Widecombe History Group Minutes August 2006

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A Meeting of The Widecombe and District Local History Group was held at The Church House Widecombe on Wednesday 2nd August 2006 at 7.30 p.m.

Apologies: Sue Booty, Bessie French, Simon & Annabelle Booty, Joyce Heath, Rose Mortimore, Roger & Ann Claxton and John Kimber.

Mr Terry French was in the chair and 54 people attended including a further three first time visitors.

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


Widecombe Fair Book:

This is continuing well with further meetings and visits planned for the future, as soon as Widecombe Fair this year is over. The working party are still looking for stories and memorabilia connected to the Fair and in particular old programmes, photographs, newspaper cuttings or articles that have been written about the Fair in years gone by. Please let us have what you can find as we now need to proceed in earnest with the date of Widecombe Fair September 11th 2007 staring us in the face!

Ponsworthy Book:

Roger Whale gave the meeting a resume of the progress of this project, and details of the methods we adopted in persuing the research.

The team working on this project have made considerable progress. They have met with Alan Brunton of Orchard Publications, Chudleigh, who is helping with the production of the publication. We will have the first draft complete with photographs ready to proof read on Thursday evening 3rd August 2006, (tomorrow), with the certainty that the proposed date of publication Widecombe Fair Day, September 12th 2006 will be met.

Roger expressed the thanks of the group to all that have contributed towards this book and we are looking forward to seeing all the hard work materialising within the next month. When this is completed all the material collected will be added to our archives for others to peruse if they so wish.

Leusdon Book:

It has been proposed that the history of Leusdon, which includes the Church, Memorial Hall, School, Farms, Cottages and Chapel should be the next project undertaken by the group, when the current ones are reaching conclusion. If you have any memorabilia, photographs, documents etc relating to this area, that you would be prepared to share with us for this project, please contact Margaret Phipps on 01364 631421. Contact can be made also with those manning “The Heritage Marquee” at Widecombe Fair as a folder will now be developed to start the collection of material etc.

Widecombe School 75th Anniversary:

The history group will also have a table at The Heritage Marquee at Widecombe Fair dedicated to the collecting of information and material relating to the Widecombe School’s History. “The Friends of Widecombe School” have planned a celebration in April 2007, to celebrate the moving of the school from ‘The Church House’ to the present site.

Further details from 01364 621 260.

Widecombe Fair Company Limited:

The authorised metal detector John McGregor is continuing his search of Widecombe Fair field. We are collecting the finds from his visits. This will be an ongoing process which could last a considerable time. Any current currency is being passed to Widecombe Fair Company Limited to be given to charity. We hope to show all the other items from time to time in our display cabinets in the church. We look forward to viewing his finds.

The Widecombe Parish Council has decided for the time being not to have the Village Green examined in this manner.


Richard Wells and a couple of helpers have worked through our archived material and Richard has now produced a folder which catalogues all the parcels, packages, folders and books that we have collected, with a brief note on each, giving an idea of their content. Researchers can borrow these items with his permission, by signing them out and agreeing a date for their return.

The Heritage Marquee for Tuesday 12th September 2006 at Widecombe Fair.

Peter Rennells gave the meeting details of the plan of the marquee. The size is 50 feet long by 20 feet wide. We shall be using 32 feet, the rest will be occupied by a trade stand for “Dartmoor Farm Holidays” and a display by The South Devon Herd Book Society. They will also have some South Devon cattle on show beside the marquee.

Our display will include a collection of bygone farm implements and tools, a collection of Old Candy Pottery artifacts, Widecombe Fair memorabilia, the history so far of North Hall, memorabillia of Old Widecombe, folders depicting the research undertaken for the Ponsworthy Book, a display of the censuses from 1841 to 1901 for people to scan through and see who lived in the various houses over the years. Also a table with notebooks where we hope to collect more stories etc about the parish and the schools, and a table selling our books, publications, souvenir paperweights, copies of the 1875 Widecombe Chronicle and Dartmoor Gazette, copies of The Old Widecombe Parish Guide and more. Once on the showfield admission to the marquee is free and we hope that visitors will enjoy the exhibition and also add to our knowledge of this fascinating parish.

Trip to Wales

This trip is now fully subscribed and the final payments have been made.

Widecombe Church House Management Committee.

Proposed by Phyllis Pascoe and seconded by Roger Whale that Rodney Cruze should be our representative on The Widecombe Church House Management Committee, agreed.

Guided Walks:

Richard Wells is continuing with his programme of guided walks. Thirteen people and a dog enjoyed the walk from Postbridge to the East Dart Waterfall on Saturday 22nd July. The next one is The Peter Hirst Memorial Walk scheduled for Tuesday 29th August 2006, Peter’s birthday. This walk has been arranged by Richard Wells and Mike Jones, and will start from near The Forest Inn, Hexworthy, at 6.00p.m. prompt and will finish at The Forest Inn where we shall partake of a little refreshment.

The third of Richard’s walks is scheduled for Saturday 16th September 2006 commencing at Cross Furzes at 11.00 a.m. and following part of The Abbots Way and ending at Shipley Bridge. Bring a picnic and sturdy footwear is a necessity.

The guided visit to Lee Moor China Clay Workings held on Friday 7th July was a great success.

Bovey Tracey Heritage Centre have invited the group to visit them on Wednesday 23rd August 2006. Meet at The Centre at 7.00p.m. We decided to make a voluntary donation to the centre that evening. The centre is open to the public Friday evenings through August from 7.00p.m.-9.00p.m. and Mondays to Fridays 10.00a.m. to noon and 2.00p.m. to 4.00p.m. and on Saturdays from 10.00a.m. to noon.

Thursday 10th August a garden Party at Molly’s Cottage, Jordan in aid of Cancer UK & Rowcroft Hospice 10.30 a.m. till 4.30 p.m.

The Widecombe Ladies Social Group have a meeting on Thursday 10th August at The Church House. Contact 01364 631421 for further details.

Leusdon Church Fun Day will be held at Widecombe on Tuesday 15th August.

A table top sale at Leusdon Hall Saturday 19th August 12 noon till 4.00p.m. for hall funds

Coffee morning at Leusdon Hall on Wednesday 6th September 10-12 noon in aid of McMillan Nurses

Enquiry: Was a Charles Henry Vincent buried at Widecombe on November 11th 1927? We cannot find any headstone relating to this. Is there a burial plan of the churchyard? We suggest that burial records held at DRO or the church should be consulted.

More paperweights are required for the Fair and they will be produced on Friday 4th August.

It was suggested a visit to Whimple should be organised to revisit the museum and have lunch at The New Fountain Inn. Peter Carrett will report back.

Our most senior member Mr Fred Daw will be celebrating his 90th birthday on Sunday the 20th August. Heartiest congratulations were expressed to him by all at the meeting.

A letter was read about wartime activity at Holne and Hameldown. We shall attempt to obtain some information in due course, and forward a reply.

The meeting closed at 9.50 p.m.

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