History Group Minutes July 2012

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A Meeting of The Widecombe History Group was held at the Church House, Widecombe on Wednesday 4th July 2012 at 7.30 p.m.
Charity No: 1144684

Apologies: Derek & Lynn Hext, Sid & Jo Pontin, Mavis & Rick Clipson, Joy Routley, Joan Brooks, Rodney & Wendy Cruze, and Alan & Mary Goodall.
Mrs Sue Boustead was in the chair and 59 members attended.
The Chairman began by welcoming two new members and a visitor to the meeting.
The minutes of the June meeting were read and signed as correct.
The Secretary gave a résumé of the Management Committee meeting held on 22nd June which included the fact that £74 had been donated to the church as their part of the sale of paperweights made from scrap lead during the past year. Richard Casey will be photographing all inscribed stones and plaques within the church and the churchyard. Three trustees are meeting with DNPA to review the idea of an information centre for the village in co-operation with The North Hall Manor Site. The possibility of land owners and farmers allowing field walks on any of their ploughed fields will be investigated. Any artifacts found would be the property of the land owner. They approved a programme of walks, talks and outings for the next twelve months. Over 3000 images have now been digitised from the Parish Chest. The possibility of creating an oral/visual history of people within the Parish is also being considered. * Support for the idea of encouraging the WPC to try and purchase for the parish the ‘playing field’ formally the site of North Hall Cafe was agreed.
Arising from the June minutes:
Widecombe Fair 11th September 2012:  Peter & Aileen Carrett, our Heritage Marquee co-ordinators, reported that good progress has been made with this. They handed around three lists for members to sign up to volunteer to assist with setting upon Monday 10th from 2.00 p.m., clearing up at 5.00 p.m. on the 11th and also drawing up a ROTA of people prepared to help ‘man’ the marquee in two hour shifts during the actual Fair Day. It is understood that they had a very good response. Peter Rennells is still seeking more information on former policemen of Widecombe. Any information please ‘phone 01364 621302.
History as it Happens:   Ted Hannaford died recently and his body was buried in the new churchyard on 28th June. The Hannaford family had lived in the parish for several generations. Ted & his sister Deborah moved to Kenn about 15 years ago.  There was a serious fire at Holwell Farm on Tuesday 3rd July. No one was hurt but considerable damage was done to farm buildings. The Tenor bell was brought down from the tower as it was thought to have developed a crack. After careful inspection it was found to be a ‘saw mark’ made during it previous work on the bell. The bell will be re-hung again soon. Rev. Geoffrey Fenton and Anthony Beard have recently recorded an item for the BBC with Ann Widdicombe about our church. This will be broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on Monday 9th July at 4.00 p.m.  On Monday 11th June the group gave a guided walk to members of The Plymouth Archaeological Society. During the time spent in church, Peter Brooks, of the group, was interested in a carved wooden panel, (in our church guide stated as a reredos), which he considers to be a ‘tester’, (a headboard of an old bed). He is looking into the history of items of this type and will report back to us.  It was donated to the church by Miss Winifred Penn-Gaskell in memory of members of her family. Miss Penn-Gaskell was an avid Philatelist and her collection of stamps devoted to early flight listed as “The Penn-Gaskell Collection of Aeronautica”, is in The British Museum.   We hope to get this authenticated before we re-publish the Church Guide. We are also researching other items on view in the church.
Heritage Centre: This scheme is dragging on. It is to be hoped that after the meeting at Parke on Thursday 5th July progress can be made. The WPC are still supporting us in this project. ( see above *) The Management Committee of WHG will consider this at their next meeting scheduled for Wednesday 15th August at 7.00 p.m.
North Hall Dig:  This is scheduled for the week beginning Monday 16th July - Friday 20th July. This will culminate in an open day on Saturday 21st July at the site to show any finds and explain any conclusions made as a result of the week’s efforts.  It must be emphasised that this whole exercise would never have been undertaken if it had not been for 14 years of serious research and investigation made by Peter Rennells, a member of Widecombe History Group, and the financial support from WHG over that time in enabling Peter to continue his investigations.  There is the question of whether Peter’s written work should be copyrighted?
Digitising: This is still an ongoing exercise and we are on course to complete the Parish Chest by December 013. We shall of course review dates in twelve months time. We are still only half way through the exercise.
Diary Dates: Friday 6th July there will be a guided walk around parts of Exeter. Meet at The West Door of the Cathedral at 2.00 p.m. Monday 16th July - Friday 20th July a community ‘dig’ at North Hall. 10.30 a.m. start each day. Saturday 21st July an open day at the North Hall site to hear the conclusions of the ‘dig’. Saturday 21st July Dustina Wessman-Smerdon will present a slide show and photographic display at Leusdon Memorial Hall from 2.00 p.m. based on her interviews with local residents of Dartmoor recorded last September. Saturday 21st July a silent film “A Cottage on Dartmoor” will be shown at The Church House, Widecombe at 7.00 p.m.  admission £5. Details from Aune Head Arts 01364 72046. Wednesday 18th July a guided walk around Whiteworks meet near the site at 6.30 p.m. Friday 19th July a talk at Shilstone, Modbury at 10.30 a.m. on how to Decipher Historic Documents, the cost is £8 and if you require lunch a further £5 01548 830832 for details. Wednesday 1st August there will be a coffee morning at Leusdon Memorial Hall 10.00 a.m. Wednesday 1st August our monthly meeting at The Church House, Widecombe at 7.30 p.m. when preparations for Widecombe Fair will be finalised and a talk will be given by Mike Wright & Pat Watson of the work of the DTRG. Wednesday 29th August the Peter Hirst Memorial walk organised by Mike Wright & Richard Wells. Sunday 2nd September The Kelly Mine at Lustleigh will hold an open day 10.30 a.m. - 4.30 p.m. Wednesday 5th September a coffee morning at Leusdon Memorial Hall at 10.00 p.m. Wednesday 5th September at 7.30 p.m. our monthly meeting when Terry Faull will give a talk on The Swing Riots. Tuesday 11th September - Widecombe Fair.
Hadley Page Hampden Bomber, X 3054 49 Squadron.  We were informed by John Lowe of much of the details surrounding the crash of a Hampden Bomber on Hameldown in 1941. A memorial stone is at the sight with the initials of the crew who died that day. John is researching the whole episode and is still seeking more information on the men and their mission. If anyone can add to his research he would greatly appreciate it. Photographs of the men, memorabilia of the crash etc. Crashed, late evening, Friday, 21st March 1941, Hameldown Tor, Dartmoor-no survivors. Researching the Hampden crash has proved to be a fascinating and rewarding journey. He has been in touch with a person who actually flew in these aircraft as a Wireless Operator/ Air Gunner, from the same Squadron, in the same year but unfortunately six months after the crew of X3054 had been killed on Hameldown. It was at that stage that the quest became very real; to see the cramped working conditions that the young men of Bomber Command endured, immediately lead to a new sense of appreciation for what they had gone through. Official sources of information that relates to this aircraft and crew, is perhaps now exhausted, however, it is always likely that something may have been overlooked. What now is of great interest is hearing from others who were there living at the time near the location of the crash. They would have been rather young in March 1941! Therefore the request is simple; can anyone remember anything about that particular crash and if so, would they be willing to pass on what they know please. Contact him on 01395 278279 or direct at lowe529@btinternet.com or through our website.
A.O.B.:  Where are the old Widecombe ‘Tug ‘o War’ Trophies originally in The Old Inn? A copy of the team photograph of Spitchwick Rovers A.F.C. of 1921 was given to the group for our archives. We need the name of the man in the trilby hat! A newspaper cutting 13th Sept 1967 regarding the Beatles tour of Devon states “Previously they attempted to go to Widecombe Fair, but their coach was too large to negotiate the narrow lanes”. In fact it got stuck on New Bridge. Jamie Dunbar of Dartmoor Archives is hoping to create a monthly newsletter. Anyone wishing to contribute or volunteer to help with the archives contact Jamie on 01752 837265 An enquiry regards a guided walk around Widecombe on January 2013. Jane Marchant DNPA informed the group that the “D” stone at Kingshead Corner will be re-erected by Andy Cribbett within the next couple of weeks Doug Pidgeon has been searching for a copy of a film made around Burrator c1973 in which he had to fell a tree onto a camera fixed on the ground. Doug hopes to get a copy soon and after watching it, he may decide, that the group ought to view it. If so we will have to contact SWFTA 01752 202650 first to see if we can get permission to show it to our members.  Some further office equipment has been offered to the group. Currently we do not have space for it.
                                    A talk then followed given by Andy Crabbe.

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                                                  The meeting closed at 10.15 p.m.

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