Widecombe History Group Minutes January 2004

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A Meeting of The Widecombe and District Local History Group was held at The Church House, Widecombe on Wednesday 7th January 2004 at 7.30 p.m.

Click here for the talk on Old Ashburton by Wendy Major.

Mrs Margaret Steemson was in the chair and 33 people attended.

Apologies:- Tony & Joyce Heath, Arch, Audrey & Rosemary Mortimore, Jim & Ruby Churchward, Betty Andrews, Bessie French and Sylvia Needham.

When sending her apologies Sylvia said that she wished to thank all the members of the group who had enquired about her, sent get well cards, visited and generally helped her during her recent illness. She hoped soon to be able once again to attend the meetings.

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


Still on going are the questions of the scrap lead, the dropcloth and the librarian.

Future Programming. Ann will see if she can arrange for John Allan of Exeter Royal Albert Museum to attend the March meeting to view members collections and report on his findings. Timings for this will then be announced. It has been agreed with Dr Tom Greeves that the guided walk with him will start at The Warren House Inn at 7.00 p.m. on Wednesday 9th June 2004 instead of 7.30 p.m. as stated in our programmes.

Neighbouring Groups.

To date we have received no details of their 2004 meetings.

Pitton and the Brooking family connections.

Rodney Cruze brought some details of the family tree beginning in 1780 associated with this and will give a copy of his notes to the group, together with several local names.


Peter Rennells has supplied information for the enquiry by a member of the Andrews family about any connection with North Hall. This has been forwarded.

Mail from:- micaela.basford  @ english-heritage.org.uk regarding photographing listed buildings etc still has to be resolved.

Telephone scams and nuisance calls. Phone BT on 0845 07 007 07 and it is possible to get numbers removed from the direct marketing list FREE and so avoid many of the nuisance calls.

Widecombe Holy Well.

No reply to date from Terry Faull of Bere Ferrers regarding the source of his information.

Widecombe Parish Social and Entertainment Club. We await more details. Contact Mark & Sharron Hutchins on 01364 621 294.

Parish Magazine. In response to a letter from Barbara Newport, the retiring editor, it was agreed to sponsor The Parish Link 2004 with the sum of £50 and note that from now on all contact should be with Miss Louise Carro, 7 Chapel Street, Buckfastleigh, TQ11 0AB. Tel. 01364 642025.

Fiery Ball into the Church of St Antony, Cornwall, Whitsunday 1640.

We are currently looking into the similarity of that event, with our own Great Storm and Lightening Strike of Sunday 22nd October 1638 at Widecombe Church.

John Kimber has visited the Church at Antony and obtained a few photographs of the Church, also a small leaflet, "A Brief History of Saint James’ Church Antony" in which the following is stated:- "On Whitsunday, 1640, there was a tremendous thunder storm over Antony. A noise of the most uncommon kind was heard and immediately followed by the passage of a fiery ball through the Church which scorched 14 persons and terrified all the congregation, consisting of about 200, but no one was killed."

John reported that there is a plaque showing past vicars on the Church wall that records Simon Broadstreet and Arthur Baych as incumbants at that time. The present incumbents are the Rector Prebendary Brian Anderson and Curate Jackie Johnson.

John has since spoken to Jackie Johnson and discussed with her the similarities of the two events. She informed John, that the Carew family are still living in Antony House, which with the gardens is now run partly by The Ntaional Trust. Sir Richard and Lady Mary Carew worship at St James and Lady Mary is a Churchwarden. There is an extensive library at Antony House which contains nearly all the books written by the Carew family about their family history and the local area. Jackie also said that two books written by Sir Richard Carew are still in print. She has taken details of the book mentioned in our December minutes and will discuss this with Lady Mary. Jackie is relatively new to the parish of St Antony but she volunteered to talk to her Rector to see if he knew of anyone who would be interested in pooling the information of the two similar events. John now awaits further communications.

Dartmoor Trust.

There has been no reply to our letter outlining our thoughts on the proposed listing of Dartmoor Leats in the parish, together with the area 25 metres on each side of those leats. We felt that approach should be made first by the Trust to all landowners, inviting them, to make the invitation to Trust members or their representatives to walk over their property if they so wished. This could then be done with their permission and perhaps in their company as well.

The next meeting is Wednesday 4th February 2004 in the Church House at 7.30 p.m. when the speaker will be Sean Hawken and the subject will be Community Landscape Project.

Chairman thanked Peter Hirst for all his help. We then had a most interesting slide show concerning "Old Ashburton" given by Wendy Major. The meeting concluded at 9.15 p.m. after which we held our Annual New Year Party.

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