Posts Tagged ‘weather’

The White Stuff

March 20, 2014

Snow has barely fallen in Market Lavington during the winter of 2013/2014. Mind you, it is only March so there is still time.

Our curator did manage to capture a flurry of snow on February 13th

A small flurry of snow fell in Market Lavington on February 13th 2014

A small flurry of snow fell in Market Lavington on February 13th 2014

It never looked like settling or pitching as many locals say.

Lots of people don’t like snow and of course if you have to travel it can turn the simplest of journeys into a really trying ordeal.

But snow can also be utterly lovely. Let’s look back to the snow of 1980 and a photograph taken in Manor Woods.

Beautiful snow in Lavington Manor woods in 1980

Beautiful snow in Lavington Manor woods in 1980

What a delightful scene and a scene missed by many Wiltshire folk this year. There isn’t a huge amount of snow on the ground but it turns the woods into a winter wonderland.

Market Lavington Hail 3rd January 2014

January 4, 2014

On a day when Prime Minister David Cameron said he was ‘ensuring all is being done to help with floods and there will be a Cobra meeting shortly’, how did Market Lavington fare?

Well the flooding was expected to be coastal so really Market Lavington wouldn’t expect major problems. But anyone out at about 11 in the morning may have received something of a headache. By local standards huge hailstones plummeted from the sky. If you’d been hit by one of them it would have hurt. Our museum archivist dashed out into her garden and gathered up a couple of stones for a photo. Not surprisingly, the weather had cast quite a darkness so the first photo used flash.

Hand held hailstones which fell on Market Lavington - January 3RD 2014

Hand held hailstones which fell on Market Lavington – January 3rd 2014

With that photo of a fast melting ball of ice taken, the larger one was placed by a ruler.

The larger stone is measured

The larger stone is measured

We can see this stone reaches from 1 to 3.5 centimetres which makes it about an inch across. It weighs in at about 8 grams. Our archivist thought there were probably larger stones on the ground, but wasn’t willing to risk too much by seeking out truly large lumps of hail.

In the past we have covered Market Lavington’s 1862 hail storm (click here). This one at the start of 2014 was a mere nothing by comparison.


Bad Winters

December 19, 2013

Every now and again we get a bad winter. People over 70 may recall that 1947 was particularly bad. Those over 60 will remember the ‘Long Winter’ of 1962/63 whilst those who are young may end up remembering the winter of 2013/14. Some people seem to be predicting a harsh winter this time although we are cynical and wonder if it isn’t just politicians trying to score points off one another.

However, today we are looking at another winter which had its moments back in 1982. Those readers in the older generation may just blink in near disbelief when we remind them that this was more than 30 years ago. And it was then that local resident Ray took a colour slide near his home – Yeoman Close in Market Lavington.

The 1982 winter as recorded in Yeoman Close, Market Lavington

The 1982 winter as recorded in Yeoman Close, Market Lavington

What a delightful photo and it tells us about life those thirty plus years ago. There seems to have been a lot of snow if we judge from the piles of it that people have moved. Yet the houses are thinly covered and that suggests a lack of decent loft insulation. The covering, though, is even, which indicates central heating. You can compare with the older houses in the background which all have more snow on the roof. We suspect those houses were not so well heated.

Virtually every house has its ‘BBC2’ or 625 lines TV aerial.  Back then we only had terrestrial TV. And it was in November 1982 that we got a fourth channel choice when channel 4 started.

There are cars and vans on drives, but it seems to be pretty well one vehicle per household. These days two might be seen as normal and more cars per house are not uncommon. Children tend to live at home for longer so it is perfectly common for mum, dad and a couple of young adult children all to be occupying car space outside one house.

Now we bet that when Ray took that photo of snow back in 1982 he didn’t realise that he was also recording a bit of social history.

The arrival of Winter

December 1, 2013

Winter is now on its way. Officially and astronomically, it may be Autumn until December 21st, but most people and meteorologists now seem to regard December as a winter month. We can expect cold, chilly days and, who knows, there could be snow.

And to mark the start of December we have a snowy picture in Market Lavington with a group of girls walking along a snow-bound White Street and about to pass by Broadwell on their right hand side.

Winter comes to White Street in Market Lavington in the early 1960s

Winter comes to White Street in Market Lavington in the early 1960s

We don’t have this fully dated – just early 1960s is all we have. Unsurprisingly we don’t have the names of the rather silhouetted girls, walking away from the camera. But they have a jaunty air and it looks as though they intend to enjoy the snowy conditions. There were no worries about transport, or getting to work for them. The snow, then as now,  just provided more scope for fun for youngsters.

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.



October 10, 2013

Hillside is a cottage on White Street which was once the home of Mrs Elisha. May Elisha was a former Miss Potter and was the very long term infant teacher at Market Lavington School. Our photo today shows May outside this house.


Hillside at the bottom of Lavington Hill in 1932

Hillside at the bottom of Lavington Hill in 1932

May Elisha stands in the doorway

Yes, there is May, framed in her doorway and looking every inch the young housewife.

It is particularly good to have May’s annotation on the back of the photo.image005

There we are. It was June 1932, the house is named and we know it was May’s first home.

The caption continues.image006

Many years ago the snow reached the roof! So I have been told.

I wonder if any weather historians might be able to pick a year for such an event. The snow, no doubt bad enough, may well have got deeper in the telling.

It’s a lovely picture of a house still standing, but no longer under a thatch roof. And three cheers for good captioning.

Storm Damage

June 6, 2013

The great hurricane of 1987 was certainly fairly wild in the Lavingtons but that exerted its strongest force in the south east of England

It was a storm of February 1990 that caused more structural damage. One building that was felled by the storm was a disused barn at Grove Farm. The barn adjoined the garden of Church Cottage and here we see Harry Greening surveying the damage. We are not sure if the piece of wood Harry is holding is debris from the barn.

Harry Greening surveys storm damage from his Market Lavington garden - February 1990

Harry Greening surveys storm damage from his Market Lavington garden – February 1990

Harry will be remembered by many people in the Lavingtons and surrounding area, for he was the founding headmaster of Lavington School, the secondary school which took children aged from 11 to 16 from quite a wide area. The school opened in 1962 so that was when Harry and his wife Mary came to the village. And what an impact they made. Apart from leading the school, Harry was an avid gardener. He certainly knew his onions. Other gardeners hoping to compete with Harry knew his onions as well. They were regular prize winners at local shows.

Sadly, Harry’s sight failed as he aged but he still managed to compete in the Lavington show. He died in 2010.

We are pleased to show this portrait of Harry who looks every inch the country gent. He was certainly a gentle man who cared about other people.

But can anyone name his dog, please?

Havoc at Lavingtons

August 14, 2011

A scrap book of news cuttings from 1957 has been receiving some attention at Market Lavington Museum. The glue and tape used to stick newspaper into the album has not stood the test of time well and whilst most of the articles are clear enough to read, one in particular was in a poor way. Parts of it were all but unreadable.

Near unreadable article from the Wiltshire Gazette and Herald for March 14th 1957

Careful use of computer enhancement has revealed this story. 

Havoc at Lavingtons

Cow and Calf Crushed

Terrible havoc was wrought at the Lavingtons. It is estimated that fully 2000 trees are down. Such picturesques scenes as The Warrens and Clyffe Hall have altered greatly. In many instances the amenities of the locality generally have been spoilt if not ruined by the fallen timber.

A cow and twin calves, owned by Mr Frank Potter, were in a field opposite Fiddington Lodge when a great elm came down, crushing the cow and one calf. In trying to rescue the remaining calf the rescuers were nearly caught by another falling tree.

The scene at Fiddington, the Sands and Spring at Market Lavington is amazing whilst at West Lavington, the devastation at the old cricket field and to trees surrounding the churchyard is equally great. A number of tombstones have been laid flat.

Considerable damage has been done to farm buildings. In cases cart-sheds and barns have been almost destroyed.

Traffic was impeded in every direction: in fact traffic came almost to a standstill until Monday.

Wiltshire Gazette and Herald – Thursday March 14th 1957

If any residents of Lavington in 1957 remember the storm and can tell us more about it, we’d love to hear from them.

Hail – Market Lavington

May 22, 2010

Weather is always a topic of conversation, in Market Lavington as elsewhere in the United Kingdom, but a hailstorm, which hit the village in 1862, does seem to have been exceptional.

1862 Newspaper Headline at Market Lavington Museum

It warranted a whole page in the Devizes Advertiser. We have a copy of this page, framed and on display at Market Lavington Museum.

The headline ran right across the page, which was then packed with text. Photography was still in its infancy in 1862 and photographs were not, then, part of the news.

These extracts, just a small part of the whole article, set the scene.

The scene is set for Market Lavington’s hailstorm

Mr Neate and Mr Blake, well enough off to insure their crops, probably coped well enough from the effects of the hailstorm.

The 1862 hailstorm in the Northbrook area

Mr Axford, the dog breaker was probably badly hit by the disaster.

The storm hits Easterton

Easterton was away from the centre of the hailstorm but still suffered damage with property of Mr W B Gauntlett, Mr B Hayward, Mrs Williams and Dr Hitchcock getting a mention.

Wildlife is badly hit by the 1862 Market Lavington hailstorm

It wasn’t only humans that suffered although Mr Fowle lost a long length of wall and Mr Rymer’s house was barely saved. The local bird life suffered more with 78 dead birds found in the fairly small churchyard area.

Market Lavington Snow

February 15, 2010

Much of Britain has had more snow, this winter, than we have come to expect. Market Lavington may well have got away lightly but there was enough to cause school closures and allow the young (and young at heart) to make their way up Lavington Hill for a spot of tobogganing.

But weather has always had a big influence on the lives of people – more so in the past when there was no central heating and no easy communication. Here are some historic photos of Market Lavington snow.

Market Lavington Broadwell after the 1891 snow

This photo dates from 1891 and shows people at Broadwell. This spring was the hub of the village until mains water was piped in during the 1930s for most villages came to Broadwell to collect water. Cottagers with buckets dipped for water as it appeared from out of the ground. Farmers, filling tanks, used the pump which, in this photo has a young lad perched on it. Animals were permitted to drink from just a bit lower down. It was obviously of prime importance to keep the access clear to the water source and clearly some local people have been doing that. I’m sure others have seen the photographer (Mr Burgess) and just want to be in the picture.

Snow scene from Market Lavington manor - 28th April 1908

We now move on to 1908 – April 28th to be precise and a view from the Manor. Many people in Market Lavington do not realise that there is a Manor House. It’s of no great age (mid nineteenth century) and was used as the manor House for less than a hundred years. These days it is a part of Dauntsey’s School.

The final photo is of The Spring in 1915. This is the main road out of the village towards West Lavington. In those days it was clearly safe to stand and chat in the middle of the highway.

Snow along The Spring, Market Lavington in 1915

If you have interesting Market Lavington or Easterton snow photos (or any others) then do contact us at the museum.