Widecombe History Group Minutes November 2000

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A Meeting of the Widecombe and District Local History Group was held at The Church House, Widecombe on Wednesday 1st November 2000 at 7.30 p.m.

Mrs Margaret Steemson was in the chair and 39 people attended.

Apologies were received from:- Roger and Rosamund Whale, Terry and Bessie French, Joyce Heath, Jim Churchward and Sylvia Needham. Sylvia asked for her sincere thanks to be conveyed to the group for their kind thoughts and to individual members who have written, sent cards and flowers, and visited her during her illness and stay in hospital.

She is making good progress and is looking forward to being able to attend meetings again soon.

Please click here for the NORTH HALL Progress Report

NEWSLETTER: Peter Rennells then produced copies of Newsletter No. 6 in a new format and with a picture of the "Tavistock Inn" about 100 years ago on the front cover.

STORAGE CABINET: The Secretary was pleased to tell the meeting that he has been at last able to acquire a key that fits the cabinet. We shall now be able to make use of this for storing our artifacts. We shall get some spare keys cut.

WEBSITE AND E-MAIL Ann and Roger Claxton stated that all is going well and the e-mails coming through are being answered and dealt with.

DATABASE for parish documents, apprenticeship, examinations, removals etc is still being built up. Roger and Ann Claxton would like some more of these to be examined and the details passed on the them. The procedure is to ask Peter Hirst for ten or twelve documents and the forms to be completed. When this is done pass it all back to Peter who will then deal direct with Roger and Ann. That is the system.

BEATING THE BOUNDS: A letter was received from George and Beryl Foskett saying how much they had enjoyed participating in the event. Similar comments have been received from many people who took part in the walks and this was echoed by the meeting. The Chairman once again thanked Peter Hirst for all his hard work not only organising the walks, but also the ‘Bring and Share’ celebratory evening held on the 14th October when all the Millennium Mugs were distributed. Peter said that we have distributed all the mugs, we have a couple in hand just in case we missed anyone. The intention is to smash any left over so that only those who were involved in the project will actually own one. A message from Sylvia Needham suggesting that those left over ought to be kept in case anyone has a mishap with their’s. Those who ask for a replacement would have to produce the remnants of the broken one. Audrey Mortimore brought a Scrap Book which showed in great detail some 80 photographs that she had taken on the walks and detailed write-ups of all three sections of the walk.

Jennifer Pascoe produced a write-up of the walk and said how much she had enjoyed participating.

Another write-up was received from Mary Pascoe.

Freda Wilkinson brought a write-up of Spitchwick Manor Boundary Walk.

There is still time for others to produce photos and write-ups and impressions of the event and we look forward to see them at future meetings.

TITHE MAP: Further to the examination of the Tithe Map on the 18th September, and a letter received from Deborah Phillips, the Senior Archive Conservator of the Devon Records Office, Peter Hirst has informed the Parish Council of her recommendations. The Parish Council have expressed keen interest in restoring the Map and will consider helping with financing its restoration. Everyone seems pleased that the D.R.O. are prepared to assist with this project. The cooperation between The Parish Council, The Devon Records Office and our Group seems to continue with great success.


This month’s Refreshment Ladies and helpers were thanked.

December: Wendy Beard and Mary Pascoe

January: Audrey Mortimore and Margaret Steemson

February: Wendy Cruze and Anne Claxton

March: Pat Coaker and Beryl Tabor

JOHN LAKE WEBBER’S BOOK OF POEMS: The reprint of the book has now been completed and copies were available at the meeting, price £4.99p. Anyone ordering the book by post is requested to send a further 50p. towards postage and package. The Book is entitled:

"Dartmoor’s Policeman Poet"

The Verses of Constable John Webber 1862 to 1892

Compiled by Simon Dell, MBE, with a foreword by Sir Roger Birch, CBE, QPM

Copies can be obtained from Michael and Jennifer Pascoe at Widecombe Post Office, who have agreed to sell them without taking commission, so the total revenue will benefit the Group and ultimately the Widecombe Church Tower Appeal.

They are also available direct from the Secretary, Anthony Beard, Bittleford Parks, Widecombe in the Moor, TQ13 7TQ.

Cheques should be made payable to ‘Widecombe & District History Group’.

Books are also available from most good book outlets in the County.

ISBN 0-9536852-1-7.

December meeting is a talk by Mike Maslin - The life cycle of the Salmon in the river Dart and its tributaries.

DUNSTONE CHAPEL has been undergoing a major restoration. It was originally intended to bring in water and install toilets. However during the refurbishment it was found that the roof and ceiling was in a terrible state and it all needed replacing. Phyllis Pascoe and Mary Pascoe have written a history of the Chapel and also taken some photographs of the recent work, including the scaffolding enclosing the building while the recent work was being done. This they have put into a booklet for our archives. They were duly thanked and they said that there will be a couple more pictures when all is finished.


  • 3rd January: Geoffrey Weymouth - Dartmoor and its Wildlife.
  • 7th February: Non-speaker Evening
  • 7th March: Francis Griffiths - Aerial Photography of Devon
  • 4th April: Miles and Gail Fursdon - Old Walls Leat and Hydro-electrics
  • 7th April: Guided Walk around Old Walls Leat and Generator
  • (meet at Old Walls at 12 noon)
  • 2nd May: John Weir - Dartmoor’s Artists and Writers
  • 6th June: Suzanne Haines - The Art of Caligraphy
  • 4th July: Non-Speaker Evening
  • 7th July: Guided Walk around Yarner and/or Trendlebeer Down
  • (meet at Yarner Car Park at 12 noon)
  • 1st August: Len Copley - Railways of Dartmmor
  • 4th August: Guided Walk around Princetown Railway and surrounding area
  • (meet at D.N.P. car park at 12 noon)
  • 5th September: Non-Speaker Evening
  • 3rd October: Lyn Walmsley - Field Archaeology
  • 7th November: Non-Speaker Evening
  • 17th November: John Allen - A Guided Visit to The Royal Albert Museum, Exeter
  • (meet at the Museum, 10.30 a.m.)
  • 5th December: Pauline Richards - Dartmoor Rescue Group

SLIDE SHOW BY CHRIS MAYHEAD: During the Beating of the Bounds, Chris Mayhead had taken a series of coloured slides of the people involved and the places visited. A total of some 200 slides were shown to the meeting and it was interesting to hear the comments from the Group as they saw themselves and friends including the youngest participant, Natalie Hutchins, being ‘bumped’ on some of the Boundary Stones as were several other young walkers. The slides vividly showed the variety of terrain through which we all travelled, interesting buildings that we passed, fascinating scenery and wonderful views enjoyed from various view points around the parish.

The Chairman thanked him for giving everyone such an enjoyable show. In reply Chris said that he was sorry that Sylvia Needham, who had done so much in supporting the walks was not at the meeting, he intends to give her a private viewing of the slides.

Roger Claxton brought an enlarged copy of a written report of men going hunting for foxes and they ‘accidently’ shot a hare and were brought before the courts. This was believed to have come Ken Hamlyn of Ashburton.

A sincere vote of thanks was recorded to Chris Mayhead for the outstanding piece of work that he did for the Parish Millennium Time Capsule Project. He photographed virtually every house in the Parish with the occupiers stood outside their property. This has been placed in the Capsule and a further copy placed in the Parish Chest.

The meeting closed at 10.05 p.m.

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