Market Lavington Museum

Farm land at East Clay


At the time of the 1916 sale of parts of the Market Lavington Manor estate, lot 9 was described as ‘a tract of very productive arable land, known as East Clay’.

It was just over 19 acres in area and abutted White Street, the road leading up from the clay in the village centre to the chalk downland of Salisbury Plain. (A small road of council houses was built in that area subsequently.) In the corner of the map, we see this White Street/Lavington Hill route marked as the way to Salisbury, but recent years had seen the farmland on the plain taken over by the War Office and the farms destroyed. Jack Welch wrote about this, in the 1950s, in his handwritten history of Market Lavington.

Nap House, also called Knapp Farm, can be seen nearly opposite plot 9 and was below the land taken over by the military. At the time of the sale, we see that it was being rented from the manor estate by J E Watts and we see from the handwriting on the sales brochure that he was able to buy this land for £500.

Jack Welch alludes to the farm losing land to the War Office. He mentions James Watts as being the occupier at the end of WWI, when the farmhouse and remaining land were sold to Henry Davis.

We know very little about James Watts, though he gets a mention as an overseer of the poor in The Poor Law in 1919.