A Meeting of The Widecombe & District Local History Group was held at The Church House, Widecombe, on Wednesday 3rd. September 2008 at 7.30 p.m.
Apologies: Ruth Parnell, Roger Whale, Diane Leeworthy, Bessie French, Peter & Dylis Harvey, Fred Daw, Richard & Val Casey and Lyn Hext.
Mr Roger Claxton was in the chair and 51 members attended. The minutes of the August meeting were read and signed as correct.
Please click here for Felicity Goodall's talk entitled Lost Devon
Group Teams/Sub Committees:
Widecombe Website: This team is continuing to make progress under the guidance of Roger Claxton.
Widecombe Fair Marquee: This team have had a couple of meetings and they are confident of a good show lined up for next Tuesday 9th. September 2008. It is understood the marquee will be erected on Sunday 7th. September and the display boards will be erected that afternoon. On Monday afternoon the final preparation will take place with the arrival of the implements and the trailer ready for the ‘Grain to Loaf’ demonstration on Tuesday. Appreciation was expressed to The Cornish Mutual Insurance Group for sponsoring Ian Shears with this part of the exhibition. Aileen & Peter Carrett were able to tell the meeting that this year’s exhibits will include North Hall, Census Books, Project Recording Folders, The Uncle Tom Cobley Model (partly restored) with other interesting associated material, Widecombe Town Manor Boundary Markers, Sales Stall for our publications etc. A collection of interesting agricultural machinery and memorabilia will also be shown. Thanks expressed to everyone involved. Sue Booty has agreed to get some copies of our recent newsletter as ‘give aways’ for Fair Day and she will man a stand where anyone who has any information for the group can leave details and contacts etc. The Dartmoor National Park Authority is unable to give any financial help with the marquee this year as the allocations for 2008 are complete. We recognise and appreciate the assistance that we have had in the past from them and the support they gave us this year with The Two Crosses Stone. The secretary has heard from Sally Morgan our County Councillor that she may be able to help us.
Widecombe Heritage Centre: The secretary reported on a meeting he and the Chairman had with Ian Parkin (Grant Adviser) at the site, and after considerable discussion it was the general feeling that his ideas of taking this project forward were a bit too ambitious for the group to undertake. The idea that ten thousand pounds should be sourced for a feasibility survey to be followed up by an application for a large grant of up to two hundred thousand pounds would mean the necessity of forming a limited company with all that could entail, was deemed too complex. A letter from the chairman was read to the meeting and as a result, it was agreed to pursue this heritage scheme in a more low key manner. The Secretary was asked to notify Mr Parkin that for the time being the group would not be pursuing his option. It was decided that the secretary should first do a lot more ground work and research before committing the group on such a large scale project. He was asked to approach the owners (The Diocesan Glebe Committee) and get some idea of what costs would be involved with renting the property and the terms and length of the lease, could we get electricity installed, access, insurance and rates etc. Proposals of what we would like t do and an outline of our ideas need to be put to them. It was felt that the ivy and brambles at present over running the building should be removed so that a better inspection of the building could be obtained. Secretary suggested that he would organise an ‘open day’ at the site when all interested members could visit and inspect the site and express opinions as to its suitability. Their opinions and ideas could then be developed into a working plan. Ann & Roger Claxton offered to build up such an ‘operational plan’ and a dossier/proposal of intentions and a list of ideas of what we might plan to do. It was agreed to accept their offer. This appealed to members and it was considered that this would be the correct way forward. The building in question is the Old Reading Room and it was agreed that we should explore its potential and look into what work could be done on a voluntary basis. We understand that the shedattached to the building needs securing or modifying and could be used as a store for implements etc. It was felt that a working party of volunteers could carry this idea forward and may be able to do some of the initial work. Tidy up the site, spread a load of concrete etc. Many hands can make light work. The interior would need ’tanking’ to keep moisture out of the building, and there are local craftsman who could do this work. Doors and windows would need replacing, access to the upstairs floor would need securing and there would be a need for display cabinets and boards. Secretary has contacted the council for Voluntary Services CVS, at Newton Abbot and they have advised us to firstly get a constitution (a model constitution will be sent to us). This needs to be done as it would assist us in getting small grant support. We have also been advised that we should become a registered charity. Regarding our constitution, it was agreed when the group started, eleven years ago, that if the group ceased to function any moneys in the bank should be halved between the managements committees of Widecombe Church House and Leusdon Memorial Hall. All material artefacts belonging to the group would be donated to Widecombe Parish Council and held for the Parish. They could be made available to any future similar group that may be formed. We may be able to source much of the material locally if we adopt the correct style and attitude. It was suggested that The Devon County Council website may help with finding funds. It was noted that Lustleigh have done something similar. Perhaps access to upstairs can be gained from the square? Everyone’s opinion is more than welcome. We shall need to keep The Dartmoor National Park aware of our intentions and hopefully have them on our side if we proceed with this Educational & Informative Project. Secretary suggested that as a first step he should build up a list of Members and their contact addresses, telephone numbers and/or e-mail addresses. Deborah Hannaford’s father used the reading room as did many others at the beginning of the 20C. She thought it would be good to return the building to some use to the parish. It was emphasised that a photographic record of any activity etc. should be maintained.
Ironbridge Outing October 15/18th: The organisation of this outing is well in hand. Forms regarding meals etc. to be returned by the October 1st. meeting.
The Peter Hirst Annual Memorial Walk was a success. This year it was led by members of The DTRG around Brimpts Mines. Peter spent much time and energy in exploring and recording these mines and his colleagues of the DTRG were able to pass on a great deal of information. The members however were very disappointed in the buffet provided. A letter is to be sent to the caterers to bring this to their notice. Mike Jones and Richard Wells were thanked for organising such an interesting walk.
A presentation to Ann Claxton of a bouquet of flowers was made to thank her for arranging such an interesting trip to Sidmouth recently.
An appeal for program sellers at Widecombe Fair was made by John Butcher.
Tetra Mast: The Dartmoor National Park Authority have turned down an application for a Tetra Mast in Widecombe valley. The applicant has decided to appeal and that appeal will be heard on 22nd and 23rd October. A fresh petition is being organised within the parish to support The Park Authority in their rejection of this proposed mast. Anyone wishing to add their name to this petition is urged to sign. Individuals can also write independently stating their objections or support.
Correspondence and e-mails: The secretary has again had several pieces of correspondence to deal with this past month. He thanked in particular Mary Pascoe for her assistance in replying to queries about boundary stones of Buckland in the Moor.
Programme 2009: The first speaker will be Dr. Tom Greeves his talk will be held on Wednesday 7th. January, the first Wednesday in January as normal, at 7.30p.m. in the Church House. Saturday January 10th, our Annual New Year’s Party will take the form of a Barn Dance with a Bring and Share supper, at Leusdon Memorial Hall. Dancing to the Dartmoor Pixie Band. Bring your own drinks and secretary to check the glasses situation. Margaret Phipps will prepare tickets. Members and partners only.
Diary Dates: At our meeting on Wednesday1st October Derek Gore will talk about “Vikings in Devon”. Wednesday 1st October there will be a Coffee Morning at Leusdon Memorial Hall, 10 – 12 noon. At the one held on 3rd September £466:50 was raised for MacMillan Nursing. Mary Pascoe has arranged a visit to Ashburton Museum on Thursday 2nd October 7.00p.m. Thursday 11th December, it is hoped to participate in Carols down the Line from Buckfastleigh Railway Station. Tuesday 7th October Princetown LHG has a talk by Colin Wakeham on Leather Tor Farm and it’s history at Princetown Primary School 7.30p.m. September 17th Moretonhampstead LHG, John Risdon will give an illustrated talk on the East Dart, The community Hall, Court Street, Moretonhamstead.
The meeting closed at 10.05p.m.
The Speaker this month was Felicity Goodall, and the subject, based on a book recently produced by her was "Lost Devon"