Widecombe History Group Minutes October 2000


A meeting of The Widecombe and District Local History Group was held at The Church House Widecombe on Wednesday 4th October 2000 at 7.30 p.m..

Mrs Margaret Steemson was in the chair and 31 people attended. She began by welcoming everyone to the meeting.

Apologies:- Wendy Beard, Rosamund Whale, Pearl and John Northcott, Vivien Layfield, Peter Rennells, Michael Pascoe, Archie and Rodney Mortimore and Sylvia Needham.

(It was noted that Sylvia is now home and making progress.)

Minutes of the last meeting were read and signed as correct.

Arising

North Hall is continuing to create a lot of interest and in Peter Rennell’s absence the secretary read some notes given to him by Peter.

A copy of the will of Richard Cabel of Brooke Manor, Buckfastleigh, dated 6th May 1671, has been ‘translated’ by Tim Wright of Dunstone. The main points of interest to the project is that he bequeathed properties at Stone, Rowbrooke, Torr and Hannaford to his brother Samuel. There are also references to properties in Wiltshire, Somerset and Cornwall.

Freda Wilkinson has deciphered a 99 year property lease from John Shapleigh to John Dunning dated 29th March 1770. Amongst local properties listed are North Hall, two grist mills, one cottage, one herb garden, Austin’s Barton, fields and land adjoining. All these were leased to John Andrew.

Peter Rennells and Mary Pascoe have located the Land Tax Assessment for Widecombe in 1831. This lists over 90 properties. North Hall is recorded as being owned by Lady Ashburton and leased to a J. Brooking. This is the first time the name of Brooking has been connected with North Hall.

Peter hopes to have his ‘Annual North Hall Report’ available for the November meeting. As the November meeting is a ‘non-speaker’ evening it was agreed that Tony Heath should also give us a ten minute resumee of what he considers to have been his findings from his dowsing activities, at North Hall and in and around the Church. This prompted Peter Dracup to mention an archaeological survey that had been done around the Church by a group from The University of St David in Wales. They are expected to return and do some further work before writing up their findings. The meeting expressed their interest in this and a desire that the findings should be made available to the group to assist with our on going research.

27 people attended the dowsing demonstration given by Tony Heath at the North Hall sites on Wednesday 13th September. The effect it had on those that attended varied. Anything like dowsing, water divining and the like, that has a certain amount of ‘mystique’ about it, can create a variety of responses from those that witness the procedure, those that believe and understand the process view it with amazement incredibility, while others take a more sceptical view.

We had a complete cross-section of emotions at the demonstration.

Photograph needed for the cover of the next newsletter. Roger Whale offered to provide one.

Family Tree Society notes, placed in The Parish Link have resulted in 18 local families requesting information regarding their enquiries.

Susan Laithwaite of D. R. O. has given Peter Rennells details of a C.D.Rom available from the Mormon Church Family History Distribution Dept, 399 Garretts Green Lane, Birmingham, B33 0UH. The two of most interest to this parish could be:-

50096 - 1851 Census for Devon, Norfolk &Warwick (containing about 1.5 million names) @ £5.95.

50028 - British Isles Vital Records (a portion of extracted Parish Records - approx 5 Million names). Index of records = 1538 - 1888 in England, Wales, Scotland & Ireland @ £14.95. (prices correct at April 2000)

Amongst items recorded are the census returns which reveal the head of the household and all other occupants. Personal details are also listed such as age, sex, marital status, occupation, size of property, lands and birthplace.

Website and E-mails

Roger and Ann Claxton reported on the continual increase in interest that this community project is generating. Margaret remarked that it is as a result of the dedication that they have put into this that it has had such response to date, and she thanked them for their expertise. Roger suggested that from now on, the revenue from the advertising should be divided equally between the History Group to help with the running costs of the site, and the Church Tower Appeal, this was agreed.

Details of September’s E-mails.

Regarding Hannaford-Hill:- This has been passed on to June Kernick to deal with due to her possible family connections.

Regarding Conan Doyle:- Roger has forwarded information.

Regarding the Grant family:- Details still being collected.

Details of October’s E-mails.

E-mail from John Storm Roberts, New York, USA dated 18.09.2000. Subject Sarah Bickford. 1851 census states born 1807-8 in Middenry, where is that?

Could it be the same Sarah Bickford, with father’s name Thomas, born in Widecombe 1806? Does Middenry sound like a farm or small hamlet in Widecombe area? Could it be mistaken for example with a Mid-Embry or somewhere of similar sounding?

Terry French said that there are Bickfords in the Buckfastleigh area, Hembury Woods lies due North of Buckfastleigh, could there be a connection there? Bessie French then said that there was in c1950’s a George and Amos Bickford in the area.

Roger and Anthony will collate this information and reply.

John Lake Webber’s book of Poems publication is scheduled for Mid November. The title will be:-

"Dartmoor’s Policeman Poet"

‘The Verses of Constable John Webber written 1862 - 1892’

 These were first published in a pamphlet in 1878. Now produced in a 96 page book containing 6 black and white photographs, a two page biography of John Lake Webber, a foreword by Sir Roger Birch, ( a former policeman of Widecombe), and priced £4.99.

This will make an ideal Christmas Present.

The proceeds from the book will help with the fund raising for The Widecombe Church Tower Appeal. Book your copy now :- Cheque or Postal Order made out to "Widecombe Local History Group". If you add 50 pence for p&p it will benefit the Funds no end!

send it to :- Bittleford Parks, Widecombe-in-the-Moor, Newton Abbot. TQ13 7TQ

As soon as it is available we will send it on!!

The Time Capsule was ceremonially buried on the Widecombe Village Green on Saturday 9th September 2000. Many parishioners observed the ceremony and enjoyed the cream tea afterwards. The capsule is not to be opened for at least 100 years.

Storage cabinet still awaits a key.

Beating the Bounds bring and share supper evening is scheduled for Saturday 14th October from 5.00 - 9.00 p.m. at The Church House. It is intended to present the "Millennium Mugs" at 6.30 p.m. It is hoped that photographs and write-ups of the event will be on show. A record of the event will ultimately be compiled and placed in the chest. Chris Mayhead offered to bring some colour slides of the Beating of the Bounds to the November Non-speaker Meeting, this was accepted.

The Tithe Map was brought down and exhibited in The Church House on Monday 18th September. Several people took advantage to examine it. Deborah Phillips, Senior Archive Conservator Devon Record Office, visited us once again and made the following observations:-

Parish Copy of Widecombe in the Moor Tithe Map

"Size approx. 12ft x 13ft 24 paper sections on cloth.

One edge fixed to a wooden batten and kept in the original wooden box.

Several sections show signs of delamination, more severe at the title edge, which is creased, torn and there is a small area of loss. The paper is in generally good condition, dry and stable, but shows signs of ageing brought on by the paper characteristics, adhesive, backing cloth, atmospheric pollution and insect visitation.

The map should not deteriorate significantly in the present storage conditions, but will benefit from a light brushing, (this was done prior to its replacement) and an additional protective covering of unbleached calico (also done).

Because of its size, full conservation treatment may be problematic to any private conservator locally. When with luck and the lottery, the D.R.O. relocate to their new large modern facilities, conservation of this tithe map would not pose a problem. The cost of this would be in the region of £500, depending on fluctuations in the cost of staff and materials.

A copy of this will be sent to The Parish Council, as caretakers of the map, for their information, with a request that they act upon these recommendations.

Peter Dracup suggested that perhaps financial assistance with this may be obtainable from The Exeter Diocese, as The Tithes were collected at that time by The Church. It was also noted that in the Parish Chest we still have the full inventory of all owners and occupiers of the lands concerned with the Tithes. Wonderful documents to still have in the Parish!

Programme 2001 is progressing and nearly complete. Secretary has requested that someone may like to volunteer to take on the task of compiling future annual programmes. He would give them all the lists of potential speakers and contacts and any assistance they may require to get up and starting! Please see if you could help with this.

Refreshment ladies and their helpers were thanked for sustenance during the interval.

Rota:-

November Jenny Pascoe and Dinie Brickle.

December Wendy Beard and Mary Pascoe.

Jenny Pascoe our treasurer requires the addresses of Family History Society and Friends of Devon Archives so that she can pay our affiliation fees.

This month's talk:-

"A Light Hearted look at Local Parish Churches" given by Michael Vyner".

The Meeting closed at 10.05 p.m.

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