Widecombe History Group Minutes April 1999

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Please find the minutes below. For the talk on Dartmoor Longhouses, please click here.

A meeting of the Widecombe and District Local History Group was held at the Church House, Widecombe in the Moor, on Wednesday 7th April 1999 at 7.30 p.m.

Mrs. Margaret Steemson was in the Chair and there were 39 people present.

Apologies were received from Sylvia Needham, Pain Clare, Mary Pascoe, Roger and Rosamund Whale, Archie and Rodney Mortimore, Bessie French, Roy and Pauline Barnes and Rodney Cruze.

The business of the meeting was held in recess until after our Guest Speaker had addressed the Group.

Please refer to the talk here.

The business of the meeting continued with the Minutes of the last meeting being read and signed as correct.


Freda Wilkinson is compiling an up-to-date names list of the items mentioned in the 1608 Church House and Buttparke Grant.

June Kernick said that she would be pleased to include a map reference in the next edition of her booklet on Newhouse and agreed that a plan of the site would be very acceptable but she did not know how to achieve this. Peter Hirst stated that as a result of work done with the Dartmoor Tin Working Research Group, he had experience of how to do this. He would be able to borrow the necessary equipment from them and would assist June in this project. June was very pleased to accept his offer. Peter Hirst and Peter Rennells will be attending a meeting on Monday 12th April on Field Evidence of Tin Working on Dartmoor, the address will be given by Dr Bob Bruce of the Devon Archaeological Society.

Map Drawer still to be secured.

Time Watch no news. Peter Rennells then told the meeting of his research into the history of North Hall and he has built up a dossier on all the items of information concerning it also a bibliography of the publications and sources of thisbis information. He hopes as some time to write up all he has found in the form of a paper that other members can read in the hope that they may be able to offer further information to fill the gaps in his research. He is hoping shortly to obtain copies of six aerial photographs from the Historic Monuments Organisation taken of the area in 1962. (6 x 10p = 60p - good value for money!) He understands that the German Air Force during World War 11 took some very detailed photographs which are now in The National Archives in Washington, U. S.A. He is encountering great difficulty in getting access to them. Anthony Beard said that he had recently seen in the Devon Archaeological Society Newsletter that they too had facilities to do 'Geo-physic readings' on ground sites. Secretary agreed to write and inquire.

Beating the Bounds. Peter Hirst reported that Widecombe Primary School is very keen to get involved with this but concern was expressed about the safety of children on some of the stretches as parts are difficult and dangerous. A list is being compiled of Land Owners over whose property the boundary runs so that permission of access can be obtained. The boundary will be reconnoitred during this summer. It was noted that there will be a different Headteacher at Widecombe School from September 1999, contact will have to be made then.

Leusdon Memorial Hall will be holding a film show in conjunction with TSW / Westward Archives on Saturday 30th October 1999 at Leusdon Memorial Hall at 7.30 p.m. Tickets will be �3.50 and �2.50 obtainable from the Hall Committee, limit of 100 people. These films will be about people, places and events concerning the area. Several members expressed an interest in supporting the event.

Terry French said that Colin and Midge Westward had seen Bessie French about getting the people in the Home Guard photograph currently in the Leusdon Memorial Hall named. Roger Claxton explained that he and the secretary would meet and examine his idea for recording the Apprentices Indentures and Apprentices Examinations onto a database. Roger explained that the information when in database would open up massive potential for cross references and calling up information as and when required. They would also look at the examples sent by D.R.Office.

Joan and Les Hambleton. of Bovey Traccy, formerly of The Old Mill, Widecombe, has sent the Group the original invitation and programme of events issued by South Western Electricity Board to her parents, Robert and Louie Palmer, on the occasion of electricity coming to Widecombe in 1961. They also sent a short-list appertaining to the Barter family who lived in the parish in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The Secretary has recently received a letter from a Mr. Charles Baughn of America requesting information of that family and he will reply giving him a copy of this information.

A letter received from a Mr Parker of Dorking, requesting information about a branch of the Hannaford family, he also stated that they at one time resided at Fernhill and he can find no reference to the place. Freda Wilkinson who has some information on the subject agreed to write to him and inform him of the whereabouts of Fernhill, (just above the 'splash' in Ponsworthy).

Four Photographs received from Stephen Woods of the Widecombe Boy Scouts requiring identification were shown to the meeting. Several of those in the photographs have been named.

Continuing the process of wrapping the items in the Parish Chest, the following four people agreed to meet at the Church House at 2.00 p.m. on Wednesday 2 1 st April: Audrey Mortimore, Margaret Steemson, Wendy Beard and Peter Hirst. Several members offered to help with the sewing at home once the covers have been cut to size.

A letter was received from Ted Fitch of Dartington stating that due to ill health he may not be able to talk to the Group at the December meeting. It was agreed to contact him nearer the time.

The Secretary had been contacted by a Mrs Diana Cummings of New Zealand currently here on holiday requesting permission to look at the Church Wardens Accounts. Peter Hirst agreed to meet her and she examined several of the documents looking for the family names Harvey, Nosworthy, Wood and Tremills.

Jack Elliott brought a photograph of Ashburton School c 1936 and asked if anyone could put names to faces.

Secretary has sent the groups programme of events to the secretary of the Devon History Society for publication in future editions of The Devon Historian.

A letter from Sir William VanStraubenzee stating his belief that there was a substantial building in historic times at North Hall. He included a copy of a memorandum written in 1937 by his Grandfather which implied that the gate posts and part of the wall at the Vicarage came from the ruins of North Hall and one written at his dictation concerning a stone found near the wall on which were cut the Arms of Towker (Tucker or even Toker). He also enclosed a copy of a letter written by Mrs Marion Wood, wife of the then vicar of the parish, dated 1930 also regarding the stone. Is the stone still in existence?

Peter Hirst has produced a simple form that can be filled in by anyone who has books, documents etc that they are willing for others to look at for interest or research.

A vote of thanks was expressed to the people who supplied tea and biscuits at the meeting.

Tea Rota for May, Nora Lamb and Sharon Hutchins

June, Audrey Mortimore and Phyllis Pascoe

July, Barbara Guthrie and Margaret Steemson

August, Ruby Churchward and Betty Andrews

As there was no further business, the meeting closed at 10. 10 p.m.

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