Widecombe History Group Minutes October 1999

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The minutes follow. For details of the talk on Ancient Trackways, please click here.


A meeting of the Widecombe and District Local History Group was held at The Church House Widecombe on Wednesday 6th October 1999 at 7.30 p.m.

Mrs Margaret Steemson was in the chair and 37 people attended.

Apologies :- Michael Pascoe, Rosamund Whale, Bessie French, Peter West, Jack Simpson, Barbara Guthrie, Chris and Barbara Mayhead, Jenny Sanders, Wendy Beard, Archie and Rodney Mortimore.

It was agreed that to reduce the time of reading the minutes, the report of the last meeting�s talk or lecture would not be read out, but copies would be made available for anyone who missed the meeting to read and get up to date.

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



June Kernick and Peter Hirst have done a lot of work towards mapping the area of Newhouse. They stated that having started they only now realise, how much there is on the site to record, and due to the dry weather, a great deal could be seen showing through the turf, evidence that there were many stones underground. Anyone who cares to volunteer to assist with further exploration should contact Peter Hirst as help and assistance would be appreciated.

June asked if anyone had any photographs of Scobitor, contact will be made to the present owner Mr Hanson.

North Hall

Peter Rennells will give an up to date report at the November meeting.

Roger Claxton is still exploring the internet regarding the photographs held by the American Defence Service National Archives which had been taken by the German Luftwaffe during World War II.

Jeremy Butler hopes to have some aerial photographs of the area in the near future.

The "Ruth collection of photographs" have so far drawn a blank.

Memorial Hall Film Show 30.10.1999

Secretary distributed tickets for the same.

Group Library and Archives, Papers etc available to borrow

Books, documents, sale catalogues newspaper cuttings etc still accumulating. Peter Hirst is still collating a list of items that members are willing to lend to anyone to assist in research and the writing of articles etc. Jack Elliott brought photocopies of pages 1016/1017 from his copy of White�s Directory 1890 regarding Widecombe. These will be laminated and then added to our collection.


The necessity for additional storage was raised. As the Church House Management Committee are currently looking to refurbish the upstairs kitchen area it was decided to approach them and see what room would be available and how this could be arranged to mutual benefit. Jenny Pascoe will find out the committee�s response. Is the answer a chest or cupboard? Sue Booty has offered a chest for storage, the secretary felt that the chest in question may be too valuable, to be stored in the hall!

Beating the Bounds - Millennium Record

The committee will meet soon to get the arrangements underway for the beating of the bounds during the year 2000.

Decision on the suggested photographic record of houses and their occupants as a millennium project to be made at November meeting. Secretary to ask Parish Council if they have any similar plans so as not to clash. Secretary will explore current public opinion, and willingness to co-operate?

Projects being researched for future write-up and possible publication

In addition to the projects mentioned in the September minutes currently being undertaken the following was added:-

Widecombe musical history and songs - Graham Knibbs.

The Concert at Widecombe Church on the 22nd September entitled "The Parson and the Village song Men" was well attended. Some interesting anecdotes and variations to Widecombe Fair song were noted and will be passed on to Graham Knibbs for his information. There is also a raucous form of Widecombe Fair, which refers to the �Mare� as being a "Lady of Ill Repute", all this will be passed on to Graham.

It was arranged to meet at The Church House on Wednesday 13th October at 2.00 p.m. to continue the process of cutting the calico sheeting into sizes to be prepared for covering the rest of the contents of the Parish Chest.

Roger Claxton hopes to have available at the next meeting the forms for recording information on the Apprentices Indentures, this will then be transposed by him onto a Data-base which he has prepared. Peter Hirst will control the allocation of about five indentures a time to those willing to participate in the project, and the re-collection of those recorded and future distribution.

Tucker Stone

Secretary has had a letter from The Parochial Church Council giving the group permission to place the stone in the Church with an explanatary leaflet. The actual site to be agreed with the Council. Chris Mayhead has produced an excellent photograph of the Tucker Stone which ought to be added to the leaflet.


Flower Festival, 17th - 20th June 2000

A letter has been received from Mrs. Barbara Newport allocating the Group a site for its� display. As the Tower will be under repair during the summer, the archway inside the west door will be boarded up and a mural depicting the scene of Widecombe as seen from Widecombe Hill will be painted on it and used as a backcloth to our exhibit. It will look like a stained glass window.

On the north side of our exhibit will be two crosses and small hollow stone which appears to have a plug hole in it similar to a small font. This is believed to be a �Stoop�, a receptacle for Holy Water.

A Committee will be formed at the November meeting to formulate and organise our efforts for this event.

Guided Walk Pew Tor and Stable Tor, 4th September 1999

Those who took part enjoyed the walk led by Helen Harris. Timothy Steemson and Peter Hirst each wrote up a report on the walk which has been added to last months minutes. Helen Harris will be giving a guided walk to the Yelverton History Group around Pew Tor on Tuesday 20th June 2000 commencing at 6.45 p.m. to which all our members are invited.

Dinie Brick of Bellever still requires information on transcribing 16mm film to video.

Mary Cherriot of Buckland has obtained a copy of Pages of Peace by Beatrice Chase.

Chris Mayhead has also produced photographs of the "1 Miol Stone" (Up the Natsworthy road near Stouts Cottage), the Village Cross (at present outside the south door of the church) and the village sign on the green.

Tea Rota

A vote of thanks was expressed to Roy and Pauline Barnes for providing the tea and biscuits and all those who helped with the washing up.

November - Freda Wilkinson and Margaret Steemson

December - Jenny Pascoe and Anne Claxton

January - Mary Pascoe and Wendy Beard

February - Nora Lamb and Pam Clare.


Roger Claxton wondered if the Group would like to build up a "local history website". This idea was enthuasically received and will be further discussed at the November meeting. Simon Dell of Tavistock has received from New Zealand two photographs of Widecombe, via his Web-site, one of the village and one of Venton showing the cottages that were once a Police Sation. He would like to know if anyone can confirm the number in the crest. The photograph can be seen in Beatrice Chase�s "Answered Prayers".

Possible copy obtained by Mary Pascoe is with Geoffrey Bamsey.

Suggested that Audrey Lamb may have an original photograph.

Freda expressed the feelings of the meeting by saying "Isn�t it good that we have people in the group that know about these things - Tis all magic to me she said! All agreed!

This demonstrates the possible advantages of us doing likewise!

Illustrated Talk by Paul Rendell on Ancient Trackways, Paths, etc. To view a transcript, please click here.

A vote of thanks was recorded.

The meeting closed at 10.10 p.m.

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