Widecombe History Group Minutes April 2002

A meeting of the Widecombe and District Local History Group held on Wednesday 3rd April 2002, held at The Church House, Widecombe, at 7.30 p.m.

To read the transcript of the second transport discussion, please click here.

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

The Chairman welcomed everyone to the Meeting and a one minute’s silence was then observed in memory of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother who died on Saturday 30th March 2002, aged 101 years.

Apologies for Absence: Sylvia Needham, Rodney and Wendy Cruze, Peter Rennells.

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


It was reported that Mr. Jack Simpson was delighted to receive our ‘Get Well Card’ and the meeting was pleased to hear that he is making a good recovery. Tony & Joyce Heath returned from their trip to the Mediterranean and said that while there, they had done some ‘dowsing’ to great success. We shall hear more about this at a future date.

The Church Dropcloth. The National Trust have agreed that the Church Dropcloth can be stored in the Church House and have suggested that it be placed on the internal wall in the upstairs kitchen.

The Parish Council have agreed that the £60 donation recently received for inspecting the Parish Records should be kept by the Group and applied to the conservation of the above, and if further financial aid is needed we are to contact them again. The photographic record of the making and painting of the dropcloth/screen has also been donated to the Group for archiving.

The continued support of The Parish Council for the archiving work is greatly appreciated, the group has a good working relationship with them. The Chairman gave a report to The Annual Parish Meeting of our activities and aims, and the current work being undertaken with the Indentures. She was thanked for doing this.

The Family History material will now be passed to Ken and Andrew Hamlyn who have agreed to be our Family History secretaries.

A letter received from PC Simon Dell MBE, thanking the Group for their letter congratulating him on his recent Bravery Award.

Frank Hext of Ashburton reported he had contacted Wilfred and Joyce Hext, late of Pudsham, now of Fernhill Ponsworthy, regarding his family tree. He now realises that Wilfred and himself are related, their respective grandfathers being brothers. It was noted that Wilfred and Joyce celebrate their 60th Wedding Anniversay on 6th April 2002. The Hext name could be Anglo-Saxon. The thought that there could be some association with Hexworthy, either named after the Hext family or they in turn came from there! The name could mean a ‘tall man’ or a ‘high position in the Church’ as quoted by Chaucer!

The meeting was informed that Ken Hamlyn and his wife Sadie celebrate their 60th Wedding Anniversary on 5th April 2002. The meeting extended to them their heartiest congratulations.

Church Roof Scrap Lead: Ideas are still being discussed as to putting this to good use. Various members offered to look at ways in which this could be done. The best material to make a mould needs researching.

Church Fete, Monday 6th May 2002: It was decided to support this by having a stall selling the Groups books and gazettes, a rota for this to be drawn up at the May meeting.

Thanks were recorded to the tea ladies and their helpers. Future rota as follows:

May: Wendy and Mary

June: Betty and Ruby

July: Margaret and Ann

Postbridge and Bellever Day

Further notification that arrangements are underway at Postbridge towards the possibility of reviving Bellever day.

The next meeting is scheduled for Wednesday 1st May at 7.30 p.m. when Miles and Gail Fursdon will talk about their Old Walls Leat and Hydro-Electric Project.

This will be followed by a Guided Walk around the site on Saturday 4th May, meet at Old Walls at 12 noon.

Outing to Budleigh Salterton: Ann Claxton reported on the arrangements for the outing to Budleigh Salterton’s Fairlynch Museum and Bicton Park Gardens on Saturday 8th June 2002. Coach leaves Widecombe at 9.00 a.m. arriving at Budleigh Salterton 10.00 a.m. for coffee. 11.00 a.m. Fairlynch Museum, depart for Bicton Gardens 1.00 p.m. Meeting at the Orangery at 4.30 p.m. for a cream tea, (this needs to be pre-booked). Depart Bicton at 6.00 p.m., arriving Widecombe at 7.00 p.m.

Costs: Coach, Museum and entrance to Bicton £12.00. Optional Cream Tea £2.75. Further details contact Ann on 01364 621232. Payment in full as soon as possible please. We shall meet with Miss Joy Gawne who’s sister Elizabeth lived at Higher Lodge, Hedge Barton, for years and did a lot of research into ‘The Parallel Reave System’ on Dartmoor.

E-mails - Roger and Ann reported on the last month’s activities.

(a) Received from a George Stephens in Canada - inquiring about Stephens/Stephins of this parish possibly as far back as 1638.

Secretary has copied all he can find and the information has been E-mailed back to him. Copy kept!

(b) Received from Mrs Isabel Chaffe of South Wales, U.K. - inquiring of details of Chafe/Chaffe of Widecombe c1783-1785.

Secretary has copied all relevant details and Roger and Ann have E-mailed that information back to her. Copy kept!

Bulliver’s Way. Jack Elliott of Ashburton informed the meeting that the portion of the old trackway which is still in existence below Stonepark, will shortly be taken over by Ashburton Town Council. This is good news for Ashburton’s Heritage. He also reported that the problems with access to Poundsgate over Newbridge for local businesses and deliveries will hopefully soon be resolved.


Arch and Audrey Mortimore gave the group a set of photographs taken at the tree planting ceremony. See January 2002 minutes.

As there was no further business the meeting closed at 9.55 p.m.

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