Market Lavington Museum

The bier house


In our previous blog entry, we looked at the article on Market Lavington in the North Wilts Church Magazine from 140 years ago. Much of this related to the provision of a bier and a bier house.

The honourable Mrs Louisa Hay (1811 – 1898), daughter of the Pleydell Bouveries of Clyffe Hall, was thanked for paying for the purchase of a bier. Previously, pall bearers would have carried a coffin on their shoulders to take it from a horse drawn vehicle through the churchyard and into the church for a funeral. The article suggests that this was ‘objectionable’ and possibly ‘dangerous’ ‘in cases of fever’.

We learn too, that the honourable Edward Pleydell Bouverie undertook to provide a building to keep the bier in. This cartoon picture of him comes from an 1872 edition of Vanity Fair.

The bier house was built by the road, just below St Mary’s Church on Church Street in Market Lavington and is still there today.

The vestry meeting in 1882 discussed charges for the use of the bier and also agreed that the parish would pay half a crown a year in acknowledgement of E P Bouverie’s generous gift of the bier house.