Widecombe History Group Minutes January 2008

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A Meeting of The Widecombe and District Local History Group was held at The Church House, Widecombe on Wednesday 2nd January 2008 at 7.30p.m.

Apologies: Terry & Bessie French, Ruth Parnell, Arch & Audrey Mortimore, Peter & Dyllis Harvey, Fred Daw, Phyllis Pascoe, Jim & Ruby Churchward, Betty Andrews, Mavis Clipson, Mike Jones, Dawn Nosworthy and Sue Booty.

Mrs Mary Pascoe was in the chair and 47 members attended. We also welcomed from Australia, Linda Wilkinson and her sister who are in England seeking information about a Norrish family to whom they are related. We were able to substantiate some of their research and supply some extra information of use to them.

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


The Dartmoor Trust is hoping to obtain a leasehold at Delamore, Cornwood, as a permanent site for their office early in this new year.

Richard Wells was able to source some information from Our Archives concerning the Norrish families for the two visitors from Australia.

Annual Programmes

Ideas are still being passed to Ann Claxton regarding future meetings and events.

She was congratulated on organising ‘The Carols Down the Line’ evening in December. In spite of a very wet windy evening it was a great success, a real community event.

Because of the inclement weather we were unable to get off the train at Staverton where John Kimber, one of our members, was waiting to greet us attired as he was in his fine ‘Great Western Railway Station Master’s Uniform’. This year we could only pass through and witness him stood on the platform drenched to skin but still with a smile!

There was a consensus of opinion that we ought to do it again next year when we hope to be able to stop at Staverton Station and John would be able to welcome us.

A copy of our programme will be sent to Elizabeth Swales with a request that she will be able to continue to publicise our events in The Parish Newsletter.

Annual New Year Party Night

After the business of the meeting was concluded we held our Annual Party Night. Sincere thanks to Roger Claxton for providing background music during the evening and providing a ‘rolling display’ of details copied from various sale posters loaned to the group recently.

Several mentioned ‘Live & Dead Stock’. The livestock referred to the cattle, sheep, pigs and poultry etc. The deadstock referred to the implements, tools, equipment including furniture and other inanimate items.

Most of these posters were from the ‘pre tractor’ era and the names of implements made interesting reading as did some of the smaller farm items and tools.

Everyone participated in ‘the bring and share’ supper with the result that there was more than enough for all to eat and a sincere vote of thanks was expressed to Peter Rennells who supplied his usual first class ‘New Year’s Punch’ - delicious!

Thanks to everyone for their contributions to yet another successful meeting and a very enjoyable party to begin our 2008 programme of events.

The 1842 Tithe Map

A copy is held by The Widecombe Parish Council and another by The Devon Records Office, Sowton, Exeter.

The Parish Council will meet on Thursday 3rd January when they will decide a date for The Annual Parish Meeting. We will assist them in displaying the map on a date suitable to them so that they may view it. We shall attempt to get a Conservator from The DRO to attend and give an assessment as to the work needed for its conservation and an estimate of the expense entailed. The Parish is fortunate in having a copy of The Tithe Apportionment Book which relates to the map and this could also be on display but would need careful handling. Volunteers will be needed to steward this event.

The History of North Hall

This project has recently ‘taken off’!

Peter Rennells for the past ten years has been researching the sites of North Hall Manor House, North Hall Cafe and now encompassing the whole of The Widecombe Town Manor in which the above are situated. He will be giving an illustrated talk on his research so far at our February Meeting scheduled for Wednesday February 6th 2008 at 7.30p.m.

It was felt that an invitation should be sent to Mr & Mrs Michael Skinner the owners of the site and their son David to attend so that we could express to them our thanks for their ongoing support.

Mr & Mrs Patrick Coaker are the present ‘Lords of The Manor’ and have expressed their support and an invitation will be sent to them also.

The South West corner of Widecombe Town Manor adjoins Jordan Manor and Blackslade and Dunstone Manor at a point known as Two Crosses. Anthony Beard told the meeting that years ago there were two Xs cut in the turf there and the ‘Parish Lengthmen’ of that time renewed them each year as they went about their duty, that is how it got its name. Roger Whale suggested that we ought to try to get a stone erected at that place with the words Two Crosses and two crosses (X) engraved on it. He has a suitable stone and believes that Mr & Mrs Coaker would be agreeable for it to be placed there. It was agreed that The Dartmoor National Park Authority should be approached for their opinion.

It was felt that this would be a good idea and should be pursued as in years to come it will more than likely become another forgotten historical fact of Dartmoor.

Mention was made of the cross cut in a stone halfway down Parkland Head, Poundsgate, on the left-hand side, said to be in memory of a Doctor whose trap turned over killing him. We need to get his name verified and recorded.

Correspondence and e-mails:

Jenny Pascoe our treasurer, reported that the subscriptions mentioned in December minutes have been paid.

Secretary to contact Katherine Weston DRO regarding the proposed two or three day exhibition to be held at Widecombe during 2008. Possibly during the school summer holidays, as The Church House would be more available.

(Dec xiv) The meeting was reminded about the talk being given to Moretonhampstead LHG by their Chairman Dr Ian Mortimer, ‘The Time-Travellers Guide to Medieval Moretonhampstead’ at St Andrews Church on Wednesday 16th January at 7.30p.m, Admission £2.

i Princetown LHG meeting Tuesday 3rd Feb, talk by Simon Dell entitled ‘Mutiny on Dartmoor’.

ii During the past month six emails have been received and they have been answered or passed onto others to deal with.

Notification from DRO that an interesting collection of newspapers ‘The Blackshirt’ issued by the British Union of Fascists between 1935 and 1940, which belonged to the Exeter branch were deposited in May 2007.........ref:7016

Reminder that we are hosting The Devon Women’s Institute on Thursday 3rd April at 11.00 a.m. for tea/coffee/biscuits. This to be followed by presentations about Widecombe and the Group’s activities. They will lunch at The Wayside Cafe and we shall meet them there at 2.00p.m. for a guided walk around the village. Roger Whale, Rodney Cruze, Peter Rennells and Anthony Beard will address the group. Anyone else that would like to be involved please let the secretary know and a couple of volunteers to serve the teas etc please.

Aileen Carrett produced some sweatshirts and polo shirts with our logo. Orders please to Aileen.

Rodney Cruze read a humorous poem in dialect that he had written concerning the secretary and local folklore.

  • Viddy = well, or OK.
  • Biddy = Wife or Old Woman.
  • Manger = Hayrack or Feeding Trough.
  • Yark = Early.

Eden Phillpotts 1862-1960:

Peter Rennells informed the group the a ‘Blue Plaque’ has been erected in Oakhill Road, Torquay to commemorate the 28 years that Eden Phillpotts had lived there.

The ‘Blue Plaque’ is a blue ceramic disc placed on buildings to mark the houses of men or women that have created important works. The scheme is run by English Heritage.

Some councils run their own similar schemes and The Torbay Civic Society had instigated the one for E.P. as he was often known.

Is there a similar scheme run by the Teignbridge Council?

If so should we look into the possibility of getting one erected in memory of Beatrice Chase (Olive Katherine Parr) 1874-1955?

Contact should be made first with Mr & Mrs Peter Hicks the present owners of the house where she wrote so many of her books to see if they would approve.

If they would prefer this not to be done the idea should be immediately dropped.

Widecombe Fair Tuesday September 9th 2008:

The secretary asked to contact The Widecombe Fair Co Ltd. informing them of our intentions and asking for their approval.

It is intended that in The Heritage Marquee this year we shall incorporate an exhibition of Old Barn Machinery. In conjunction with this we would like to stage a demonstration of "Grain to Loaf". An educational demonstration of where and how "Our Daily Bread" arrives on the table.

If we receive a positive reply the secretary is instructed to commence the necessary arrangements.

At 9.00p.m. the meeting was closed and the New Year Party commenced.

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