Market Lavington Museum

The Oak Settle


Here we have a substantial item which is always out in our upstairs room, yet is rarely seen. It is a large oak settle. The wood has been stained giving it a dark, almost black appearance. It dates from about 1800 and is almost a movable wall, no doubt very useful for keeping draughts at bay.

As a little aside, that statement about draughts could cause amusement in Wiltshire. With a Wiltshire accent, the word ‘giraffe’ comes out more like ‘draf’. Indeed, many a Wiltshire teacher will have seen youngsters, when writing about the tall African mammal, spell it just like that – D R A F! As far as we know we have no giraffes to be kept at bay by an old black settle.

An oak settle from about 1800 spent its working life on White Street in Market Lavington

An oak settle from about 1800 spent its working life on White Street in Market Lavington

Our records say this settle belonged to the Gye family, first at Beech Cottage and then at Beech House. The records need checking, for both properties belonged to the Welch family. Our founder curator, Peggy Gye had been a Miss Welch before she married.

The reason this item isn’t noticed is because it gets used as a display stand. It is so good to be able to drape a wonderful fabric over it. In the past it has been a bedspread made by Mrs Crassweller. And then we can arrange a family of people on it. The people change each year. This year we have some people getting up in the morning. The settle looks more like this.

The settle now performs a very useful job at Market Lavington Museum

The settle now performs a very useful job at Market Lavington Museum

The settle is, of course, of interest, but it seems much more human when used in this way.