History Group Minutes February 2013


A Meeting of the Widecombe History Group was held at The Church House, Widecombe, on Wednesday, 6th February 2013 at 7.30pm.
Apologies:  Kirsty and Alun Peake, Patrick Garvey, John Kimber, Alan and Mary Goodall, Geoffrey Fenton, Doug and Lynne Pidgeon, John and Zera Lowe, Tanya and Barry Welch, Mavis Clipson, Ann Claxton, Pat Watson, Rosemary Mortimore, Joy Routley, Barbara Norrish and Joan Brooks. 
The Group sent their best wishes to Joy Routley who is unwell and presently in Newton Abbot Hospital.
The Chairman, Sue Boustead, read a newspaper clipping from the Down the Decades section of the Mid Devon Advertiser.  On 29th January 1938, Newton Abbot Rural District Council discussed the failure of Torquay Corporation to supply electricity to Widecombe-in-the-Moor.  She also read an amusing poem entitled “Rain” – very appropriate after the very wet weather recently. 
Anthony has asked Sue Booty to assist with the minutes of the monthly meeting.
The Minutes of the January meeting were read and signed. 
Matters Arising:
• Alan Brunton, who has recently retired, has donated some of our books from stock and also ten copies of the book, Early Dartmoor Farmhouses and Longhouses in Widecombe for the Group to sell. 
• Marcia Babington has organised the new Programme of Events from May 2013 onwards.  This will be available in April.  The Secretary expressed the Group’s thanks to Marcia and her team for arranging these events and asked Members to let Marcia know of any ideas for future events.
• The Churchyard Survey:  Richard Casey has completed a photographic survey of the new part of the churchyard.  Wendy Beard and Mary Pascoe will compile written records to go with the previous survey which has already been digitised. 
History As It Happens:
Some local roads are in very had repair after the latest period of heavy rain.   An open meeting was held in Widecombe on 5th February concerning the proposed closure of the wards at Ashburton and Bovey Tracey Hospitals.  There are 25 beds in the new Newton Abbot Hospital to fill.  The feeling of the meeting was that this was a short sighted plan and that the 25 beds in Newton Abbot would be needed for the increasing population of Newton Abbot.  These local hospitals were needed.  The Widecombe Post Office has been moved from The Green Café to The Shop on the Green.  On 1st February, a Soup & Music evening was held for all users of the Church House in aid of their funds.  This was very well attended.
Digitising:  Roger Claxton reported that the digitising was going well.  There were now 8,000 images and 800 catalogued items on the database.

The topic for the July meeting has been amended.  John and Zena Lowe asked if they could talk about the wartime aircrash on Hameldown as new information has come to light, instead of the proposed topic of Exmouth Lifeboat.  This was agreed.
Newsletter:  Joanna Radford has offered to take on the task of producing the Goup’s six monthly Newsletter and the Secretary expressed his thanks to her.  He asked the Group Members to support Joanna by giving short items about different topics and projects.
Emails and Correspondence:
The email from last month about the Hext family was discussed.  More information had been discovered through the Mid Devon Advertiser and various clippings had been received.  These uncovered a sad story about a farmer and his wife who lived at Bembridge, Woodland.  The farmer,  Henry Herman Hext, had sent his workman to Newton Abbot with livestock but on the workman’s return he found the wife, Elizabeth Hext, had been shot dead and the farmer had hanged himself nearby.  They left three children.  Following last month’s query about afforestation on Pudsham Down, Patrick Simpson and Rosemary Howell had been unable to provide any information on this.  Rosemary confirmed that Fountain Forestry did not buy land to plant up, but merely advised owners and managed their projects.  Rosemary has written a book “Fountain Forestry – The First Fifty Years”.  An email had been received from Australia concerning Samuel Hannaford.  This came through the “Adopt a Digger” project and the email was from Helene Cronin who had researched Samuel Hannaford.  Samuel was the son of H H Hannaford of Southcombe who had emigrated to Australia in 1909.  He served in the Australian army in World War I and was brought back to England after being injured.  He then returned to Australia and was given some land.  At the age of 50 he was found on a railway line, badly injured, and subsequently died and was buried in an unmarked grave.  On a historical note, Samuel’s brother was John Hannaford, who farmed at Southcombe.  His widow, Edith, remarried to Herman French.  After her death, Herman French married Mrs Jo Olszewski and, after his death, “Mrs Jo” married Mr Harman and lived in Cornwall.  There are now three trees planted near Hutholes commemorating each of her three husbands. 
Devon Remembers:
2014 is the centenary of the beginning of World War I and events are being planned to commemorate this.  Anthony is looking into the local history and Samual Hannaford’s history could feature in this.  He mentioned the Memorial in Widecombe Church, Leusdon Memorial Hall and the Memorial List in Leusdon Church.  There will be a World War I event on 25th February at the Devon Heritage Centre, which Anthony, Rodney Cruze and Peter Rennells will attend. 
‘Moor Than Meets the Eye’ Project
Dartmoor National Park held an event in Moretonhampstead to launch this project.  Anthony, Sue Boustead, Margaret Phipps and the Reverend Geoffrey Fenton attended.   
Diary Dates:

Tuesday 26th February.  Bovey Tracey Heritage Group have a talk at The Phoenix Centre at 7.30 p.m. entitled "Steaming around Dartmoor"- particular reference to Newton Abbot to Moretonhampstead Railway.
Saturday, 2nd March.  A Theatre Organ Concert given by Mark Ireland will take place at Keyberry Park Methodist Church, Newton Abbot, at 2.30pm.
Tuesday 5th March.  Princetown History Group have a talk by Jill Drysdale on "Murder at the Racecourse".
Wednesday 6th March at Leusdon Memorial Hall, a coffee morning 10.00 a.m.
Wednesday 6th March. Widecombe History Group have a talk by Philippe Planel - In the footsteps of Orlando Hutchinson. In the Church House, Widecombe at 7.30 p.m.
Tuesday, 2nd April.  Princetown History Group.  Lesser known Tors by Tim Jenkinson.
Wednesday 3rd April at Leusdon Memorial Hall, a coffee morning 10.00 a.m.
Wednesday, 3rd April.  Widecombe History Group.  The working at Golden Dagger Mine in the 1920s and 1930s, an illustrated talk by Dr Tom Greeves.  In the Church House, Widecombe, at 7.30pm
Any Other Business:
Mary Pascoe is collecting names for the visit to Buckland Court on 27th April.  Numbers are limited so book soon with Mary Pascoe on 01364 621433.
The meeting closed at 10.03pm.

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An interesting talk by Joss Hibbs, potter extraordinaire, of Powdermills, Postbridge, on her work as a potter, but most interestingly a challenge she faced to produce a replica "Bronze Age Cooking Pot".

Please Click here to access that talk

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