Superb stationary engines at the Rainscombe Park Country Show

Posted by Chris Graham on 21st September 2023

Mark Tewkesbury reports on the stationary engines he spotted at the Rainscombe Park Country Show, which took place in Wiltshire this summer.

Rainscombe Park Country Show

Rainscombe Park Country Show: A view down the line with the tractor-working area and the slopes of Martinsell Hill forming the backdrop. It was nice to see an old engineering firm still continuing with its trade – Whatleys of Pewsey was a Lister agent back in the day.

Held over the first weekend in June, this was a new show for me, although SEAMS members have regularly made the pilgrimage in the past to the village of Oare, in the Vale of Pewsey. 

Rainscombe Park Country Show

A look the other way with an equally scenic backdrop.

With the stationary engine section being overseen by Lister enthusiast Graham Raymond, it was Graham’s suggestion to hold a display of A and B types to mark their Centenary that sparked my interest to attend. Much work preceded the show, with ongoing repairs to the SEAMS Club A type engine, a loaned Spec 10 B type, and a borrowed trailer with which to cart them all. A display board was prepared after discussion with Graham beforehand. 

Rainscombe Park Country Show

A 1923 B type spec 10, supplied by agents Stanley Engineering of Bath and powered water pumping equipment. Now owned by Bill Ovenden and loaned to Allan Harris for the show.

I could only make it on the Sunday so it was an early start, picking up co-driver Allan Harris on the way; a trouble-free run down the A303 to make it in good time for the opening at 9am. Graham had hoped to keep us a space but the show committee had changed plans at the last minute and made the section, with camping behind the engines. That was a blessing for those staying, but it meant they had spread out and we had to fill in the odd gaps left. Luckily, I was able to put the car in the pen, so we had a base camp. It’s a thankless task being a section marshal to keep everyone happy. I hope that, as outsiders, we didn’t upset the regulars. 

Rainscombe Park Country Show

The oldest Lister on display was this 1910 J type. Owner, Shane McCrae.

The show itself was held in the grounds of Rainscombe Park, the home of the Hiscox family, that’s tucked under Martinsell Hill, which gives the site a stunning backdrop. The main field held the arena, vintage vehicles and trade area. The adjoining field hosted the country crafts, tractors, stationary engines and a working area for those tractor owners wanting to cultivate the land. I guess that there were 30+ engines in the line, with about 10 Lister A/B types; not a massive number, but a good display, nonetheless. Welcome visitors were Jenny Jefferies with Jim Anderson and Doreen Edgington, who came to see the special display. 

Rainscombe Park Country Show

Another Lister 1926 A56, this time part of a belt-drive lighting set. Rescued by the late Ian Sampson of SEAMS in 1971, it was brought along to the event by his son, Philip and grandson Rowan, in memory of Ian’s many visits to Rainscombe in the past.

All too soon the day had passed and, with the sun still blazing, everyone was quick to load-up and, by the time we were ready to say farewell, most of the section had departed. A brief snack-stop on Pewsey Hill, watching a hare running about, and a detour to avoid the now-busy A303, meant we were home before dark. It was a satisfactory day and well worth repeating. 

Rainscombe Park Country Show

The well-travelled Lister Light set of Philip Thornton-Evison comprises an early spec 11 Bruston D type and direct-drive 50-volt dynamo.

Thanks to Bill Ovenden and SEAMS for the loan of the two engines we took, and to Graham Raymond for organising the event.

An Arthur Lyon, ex-WW2 military charging set powered by a Villiers Mk25 engine. It was used for charging batteries on aircraft used for communication equipment.


This ex-Lister show engine of 1911 caused much burning of the midnight oil to see it completed just the day before. It ran surprisingly well for a 112-year-old machine!


National 3V of c1930 is comparable to a Lister A type at 3hp, but considerably scarcer. Displayed by Tom and Oliver Whitehead.


Graham Raymond was showing his 1933 Lister A type supplied locally to James Pope of Chantry Ironworks, Marlborough; a nice original engine.


Probably the heaviest engine! This Ruston Hornsby YHR shown by Jamie Preece. It had to be well-blocked up but ran like a clock all day.


This well-presented Lister pump set was brought along by local Mark Andrews, and displayed alongside an impressive collection of rally plaques from his father.


Spotted in the rural craft area, this later Lister Junior was powering a fire-wood kindling machine, made from another A type.

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