Market Lavington Museum

Preserving the heritage of Market Lavington and Easterton

 

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A brief history of the parish

 

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Pond Digging

 

Chalk allows water to seep through it. Farmers who hoped to keep animals on chalk downland needed a pond, constructed to collect and hold water. These ponds were often called dewponds but they relied mostly on rainfall.

 

If you lived anywhere in the South of England and needed such a pond there’s a fair chance you’d have called in the Smith family of Market Lavington to make it.

 

http://marketlavingtonmuseum.files.wordpress.com/2011/06/smiths2.jpg

 

This photo shows members of the Smith family team at work building a pond near Basingstoke in Hampshire. The Smiths lived in tents if they were away from home in the summer but took lodgings if they were away in the cooler months.

 

 

 

 

It took a gang of four or five men about two months to complete one pond. A good worker might make a couple of hundred ponds in a working lifetime.

 

The Smith family were based on White Street in Market Lavington and generations of family members were involved in pond making. Goldie Smith probably made the last dew pond in about 1930 but the family continued to make ornamental ponds into the 1950s.

 

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