Market Lavington Museum

A turf cutter


Nowadays, you can buy or hire a motorised machine to remove turf, cut at just the right depth to be reused to lay or lawn. Or maybe turf just needs to be lifted to clear the way for a new bed for flowers or vegetables.

The job would have been much harder using a traditional turf cutting tool, such as the one on display at Market Lavington Museum.

The blade had to be inserted into the grass and then pushed just below and parallel to the surface, which would have involved holding the handle at quite a low angle, although the kink just above the blade would have helped a little with this. The job must have involved quite a strain on the back and arms.

Our tool was used at Clyffe Hall, a substantial house with large grounds, in the village of Market Lavington in Wiltshire. This became the home of Lord Warrington and his wife. Thomas Rolls Warrington was a judge, working in London and he took the title Lord Warrington of Clyffe, after his home in Market Lavington, (See Lord Warrington of Clyffe.)

Lord Warrington’s initials (T.R.W.) are clearly marked on the handle of the turf cutter. The tool may date from about the 1920s. Lord Warrington died in 1937.