Market Lavington Museum

A Harvest Bottle


In the early years of the 21st century huge combine harvesters make quick work of the corn harvest, managed by one person sitting in an air conditioned cab. In times past things were very different, as teams of men worked all day, swinging the scythe to cut the corn down.

Then, as now, it was dusty work but then there was no escape in that wonderfully comfortable combine cab. And also then it was hard physical work so no wonder the men were thirsty. Each carried out to the harvest site, a bottle of drink – quite probably cider to help keep them refreshed at the fairly frequent short breaks. But their bottles needed topping up from time to time and the farmer would have provided liquid refreshment from a large eartehware bottle. We have such a bottle at Market Lavington Museum.

A harvest bottle at Market Lavington Museum

The thick earthenware structure helped to keep the vital liquid inside reasonably cool as the men worked away.

We do not have a date for this bottle but guess at nineteenth century.

The drink really must have provided relief to the labourers out in the open fields of the parish under the hot harvest sun.

You can find this bottle in the kitchen room at the museum.