Lavington. This catalpa or Indian bean tree was planted in 1953.

There is the tree which is close to The Old School as well as our museum building and the church. This photo, taken earlier this month doesn’t show the flowers, but the tree is well covered with the delicate and beautiful blooms.

Here’s a little collection of them.


And here’s a close up on a single flower.


Later, the tree will have the big purple bean like pods which give it the alternative name of Indian bean tree.

The Catalpa is not native to the UK but it seems to adapt well to our climate and growing conditions.


Struck by Lightning (2)

November 25, 2013

Storms of one kind or another have been in the news in the last month or so.  The major storm to hit the South of England on October 28th pales almost into nothingness as compared with the awful tragedy of the Philippines. But we are aware that it won’t feel like that to anybody who suffered loss in the English storm.

Clyffe Hall in Market Lavington has suffered storm damage more than once – from lightning strikes. Back in February 2012 we featured one such strike. (click here to see it). That strike happened in 1911. Today we have another strike in 1927. Both strikes caused damage to trees and, as far as we know, nothing worse.

Here’s the aftermath of the 1927 strike.

Tree struck by lightning in the grounds of Clyffe Hall - 1927

Tree struck by lightning in the grounds of Clyffe Hall – 1927

Clearly, some substantial branches have been brought down, making clear that there is reason behind the advice not to shelter under trees during thunder storms.

The power of these strikes is laid bare by the huge rent caused to the tree. It is as though a huge axe has cleft branches from the tree

We do not know what the outcome was for that tree. We can be thankful that the strike caused no more than damage to a tree.


A felled tree

May 5, 2012

Back at the end of 2011, an oak tree along the Grove finally had to be felled and cleared. Bits had been dropping off it for years. It was, of course, sad to see it go, but it had actually blocked a well used footpath.

The tree was in a bad way in August 2011.

A suffering oak along the Grove, Market Lavington in August 2011

In the snow of February 2012, this was all that remained.

Same tree felled and gone - February 2012

One thing about a felled tree is that it is possible to count tree rings to see how old the tree was.

And there we are, looking into the middle of the remaining stump. There are about 140 rings. The tree started growth from an acorn around 1870. It makes an interesting time line. As this is a royal jubilee year lets put some royal events on the time line.

The tree as a time line of royal events

The felling of the tree will have changed the view from the former Market Lavington Manor. This view of the Manor was taken from near the tree on the same snowy February day.

Market Lavington Manor as seen from near the tree - February 2012

The Jubilee Tree

March 12, 2012

In this country, memorable occasions are often marked by planting a tree. We have, for example, a coronation tree in Market Lavington Churchyard. We have featured that, before on this blog – you can click here to se George Dobson planting the tree.

In 1887, Queen Victoria celebrated her Golden Jubilee – 50 years on the throne – and a tree was planted in Market Lavington to celebrate this event. Back then, Alf Burges was our professional photographer, but as yet, no photo of this tree planting has come our way.

The tree was planted along The Spring in a field which belonged to Mr Pleydell Bouverie of Market Lavington Manor. The field was often used for village events and recreation so it must have seemed a very suitable site.

In the Edwardian era, Charles Awdry, who then owned The Manor, created a fine cricket field on this land. The Jubilee tree would have been outside the boundary rope, so not a problem to cricketers.

When Dauntsey’s School bought the Manor, the field became a part of their facilities and the tree was now on private land. However, in the 1950s, the new secondary school was planned and the tree ended up on the Lavington part of the old cricket field. The school, as we know, has just celebrated its Golden Jubilee.

Our photo of the tree probably dates from a time when the school was planned. The tree, a Wellingtonia Fir, was already large at the time.

Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee Tree in Market Lavington

This photo is taken from The Spring. The roadside fence looks to be a new addition to the scene.

The tree is still there. This photo was taken in February 2012.

The tree, a Wellingtonia Fir, is on the grounds of Lavington School in 2012

Do many people know it is Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee Tree? Maybe in this Diamond Jubilee Year for our Queen Elizabeth, Lavington School could mark the tree in some suitable way.

The Coronation Tree and more on ink wells

October 5, 2010

Our Queen’s coronation was away back in 1953. To mark the occasion a catalpa tree was planted in the church yard by what was thought to be Market Lavington’s oldest inhabitant, Mr Dobson. Mr George Dobson has already featured in these pages  – a story 0f when he lost his motorbike licence aged 95, in 1953.

George Dobson, aged 95, plants the Coronation Tree in 1953 - a photo at Market Lavington Museum

Here we see George Dobson, born in the 1850s, with spade in hand by the tree. He stands opposite the Reverend Arthur who was the Vicar of Market Lavington at the time.

The others, from left to right are Tom Gye, Mrs Perry, Mrs Taylor (from The Fives Court), Reg Taylor, Gordon Shepherd, Miss Duncan and the Congregational Minister. Surely he had a name!

The tree flowered for the first time in 1976, a year before the Queen’s Silver Jubilee. It is now a well-grown tree and looks very handsome in the churchyard, quite close to our museum building.


Yesterday’s post about an ink bottle has brought this response from regular correspondent, John in Australia.

My mother Violet was at one time the cleaner of Lavington School. My brother and I at one time had to help mum clean the school, and part of our duties for mom was to fill the ink wells on each desk every morning and yes the bulk ink was kept in a very large bottle. We used pens with changeable nibs and, like you said, later moved to fountain pens. I believe that using this type of pen helped us form our letters properly and made our writing legible.

Lavington school’s 3 classrooms had large round fires, which burnt coke and heated the room. We had to light these fires in the morning with mum and make sure the coke hod was full for the day. The coke was kept at the back of the school in a shed.

Teachers when I was there were

  • Mr Norman Bardwell
  • Mrs McDowell
  • Mr Metheral (Headmaster)

Thanks, John for your memories of 1950s school life.