History Group Minutes April 2015


A Meeting of the Widecombe History Group was held at The Church House, Widecombe, on Wednesday, 1st April 2015 at 7.30pm.
There were 42 people present.
Apologies: Audrey & Arch Mortimore, Paula Stevens, Patrick Garvey, Ruth Parnell, Doug & Lyn Pigeon, Barry & Tanya Welch, Marion Armstrong, Pat and Val Watson, Ann Murphy, Mo and Mike Wright, Hilbre and Arthur Hockenhull, Jill Rogers and Pat Everitt.
The Minutes of the March meeting were read and signed.
Matters Arising
The snowdrops at Huccaby Church have raised £800, a fantastic sum..
In May there is our History Group AGM. Peter Rennells has decided to stand down from the committee and one new nomination has so far been received. A new chairman and vice-chairman will be appointed during the AGM as the current chairman retires after two years’ service.   The secretary is seriously requesting help with secretarial duties and asked people to consider volunteering.
He also requested that people give him their email addresses so that they can get early sight of the minutes and receive announcements/notices that occur during the month.    The group has written to the Parish Council and Parochial Church Council regarding the Roll of Honour and await their response (The PCC have not yet met.)  See below for some information about Poundsgate Pound relating to Rob Steemson’s research on ‘Ponies, Pounds and Driftways‘ within Dartmoor.
21 people attended Chudleigh Amenity Society’s visit to the Cold War Radar site at Hope Cove.   Chudleigh Amenity Society’s trip to Stover planned for April has been cancelled. 
Next Meeting
After the AGM, John Allan will give the group a talk on the Roman Army in Devon.
Pig House Site
Terry French has provided some hedging (beech, holly etc) to fill in the gaps around the site. Mike Churchward (Tuckers) has offered to provide advice.
Announcements
Our local bus service has ceased to run on a Wednesday and now runs on Thursday. This appears to have happened without any warning and has disrupted those who rely on it.   The East Dartmoor History Association are planning a course on conducting historical research based around a project to examine the effect of changes in transport options on life in the area 1850-1910. This will run from May to September this year and culminate in a presentation to the Devon History Society Autumn Conference. If anyone is interested they should contact the secretary.    Barbara Guthrie is now in St Andrews House Ashburton and would welcome visitors.    A communion service will be held at Buckland Beacon at 6am on Easter Sunday 5th April in time for sunrise. Contact Serena Walcot for more details.
A Soup Kitchen will be held in the Church House on 17th April 2015 at 7.30 pm, £5 per person, soup provided, bring your own drinks. Music provided by ‘Banned from the Moor’.   Sharpham Trust have a spring garden open day on April 25th 2015, 1030-4.00pm. £4 per car or catch ‘Bob the Bus’ from outside the Sharpham shop in Totnes which is free and runs from 10.15am.    The second dig at North Hall should include the crop-mark field. History Group members are invited to participate. The dates are Monday, 13th to (possibly) Saturday, 18th July.   There is a new book on cartwheel rolling written by Dr Sandra Billington which should interest the group. This links wheel rolling in Devon with similar activities elsewhere in the country and explores possible links to the Romans.
Outings
The meeting was reminded of the walk around Bovey Tracey with Dr Frances Billinge on 29th April 2015, meeting at the Bovey Tracey Heritage Centre at 6.30pm., with refreshments afterwards. Please confirm to Marcia if you would like to go as Frances would like to know approximate numbers for catering etc.
A flyer was circulated for the visit to Great Fulford, Nr Dunsford on 23rd May 2015. Numbers required by the next meeting. A minimum of 15 people are needed for the trip to go ahead.  A flyer was also circulated for the visit to Ugbrooke House on 10th June 2015. Numbers required by the next meeting. A minimum of 20 people are needed for the trip to go ahead.
The visit to Bickham House in April 2016 will not now go ahead but will be replaced by a visit to the Britannia Royal Naval College Dartmouth on 23rd April 2016 at 2pm.
Items Received
The group has been given a postcard of the snowdrops at Huccaby Chapel by Annie Way who thanks everyone for their support.
Annual Parish Meeting
The chairman, Peter Rennells and David Ashman attended the Annual Parish Meeting and gave a report to that meeting on the group’s activities. Peter had set up a WWI exhibition for attendees to peruse. Mark Aylott spoke to that meeting about Moor Than Meets The Eye (MTMTE) and especially about the £29,000 allocated to Widecombe Village (see below for more details).
Apparently parking tickets have been issued to some cars parked outside the school. Councillors Gribble and Jeffreys are to look into getting the parking times changed so that school pick-up and drop-off is not caught by the parking restrictions.
Moor Than Meets The Eye – Widecombe Village
As mentioned above, £29,000 has been allocated to Widecombe Village to make it more visitor-friendly and as part of the wider telling of ‘The Dartmoor Story’. Rev. Geoffrey Fenton is the local co-ordinator of this project and has asked that the group be formally involved with it. Geoffrey spoke to the meeting. He sees this as a wonderful opportunity for the village. Local traders have already started putting their ideas together and the History Group is seen as a valuable source of information about the village that will be used to create leaflets, information boards, self-guided walks, website information etc. what are needed are stories about the people of the village, past and present(?) He suggested that 2-3 members help the project put together the story of Widecombe with perhaps 6 meetings over a 12 month period. He sees the History Group as a semi-formal partner in the project. The Pig House site is also included and restoration of the pig houses may be possible although separate funding may be necessary. It is early days.    There are some walks in the ‘All Along, Down Along Widecombe Way’ book. Some concern was expressed at the idea of giving leaflets away free of charge but it was accepted that this detail would be discussed and agreed during the project’s meetings. MTMTE money will be dispensed directly by the DNPA so there is no need for any form of trust structure or a bank account. This might cause problems if the final arrangements include managing income which needs to be accounted for etc.   Rodney Cruze asked if fencing or railing around the Pig House site could be included. Apparently, ‘building work’ is specifically excluded from the MTMTE brief. However, Pound restoration as well as significant works at Uppacott are planned as part of MTMTE so this is a grey area.
Ponies, Pounds and Driftways within Dartmoor: Poundsgate Pound
Roger Claxton mentioned that he had looked at the Tithe Map and Tithe Apportionments Register (1843) and could find no mention of the Pound nor sight of it on the Tithe Map, so it looks as if it originates at a later date. However, the secretary and Terry French both remember it in use. Terry has some information at home on the management of the pound (ponies in and out, those that were not claimed, payment for those that were etc). it was suggested the Spitchwick Manor Court Records might have information. There is still a pound keeper in existence (as well as an ale-taster, reeve etc), but they don’t do very much work these days.   In Widecombe village, Mr Radcliffe wanted to extend the Old Inn so he built a new pound by the entrance to North Hall and built over the old pound.
History As It Happens
The partial eclipse of the sun duly occurred on 20th March. Geoffrey reported that Widecombe schoolchildren occupied the car park half-way up the hill with various devices for viewing the spectacle, complete with picnic breakfast and had a great time. As Kate said it was something they will always remember. It got noticeably colder as the eclipse progressed but the nearby lark carried on regardless.
Peter Carrett reported that the telephone kiosk at Dunstone Chapel has been cleaned and is down for repainting sometime this year. The one at Haytor has been restored and looks very smart.
Emails
Several emails have been received and responded to
Devon Remembers – WW1
Peter Rennells reported on his team’s activities since the last meeting. John Kimber had been researching the Beard family’s involvement in WW1. They have been trying to determine whether there was an opening ceremony for Leusdon Memorial Hall but have not found anything in newspapers etc so far. Terry mentioned that his mother said that there was a ‘tea’. Rodney Cruze wondered if the British Legion records might throw some light on this ceremony. Terry has Lou Prouse’s ledger and this states when the Hall was opened. Again Spitchwick records may also help as the ground was donated by Mr Struben with the agreement of the commoners. Also the Hall paid a nominal ground rent so there should be records of this somewhere. Leusdon school records may also hold a clue (were the children given the day off?). Most of the are at the DHS.   The team have given Jim Churchward quite a bit of information about his father. David Ashman has been researching William Norrish. There is still no photograph of George Nosworthy in uniform. David is organising several people to read poems that will be put on the website alongside the life and war stories of those who died. Peter, John and David are going to the Devon History Society meeting on April 20th 2015 where groups will give progress reports on their Devon Remembers projects.
Also there is no mention of Widecombe Fair in the Western Morning News from 1914-1923. The Widecombe Fair Minute Book only goes back to 1927. Prior to that it was a market, so there was no committee in those days. Rendells and Sawdye should have the old market books. Terry will explore this as he doesn’t think they have thrown anything away. The South Devon Journal and the Western Times & Gazette (the farmers’ paper) were suggested as other sources of information.
Any Other Business
Rodney Cruze mentioned that the Church House Committee would like the church mural removed. This mural was painted to cover the entrance to the tower from inside the church at the time that the tower renovations were taking place. At the end of those renovations the group took the mural over as it would have been thrown away. It was rolled up and stored in the Church House in the kitchen area above head height secured in position by two substantial hooks. It was moved to its present location (on the floor) during redecoration last year and was not put back. The committee have not formally asked for it to be removed and it was requested that perhaps it could be put back where it was previously stored well out of harm’s way. Ann Claxton (who was part of the team that painted it originally) mentioned that it had been painted using acrylics on cloth and was not made to last so its condition was unknown. It was agreed that a small group would get together to unroll the mural and inspect it before finally deciding what to do with it. There are several pictures around of the mural including some that Wendy Beard has of its work-in-progress.
Diary Dates:
Tuesday, 7th April. Princetown History Group. A talk by Dr Tom Greeves.
Wednesday, 8th April. A talk by Ian Mortimer on Centuries of Change will be held at The Devon Heritage Centre Sowton, Exeter at 7.30 p.m. admission £7.
Friday 17th April 2015 7.30 pm A Soup Kitchen will be held in the Church House £5 per person, bring drinks, soup, music provided
Friday, 24th April, 10.00am – 5.00pm. Lecture on The Renaissance in Devon at Avenue Methodist Church Hall Newton Abbot admission £25. contact Val at valjaharrison@gmail.com.
Saturday, 25th April, 10.30am – 4.30pm. Sharpham Spring Garden Open Day
Wednesday, 29th April at 6.30pm. Guided walk with Dr Frances Billinge. Perambulation of the historic borough of Bovey Tracey.
Friday, 1st May. Anthony is leading a guided walk around the village for the Torquay U3A.
Tuesday, 5th May. Princetown History Group. Discovering the Whitehorse Hill Cist by Jane Marchant.
Wednesday, 6th May. Coffee Morning at Leusdon Memorial Hall. 10.00am to 12.00.
Wednesday, 6th May. Widecombe History Group. 7.30pm. AGM, followed by a talk by John Allan on ‘The Roman Army in Devon’.
Saturday, 16th May. Dartmoor Local History Day at Princetown Community Centre.
Wednesday, 3rd June. Coffee Morning at Leusdon Memorial Hall. 10.00am to 12.00.
Wednesday, 3rd June. Widecombe History Group. 7.30pm to include a talk by Helen Turnbull on ‘Ugbrooke House and the Cliffords’.
Thursday, 25th June 2.00pm. Anthony is leading a guided walk around the village for Chulmleigh Local History Group.
Monday, 13th to (possibly) Saturday, 18th July 2015: Second North Hall Archaeological Dig.
March – September 2015. Dartmoor WW1 Exhibition at Princetown.
Terry’s Teaser
Last month:. “Which lane in the Parish has two names?” Answer: Sweeton Lane (if you are travelling from Leusdon to Ponsworthy) and Leusdon Lane (if you are travelling from Ponsworthy to Leusdon). Also suggested was Bowden Lane, also known as Skinners Lane and Church Lane (on the Church Path).
This month: Where is French’s Lane?
The meeting closed at 10.30pm.

 

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