Widecombe History Group Minutes March 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 March 2003 at 7.30 p.m.

Mrs Margaret Steemson was in the chair and 37 people attended.

Chairman began by welcoming everyone and particularly the visitors from Chagford and Moretonhampstead, and our speaker and his wife Mr and Mrs Tim Jenkinson.

Apologies:- Audrey Lamb, Jim and Ruby Churchward, Betty Andrews, Dylis Harvey, Bessie French, Audrey and Arch Mortimore, Michael and Andrea Venables, Frank Hext, Ken and Andrew Hamlyn.

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


Ongoing matters - dropcloth, lead, curtains and librarian.

Family History and E-mails.

Replies. Feb/E-01. - suggested read of Ron Joy’s two books on Dartmoor Prison and that contact should be made with Ron through his publishers Halsgrove of Tiverton.

Feb/E-02. - confirmed bastard son of Ann Horsham was Samuel White his date of baptism was 5th November 1781 and another Matthew [Martha] Rowse base son of Ann Horsham baptised 22nd March 1789.

Feb/E-03. - details of Widecombe Fair and a pocket history.


March/E-01. - Request from Roy Kayler, Anacortes, Washington USA, for details of Brownberry Farm

March/E-02. - Request from David Beattie for confirmation of position of trough in hedge East of Southway Bridge and the "Shovel Stone".

March/E-03. - Query of expression from Marion Bock, New York.- used to a small child who stuck out bottom lip by way of refusal to perform some task - "Tom Pearse’s Turkey will pitch on that"? Meeting never heard of that expression but agreed that the local term would be -

"You can put away that ‘POOCH’ as quick as you like". (One or both lips stuck out is described as a ‘pooch’.)

Message from Frank Hext that he and Sue King of Totnes have met once more to further their exchange of family history details regards the Hext family.

Outings 2003

Ann Claxton reported that bookings are coming in but emphasised that she needs forms returned quickly as the trip to Coldharbour Mill and Midelney Manor is scheduled for Saturday 24th May and that is not far away!

Guided walks

Request that we organise a couple of evening walks this summer. Ann Claxton will liase with Peter Hirst to see if this is possible, as extras to what is already planned. We are still open to suggestions for walks, times, days and venues. Please let Ann know what YOU would like.


Further to last month’s - Scottish Power, the secretary has received the following warnings from the Police:-

Offering to fix roofs when nothing needs to be done, caller claiming to be Michael Barney and Sons.

"All aspects of roofing" -If approached phone police on 0800 555 111 Ref-511.

Ignore any letters stating that you have won a large amount of money and asking for £15 or more to be sent to them to process your winnings.

Ignore telephone enquiries 01785-777444 asking you to press telephone keys ‘9 0 #(hash)’ as this can result in your phone number being used by unscrupulous people, for unauthorised world-wide calls and the cost being debited to your account which could cost you hundreds of pounds - BEWARE!.

Tetra Mast at Blackslade

This planning application was refused by Dartmoor National Park at its planning meeting on 7th February. A vote of thanks was recorded to Roderick Newbolt-Young for his efforts in making the parish aware of this plan and to all those who attended the planning meeting to show their disapproval of the plan.

Those who attended the meeting from Moretonhampstead and Chagford invited our members to their meetings.

Chagford meet at The Endacott House, Chagford, on the last Thursday of each month.

Moretonhampstead on the third Wednesday of the month at The Community Club, Court Street.

A vote of thanks was recorded for those who prepared the teas etc.

Widecombe Church

It is understood that there is a plan to move the pulpit in the church about six feet to the left so as to make the Altar more visible to those sitting in the left-hand set of pews, this met with a mixed reception, the Pulpit has been in its present position since before 1876 when it was donated to the church by the Tucker family of Natsworthy. The history of it and the Tucker Stone can be seen in earlier minutes, and the stone is now in the church with a short written history.

Publication of future events.

Saturday 8th March a quiz and fun night at Leusdon Memorial Hall organised by The Friends of Widecombe School.

Thursday March 13th at The Methodist Hall, Totnes a talk "The Salcombe Gold Wreck & The Barbary Pirates, given by Neville Oldham. 7.30 p.m.

Friday 14th March a talk by Chips Barber - "Beautiful Dartmoor in Colour" at Bickington Church Hall.


Letter from Kath Brewer enclosing several cuttings, articles and written papers belonging to her for our archives. Unfortunately Kath’s eyesight is deteriorating and she has decided to sort out much of her lifetimes work and that of her husband Dave, on Dartmoor while she can. Secretary to write and thank her for her generosity.

Letter from Debbie Griffiths of Dartmoor National Park, asking if we would consider being part of an Oral History Recording process. Secretary to contact her and invite her or Becky Newell to our next meeting. This project could be very time consuming as the tapes would need transcribing.

Next meeting will be on Wednesday 2nd April at 7.30 p.m. in The Church House, and is a ‘Non-Speaker’ evening when the discussion will be on "farming in the district".

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