Widecombe History Group Minutes November 2002

If you are having problems with the menu, please refer to the Site Contents instead.

Buy the Devon Dialect Alphabet Book

Tracey Elliot-Reep

Dartmoor Christmas Trees

We are hosted and supported by UK Web Hosting

A Meeting of the Widecombe and District Local History Group was held at The Church House, Widecombe, on Wednesday 6th November 2002 at 7.30 p.m.

Click here for the talk on Dartmoor Artists & Writers

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

Apologies were received from Sylvia Needham, Jenny Pascoe, Arch and Audrey Mortimore, and Bessie French.

The Minutes of October meeting were read and signed as correct.

In future before the speaker, items that the Committee feel urgently need bringing to the meeting’s notice will be reported prior to matters arising.

The next meeting will be held on Wednesday 4th December when it will be a ‘bring and share’ party prior to Christmas. Could all those that bring food made to an old or family recipe bring a copy of that recipe for anyone interested to copy. Peter Rennells will be in charge of the ‘punch’!

It was also decided to ask members to bring an interesting object, artefact or document from their own possessions to display and help create interesting discussions.

Peter Hirst showed the meeting a copy of a map he had recently purchased. On first sight it appears like an Ordnance Survey product but on close inspection it is based on an aerial photograph covering the northern portion of the Widecombe parish and parishes to the East, and there are an lot of mistakes on it. Peter expressed the hope that all landowners would look at it and see if their property is affected by the marks made thereon implying access. Many private tracks are shown as roads when they are certainly not ‘car friendly’. He is going to bring this to the notice of our Parish Council and suggest that a thorough review of it is undertaken. John Weir has discussed this with Peter and he has agreed to co-ordinate these points from the various parishes and write officially from the Dartmoor National Park Authority to the publishers, bringing to their notice the vast amount of errors on it. This is the first such map of a country area in the south-west, so a careful watch on any future publications will need to be undertaken.

This map could cause a lot of aggravation and problems.

An invitation from Princetown Local History Group to join them for a guided walk around Old Walls Hydro Electric Scheme on Saturday 9th November at 2.00 p.m. was received.

An invitation from Moretonhampstead Local History Group to attend their November Meeting on Wednesday 20th November at The Community Club, Court Street, Moretonhampstead at 7.30 p.m. was received, speaker Jill Drysdale on ‘Crime in Victorian Totnes’ (and its application to local research). Contact 01647 440511.


Church Dropcloth. It is hoped that this will soon be stored in The Church House.

Family History Co-ordinator. Roger and Ann Claxton are going to take this on for a while. As most enquiries come in through our website and by e-mail direct to them, they will then through members of the group obtain the required information and then be in a position to return the ‘mail’.

Secretary will get Micro-fiche reader and other material together to pass on to them.

Roger and Ann hope to build up a folio of the e-mails received.


Nov E/01 - Gayle Vaatstra - Regarding Radcliffe Family - Thanking the group for continued information. She is still trying to trace a copy of her paternal Great Grandfather’s birth certificate. This would have been Charles Radcliffe.

Nov E/02 - Robyn Tuckett - Regarding Frenchs’ of Rowbrook - Thanking the group for recent information passed on from Terry and Bessie French, applauding the work done by the group and hoping to send soon an up-to-date copy of a manuscript detailing the research done by James and Robyn Tuckett on this subject.

Tower Lead. The Group is still looking for a volunteer to undertake experimenting with using the lead to produce an object that could be sold, for example a paperweight. We need to find a scource for a mould suitable for the task.


Ann Claxton is planning two outings for the year 2003.

Trip 1. On either 17th or 24th May (the date needs to avoid Devon County Show Saturday, Terry French will find out D.C.Show date and report back), when it is planned to go to the Working Wool Mill Museum of Coldharbour Mill, in the morning, where water and steam are used to power the machinery, showing the workers and the conditions in which they worked. Then after lunch travelling to The Elizabethan Middlemead Manor in Somerset to look at the House and Gardens for the afternoon. One half of the group will in turn look at the house while the other half view the gardens and then change over.

Trip 2 . In the Autumn, a trip to Bishop Lydeard and a ride on the steam railway to Dunster and then on to see the Castle and the return journey over Exmoor to see the scenery and hopefully the wonderful sight of the Exmoor heather covered moors.

Librarian Richard Wells will meet with Anthony Beard and Peter Hirst before the next meeting to catalogue our library contents. An addition was received from Aileen Carrett of a folder of our recent visit to Shilstone Rocks Dartmoor Pony Stud, secretary will add to this a copy of the write-up of the October meeting and this will be added to our collection. All these items will be available for members to borrow through Richard. A vote of thanks was recorded to Frank Hext who has given the group a copy of the Hext (Hexte) family tree. It is noted that many local family names are in that tree and this will be of great interest to many people both local and from far away.

Guided Walks.

To date our guided walks have been held on Saturdays and Sundays and timed to commence at 12.00 noon. Peter Hirst asked the group to consider what is the best day and time for such events. It was felt that some summer events would benefit from an early evening start. Further discussion about this will be held so that the majority of members can participate and support these events.

Mr J. Seward has confirmed the guided walk around Bullaton Farm but wishes to be reminded nearer the date.

Hamlyn History and Widecombe Bells. A donation has been received from Francis Hamlyn towards the Group funds and in return Roger Claxton has agreed to send him a photograph of the bells.

Chittleford. Mrs Knapman has sent a copy of the photograph of Chittleford and Hilda Mann to the secretary who has passed it on to Elizabeth and Roderick Newbolt-Young, the present owners.

Community Website Expenses.

Annual license and registration fees for 2002 total about £110 and has been paid by the Group.

The Widecombe Parish Council has contributed £25 towards this year’s costs and also donated £25 in arrears for 2001.

Secretary has contacted Widecombe Fair to see if they too will contribute towards the costs.

Secretary will be writing to Widecombe Parochial Church Council to see if they too are willing to support this community website project.

The Widecombe Local History Group will then pay the balance.

It is to be hoped that this arrangement could be adopted annually.

Peter and Dylis Harvey thanked the Group for their card received on the occasion of their recent Golden Wedding.

Dartington Rural Archives.

Peter Hirst was recently asked by The Parish Council to visit Dartington Rural Archives and report on his findings.

Peter told our meeting that there are about 7000 old photographs of South Devon stored in the archive at Foxhole Centre, Dartington, in the form of negatives and small prints and an information record card system. There are about 26 listed under Widecombe and others could be there under other headings, prints from this collection can be ordered, postcard size at £2.50 and larger 10x8 at £4.50. They are constantly looking for further photographs to add to their collection, they will copy them and return the originals to the owners and sort out the copyright situation. The Centre can be visited by appointment between

2 - 4 p.m. on Wednesday afternoons. Contact them at The Foxhole Centre, Dartington, Totnes, TQ9 6TB or by telephoning the organisers on 01803 812168 or 833881.

A slide show-cum-illustrated talk can be arranged at any local venue by agreement with the organisers above.

They also have a collection of 70-80 tapes of Oral History that can be listened to at The Centre, it is suggested anyone wishing to use the tapes, take their own tape-recorder, appointments must be pre-booked.


A letter from Mrs. M. M. Cardew of Plymouth. She taught for about four months at Leusdon School c1937 when as Miss Jackson was a relief teacher. She mentioned Mrs Chuter who was Headmistress, after Mr Bancroft, Miss Polly-Blank and Miss Groves c1934. The then Vicar Rev. Britten and the fact that the same managers for both Leusdon and Widecombe schools. Mrs Chuter had a large loom on which she taught the girls to weave, this would enable them to apply for work at Buckfastleigh Mills when they left school as they would already have a little knowledge of the skills required. Secretary agreed to contact her with some possible names of pupils of that time.

Roger reported to the meeting that Ann Claxton has completed the undertaking of putting all the Parish Apprenticeship Indentures etc onto a Database. This will now be transposed onto a Disc which will be loaded onto the Secretary’s computer to confirm that it all works and that the transcriptions are all correct. When this has been done and Ann is satisfied with the end product copies will be available through the Group. Watch for a progress report. A vote of thanks was recorded to all the people that have been involved with this ambitious project.

A vote of thanks was recorded to all those that help with the refreshments each meeting, and the meeting closed at 10.05 p.m.

Back to Top

The information on this page was last modified on March 18 2013 12:54:51.

Widecombe-in-the-Moor - The Heart of Dartmoor

Site Copyright © 2018 Widecombe History Group Registered Charity Number 1144684

Home  Contact Us  Site Contents  Site Search  Message Board  History Group  Parish Council  Privacy  Terms