Widecombe History Group Minutes March 2008

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A Meeting of The Widecombe and District Local History Group was held at The Church House, Widecombe on Wednesday 5th March 2008 at 7.30p.m.

Apologies: Peter & Aileen Carrett, Margaret Phipps, Alan & Mary Goodall, Peter & Dylis Harvey, Fred Daw, Phyllis Pascoe, Bessie French, Carl Hayward, Joy Routley, Barbara Norrish, and Derek Hext.

Mrs Mary Pascoe was in the chair and 49 people attended.

Please click here for Penny Cunningham's talk entitled, "Understanding Geophysics: with particular reference to North Hall".

The minutes of the February Meeting were read and signed as correct.


Richard Wells reported that the School Ledgers referred to in the February minutes have now been deposited at The DRO on ‘permanent loan’ and they can be viewed there or brought back if local research so demands. To date we have not received a receipt for these ledgers.

Parish Tithe Map 1842/44.

The Widecombe Parish Council have decided that their copy of the above map should be deposited at The DRO from now on. In return The DRO will do any necessary conservation work needed and will then keep it in their store at Sowton Industrial Estate, Exeter. It will be always available to researchers if needed and can be brought back to the parish at any time.

At a meeting recently between the Parish Council and a Mr John Draisey of The DRO it was decided that it would be the best option to have the map digitised and this will be done as soon as possible. We need to bare this in mind and see that this is done. The master copy of the CD/DVD of the digitising will be the property of Widecombe Parish Council but copies will be available to purchase and it is hoped that eventually it will be available over the ‘world-wide web’ for anyone to search.

Anyone wishing to contribute to the cost of this project, estimated at about £850, can contact the secretary of Widecombe History Group. Mr Godfrey of Widecombe has already done this and a donation of £100 has been received from him by the Group.

Roger Claxton has offered to attempt to copy on to CD/DVD the contents of the associated ‘Apportionment Book’ for researchers to use alongside the CD/DVD of the map.

We must keep the progress of this project under continual review, and assure that a receipt for the map is forthcoming.

The Devon Records Office - Summer Exhibition at Widecombe. Saturday 19th July - Monday 21st July 2008.

The Devon Records Office will hold an Exhibition in conjunction with The Widecombe History Group at The Church House, Widecombe, from Saturday 19th July to Monday 21st July from 10.00a.m. to 4.00 p.m. each day. On the Saturday 19th July the Devon County Information Coach will be in attendance complete with computers for anyone to use with assistance, in researching their family history.

The Exhibition will contain a variety of documents currently held by The DRO relating to this Parish and Agriculture of the County. Some of our Archive Collection will also be on view.

Katherine Weston The DRO Heritage Outreach Officer will also attend and assist. It is hoped that documents relating to Widecombe Town Manor and the old Widecombe Medieval Manor House and Grounds will come to light and also be exhibited.

The Exhibition will be set up on the afternoon of Friday 18th July from 2.00 p.m. A film show from The Westcountry Archives is to be shown on the evening of Friday 18th July possibly at Leusdon Memorial Hall at 7.30 p.m. Details later!

Widecombe Town Manor and The Old Manor Site at Glebe Farm.

Peter Rennells is continuing his research.

(This evening we were given an insight into the workings of The Geophysical Investigations held recently at North Hall and shown how the interpretation was concluded of the pictures obtained).

Aileen Carrett has mislaid a green tablecloth with WWF on it. If you see it about please return to her.

North Hall Orchard.

Peter Rennells, John Butcher and David Skinner attended the Grafting session on Sunday 24th February and they returned with four new standard trees which it is hoped to plant to help rejuvenate the Old Manor House Orchard on Glebe Farm. Adam’s Pearmain, Oaken Pippin, Pig Nose (Snout) and from our own number 10 tree a Newton Wonder.

It was noted that some of the remaining eleven trees have recently suffered some storm damage and Simon Came, a local tree specialist has offered to remove the damaged branches and do any necessary pruning. We must ask the Skinner family for their permission to undertake this.

Request that our Annual Programme could be put on the web.

A Mrs Heather Letts of Launceston, has contacted the secretary concerning a model of “Uncle Tom Cobley & All”.

It appears that her late husband Brian, had started to reconstruct this mechanical model prior to his death but had not completed the work. She wondered if the Group would like it. The secretary has contacted her through John Vickery (the stick maker) with a positive answer and John has delivered it to Anthony. When complete it will be on four wheels, the grey mare and all the characters plus a dog, it stands about three feet high, three feet long and about a foot wide. This will be great challenge as much of it is still in pieces in a box, two members immediately volunteered to have a look at it and see if it is a project that they would like to attempt between them. Mike Wright and Syd Pontin will visit the secretary and have look at it. It is believed that this was made in about the 1950s by Jack Price of The Anglers Rest, Fingle Bridge. Research needed!

We have heard that The Countryman Magazine has recently given our “History of Widecombe Fair Book’ a good write-up.

The Manor of Widecombe Town.

Roger Whale reported that the stone that he offered to be engraved with two X’s and the words Two Crosses, has been collected from him by representatives of The Dartmoor National Park Authority. They have offered to get it engraved and we shall then get it placed at Two Crosses, at the South West corner of Widecombe Town Manor, where originally two crosses were cut in the turf.

We have been informed that there may be some artifacts from the estate of the late Mrs Harman (previously Mrs Hermon French) relating to the parish that may be sent to us.

Diary Dates:

  • Tuesday 1st April at 7.30 p.m. Princetown LHG have John Risdon talking about Agatha Christie.
  • The visit of The Environmental and Rural Life Branch of The Devon Federation of Women’s Institutes will take place on Thursday 3rd April 2008 at 11.00 a.m. The secretary has informed them that the maximum number we can cater for is 90 persons. We will give them tea/coffee/biscuits at 11.00 a.m. followed by presentations from four of our group. They will then arrange their lunch at Wayside Cafe and we shall meet them there at 2.00 p.m. for a guided walk around the village. We have been asked to repeat the operation in the autumn. Due to previous bookings of the Church House it would have to be on a Monday in late September or early October.
  • Coffee Morning and Country Fair at Postbridge Easter Monday 24th March 10.00 a.m. till 3.00 p.m.
  • March 12th at Strete Village Hall at 7.30 p.m.a talk “The Truth about Exercise Tiger” the ill fated happenings in Start Bay during WWII.
  • Moretonhampstead LHG Wednesday 19th March. “The History of Moreton Hospital. 7.30 p.m. in the Community Club.
  • A coffee Morning and stalls will be held at The Church House, Widecombe on Saturday 19th April at 10.00 a.m.
  • Group Annual Dinner, Saturday 19th April at Dartmeet at 7.30 p.m. Details of choice of menu from Alan & Mary Goodall. Tickets £15 must be booked by our April Meeting, Wednesday 2nd April at the latest. A raffle will be held that evening for Rowcroft Hospice, Torquay. Any items for the draw please give to Sue Boustead or Audrey Mortimore.
  • Exhibition in conjunction with The Devon Records Office will be held in The Church House, Widecombe from Friday 18th July to Monday 21st July.
  • Monday 26th May an exhibition in Yelverton Village Hall and a guided walk around Harrowbeer Aerodrome, Yelverton. Meet for picnic lunch at 12.00 noon at Village Hall followed by the guided walk at 2.00 p.m. Approximate numbers by May Meeting.
  • Saturday 5th July, Annual Outing to Sidmouth Museum, Norman Lockyer Observatory, Donkey Sanctuary and Beer Caves.
  • Wednesday 15th to Saturday 18th October. A three night, four day short holiday trip to Ironbridge World Heritage Site. Members must book with £50 deposit by Wednesday April 2nd, after which if there are vacancies the trip will be open to others to fill the coach. The balance will be required by the August Meeting.
  • Wednesday 2nd April. Coffee morning at Leusdon Memorial Hall, 10 till 12.

Widecombe Fair Tuesday 9th September 2008.

Preparations for Widecombe Fair Heritage Marquee have begun and there is a need for a team to negotiate with Peter Rennells as to how the marquee will be set out. Aileen and Peter Carrett have volunteered to oversee the planning. The theme will be harvest and the associated barn machinery.

Secretary has contacted a Mr Shears who will put on an exhibition of the process of turning grain into our daily bread. This is considered to be of Educational Value as too many people today do not fully realise where their food comes from or how it is produced.

We hope to get our local school children involved with the project.

Widecombe Fair Committee fully approve of this idea and we have their permission to proceed with the planning of it.

April Meeting will be April 2nd and the speaker will be Dr Todd Gray and the subject will “Exeter during World War II”.

A request from Denham Productions asking for anyone interested in taking part in a new TV programme named Attic Archive. The programme will be looking at what you may have in the attic that you would be prepared to share with the general public. contact 01752 345444.

The secretary has dealt with several letters and e-mails during the past month.

The meeting closed at 9.55 p.m.

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