History of the Lamp

Evelyn Hatcher (now Peavoy) taken around 1955, shows the plinth in the corner at the Forge entrance, off Mill Lane
This shows where 3 of the lamps in Duck Street were c1900.
The fabricated lantern of the Square's renovated street lamp

Cattistock village had at least 8 gas* lamps, the one in the square being the first. There is a framed picture (taken from a postcard) in the hall that was probably taken circa 1910 though by then the lamp was out of use.

*It is believed that a gentleman residing at Bell House manufactured acetylene gas and distributed it around the village, presumably through a network of pipes. Alternatively they could have been paraffin lamps.

Known sites were:

  • On the island at the junction of Duck Street & Kennel Lane
  • Outside Markers in Duck Street
  • Outside Bell House in Duck Street
  • On the wall of the Fox & Hounds
  • Outside the Church gates opposite what is now Old School House
  • By the spring in the churchyard. The post is still extant
  • In the square outside Tailors Cottage. The latter was on a cast plinth celebrating Queen Victoria’s 50th anniversary (Golden Jubilee) of her reign in 1887
  • At the junction of Back Lane and West End Lane.

The photo of Duck Street c1900 (centre above) shows 3 of the lamps.

It seems that the lamps fell into disuse quite quickly but remained in situ for many years. It is unknown when they were removed.

The cast plinth of the lamp in the square survived, for many years at the Forge, then owned by the Hatchers. The photo of Evelyn Hatcher (now Peavoy) taken around 1955 (above left), shows the plinth in the corner at the Forge entrance, off Mill Lane. When the Forge was converted to living accommodation in the late 1980’s the plinth had been languishing in the late Pat Hatcher’s garage for around 40 years.

Eve (Pam’s sister-in-law) had papers showing that Jeffrey Hatcher had investigated reinstating the old lamp in the square, but this had come to nothing.

Just by chance, the cast plinth was found in Pam Hatcher’s garage in 2017. It remained there with an embryonic plan for reuse until her death, when suddenly it had to be moved or lost to the scrap man. Fortunately Simon Goodall at West Norden Farm was prepared to house it temporarily in one of his barns. The plan for reinstatement then grew more urgent.

A poll of the villagers determined that the preferred location to reinstate the lamp would be outside the hall. Although reinstatement back in the square would have been ideal, it would not have been countenanced by the Highways authorities and would have been at high risk of traffic damage.

Since the original lamp post had been lost, and its recreation an inordinately expensive proposition, a second hand lamp post and lantern were acquired from a building yard at Long Hazel Farm in Sparkford, near Yeovil. Planning permission was then obtained, as it was to sit in the curtilage of the Grade II listed Savill Hall. Then a group set to work to prepare it all. This took 9 months to complete (interrupted by the Covid-19 lockdown).

The photos below show the site being prepared, the restored 133 year old plinth being craned into position by Simon & Richard, and the lamp post & lantern being fixed to the plinth.

The full renovation team were Peter Hunt, Wayne Briggs, Simon Goodall, James Blunt and Chris Metcalf but with assistance from Nick and Jacob Cheesman, Brian Hill (who fabricated steel work), and Richard Read (who craned it into position).

The lamp was officially lit by Evelyn Peavoy, then aged 81, on the evening of 31st July 2020 with a host from the village in attendance (see photos at bottom below).

This was a true community project, paid for by the village via fete generated funds, and both managed and restored by a team from the village.

Simon wielding a pick to get the hole for the base underway
Peter digging the foundations for the lamp
Jacob levelling off the base, watched by Simon and Lisa
Richard Read and Simon, picking up the base of the street lamp from west Norden Farm
The base completes the final part of its journey, outside the Savill Hall
Swinging the base onto the newly completed foundation
Swinging the base onto the newly completed foundation
Almost there, Cattistock's reburbished Street Lamp now just needs the Latern
Peter attaching the Lantern
Eve officially lights Cattistock's renovated Street Lamp
A good crowd celebrate the finished Street Lamp project - and as the darkness drew in the lamp looked more and more splendid