Widecombe History Group Minutes August 2001

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A meeting of the Widecombe and District History Group was held on Wednesday 1st August 2001 at the Church House, Widecombe, at 7.30 p.m.

Click here for talk on Dartmoor Railways.

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

Apologies: Peter Rennells, Phyllis Pascoe, Rosamund Whale, Jack Elliot, Dave Fisher and Rosemary Mortimore.

The Minutes of the July meeting were read and signed as correct.


1. The Data Base build-up of the Parish Documents is continuing.

2. 2002 Programme - Ann Claxton and Viv Layfield reported that the completed Programme will soon be available.

3. Tea Rota:

A vote of thanks was recorded to all the ladies who help to provide tea, coffee and biscuits.

September - Freda Wilkinson and Margaret Steemson

October - Wendy Beard and Mary Pascoe

4. Hermon French:

The Secretary reported that he had contacted Debbie Griffiths and hopes to arrange for a viewing of the Hermon French Collection of Prehistoric finds currently held by the Dartmoor National Park, and she will let us know when the Tree-Planting Ceremony is re-scheduled.

5. Outing to Tiverton Castle and Grand Canal, Saturday 13th October 2001:

Ann Claxton reported arrangements are well in hand. Deposits of £5 were paid by several members at the meeting, further deposits are requested as soon as possible and the balance to be paid by the 21st September. Anyone still wishing to go should contact Ann as soon as possible.

6. Guided Walk at Yarner Woods:

The Guided Walk held on Saturday 7th July around the Yarner Nature Reserve was a great success. All those who attended found it interesting and informative.

7. Newsletter:

The meeting recorded a vote of thanks to Sue Booty who has volunteered to compile future Newsletters. The Secretary was instructed to pass on to Peter Rennells the Groups’ appreciation for all the work he had done in compiling the last seven Newsletters. Peter has kindly offered to help Sue in any way he can and he will let Sue have all his past notes and details of how he compiled them.

8. Family History Society Secretary:

As June Kernick was not at the meeting the Group are hoping that we will have a positive reply from her regarding the post of secretary at its next meeting.

9. Correspondence:

a) The Group decided to join the Teignbridge District Council of Voluntary Services for the Annual subscription of £5 per annum.

b) A letter was received from Joanna Radford enclosing limited copy No.19 of the 20 produced of Poems for Dartmoor, Spring 2001, compiled by pupils of the Widecombe County Primary School, to be archived by the Group. It was agreed that this should be offered to The Parish Council for the Parish Chest. She also offered to produce a similar ‘unlimited’ edition, to be sold in aid of the Church Restoration Fund. They will be sold at £2.50 each which after deduction of production costs will mean £2.00 per copy will go towards the Fund. Copies can be ordered in advance from Wendy Beard or the Secretary.

10. A.O.B.:

i) Ann Claxton has received no reply to date from Mike Brown regarding a talk on Buckland in the Moor and the Leaflets published by him, but a verbal contact suggested he may not be available.

ii) Peter Hirst reported that his team of helpers currently involved in checking his transcriptions of details from the Tythe Book are progressing well. They are meeting once a week and will continue to do so until the task is completed. This has proved to be enjoyable as well as informative evenings, everyone seems to be enjoying the process.

The name of ‘Samuel Taylor Coldridge’ has appeared at times in the Tithe Book. The dates do not fit with the famous English Romantic Poet, "Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834), and the spelling of the surname appears to differ but is there some kind of connection? This will be explored, could it be that as Coleridge was well known at the time ‘little Samuel’ was born and as the surnames sound similar he was christened thus? The Tithe Map being dated 1842 was after Coleridge had died. Coldridge on the other hand apparently had a lease on Exeter Cathedral’s share of the Widecombe Tithe, perhaps he was wealthy and had been in a position to loan Exeter Cathedral an amount of money for a project and in return was granted their portion of the Tithes as interest or repayment of capital! When there was a Rector in the parish he seemed to claim both apportionments. When there was a Vicar, the Tithes appear to be in two halves, one that covered all pasture land, gardens and orchards, this was the Vicar’s ‘perks’, and the other seem to have been paid on the arable land (corn and grain), this appears to be paid to the Appropriator, (who or what he was, needs more research). This being the larger of the two amounts appears to go to the Bishop’s coffers which he in turn would lease to someone else to collect. The Monastic or higher religious position claimed the better half - hence they ‘appropriated’ that portion, could this be the answer? We shall hear more of this in due course!

Peter also said that he has not yet begun the task of copying "The Dymond Diaries", this he will start in the Autumn.

iii) Anthony Beard reminded the meeting of the enormous help he receives from listening to the tape-recording of the meeting when writing the minutes. The recorder was a gift from Pam Clare when she was living at Dunstone Manor (Court). The meeting thought we should send her a copy of each of our Newletters as and when published to maintain a contact with her. This will be done.

The next meeting will be held on Wednesday 5th September and the subject will be the History of Kelly Mines - Lustleigh.

The Meeting enjoyed an interesting and informative illustrated address from Len Copley, the subject was "Railways of Dartmoor".

Len has agreed to take the members of the Group on a Guided Walk on Saturday, 4th August, around part of Princetown Railway Line and Foggingtor Quarry.

As with any subject of this type there is always a desire to delve deeper and the need for reference books, documentation and records of any kind always comes up in conversation.

One book was mentioned concerning railways on Dartmoor which was greeted with surprise by those present.

Report of Proposed line of Railway from Plymouth, Devonport and Stonehouse to Exeter over the Forest of Dartmoor with a branch line to Tavistock.

by James M. Rendel Civil Engineer August 1840

printed by R. White Stevens, Plymouth (22 pages plus 4 pages appendix)

It relates a proposition to go from Plymouth to Exeter via Princetown, Prince Hall, Cherrybrook, Fernworthy, and Dunsford. What a Tourist Attraction that would be today!

The Meeting closed at 10.00 p.m.

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