Widecombe History Group Minutes December 2004

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A Meeting of the Widecombe and District Local History Group was held at The Church House, Widecombe on Wednesday 1st December 2004 at 7.30 p.m.

For the talk on Historical Images of Dartmoor, please click here.

At the beginning of the meeting the members stood for a minutes silence to remember Colin Westwood who passed away during the past month.

In the absence of our Chairman Mrs Margaret Steemson, who is currently in Ashburton Hospital, Mr Peter Rennells was unanimously appointed to act as Vice Chairman of the group until our A. G. Meeting next May 2005. A ‘get well card’ was passed around the meeting for everyone to sign for Margaret and it was agreed to send this to her with a bouquet of flowers with our best wishes.

Apologies:- Rodney & Wendy Cruze, Richard Casey, Bessie French, Rosemary Mortimore, Roger Whale and Joyce Heath.

Mr Peter Rennells was in the chair and 43 people attended.

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

Arising:- It was reported that our Librarian/Archivist Richard Wells and the secretary had met, and begun the process of cataloguing our archives. It was agreed that the secretary should write to The Parish Council to inform them that from now on Richard would be performing these duties, replacing the late Peter Hirst. It was noted that The Pre-school group is currently using the Church House on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday Mornings to 12 noon, these times need avoiding when visiting for archiving.

Jim Churchward agreed to help the secretary with the paperweight project.

There is still a need to permanently fix the dropcloth in the hall.

The following people agreed to be involved with our two ongoing history projects.

Ponsworthy:- Mary Pascoe, Roger Whale, Michael Smerdon, Terry & Bessie French, Michael Nosworthy, Anthony & Wendy Beard.

Widecombe Fair:- John Kimber, Arch & Audrey Mortimore, Margaret Phipps, Peter Rennells, Anthony & Wendy Beard.

Sue Booty then offered to be involved with both the above projects, to type up and keep updated the material and amendments as they develop.


Nov 04/01 Secretary reported that he has been in contact with a Tony Northmore by e-mail concerning the Northmore family and its connections with Widecombe. He has sent details recovered from the headstones in Widecombe churchyard regarding Simon and his wife Annie, their son Simon Edward (Ned) and his wife Lillian (Cissie), late of Kingshead and Stoanen and informed him that ‘Ned’ had taken the part of Uncle Tom at Widecombe Fairs during the 1980’s and 90’s, the actual dates need verifying.

Other Groups in the Parish. Secretary suggested that any group that wished their activities to be mentioned at our meetings and thence recorded in our minutes should notify him of their details and contact numbers and it would be read out at each meeting of our group.

North Hall. Still hoping to contact Sean Hawken for a meeting on site.

St Antony in Cornwall. John Kimber has had little success in his correspondence with Colin Edwards in tracing details of the report of 1640 storm at St Antony. It has been suggested that perhaps The Calendar of State Paper Documents for that year could be examined, the Library of Roxeburghe Ballots? or world wide web ‘Weather’ could be a source of information? or Devon & Cornwall Notes & Queries? We feel that John has done enough in his endeavours with this enquiry.

Volume 14 of our Newsletter ‘May to October 2004 has been produced and distributed. A sincere vote of thanks to Sue Booty for all the work she has put into this production. We also thank her for the "Appreciation of Peter Hirst" included in the Newsletter, and for the delightful ‘Profile of Sylvia Needham’, a similar profile could well become a regular item in future. On the rear of the Newsletter can be found a copy of our programme of events planned to December 2005. Our thanks to Ann & Wendy for what promises to be an interesting year.

A. J. Coles. Secretary has contacted Pam Keen regarding the film ‘All Along Down Along etc’ and she will be arranging for further information soon.

Last month’s speaker John Allen has arranged for some special bags to be sent to the group for members to keep the best of their prehistoric finds in, there is space on the bags for details to be recorded. White Indian Ink and a Mapping Pen should be used to mark the actual stones, cover the writing with clear ‘matt’ nail varnish to protect it from being rubbed off!

The January meeting will be held on Wednesday 5th January 2005 at 7.30 p.m. when the speaker will be Jenny Sanders and the subject will be "A Countryman’s Home".

The second half if the evening will be our Annual New Year Party, it will be a ‘bring and share buffet supper’ and Peter Rennells will organise the liquid refreshment!

Our speaker at the December Meeting was Dr. Todd Gray, historian, author of 35 books on Devon, his latest being "Exeter in the 1940’s" and he is currently the Chairman of The Devonshire Association".

The title for the evening was "Historical Images of Dartmoor", and this proved to be a very interesting approach to this subject. He began by distributed several copies of his book "Dartmoor Engraved" for us to examine, this contains over 260 images of Dartmoor created over the last 300 years by several artists, engravers and etchers.

For the write-up please click here.

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