The Widecombe-in-the-Moor Website
Widecombe History Group Talks
Pat Watson gave the group a 'glance at "Snippets of Buckland in the Moor Archives".
A few years ago Buckland Church decided that the Vestry in the churchyard needed re-thatching. The first step before work could commence was to clear out all the 'rubbish' that had accumulated there. In the process there were a lot of old documents found that concerned Buckland, and with careful handling they were examined and cleaned, and then began the process of collating what was found. Some of these dated from the early 1800s.
Mike Brown had over the years written several booklets on Buckland based on evidence that he had found in the Kitley Estate Archives.
Mary Pascoe has over the years collected together lots on information on Buckland, and Pat acknowledged the part that they had both played in creating what has now become an interesting collection of data relating to the parish.
Buckland was an 'Estate Parish', and as such does not have a Parish Council, instead they have an Annual Parish Meeting.
The earliest documents so far found at The DRO, date from 1250AD, and are written on parchment. Pat explained that parchment will last for years, and he wondered how long current digital recordings will survive?
Buckland Church is a daughter church of Ashburton, and interesting information can be gleaned from the likes of Kelly's Directories of different years. Papers dated 1779 show that the vicar of Widecombe was involved in a list of communicants. A picture of the 'font' showed how originally there had been an iron cover, locked and secured in accordance with a King James 1, witchcraft law, - 'to keep witches from tampering with it'!
He showed a photograph of the rear of the 'rood screen', and stated that the screen will soon be having considerable restoration done to it.
In the churchwarden's accounts there is a mention of £952 being spent on alterations being made to the church in 1860.
A photograph of the 'church silver' of years ago taken c1920 was shown, however the old Ewer depicted has 'gone missing' - a great pity!
To date they have not uncovered the Ecclesiastical Paperwork that licenses the church for weddings ! What does that mean for those 'married at Buckland' ?
The Vestry was officially given to the church in 1923. Five new bells are mentioned in 1760, at a cost from a Mr Bilbie of Collumpton, of £50 plus £7.14s 0d for extra metal.
Photographs and letters are gradually being gathered together mentioning 'ringer's outing' of 1927, and other places in the parish.
Interesting newspaper cuttings were shown, some taken from 'The Exeter Flying Post' of the 19thC. Some mentioning people of the parish, and one dated 1805 which told of a canal being planned from Totnes to Ashburton. An estate dinner of 1860 held by the Bastards of Kitley, the owners of the parish (estate), possibly a rent day, with the landlord giving the tenants two brace of pheasants, and the right to catch rabbits.
Game was the sole property of the landowners themselves, not to be taken by the tenants.
There was a newspaper cutting of 1922 referring to the I. R. A. at Buckland!
Several documents exist regarding mining in the area, 1487-1534 in particular.
Listing mines, miners, residents who ‘coined’ tin, and maps of the iron mill at Ausewell, copper mining and a court case between the Bastards of Buckland, and the mines of Owlacombe. Particular reference to the proposed digging of a leat from Ponsworthy via Cockingford through Buckland Woods. This was never completed and the remains of about 200 yards of it can still seen today, in the woods at Ponsworthy.
Mention of schools are recorded. Two daily schools in 1835, and the final closing of a school in 1906. The mention of the village hall being used as a school in 1939-45, for locals and evacuees.
The 14th August 1938 when a terrible thunderstorm hit the area, and the bridge in the centre of Buckland was washed away, and major damage was done to Cockingford Mill, the last working Grist Mill on Dartmoor. It had its wheel damaged beyond repair.
Pat also mentioned the amount of information available when looking through Churchwarden’s Accounts, including how money was raised to maintain the roads.
He noted that virtually all the males of the parish in a record of c1808were involved in agriculture.
As he finished his look at ‘snippets’ from Buckland Archives, Pat Watson did ask that if anyone knows of the existence of any documents of any kind, referring to Buckland he would dearly like sight of them. If people are prepared for him to copy them and so continue to build up an even more detailed archive he would greatly appreciate it.
Contact Pat on 01364 621494.
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