Widecombe History Group Minutes November 1999

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The minutes will be found below. Details of the talk on North Hall will be found here.

A Meeting of The Widecombe and District Local History Group was held in the Church House Widecombe on Wednesday 3rd November 1999 at 7.30 p.m.

Mrs Margaret Steemson was in the chair and 20 people attended.

Apologies:- Michael and Jenny Pascoe, Sylvia Needham, Liz Fursdon, Roger and Rosamond Whale, Chris and Barbara Mayhead, Audrey and Archie Mortimore, Bessie French, Pauline and Roy Barnes.

The minutes of the October meeting were read and signed as correct. Two copies of the Paul Rendell talk were produced for anyone who missed the last meeting, to read.



Project continuing.


Mr Hanson of Scobitor is willing for June Kernick to contact him regarding her wish to view any photographs of Scobitor that he may have. This is relevant to the Hannaford family and any Newhouse connection. The "Victorian Folly", the roundhouse/summerhouse/lookout??, call it what you will, at Scobitor was then discussed. Various options were put forward as to its use or purpose.

One, that it could have been a vantage point to view all the fields on the farm, a lookout for poachers etc.

Two, Jim Churchward has asked a previous owner, Mrs Curnock, and she says that it is documented that it was built by a past owner who had two sons and he used it to teach them to shoot, hence its slotted windows looking in various directions.

Three, during the World War II it was used by the �Homeguard� as a lookout point.

It was noted that about two years ago The Devonshire Association held a guided walk around it, there will be an attempt to find out their findings on the subject. Mary Pascoe believes that Mr Hanson may have a framed list of past owners of Scobitor hanging on the wall. Mary also stated that it appears that there may have been glass in the windows and a door but only the frames remain today, she has some photographs of it.

Police Stations in the Parish

The possiblilty of getting photographs for Simon Dell of Tavistock is continuing. Audrey Lamb may have one of St Michael�s, Venton. Mary Pascoe�s photo? is it with Geoffrey Bamsey or in our chest?

Group Library

Several books etc were available for borrowing, and the collection of archive material continues.


Mrs Phyllis Pascoe has offered a wooden chest, that belonged to her late husband Ernest Pascoe, for this purpose and the offer was accepted. The Church House Committee are intending to refurbish the lower story of the building during the next twelve months and will attend to the higher story when funds permit. The Parish Chest and the group�s chests and future storage will be discussed with them when that time comes. In the meantime we will continue to cooperate with them and The Parish Council to record and safeguard the contents of all the chests.

Memorial Hall Film Show - 30.10.1999

Those who attended the show were delighted with it and there has been a request that it be staged again in the new year, as there are several people who were unable to attend, and hopefully there may be more films concerning the Parish. It is understood that there were some technical difficulties which need sorting out regarding the hiring of the equipment etc.

Beating the Bounds - Millennium Projects

The committee will soon meet to carry the Beating of the Bounds Project forward.

Chairman of the Parish Council, Mr Neil Smerdon of Linchaford, has informed the group that The Parish Council is to bury a "Time Capsule" in a bed of concrete on the Village Green during the year 2000. This will contain written evidence of the time and some artifacts for future generations to examine, Phyllis Pascoe suggested a tape of one of our meetings. The capsule will be surmounted with a large granite stone, suitably engraved, requesting that in the year 3000 A.D. people of the village, at that time, open the capsule and find what we have left for them to see and read concerning the district and its people and the way of life as we live it today.

The possibility of having a photograph of each house in the parish with its occupants standing outside will be considered at the December meeting.

Tucker Stone

The photograph and the write-up of the stone has now been prepared and the stone now needs to be placed in the Church. The Tucker Stone has been used on the cover of our new �Newsletter Vol 4", a vote of thanks recorded to Peter Rennells for compiling the newsletter and to Barbara Mayhead for typing it all up.

Flower Festival 17th-20th June 2000

A committee now needs to be formed to plan and formulate the exhibition and the growing of the flowers for next June. Freda Wilkinson has offered the use of her model "Dartmoor Longhouse", Sylvia Needham suggested a "Hut Circle" be incorporated in the display, Margaret Steemson agreed to assist and Betty Andrews was persuaded to offer her artistic flower arranging skills to the group. This committee to be finalised at December meeting.

Items brought to the meeting for Archiving

Joan and Les Hambleton sent some photographs, one a photograph of the school when Mrs Rose Tucker was headmistress, complete with a list of names attached, and another list showing the occupations of the father�s of the children. It is so important with pictures, that the names of those shown be attached as it adds tremendously to the knowledge, value and interest. These were school photo�s and some showing the ravages of the August 1938 storms that washed away a lot of Bonehill Lane. They also sent a kind donation towards our funds. Mary Cherriott gave the group a folio of photographs of Widecombe and Buckland that she had compiled. Anthony had been able to point Chris Mayhead in the right direction concerning photographs and details of a military camp at Saddle Tor in late 1800�s. Nora Lamb brought some old newspaper cuttings including one of Widecombe Fair 1960, which showed a wooden model of Uncle Tom Cobleigh and all and the Grey Mare which was mounted on a lorry, she thought that it came from the Drewsteignton area and wondered where it is now? She also showed the group photographs of the "whats-it", (see guided walk to Trowlesworthy - August minutes).

The means of obtaining further supplies of acid free manilla card for wrapping the "Indentures etc" in the Parish Chest was discussed, several catalogues from suppliers were examined and it was decided to approach D.R.O. who have been very helpful in the past, to see if they can supply what is needed. Peter Hirst will investigate. Margaret Steemson will see if the Parish Council are still willing to contribute, as it is Parish Chest articles that we are dealing with.

December Meeting - Ted Fitch

The meeting was aware that Ted Fitch has been unwell recently but the secretary reported that he hopes to be well enough to attend the December meeting and show us some of his vast collection of photographs etc of "Dartmoor and its treasures".

Matters still outstanding - carried forward

Secretary has asked Audrey Lamb about photograph of St Michael�s, Venton. (re Simon Dell).

Secretary needs to contact Geoffrey Bamsey to enquire about the photograph of the same, given to the group by Mary Pascoe who obtained it from a retired policeman. It may be in our chest.

All this to try to obtain the collar number of the then resident policeman shown in the crest.

Review of reprint of Widecombe and Dartmoor Gazette as numbers in hand are now low.

Website - Widecombe and District Local History Group - Roger Claxton

Roger and Ann Claxton brought to the meeting a computer system and Visual Display Unit(VDU), in which they had set up an example of a World Wide Website(WWW), which would publicise the group and its activities. This could list items within our archives, items that we are trying to trace, photographs, documents, books, the possibilities are endless. Roger agreed to demonstrate to groups of four or five during our tea break some of the potential of being �on line�! This created tremendous interest, and the meeting agreed that this could open up a whole new world in communications and information, the general feeling of amazement led Roger to offer to give small groups of two or three, an hour or so�s instruction on computers and their implications, abilities and uses. Several expressed an interest in this generous offer. It was felt that the group would find this most advantageous and lead to a great amount of interest not only to members of the group, but many others interested in Widecombe and Dartmoor. Roger agreed to make a start by writing a simple program and get it up and running. The meeting felt that this would generate a lot of interest and could well be of use to our local school for the future. Roger and Ann then produced about seventy "forms for the recording of information on the Indentures ". About 30 Indentures were allocated in bunches of four or five to members complete with forms and the results of this exercise would determine future action. Thanks were expressed to Roger and Ann for bringing their computer and giving us all an insight into its potential.

There followed an exposition by Peter Rennells on his North Hall research to date. Details will be found here and the project details (including some pictures) will be found here.

A hearty vote of thanks was expressed to Peter, and this was greated by spontaneous applause.

By bringing together all this information into one paper Peter has demonstrated what can be achieved. It is to be hoped that other members will now be encouraged to put down on paper what they have found out about their projects. It must be emphasised that it does not matter, how much or how little material, you have to date, it is by publishing what you do have, that will encourage others to offer up further snippets of information which will gradually complete your �Jig-saw�!! This in turn can open up different lines of research and inquiry. GOOD LUCK!!


A vote of thanks was recorded to Freda and Margaret and the team of helpers for the refreshments.

Rota - December Jenny Pascoe and Ann Claxton.

The meeting closed at 10.12 p.m.

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