Market Lavington Museum

Market Lavington – what’s in a name?

The name Lavington is thought to derive from Lafinga-tun, the farmstead of Lafa’s people. IMG_20200613_210701066

In 2020, we know our village as Market Lavington. This name was used on the large scale Ordnance Survey map from 1900 (above) and earlier Ordnance Survey maps.

maps snip 1

However, if we look at Andrews’ and Dury’s 1773 map of Wiltshire, we see the village named East Lavington.


In fact, over the years, the village has had several names. Going back to the Domesday Book of 1086, we see it called Laventone. It was held by Robert the Marshall, who also held Gore. Confusingly, the next entry says that Laventone was held by Robert Blunt, but that was Bishop’s or West Lavington.

Domesday snip

So, there has always been a need for an affix to the place name to distinguish what we now know as Market Lavington from its near neighbour to the west.

The Victoria History of Wiltshire, volume 10, informs us of various other names in use since Domesday. In 1242 and 1255, it was called Stupel and Stepel Lavington, which may come from the Old English stiepel, for a church steeple. Church towers were formerly called steeples, according to Richard Tomkins in his book, ‘Wiltshire Place Names’. However, by 1316, the word stapul, meaning market, is used. This makes sense, as Richard Rochelle had been granted a charter for a market here in 1254.

A document from 1412 calls the village Chepyng Lavington. The Old English ceapen meant market and this is the derivation of place names such as Chipping Norton in the Cotswolds. In 1460, our village is written as Lavington Forum, from the Roman word for a market place.

Early in the 14th century and afterwards, East Lavington has been used, though often to distinguish what we now think of as Market Lavington from Easterton and Gore, which were parts of this parish until the 19th century.

Most of the names given to this place remind us that a market was held here. An interesting report from 1820 has recently come to light, so look out for future blog posts about our market.