SCORES of people descended from a builder who lived in West Lavington, near Devizes, in the 19th century were in the village on Saturday for a huge reunion.

Thanks to the work of author and local historian Lyn Dyson around 200 relatives of Thomas Holloway and his five sons were traced and invited to join the party at West Lavington village hall.

Mrs Dyson, who lives in the village, was inspired to find members of the Holloway family after West Lavington farmer Pat Holloway gave her a number of historic files and asked her to carry out research.

Mrs Dyson said: "She knew that I had written a number of books on local history and really enjoyed this sort of thing. Originally it was just going to be a village history project but it just snowballed and then the idea for a reunion came about.

"It was an amazing day with about 150 people attending. Most had never met before. They came from far and wide including Mauritius and Europe. There were a lot of people from London and others from Scotland, Wales and North Devon. Pat Holloway and her family hosted the reunion. Pat still farms in the village concentrating or rare breeds and her sister-in-law Caroline Holloway also farms locally."

The guests were given colour coded name badges to make it easier for them to find others who were related to the same son of Thomas Holloway. Mrs Dyson said: "I think quite a few people may now go on to organise their own smaller reunions with their closest relations. Our youngest guest was three months and the eldest 96."

Thomas Holloway was a jobbing builder in West Lavington when in the 1870s he decided to move to London after being involved with the building of Dauntsey Manor, now part of Dauntsey's School.

He and his five sons formed Holloway Brothers and built everything from banks to bridges in the captial. But in 1905 West Lavington Estate was put up for sale and one of the brothers bought it meaning he owned most of the village.

Mrs Dyson has now written a book on the story of the family called The Holloway Brothers, Master Builders, West Lavington to London which is on sale at Devizes Books and via Amazon. A colour edition is available at £29.50 and a black and white edition for £12.50. All profits will go to West Lavington Youth Club.