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A Topographical Account of Market Lavington

A Topographical Account of Market Lavington
Author: Atley Henry
Title: A Topographical Account of Market Lavington
Release Date: 2018-10-21
Type book: Text
Copyright Status: Public domain in the USA.
Date added: 27 March 2019
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The Project Gutenberg eBook, A Topographical Account of Market Lavington,by Henry AtleyThis eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere in the United States and mostother parts of the world at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever.  You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms ofthe Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.org.  If you are not located in the United States, you'll haveto check the laws of the country where you are located before using this ebook.Title: A Topographical Account of Market LavingtonAuthor: Henry AtleyRelease Date: October 21, 2018  [eBook #58146]Language: EnglishCharacter set encoding: ISO-646-US (US-ASCII)***START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK A TOPOGRAPHICAL ACCOUNT OF MARKETLAVINGTON***

Transcribed from the 1855 Frederick A. Blake edition by DavidPrice, email [email protected]

Book cover

Church of East Lavington





Pious Shepherd of Salisbury Plain.







Stiff Covers, 1s. 6d.  Cloth, 2s.






Introduction—What History is, and how divided


SECTION I.—The Etymology of the place—Itssituation—Geologicalcharacter—Antiquity—Architecturalfeatures—Traditions—Commercial status


SECTION II.—Ecclesiastical and Denominationalaccommodation—Literary and otheradvantages—Educational facilities—Scenery


SECTION III.—Past religious state—Feebleinstrumentality of its reformation—David Saunders, the pious Shepherd ofSalisbury Plain—His early life—Correction of error informer narratives


SECTION IV.—His early efforts—Appearancebefore a Magistrate—Anecdotes—Cornburymill—Death—Funeral—Inscription


SECTION V.—Verbatim copy of two OriginalLetters—Poem to his memory


SECTION VI.—Immediate results—Rev. H. Gauntlett—CottageServices—Persecution—Anecdotes


SECTION VII.—The encouragement from neighbouringMinisters—A Church formed—Sabbathschools—Chapel purchased—Openingservices—Enlargement—Firstpastor—Separation—Second and third pastors


SECTION VIII.—Cross-roads chapel—Ebenezerchapel—Fourth pastor—Chancery suit—Debtpaid—Fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighthpastors—Improvements—Jubilee





Church of East Lavington


Ladywood Vale, with Shepherd’s Cottage


Cornbury Mill


Church of West Lavington, with the Shepherd’sGrave


Cottage in Parsonage Lane


Old Parsonage


Independent Chapel



Never in the history of thiscountry has literature assumed so prominent a position as it doesat the present time; not in one department only, but in the amplecircle she travels, each presenting its own peculiar claims toattention and regard, thus catering to the diversifiednecessities of the human family.

Among the various intellectual viands, none is more generallyacceptable than History; and simply for this reason, in otherdepartments or productions of the pen we have abstract principlesand theories, which require to be worked out by mental or manualprocesses ere they assume a form to be capable of appreciation bythe general mind.  In History truths are progressivelyelaborated and developed under the immediate influence of timeand circumstances, by which their qualities become known, andtheir value tested and proved.

In the first class we may be said to have presented to us asubtle spirit so ethereal and liable to evaporation as to bedifficult of retention to any important purpose, and so versatileas to be susceptible of any form at the will of the operator; inthe latter we possess a definite tangible reality, in which wesee reflected as in a mirror the principles, feelings, motives,and results, not only of the several actors, but of the times inwhich they lived, all which become fixed or Daguerreotyped forthe benefit of those that come after.

p. viTheterm History is of a general and extensive character, admittingof a very minute subdivision.  In the first place it may besimple or compound, pure or mixed, as it embraces persons, times,or things, taken singly or in their combination in the mutualinfluence they exert.  This is the general form in which itis presented.  In the next place, it may range as universal,national, provincial, local, or individual.  Anotherdivision will give us civil, political, ecclesiastical: each ofthese have their intrinsic value, will materially influence theprogress of civilisation, and promote the well-being of society;but to the last, viz., ecclesiastical, there belongs a charmpre-eminently its own, as it closely approximates toeternity.

The following History is of the mixed class, as the Table ofContents will show, so that it is hoped, while it may possess orcreate a general interest, its specific features will pleaseothers; and its ecclesiastical lineaments afford to the devoutmind great gratification.

The Author craves the indulgence of his readers, and hopes hisefforts will receive a general verdict of approbation.


Etymology of the place—Itssituation—Geologicalcharacters—Antiquity—Architecturalfeatures—Traditions—Commercial status.

East, or as it is sometimesdenominated, Market Lavington, distantfrom London 89 miles, is situated about the middle, ratherinclining to the western, part of the county of Wiltshire, on thenorth side of the extensive downs celebrated for the relics of abarbaric age, when human victims were supposed to appease theanger of the gods, of which a distant view is obtained on theroad from Salisbury, near the Bustard Inn, so called from a birdonce found on this plain.  It graced the table of the newMayor of Salisbury in former times on the day of his election tothe civic office; but is now obsolete.  The hunting of thisbird once constituted a chief amusement to the neighbouringgentry.  Lavington runs in a north-easterly direction,forming a portion of the celebrated Vale of Pewsey, reckoned thebest and most fertile part of the county.

The etymology of this place like that of many others hasprobably suffered by local corruptions, it is p. 2either of Saxonor Norman origin—a word compounded of two others,Lav or Lave and ton.  The former mightdescribe its position, the latter its quality or nature.

The names of places are frequently very descriptive of theirsituation, as Wilton, near Salisbury, or, as it known in ancientrecords, Willytown—the town on the Willy, a river runningthrough it to Salisbury, where it unites with other streams, andflows into the English Channel at Christchurch.  We proposeto take this as our guide on the present occasion, and establishour hypothesis by several concurrent facts.

The term Lav or Lave may either meanwatered—washed, left, or hidden; and the terminationton, which is a very general one, a town, as Easterton,Littleton, Maddington, and Shrewton.

Situated as Lavington is at the foot of the downs, which riseto a considerable altitude above it, with hills on the oppositeside of nearly equal height, seen from either it appears to liein a complete basin, every way adapted to act as a drain orreceiver of water from the uplands—a fact illustrated inthe years 1841–2, when a great destruction of property-tookplace at Shrewton, through inundations occasioned by theaccumulation of water by the rapid thawing of the snow in variousnatural basins in the vicinity, as at Candown Bottom and otherplaces.  The soil of the valley, so favourable to thecultivation of edible roots, being marked by the combinedcharacters of the surrounding barriers.

In some parts of the kingdom there are places wherewell-defined and specific geological features conduct to certainconclusions, such as the primeval deposits of virginsoil—the annual product of rank foliage where the foot ofman for ages never trod, which, when brought to tillage, yieldssuccessive crops of abundance—the subsidence of a vast andoverwhelming inundation—the retreat of the watery p. 3element afterages of possession, leaving its hitherto submerged bed high anddry.  As an illustration, we may refer to the subsoil ofBath, which is stone of so friable a nature as to be easilyaffected by the elements, and, if examined, will be found acombination of various shells, which plainly tell its formerstate, or the severance of some great and terrible convulsion,forming vast chasms, and exhibiting the various strata of rocksfar down in the womb of the earth.  There is a very gooddisplay of this at villas in the neighbourhood of Frome,Somersetshire, and at Clifton Hotwells, near Bristol, or inplaces round the Isle of Wight, and in the coal-fields atRadstock, and each of these present their own peculiarcharacters; but here we have on either side of the valley aseparate and distinct formation.  The downs predominate inchalk, on a stony brackish soil, with but a thin layer ofvegetable earth on a substratum of flint and gravel; theexception of the hollows no way interfering with the generalstate.  On the opposite side there is sand to the depth ofseveral feet resting upon sandstone, with occasional layers ofgranite, then again sand and sandstone, ultimating in a subsoilof granite, and this extends for several miles.  Thewashings of the two barriers by the repeated rains, together withthe humid atmosphere, so striking a character in the climate ofthis country, combining in various degrees, produces the fertilesoil of the valley from the sandy loam to the stiff clay.

If we recur to the times of invasion when hordes of barbarianssought the subjugation of this island, the predatory warfare withthe ravages to which the inland parts of the country wereexposed, there would naturally be a disposition and desire ofsecrecy and seclusion.  Now no place could be better adaptedfor this purpose, surrounded as it is by the uplands beforereferred to, lying, too, at a distance from the p. 4main road oneither hand, and possessing within itself the chief resources ofsubsistence, it could remain unknown as long as needful.  Wemust remember, when speaking of by-gone times their facilities ofinformation were very rude and simple.  How, in the absenceof the appliances of transit and intercommunication which wepossess, they would denote the direction of various towns we knownot; their proximity to certain well known objects, or asoccupying particular situations, might afford them means andfacilities, especially if we allow the progress ofimprovement.  Let us apply this theory in the present case,and it might be the town left on quitting the downs, and emergingtowards the chief towns, as Bath, or the last town prior toascending them.  The name, therefore might mean the washedor watered—the hidden or left town.

As but very few of the older buildings remain, and whattraditions there are being very vague, it is impossible to fixthe date of its formation.  The church, of which we shallspeak more fully elsewhere, has doubtless stood for some hundredsof years.  The old parsonage, with its gables andcress-muntained windows, carries the visitor into by-gonetimes.  A large mansion on the road to Urchfont, at the turnto Eastcott, has undoubtedly the marks of age; its ponderousappearance, numerous gables, heavy stacks of chimnies, andballustraded gallery—tell of times when profuse hospitalitywas common.  There is one at Easterton, of which we havemore definite accounts: it is now in the occupation of Mr.Neville.  Report states it to have been erected by theProtector, Oliver Cromwell, about the year 1657, for his general,Kinson; and to which he himself oft repaired, either whencommanding in the wars between Charles II. and the parliament (ofwhose armies Cromwell was commander-in-chief), one of which tookplace at Bratton, about eight miles p. 5distant, a spot celebrated from thetime of Alfred the Great, where, after rallying his troops atClay hill, near Frome, he gave the Danes battle and routed them,the spot is shown where the Danes encamped and where Alfredpenetrated in the disguise of an harper,—or probably theProtector here sought for seclusion and rest to a mind perturbedand alarmed to suspicion by the publication of a work, supposedto allude to him, entitled, “Killing no Murder.”

At Wroughton’s Folly there are remains of a onceextensive erection, which, from its size, would have accommodateda numerous family.  Its picturesque situation, surroundedwith extensive grounds, formed a charming retreat; it wasoccupied by a retired merchant, but has long gone to decay. Report states the ruins were once the retreat of a daringfreebooter, who preyed upon the surrounding homesteads and laidunder contribution the yeoman as he returned from theneighbouring markets: little now remains save the foundations ofthe cellars.  Near this spot are three mounds within a smallenclosure in the middle of a field, of which tradition thusspeaks:—In the time of Charles II., when that dreadfulscourge, the plague, which destroyed upwards of one hundredthousand of the inhabitants of London, broke out, three brothers,seeking to avoid the common

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