History Group Minutes September 2011


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A Meeting of The Widecombe History Group was held at The Church House, Widecombe on Wednesday 7th September 2011 at 7.30 p.m.

Apologies:          Roger Whale, Dot Jones, Barry & Tanya Welch, Terry French, Dougie & Lynne Pidgeon, Carl Heywood, Patrick Garvey, Rosemary Mortimore, Barbara Norrish, Rodney Cruze, Alan & Mary Goodall, Mavis & Rick Clipson. 

Mrs Sue Boustead was in the chair and 48 members attended.

The minutes of the August Meeting were read and signed as correct. Five new members attended including Dustina Wessman-Smerdon and Travis Sherbine from New York. They are here on a working holiday staying with Dustina’s grandmother Ena Smerdon at Ponsworthy.  They are hoping to record some of the history of the parish, and Dartmoor in general, to take back with them to the States.  Arising:    Widecombe Fair Tuesday 13th September 2011:  Peter and Aileen Carrett reported that all arrangements for this years exhibition in The Heritage Marquee were well in hand. Items include The Uncle Tom Mechanical Model, a model waterwheel, kitchen memorabilia, help with family tree research, old census forms, a model of an old Dartmoor Longhouse, lace making demonstration, and local public transport of bygone years, will all feature in the exhibition. Members were asked to turn up at 2.00 p.m. on Monday 12th September, on the field to help with setting up the exhibition. They will be needed as well to man it on the day, and help with the clearing up after the fair, on Tuesday at 5.00 p.m. Steward’s badges have been produced for members to wear on the day. Please return them to Sue at the end of the day so that we have them for future use. It has been suggested that we ought to have a short video of the moving mechanical Uncle Tom Cobley model, on our website, this idea will be explored.  

North Hall:  Peter Rennells gave us an up to date résumé of his research.  He is currently in discussion with some eminent archaeologists on the interpretation of the ‘crop marks’ in North Hall Moor. Their initial response is that the exterior marks could represent an old ‘pound wall’ as at Grimspound. The possibility of one or two hut circles associated with that should not be discounted. The interior rectangular marks could be Medieval in origin. The efforts to fully understand this area will go on for years.  There is believed to be another type of exploration available. ‘Radar’? We must find out more!  Peter will continue to keep Margaret Rogers and Michael Lamb informed of his findings and he hopes to persuade them to hold a ‘Wassail Ceremony’ there on 20th January 2012 to include the village school children. We feel that local children must be encouraged to recognise their heritage both actual and folklore. 

Archives: As at most of our meetings further items to archive come to light and Richard Wells is desperate for more storage. If our plans for a Heritage and Educational Centre ever come into being this would be made so much easier. We await with interest the arrival of ten coloured slides picturing Widecombe, which have been offered to us by Mrs M. Hamilton. We have received some items regarding Beatrice Chase (Olive Katherine Parr) which we shall soon exhibit in our display cabinets in church. Our thanks to Mrs E. Brown for her kind donation.  We have acquired a copy of the common's registration of Widecombe Village Green, dated 25th July 1972.  

Dartmoor National Park Authority: We have tried to help the DNPA in their search for storage of a wonderful collection of ‘Old Farm Implements’ that have to be removed from Bullaton Farm near Hennock. We understand that a temporary solution has been found for some items. They have some ‘mining tools’ we believe, and it was suggested that the secretary contacts Kelly Mines at Lustleigh to see if they are interested and if so put them in contact with DNPA. We have not heard anything more about the parcels of land that DNPA are aiming to dispose of, including The Old North Hall Cafe site, or the sighting of our proposed Centre.  There is a Parish Council Meeting scheduled for Thursday 8th September and the secretary will attend to see if further information on either of these cases are discussed.

Heritage and Educational Centre:  We await contact from The Parish Council, and Teignbridge District Council on this matter. Time ‘Drags On’, this is so frustrating as the interest in this project is still strong within the group, and our member’s aim is for this to be of benefit to the community.

Digitising of Parish Records: After a short break this is being recommenced. Tuesdays and Wednesdays are being made available to our digitising teams, commencing on Tuesday 20th and Wednesday 21st September. There will be three sessions a day. 10.00a.m.-1.00p.m., 2.00p.m.-5.00p.m., & 6.00p.m.-9.00p.m. Teams are asked to contact Roger & Ann Claxton, co-ordinators, to arrange the times most suitable to them. Moretonhampstead LHG are interested in seeing how we have approached our digitising project.

History as it Happens: The Tour of Britain Cycle Race will pass through the Parish on Thursday 15th September. There has recently been a ‘Hot Air Balloon Festival’ at Tavistock.

Walks & Talks: Ann Claxton was thanked for arranging the trip to Sharpham. The question of whether there is any truth in the story that the house had a ‘calendar’ connection, 365 window panes, 52 windows etc was raised and Dr Steve Hazell replied that he has heard of this but cannot find anything to bare this out. The Peter Hirst Memorial Walk was held on Monday 29th August led once again by Mike & Mo Wright and Richards Wells. It was very well attended. 27 members and friends walked the Granite Railway from Haytor to Yarner Woods and 14 members went on to walk the stretch of Stover Canal from Teigngrace to the Bovey Basin, where the railway meets the canal. They were thanked for a very interesting and informative walk. We shall be giving The Plympton Civic Society a guided walk around Widecombe on Friday 16th September at 11.00 a.m. for about two hours.  The guided walk scheduled for Thursday 22nd September for Exeter Red Coats has been cancelled.

Meltor Cartwheel rolling c 1963: We are still searching for a photograph of this event.  Several members expressed an interest in trying to trace a copy.

Correspondence and emails: As per normal the secretary has answered numerous emails and letters during the past month and some of the most interesting he brought to the meeting. 

a.            Peter Mason of Lustleigh is in search of photographs of community activities on Dartmoor.Contact him on 01647 227498. 

b.            Dr Urchin Kennedy of USA, is coming to Widecombe Fair in search of details of the Norrish, Easterbrook, Andrews & Barter families of this locality. We hope that we can help.

c.            Professor Howard Williams of Chester University, has enquired about the inscriptions in Widecombe Churchyard, headstones etc. We do have a copy of research done by the late Iris Woods of Widecombe Women’s Institute (now disbanded) assisted by other members including  Ruth Parnell a member of our group. We will get the book out of our archives and give him details. 

Future Programmes:  Marcia Babington has taken on the task of organising our future programmes. Aileen Carrett, Mary Pascoe and Wendy Beard will assist her. She has already organised the programme to May 2012, our AGM, and is currently working on the May 2012 to May 2013, series of speakers and outings. Any members with ideas of speakers, places of interest for walks, suggestions for outings etc, are welcome to give details to Marcia, so that she can add them to her file for future reference.

Diary Dates:  The following were brought to the notice of members.  Tuesday 13th September, Widecombe Fair.  Friday 16th September, walk at Widecombe for Plympton Civic Society.  Saturday 24th September, our outing to Honiton and Lyme Regis. Leaving Widecombe at 8.30 a.m.  The cost is £18 contact Ann on 01364 621232 as there are a few seats still available.  Saturday 24th September, at Buckland Abbey there will be two performances of “The John Ford Story” by The Med Theatre 2.30p.m. & 7.30p.m. contact 01647 441356. Tuesday 4th October, Princetown LHG when Jenny Sanders will talk on Longhouses of the South West. Wednesday 5th October, coffee morning at Leusdon Memorial hall in aid of hall funds. Wednesday 5th October, is our monthly meeting when Tim Berry will give an illustrated talk on Ancient Tramways. Thursday 6th October, at Shilstone Modbury a talk on Poltimore House. Contact 01548 830832 for details. Saturday 8th October, The Devon History Society’s AGM at St Luke’s Campus, Exeter University. Tuesday 1st November, Princetown LHG when Dr Tom Greeves will talk about East Okement Farm. Wednesday 2nd November, coffee morning at Leusdon Memorial Hall. Wednesday 2nd November, our monthly meeting when Dr Tom Greeves will give an illustrated talk on ‘Four Willsworthy Farms’. Thursday 3rd November, a talk at Shilstone, Modbury. Parterres to Cowpats. 01548 830832 Wednesday 23rd November, the Dartmoor Society’s Lecture at Bovey Tracey, ‘phone 01822 617004. Thursday 1st December, a talk on Westcountry Farms. 01548 830832. Tuesday 6th December, Princetown LHG AGM at The Prince of Wales Pub. Wednesday 7th December, coffee morning at Leusdon Memorial Hall. Wednesday 7th December, our monthly meeting when Dr Todd Gray will give an illustrated talk on Christmas in Devon. 

The meeting closed at 10.25p.m.

During the evening this month we had an interesting illustrated talk given by Sue Andrews on Roof Bosses of Devon Churches to include Widecombe Parish Church.

Please click here to access that talk


The information on this page was last modified on March 14 2013 08:58:36.