Widecombe History Group Minutes December 2003

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A Meeting of The Widecombe and District Local History Group was held at The Church House, Widecombe, on Wednesday 3rd December 2003 at 7.30 p.m.

Mrs Margaret Steemson was in the chair and 51 people attended.

Click here for Dr Tom Greeves talk on the Old Devon Tin Mining Industry.

Apologies were received from:- Mary Pascoe, Phyllis Pascoe, Frank Hext, Jack Elliott, Sylvia Needham and Joyce Heath.

The minutes of the November meeting were read and signed as correct.


Lead from church roof - progressing.

Church dropcloth - we will attempt to deal with this during the forthcoming school holidays.

Librarian - Richard Wells awaits initiation!

Future Programming:-

It was agreed that John Allan, Curator of Antiquities, Royal Albert Museum, Exeter, should sometime be invited to an extended meeting starting at perhaps 5.00 p.m. and continuing into a regular monthly meeting, to view artifacts and collections held by members of the group, with a view to identifying objects in those collections and then explaining the findings to the meeting.

Ann and Wendy will follow this up in the New Year.

Other Local Groups:-

Secretary reported that he has to date no 2004 programmes of neighbouring groups activities.

Mike Jones, secretary of Moretonhampstead, promised to send a copy of theirs as soon as it is available.

Other groups are to be encouraged to do likewise.

Chagford Local History Group has recently had an exhibition and it appears that every-other year they look at a different part of their town. This year it was ‘The Island and Southcombe Street’. One of the most impressive parts of the exhibition was a map drawn by the local children, to scale, and drawn as the old Medieval Maps were, with the facade of the building drawn each side of the road, rather than the plan. A quite amazing feat by the children.

Following a request from Rodney Cruze of Pitton (October minutes), a list of Brownings/Brinnings/Brookings and other similar names in the area at about 1840 were given to him. Peter Hirst had copied details of the 1842 Tythe Record. Baptisms records etc of that time produced names from Challacombe, South Sands (Soussons) and New House Lydford (The Pub that originally stood the opposite side of the road from the present Warren House Inn).


Nov - Anderson - Dipleigh and Robert Nosworthy. Written to confirm that he was baptised at Widecombe on 28 August 1825, illegitimate son of Mary, of Dipleigh Cottage. By 1827 the Leaman family lived at Dipleigh.

Nov - Fryer - A.J.Coles. Written with details of pipe being held on ‘permanent loan’ from a lady at Bow.

Nov - Andrews - We are, with the cooperation of Peter Rennells, looking into the possibility of a connection with North Hall.

Dec - New mail from:- micaela.basford@english-heritage.org.uk asking for recruits to photograph listed buildings in the county. The meeting expressed some concern about this as it could easily be intruding on people’s privacy. There is, we believe, a website already dealing in this, and we understand it has already met with some opposition and concern. Chris Mayhead has agreed to look into this and report back. The Dartmoor National Park Authority has a department dealing with listed buildings and Val Harrison is one of the officers involved with this, who can give advice. The main concern is that several occasions have been reported recently, "of people with clip boards", being found walking around properties without first gaining permission from the owners or occupiers. Challenge them, as to who they are, and what they are doing. They must be informed that prior permission should always be obtained! Be very cautious about who and what you invite onto your property and into your homes.

The concern about peoples privacy led to the following discussion on nuisance telephone calls

Secretary reported on a police message about a firm contacting people and offering to get their number removed from the direct marketing list for the fee of £25, do not get involved. This can be done yourself FREE through BT by telephoning:-

0845 07 007 07.

Another scam is currently happening by a telephone call which is a recorded message, congratulating you on winning an exotic holiday. It then asks you to press 9 for further details. DO NOT DO IT. It will connect you to a premium rate call which can cost up to £20 per minute, which will stay connected for 5 minutes costing £100 whether YOU hang up or not. It can amount ultimately to as much as £260.

The only safe solution is to hang up before the message prompts you to press 9.

Another ploy is for someone to call at your home, perhaps claiming that their car has broken down, with a request to use your telephone. By pressing a sequence of numbers on your telephone they can get the cost of a lot of their telephone calls entered onto your telephone account. If someone apparently distressed, does ask for your help in these circumstances, keep them on the doorstep and you do the phoning, and keep a note of the numbers that you call on their behalf.

Widecombe Holy Well?

A reply has been sent to Terry Faull of Bere Ferrers regarding Widecombe Saxon Well and his enquiry as to the possibility of it being a Holy Well. The group can find no reference to it being such and we have asked him to notify us of the source of his information. A copy of our reply has been sent to our Parish Council.

Tetra Mast at Blackslade.

The appeal against the refusal of extension to Blackslade Mast has been dismissed due to visual and other detrimental reasons.

A vote of thanks was recorded to Roderick Newboult-Young for his hard work in bringing the matter of the mast to everyones notice and uniting the parish to fight the planning application with such success.

Widecombe Parish Social & Entertainment Club.

Following the success of the Golden Jubilee Celebrations and the Millenium Party, a group has been set up to raise funds to organise similar events for the parish as a whole. Further details can be obtained from Mark & Sharron Hutchins 01364 621 294.

During last month’s discussion on Fire & Water, it came to the notice of members that a similar event to The Widecombe ‘Great Storm of 1638’ took place in the Parish of Anthony, in Cornwall in 1640.

A catalogue of books from Ambra Books of Bristol, Vol 171, received by the secretary since that meeting, was produced. In it is the following:-


Written by Rev Arthur Bache, vicar of Anthony.

THE VOYCE OF THE LORD IN THE TEMPLE or a most strange and wonderous Relation of Gods great Power, Providence and Mercy, in sending very strange sounds, fires and a Fiery Ball into the CHURCH OF Anthony in Cornwall neare Plimouth on Whitsunday last 1640. To the scorching and astonishing of 14 several persons who were smitten. And likewise to the great Terrour of all the other people then present, being about 100 persons. The truth whereof will be maintained by the Oathes of the same persons; having been examined by Richard Carew of Anthony Esquire and Arthur Bache, Vicar of Anthony.

Title + 20pp, sm 4to, partly waterstained, last line of imprint cropped from title-page, later paper boards, lightly rubbed, leather label on spine slightly chipped. Imprinted at London by T. Paine, for Francis Eglesfield and are to sold at the signe of the Marigold.....1640.

RARE. Listed under Bache in Boase and Courtney’s Bibliotheca Cornubiensis.


The next meeting will be held at The Church House Widecombe on Wednesday 7th January 2004 at 7.30 p.m. when our speaker will be Wendy Major who will give us a talk on "Old Ashburton".

The second half of the evening will be our Annual Christmas/New Year Party.

Please bring some food that we can all share on that evening. The liquid refreshment will be dealt with by the ever capable Peter Rennells.

Letter from The Dartmoor Trust.

They are hoping to carry out a definitive study of Dartmoor Leats. They are looking for volunteers to do the necessary field work which would include:-

Locate all leats in the parish.

Research and produce a short history of each one.

Record length, location, and any specific historical features connected to it.

Locate all archaeological sites within 25 m of the banks.

Establish ownership, access and land use and designation.

This will be launched in early 2004, producing a draft document by end of 2004, and publish its findings in a book by June 2005.

The response of the meeting was that privacy once again is threatened by this type of action. An invitation to landowners to partake if they so wished could be put into the public domain but not done as a project whereby trespass and the recording of details of private property that the owners do not wish to become public knowledge is encouraged. No volunteers came forward.

Community Flood Archive Project.

The Environmental Agency are seeking information on flooding in every parish. They would like photographs, diary entries, newspaper cuttings, old village maps etc that cover previous floodings, long forgotten watercourses and even plaques and marks showing flood heights of the past. This prompted mention of the unnecessary flood measuring pole recently errected at Ponsworthy, the meeting felt it should be removed at the earliest convenience. No Volunteers came forward.

Aune Arts

An invitation to join Aune Head Arts for a ‘Listening Walk’ around Chagford on Saturday 20th December 2003 at 10.30 a.m. to hear the Bell Ringing and Changing Methods being recorded as part of their Local Heritage Initiative being funded by The Heritage Lottery fund, which it is hoped will encourage more people to take up Bell Ringing.

Chairman wished everyone a very Happy Christmas and a Peaceful New Year.

The meeting closed at 10.15 p.m.

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