Market Lavington Museum

Buying a drink in the 1840s

Reading through the local directories gives us an insight into what our villages provided in times gone by. Today we will focus on the Inns and Public Houses entries from the 1840s. Sadly, this is a time when photography was in its infancy and we do not have pictures of the local pubs. Philip Mayow provided us with several sketches of Market Lavington village, but not featuring the public houses.

At the time of writing, in 2021, only one public house remains in Market Lavington (The Green Dragon) and one in Easterton (The Royal Oak). Pigot’s directories of 1842 and 1844 list five in East (Market) Lavington and one in Easterton.

Thomas Potter had The Angel. We only have photos of this building later, when it was known as The Volunteer Arms. Our blog Some history of The Volunteer Arms explains that Thomas Potter died in an accident on Ledge Hill in 1848, though Slater’s directories of 1850 and 1852-3 still name him. By the time of Kelly’s 1855 directory the pub is in the hands of Mrs Jane Potter, who is listed as ‘The Angel’ & butcher.

This 1916 postcard of Church Street shows the location of the old Angel, with its Volunteer Arms sign.

Our 1842 and 1844 directories state that Richard Bork Beech was at The Bell. This was on Market Lavington’s High Street, near to The Green Dragon. By 1848, Hunt’s directory has it in the hands of Tinker Bryant, though Kelly’s 1855 directory names him as Bryant Tinker Hawkins. The Bell does not feature in all the directories, but gets a mention in 1875/8 when John Petty Asher had it. He is listed as a farmer in 1880. We believe that The Bell Inn, Market Lavington burnt down in that year.

The lady in this 1860s or 70s picture is standing beneath The Bell pub sign.

Opposite St Mary’s Church in Market Lavington is where The New Inn was to be found. This pub changed its name to The Drummer Boy, when it no longer provided accommodation. Our 1842 and 1844 directories give William Philpott there though, by 1848, Richard Perratt had taken over.

The picture shows The New Inn early in the 20th century. (See Hopkins and the New Inn.)

We will continue our tour of the local hostelries in the 1840s next time.