Widecombe History Group Minutes April 2007

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A Meeting of The Widecombe and District Local History Group was held at The Church House Widecombe on Wednesday 4th April 2007 at 7.30 p.m.

Apologies:- Margaret Phipps, Arch & Audrey Mortimore, Barbara Norrish, Joy Routley, Maggie Faulkner, Peter & Dilys Harvey, Fred Daw, Phillys Pascoe, Jenny Pascoe, Ruby & Jim Churchward, Betty Andrews, Arthur Johnson, Sue Boustead, Sue Booty, Bessie French, Richard Casey, Wendy Cruze, Julie Newman, Pat Gibson and Diane Cacket.

Mr Terry French was in the chair and he welcomed everyone to the meeting including some new members, our guest speaker Mr Len Copley and Peter Newman from Canada who visited us a couple of years ago. 45 people in total.

Please click here for Len Copley's talk entitled, "Dartmoor from Mesolithic_to Medieval Times".

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


The draft of The Widecombe Fair Book is now in the hands of the publisher, Orchard Publications of Chudleigh. Chris Mayhead is preparing a disc of illustrations/photographs and the team will review the first draft when Alan Brunton has done the first edit.

10th Anniversary Dinner will be held at Badgers Holt, Dartmeet on Saturday 28th April. Further details contact Alan & Mary Goodall on 01626 833607.

Annual Outing to Geevor Tin Mine & Trengwainton Gardens will take place on Tuesday 22nd May. The cost of the coach and all entrance fees will be £25 (£20 for National Trust members - be sure to have with you your membership card). Free coffee on the morning journey courtesy of one of our members. All other food during the trip is up to individual members to either bring with them or purchase at the centres we visit. There will be a stop on the way home for an evening meal which members are requested to order “as per menu supplied” prior to the day so that caterers will have it ready for us when we arrive at about 6.30p.m. The coach will need to leave there by 8.00p.m. to comply with driving hours regulations. Contact Ann 01364 621 232 for further details.

Anthony Beard & Peter Rennells visited Dartmouth Archives and enjoyed a very good presentation.. www.dartmouth-history.org.uk for enquiries. They had obtained a £17,000 Local Heritage Initiative Grant.

Peter Rennells & Mary Pascoe attended the launch of The Devon Rural Archive at Modbury. This archive is concentrating on old manor houses and the remains of country houses. This once again raised the subject of North Hall in this parish. A great deal of research has already been done about North Hall five years ago. We must follow this project with urgency. We were in contact with Sean Hawken, project manager of The Community Landscape Project in 2004-5 at Exeter University but his funding ran out. We need to contact him again to see if any Geophysical Survey of our site is now a possibility.

A letter from Wendy Cruze thanking the group for flowers sent to her when she was incapacitated. We are glad to know that she is much better.

Would the group like an opportunity to do the refreshments at a Saturday Market in the Church House later in the year? Decision on this at May Meeting.

Anthony Beard reported on the fact that he has recently seen several of what he considers to be important and interesting items and documents for sale in connection with Dartmoor in general and some relating to our neighbourhood including Ashburton, Widecombe, Spitchwick and Moretonhampstead, to name but a few. Some of these were quite expensive and he wondered whether The Dartmoor Trust, in conjunction with The Dartmoor Archive that it supports, could purchase some of these valuable documents. It is understood that The Dartmoor Archive is a digital imaging archive that preserves Dartmoor’s visual heritage digitally so making it available and accessible globally via the Internet for research and education. He understands that The Dartmoor Trust/Dartmoor Archive has nowhere to physically store items of this nature.

Anthony has posed the question of whether they could purchase items of this calibre then deposited at The Devon Records Office on permanent loan basis, and in so doing keep the title to them as security for their funds, and in so doing secure them for research and posterity knowing that they would be stored in the most satisfactory manner while still keeping their ownership. Anthony was requested to look into this further particularly due to the fact that one of our past members and past chairman Peter Hurst left the main part of his estate when he died in 2004 to The Dartmoor Trust. With Peter’s love of Dartmoor, its heritage and Industrial Archaeology, all being very close to his heart we feel we have a moral duty to monitor what is being done in his name and from his bequest and we should for Peter’s and his family’s sake take a great interest in the activities of The Trust. Anthony reported that he had contacted The Dartmoor Archive about one item in particular relating to Pewtor Granite Workings but before any decision was reached it had been sold. Fortunately he has now discovered that it is safely in the hands of The DRO in Plymouth so that is a good conclusion but there are an increasing number of other items coming on to the market that we need to follow up. Roger & Anthony will research this further.

Rodney Cruze was asked to pursue his quest for ‘a banner’ to use at our events.

mails & correspondence (04.04.07)

  1. An inquiry from James Stevenson of Florida USA has resulted in a copy of our “All Along, Down Along, Widecombe Way” book being sent to him. It must be noted that postage is 50p in the UK but to other countries cost on average £2.
  2. Secretary has informed Ashburton Town Council of a collection of books relating to Gurrington Slate Quarries that are on the market. Their General Purpose Committee will consider this, we hope to hear of their response.
  3. Secretary has received email from Pamela Lager (nee Braisby). She is the cousin of Jean, a landgirl who lodged at Ponsworthy Mill during W.W.II. Jean then married a local man Freddie Miners and stayed on here after the war. Pamela wanted information about Ponsworthy and the family that she stayed with. Secretary has been able to put her in touch and it appears that she went to Widecombe School for a while. Pamela has bought a copy of our “One Hundred Years and More of Ponsworthy” book in which we know she will find photographs and details that will stir her memory.
  4. The National Archives, Kew, Richmond, Surrey, TW9 4DU (020 8813 2595) are researching ‘Nineteenth Century Poverty in England & Wales’. They are looking for volunteers within LHGs to assist them. More details needed before anyone is prepared to commit themselves.
  5. Janice Melia is researching thatching as a project at College. This has been passed on to local thatcher Rodney Cruze to answer.
  6. Janet Armstrong researching the Hamlyn family of Widecombe, Aish, Lake and Uppacott. Secretary has sent on some information which we hope will help.

Notices read:-

  • Chagford LHG will meet at The Endicott House on Thursday 26th April at 8.00 p.m. for talk on The Kelly Mine, Lustleigh to be given by Nick Water
  • Princetown LHG will visit Mary Tavy Power Station on Tuesday 1st May when Steve Cryer will meet them at Wheal Jewell SX523815 at 6.30 p.m.
  • Leusdon Memorial Committee will hold a plant sale on Saturday 28th April from 12noon - 4.00p.m..
  • They will also hold a coffee morning and stalls in aid of Rowcroft on Wednesday 2nd May from 10a.m. - 12 noon
  • Also a Supper & Spring Show on Saturday 12th May for details and times contact Sarah on 01364 621230.
  • Galmpton & Churston LHG are holding a Galmpton History Day on Saturday 28th April 10.30 a.m. - 4.00 p.m. Exhibition, refreshments, talks and guided walks throughout the day. Dartmoor Tinworking Research Group are opening the newly revamped Tinworking Trail at Brimpts Farm on Saturday 16th June from 2.00 p.m. onwards. For more details contact Anne on 01752 696257 or email:annetimw@btinternet.com
After the election of officers for the next twelve months there will be our normal monthly meeting. This will take the form of a discussion evening when we shall consider the plans for the Devon History Society’s Summer Meeting that we will be hosting on Saturday 30th June. Drawing up a list of those who may be prepared to give a short presentation to the meeting about our group its aims and projects to date. We shall also be planning staffing the exhibition downstairs on that day and the following day Sunday 1st July. Ideas for Widecombe Fair Heritage Marquee will also be considered.

Meeting June 6th talk by John Stuart on ‘Clapper Bridges’ followed by a guided walk on June 9th meet at 12 noon at Moorgate SX666872

The meeting closed at 10.10 p.m.

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