History Group Talk January 2012

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Our New Year Meeting also takes the form of a Party Night. This year it was a great success and Mike Wright gave an illustrated talk on some of his favourite places on Dartmoor that he entitled:- 

“Out & About on Dartmoor“.

Mike Wright and Richard Wells gave the group a guided walk around Haytor and the Granite Railway for the Peter Hirst Memorial Walk last August 29th. This Mike followed up by showing various photographs that he has taken of that area and at different times of the year. The granite railway itself is an interesting historical artefact and to see it in different seasons added to that interest. Into Yarner Woods and heather, bluebells and snowdrops all added to the spectacle. It was interesting to note that some of the photographs shown had been taken by the late Peter Hirst, and to think that they are now in safe hands and available to see again made the talk even more enjoyable.   Sights of the Stover Canal and the surrounding area brought back further memories of that day in August. Wild Hops growing nearby, the canal and the remains of the Lock Gates, the restoration that has been done and old photographs of the canal when it was in use made this a memorable evening.      Teigngrace Church, this is worth a visit. Unfortunately it is locked most of the time but if access can be obtained it very interesting. The interior is pale blue and it has many plaques relating to the Templar family on its walls. A church of unique character. Several slides were of sketches made in the mid 1800’s, 1861, a drawing of the Yarner Copper Mine and the ruins there about. 1857, a drawing of a ‘horse whim‘, we were told that something similar is being erected at Brimpts as part of an ongoing information project being undertaken by DTRG members. A drawing of the village at the foot of Haytor dated 1858, showing cottages, the quarry, and one building with a bell above the roof, possibly a chapel or school. A note on the sketch mentioned that ‘the young and women were paid 6d a day for breaking stones’. A 1925 coloured print of Haytor Quarry complete with cranes and trolleys for transporting the stones, all added to our knowledge of what that area looked like 100/150 years ago. To emphasise that there is so much more to see on Dartmoor, which so many miss, he produced a slide showing a Skylark’s nest, so cleverly camouflaged in the grass. Mike then looked at the wider scene of Dartmoor showing photographs of prehistoric stone rows, crosses and standing stones, the Devonport Leat, and scenes taken at the re-enactment of the Stannary Court at Crockern Tor. The final picture was of the four plaques produced for that Stannary Meeting, Ashburton, Plympton, Chagford and Tavistock being the Stannary Towns. He then posed the question - Where are they now?


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