Widecombe History Group Minutes May 2004

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The Meeting of The Widecombe and District Local History Group was held at The Church House, Widecombe on Wednesday 5th May 2004 at 7.50 p.m.

Please click here for Prof Mercer's Dartmoor talk

Apologies :- Peter & Dyllis Harvey, Fred Daw, Phyllis Pascoe and John Kimber.

Mrs Margaret Steemson was in the chair and 49 people attended, including two first-time members and a visitor, and our speaker for the evening Prof. Ian Mercer and his wife. They were all welcomed by the chairman.

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

Chairman then thanked all the committee for their continued support during the last year and all the hard work that they had put into the running of the group.

Arising:- Drop-cloth awaits permanent fixing.

Richard Wells, librarian, reported that he has now catalogued most of the contents of our chest and produced a file of those items that are now available to borrow. By a simple card index system and signature, members can get access to the contents of our archives. Richard also asked that anyone with books or documents or photographs that they do not require but are prepared to give to the group, to pass them on to him so that they can added to our archives for general use and reference.

A die for the making of paperweights from the scrap lead salvaged from the Church Tower has now been received, unfortunately there is a spelling error on it and Anthony has agreed to contact the designer to get this rectified.


Ann produced the details for our outing to Abbotsbury Swannery & Gardens, for Saturday 12th June. Contact a.s.a.p. (01364) 621232 or 621246. Please bring booking form and payment by 2nd June meeting at the latest. Secretary to get this in the Parish Newsletter.


May ‘04/01 Thanks from Shirley & Jim Kevern for the warm welcome they received at our April meeting and the assistance gained from Bessie & Terry French.

May ‘4/02 Emma Leaman asking for details of the Leaman family. Her enquiry has been passed on to Mike Leaman to reply as he has some family details.

May ‘04/03 Message for Simon Dell. This has been redirected.

May ‘04/04 Message of thanks from Brenda Bunkham (ref April ‘04/02) for all the information passed on to her regarding Stook(e)/Stuck family.

May ‘04/05 Message from Devon Records Office detailing procedures while moving premises. Further details available on www4.devon.gov.uk/dro/homepage.html.

May ‘04/06 Enquiry from Margaret Eveleigh Atchison regarding the Knapman family.

Secretary will look at past minutes to see he can find details.

Support continues for The Widecombe Social Group. 01364 621294.

St Antony in Cornwall. Due to John Kimber’s recent accident there is nothing to report.

The group send him best wishes for a speedy recovery.

The Community Landscape Project - Sean Hawkens, project leader.

We received newsletter No 10 from Sean outlining progress with the project. Copies were distributed. He has expressed an interest in "The Widecombe North Hall Site". Anthony will contact Mr & Mrs Michael Skinner to obtain permission to re-visit the site.

A. J. Coles film All Along Down Along Lee. We have not to date been able to trace this film. Any suggestions would be welcome. Anthony will contact John Earle as he may well know the whereabouts of this. Will try also Tom Greeves and The Devonshire Association.

Sue Booty brought copies of our newsletter No 13 for all to take home and read, thanks expressed to Sue for all her work in compiling this.

Fire proof container for Parish Documents still being researched by Peter Hirst.

It was noted with great sadness that Poundsgate Chapel at Uppacott has recently been broken into and three old oil lamps and the organ seat have been stolen. Anyone with information is asked to contact the police or phone the local "Crime-stoppers telephone number 08452 777444".

A. O. B.

Ben Knibbs offered the meeting a copy on C.D. of a concert given in the Parish in 1978 by a ‘Medieval Style Band’ from Southampton, led by Rollo Woods, eldest son of the late Iris Woods of Dunstone, it includes early hymns and songs, some of which are hymns peculiar to Widecombe Parish that were collected by the late Herman French. He also offered to produce a copy of some early 20th century photographs on C.D.Rom, that were in his family’s possession, showing the district and members of the Prouse(Prowse), Kernick and Hambley families of the Parish. Both of these kind offers were taken up with enthusiasm. This will include Louis Prouse of Ponsworthy which will tie in well with our Ponsworthy project.

Ponsworthy - Copies of a Draft of Ponsworthy - resulting from our March 2004 discussion evening are now available. We intend to give a copy to all those that may have knowledge of the village, born or lived in the village, or owned property, anyone that can contribute anything towards getting an accurate pocket history of Ponsworthy from 1900 to date, particularly a history of all the houses and buildings in the village and those who lived there even further back if knowledge and documents permit. We know that there are many inaccuracies in the present draft, dates are missing, names may well be wrong, details that need verifying and correcting and that is why we ask those prepared to participate should be ruthless in their corrections as we DO want this to be correct. Members took copies and we intend to distribute a copy to all houses in the village and to people that have left the village over the years if we can trace them.

Peter Rennells gave notice that Totnes Museum Society are holding a meeting on Thursday 13th May at The Methodist Church Hall, Fore Street, Totnes at 7.30 p.m. The lecture is titled "Lost Devon" and will be given by Dr Todd Gray, admission £2.

Chudleigh guided walk, given to the group by Alan Brunton was a great success and was enjoyed by all those that attended. Alan presented the group with a copy of the book "Chudleigh Fire of Chudleigh 22nd May 1807". As a return gesture Peter Hirst has agreed to give the Chudleigh Local History Group a guided walk around Widecombe on Friday 7th May 7.30 p.m. starting at the carpark.

It was noted that Ernie Furneaux of Holne is to host "An Evening with Ernie" at Holne Village Hall on Friday 14th May at 7.30 p.m. when he will relate his memories of the village over the last 80 years and answer questions from the floor about the parish and those who have lived and worked there during the last 100 years or so! Anyone interested may attend and it is hoped that our group will record the evening for posterity.

A talk will be given by Dr. Tom Greeves at the meeting to be held on Wednesday 2nd June about The Warren House Inn and the nearby Vitifer Tin Mines. This will be followed by a guided walk around that area led by Tom on Wednesday 9th June meeting at the carpark east of the Inn at 7.30 p.m.

The meeting closed at 10.10 p.m.

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