Widecombe History Group - The North Hall Project - 2000 Update


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November History Group Meeting: North Hall Progress Report

 A resumee of the last twelve months activities and research was presented to the group by Peter Rennells. He began by briefly outlining what the project was about for the benefit of new members. Both fields have now been dowsed by two different dowsers, John Christian and Tony Heath. Peter has attempted to superimpose on the map of these fields the findings of the dowsers. To date they have not lined up with the crop markings in Great North Hall Moor, but they have produced some very interesting and exciting information regarding the area. It would be interesting if we could get a geophysical survey done of the fields, however this could be a very expensive exercise. Peter Hirst said that he would be able to get a sample geophysical survey undertaken but it would cost about £50 travelling expenses. This will be considered in due course. Peter Rennells said that he is still pursuing the connection of the Fitzralphs with the church of Nor’ Hall, the fore-runner of the present church, and with the Church in Ireland, but to date is having little success. Peter Rennells and Mary Pascoe are intending to make another visit to the Devon Records Office as there are many more papers and documents to be inspected. Peter then posed the question - could the aforementioned crop-marks be of a much earlier date than we have been considering?

It was felt that the Dartmoor National Park should perhaps be kept informed of any proposed action that may be taken on the two sites. The name of Alan Neale, a dowser, believed to be used by D.N.P. was mentioned and he is we believe interested in the North Hall saga. The possibility of getting more aerial photographs was raised and the name of Brian Harper was suggested, of Swallaton Gate, who it is believed is a micro-light pilot, and may be interested in flying over the area and photographing the site.

Tony Heath gave an interesting resumee of his findings and suggested that a small ‘dig’ should be held on the North Hall site to investigate his interpretation of his dowsing of the site. He is of the opinion that it could be Saxon and where the crop marks are there could be a building of some significance. The possibility of involving English Heritage to assist with such a dig was put forward. Tony considers that there are remains of buildings just below the surface and areas which could be gardens (platts), and doorways or gateways. An exploratory dig carried out with great care and control would, he hopes, corroborate his findings and beliefs. Archaeological digging is teaspoon and toothbrush work, and must be undertaken with care and assistance and advice.

Peter Rennells felt that English Heritage’s co-operation would be a very good initial way forward, he has had great co-operation from them during his research.

The name of John Pidgeon of Lynchaford, Ponsworthy, an Archaeologist, was suggested as a possible source of information for this activity.

It was agreed that the Secretary should contact him and ask if he would be interested in giving us some guidance on this matter. A very warm show of appreciation was accorded to Peter and Tony for their continued enthusiasm and a hope was expressed that Peter will continue with his research. We are delighted with Mr and Mrs Skinner’s continued help.

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