Market Lavington Museum

Dick and his Donkey

The book, Dick and his Donkey by Mrs C. E. Bowen was recently given to the museum.

Dick and his Donkey - a recent gift to Market Lavington Museum

The book itself tells us something about past life – a typical moral tale book about a lad who disobeys his mother by gambling, and then works hard with his donkey to save himself and his mother from being made homeless, with the help of his faithful donkey.

As such, the book has nothing to do with Market Lavington but the inscription on the flysheet does.

Inscription in book, Dick and his Donkey

‘James Gye. Presented by the Market Lavington Congregational Sunday School, January 1913’

James Gye was born in the summer of 1906 so he was six years old when he was awarded this book. James’s father was a market gardener. The family lived at Homestead Farm on Drove Lane.

By 1926, the reader of ‘Dick and his Donkey’ had become ‘James and his Horse’

James Gye with horse Bonny in 1926

This year the museum will mount an exhibition of photos of this family of Gyes and of Homestead Farm. Local residents will know that a new Homestead Farm is nearing completion at which point James’s family home will be demolished.

You can visit Market Lavington Museum from May to October on Saturday, Sunday, Wednesday and Bank Holiday afternoons or, at other times by arrangement with the curator.