We already know a lot about James’s involvement in horticulture, however, to date there has been little research into the extent of his involvement in exhibiting and judging at horticultural shows.
As Head Gardener at Clyffe Hall, he would have been responsible for preparing plants, flowers, fruit and vegetables for exhibiting at shows locally and further afield. During the Victorian era, it was normal practice that the exhibit would have been registered under the name of their employer and not the Head Gardener, though sometimes their name is mentioned in show reports.
In James’s case, his employer was The Hon. Mrs Louisa Hay. We know, and as you will see from the research we have undertaken to date, that there is a mixture of exhibitor naming from ‘Mr James Lye of Market Lavington’ to ‘J. Lye. Gardener to the Hon. Mrs. Hay’ with several other variations. From what we have seen so far it appears that shows, in which James entered exhibits, generally recorded them under his own name and not that of his employer, we are unsure why this is the case at present. One possible theory is that the items exhibited were grown by him at his own property and were not from the glasshouses or gardens at Clyffe Hall. If you have any thoughts on this please contact us.
We have started to see reports that mention James Lye as judging the exhibits at shows, this research is in its early stages but early indications are that he judged in a wide range of classes at a horticultural show.
Click on the links below for more information about either James’s exhibiting or judging activities: