Salisbury Past


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Lockdown has had many of us enjoying the time to read. One book to which it has been worth returning has been this one (available in the Salisbury Museum bookshop and most other outlets):

Authors Ruth Newman and Jane Howells are great friends of the museum, and the book has provided this blog with some of its recent ‘gems’.

The cover, in itself, is almost worth any outlay. It is a watercolour by Louise Rayner (1832 – 1924), and shows the High Street, looking north, in a scene from the late 1800s. One hundred and fifty years later it still has a familiar look.

The theme of today’s blogging seems to be the Stuart period, and with epidemics still in our minds, this Newman and Howells’ book is revealing on the plague in Salisbury in the 17th century.

There were several outbreaks of plague in the city in the 17th century, as there were all over the country. There were six major outbreaks between the late 16th century and early 18th. In 1604 more than a thousand had died. Poor harvests at this time, together with a slump in the textile industry, created great poverty and such conditions increase the likelihood of disease and death.

Mayor John Ivie, an enlightened and energetic man, set to work, much as our authorities have in recent months, to try and control things.

Goods coming in to the city, especially from London, had to be left outside the city. Alan Crooks has written about Plague Stones in the past on this blog. While many of the wealthy fled (documents suggest that at one point 60 wagons a day were leaving the city), strangers were turned away. The clergy closed off the Close and Ivie had a pest house built at Bugmore to take the most desperate sick. It had previously been the site of a workhouse and was later the site of a smallpox hospital. The name, incidentally, has nothing to do with ‘bugs’ as in germs (unknown in the Middle Ages) but was originally ‘Boggy Moor’ because of its proximity to the flood plain.

Ivie closed down all the alehouses. One which defied the ruling saw all of its regulars dead within a few days. I think we can work out what Ivie’s mixed emotions may have been. He was a Puritan.

In the end 369 were recorded as dying from the plague that year, a figure which might have been very much higher but for Ivie’s work.

A memorial plaque in Salisbury Cathedral says of John Ivie “You have done your country good service.”

A QUIZ ON THE STUARTS by Volunteer Mary Crane

…but first, answers to last week’s quiz:

Reading Gaol, with tent of blue…

Well known? Who wrote what…?

  1. “He knew the taverns well in every town.” Chaucer
  2. “And the birch canoe was builded in the valley by the river.” Longfellow
  3. “We called him tortoise because he taught us.” Carroll
  4. “Their heads are green and their hands are blue and they went to sea in a sieve.” Lear
  5. “….that little tent of blue that prisoners call the sky.” Wilde
  6. “The name of the slough was Despond.” Bunyan
  7. “Cry “havoc” and let slip the dogs of war.” Shakespeare
  8. “There is nothing half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.” Grahame
  9. “You know Trotwood, I don’t want to swing a cat. I never do swing a cat.” Dickens
  10. “You must never go down to the end of the town if you don’t go down with me.” Milne
  11. “It is spring, moonless night in the small town, starless and bible-black.” Thomas
  12. “East is east and west is west and never the twain shall meet.” Kipling

The Stuarts

  1. Who was known as “The Merry Monarch”?
  2. Who was the physician to Charles I who made discoveries about the circulation of the blood?
  3. After Elizabeth I died there was an attempt to put another female o the throne. Who was she?
  4. What was the occupation of Orlando Gibbons and William Byrd?
  5. Which architect was Surveyor to the Crown 1615 – 1642 and worked on the Banqueting House at Whitehall?
  6. Who had illegitimate sons by Lucy Walter and Louise de Keroualle (amongst others!)?
  7. In 1685 the Duke of Monmouth landed at Lyme Regis in an act of rebellion – against which king?
  8. What office was held by Whitgift, Bancroft, Abbott and Laud in the !6th and 17th centuries?
  9. Who was the last Stuart monarch?
  10. What word, from the 17th century, can follow “Rump” and “Barebones”?

WELL KNOWN? This week’s quiz by Mary Crane

We are familiar with these: John Bunyan; Lewis Carroll; Chaucer; Charles Dickens; Kenneth Graham; Rudyard Kipling; Edward Lear; Longfellow; AA Milne; Shakespeare; Dylan Thomas; Oscar Wilde. But who wrote what?

  1. “He knew the taverns well in every town.”
  2. “And the birch canoe was builded in the valley by the river.”
  3. “We called him tortoise because he taught us.”
  4. “Their heads are green and their hands are blue and they went to sea in a sieve.”
  5. “….that little tent of blue that prisoners call the sky.”
  6. “The name of the slough was Despond.”
  7. “Cry “havoc” and let slip the dogs of war.”
  8. “There is nothing half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.”
  9. “You know Trotwood, I don’t want to swing a cat. I never do swing a cat.”
  10. “You must never go down to the end of the town if you don’t go down with me.”
  11. “It is spring, moonless night in the small town, starless and bible-black.”
  12. “East is east and west is west and never the twain shall meet.”

Answers to last week’s quiz:

Early Man

  1. In which country were the fossils of earliest modern humans found? Ethiopia
  2. What is the nickname given to the tiny hominid fossils found in Flores, Indonesia? The Hobbit
  3. What are Grimes Graves? Neolithic flint mines
  4. Complete this description of a partial skeleton found in Wales: The Red Lady of Paviland. Bonus point if you know why it is a misnomer….They have decided it was actually male
  5. Where is the Ring of Brodgar (a stone henge)? Orkney
  6. What do these mean? Homo Sapiens Wise Man; Homo Erectus Upright Man; Homo Habilis Handy Man; Homo Ergaster Working Man; Homo Antecessor Pioneer Man
The Hobbit (left)

Thank you, once again, Mary

Careful Steps, and a Happy Member


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The museum yesterday started taking careful steps towards re-opening. Members have been invited to book places on backroom tours over the next few days (sorry everyone, currently fully booked!) as one-way systems and other procedures are trialled.

We have this from Ann Livingstone, one very happy Member who joined the tour yesterday:

Visit to the Museum

Yesterday I was able to visit the Museum for the first time since lockdown
which was a real joy. Members had been invited to apply for tickets to have a tour of the museum and I was lucky to get a ticket because they
disappeared very quickly.

Ten members were shown round the museum by Adrian Green, Director of the museum . During our tour we were shown some of the Museum’s treasures which Adrian has been showcasing on Youtube every week. Many items the museum owns are too valuable to be put on show and can only be brought out on special occasions.

Among other things we admired the beautiful stone mace head from the Isle of Lewis in the Orkneys. We marvelled at the ability of the maker to make a perfect hole in it with such crude tools.

Not so successful was the torq maker!

We saw a perfect torq, then one which was broken and dirty. It had never been finished and looked as though it had been thrown down in disgust by the maker because the pattern was not right!

Photograph: The Salisbury Museum

Other items we saw were a huge cloak pin, very large but quite delicate – some body’s prize possession, no doubt! Then there was the beautiful gold and diamond Tudor ring which we all felt sure would fit one of our fingers but Adrian kept it firmly in his hand!

The huge cloak pin and other items on display on an earlier occasion

We also saw the amazing Medieval chess piece, a copy of which is in a cabinet. It is exquisitely carved. It was found in one of the water courses in a street in Salisbury. Someone must have been heart broken to lose it.
Part of our visit was to test the arrangements made to keep people safe in
these “coronavirus” days! Museum staff have done a brilliant job, setting up a one way system, with hand sanitisers every where and everything being kept really clean.

It was good to see the cafe busy and welcome news that the museum will be
open to the public on August 1st. There were a lot of people in The Close, some of whom were obviously hoping the museum was open.

My visit was a real treat.”

And from Volunteer Maggie Hunter, after Director Adrian Green’s talk on Aurochsen last week…

“Thank you Adrian for an absolutely fascinating talk and show of those early bones….I didn’t know that we had such wonders tucked away!”

Echoed by us all!

Good News

The museum will re-open on 1 August, Thursday to Sunday 11am – 4pm, entrance by donation.

The Close was busy yesterday with the cafe full over the lunchtime period so things are moving again!

It was good to see an email from Rachel Coman, new Volunteer Co-ordinator, yesterday. It is copied here, in case you missed it…


Firstly I want to introduce myself as the new Volunteer Co-ordinator. I started in post on the 30th June and I am looking forward to working with you all. I thought it might be useful to have a bit of information about myself, however if you have any questions please ask! The best way to get in touch is via email as I work part time hours: Tuesday and Wednesday- all day, Thursday mornings.

I graduated in January with Masters in Museum Studies and prior to that have worked for a number of heritage organisations including 9 years with the National Trust. One of my hobbies is historic re-enacting and this is how I first visited Salisbury Museum 15 years ago to look at some items in the costume collection. I do like the elegance of the Regency period and you learn so much by studying original items. I have also volunteered at the Museum as an Engagement Volunteer and also in the Rex Whistler archives uploading records onto the MODES database.

Leicester University Museum Studies Remote Placement Students

Starting this week, are 4 students undertaking a 6 week remote placement. They are based in Canada, China and the UK and will be helping with a number of digital tasks including producing online learning resources and carrying out a digital audit.

Salisbury Museum Youtube channel

The museum has a Youtube channel where you can watch a variety of videos including Adrian’s ‘Behind The Scenes’ videos. It is a great way to engage with online audiences and can encourage new visitors to the Museum. If you can spread the word it would be much appreciated. If have a Youtube account, it would really help if you can subscribe to our channel as this will make it more visible to a wider audience. Here is the link:

Salisbury 800: A free family quiz to celebrate 800 years of our City

Here is a fun and free activity to take part in this summer holidays. Test your knowledge of Salisbury and explore the city at the same time. Free quiz sheets are available from Salisbury Information Centre and bookshops. The quiz is organised by the Salisbury branch of ‘Save The Children’ and runs until the 30 August and further information is attached to the email.

Thank you for your support and understanding.

Best wishes, Rachel

More on the Scout Works



This has been received as a comment this morning, from Nikki Coplestone, a local author, in response to Alan Clarke’s Burden Brothers item, yesterday.

Some years ago, I bought a copy of a booklet about Scout motor cars for my late father, and found a letter inside. From a Stanley Grey, to – I am guessing – the author of the booklet. It included the following:

“23 June 69
20 The Coppice, Watford

Dear Tony
Please forgive me for not writing you before to thank you for the History of Scout Motors Ltd which I find very interesting especially the pictures. Albert Burden’s picture, I remember him as portrayed and the near lathe is the same I worked on I think. If not there were similar lathes the other side of the shop. One of these was worked by Mr Radcliffe and could be one of those shown.

I note two errors though: I was present at the time of Mr Radcliffe’s tragic death, the date being 16th Sept 1915, not 1920 as stated in the booklet. The works were closed in the afternoon, and Norman Smith & I took a trip to Bournemouth to try and forget the tragedy. To make matters worse we went to the Palace in the evening & the news showed the burning of a Zeppelin. 1 day I shall never forget.

The other one which is not quite correct is “that the machinery was ripped up and transported to France” in 1915. I well remember officials visiting the works & taking details of most machines; and most machines were there when nearly all the staff were seconded to various places in June 1916; to Reading, Clydebank, Dartford, Derby & Bristol. I was transferred with Norman and about 13 others to Reading H E works; & hadn’t been there long with not much to do, till a lot of the machines which were at Salisbury arrived, then there were plenty of jigs to make and work soon commenced on Clergy [?looks like Cleryy], Gnome, & Le Rhone engines.

It was a great pity the Scout works had to close; with the staff and machinery there, it was the general opinion of employees that had munition contracts been obtained & carried out, it could well have been in the forefront of work for the war effort with existing staff.

I have a photograph of about fifty of the staff taken before I went there in Sept 1914 but I can only recognize seven of them; a lot went to Reading in 1916, two joined the army, and the foreman aged between 50 & 60 remained at Bemerton….”

Thank you Nikki!

BURDEN BROTHERS by Volunteer Alan Clarke



Salisbury’s Burden Brothers made Clocks before Scout Motor Cars

There has always been a close link between SWIAS (South Wilts Industrial Archaeology Society) and Salisbury Museum.  Both have had much interest in the Scout Motor car, manufactured exclusively in Salisbury, by the Burden Brothers.  Only two examples of this car now exist, and one of these is owned by the museum.  It is hoped it will be on display in the not too distant future, and may even be for hire for rides around The Close!  It is certainly quite an achievement for Salisbury to have manufactured its own cars.

The Salisbury Museum’s Scout Motor Car

The museum has an extensive collection of photographs concerning the making of the Scout Motor Car, and the renovation of the one now owned by the museum.  The photographs taken inside the pre-WW1 factory at Churchfields (below) show that the machinery wasn’t powered by electricity but by leather belts from a rotating overhead shaft, worked by steam.  This was the conventional way before machine tools became electric powered.

The Scout Motor Car factory at Churchfields

The Burden Brothers had another business before they went into motor manufacturing.  This was clock making.  They had premises in Fisherton Street.  

How well do you know Fisherton Street?  Between two first floor windows at 101 Fisherton Street you will see their clock bracket dating from the time of the Burden Brothers’ occupancy.  In 1898 the brothers placed a full-page advert in the Western Gazette:

Burden Brothers Clock advertisement

The museum’s image archive contains quite a number of Salisbury company letterheads, business cards and adverts.  It is amazing how useful these can be to researchers.  

The letterhead of a Salisbury Cutler and Silversmith

The Burden Brothers’ advert has been no exception.  It lists a number of places where churches had been fitted with their clocks.  A SWIAS member and his daughter visited these magnificent church clocks, talking to the clock keepers and taking lots of photographs.  The result has been a 16-page full-colour SWIAS publication which can be purchased at The History Bookshop at Fisherton Mill.  The museum also often sells SWIAS monographs, especially ones concerning the Scout Motor Car.

Another great piece of Salisbury history thanks to Alan and the museum’s archives.

Names from the Past


While looking at material concerning the Wylye textile industry it was interesting to see the range of surnames, so….

Common surnames derived from Medieval trades, occupations, crafts and manufacture (and some comments on these as well as examples we might recognise. Your thoughts welcome!). There are often variant spellings eg Smythe instead of Smith)

Baker ‘Ginger’ Baker of Cream (Rock and Roll era)

Barber (as in barber surgeon or hairdresser). Chris Barber, jazz musician

Brewer (but not Maltster?)

Mike Brewer on TV – renovation of cars

Butcher (but Fishmonger does not seem to have become popular as a surname. Perhaps even when surnames were beginning to be used John Fishmonger didn’t have the right ‘ring’. Fish might be a shortened version but there are other reasons why someone might have that for a surname, eg originally a nickname). Mark Butcher – England cricketer and TV pundit / Michael Fish, weatherman

Carpenter (but not often Joiner) Karen Carpenter. Remember the singing duo?

Cook Sir Alistair Cook, England cricket’s highest run scorer, known as ‘Chef’ by his team mates

Fuller (see Tucker, below). Andrew Fuller, (6 February 1754 – 7 May 1815), founder of Baptist Missionary Society

Mason (but not Brickmaker or even Brick – perhaps because the manufacture of bricks only became common after surnames had already been taken up?). James Mason, British actor

Miller Glen Miller, American band leader from WWII era

Potter Beatrix Potter, author of children’s books

Shepherd astronauts William Shepherd and Alan Shepard

Shoemaker (Schumacher? In this country we traditionally refer to a cobbler but that does not appear much as a surname). It is a relatively common name in the US, probably a variant spelling of the German version. Famous German F1 racing driver, Michael Schumacher

Smith (a person who works metal, hence blacksmith (iron), tin or whitesmith, silver smith and Goldsmith which is a surname). Rosie Goldsmith, journalist

Tailor Elizabeth Taylor, British-born American actor

Tanner (but not Currier, ie also a person who prepared hides to make leather. Is the surname Curry a version of this?). Henry Ossawa Tanner, American painter, died  in 1937 / John Curry, British Olympic figure skater and gold medalist, died 15 April 1994

Taverner (but not Innkeeper or Tippler?). John Taverner, writer of English Renaissance music, died 18 October 1545

Thatcher Baroness Margaret Thatcher, British Prime Minister 1979 to 1990

Tiler (like Mason and Tanner, this is beginning to appear as a first name also, usually spelled Tyler). Wat Tiler, Peasants’ Revolt, killed 1381

Tucker (part of the finishing process for cloth, but we don’t have Dresser or Finisher. We do have Shearer, which probably means the person who used shears to trim and smooth cloth, rather than someone who cut off the fleeces). ‘Little Tommy Tucker’, nursery rhyme character / Moira Shearer, British ballet dancer and actor

Weaver (but not Spinster. That would be a description of a woman and so unlikely to become a surname). Sigourney Weaver, American film actor

Some not so obvious:

Mercer – a merchant, especially fabrics.

Chapman – a pedlar.

Clark – clerk (usually a churchman who could write)

Cooper – a maker of casks and barrels

Scrivener – a scribe (we don’t have Writer as a surname but we do have Reader. However the origin of this name is to do with thatching. The name Wright means a maker or builder, as in Wheelwright)

It looks like a reasonable theory that only the more ‘respectable’ trades survived as surnames. Most surnames were usually fixed by c AD 1400. Many surnames are, of course, originally foreign. Some were nicknames that ‘stuck’, eg White, Black, Stout (as in ‘stout-hearted’), Short. People also carried the name of their forebears, eg Robinson, Williamson, Thomas, or were known by their place of birth or where they lived, eg Salisbury, Wimborne, Stapleford, South, North.

Short Film on Florence Nightingale



They have got the lamp right here… one like it is at Wilton House

When ‘serialising’ the life and works of Florence Nightingale on this blog back in the Spring, we were pleased to link up with Dr Richard Bates, Research Fellow at the University of Nottingham. The University has been marking the two hundredth anniversary of her birth, and we have received this email from Dr Bates:

Our Nightingale project:

  1. New short documentary film on Florence Nightingale’s Derbyshire

I have made a 10-minute documentary based on a walking tour of Nightingale’s Derbyshire. You can watch the film on our website here

  • Exhibition – we are hoping to stage our ‘Florence Nightingale Comes Home’ exhibition this autumn at the Lakeside Arts Centre, depending on how things develop – watch this space! In the meantime, you can visit our online exhibition pages here.
  • In May, Paul Crawford and I ran a webinar with the British Association of Critical Care Nurses. You can listen to the audio of the webinar on the BACCN website.

I must remember to let Dr Bates know that the makers of Barbie Dolls are also marking Florence Nightingale’s two hundredth anniversary ….. (see top of page)!

Some Salisbury ‘Gems’ and a New Quiz

Salisbury ‘Gems’

On 27th July 1665 the king and his queen set out from London to Salisbury to avoid the Plague. But they didn’t stop…turning round and heading to Oxford!

As a child, Queen Victoria found the regalia and robes worn by Bishops rather frightening. It was the Bishop of Salisbury who, when visiting, calmed her fears by bending down and allowing her to play with the Order of the Garter which he was wearing.

(taken from Royal Anecdotes by Elizabeth Longford)

Briefly, in 1688, Salisbury found itself in the centre of the Monmouth Rebellion. James II established his headquarters in the Bishops Palace when William of Orange landed at Torbay but the king fled to Windsor when he was deserted by some of his followers. William entered Salisbury several days later to a great welcome…

Did you know Salisbury was one of the first provincial towns to have its own newspaper? We had the Salisbury Postman in 1715, followed by the Salisbury Journal in 1729 which had its offices in New Canal until 1962. It continues, of course, today in Rollestone Street.

(taken from Salisbury Past by Ruth Newman and Jane Howells)

And a new Quiz. But first some answers…..

The Museum Gardens are always beautiful. Can you complete the names of the flowers which are there?

  1. a-l-u- allium
  2. a-u-l-g-a aquilegia
  3. -a-e-d-r lavender
  4. -u-i- lupin
  5. f-c-s-a fuchsia
  6. p-l-m-s phlomis
  7. -e-l-b-r- hellebore
  8. f-x-l-v- foxglove
  9. c-r-n-h- cerinthe
  10. c-n-e-b-r- canterbury (should have included b-l-s bells! Apologies!)

What Do You Know?

  1. What are the modern names of these Roman towns? EBORACUM; York VENTA BULGARUM; Winchester DUBRIS; Dover CORINIUM; Cirencester VERULAMIUM; St Albans
  2. Which dukes have been the hereditory Earls Marshall of England since 1672? Dukes of Norfolk
  3. What did a ‘fletcher’ do? Made arrows/fitted the feathers to same
  4. Match each king called Richard (I, II, III) to his badge: white boar; III crescent and star; I white hart; II
  5. List Henry VIII’s wives in chronological order…. Catherine of Aragon; Anne Boleyn; Jane Seymour; Anne of Cleves; Katherine Howard; Katherine Parr
  6. What did the Romans use garum for: to wear; to eat; to bathe in. It was a fish sauce
  7. Which King summoned all the great landowners to Old Sarum to swear an oath of allegiance? William the Conqueror 1086
  8. What is a ‘carnyx’? A Celtic war trumpet
  9. Which house near Romsey has a room painted by Rex Whistler? Mottisfont
  10. What is an ‘imbrex’? Roman roof tile

Thanks, as always, to Volunteer Mary Crane for the quizzes.

Early Man

  1. In which country were the fossils of earliest modern humans found?
  2. What is the nickname given to the tiny hominid fossils found in Flores, Indonesia?
  3. What are Grimes Graves?
  4. Complete this description of a partial skeleton found in Wales: The Red Lady of ———. Bonus point if you know why it is a misnomer….
  5. Where is the Ring of Brodgar (a stone henge)?
  6. What do these mean? Homo Sapiens; Homo Erectus; Homo Habilis; Homo Ergaster; Homo Antecessor