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Widecombe History Group Minutes
A Meeting of the Widecombe History Group was held at The Church House, Widecombe, on Wednesday, 4th June 2014 at 7.30pm.
There were 49 people present, including 4 visitors.
Apologies: Patrick Garvey, Ann & Roger Claxton, Sam Boustead, Arthur Wrayford, Aileen & Peter Carrett, Mike & Mo Wright, John Kimber, John Butcher, John & Zena Lowe, Geoffrey Fenton, Doug & Lyn Pigeon, Paul Stephens, Ruth Parnell, Lorraine Ashman, Rosemary Mortimore, Barbara Norrish.
Leonard Norrish sadly passed away. Best wishes were sent to Barbara. Leonard gave John & Zena Lowe considerable assistance with their research on the Hameldown Air Crash.
The Minutes of the AGM in May and the May monthly meeting were read and signed.
Matters Arising The visit to Pentille Castle was thoroughly enjoyable and thanks were expressed to Marcia. The visit to the Met Office will take place on 26th July with the number limited to 20. There is still time to register for this visit. There will be a ballot for the 20 places at the July meeting and the unlucky people may be able to do a second visit later on.
Fund Raising Anthony Beard’s talk on “My Dartmoor” at Liverton was well attended and raised just over £200. Sue Boustead asked for members to try to sell more raffle tickets and for any unsold tickets to be returned to her.
History Group Activities Marcia Babington has arranged a Summer Evening at Heathercombe Gardens on 11th June. The trip will include a meal and a tour of the Gardens. Marcia has also arranged two car share visits. Stover House and Grounds on 23rd August. Stover require a large deposit and we must have 20 people. Definite decisions by the next meeting. Devon Rural Archives and Shilstone on 24th July – talk, walk and tea. She also mentioned that there will be an outdoor production of Romeo and Juliet at Pentille and asked if anyone would be interested.
World War I Peter Rennells and John Kimber are building up a list of Widecombe’s “Forgotten Survivors”, at present they have 24 names. Nationwide about 10% of the population went to war. Leusdon has 56 names on its Roll of Honour. Rodney Cruze has been researching the British Legion local minute book and has found some more names of officers. Peter is still trying to find out whether there was a “Peace Party” in Widecombe in July 1919, in common with other places in Devon. There is a picture in Leusdon Memorial Hall of Lt Frederick Struben who died in WWI. Peter has found some information about his father who was born in South Africa of a farmer. He tried farming but then started looking for diamonds and eventually panning for gold. He found a vein of remarkable richness and bought an estate in Devon. This estate is Spitchwick Manor, but he sold it because his son died. Joanna Radford told the Group that Mr Bolitho wanted to buy Spitchwick at that time but missed it, so he built Hannaford Manor instead.
Dunstone Chapel More work has been done at the schoolroom. Peter Carrett has fixed new handrails and repaired the map chest. A survey has been completed on the plumbing and it was decided to rearrange the hot water system to incorporate an instant heater. The electrics will be checked shortly.
History As It Happens The new clock on the Church Tower is not yet fully operational. Widecombe School are having an outdoor classroom built. This year, th June, is the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings in Normandy in 1944 during the Second World War. Information Received A few weeks ago, a query was raised about the identification of Beau Valais. Terry French has now found out that its present name is Sheena Towers. There was a planning permission application in 1972 for a Cattery, which described the property as “Beau Villais, formerly Sheena Towers”. It appears as Beau Valais in the 1911 Census. Anthony has received a report dated October 1925, about his ancestor, Mr James Beard, of Bonehill, Widecombe who was a postman in the parish for 58 years. Apparently it had been calculated that he had walked 3,744 miles a year until his retirement, a total of 205,920 miles. There was also a report in November 1929 about the funeral of a Charles Henry Vincent who was an Army Pensioner from the Wiltshire Regiment. This man is the grandfather of David Cole who was at the meeting.
Newsletter The Newsletter is almost complete, but Joanna and Margaret would like more snippets for publication by 10th June. Items should be sent in the body of an email or text that can be copied and pasted. Pictures need to be in jpg.
Emails An email has been received from someone who has a World War I rifle and who has offered to bring it to our exhibition on 20th August. Anthony has asked him if we could also have it for Widecombe Fair. The Parish Council have asked for an inventory of the contents of the Parish Chest. Richard Wells has one and he has also done an inventory of our History Group Chest. The Parish Chest is the property of the Parish. It was donated in 1888 by Mr Firth of Cator in memory of his wife.
Moor Than Meets The Eye On 3rd June, the Heritage Lottery Fund were due to announce whether Moor Than Meets The Eye has been successful in claiming £30,000 for Widecombe. No news has been received as yet.
Any Other Business Joanna Radford mentioned that there is an Exhibition of Art in the Methodist Chapel at Buckfast on the theme of “Any Verse in Benedicite. 12th-15th August. Members of the Group mentioned that fraud telephone calls were becoming more common.
Diary Dates: Saturday, 7th June. The Shallowford Trust is holding a Country Fair at Shallowford. Many activities and an auction. 12 noon to 5.00pm. Wednesday, 11th June. Visit to Heathercombe Gardens, including supper and guided walk. 6.15pm. 13th – 15th June. A Celebration of Lustleigh. Folk song, dancing and a concert. Friday 20th June at Parke, Bovey Tracey – World War I conference for all Local History Groups. Saturday, 21st June. Armed Forces Day at Babbacombe Downs, Torbay. 28th June. Devon History Society are having a Conference at the Methodist Church, Fore Street, Exeter, also from 10.00 to 4.00. Non Conformists in Devon. Tuesday, 1st July. Princetown History Club. Discover Lustleigh. Walk with Peter Mason. Wednesday, 2nd July. Coffee Morning at Leusdon Memorial Hall. 10.00-12.00. Wednesday, 2nd July. Widecombe History Group. Rowcroft Hospice: Taking Care Further. A talk by Hayley Norrish. Weekend of 5th and/or 6th July. Open Gardens at The Rectory and No2 Manor Cottages. Saturday, 19th July. Buckfast Abbey, at 2.30pm. Uncovering the Archaeology of Buckfast Abbey. Thursday, 24th July. Car share visit to Devon Rural Archive and Shilstone. Tuesday, 5th August. Princetown History Club. Visit to Sherberton Farm. Wednesday, 6th August. Coffee Morning at Leusdon Memorial Hall. 10.00-12.00. Wednesday, 6th August. Widecombe History Group. Talk, My Lady of the Moor; Her life in our Parish. Wednesday, 20th August. Leusdon Memorial Hall. World War I Exhibition and talk by a member of the Western Front Association. Refreshments provided. Friday, 29th August. Peter Hirst Memorial Walk with Mike Wright and Richard Wells. Saturday, 23rd August. Car share visit to Stover House – presentation, guided walk and afternoon tea. Saturday, 11th October. The University of Exeter are holding a World War I Commemoration. Peter Rennells is doing a presentation.
The meeting closed at 10.12 pm.
The History of The MARY ROSE was the subject of a talk given by Dr Peter Marsden, a Maritime Archaeologist.
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