History Group Minutes August 2010

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A Meeting of The Widecombe History Group was held at The Church House, Widecombe on Wednesday 4th August 2010 at 7.30 p.m.
Apologies:- Margaret Phipps, Mike & Mo Wright, Peter & Belinda Owen, Doug & Lyn Pidgeon, Karl Haywood, Derek & Lyn Hext. Dawn Nosworthy, Barbara Norrish, Joy Routley, Joan Brookes Ann Murphy, Alan & Mary Goodall, Mavis & Rick Clipson, Barry & Tanya Welch, Ruth Parnell, Pat & Val Watson, Dot Jones, Syd & Jo Pontin, Rose Mortimore and Roger & Pat Dickinson.
Mr Terry French was in the chair and 25 members attended.
The minutes of the July meeting were read and signed as correct.
Arising: Widecombe Fair 14 September 2010: Rodney Cruze reported on the progress towards this year's Fair. Peter Rennells had made a plan of the marquee and copies were distributed. The themes this year are haulage firms of the parish, W. F. Miners & Sons, Harris & Miners, and Brian Harris, thatching including a rolling slide show of thatching scenes, wildlife, census, the life and works of Eden Phillpotts including excerpts of his play ‘The Farmer's Wife’ made into a silent film by Alfred Hitchcock (believed to be his first film), demonstrations of the Uncle Tom Cobley Model, and information and book sales. Maggie Faulkner has had a great deal of help compiling her display relating to Eden Phillpotts from John Walling and Sue Boustead who have loaned elements of their collections. We have ample supply of our publications ready for the sales table and there is a need to produce more paper weights. Postcards and leaflets of the model will also be available. It was agreed that the Group should purchase some promotional pens to sell for funds. It was decided that they be green with white writing stating ‘Widecombe History Group’ and our web-site address. We must ensure that an electricity supply is available to our marquee.
Group Equipment: Our latest acquisitions, a laptop computer, and the projector were demonstrated to the meeting so that members could see how they will be used to feature at Widecombe Fair. A DVD of various maps of the parish, recently received from John Draisey of DRO was shown and will be again at a future meeting.
Village events 16/17 October 2010: We are awaiting more information from Pam Thomas, Manager of The National Trust shop at Widecombe. We have agreed to stage an exhibition of historic implements. Further contact with the owners of North Hall regarding apple juice production from their orchard will be needed nearer the time.
Belvedere: Peter and Aileen Carrett were thanked for organising the Group visit to Belvedere, at the top of Haldon Hill and for their production of a folder commemorating the visit. 
Widecombe Church House Management Committee: The Committee are allowing us to place extra storage cabinets in the Church House and it was decided to purchase two four-drawer filing cabinets. Richard Wells will oversee the purchase of these. The 'Widecombe Shell' situated under the pentice of the Church House: The Widecombe Parish Council have written asking for  details of the history of the Shell. It has been proposed that the shell outside the Church House be used to collect money for a military charity. The Secretary has replied that it was donated to the parish at the end of W.W.I as a thank you to the parish for collecting sphagnum moss which was used for dressing wounds. The moss contains certain medical properties similar to iodine and when dry is reputed to absorb ten times its volume in liquid. It was decided that we would not be in favour of it being mutilated into a collection box and it would become a temptation to some to break it open. If a collection box could be positioned nearby and The National Trust offer to empty it each day, that could work. 
Widecombe Heritage and Educational Centre: The Group is still hoping to achieve this. A letter was received from Widecombe in the Moor Parochial Church Council and was read to the meeting and will be attached to this month's minutes. It stated that they were unable at this time to allocate an area of the North aisle, in which to store our memorabilia. "The request in our letter was for the South West corner of the South Aisle". They would however like us to continue to exhibit in our display cabinets items of interest to visitors and village. This may be increased by placing a poster display stand (similar to the one in Buckland in the Moor Church). The Group was thanked for their continued interest and support of the Church. It has been suggested that the Widecombe Church House and Lands Charity should look into the possibility of purchasing the Old Vicarage Yard. Roger Claxton suggested that while we are awaiting further development regarding the Centre, we should continue with our other aims.
1. Exhibitions, this we do on occasions in the Church House, the Church and at Widecombe Fair.
2. Making available information, we do this as we answer enquiries.
3. Digitising our Archives so as to make them more accessible to researchers. 
To progress with the digitising, he suggested that during the coming winter we should try to make a start with this project. We have the possibility of hiring the Church House for this purpose and we need to compile a list of members willing to help. After his help last year with our demonstrations, it was suggested that we should contact Mr. Ian Minshull of Lamerton to see if he has any thatching memorabilia.
North Hall: Peter Rennells gave an update on recent activity on the North Hall site. He thanked Margaret and Michael for holding a site meeting there on the 15th July when two Archaeologists from Dartmoor National Park visited the site. The Orchard is being re-planted with approximately forty extra apple trees, including some 'old local varieties'. A slate well has been uncovered in North Hall Moor (the field with the ‘crop marks‘) and a walk around ‘Bartons’ an adjoining area revealed what could possibly be described as an old Arboretum, with a variety of interesting trees, elements of open cast tin mining is also evident there. The Well is six feet long by two feet wide by three feet deep and covered by three large slates. The slates appear to be of a type quarried in the Diptford and South Brent area, the Well is lined and Robert Waterhouse considers that it may date from c.1861 when wealthy people began being concerned about the quality and cleanliness of their drinking water. There is a possibility that clay pipes, and in some cases pipes made from elm, were used in conjunction with wells of this type. Further exploration needed. Michael and Margaret would like to know what input Widecombe History Group would like in connection with North Hall. We suggested - in January a Wassail Ceremony in the Orchard and in the Autumn an Apple Juice/Cider making event in which the local School children should be encouraged to participate.
Correspondence / emails: We are continuing to get letters and emails, the secretary answers them each month as best he can. When enquiries need further  investigation he brings them to the meetings and this month there was one such query. An email from a Mr Bill Hart regarding military connections with the parish during the 1939/45 War.  His father was in B Company 145 Field Ambulance Territorial Unit from Birmingham, billeted at a cafe in Widecombe. Any details would be appreciated. We do know that The Ox’s & Buck’s were also billeted here and that The Wayside Cafe, The Green Cafe and The Church House were used during the war. We know of one local girl that married a soldier and we will look into other possibilities.  It was suggested by members that there should be a R. A. M. C. Regimental Diary which he should review. Parish Council Minutes and Church Records could also be a source of information. We shall do some research and pass what information we can secure on to him and this could also add to our knowledge of those years of parish life.
Diary Dates: Sunday 29th August: Peter Hirst Memorial Walk. Meet at  Challacombe, 2.00 p.m. for a stroll around the medieval farmstead  with Debbie Griffiths of the DNPA together with a look at tin mining evidence in the vicinity with members of the DTRG. Wednesday 1st September: Leusdon Memorial Hall Coffee Morning in aid of MacMillan Trust, 10.00 a.m. Wednesday 1st September: Our monthly meeting, the Speaker will be Todd Gray and the subject - The New directions of Devon’s History. Tuesday  7th.September:Princetown History Group have a talk with Simon Dell on the Ten Tors Challenge.
Tuesday 5th October: Princetown History Group have a talk by Derek Gore on The Vikings in Devon Wednesday 6th October: Our October meeting - an illustrated talk on The  history of Paignton Zoo, the Whitley Wildlife Trust and Herbert Whitley will be given by a member of the Education Department of Paignton Zoo.
                                   The meeting closed at 10.15 p.m.



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