Widecombe History Group Minutes February 2003

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A Meeting of the Widecombe and District Local History Group was held at The Church House, Widecombe on Wednesday 5th February 2003 at 7.30 p.m.

Mrs Margaret Steemson was in the chair and 52 people attended.

Apologies:- Kate Strasdin, Ken Hamlyn, Andrew and Sue Hamlyn, Fred Daw, Mr West, Phyllis Pascoe, Bessie French, Michael and Anthea Venables.

The minutes of the January meeting were read and signed as correct. The Chairman thanked Wendy for standing in for the secretary at the last meeting and she also welcomed several fresh faces to the meeting and hoped that they would enjoy the evening and become regular participants.


Church dropcloth, Lead and Church house curtains, still ongoing.

Family History and E-mails

Roger and Ann Claxton brought three e-mails for this month.

(a) Feb/E-01. Ms Diane Weber - Query of prisoner of war at Princetown during the American Revolutionary War. Name T. B. Mott, married to Polly Mott. Diane has a watch engraved thus:- "To T.B.Mott by The American Prisoners of War, Dartmoore, England". The watch was made by a John Manley.

(b) Feb/E-02. Heather Cooper enquiring about Samuel White, baptised at Widecombe as son of Joan Horsham 5 November 1781, as a bastard son was he acknowledged by his father hence known as White, his father’s surname, she also had another bastard son.

(c) Feb/E-03. Dawn Supine & Family. Researching the Widecombe Fair Song. She has a great-grandfather named Bill Brewer and would be interested in photographs or relating details.

Any details/information regarding the above three items to. history@widecombe-in-the-moor.com

It was suggested that we look at the two books by Roy Lay on Dartmoor Prison regards Feb/E-01.

Three members of The Totnes Museum Society attended the meeting and one of them Sue King expressed an interest in knowledge of the HEXT family. Frank Hext of Ashburton was at the meeting and he is developing a Hext family tree. They were introduced to each other and at the end of the evening both expressed the opinion that a very mutually beneficial time had been spent exchanging notes. We shall hear more of this in due course.

Outings 2003

Trip 1. Ann Claxton produced booking forms and particulars relating to an outing arranged for Saturday 24th May 2003 to Coldharbour Mill and Midelney Manor. Cost £16.50 plus optional cream tea @ £3.50. Depart Widecombe 8.45 a.m. arrive home 7.00 p.m. Ann also produced sample of menu at Coldharbour for those wishing to purchase lunch rather than ‘bring your own’. Booking forms return to Ann with the payment as soon as possible.

Trip 2. Still being arranged.


Richard Wells is still patiently waiting for the secretary to arrange a meeting. Richard also made the meeting aware of The Dartmoor Bio-Diversity Project and it has a very good website worth a visit:-


Guided walks.

While Saturdays and 12.00 noon still remain the most popular option for walks, it does mean that some members are unable to attend. A suggestion that during the lighter evenings of summer time a few evening guided walks could be arranged was agreed. This the committee will endeavour to set up. Roderick and Elizabeth Newbolt-Young were presented with a photograph of a Dartmoor Pony bred by the late Cave-Penny family of Sherrill as a token of thanks for two very enjoyable evenings when they entertained our Group.


The website is continuing to be visited and some of the e-mails referred to above are as a result of these contacts.

Data Base

A few teething problems are being sorted out by Roger. Some further documents have come to light

which will need entering into the Data Base.

Parish Link

It is noted that our support is acknowledged in the January link. (see January minutes).

A vote of thanks to all those who help with the interval refreshments.

Bogus Callers.

It was brought to the notice of the meeting that two men posing as representatives of "Scottish Power" have been canvassing the area. Do not give them access to your homes.

Tetra Mast at Blackslade.

Roderick Newbolt-Young gave the meeting a brief outline of a planning application which is to be discussed at The February Planning Meeting of The Dartmoor National Park Authority, on Friday 7th February 2003 at 10.00 a.m. This concerns the erection of another mast at Blackslade Farm, Widecombe, supposedly to improve the emergency services communications system. It now appears that there is great concern about the effect that the site will have on the visual aspect of the area as it may be higher than the existing one and could well continue to be added to, and the implications that this could have on the health of those living and working within a 2 kilometre radius of the mast. There is so much conflicting evidence and it seems impossible to obtain any independent appraisal of the health implications of such a structure radiating 24 hours a day, on the community and particular concern is for the 74 children at present attending our local school. It also appears that this system may have adverse effects on electrical medical equipment. Those attending the meeting were urged to express their concern by attending the Friday Planning Meeting in the hope that at least some extra time be given to consider all concerns and implications.

Roderick was thanked for all the effort that he has put into informing the parish of the problem.

Moretonhampstead History Group

Mike Jones of Moretonhampstead said that some of their members would hopefully be attending some of our future meetings if they can re-arrange their committee meetings. It is good that Local History Groups exchange details of meetings.

The meeting closed at 10.00 p.m.

Date of next meeting. Wednesday 5th March at 7.30 p.m.

Speaker is Tim Jenkinson - Lesser Known Dartmoor Tors.

Meetings of neighbouring Groups

Totnes- meetings held on Thursdays at The Methodist Hall Fore Street Totnes

- Admission £2 - 7.30 p.m.

March 13th The Salcombe Gold Wreck & the Barbary Pirates by Neville Oldham

April 10th A Moor Talk - D.N.Park Oral History Project by Becky Newell

May 8th Memorial Lecture - Morebath & the Reformation by Rev. John Scott

Moretonhampstead - Meetings on Third Wednesday of Month at:-

The Community Club, Court Street, Moretonhampstead, at 7.30 p.m.

March 19th Peter Collier and Gary Cox - Quiz Night

April 16th Tracks, Turnpikes and Tollhouses by Michael Vyner

May 21st The Mystery of the death of Edward II by Ian Mortimer

June 19th Visit to the Lustleigh Society’s archive collection, the Church & Wrayland.

July 16th Visit Dartmoor Prison Museum

Sept 17th Talk on Warren House Inn by Tom Greeves

Oct 15th A.G.M.

Nov 19th Research Reports

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