Apologies: Jim & Ruby Churchward, John Butcher, Betty Andrews, Andy Hamlyn and Ann Murphy.
Mr Roger Claxton was in the chair and 51 members attended.
The minutes of the November meeting were read and signed as correct.
Arising: Tour of Exeter Cathedral and The Quay: Maggie Faulkner was thanked for organising such an interesting and informative guided walk and visit on Friday 6th November last. Thanks also recorded to John Allan for meeting us there. Widecombe Fair 14th September 2010: Rodney Cruze gave the meeting an insight into what he was proposing to exhibit in The Heritage Marquee. This consisted of primarily a “Thatching through the Ages” exhibition and demonstration. He has hopes of examples of reed and rush thatching, a reed comber, spars, winnowing machine, reed stitching machine and associated crafts and skills. There is also a possibility that transport through the ages concerning Widecombe and the area. We are in need of historical information regarding Brian Harris Transport, Harris and Miners, and W. F. Miners and Sons. We need to make contact with surviving members of these families. Any photographic evidence of earlier horse drawn carts, wagons and wains would also be appreciated from the district. Photographs can be copied, with the owners permission, and the originals duly returned to the owners. Tor Bus and Beard's Bus, and taxi operations may also feature, but this may be held over for another year. Maggie Faulkner is supporting Rodney by setting up an exhibition of Eden Phillpotts’ memorabilia. To help her with this John Walling and Peter Rennells need approaching. The Mechanical Model of Uncle Tom Cobley & All. Mike Wright is getting a display cabinet made in which to exhibit the model and it will be on show as well as census details, books etc. The group will be visiting Mr Ian Minshull’s collection of vintage farm implements in March 13th to see if he has anything suitable to add to the exhibition further to his generosity and his support at last year’s Fair. Another idea mooted for future years was “Milk Production within the parish”. This could become an ‘Oral History Project’. Ann Claxton is enquiring into Oral History Recording Equipment.
2010 Programme: Ann Claxton produced copies of next year’s programme, and Sue Booty produced Vol 24 of our six monthly Newsletter (May to October 2009).
Archives: Richard Wells is continuing to monitor our collection of books, documents and artefacts. A copy of a book about the late Ernest Knight, local artist, has been given the our archives.
North Hall / Glebe Farm: Peter Rennells gave an update on the research into the history of this important historical site in our midst. The group is continuing to get support from the present owners of the North Hall Site, and The Dartmoor National Park Authority. Richard and Valerie Casey who own the adjoining field to the west of the site, and the main part of the associated ‘Moat’ surrounding the site, are permitting the group to continue to survey that part of the it. North Hall is now considered to date back to being a 'Norman Motte and Bailey' construction. Michael Lamb and Margaret Rogers recently gave Peter Rennells and the secretary permission to take a researcher, Anita Travis, around their property to view the site from that angle, prior to her doing documentary research. Supported by the Dartmoor National Park Authority, she is intending to visit Kew, The British Library and The Royal Commission on Historical Monuments. It is hopeful that some details of Widecombe Town Manor may also come to light as a result of these enquiries.
Widecombe Parish Church: For some time now the secretary has been mentioning that when he was younger there were writings, what he described as religious texts, above the large monolith pillars in the church. Thanks to Alan and Mary Goodall’s postcard collection this can now be verified. They have produced a copy of one which clearly shows the circular ‘wreath’ of laurel leaves above each pillar and writing within the circle. Peter & Aileen Carrett have also supplied an improved copy of a similar photograph but we can not make out the actual writings as yet. We continue our search. However it is difficult to decipher the actual words. In one of these texts the following words do show up “Let us do good to all men”. A copy has been passed to The Parochial Church Council to request them to consider cleaning off the walls prior to their redecorating the church and rediscover and uncovering these texts. In a Church Guide of c1948 produced by the late Vicar Rev. Eliott Colpoys Wood, the last paragraph on page 5 states:- “There are texts painted on the wall of the Nave in scrolls between the pillars. Their date is not known. The Rural Dean in 1830 recommended ‘that where the sentences on the walls of the Church are so obliterated as to be scarcely legible, the whitewasher should put the finishing touch to them with his brush’. But his recommendation was never acted on”. It was some time later that they were painted over. A picture in the booklet of the interior, clearly confirms their existence.
Proposed Heritage and Educational Centre: The Old Reading Room, is the site of the proposed centre. Roger Claxton and Anthony Beard have met with the Archdeacon Of Totnes, The Reverend John Rawlings, and the Diocesan Surveyor Jonathan Aylett, of Michelmore Hughes of Totnes, and reported on a very positive meeting. There are several points brought up but none of them insurmountable with careful consideration. The main points are:-
a. the wish of the church that we should take over the whole of the Glebe Yard including the stable in the east corner and all the boundary walls etc;
b. the desire that we should also re-roof the stable;.
c. possible 30 year lease and opt out clauses; We are trying to clarify a few details. The committee will meet after the response to our latest letter is received to consider the various options. It has to be emphasised that there is a long way to go before this project can come to fruition!
Letters have been sent to John Butcher and Widecombe Fair Company Limited to thank them for their support with this project. £195 was received from donations at the funeral of Peter Butcher and £200 from Widecombe Fair. A letter was received from John Butcher thanking the group for their donation to The British Epilepsy Association in memory of Peter.
Thanks to Sue Boustead as she continues her fund raising efforts with a 50/50 raffle, this month raised £22.
The wording of our Constitution still needs amending so as to conform with the rules regarding ‘Gift Aid’ registration, and the chairman Roger Claxton gave notice that an Extraordinary General Meeting will be held on the evening of Wednesday 6th January 2010, to put this right.
The Kingshead “D” Stone: Jane Marchand, Archaeologist of D. N. Park, is arranging a date for the up-righting of this stone. In the meantime Roger Claxton, Terry French and Anthony Beard have looked at the boundary between Jordan (Dewdon) Manor and Widecombe Town Manor from Two Crosses to Kingshead Corner, to see if any other stones could be Boundary Stones. They have identified a couple and it is intended that when the “D” Stone is being dealt with, these will also be examined fully.
E-Mails and Correspondence: The secretary reported that several e-mail and letters have been received this past month and they have been answered. Enquiries about our books continue and items have been dispatched to Canada and the U. S. A. as well as the U. K. He has continued to suggest sources of information for family tree enquiries, as per the last item in November’s Minutes.
Power point projector: Enquiries are on going as to the possibility of acquiring a power point projector of our own, as the one recently borrowed is no longer available.
Similar enquiries are in hand for suitable oral history recording equipment.
Widecombe School Remembered: Advance notice for a discussion evening at our monthly meeting on Wednesday 3rd March 2010. We shall attempt to create an oral and written history of schools and education in our parish. Anyone that has attended school in the parish is invited to attend and relate their memories, good, bad or indifferent. We would like sight of any photographs, documents or memorabilia. Photo's can be copied with the owners permission, and duly returned. If you are unable to attend, a few lines in writing would also help to record this important part of the History of this Parish.
Refreshments this month were homemade mince pies and biscuits to get the group in a Christmas mood.
Diary Dates: Saturday 5th December, Christmas Bazaar at Leusdon Memorial 10.00 a.m. Thursday 10th December, Carols down the line from Buckfastleigh Station, bring your own liquid refreshment to add to the coffee and mince pies on offer. Be at the station at 7.00 p.m. and go to carriage “F” which is reserved for the group. Monday 14th to Saturday 19th December, at Leusdon memorial Hall, Moorland Merrymakers Pantomime ‘Beauty and the Beast’ tickets 01364 631223. Wednesday 16th December, at The Church House, Widecombe, Grand Christmas Whist Drive at 7.30 p.m. in aid of Widecombe School. Tuesday 5th January, Princetown LHG a talk by Paul Rendell on Dartmoor’s History through Picture Postcards. Princetown Community Centre 7.30 P.M. The January 6th meeting will be our The New Year Party with mulled wine and a ‘bring and share supper’. Some power point presentations may be on show.
The meeting closed at 10.10 p.m.
A Demonstration of the versatility of Hand Bell Ringing was given to the group by Ian Campbell and three fellow members of The Guild of Devon Ringers.
Please click here to read about that demonstration