Widecombe History Group Minutes January 2007

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A Meeting of The Widecombe & District Local History Group was held at The Church House, Widecombe on Wednesday 3rd January 2007 at 7.30 p.m.

At the beginning of the meeting members were told of the death of Tessa Rennells and a moments silence was observed. Peter Rennells and Roger Whale thanked members for their recent support.

Apologies: Bessie & Terry French, Peter & Dylis Harvey, Fred Daw, Phyllis Pascoe, Roger & Ann Claxton, Sue Booty, Norma Tempest, John Kimber, Jim & Ruby Churchward, Betty Andrews, and Simon & Annabelle Booty.

In the absence of our Chairman, our Vice-chairman Mary Pascoe took the chair and 43 people attended.

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


Our publications and paperweights are continuing to sell well and we hope that "The History of Widecombe Fair", now being compiled by the group, will be ready for its launch day at Widecombe Fair September 11th 2007.


More information being collected for this project by Margaret 01364 631421.


The current desire to obtain as much information for all future projects as early as possible was emphasised this week.

A beautiful ‘Mourning Card’, recently found by Roger Whale and brought to the meeting, was for William John Warren of Ponsworthy, who is pictured on page 36 in our book ‘One Hundred Years and more of PONSWORTHY’. He died on February 25th 1911 aged 4 years and 4 months. He was buried at Leusdon Church on Friday 3rd March 1911. This ‘gem’ could have been reproduced in the book and would have added to our book considerably if it had come to light earlier.

There must be many publications that have had the same experience so we emphasise our appeal for more information regarding Widecombe Fair.

Widecombe Fair:

Heritage Marquee for 11th September 2007 already being planned. More information on Widecombe Fairs Past is now urgently required. Contact Anthony 01364 621246. Further metal detecting of The Fair Field will continue when the weather improves.

10th Anniversary Dinner:

This is being planned for Saturday 28th April 2007 and will be held at The Badger’s Holt Restaurant. There will be a two course meal, (main course and sweet) and entertainment afterwards. The cost will be approximately £14 per person. Over 30 people expressed an interest in attending. Alan & Mary Goodall will organise the event and they will bring full details and booking forms to our February meeting.

Display Cabinets:

Various ideas regarding exhibitions were put forward including;

  1. the formation of the group, this to include early newsletters, photo’ albums showing activities,
  2. 2000 A.D. the beating of the bounds of the Parish, this to include details, and the celebratory mugs.
  3. 2000 A.D. refurbishment of the Church Tower and the Church Bells.
The secretary has agreed to try to implement these ideas.

2007 Programme:

Secretary will distribute copies to interested parties like Parish Link, Dartmoor National Park Authority, The Dartmoor Magazine, Dartmoor Newsletter etc.

Anyone requiring a copy contact secretary on 01364 621246.

The Western Front Association:

Sam Bousted showed the meeting a recent copy of The Western Front Association’s Magazine and this in turn showed a picture of a World War I War Memorial attributed to 8th/9th Devonshire Regiment, this is situated on the Belgium/French Border.

Blackshirts of Devon:

Secretary will contact the author of a book just published writen by Todd Gray and titled "Blackshirts of Devon". The Group is interested in the items regarding our immediate district.

The Meeting officially closed at 8.30 p.m.

This was followed by our Annual New Years Party which took the form of a ‘Bring & Share’ supper and it was a great success.

Chairman thanked all those who had brought food and special thanks to Peter Rennells who had organised the liquid refreshment.

The Treasurer reported that she had made our Annual Sponsorship contribution of £50 to The Parish Link. It was noted that recognition of last years sponsorship was not recorded in the Link and this will be brought to their notice.

The History of Farming in the Parish

The secretary to put a notice in The Parish Link asking parishioners for the loan of any stories, documents, agreements, posters & photographs etc regarding farming in the Parish. Anyone that has anything that they are prepared to give the group please contact our secretary Anthony Beard on 01364 621 246. If on the otherhand you have anything you are prepared to loan and permit us to copy we would appreciate it, the originals will be copied and returned forthwith. This will be used to contribute to our exhibition at this year’s Widecombe Fair Heritage Marquee.


The next meeting is Wednesday 7th February when there will be a demonstration of ‘Flint Knapping’ given by Dr Bruce Bradley.

At the meeting on Wednesday 7th March Wendy Major will give part II of her talk on Old Ashburton.

The April 4th meeting will welcome a return of Len Copley who will give a talk entitled "Dartmoor from Mesolithic to Medieval Times".

This will be culminate in him leading a guided walk around The Medieval Farmstead at Hound Tor on Saturday 14th April. Meet at The Hound Tor Carpark at 1.00 p.m. for a picnic lunch - followed by the walk at 2.00 p.m.

The evening closed at 10.00 p.m.

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