Market Lavington Museum

Meet the maltsters

We have previously described Market Lavington’s malt industry and learned that at one time there were as many as 27 maltings in the little town, converting barley into malt for the brewing industry and transporting some of it by waggon to London breweries. The last malthouse closed in about 1883 and, although we know the location of a few of the old maltings, we have very little information about the people involved in this industry.

We can pick up a few names from sources such as directories and censuses. Unfortunately, the 1841 census for Market Lavington has not survived, so we can only get census details from 1851 onwards.

However, we do have access to this book, which gives us information about the taxpayers of Market Lavington between 1842 and 1860. For more information about this book, see All we want for Christmas.

Occupations are noted, so let’s find the maltsters.

In the village, we tend to associate the surname Box with the old brickworks, owned by William Box during the second half of the nineteenth century and, indeed, his tax returns are recorded from 1855 onwards. However we find another couple of Box taxpayers, who were maltsters.

It would appear that Thomas Box, second alphabetically, passed the business on to his son John. (East Lavington and Market Lavington are one and the same place.)

From 1853 onwards we find a maltster called John Hazell. He is also recorded as a brewer, so probably used his own malt in that process.

We have met The Philpott Family before. We know that Henry Philpott ran The Green Dragon in the 1840s and into the 1850s. In our tax returns we see both Henry and John Philpott were maltsters, Henry being a man of many trades

We see that by 1854, Henry was dead and John was no longer malting.

The final Market Lavington maltster in our tax records book was Joseph Piper. He had been a grocer (also dealing in sundries, according to Pigot’s directory) but was down as a maltster too in the early 1950s, before not carrying on any business.

Paying taxes, whilst necessary for funding national expenditure, might not always be popular, but this record of taxpayers does help local historians to pad out sketchy information about the tradesfolk in former times.