Widecombe History Group Minutes June 2005


A Meeting of The Widecombe and District Local History Group was held on Wednesday 1st June 2005 at The Church House, Widecombe at 7.30 p.m.

Please click here for the talk on the Pengelly Trust and Caves

Apologies:- Richard Casey, Dilys Harvey, Joyce Heath, Sue Booty, Michael & Andrea Venables

Mr Rodney Cruze was in the chair and 45 people attended.

The Minutes of the AGM & The May Meeting were read and signed as correct.

Arising:-

Projects:-

Lead. Jim Churchward & Anthony Beard will try and get this up and running soon. Peter Rennells & Rodney Cruze agreed to be involved.

Drop-cloth. Peter Rennells & Rodney Cruze have measured up what is required and will get this fixed soon.

Ponsworthy. Regular meetings are still being held and progress is being made.

Widecombe Fair. The history of the Fair is still being investigated and recorded.

In 1945 the Fair was restarted and held in aid of “The Welcome Home Fund”. We believe that this fund was to supply gifts to service men returning home from the war. Any further details about this would be appreciated.

It is intended to do a “Metal Detection Sweep” of Widecombe Fair Field after the Fair 2005. Any cash found would be the property of the Fair Committee and would go to charity. Any artifacts of historical interest will be given to the group for the parish archives.

**More details concerning Ponsworthy & Widecombe Fair below.

North Hall Peter Rennells has agreed to review this in the autumn, by making contact again with Sean Hawkins with a view to having a Geo-physics examination of the site.

Librarian. Richard Wells has continued the documentation of our archives and the contents of the Parish Chest. In our chest he has found a folder of Widecombe Fair newspaper cuttings which is helpful to our W.F. working party.

Sue Booty has produced Volume 15 of our Newsletter November 2004 - April 2005. Thanks to Sue for all the typing that she does for this and the Ponsworthy & Widecombe Fair History Projects.

The Annual Outing for Saturday on 14th May to Morwellham was an outstanding success in spite of the weather being a little unkind to us. A vote of thanks was recorded to Ann Claxton for arranging such an enjoyable day out.

E-mails:- May 05/01 From James Everett informing the group of a proposed filming project based on modern interpretations of legends and folklore of Devon and Dartmoor. The meeting decided that as this was fictional rather than factual, a decision was made not to get involved with this project.

May 05/02 (see April Minutes - March05/01) from Janet Armstrong re:- James Hylton Tuckett of New Zealand and his preparation of a family tree concerning the Frenchs’ of Widecombe. James has contacted the group and his book is near completion. It will be titled “The Ubiquitous Frenches from Widecombe-in-the-Moor”, ISBN 0-476-00349-0.

We await with interest further details from James of when his book is to be published.

N.B. James’ father Aaron James Tuckett was a third cousin to Hermon French.

The Widecombe Parish Council has written to the group posing several points of interest. Secretary has replied accordingly.

1) The Council has offered to donate up to £200 for the purchase of a projection screen for the group and a request that it should then be stored in the Church House and be available for any other organisation within the parish to use was agreed. This idea was agreed and the offer was gratefully accepted.

2) The Tythe Map and its associated register. We have a verbal agreement with The Devon Records Office that when they are settled into their new office at Sowton, Exeter, they will consider any restoration work needed to the map. We shall persue this. The associated register is also safe.

3) We have confirmed the holders of the sets of the Parish Chest keys.

4) We will attempt to reply to a letter enclosed from Mrs B. J. O’Kelly, inquiring about the WW1 War Memorials in the parish.

5) The Widecombe Church House & Lands Charity and The Widecombe Educational Foundation are in the process of increasing the number of Trustees. The Widecombe Parish Council now have two representative trustees on the Educational Foundation. It is hoped that The Widecombe Parochial Church Council will be able to appoint two representative trustees soon on The Church House & Lands Charity. These must NOT be confused with The Church House Management Committee.

6) To clarify the position of The Parish Chest. The Parish Council is the ‘Official Custodian’ of the Parish Chest. The Local History Group are dealing with its care and conservation on their behalf and at their request. We are delighted to be asked to make a presentation to The Annual Parish Meeting on Wednesday March 29th 2006 at 7.30 p.m. about our activities. Regarding the contents of the chest, we would be pleased to describe what we have done so far towards the conservation and also to show the Council what we have found.

Mrs Steemson expressed her thanks for letters, cards and messages received from members of the group.

The Friends of the Devon Archives.

We have recently received notification that their AGM will be held at Exeter on Saturday October 22nd 2005 at 10.00a.m. to 4.00 p.m. at County Hall.

Also a letter inviting members to a talk by Stephen Hobbs of the Hartland Project on how grant aid has been obtained to archive all documents and photographs etc concerning Hartland on to CD and DVD as a heritage project. Several members agreed to attend this talk and we also suggested that Mrs Margaret Phipps should be invited to join us in her capacity as the Chairperson of The Parish Council. It was felt that the contents of The Parish Chest would benefit from a similar project. The group will pay the entrance fee for all those attending the meeting. The following expressed an interest in attending. Margaret Phipps, Chris Mayhead, Roger & Ann Claxton, Peter Rennells and Anthony Beard. The group will pay for the tickets of our representatives.

Other Local Groups:-

Ladies Circle. There is a Mystery Tour to be held on Thursday 9th June, leaving the village at 6.00 p.m. Tickets £5, contact 01364 631421.

Sports & Entertainment. The Group has organised a summer Party on Saturday 13th August 2005 in the Widecombe Fair Field commencing at 12 noon, entrance is free. Entertainment will include Punch and Judy, Bouncy Castle, a Jester, Circus Workshop, and Magic Show, refreshments will be available. Fencing competition, Bowling for the Pig, and much more.

From 7.30 that evening there will be food, dancing and entertainment and a fireworks display. This is an all ticket event, initially restricted to parishioners and friends and relations. Tickets are on sale now at £10 per adult, £5 for under 15’s. Contact Widecombe 01364 621494

Nicholas Keene Film Show. Our programme secretaries will try to organise this into our 2006 programme.

It has been suggested that when we have a non-speaker discussion evening we should set a topic, i.e.

a. memories of our school years.

b. farming during our lifetime.

c. past businesses of the parish.

d. the social life of years gone by.

and at each of these meetings any memorabilia, written or pictorial should be brought to exhibit to add to the stories and reminiscences.

Tony and Joyce Heath presented the Group with a copy the Journal of the Society of Moorland Dowsers 2004 which has been added to our archives. They are currently investigating a site near Natsworthy Gate, could this be an abandoned site of the old Natsworthy Manor Farm complex. We await their findings which will be published in their 2005 Journal. This is close to the boundary of Widecombe & Manaton.

A vote of thanks was also recorded to Richard Wells for leading members on a Guided Walk to Foggintor and Swell Tor Quarries, on Saturday 7th May, this a very interesting and informative event.

The meeting was then given a most detailed and interesting talk by Sheila Phillips on the Pengelly Caves at Buckfastleigh. This will be followed by a visit to the Caves on Friday 3rd June at 7.00.p.m. Meet at the Centre. The cost is £4 per person.

N.B. The Centre is open for guided walks every Wednesday during August at 11.00a.m. and at 2.00p.m. just turn up!

The July meeting will be on Wednesday 6th July when Mike Perriam will give a talk on the Moorland Erme. This will be followed by a walk on Saturday 9th July, meeting at the Carpark at Cornwood, map ref. 625611 at 12 noon, bring a picnic lunch.

Dipleigh: Sylvia Needham has invited members to a meeting at Dipleigh on Wednesday 13th July at 7.00 p.m. This will take the form of a ‘bring & share’ supper and Sylvia will supply the liquid refreshment.

The Group has membership of the following organisations:-

  • Friends of Devon’s Archives.
  • Teignbridge Volunteer Services.
  • Family History Society.

The August meeting will be on Wednesday 3rd August and will take the form of a discussion evening with particular reference to preparing for Widecombe Fair in September. We will need to draw up a rota of people to man the event.

The meeting closed at 10.10 p.m.

** Widecombe Fair & Ponsworthy.

The Widecombe Fair Committee Company Limited has invited the Group to use their Heritage Tent this year to show some of our collection of artefacts and documents, and also to display some of the material that we are gathering in our quest to write the History of Widecombe Fair and our research into the history of Ponsworthy. Colin Pearse will also have his books “The Whitefaced drift of Dartmoor’s ‘prapper’ Sheep” on sale and there will be a stall promoting Local Bed & Breakfast establishments. The group will have the use of the rest of the marquee.

We are currently trying to locate some display cabinets for this purpose and then continue using them for exhibiting The Heritage of Widecombe at other venues in the parish such as the Church, and the Church House.

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