Widecombe History Group Minutes September 2001


A Meeting of The Widecombe and District Local History Group was held at The Church House, Widecombe on Wednesday 5th September 2001 at 7.30 p.m.

See also Talk on History of Kelly Mine

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

Apologies:- Pearl and John Northcott, Peter Rennells, Audrey Mortimore, Viv Layfield, Roger and Rosamund Whale.

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

Arising and Correspondence:

Data Base and 2002 programme continuing.

Hermon French collection of prehistoric finds and the memorial tree planting ceremony. Secretary still waiting to hear from Debbie Griffiths D.N.P. of details.

Tiverton Castle and Canal outing Saturday 13th October 2001. Ann Claxton reported good progress. Final payments now due. To date about 40 people will be attending.

N. B. On the same day there is an invitation from The Church House Management Committee for all Church House users to attend a party to celebrate the unveiling of the Church Tower, and celebrate the installation of the new kitchen, this is at 7.30 p.m. bring and share supper.

Family History Society. As June Kernick is a member of the Society and gets their magazine each quarter she has agreed to let the secretary know of any enquiries for local information or contacts that may appear, so that he can pass the details on through The Parish Newsletter. The Group could still do with someone to act as Secretary for that branch of our activities. It was agreed that the stock of Family Tree Booklets should be made available at meetings for people to refer to.

Teignbridge Council of Volunteer Services. The secretary has sent a copy of our constitution, which was deliberately kept very simple, as formulated in the minutes of Wednesday 2nd July 1997, to them to assist in our being registered with them. The constitution is basically, Chairman, Secretary, Treasurer to be appointed at the AGM,  AGM to be held at the beginning of the May meeting, all meetings to be the first Wednesday of each month, financial year ends 31st December, if the group ceases to exist any monies will be divided equally between The Leusdon Memorial Hall and The Widecombe Church House Funds and any books, documents, maps, papers etc, that the group has will be deposited in The Church House as a gift to the Parish. The £5.00 membership fee has already been sent.

Transcription of The Tithe Book. Peter Hirst reported that his team of helpers are approaching the end of their ‘proof-reading’ and checking. It is hoped to produce a copy of all the details and a disc with a suitable format to make the sourcing of information regarding the Tithe Book and Map more simple and easier for future studies without the necessity of continually handling the originals. He expressed his thanks to the team for all their assistance.

Poems for Dartmoor, Spring 2001. A book compiled by the children of Widecombe County Primary School with reference to the 2001 Foot and Mouth outbreak has now been produced to be sold to help raise funds for the Widecombe Church Tower Appeal. Selling at £2.50 and obtainable from the secretary. The Chairman thanked all those who helped man the stall at The Church Gift Day when this and other books and leaflets were sold. £32.29 was raised for the appeal. The Tower Appeal Gift Day raised over £10,000.

Buckland-in-the-Moor reference books and other leaflets concerning the area. The secretary and Ann Claxton have both written to Mike Brown for details, but to date neither have received a reply. Peter and Dilys Harvey have some old documents regarding the Smerdon Family that lived at Higher Brownswell Farm, Ashburton, in the 19th century. Interest has been shown by family tree enthusiasts from America as well in Britain. Mike Brown’s leaflets would have been of interest to them.

The Guided Walk around Princetown Railway, Foggingtor Quarry and the surrounding area held on Saturday 4th August led by Len Copley was a great success and enjoyed by all those who participated. Comment was made that the Princetown Railway would be a wonderful tourist attraction!

Widecombe Bellringers Outing scheduled for Saturday 15th September. It was brought to the meetings notice that there are some spare seats available if anyone would like to join them for a ‘Mystery Tour’. Contact Michael Pascoe at the Post Office.

Website Link. Sue Booty brought to our notice that there is a website we may like to visit :- www.dartmoor crosses, compiled by a colleague of David Booty. This will concentrate on crosses and other stones of importance and interest. There is a link to this site from ours.

This led to further discussion with particular mention of "The Jubilee Stone" on Leusdon Green. Instigated by the committee of The Leusdon Memorial Hall, the stone was brought from Sweaton Farm, then farmed by the Doney family, by Ian Roberts of Langworthy, and erected to celebrate The Silver Jubilee (25th Anniversary) of the Accession to the Throne of Queen Elizabeth II on ??? 1977.

Tea Rota:- October Mary Pascoe and Wendy Beard.

November Rosemary and Audrey Mortimore

December Phillis and Jenny Pascoe

Theme/Subject for Non-speaker Evening. Considerable discussion took place on a suggestion from Ann Claxton, that we should have a theme or a subject for our next non-speaker evening and it was decided that the subject would be "Transport of the area through the ages".

This in an innovation that we have agreed to try. Everyone is encouraged to bring and share with the meeting their own memories of how and where they travelled, in what type or mode of transport, photographs and other memorabilia that may encourage other peoples memories to be stirred and so develop into an interesting evening. Details of the various people and firms of the area who were involved with transport need to be recorded and we will see how the meeting develops from there. It is important that all the ‘gems’ created from this are recorded and Wendy Beard agreed to do the write up this time and then hopefully someone will take this on permanently. It will entail about THREE such events each year.

This could develop into a regular item as it is recording the social history of the district and of the era through which we have lived.

E-mails received recently. Roger and Ann brought a sample of the E-mails that they receive from all over the world in response to our website.

(a) One from a Ralph L. Jordan of the family Jordan in America, researching the family "Jordan", with reference to Widecombe and the hamlet of Jordan and Jordan Manor House in our parish. They congratulated us on ‘such a beautiful site’.

(b) Subject Hannafords. A descendant of Emanuel Hannaford born in the Church House Widecombe, April 10th or 18th 1839. In 1997 the writer had visited Widecombe and met Freda Wilkinson. This came from a lady in Essex and she is the daughter of Ronald Courtenay Victor Hannaford late of Poole in Dorset, born 13 October 1910.

(c) Subject Mead, Leaman and Lark. The writer states that:- " the 1881 census shows my great great grandfather was 78 years old, and was blacksmith at Widecombe. His daughter Elizabeth the writer’s great grandmother, had Edwin 1846, Charles 1851, James 1853, and John 1855 (by John Lark 1816-1854), however in 1881 census there was a lodger, Elias Leaman, and Elizabeth’s next child George born in 1858 was christened George Leaman Lark, and the next five children Albert 1859, Sarah 1861, Fanny 1864, Oliver 1870 (the writer’s grandfather), and Hannah 1873 still had the surname Lark. Census 1891 still showed Elias living with Elizabeth, so we asume that he was the father of those born after John Lark died. This came from Queensland Australia.

The name of our current postman, Mike Leaman was mentioned by Chris Mayhead and his interest in the Leaman family and their connection with The Tavistock Inn at Poundsgate. Could this connect? Mike’s great grandfather worked at Widecombe Forge. It was agreed to give Mike a copy of this E-mail for his interest. Bessie French told the meeting that Leamans are known to have lived in the Princetown area and at Cator and Huccaby and Ponsworthy as well as the Tavistock Inn. Leaman married Stokes of Tavistock Inn c1920’s.

During the tea break Margaret Phipps suggested to the secretary that it would be interesting to see if the now defunct "South Devon Journal" and the lovely stories of "Fred & Emmie" could or have been reprinted. Secretary agreed to enquire! Was this one of the late Vian Smith’s products?

Leaflets of Devon books soon to be published were available for members.

The meeting had a very interesting talk and video presentation about The Kelly Mine of Lustleigh given by Grahame Spink and Peter Roberts.

On Sunday 7th October at 1.30 p.m. we have been invited to visit the Kelly Mine for a conducted tour and we shall have a wonderful opportunity to view all the restoration work that "The Kelly Mine Preservation Society" have achieved since their formation in 1984.

The next meeting is Wednesday 3rd October. The speaker is Lyn Walmsley and the subject "Field Archaeology".

The meeting closed at 10.10 p.m.

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