Widecombe History Group Minutes June 2003

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A Meeting of the Widecombe and District Local History Group was held at The Church House, Widecombe, on Wednesday 4th June 2003 at 7.30 p.m.

Click here for the talk on Archaeology at the Dartmoor National Park Authority (DNPA)

Mr. Peter Hirst was in the Chair and 45 people attended.

Apologies: Margaret Steemson, Tim Steemson, Kate Strasdin, John Kimber, Anthea Venables, Betty Andrews and Audrey Lamb.

The Chairman welcomed everyone to the meeting including our Speaker Debbie Griffiths, Chief Archaeologist, Dartmoor National Park.

The Minutes of the Annual General Meeting were read and signed as correct, as were the Minutes of the May 2003 Meeting.


1. Arch Mortimore has obtained a suitable tube on which to mount the village dropcloth prior to storage.

2. A volunteer is needed to look into the use of the lead salvaged from the Church roof.

3. Richard Wells, Librarian, is still patiently waiting to begin his work.

Family History and e-mails:


May E-01: Enquiry from a journalist of the Daily Telegraph regarding the history of Watergate Chapel. His article will be published on Saturday 7th June. Replied that the Chapel ceased to function in the 1930s then became the private museum of Mr. H. French. The present owners have co-opted it into their dwelling. In the 1920s/30s this Congregational Chapel was run by Mr. & Mrs. Thomas French and Mr. & Mrs. Ernest Beard.

May E-02: Enquiry from Julie Ober of Pennsylvania USA, regarding a biography of the late Vian Smith mentioned in our May 2001 Minutes, which Bob Mann of Totnes hoped to produce. Replied that Bob Mann hopes to produce a book within the next twelve months of items that were written by Vian Smith in the now defunct South Devon Journal, coupled with a small biography of Mr. Smith. Watch this page for details. Bob Mann may be asked to address our Group on the subject of Vian Smith during 2004.

May E-03: From Joanna Bruck, University of Dublin, informing the Group of an Archeological Dig taking place on Shovel Down, Chagford, looking at Bronze Age Field System, its use and abandonment, between the 27th June and 27th July 2003. There will be a general Open Day at the site on Sunday 13th July, but the Group is invited to a private viewing by arrangement. Roger Claxton agreed to arrange possibly two such viewings in mid July, one for a Saturday and one for mid week.

May E-04: Enquiry from Brian Hart of Southampton, for details of Sally Satterley who lived at Jolly Lane Cott, Hexworthy, particular interest is for photographs, or articles written about her. Contact via Widecombe-in-the-Moor website..


A sincere vote of thanks was recorded to Ann Claxton for organising such a delightful outing to Coldharbour Mill and Midelney Manor. She has agreed to look into the possibility of an Autumn Outing to Dulverton and Exmoor.

Guided Walks:

A sincere vote of thanks was recorded to Andrew Hamlym for taking members of the Group to see the Ten Tors Expedition in progress. Andrew then presented to all those who went a ‘One Tor Certificate and Medal’ to commemorate the event.

Peter Hirst, in conjunction with Anne Claxton, will arrange a mid-week evening Guided Walk around Chudleigh with Alan Brunton as our Guide for mid-July.

Debbie Griffiths has agreed to lead a Guided Walk around Houndtor Medieval Village on Saturday 14th June, meeting at Houndtor car park at 12 noon, after which the Group will visit Hutholes Settlement when they hope to meet with Mrs. Winnie Harman.

It was noted that Dartmoor National Park have an Open Day on Monday 9th June at The Dartmoor High Moorland Centre, Princetown, to commemorate the Tenth Anniversary of its opening.

The possibility of an evening/guided walk to Wimple History Group to view their newly opened Museum and the village is under consideration.

Bogus Callers:

The Police are still warning people to be on their guard for cold-callers and canvassers offering to do tarmac and building work. If approached by anyone who appears suspicious call 08705 777444.

The Crow Act and Right to Roam:

A copy of the provisional Map can be viewed at Parke, Bovey Tracey, until the 13th August. It is important that all those with a legal right to land on Dartmoor view this Map. A copy can also be viewed by appointment with Mrs. Margaret Phipps, Chairman of the Widecombe Parish Council, contact 01364 631421. The Map will also be on view at Totnes Civic Hall on Thursday 12th June from 12.30 to 7.30 p.m.

Oral History Project:

Volunteers to take part and manage this project are needed, contact the Secretary.

Widecombe Fair in Bygone Days:

The Secretary asked for anyone who has any old memorabilia concerning Widecombe Fairs past, to bring it to the July meeting.


A letter received from Paul Flack of Teignmouth regarding details of the Vincent family late of Widecombe,with particular reference to Sargent Charles Vincent of the Devonshire Regiment, believed buried at Widecombe on 11.11.1929.

Details of the July Meeting:

Wednesday 2nd July, a talk by Lt.Col. A.H. Clark, OBE, History of the Army on Dartmoor.

Saturday 5th July, Guided Tour of Okehampton Army Camp, with Lt.Col. Clark. Meet at the Parade Ground at 1.30 p.m. Secretary will look into visiting Okehampton Railway Station first.

Parish Documents CD:

Roger Claxton reported that the CD is now in Draft form and asked for volunteers to have it loaded into their computers so as to check for details, errors and its working system. There were four offers, so within a few months, hopefully this will be up and running.

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The information on this page was last modified on March 18 2013 12:55:03.

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