Widecombe History Group Minutes July 1999

The minutes will be found below.  For details of the talk on Tinners & Warreners, please click here.

A meeting of Widecombe and District Local History Group was held at the Church House, Widecombe in the Moor, on Wednesday 7th Julyl999 at 7.30 p.m.

Mrs. Margaret Steemson was in the Chair and 34 people attended.

Apologies were received from Bessie French, Rodney Mortimore, Wendy and Rodney Cruze, Rosamund Whale, Sue Booty, Geoffrey Bamsey, Nora Lamb, Mark and Sharron Hutchins and Colin and Midge Westward.

The minutes of the last meeting were read and signed as correct.


Uppacott Longhouse

Freda Wilkinson has arranged to take another visit around the Longhouse on Saturday 17th July at 2,00 p.m. All those interested to meet on the grass patch on the short cut to Uppacott from the Memorial Hall.


Sylvia Needham still examining Tim Whitten's paper.


Peter Hirst and June Kernick hoping to meet soon to map the area.

North Hall

Peter Rennells still pursuing his research. Chris Mayhead and Roger Claxton still "surfing the intemet"! Secretary still chasing Jeremy Butler regarding his aerial photographs of Widecombe. Peter has found a letter written in Old English in 1563 concerning a Thomas Southcott who owned North Hall. Peter's neighbour Tim Wright of Dunstone Cottage is attempting to translate it for him. Peter has also obtained a copy of a document regarding the Wooder Estate sold in 1903. Also a map regarding a pipe line laid through Glebe land in 1889 for an Andrew Harvey, this could be of interest to The Wayside Cafe, Roger Whale (current owner) asked to be allowed to see it.

Newsletter M

Still available for anyone interested. Free!

Home Guard Photos

Colin and Midge Westward have now completed their generous work in getting both the Home Guard photographs in Leusdon Memorial Hall and The Church House, Widecombe reframed and named, the one error in the names has now been corrected, the meeting recorded a hearty vote of thanks to them. (Letter)

Memorial Hall Film Show 30th October 1999

List of people interested in going to date:-

Pam Clare, Nora Lamb(6), Bessie French, Jan Peek, Roger Claxton(2), Barbara Mayhead(2), Jim Churchward(4), Audrey Lamb, Sylvia Needham, Freda Wilkinson, Audrey Mortimore(6), Jenny Pascoe(3), Peter Hirst, Margaret Steemson(3), Ken Hamlyn(4), Chris Chapman(2), Wendy Beard(3), Roy Bames(2), Barbara Guthrie, Liz Fursdon. Total = 46. Secretary to inform Hall Committee about 50 tickets required.

Map Drawer

Now been secured.

Time Watch

No news.

Books and Leaflets - A small library is developing

Devon historian, various books, papers and leaflets still circulating.

Copies of Helen Harris's paper on Pew and Staple Tor are good reading prior to her talk and walk in September. Secretary produced two copies of the late Hermon French's paper "Field names in Widecombe-in-the-Moor" published in the Transactions of the Devonshire Association Vol XCV 1963. These were received from Mr Jack Simpson, of Spitchwick with the request that one copy should be made available for borrowing and the other should be kept with the maps of Poundsgate and Ponsworthy fields that he had recently given to the group. (letter)

Beating the Bounds

Planning continuing. Mementoes and their cost still being pursued. The question of whether the Parish Sign should be cleaned was muted. Michael Pascoe (Parish Councillor), stated that the Parish Council had this in hand.

Mr Parker of Dorking (Hannafords & Warrens)? (ref. May and June minutes).

June Kernick stated that she has also been in contact with him regarding her family and its connections.

In "Billing's Directory 1857, page 507, Buckland-in-the-Moor", there is an entry:Norrish James, farmer, Stone and Hanaford, and "on page 547, Widecombe-in-the-Moor", there is an entry:- French John, farmer, Stone, this confirms that it is NOT Stone in Buckland that the Hannafords lived, as Norrish was the last recorded occupier, (see June minutes), and so it must have been Stone at Natsworthy but an earlier date than was stated in the original letter (1937). (see June minutes). In "White's Directory 1850, page 43 1, Buckland-in-the-Moor", there is an entry:- Norrish James, (owner), Stone. (N.B. no mention of an Edwin Hannaford in Widecombe Parish).

Bessie French and Jack Elliott will check in their Kelly's Directories.

Baughns U.S.A. (Barters of Brownberry Farm) Nothing further to report.

List of papers ete available to borrow

Peter Hirst is still requesting people to complete forms for reference. June Kernick has a copy of the 1851 census of the Parish that people can borrow.

Guided walk - Cold East Cross - Rippon Tor - Seven Lords Land - Foales Arrish Blackslade Ford - Cold East Cross.

Stephen Woods Book - Widecombe Revisited Publication expected in November 1999.

Archive of Maps, Sale Catalogues and Particulars of Property of the Parish.

Hope was expressed that this would come into fruition. Anyone with this type of past material or future examples that they can acquire please think of the groups collection for archiving.

Reading Room

Is there anyone that will take on this as a project?


Sylvia Needham brought a photograph of the old ruins at Dipleigh showing an Oak Tree growing out of the foot of the wall. This suggests the ruins having been unoccupied for about 100 years! She is still awaiting her meeting with Mr Michael Wince.

Religious Buildings of the Parish

Is there anyone or a small group of people that would research this project with the aim of producing a small leaflet on the subject? The boundaries of the two Ecclesiastical Parishes within our Civil Parish should be recorded in this exercise, it would be very interesting to many!

Huccaby Races

Copies of a poster advertising the August 6th 1921 Huccaby Races was shown to the meeting and a copy given to Freda for her records. The question last month of where the races crossed the road was answered by a conversation between the secretary and a Col David Hurn of Chagford recently when it was said that the races all took part west of Dunnabridge on the top of the hill, so "Cock's Lake" would not have been a crossing place. Col Hurn's father was at Tor Royal in the early part of this century when it was a remount centre for the cavalry, he was also in charge of horses belonging to the then Prince of Wales the future King Edward VIII who abdicated the throne in 1936 due to his love of a divorcee Mrs Wallace Simpson who he then married. Col Hurn's father later became landlord of The Warren House Inn. The secretary has suggested to Mrs Susan Martin of Pizwell, currently writing a book on the history of the Dartmoor Pony, that she contact Col Hurn as he has a wealth of knowledge on the subject. Freda's research into Huccaby Races could also benefit from such a contact.

Len Copley's Illustrated Talk - Tinners and Warreners of Dartmoor

Mr Len Copley then gave the meeting a most riveting address on the subject of Tinners and Warreners on Dartmoor. For details of this, please click here.

The chairman thanked Mr Copley for a most enjoyable evening.

The meeting was reminded that Len Copley would be leading a guided walk around Trowlesworthy Warren on Saturday 10th July, starting from Cadover Bridge at 12.00 noon.


The ladies that supplied the tea and coffee this month and their helpers were thanked. This is a nice touch, as it gives people a chance to exchange ideas and information during the interval. The only problem is that a lot of little snippets of information do not get a full hearing. Could we suggest that any such 'gems' that pass your way, you record yourselves, and bring up at some future day or discussion.

Thanks to Barbara Guthrie and Margaret Steemson. rota

AUGUST.:- Ruby Churchward and Betty Andrews

SEPTEMBER:- Ann Claxton and Wendy Beard

OCTOBER-- Pauline and Roy Barnes

Parish Chest

A new set of keys has been cut for our archivist, Peter Hirst to use, there are now three sets, one held by the Parish Council, one with Peter and the third held by our secretary. Calico wrapping still needs to continue.

Roger Claxton produced an amended form for recording Apprentice Documents, examinations, indentures etc. ready for winter evening occupations! This includes a few extra 'boxes' for recording ages and dates etc, and spaces for comments or extra asides to be written in. He is developing a 'Data Base' for recording the details found. Roger has offered to get some forms copied, and when this recording process really gets underway the group must get some more copies run off.

Millennium Record

Audrey Mortimore brought forward a suggestion that had been put to her, that a photographic record of the people of the parish and their houses should be considered. Further discussion needed.

Tucker (Toker / Towker) Stone

(see April minutes - is the stone still in existence?).

Deborah Hannaford told the secretary that she had brought the stone back to the village in c 1973. The late Mrs Wood (vicar's wife) had taken it to Newton Abbot and as an exhibition had been held in the Parish, Deborah thought it should be returned. She was able to suggest that it may be 'in the broom cupboard' on the ground floor of The Church House. This has proved to be correct and it was exhibited at this months meeting, it was found to be of sandstone/limestone/Portland stone or similar, but certainly not granite.

It has been replaced in the cupboard for the time being for safety. Sylvia Needham believes that the late Hermon French wrote something on the subject, and that the stone was intended to be placed near, or attached to, the pulpit in Widecombe Church. The stone for the pulpit, (granite),having been brought from 'Wooder Goile', on the moor above Wooder. Sylvia will contact his widow (Mrs Win Harman), to see if she has a copy of that paper. The Tucker family lived at Natsworthy in the late 1800's and are believed to have contributed financially to the pulpit. There is a Tucker grave on the right as one enters the churchyard "Rowe�s Perambulations" was suggested as a possible source of information regarding this stone also! The general consensus of the meeting was that the stone should get placed in the church to be on public view, this saga will continue.

Index to Stephen Woods' book - Widecombe-in-the-Moor

A letter from Judith Hervey, 207 Hawken Drive, St Lucia, Queensland 4067, Australia, enclosing a detailed index to Stephen's book. When we have transcribed the documents in the Parish Chest, she would like a copy!

History of theatre on Dartmoor

Mark Beeson of Manaton has written in recent Transactions of the Devonshire Association, papers on Dartmoor Theatre. He is currently preparing a paper for 1999 Volume and Phyllis Pascoe and the secretary have given him some information, Anthony has seen a rough copy and has made some amendments prior to printing. We await the outcome!

As there was no further business the meeting closed at 10. 14 p.m.

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