History Group Minutes October 2009


A Meeting of The Widecombe History Group was held at The Church House Widecombe on Wednesday 7th October 2009 at 7.30 p.m. 

Apologies: Carl Heywood, Doug & Lynn Pidgeon, Peter Rennells, Jim & Ruby Churchward, Betty Andrews, Roger Whale, Dot Jones, Roger & Pat Dickinson, Bessie French, Jenny Pascoe, Rick & Mavis Clipson, Syd & Jo Pontin, Lyn & Derek Hext and Barbara Norrish.

Mr Roger Claxton was in the chair and 30 members attended. The minutes of the September meeting were read and signed as correct.

Arising: Widecombe Fair 8th September 2009: Aileen & Peter Carrettreported on a very successful exhibition held in The Heritage Marquee this year. The Uncle Tom Cobley Mechanical Modelwas successfully demonstrated every hour outside the marquee and created a great deal of interest. It did in fact feature on 'Spotlight', local television, that evening. It also made news in the local papers. Christine Playdell, grand-daughter of the late Harry Price who created the model, came to the Fair, and she wrote to the Group afterwards expressing her delight at seeing the model working again. We now have the model in our care. It has to be recognized that without the 250 hours of concentrated voluntary work by Mike Wright, Syd Pontin and Aileen Carrett this would never have been achieved. How do we now keep it in it's pristine condition? Mike Wright has been asked to look into getting a dust-proof see through cover made to 'house' it. After discussion he was given the 'go-a-head' to get this done. The cost is expected to be £100 - £130. The 'Fleece to Rug' exhibition, where wool from a Greyfaced Dartmoor Ewe was spun and then woven into a small rug, caused considerable interest with many visitors trying their hand at both spinning and weaving. The rug was finally sold for £120 which was bought by local man Mr Jez Wilkinson, the proceeds were then donated by the Group to Leusdon Church Funds. A letter of thanks has been received from their P. C. Council. Our book stall did well and several people added their reminiscences to our 'Book of Memories' of Widecombe Fair. A DVD was given to the Group of past Fairs by Mr Wood and a 'Dartmouth Pottery Tea Set' was donated to our collection of artifacts by Mrs Kingdom of South Molton. They have both been sent letters of thanks. Similarly, letters of thanks have been sent to Alan Munshall for his generosity in loaning his collection of sheep shearing equipment and to the ladies who did the spinning and weaving which added so much to our demonstrations. A message from Graham and Edith Woolard, who visited Widecombe Fair this year, to say they have copy of Harry Price’s ‘1901 Royal Tour Book’ that they are going to give the group when they visit next year. We now have to look forward to Widecombe Fair 14th September 2010and plan our next theme for that exhibition. Peter and Aileen Carrett asked for two fresh volunteers to take on the organising of the marquee for 2010, as they are unable to do the initial planning. They are still prepared to help, but thoughts and ideas as well as plans need to be started soon.The planning needs to be started soon and they are not able to do it this year. Themes suggested could be:- Apples to cider and juice, Honiton Lace, Bees and honey, Wood turning, or Rope making and other Old Country Crafts. Will a couple of volunteers please come forward sooner rather than later. A vote of thanks was recorded to everyone who was involved with this years exhibition. This truly was an exercise in team co-operation and initiative! A contact could be for apple pressing:- www.orchardlink.org.uk

Archives: Richard Wells our Archivist, reported that several items had been archived this month including a copy of a new book on the area. Bonehill by Dr Tim Whitten. Looking at the past thousand years or so of that hamlet in the parish of Widecombe. A great deal of information is in this book in relation to Widecombe Town Manor, the local manor in which Bonehill is situated and the sources of the information gathered is also noted. This will be of immense help to other researchers wishing to obtain information on the parish. A ‘Pears Soap’ catalogue of 1911containing the words, music and four coloured plates illustrating Widecombe Fair, has been donated to the group by Mr & Mrs Bond of Chagford.

North Hall / Glebe Farm: Valerie and Richard Casey who own part of the 'Old North Hall' site recently replaced their septic tank but nothing of interest was found during the site excavating operation. They are keen that the Group should continue to have access to their ground to further research North Hall's History. This includes part of the old ’moat’ and ’fishpond’. Michael Lamb and Margaret Rogers have requested a meeting soon with Peter Rennells and the secretary and the Chairman to review their portion of the site, which includes the Old Orchard, Manor House standings and the area on which the ‘crop marks’ showed up in 1946.

Kingshead Corner "D" Stone: The secretary has submitted an application form for a small grant to The Dartmoor National Park Authority to upright/ re-erect the stone in question and to examine the possibility of further 'boundary stones' in that area. It is understood that DNPA are keen to assist in this project.

Devon Federation of Women’s Institutes:  We once again entertained about 80 members of the DFWI on Monday 21st September. After tea & coffee at 10.30 a.m. we gave them three presentations about the history of Widecombe. The ladies then went to lunch and at 2.00 p.m. we took them on a guided walk around the village and gave them a cup of tea before they went home. We record our thanks to them for their generous donations made to our group and their support in purchasing our publications etc. 

The Old Reading room / Heritage and Educational Centre: The Chairman reported that we are still awaiting a response from The Totnes Archdeaconry Glebe Committee. They are meeting on 15th October to discuss our proposal. They have requested a full review of the site which we understand has been done by Jonathan Aylett of Michelmore Hughes of Totnes. We have written to them again, prior to their meeting, expressing our continued interest in the site for a heritage centre and offering to meet with them at a time to suit them, to carry the discussion further and negotiate a possible agreement.

Correspondence / E-mails:
The secretary has answered several letters and e-mails during the past month including queries about the Leaman family. Details of that correspondence has been passed between Leaman researchers and will also be shared with other members who are interested parties. @
Diary Dates: Sunday 11th October, Hennock's Apple Day from 11.00 a.m. in West Hele Barn.
Wednesday 14th October, a visit to Newton Abbot Museum which is at The Town Hall, 9 Devon Square, Newton Abbot. Meet there at 7.30 p.m. Saturday 17th October,AGM of Friends of Devon's Archives 10.00 a.m. at County Hall Exeter. Annual Subscription now due £10. Thursday 29th October,we have received an invitation from The Devon Rural Archive, to attend a meeting at Shilstone, Modbury, at 6.00 p.m. to view some of their photographs etc. Contact the secretary if you are interested in attending 01364 621246. www.devonruralarchive.com Saturday 31st October,Grand Fireworks event at Widecombe Fair Field. Adults £5, Children £2.50. Tuesday 3rd November,Princetown LHG have a talk by Tom Greeves on Stories of Some Farms at Willsworthy.   
Wednesday 4th November,Coffee Morning at Leusdon Memorial Hall 10.00a.m. Wednesday 4th November,Widecombe LHG have a talk by John Allen on The Building of Exeter Cathedral. This will be followed on - Friday 6th November by a guided walk around The Custom House and Exeter Cathedral. Meet at The Quay at 1.00 p.m. Thursday 12th November,Newton Abbot D. A. at Town Hall 2.15 p.m. a talk by Alan Salsbury on 'The History of the Torbay Lifeboat'. Wednesday 18th November Moretonhampstead LHG 7.30 p.m. at The Community Club a talk by Todd Gray on ‘Dolly Mops & Lady Girls: ‘Victorian Prostitutes in Devon’ Wednesday 25th November,Lustleigh Soc. at 7.45 p.m. AGM followed by talk by Monica Scott on History & Legends of Christmas.  Tuesday 1st December, Princetown LHG, AGM and Christmas Meeting. 7.30p.m. at The School. Wednesday 2nd December, Coffee Morning at Leusdon Memorial Hall 10.00 a.m. Wednesday 2nd December, Widecombe LHG have a talk and demonstration by Ian Campbell and friends on 'Hand bells and their music'. Thursday 10th December, 'Carols Down the Line' with Dart Valley Railway. Meet at Buckfastleigh Station at 7.00 p.m. This is joint venture with Widecombe Ladies Social Club. Book your seat & pay at 4th November Meeting. £7.00 per person
                                      The above meeting closed at 10.07 p.m.
N. B.
An Extraordinary General Meeting was then opened at 10.08 p.m. to formally approve two small amendments to our constitution which it is hoped will satisfy Her Majesty’s Custom & Excise.
They required a further mention of the word education as being part of our objects in order for us to obtain ‘charitable status’ to enable the group to register for ‘Gift Aid‘.
It was proposed by Peter Carrett and seconded by Patrick Watson that the amendments should be approved. The proposition was carried unanimously.
                                             This meeting closed at 10.21 p.m.
A copy of the amended constitution is attached to the minutes in our minute book signed and dated by our chairman Mr Roger Claxton.

 There followed a talk entitled My early Days in the Royal Navy given by Commander Richard Crichton retired.

Please click here to access that talk

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