History Group Minutes July 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 July 2008 at 7.30 p.m.

Apologies: Mike Jones, John Kimber, Roger Whale, Bessie French, Ruth Parnell, Margaret Phipps and Michael Mudge. 

It was noted with regret that Mike Jones will unable to attend meetings for some time.

Mr Roger Claxton was in the chair and 57 people attended.

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

Please click here for Simon Dell's talk entitled Mutiny on the Moor

Arising: Devon Record Office:  Anthony will meet Katherine Weston of the DRO on Friday to discuss final arrangements for the exhibition being staged at The Church House, Widecombe on Saturday 19th, Sunday 20th and Monday 21st July from 10a.m. to 4p.m. each day. We will contribute some of our material but the bulk of it should come from the DRO. It is hoped that the Devon County Information Coach will attend on the Saturday to assist local people research their family history. Contingency plans are being organised. In conjunction with this, a film show will be held at Leusdon Memorial Hall, on the evening of Friday 18th July at 7.30p.m. A few remaining tickets can be obtained by contacting the Secretary on 01364 621246. From information provided Anthony will try to organise a rota of helpers for the three days. It was agree to put a few posters about to publicise the event. We will have a book stall there as well. Group Teams/ Sub-committees: 

Widecombe Website: Sue Boustead and Roger Whale are assisting Roger Claxton with website activities, see: www.widecombe-in-the-moor.com Widecombe   

Fair Heritage Marquee: Aileen and Peter Carrett are being assisted by Peter Rennells, Mary Pascoe, Rodney Cruze, and John Kimber. Rodney Cruze will contact the Chairman of Widecombe Fair Co regarding the positioning of the ‘grain to loaf’ demonstration. A meeting of this team must soon be arranged. Mike Wright has a photograph depicting U T C & All at an event. This picture will be published in this year’s Widecombe Fair Programme asking for details of Who, Where & What?

Widecombe Heritage Centre: Rodney Cruze, Alan & Mary Goodall, John Walling, Terry French, Tanya & Barry Welch, Ann & Roger Claxton, Roger Whale and the secretary will be responsible for taking this project forward. A site in the village, the Reading Room and associated sheds, have been offered to the group by The Archdeacon of Totnes’ Glebe Grounds Committee for a Heritage Centre. The secretary has expressed interest on behalf of the group. This will involve considerable work, expense and planning and the team will look at all the pros and cons of such a venture and keep the group well informed. Photographs of the buildings were exhibited at the meeting and approval was given to persue the idea. A feasability study will be undertaken.

North Hall & Widecombe Town Manor: Peter Rennells is being helped by David Skinner, Mary Pascoe, John Walling, Aileen & Peter Carrett and the secretary with this project. On Wednesday 5th August at 7.15p.m. Dr John Waterhouse will lead a walk around the North Hall site when the following members will attend. They will return to the August Meeting with him to inform the group of their findings and hear his predictions of further action, Motte & Bailey Castles etc. The limit of 16 attending the walk are: Peter Rennells, David Skinner, Mary Pascoe, Wendy Beard, Peter & Aileen Carrett, Alan & Mary Goodall, Rodney Cruze, Maggie Faulkner, Dougie & Lyn Pidgeon, Ann & Roger Claxton, John Walling and John Butcher.

The “Two Crosses Stone” will be placed at ‘Two Crosses’ on Thursday 10th July at 10.00 a.m. all members invited to attend. We record a vote of thanks to The Dartmoor National Park Authority for their support with this project and to Andy Cribbett their stone mason for his work on the stone and to Roger Whale for the donation of the stone. We have sent Andy details of the Cribbett family found in our Parish Records. We also thank the ‘Lords of the Manor of Widecombe Town’, Mr & Mrs Patrick Coaker for their support, and we hope they will attend the placing of the stone ceremony. Jim Churchward and Roger Whale have found most of the boundary stones of Widecombe Town Manor but they have both expressed the opinion that much of the boundary will be extremely difficult to walk. This will need to be kept in mind when planning such an expedition. Perhaps only part of it can be done with safety in mind, we shall see!

Devon W. I. visit on Monday 22nd September: More information expected by the next meeting.

Widecombe Tithe Map: A copy of the Widecombe Tithe Map has now been digitised onto CD Rom. It appears to have been the Exeter copy held by the DRO for a while, rather than the copy now stored with them for conservation, which still belongs to the Widecombe Parish Council. Roger Claxton considers, for it to be totally successful, he suggests that in the future, when funds permit, we should get “our” copy also digitised, so that the full benefit could be obtained as any damaged part of one would be intact on the other. To further the use of this map Roger has now put onto CD the whole of the associated ‘Apportionment Book’. He has done this by photographing every page. We also have a full transcript of the apportionment book done by the late Peter Hirst and Roger intends to put this also onto CD to be used as a cross reference aid. This has been a time consuming project on his part and a vote of thanks was expressed to Roger.

Harrowbeer Aerodrome: The meeting was reminded that the aerodrome will have open days on August 23rd, 24th & 25th from 11.00 a.m. till 5.00 p.m. on each of the three days. We are not arranging a trip this time but individuals are welcome to go along.

The Mechanical Model: The repairs and restoration to the Mechanical Model of Uncle Tom Cobley and All is continuing and the progress so far was shown to the group. The wheeled base has been restored and repairs to the dog are progressing. Some of the characters have been restored and painted in their original colours (as copied from the coloured pictures received from the Price family). An additional newspaper cutting has been received dated 5th September 1959 which shows 82 year old Mr Harry Price the maker of the model, and states that it was being taken to Widecombe Fair on the following Tuesday. That would have been Tuesday 8th September 1959. Will it be possible to get it fully restored by 2009 the fiftieth anniversary of that date? We shall see! Many thanks to the team involved Aileen Carrett, Mike Wright and Syd Pontin. We are looking forward to the time when we can invite the Price family to view the fully restored artifact.

Correspondence: The secretary has responded to several e-mails and letters during the past month. An enquiry from Brenda Lowrey (nee Hares) concerning Oliver Townsend and the Walters family will take a little while to research. Members will inform the secretary of what they can find out.

The Devonshire Association: It was agreed that The Widecombe and District Local History should join The Association as an ‘Institutional Member’. This will entitle the group to a copy of their annual Transactions, and this will be an asset for the members of our group.

Diary Dates: Next Saturday 5th July is our Annual Day Outing. This year it is to Sidmouth, Beer and the surrounding area. Leaving Widecombe at 8.30 a.m. (Fully Booked). Saturday 12th July at Buckland Church the Ashburton Singers perform two settings of Shakespeare by Vaughan Williams. Tickets £4 at the door. Our four day - three night trip to Ironbridge scheduled for Wednesday October 15th to Saturday October 18th. Please bring completed booking forms and the balance of the costs to the August 5th meeting or let Ann have them prior to that date. Tuesday 4th August Princetown LHG a walk around Horrabridge at 7.30p.m.. The Peter Hirst Memorial Stroll and buffet will be held on his birthday 29th August at Brimpts Farm. A three mile stroll beginning at 3.30 to the North Mine Site at Brimpts followed by a meal at 5.30 p.m. and then a stroll down to the refurbished wheel pit etc led by members of the DTRG, who always attend and support this annual event. Cost £8 pp. Forms and money to Richard Wells by the August 5th Meeting. Our next meeting on Wednesday 6th August was intended to be a non-speaker evening, but as Dr Waterhouse is leading a North Hall walk that evening, he will be returning to our meeting to give members a resumee of his visit. Some of the plans for Widecombe Fair will be mentioned with final details at the September 3rd Meeting when we shall have a talk by Felicity Goodall entitled “Lost Devon” based on her recent book of the same title. This includes some forgotten stories of Devon.

The meeting closed at 10.18p.m.


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