Widecombe History Group Minutes October 2001

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A Meeting of the Widecombe and District Local History Group was held at the Church House, Widecombe in the Moor, on Wednesday 3rd October 2001, at 7.30 p.m.

See also Talk by Lynn Walmsley on Field Archaeology.

Mrs. Margaret Steemson was in the Chair and 43 people attended. Mrs Steemson welcomed our speaker and a new member.

Apologies: Chris Mayhead, Freda Wilkinson, Viv Layfield.

The Minutes of the September Meeting were read and signed as correct.

Arising and Correspondence:

Data Base: Still progressing.

Kelly Mine Visit

The meeting was reminded of the details of the visit scheduled for Sunday 7th October to the mine, at 1.30 p.m.. Parking is at a premium so members advised to double up with transport.

2002 Programme:

Ann Claxton informed the meeting that she and Viv Layfield have completed the 2002 Programme:

Jan. 2nd Peter Carrett Magic Lantern Show

Feb. 6th Kate Strasdin Victorian Costume

Mar. 6th Francis Griffith Archaeology of Devon from the Air

Apr. 3rd Non-Speaker evening Discussion Topic to be arranged

May 1st Miles Fursdon Old Walls, Leat & Hydro-Electric Project (Guided Walk - 4th May)

Jun 5th Shan Toyne Devon Privies

Jul 3rd Len Copley Northern Moor (Guided Walk - 6th July)

Aug 7th Non-Speaker evening Discussion Topic to be arranged

Sep 4th Elizabeth Newbolt Young Dartmoor Ponies (Visit to be arranged)

Oct 2nd Geoffrey Weymouth Marshes of Dartmoor

Nov 6th John Weir Dartmoor Artists & Writers

Dec 4th Non-Speaker evening Discussion Topic to be arranged

Hermon French:

Secretary will contact Debbie Griffiths of the DNP re his collection of Prehistorical Memorabilia and the Memorial Tree Planting.

Tiverton Castle and Canal Outing 13th October:

The outing is fully booked and the coach will leave Widecombe at 9.30 a.m.

Church House Celebration Party:

Anyone connected to the Groups using the Church House have been invited to a party to celebrate the completion of the renovation and unveiling of the Church Tower and the refurbishment of the Church House kitchen. Bring and Share food and drink.

Dropcloth in Widecombe Church:

The dropcloth which was painted by a team of local ladies and has been hanging at the rear of the Church during the Church Tower restoration, has now become obsolete and the question arises as to what should be done with it. This question has been posed to the Group by the Rector, the Rev. Derek Newport. The meeting felt that this should not be destroyed and a means of storing it should be considered. It was suggested that it could be rolled and stored in the Church House above or below the Tythe Map either in some form of calico wrapping or a box similar to that of the Tythe Map. The measurements are about 12 feet wide and about 25 feet high, this needs checking and suggestions put to the next meeting before any decision made.The meeting suggested that the Parochial Church Council should consider the possibility of photographing the dropcloth as well as the tower complete with the scaffolding, with a view to selling postcards for the Church funds. The secretary will discuss this with the Rector.

Family History Society:

We are still looking for a volunteer to act as Secretary/Custodian of the items in our possession relating to the above Society.

Mary Pascoe has been researching some military connections with her family tree and informed the meeting that there are several sources of information available. These include the Imperial War Museum, Lambeth Road, London, SE1 6HZ, the National Army Museum at Chelsea, The Commonwealth War Graves Commission, amongst many others. Anyone interested in more details, contact Mary.

Teignbridge Council of Volunteer Services:

Correspondence has been received from the above stating that our application will be considered on Monday 29th October. Leaflets of classes etc run by TVS are available from the secretary.

Dartmoor Follies:

A letter was received from Philip Knowling stating that his proposed book on Dartmoor Follies will be available in the Spring 2002.

Foot and Mouth:

It was noted that the restricted area around Dunnabridge Farm has been reduced as from 2nd October.

Tythe Book:

Peter Hirst reported that his team of helpers have completed the proof-reading and checking of his transcription of the Tythe Book. This is connected with the 1843 Tythe Map. He thanked the team for all their help and will now complete the necessary amendments.

Ashburton Town Leat:

Peter Hirst would be interested in any information anyone has on the subject of Ashburton Town Leat.

Books and leaflets available from the Group.

Dartmoor’s Policeman Poet, (the verses of Constable John L. Webber of Widecombe 1863 - 1891 compiled by Simon Dell). £4.99

1875 Widecombe Chronicle and Dartmoor Gazette, (reprint) £2.50

Poems For Dartmoor Spring 2001, (an anthology of poems and pictures by Pupils of Widecombe School regarding the 2001 Foot and Mouth Outbreak). £2.50

A additional 50p per copy to cover U.K.postage and package, obtainable from:-

Secretary, Bittleford Parks, Widecombe, Newton Abbot, Devon TQ13 7TQ.

cheques made payable to :- Widecombe History Group

Beatrice Chase:

Sue Booty gave the Group a newspaper cutting, dated September 4th 1926, from the Mid-Devon Advertiser, showing that "Miss Beatrice Chase has had an open-air bath constructed in one of the fields at Dunstone Bridge on the Webburn. On Sundays Miss Chase reserves the bath for the working men of Widecombe".

The Dartmoor Trust:

A Newsletter and Leaflet was received from the Dartmoor Trust listing various projects concerning Dartmoor which they have supported since their formation in 1996. They are hoping that people may choose to make donations, deeds of convenant, legacies or bequests to them, to help them continue with their work.

Bellever Day:

In the October Parish Link regarding Postbridge, an appeal was made for information regarding the Bellever Day. It is believed that this historically took place on the first Friday in May each year at Bellever Tor being the last day of the Hunting season. Reference to this can be seen in "High Dartmoor" by Eric Hemery, in which he called it "Bellever Day". Miss Annie Sleep once wrote in "The Postbridge Parish Pump" - "Bellever Day was as popular as Tavistock Goosey Fair. Hundreds of people would come to the last Meet of the season, and locals made money by selling refreshments etc. After the hunt, there would be hunt races followed by races for ponies and people on foot. People would have picnics on the Tor whilst watching these events and a great time was seemed to be had by all."

Dinnie Bickle stated that her Mother told her once of a pony named "Golden Blaze" that took part in races early in the last century. Was this pony owned by the May family, who then lived at Wideymeet? The meeting then wondered if Bellever Day, Huckaby Races and Dunnabridge Races could in any way be getting confused. Further information would be gratefully received. Further information please by the next meeting.

Any information to Garry Hayman at Youth Hostel Association, Bellever, on 01822 880227 or e-mail bellever@yha.org.uk or Gerald Smerdon at Post Office Stores, Postbridge on 01822 880201.

Tea Rota for: November, Rosemary and Audrey Mortimore

December, Phyllis and Jenny Pascoe

Next meeting is on Wednesday 7th November and is a Non-Speaker Evening when the theme will be:- "Transport of the area through the ages".

The meeting closed at 10.10p.m.

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