Market Lavington Museum

The Dorcas Society

Dorcas was an early follower of Jesus. We learn in the Acts of the Apostles (Chapter 9, verses 36-41) that she was known for her good works and sewed clothes for the poor. We are grateful, once again, to the Market Lavington Women’s Institute and their 1953 history file, which gives us details of the Dorcas Society in our area.

The Saunders family ran the water mill known as Russell Mill. This was in the parish of Market Lavington, but later transferred to West Lavington.

Our previous blog entry is about Amram Saunders and his work to rid the neighbourhood of tollgates. In 1808, Amram married Mary Box. The following year, we are told that Mrs Saunders of Russell Mill set up the Dorcas Society to help poor women to get clothes for their young children. About twenty ladies in the Lavington area subscribed money to this and worked at home to produce clothing and Mrs Saunders did much of the work herself.

Later, the hon. Mrs Bouverie of Clyffe Hall took over this role.

Her daughter Louisa, the hon. Mrs Hay (1811 – 1898) carried on the work after her mother’s death.