History Group Minutes May 2009

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A Meeting of The Widecombe History Group was held at The Church House, Widecombe, on Wednesday 6th May 2009 at 9.00 p.m.
Apologies: Doug & Lynn Pigeon, Carl Heywood, Belinda & Tim Owen, Roger Whale, Dot       
                  Jim & Ruby Churchward, Betty Andrews, Margaret Phipps, Rodney Cruze, Tony & Barry Welch, and George Radford. Roger Claxton was in the chair and 42 members attended. The minutes of the April Meeting were read and signed as correct.  
Arising: Since the last meeting we have heard of the death of Rosemary Mudge and the secretary has been asked to write a letter to her husband Michael to express our sympathy, and make a donation to Huckaby Church in her memory.  
A card has been received from Ruby Churchward thanking the group for her 'get well card' and the flowers. Ruby's recovery is progressing slowly.  
Widecombe Fair Tuesday 8th September 2009: Peter & Aileen Carrett are progressing with the arrangements for this year's Fair. The Secretary is trying to obtain a Dartmoor Greyfaced Sheep's Fleece. Shan Palmes is arranging for a couple of her colleagues to help with the 'Fleece to Jumper' exhibition being staged in The Heritage Marquee this year. She would like the fleece soon so that she can prepare it for the event. The ‘Uncle Tom Cobley Mechanical Horse’ was shown at the meeting and it is now in working order again but needs a little more work to complete the restoration process. Thanks were expressed to those who have helped with the work. Sid Pontin for woodwork, Aileen Carrett for the painting, and Mike Wright for the restoration of all the mechanical workings. This is going to be a 'show stopper'. Other interesting exhibits will include; A look at weather in the parish in years past, tin mining on Dartmoor, with particular reference to Brimpts Tin Mines, 100 years of The Dartmoor Greyfaced Sheep, and other local projects.  
Archives: The details of the family tree of the Elford family of Sheepstor have been deposited in our archives. Some letters have been received from Michael Nosworthy concerning the Nosworthy/Norsworthy family connections. These too have been archived. A request has been received for access to The Nosworthy Book in our archives. It has been decided that if the person so wishes a copy could be made of its contents and sent to him subject to expenses being covered. Interest in Heathercombe Brake School continues. John Walling, and Alan & Mary Goodall, have acquired some postcards of Heathercombe Brake School and the Main House and have allowed copies to be sent to the interested parties. A DVD showing the bringing of electricity to Widecombe has also been deposited, thanks to the generosity of Christine Lamb.
Ref: Postcard 28th December 1920 in last month’s minutes, above each pillar in the interior of the church there is clearly seen the circular ‘laurel leaves with internal inscriptions‘. The words are indecipherable if anyone knows what they said, the group would like to know. A copy of a photograph of ‘Tin Miners at Golden Dagger Mine c1920 has been received. -
Guided Walks and Talks: The Shaldon & Ringmore Women's Institute members visited us recently and they enjoyed an excellent talk about North Hall, an insight into the production of our book 'One Hundred Years and more of Ponsworthy‘, and some of the history of Widecombe, with a guided walk around the village. They made a generous donation to our group funds as did the Babbacombe & St Marychurch Rotary when they visited us a couple of weeks later. Both groups purchased some of our publications.  
Annual One Day Outing to Cornwall 16th May: Ann Claxton reported that the coach was now full and a detailed itinerary for the day was distributed.  
North Hall / Glebe Farm: Interest in this site is continuing, and a recent visit to the parish by Bill Gilbert from New Foundland, has resulted in the decision to send him a copy of Peter Rennell’s recent presentation to the group. As he is an authority on Medieval History and associated buildings, it is to be hoped that he may be able to cast some additional light onto this project.
The Proposed Heritage and Educational Centre: Roger Claxton then reported on the progress so far with regards to the above. We would like to place on record the help and co-operation received from The Lustleigh Society. The Old Reading Room in the Old Rectory Yard is the proposed site. Negotiations are in hand with the Exeter Diocesan Committee to see if we can agree a rent, a mutually acceptable building restoration plan, a long lease, and a sustainable future for the building. The whole scheme will depend on the possibility of obtaining considerable grants from both national and local sources. In order that this can be achieved there are certain steps that will have to be taken. First we must maintain a membership list and an annual membership subscription should be paid to the group. To this end our treasurer produced a book for members to sign in, and pay a nominal membership sub of £1.00 at the May Meeting each year, or at the first meeting attended after that date. That membership subscription can be ‘gift aided’ by the signing of the necessary form, and all future donations to the group from those members thereafter, can also be beneficial to the group as a result.
The group has to have a ‘Constitution’ and a draft copy was circulated at this meeting for all to take home and read.  Members were asked to read it and make their comments and suggestions to Roger Claxton by the end of May, for consideration by the Committee, that had been elected at The AGM earlier that evening, for that purpose.
It is believed that The Ox's and Bucks Regiments billeted in The Old Reading room during WWII.  
Correspondence: Anthony Beard’s Devonshire Association Presidential Symposium held at Exeter on Saturday 25th April was a great success and he thanked those of the group who supported him. Email from Jerrod Lamshed of Australia regarding a William Lambshead and Honeywell Farm prompted members to relate that there is a Honeywell Methodist Chapel in Ilsington and a Derek Honeywell living nearby at Sigford. Secretary will pass this information on. A letter of thanks for a successful and enjoyable day has been received from Shaldon & Ringmore Women’s Institute for the day we gave them on Monday 27th April. Notice that Newton Abbot Museum has an exhibition about ‘Discover the John Lethbridge Story. A Newton Abbot man who salvaged the riches from sunken ships of The East India Companies in the 18th Century.  
Diary Dates: Saturday 16th May. Annual one day outing. Wednesday May 20th, The Lustleigh Society has a talk by Richard Field, on John Betjeman (Poet Laureate 1972-84). 7.30 p.m. in the Village Hall. Wednesday May 20th,  Moretonhampstead LHG have a talk on The Romans in Devon, by Derek Gore at 7.30 p.m. in The Community Club, Fore Street. 30th May - 28th June, Lyme Regis Museum presents an exhibition of Farming in East Devon, at Thomas Whitty House, Silver Street, Axminster, 11.00 a.m.- 4.00 p.m. daily except Mondays  Tuesday June 2nd, Princetown LHG have a guided walk led by Simon Dell looking at Set Makers Bankers. Meet at 7.00 p.m. at Rees Jefferies Car Park Grid 53905 75006. Wednesday June 3rd, a coffee morning will be held at Leusdon Memorial Hall from 10-12 noon.
Wednesday June 3rd is the date of our next meeting, in The Church House, Widecombe, at 7.30 p.m. when Jane Marchand, Archaeologist at The Dartmoor National Park, will give an illustrated talk on “Protecting Dartmoor’s Past”.
Saturday 27th & Sunday 28th June Rachel Belgrave & Heather Garner are opening their garden at The Old Rectory, Widecombe, to help raise funds for our Heritage Project. Members will help with the teas and cakes and we can run a book stall. Gates open from 2.00 to 5.00 p.m. Wednesday 1st July, we shall have an illustrated talk on Devon Watermills by Mill Historian and Millwright, Martin Watts . 
The meeting closed at 10.10 p.m.  
There followed a talk postponed from February given by Dr. Ian Mortimer entitled "Time Traveller's Guide to Widecombe"                                             Please click here to access that talk

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