Abraham Laverton was born in Trowbridge in 1819, the same year as Queen Victoria. He grew up in Newtown with his mother Penelope, father William, three brothers and one sister.
William Laverton, Abraham’s father, was a master weaver; he received contracts from clothiers (cloth merchants) and divided the contracts between other weavers. There was a plenty of work for weavers like William, and it is likely he earned a good salary.
Abraham, his brothers, and sister had some education but also spent time working with their parents.
The start of a career
Abraham’s first job was in the counting house of Court Mill, Trowbridge. He then moved to Sheppards Mill in Frome, where he was promoted to sales and marketing. In this position, he met many different people, contacts who were useful later in his career.
In 1848, at aged 29, Abraham took over Angel Mill in Westbury. He went on to buy it in 1850. It isn’t clear how he raised the money for the purchase, as he did not come from a wealthy background, but it was probably through buying and selling shares.
Abraham never married or had children, instead of living with his sister Charlotte throughout his life. By 1851 Abraham and Charlotte were living in Westbury, Church Street, most likely number 31. They later moved to Westbury House, now the library. Upon retirement in 1880, Abraham and Charlotte moved to Farleigh Castle near Trowbridge.
Top. Lithograph of Trowbridge and the surrounding area in the middle of the 19th century. Copyright Trowbridge Museum. 1. A 1930s aerial photograph of Court Mill, the first mill Abraham worked at, in Trowbridge. Copyright Trowbridge Museum.