Market Lavington Museum

Death of a bandmaster


In one of the scrapbooks of newscuttings at Market Lavington Museum, we have articles relating to the death, in 1958, of John Hampton Merritt junior. (His father had the same name.)

He was 89 years old, the oldest person in Market Lavington at the time, and he had been a life long inhabitant of this village. He was born at the Broadwell blacksmith’s home and died at his own home in Church Street. A self-taught cornet player, he was a member of Market Lavington Band from his teenage years and its bandmaster from 1899 until a few months before his death.

He led the band in several competitions, the winning of one meant they were able to call themselves Market Lavington Prize Silver Band.

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We have featured this band in many previous blogs. (See The band and the bus, Bandsmen’s hats, The costs of running a band, It’s that band again, It’s that band again, Market Lavington Band in the 1890s, Lavington Band – 1880s, Band Account Book and Market Lavington Band – 1947.)

Unsurprisingly, John Merritt’s funeral was well attended by family members and bandsmen as well as those representing other aspects of his life.

Next time we will look at John Merritt’s work and non musical activities.