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 Newsletter Editions
No. 171 - February 2018 13-02-2018



Recently, a programme about GNP and how it is calculated included the recording of a speech given in 1968 by Robert Kennedy, who was then a US Presidential candidate.

He pointed out that although the measurement of Gross National Product includes the production of weapons and cigarettes and products which cause air pollution and the destruction of the natural environment and films which glorify violence

"Yet the gross national product does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of their education or the joy of their play.It does not include the beauty of our poetry, the strength of our marriages or the intelligence of our public debate.

"It measures neither our wit nor our courage, neither our wisdom nor our learning, neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country.

"It measures everything in short, except that which makes life worthwhile."

These sentiments were expressed fifty years ago but in our new world of Brexit and Trump, these values are worth revisiting.Thanks to our esteemed Newsletter editor who tracked down a transcript of Robert Kennedy's speech.






It was with sadness we learnt that June had died suddenly at her home, Watermouth House, on the 1st November and our thoughts are with all her family at this time of sorrow.

Alice emily Kelly Annear, June to her friends, grew up in Ilfracombe, the daughter of Frank, Solicitor, and Alice Annear and sister of John, who died in 2015. The family moved to Watermouth House when the Watermouth estate was sold in 1946.

June's higher education was in catering and she initially took a position as Domestic Bursar at Somerville College, Oxford.Together with the Treasurer, Miss Jane Hands, who in later years was a regular visitor to Berrynarbor, she kept a firm hand on the tiller, but they also both enjoyed spending time on fly fishing expeditions in Ireland.After her mother died in 1962, June returned to Watermouth, to support her father, and took over as Catering Manager at the North Devon College, as it was called in those days, where she stayed until her retirement in 1990.

On her retirement, and with her friend Miss Dina Sifton, who lived at Ding Dong, also at Watermouth, she went on a round the world trip, visiting a great many places and friends, often with an equestrian connection.June kept horses at Watermouth for many years along with Hannah the goat, and various other livestock, always including a succession of Belgian Griffon dogs.She enjoyed riding with friends and was able to continue this for a number of years, until she suffered an accident that left her needing the use of a wheelchair. This in no way affected her individual sense of humour, her determination or her style and thanks to the District Nurse team, Homelife Carers and other positive, supportive professionals, she was able to enjoy the company of her good friends at home and remain living at Watermouth, which was one of her most determined wishes.



How sad it was to know that following a tragic accident at home nearly 4 years ago, and after dedicated nursing care at Tyspane, Bet had passed away on the 26th November.A much-loved mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, she will be sadly missed by all her family and her many friends and our thoughts are with them at this time.

The Tribute

Betty, who was always known as Bet, grew up in Combe Martin; her dad, Alf. was a market-gardener and her mum, Nan, proudly ran a summer B&B at Homedale, close to the seaside.

Her courtship with her husband to be, Bob, was one in which Bob pursued her with much love, which was evident from the letters that they exchanged at the time.

After they married, Bet slid easily into the role of a farmer's wife;she looked after the house, her family, the chickens and in the summer ran the B&B. Lodgers, many of whom became lifelong friends, were always exceptionally well looked after.The farmhouse was a place alive with tempting, appetising aromas because, Bet was a wholesome cook, who always provided delicious food for the family and farm workers, using everything proudly grown or reared from the farm, as was the way in those times.There always seemed to be a big pan of full-cream milk from their cows simmering for hours on the Aga, skimming the top for clotted cream etc., and what always seemed like hundredweights of runner beans each summer, frozen to eat year round with the mandatory tag of roast beef every Sunday.  

When her sons, Mike and Clive, were young, wider family always gathered regularly at the farm at Christmas time, New Year, or other occasions to eat, drink and play cards and games. Socially, Bet played bowls with Bob and skittles in the local pub ladies' team with a few local friends. She also enjoyed some great holidays with Bob and friends, or relations in Portugal, a place they both loved.

Latterly, especially after a knee operation, Bet became a keen TV fan. She liked to watch the shopping channels, snooker and soaps, munching on her favourite chocolate brazils, or dunking a digestive biscuit into a cup of tea.Whenever anyone visited, the sweets were always out - Bet always said she preferred giving to receiving, and that was very true. 

Bet had a lovely lifetime friend/companion in Rose, a childhood evacuee to Combe Martin, who regularly enjoyed long visits with Bet once or twice a year at the farm, and later at Seascape, the bungalow she and Bob had built for their retirement.Bet and Rose maintained close contact right up until Bet's accident; sadly after that Rose, through illness, could not continue the visits, but they remained loyal friends until the end of Rose's life, often speaking together on the phone from Bet's bed. Unfortunately, Rose passed away just a few months ago.

Bet maintained almost total independence prior to her accident;still driving and enjoying trips out to Barnstaple and exeter.Losing her mobility was a very difficult time for Bet - she spent nearly four years in Tyspane, with memory failure associated with worsening degree of dementia, which in some ways was a blessing, and suffering several bouts of infection.All the staff at Tyspane looked after her so well that she always seemed to rally round, but sadly her condition gradually deteriorated and this last time she couldn't pull through, passing away on the 26th of November, after 84 full and eventful years.

Personal Reflections

from her sister-in-law Noel:

I suppose I've known Bet longer than anyone here today, we used to share the same school bus to Ilfracombe - Bet to the Convent School, me to the Grammar School.

In our late teens, Bet became friendly with my brother, Claude.  I went away to college at 18 and left Devon.  Things changed, apparently, because two or three years later I received the invitation to the wedding of Bet and my other brother, Bob. Somehow, she was destined to be my sister-in-law.

Bob and Bet moved into Home Barton where I was brought up, so it always felt like going home to me, and Bet was always welcoming.  She was a somewhat feisty character at times, but always interesting. 

Her Sunday lunches were legendary;always a huge joint of beef, and anyone was welcome to share. She was a great wine-maker too; although she, herself, was almost tea-total.  The big demijohns of wine stood high like sentinels along the big kitchen mantelpiece - wheat, barley, damson, ginger etc., until one summer evening when a crowd of us went back to Barton after some 'do' in the village, the men, including my husband, decided it was time to sample the contents of the wine jars.  The alcoholic content must have been vast.  I've never seen the like of, men staggering down the lane hitting the hedges from side to side with, no doubt, a few headaches next morning - what a laugh that was!

I must just mention Ron, who spent all his working life at Barton.He often said to me, "You never knew quite which mood Bet would be in, but she was always kindness itself ", and he has "Very fond memories of life at Barton". 

My father, Fred Richards, too, had a very soft spot for Bet. She was very kind to him during his four years of incapacitation following a stroke.

Now she is at peace, after a gruelling four years, which she endured with huge fortitude.

We shall remember the happy times with love, Bet.



And from Clive:

The night before mother passed away, she asked to look at photos which she always liked to do. They always made her chuckle and would bring a smile to her face.Later in the evening, a nurse walked over to mother looking confused and forgetting why she had come!Mother piped up and said jokingly to the nurse, "You'd forget your head if it wasn't screwed on!"

That night she asked to go home with us on leaving.She said "I'll come home with you".The last thing mother said as I left her room was, "See you later alligator!"So, I put my head back around the door and said, "In a while crocodile!"To which she replied, "Love You".

Throughout mother's life she had a strong will that she kept right to the end.



The village was very sad to learn that Ron had passed away peacefully on the 6th January at Lee Lodge in his 102nd year.A very much loved and loving father, grandfather and great-grandfather, he will be missed not only by his family but by his very many friends.

Our thoughts are with Sheila and Tony and all the family at this sad time.

Ron was a true inspiration to all who had the pleasure of knowing him, but we couldn't keep him forever.


SHeILA HUXTABLe [nee Bowden]

How sad it was to learn that so shortly after Michael's death, his older sister, Sheila, had passed away on the 11th January.Her funeral is to take place in Chichester on the 7th February.Our thoughts are with her husband David and all the family at this very sad time.



Following the announcement of Michael Bowden's death, his funeral in St. Peter's Church on Friday 3rd November was attended by no less than 270 people. The service was led by Rev. George Billington which, despite the sadness, was most uplifting and a real tribute to Micky, as he was widely known!Unfortunately, Lorna was not well enough to attend but she must feel proud that so many people from far and wide came to remember him. The congregation was very generous in supporting the Devon Air Ambulance and St. Peter's Church, two organisations which were very special to Michael's heart.

A special joint service was held at St. Peter's Church, Combe Martin, on Sunday 26th November led by Rev. John Roles.This service was especially important in that we welcomed congregations from Ilfracombe Parish Church, Bittadon, Woolacombe, Mortehoe and Lee, which was followed by refreshments served in Combe Martin Church Hall.

It is, however, with great sadness that Rev. Michael Rogers who came to Combe Martin and Berrynarbor churches 18 months ago, has recently announced his retirement from May 2018. This now means that we, on Berrynarbor PCC, and including Pip and Jim's and Combe Martin, will be facing a second interregnum period come May of this year. We sincerely hope that the powers that be will find a welcome replacement with the utmost speed and not the excessive delay that was experienced during the last interregnum!We are, of course, extremely fortunate and grateful to have Reverends Bill Cole and George Billington to help us with church services when they can, but both are retired and they need to have spare time like everyone else.

A special thank you to Graham Lucas for leading the Monday morning School Assembly. His Bible stories are always interesting and easy to understand and enthusiastically re-enacted by the children!

The Christmas lights [by courtesy of the Parish Council] were already in place for a superb Concert given by the exmoor Carolers, who entertained an audience of over 80 in our church on Sunday,

10th December, and a lively rendition of special Christmas carols, including hand bells, and with vocal support from all, made for a fantastic evening's entertainment!Mulled wine, mince pies and other nibbles were served during the interval and many thanks to the ladies who organised this part of the evening.

Berrynarbor Primary School had their special Village Walkabout on Wednesday,13th December, to sing Christmas carols to residents within the village, ending up at Lee Lodge to give the residents there some special Christmas cheer!

Whilst on the subject of Berrynarbor School, those parishioners who attended the Senior Dudes' Christmas Dinner in the Manor Hall give a wholehearted thank you for the superb evening's meal and entertainment.Well done to all the children and to their supporting staff!

Our Christmas Carol Service, including the very young ones on early at 5.45pm, was a great success with a church filled with people, and it was uplifting to hear both Berrynarbor and School Choirs in full voice during this joyful service.Many thanks to Sue Neale and her willing team in serving mulled wine and mince pies, as well as drinks and sweets for the youngsters following the service.

Our Christmas eve [Midnight Mass] service was very well attended and how nice to welcome visitors from far and wide to our beautiful church and village! Our Christmas Day Family Service was led by

Celia Withers from Combe Martin, and a big thank you to Graham Lucas who deputised on the organ for me on this occasion.

A joint service for the Coast and Combe team was held on 31st December at Pip and Jim's, Ilfracombe, with no service at Berrynarbor or Combe Martin on New Year's eve.

Church services for the New Year will follow the same pattern as for 2017.

Finally, a very special thank you to our Bellringers for ringing superbly for all services throughout 2017, and to Church Caretakers, Betty and Kevin Brooks for tending the church on a regular basis.

A Happy and peaceful New Year to you!Stuart Neale



Happy New Year.I hope you all have enjoyed a good Christmas and New Year.

I have been surprised by the number of requests for me to start the weather reports which Sue and I produced for a good number of years.

I am going to try and write an article for each edition, but it may depend on what happens as I try to recover from the events of last year.

This first article will start having a general look at the records for 2017. I hope I don't bore you with all the figures.

The total rain for the year was 959.4mm.This was the driest year since I started records in 1994, my average annual rainfall shows 1455mm.The next closest was 1019mm during 2010, the highest was in 1994 at 2033mm.I am surprised as I felt it was a wet year.The wettest day was June 25th at 24.2mm which is low as I can remember some 24-hour periods up 50/60mm in previous years.I think perhaps, we have had a lot of wet days but the total rainfall was not that great.The wettest month was December at 120.2mm, the driest April at 29.4mm.

The Met office named 6 storms in 2017.Those which affected us most here was Doris on the 23rd February when we had strong winds in the Valley, the highest gust was 52 mph from the SSe, the barometer fell to 996.4mbars which was not particularly low.Then on the 26th we had storm ewan which dumped 17.2mm of rain and on the 7th December, Caroline produced our lowest barometer reading for the year at 975.8mbars.

The temperatures were about average for us - January 21st was the lowest temperature at -3.6 DegC, the lowest I have recorded was -6 DegC in December 2010.June 21st - longest day - the temperature topped out at 31.6 DegC, my highest was 34.5 DegC in August 2003.

I think this leaves me with looking back at the sunshine hours kindly provided by Chicane.The total hours for 2017 was 1248.75 which was very close to 2016 at 1249.25 - it's a pity we don't get a bit more!The sunniest month in 2017 was July at 181.50 and in 2016 was June at 201.78. The month with the least sunshine in 2017 was December at 11.51, and in 2016, January at 12.93.

I have some snowdrops and primroses in bloom so I hope we are now on our way to a good spring. Simon

Paul Swailes



We feel we should respond to the article from the Berrynarbor Parish Council [PC] in the December 2017 issue of the Berrynarbor Newsletter, specifically the paragraph headed Update on the Play equipment in the Recreation Field.

As the main objectors to the location of the equipment in the field we wish to set out our side of the matter.

1.In April 2015 we arrived home one afternoon to see the equipment being erected very close to our boundary with the field.

2.Although we were aware that there were plans to purchase such equipment we had had absolutely no warning of, or discussion about, its location within the field. We were not consulted.

3.We contacted the PC about the closeness/nuisance to us etc., and discussions were held over the next several months. We stressed from the start that we welcomed the equipment for the use of the village and visitors - it was the location to which we objected.A petition to re-locate the equipment to the south-west corner of the rec was signed by over 50 village inhabitants. Nevertheless, the PC refused to re- locate the equipment, stating that there was, according to the "expert" equipment suppliers, no alternative suitable site within the field - something that we had always disputed.

4.We sued the PC on the grounds of nuisance. At an interim hearing at exeter Court, the judge ordered the 2 sides to jointly appoint a neutral surveyor who would decide on the suitability, or otherwise, of alternative locations within the rec.

5.The PC's insurers made us a substantial offer of damages due to the nuisance to us of the equipment. We

said that we would accept the offer on the basis that we could use the money to:

a. Finance the re-location of all the equipment to another site within the field and

b. Make a donation of £1,000 to the PC for them to spend for the benefit of the village.

Acceptance of this offer by the PC would clearly have benefitted everybody.

6.The PC refused our offer. We had no wish to make money out of our action - our objectives were to remove the nuisance and retain the value of our property. We therefore rejected the insurer's offer which meant that we had to finance our entire claim from our own funds - unlike the PC who were funded by their insurers.

7.We had our own surveyor investigate the field and he reported that the south-west corner was a suitable site. The neutral surveyor separately confirmed this but, even when confronted with his report, the PC again refused our offer.

8.Following a court hearing and our appeal, which incurred us with significant extra expense, the PC and ourselves came to an out of court agreement which, among other things, meant that they would remove the basket swing from the field. The moving of this item to another location in the field was not acceptable to them.

9. The PC have inexplicably said that they have no record of any conversations, meetings or decisions concerning our offer as in 5 above. They continue to refer to the advice from the equipment suppliers.

10. These expert suppliers had previously recommended/agreed to the original location of the equipment. One of these, a climbing frame, was extraordinarily erected under part of a large tree. We had previously questioned the condition of this tree with the PC. In late October last year a large branch on this tree broke off and fell directly onto the climbing frame - fortunately when nobody was using it. So much for the advice of the expert suppliers in terms of suitable locations.

We are truly sorry that the basket swing has to be removed from the field. This was never our wish and, had the PC accepted our offer and all the equipment been re-located to the south west corner at our expense, then all requirements would have been satisfied - as well as the village benefitting from our £1,000 donation.

If there are any comments/queries about the above please feel free to contact ourselves.

Tony and Maggie Kitchin

Mary Vale, Pitt Hill.

Tel:[01271] 883129



This photograph picture of the village was found in a charity shop in Ilfracombe. entitled Berrynarbor Village, 1911, it is part of the Francis Frith Collection.

Francis Frith, the english photographer of the Middle east and many towns in the UK, was born in Chesterfield in October 1822.He was educated at Quaker schools before starting a cutlery business. However, in 1843 he suffered a nervous breakdown.and during his two-year recuperation, became interested in photography, opening a studio in Liverpool, known as Frith and Hayward.Although he had been a successful grocer and later, printer, he sold his companies in 1855 to dedicate himself to his photography.

During the next few years, this took him and his very large camera [16" x 20"] to egypt and the Middle east.Returning from his travels in 1859, he opened the firm of Francis Frith & Co. in Reigate, Surrey, the world's first specialist photographic publisher.

In 1860 he married Mary Ann Rosling and they had five children - Mary Alice, eustace, Francis edgar, Mabel and Cyril.

Frith then embarked on a colossal challenge, to photograph every town and village in the UK, in particular notable historical sights.At first, he took the photographs himself, but with success, he hired others to help him and set about establishing his postcard company - one that became one of the largest photographic studios in the world. Within a few years, over 2,000 shops in the UK were selling his postcards!

Frith was a devout Quaker, recorded as a minister in 1872, serving on numerous committees and frequently speaking in favour of pacifism and abstinence.

Frith died at his villa in Cannes in February 1898.

His family continued the firm, which was finally sold in 1968 and closed in 1971. Following closure of the business, Bill Jay, one of Britain's first photography historians, identified the archive as being nationally important, and at risk, managing to persuade McCann-erikson the London advertising agency to approach their client Rothmans of Pall Mall in December 1971 to purchase the archive to ensure its safety. Rothmans went ahead and acquired the archive within weeks.

Frith was re-launched in 1975 as The Francis Frith Collection by John Buck, a Rothmans executive, with the intention of making the Frith photographs available to as wide an audience as possible. In 1977, Buck bought the archive from Rothmans and has run it as the Francis Firth Collection since that time. The company website enables visitors to browse, free of charge, over 180,000 photographs depicting some 7,000 cities, towns and village.In 2016, a two-year project to scan the entire collection was completed holding over 330,000 high resolution digital scans.


A notice seen before Christmas:


Please be advised that all employees planning to dash through the snow in a one-horse open sleigh, going over the fields and laughing all the way, are required to undergo a Risk Assessment addressing the safety of open sleighs. This assessment must also consider whether it is appropriate to use only one horse for such a venture, particularly where there are multiple passengers.Please note that permission must also be obtained in writing from landowners before their fields may be entered.To avoid offending those not participating in celebrations, we request that laughter is moderate only and not loud enough to be considered a noise nuisance.

Benches, stools and orthopaedic chairs are now available for collection by any shepherds planning or required to watch their flocks at night.

While provision has also been made for remote monitoring of flocks by CCTV cameras from a centrally heated shepherd observation hut, all facility users are reminded that an emergency response plan must be submitted to account for known risks to the flocks.The angel of the Lord is additionally reminded that prior to shining his/her glory all around, he/she must confirm that all shepherds are wearing appropriate Personal Protection equipment to account for the harmful effects of UVA, UVB and the overwhelming effects of Glory.

Following last year's well publicised case, everyone is advised that eC legislation prohibits any comment with regard to the redness of any part of Mr. R. Reindeer.Further to this, exclusion of Mr. R. Reindeer from reindeer games will be considered discriminatory and disciplinary action will be taken against those found guilty of this offence.

While it is acknowledged that gift-bearing is commonly practised in various parts of the world, everyone is reminded that the bearing of gifts is subject to Hospitality Guidelines and all gifts must be registered.This applies regardless of the individual, even royal personages.It is particularly noted that direct gifts of currency or gold are specifically precluded under provisions of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.Further caution is advised regarding other common gifts, such as aromatic resins that may initiate allergic reactions.

Finally, in the recent case of the infant found tucked up in a manger without any crib for a bed, Social Services have been advised and will be arriving shortly.

Compliance of these guidelines is advised in order for you to fully participate with the festive spirit.


Risk Management Team

December 2017


In the early days of cinema, known as animated photography, very short films were shown at travelling fairs.These were very short but had such novelty that seeing a train rush at you would send some people rushing outside in fright!

The early cinemas were often comprised of a couple of shops knocked together into one.But soon it was realised that cinemas were to have a wealthy future.

Fine buildings were constructed allowing for dressing rooms in case live shows were required.

Before the advent of sound recorded on film, other methods of synchronisation were tried.Gramophone records hopefully played in synch was one method, until someone jogged it and it jumped a groove or two.

Of course, early films had no sound, so some of the larger cinemas had orchestras, the smaller ones had a pianist and eventually an organist.

When true sound came in, some proprietors said "It'll never last", and would not instal a sound system - they went bust.Cinemas sprang up everywhere, even in small villages.

Stratford had ten cinemas but probably the largest and finest was the State at Kilburn, seating over 4,000 people.

[The Gaumont State Cinema is a Grade II* listed Art Deco theatre located in Kilburn, a district in northwest London. Designed by George Coles and opened in 1937, the Gaumont State was one of the biggest auditoria in europe, with seating for 4,004 people.] 

Before the advent of television, cinemas were often packed, with people queuing outside waiting to get in to the next show.Cinemas ran continuously from about half-past one in the afternoon until about ten o'clock.Shows lasted about three hours and would comprise of a main film, a supporting film, cartoon and a news reel.

Before the show started, the screen would have beautiful changing lights which would be almost an art form.

In my time in Devon [1939-1946], there were two cinemas in Ilfracombe.One was in the main street, called The Scala [later the Clifton] and was purpose built.It had a proper balcony and was quite pleasant, though not elaborate.

The other was called The New Cinema in Northfield Road.A converted hall, it had a built-in projection box and about four steps up to the balcony!

Getting back to the Scala, this happened to me.I went there in the afternoon.However, there was a notice to say the advertised film had not arrived so they would be showing a substitute, which I sat through. Anyway, at the end of this, the proper film show arrived, so I sat through that as well - six hours, how's that!

Tony Beauclerk - Stowmarket


The sketch of the Scala and photograph of it later as the Clifton Cinema, and the photograph of the New Cinema are reproduced by kind permission of Ilfracombe Museum.




Charitable incorporated Organisation 1169090

Firstly, may we thank our editor Judie and the Newsletter for kindly giving a generous donation to the Hall to go towards lights for next Christmas. It will be great to be able to make the outside of the Hall look as lovely as the centre of the village.On that subject, thank you to all who came and enjoyed a coffee or mulled wine in the hall in December, it was nice to see lots of familiar faces.A big thank you to Jane and Martin for bringing their sweet donkey Joseph, he was a big hit and so very well behaved!

Plans for 2018 so far - the annoying leak in the main hall is being mended in February. The PA/sound system is being replaced with one that works! The little cooker in the kitchen is being replaced and a range style one is being installed. We are looking into improving the outside security/safety lighting and marking up the car parking area.Sadly, we cannot tell you that a new floor and heating system are going in yet but we hope to have news of our lottery bid in the next issue.

Fundraising is going to be a big priority this year, so look out for posters: a 70/80's Disco is in the pipeline along with a Bingo Night and a 'Strictly Come Dancing' themed evening.We shall also be having a Summer Fete this year in July so we shall be busy!With that in mind, we do have 2 places available on our Committee and would welcome any interest to join our jolly team - and it is really not too arduous and can be fun! Please contact any one of our Trustees below if you think you would like to find out more.

And finally . . .

We are delighted to announce that we shall be launching a new Community Fundraising (CFR) initiative in conjunction with The Utility Warehouse Discount Club which can save you money on your household bills!

Utility Warehouse (UW) is managed by Telecom plus plc, a major FTSe 250 UK plc supplying over 600,000 homes and small businesses across the UK with great value and outstanding service across a wide range of essential home services: home phone, mobile, broadband, gas and electricity.

You can help fundraise and participate in this scheme by calling a dedicated CFR team via Freephone who will explain all the benefits without a hard sell, or you can sign up yourself through a new Manor Hall UW website.Then for as long as you remain a customer, the Utility Warehouse will contribute up to 5% of your monthly bill to the Manor Hall funds.

This is a unique scheme that allows community groups or organisations to raise money at the same time as saving money for its supporters. Watch this space for more details!

Trustees:Chairman:Julia Fairchild [882783], Secretary:Natalie Stanbury [882252], Bookings:Alison Sharples [882782], Louise Baddick, Jim Constantine, Karen Coppin [Treasurer], Phil Crompton, Alan Hamilton, Martin Johns, Len Narborough, Denny Reynolds

The Craft Group will again be holding its annual afternoon to raise funds for the North Devon Hospice.

We shall be holding Open House in the Manor Hall during the afternoon of Monday, 26th February. from 1.45 p.m. onwards.Knitters can knit strips which the Hospice turn into blankets and for this you will need an odd ball of wool and size 8 needles.But those who would like to just natter or do some other craft are very welcome.All we ask is that you give a minimum donation of £5.00 to the Hospice, take part in the raffle, enjoy coffee or tea and cake and the company of others wishing to support this very worthwhile cause.

We look forward to seeing YOU there!

A reminder that the Craft Group meets every Monday afternoon in the Manor Hall from 1.45 p.m.everyone is welcome.Just come along and bring whatever craft you are currently working on - needlework, knitting, embroidery, beading, painting, etc. - chat amongst friends and enjoy tea or coffee and biscuits - and all for just £2 a session!

The Art section of the Craft Group meets on the 1st and 3rd Tuesdays in the month, again at the Manor Hall and from 9.30 a.m.On the 3rd Tuesday, Christine Grafton comes to support the group, either with a technique lesson or to help with individual work.

New artists, beginners and those with little or lots of experience are most welcome. Why not come along to find out more?



Spring Term 2018

Welcome back to Pre-school and a Happy New Year to you all. We hope you all had an enjoyable Christmas break and are ready to start the new term

We should like to welcome all our new families and their children and hope they enjoy their learning journey with us.

Christmas performance and a visit from Father Christmas

We were very proud of our children as they performed the Nativity. They sang Christmas songs and some even sang solo. We had a raffle fundraising event which raised £102.34.

The children also enjoyed making many Christmas crafts that they could share with their families.

A special thank you to our local Santa - Tom - who arrived at our Toddler and Pre-school Christmas party with gifts for all the children. He played the part well and helped us to celebrate this special time.

Topic of Learning for this Term

Following the early Years Foundation Stage curriculum and using the children's interests, our topic of learning this term is focused on Maths, counting, recognizing numbers and learning about the names and properties of shapes. Activities are based around stories such as Thomas the Tank engine and The Three Bears.

We shall introduce many counting songs and rhymes as well as include other Maths concepts such as measuring, weighing, positional language, identifying and naming shapes and doing simple sums, adding and subtracting numbers.

School Visits

We have been visiting Berrynarbor Primary School on a Monday morning while the older school children have had swimming lessons.This has been an opportunity for our pre-school children to explore the school environment, all the resources and engage with the Reception Class children as well as meet the teachers.This has been received positively by all the children and their families and helps with school transitions.


Coming soon - a Bingo evening near you!All funds raised will go towards our Pre-school. Some great prizes to be won so get involved and have some fun!Look out for our poster for more details.

Spaces Available

We still have spaces available for children to start, so if you would like to book a place for your child/children, then please visit us or call us on 07932 851052 or e-mail for more information.

Session Times

We are open from 8.30 a.m. to 4.00 p.m., Monday to Friday. We are flexible and have a range of session times to meet your needs, and these are given in the Manor Hall Diary later in this Newsletter.

We are Ofsted registered and in receipt of the 2-year-old funding and early Years entitlement.We are offering 30 hours free childcare to eligible families. Further information in regards to this funding can be found at

From all the Staff at Pre-school



Although 2018 is now well under way, we'd like to send New Year greetings from us all at the village school. The final weeks of last term were full of Christmas activities and enjoyment, with performances, choir items, Christmas dinner, community events and lantern making, to mention a few.

Senior Dudes' Meal

elderberry Class traditionally puts on a meal for their grandparents and senior citizens in the community.We spent the day preparing the meal and people started arriving at 6.00 p.m.We started serving the food at 6.30 p.m. They loved the food and having us serve them. We also sang carols to them.We were given a box of Celebrations as a thank you, and money was donated which will go towards next year's Senior Dudes' Meal.Alex A

Walking Nativity

On Wednesday 13th December we had our Walking Nativity. even though the weather was extremely miserable, we still had lots of fun! We stopped at many different places in the village and sang lots of different Christmas Carols. Our final stop was in the barn where we sang "Away in a Manger", "Silent Night" and "We wish you a merry Christmas". We would like to thank everyone in the community who came to it! Thank you!

Dillon and Sophie

It certainly was an enjoyable evening and we'd like to thank

Dave Spelman for playing the guitar to accompany our carol singing. We'd also like to thank Chris and Barbara Gubb for the use of their barn for refreshments and our final sing accompanied on ukuleles and guitars played by some of the children. We hope the cattle were entertained!

Village Carol Service

Our School Choir sang at the village Christmas Carol Service. We sang "When a child is born" and "We're walking in the air" accompanied by Mrs. Gill's enthusiastic piano playing.The Berrynarbor Choir was there, too. Our singing teacher, Mrs. Barrow, runs the school choir and conducts all of our performances. She is great with music. Sometimes Stuart Neale also helps us with things and gets us in tune. We had three children, Benjamin, Ruby and Rosie singing "Once in Royal David's City" as they walked up the aisle. May, George and Isabel read out a Bible reading. The service ended with refreshments and we all had a great time.

Ruby B, Rosie T and Isabel.

Christmas Fair

Thank you to all who supported this. It was a lovely social time and we hope you enjoyed it, too.

The year ended with a fond farewell to Mrs. Mcentee who has taught at the school for many years. We shall miss her humour and turn of phrase but wish her a very happy retirement. There was also a joyful hello to a little boy born to Mrs. Orr and her husband just a few days before Christmas, another grandson for Graham and Carol Lucas.

Now our attention is on the term ahead of us. There has been some shuffling around of teaching staff with Mrs. Poynter, our Deputy Head, and Mrs. Kentall teaching elderberries, our oldest children. Mr. Jones is teaching Cranberries in the mornings and running booster groups for some of our older children in the afternoons here at Berrynarbor and at West Down school.Mrs. Barrow is teaching Strawberries and Cranberries some afternoons each week and will be having some music fun with various groups across the week.

The children from Year 1 through to Year 6 will be having swimming lessons this half term. There are also music clubs, football clubs and a sewing club starting up as after-school activities. So, as you can see it's going to be busy!

Sue Carey - Headteacher



Bete Noir

We don't hear so much about the Beast of exmoor these days.There used to be regular reports of sightings in the Journal and Gazette.

A few weeks ago, I heard a natural history programme on the subject in which it was claimed that a big cat [or cats - there may well be more than one] is still often seen by people who live and work on the moor.

But they keep quiet about these sightings because they have adjusted to their presence and do not want the cats interfered with.

People have not only learnt to tolerate them but are fascinated, even enchanted by them and the slight frisson of risk.

Some years ago, near the entrance to Titchcombe, between Goat Hill Bridge and Simonsbath, we witnessed crossing the road a large panther like animal.It had a long stride - steady, not running - strong muscular shoulders and the top of its head and back made a continuous straight line.It was about four feet in length.

Time seemed to stand still as we watched and afterwards my companion and I compared notes in case we had deluded ourselves.We thought about all the animals, wild or domestic, that could be on the moor, but what we had seen did not resemble any of these.

Not long afterwards, we were walking along the River Taw at Yelland and got talking to a man who was viewing wintering wild fowl through a telescope at the edge of Isley Marsh.After a while he lowered his voice, looked a bit sheepish and said, "You won't believe this, but . . ."

He went on to say that as he had arranged to lead a group of ramblers for a hike on the moor near Simonsbath, he'd decided to walk the area beforehand to check out the route and had been astonished to encounter the exmoor Beast.

His description fitted exactly to what we had seen.I have since learnt that what we thought was a black panther or puma is most likely to have been a melanistic leopard.

Apparently in some lights [and if you can get close enough!], the outlines of the spotted markings may be seen beneath the short black fur.

The leopard is regarded as 'the ultimate cat'.There is a Cult of the Leopard and pound for pound it is one of the most powerful of animals.

It is naturally solitary, cautious, shy and secretive;stealthy and intelligent;ideal characteristics for surviving so long on exmoor.

We feel fortunate to have observed this handsome and impressive but elusive animal.

Illustration:Paul Swailes



Paul Swailes

I am sure we all have our own idea of what South Africa is like based on the images we see in the media. For many, the passing of apartheid and the rise of the ANC under Nelson Mandela is the defining moment for an entire generation. The reality is South Africa still faces problems with great discrepancies between rich and poor and rural and urban areas.

With an area similar to Western europe, a rich and varied history involving warring kingdoms and colonial invaders, not to mention varied landscapes and wildlife, it has always been on my list of places to visit.So, this year, for a special birthday we took a three- week trip with exodus, an adventure travel company. It involved travelling from Johannesburg to Cape Town in a mini bus.Here are just a few highlights.

Our trip began in the north with several days in Kruger National Park, staying in lodges and searching for game, both on foot and from safari vehicles.We were rewarded with sightings of all the 'big five' and many more besides. The Kruger plays a vital role in safeguarding endangered species.South Africa has a zero-tolerance policy on poaching and while we were there, 9 poachers were shot in the park.Proof of how serious the problem is.

From Kruger we moved on to The Drakensberg, an area of outstanding natural beauty.We spent days trekking on almost deserted trails deep into the mountains. For me this was a real highlight.

Back on the road and across the border into two of South Africa's neighbours.Firstly, Swaziland and then Lesotho.These two independent kingdoms were both beautiful and fascinating.They are both very poor countries, with serious socio-economic challenges who now rely on sustainable tourism to bolster their economies.

We returned to South Africa and stopped at Rourke's Drift made famous by the film Zulu featuring Michael Caine.Islandwana, nearby and not so well known, the site of another battle with the Zulu nation, was for me far more moving.

We passed through The Great Karoo desert, a journey which took nearly two days on our way to the coast.Within minutes of arriving at Titsikamma Nature Reserve we were treated to the sight of migrating humpback whales from our balcony.

Our final destination was Cape Town, a true world city.The Volvo Round the World Yacht race was in town and the waterfront in the shadow of Table Mountain was buzzing.A far cry from the mountain farmsteads of Lesotho or the bush of Kruger.

So, what is my opinion of South Africa now?It certainly is a land of contrasts and a country at a cross roads.Without doubt there is an abundance of natural beauty and fascinating history and culture. The serious inequalities leading to a divided society with its haves and have nots, however, mean there are serious challenges ahead.

As a holiday destination it is difficult and shocking at times, thought provoking and thoroughly worthwhile.The only thing that might stop me going back is the world is a big place . . .

If you would like to see more of Paul's travel photography of Africa, India and Nepal please contact him:


Berrynarbor Wine Circle

Always carry a corkscrew and the wine shall provide itself.Basil Bunting (poet)

Our Christmas event, Committee's Choice and Members' Festive Fare, occurred on Wednesday December 13th, in the Manor Hall.It was an amazing event;amazing because the Hall was filled with happy voices, when they were not eating superb cuisine made in the village, by our lady members, washed down with six excellent wines and all for free!Where can you beat that?

Wine suppliers were: our friends at Bray Valley Wines of South Molton, Majestic, Morrisons and Virgin Wines.The cheapest was surprising; it was a Hungarian Gruner Veltliner and only £6.99 a bottle.Many thought it was a great find.This 2016 wine was one of over 300 blind tastings carried out by Majestic in order to find 'the cream of the crop'.It really delivered on incredible quality and value.

Our dearest was a Marlborough-busting Adelaide Hills classic!This was a cool fruit, Sauvignon Blanc from South Australia, rather than New

27.Zealand.It should have been £13.49, but, Virgin Wines Online supplied it for just under £10.00 per bottle.Beneficio, Adelaide Hills is described on the VWO website as having aromas that leap out at you and a killer citrus zest that keeps the fruit charging along to the juicy end.

Both whites were very good.It was easy to decide which was the cheapest; however, if you want to crack open a chilled bottle on a summer's day, that won't break the bank, the Hungarian deserves tasting, perhaps, repeatedly, just to make sure, of course, that it's OK!

I have taken more out of alcohol than alcohol has taken out of me. Winston Churchill

Having spotted this quote, I felt I had to use it, as the film, The Darkest Hour, focuses on his early days as P.M, is to have general release days before we have our popular, Call My Wine Bluff event, on Wednesday 17th January.In our household, both are awaited eagerly.

Judith Adam

As has become usual for our January meeting, the theme was Call my Wine Bluff. This is a great fun evening loosely based on the old BBC2 program Call My Bluff. 

The wines for the evening are tasted blind and after each one, the panel of three experts, also known as the three prevaricators, each give a description of the wine.Of course, only one is telling the truth!

The members in teams of 6 have to decide who is telling the truth, the age of the wine and the price, and get points accordingly. 

As the scores are revealed at the end of each round one can imagine the banter and leg pulling that goes on, particularly for a low score!

The winners for the evening were called the Cuatro Amigos, who won a wonderful prize of a packet of M & M's, for the rest, a wonderful social evening with some very tasty wines!

Next month's meeting will be held on the 4th Wednesday of February, 28th, as our presenter is coming from Roscoff and prior to that date, there are no suitable ferries. 

Tony Summers


New From the Village Shop

Special Offers for Special Days

even if you are not a pheasant or a partridge, there are so many reasons to be optimistic as the days get longer into February, not least because of the very special days the next two months contain.And the shop has some special offers to help your celebrations.

This year Shrove Tuesday falls on the 13th of the month.Buy your eggs plus flour in the shop and we will give you a free lemon to make your pancakes taste the way they should.

Closely following on its heels is St Valentine's Day on the 14th.And while we don't want you to lose your head like the unfortunate original Valentine [historical note: beheaded around the end of the 3rd century AD and his flower adorned skull can still be seen at the Basilica of Santa Maria in Rome!], we are offering half price on a range of boxes of chocolates to go with a Valentine's Day card and either a bottle of Campo Viejo Rioja or a bottle of Chablis Grande Reserve.Hurry while stocks last!Add a box of chocolates to a card and a bottle of wine and get your chocs half price!

Mothers' Day falls on Sunday 11th March, and we think they should be spoiled too, so a similar special offer will be in place for them - a card, either a bottle of Campo Viejo Rioja or a bottle of Chablis Grande Reserve and a half-price box of chocolates.Great value!

Hamper Winners

Congratulations to our three Christmas hamper winners.

Mary Brennan won the Cheese Hamper, Brian Fryer the Cake and Port Hamper and Katie Simpson the Curry Hamper.A big thank you to all those who bought tickets!

New Freezer

As many of our regular customers will know, we have been beset with problems with our freezer cabinet.The good news is that the shop has invested in a new three-door freezer which by the time you read this [fingers crossed] will be full of mouth-watering goodies at competitive prices.Come and see.

New Recruit

We are delighted to welcome a new member of staff. Villager Annie Smith joins our team as Shop Supervisor and she will be working alongside Debbie and Karen to help manage the Shop and Post Office. Annie has been a volunteer for some time so knows the shop and its customers well.Pop in and say 'Hello' to her soon.


Report from the Parish Council

The Parish Council would like to wish everyone a Happy New Year.We start the year with an update on outstanding Council projects.

As reported in the last newsletter, the winner of the Flag Design Competition has been chosen, the winning design has been made into a flag and will be flown from the flag pole outside Ye Olde Globe Inn.Thank you to all those who took part and please do have a look at the winning flag.

Thank you to everyone that voted in the Ilfracombe Tesco Store for the Parish Council's project to replace the old bus shelter on the A399.We are awaiting confirmation but believe the Parish Council was in third place.We shall continue to pursue further grants to complete the project.

The basket swing will be relocated from the Recreation Field to the School before the end of January and we should like to thank those that have pledged donations towards the installation at the school and welcome any further donations from anyone wishing to assist.

The new wrought iron village signs have been completed and are due to be installed at the three main entrance points to the village by the end of January and we really hope they will be a welcome addition that reflects the history and character of the village.The Parish Council would like to thank the North Devon AONB for the grant to install the signs.

Moving forward the Parish Council considered and set its precept and budgets for the forthcoming financial year at the December meeting.The Parish Council was disappointed to learn that the District Council has reduced the Parish Grant the Council receives by 50% in 2018-2019 and the Council Tax Support Grant has also been reduced.When considering the precept for 2018-2019 the Parish Council had to take these reductions into account along with an increase in costs. Therefore, the Parish Council has decided to increase the precept for 2018-2019 and the agreed increase is approximately £2.11 a year [or 0.04p a week] based on a Band D property.

Unfortunately, the Parish Council has received complaints about the storage of large vehicles and motorhomes in the village car park.The car park, which is currently owned by the North Devon Council, is free of charge to help service the village.The Parish Council is saddened by the abuse of the car park which is not a storage facility and has also prohibited members of the community from being able to park when attending functions in the village, such as funerals.The District Council has been made aware of the complaints and is taking enforcement action where necessary.

Vicki Woodhouse, Parish Clerk, January 2018


Mover and Shakers No. 73

John Bowen

Founder of Tasmania, Lieutenant, Royal Navy

1780 - 20 October 1827

"Tassie?You'll love it.It's just like england," remarked a friend. Why then, were we travelling half way round the world to visit it I thought? In fact, although the scenery looks familiar, the trees are not deciduous, so no autumn colours, no skeleton winter trees, or lush spring foliage.And we do not have to spray our socks and boots to stop leeches climbing up, nor do we suffer those vicious creatures: white tailed spiders and the Tassie Devils!

Still, it's a great country and, having been there, I was interested some time ago by an article in the North Devon Journal by Francesca Taffs.She wrote a tale of a Tasmanian historian who was trying to keep alive the memory of a 18th century Ilfracombe lieutenant who led the first expedition to his island.

It appears that Reg Watson, the historian, had written a book - one of many - entitled Lt. John Bowen and the Founding of Tasmania.In 2013 he was decrying the defacing of a memorial to John Bowen, erected in 1904 in Risdon, just north of Hobart, to celebrate 100 years since he led the first settlers to this Australian island.

Sydney had been settled in 1788. The French were sniffing around in the Pacific, but by 1803 Napoleon was dictator and we were at war with France. It was important that we had a base in what was then known as Van Diemen's Land.

Into the story comes John Bowen.Born early in 1780 in Ilfracombe, he was the son of James Bowen, a master in the Navy and later Rear Admiral, and his wife elizabeth.He was just 14 when he began his naval career and by 1798 had served on several ships before graduating from Dartmouth, joining his father on the Argo as a midshipman.He served mainly on that ship until1802 when as a Lieutenant he joined another ship, the Lancaster, then the Glatton, carrying convicts to New South Wales. Here he volunteered to the Governor, Philip Gidley King, to sail for Risdon Cove to form a settlement.

The site was chosen by the Governor and ultimately it wasn't a good one. Although good for defence, the soil was poor and water scarce. John, aged just 23, had with him 49 folk:21 male and 3 female convicts, a few members of the New South Wales Corps, plus free settlers and their families.Most of them were reluctant and several of the convicts stole a boat and escaped.He also had a major problem with some of the free settlers, particularly with Lt. William Moore who was in charge of the military.He referred to John Bowen as a 'mutinous rascal', and sent him under arrest to Philip King in Sydney, who dismissed the charge and sent him back to Tasmania.Back there, John worked enthusiastically, discovering a large amount of coal in the surrounding area and even naming a river after it.

Word again reached the Governor, this time about John's 'private affairs'.He was living with Martha Hayes, the daughter of one of the female convicts, who by this time had a daughter by him, Henrietta, who died young.Later Martha had another daughter, Martha Charlotte.

Bowen again visited Sydney with the intention of resigning, but the Governor ordered his return, knowing that he had family responsibilities. When John returned, to his frustration and annoyance, a Royal Marine, David Collins, had arrived, also to settle the colony.Collins decided to abandon Risdon and move the group to Sullivan's Cove, now the capital, Hobart.

During this period, there was an ugly confrontation with the aborigines, several of whom were killed.According to historian

Reg Watson, Bowen was away exploring, leaving Lt. Moore in charge, but Bowen was blamed and had to return to Sydney for the last time.Before leaving, he arranged for Martha to become a settler, meaning that she could get land grants and have access to government stores.For the record, she continued to live in Hobart, later marrying Andrew Whitehead with whom she had another daughter.After his death she married a police clerk, and according to Tasmania University, her life was 'closely interwoven with many colourful characters in Hobart during its first few decades'!

Bowen left Hobart after less than two years at his post and in January 1805 sailed for england.He refused money for his work at Risdon, but was given the promotion he wanted.In May1804 he had been promoted to Commander and in January 1806 he became Captain.

Five years later he applied to succeed Collins as Lieutenant-Governor of Van Diemen's Land, but he was rejected because it was said that as a naval officer he couldn't command the troops.He applied twice more without success, saying that he had long felt a lively interest in the colony and had shared in the difficulties of starting it.

He eventually returned to england and on 13 May 1825 he married elizabeth Lindley Clowes, a niece of the countess of Newburgh.It was a short-lived marriage though, because after a long and painful illness he died back in Ilfracombe on 20th October 1827 aged 47.

And so we return to Reg Watson and his ambition to renovate the memorial. From photographs of it on the internet it looks miserable - daubed with red paint and surrounded by slogan boards. In his words "What should be a site of national historic and cultural significance and a place to celebrate dual heritage [Tasmanian Aboriginal and white] has become instead a site of confrontation, neglect and vandalism."By 2016 there had been no improvement.

If you are off to Tasmania in the near future, do try and look up this memorial near Hobart, and report back!The address is: east Derwent Highway, Bowen Park, Risdon.So, a town did eventually arise on John Bowen's original landing site.

PP of DC


Berry in Bloom & Best Kept Village

There is not much going on gardening wise at this time of the year but it is good to look back on the previous year and our success in the R.H.S. Britain in Bloom competition when we achieved gold.Our thoughts are on how we might emulate our good work this coming year.

Therefore, we shall be having our annual meeting on Wednesday, 7th March to discuss our plans and finances for the forthcoming year.We shall be meeting in The Globe at 7.00 p.m. and if you are interested in helping with litter picks and planting around the village, you are very welcome to join us.If you are new to the village, it is a nice way to make friends.

Also, on Friday, 9th February, we are having a fund raising Fun Quiz and Supper evening in the Manor Hall with Phil as quiz master and our yummy supper. We hope you will be able to support us.


Frosted Marmalade Cake

The months of January and February are when Seville oranges, the ones used to make marmalade, come in to the shops. Colin is a great marmalade maker and so it seems appropriate to serve a moist marmalade cake at this time of the year.

175g butter

175g golden caster sugar

1 large orange

3 large free-range eggs

75g tangy orange marmalade (homemade if possible)

175g self-raising flour

For the Frosting

100g icing sugar

2 tbsps orange juice

Candied orange peel to decorate [optional]


Set the oven at 180C/gas mark 4. Line a loaf tin about 25 x 11 x 7cms deep.

Put the butter and sugar in the bowl of a food processor or use an electric whisk, and beat until pale and fluffy.

Finely grate the orange and squeeze the juice, reserving 2 tbsps for the frosting.

Break the eggs into a small bowl and lightly beat with a fork. Add a spoon of the flour to the sugar and butter mix and gradually beat in the eggs and orange peel. If using a food processor, remove the bowl and mix in the marmalade and then gently fold in the flour using a metal spoon.If using an electric whisk, mix in the marmalade and then gently fold in the flour again using a metal spoon.Gently stir in the orange juice except for the 2 tbsps reserved for the frosting.

Spoon into the lined loaf tin and lightly smooth the top.Bake for 40 minutes checking it after 35 with a metal skewer.Leave to cool in the tin, and then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

Sieve the icing sugar and mix with the orange juice until you have a smooth, slightly runny consistency [you may not need all the orange juice]

Drizzle the icing over the cake letting it run down the sides and leave to set.I like to decorate the top with a sprinkle of candied orange peel but this is optional.



A reminder that the Show this year will be held on Saturday, 18 August 2018.  Subjects for the Art and Photography are as follows:


1. Under the Sea

2. The Shoreline

3. This Lovely Planet

4. Painted item on any surface other than paper, card or canvas


1. The Shoreline

2. This Lovely Planet

3. True Blue

4. Food from the Sea

5. Nature Fights Back

6.Doing My Bit [anything goes, may be enhanced in any way]

Children's Section

Photography - This Lovely Planet

Please keep the date free and give thought to what YOU can enter - crafts, flowers, fruit, vegetables and, of course, home cooking.


Helene de Munck

Crown Servant

Last year, as a result of a telephone call from Henry Hemming, author of 'M', I discovered that two sisters, Helene and Marguerite de Munck had owned Old Court, a spacious, period home in Birdswell Lane and run it as

a B & B.They were Belgian, but Helene had lived and worked in London for many years as a nanny and a model;however, in early 1940, she was 25 and out of work.

At this point in the war, 'M', Maxwell Knight, MI5's greatest spymaster, knew he needed more officers and more agents to help 'M Section' infiltrate the growing band of Nazi sympathisers.One new addition was

Helene who became 'M/I', an MI5 agent.Apparently, she had model looks, but she ceased modelling and began a new, but brief career.

'M' asked her to reacquaint herself with Admiral Wolkoff, once an aide-de-camp to the last Russian Tsar, Nicholas II.'M' saw this renewal as a means of learning more about Wolkoff's daughter, Anna. The Admiral's London posting, as a naval attache, shortly before the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917, was life-saving, but this aristocratic family were unable to return, ever, to their homeland. Anna, and her parents, were, under-standably, angry about their enforced and permanent lifestyle change.

One MI5 report described Anna, as 'a staunch Nazi propagandist' who had also displayed 'pro-Communist and anti-British tendencies'.She had been a successful fashion designer, with a Conduit Street shop, but due to her chaotic finances, the business ceased shortly before the outbreak of WW2.Its collapse infuriated her;she felt entitled to a job and to have her views heard.She and others voiced their sympathies, about Hitler, frequently and loudly, which is why they had come to MI5's attention, on several occasions.

Anna used her parents' business, the Russian Tea Rooms, a South Kensington cafe as a meeting place for herself and her aristocratic friends, all members of the Right Club:a secretive anti-Semitic group committed to undermining the war effort and spreading the idea that this conflict was part of a global Jewish-Communist-Masonic conspiracy.

The Right Club's activities became Helene's sole focus, as 'M' was concerned about their activists and activities.One of Anna's contacts was Tyler Kent:the son of a senior American diplomat.The Kents were a prominent Southern family and Tyler worked for the US State Department.

In October 1939, he was transferred from Moscow to London.He believed that his new position of a cipher clerk in the US embassy was beneath him.His education had included Princeton and the Sorbonne. In Moscow, he had come to believe that America was en route to participate in 'hostile coalitions in europe (for which they) had no mandate'.

This had made him angry.In Moscow, he collected copies of confidential papers;Kent burned these before his transfer.His London collection was even more sensitive.In six months only, he amassed more than a 1000 documents that included exchanges between Churchill and Roosevelt.These showed that the American President was colluding with Churchill to help Britain win the war, despite America's neutrality at this time.

Kent and Wolkoff met at the Tea Rooms;both realised that they were anti-war and anti-Semitic.Soon, classified documents passed between them, then onwards: Germany and Italy.eventually, their secret crusade ended in arrest.Helene de Munck was one of two women whose detailed testimony, in 1940, at their Old Bailey trial, meant that Kent served seven years;Wolkoff served ten.It was arguably Britain's major wartime spy scandal.

As it was a high-profile case, Helene had to retire.She is recorded as having a Chelsea address in 1947, but at some point the sisters left London.Both ended their lives in North Devon.When 'M' took

Helene on, she said she wanted British citizenship. She was granted naturalisation in December 1946, having served our country, admirably, as a Crown Servant. She died, at 49 years only, in the North Devon Infirmary, Barnstaple, in April 1964.

Perhaps it seems hard to imagine that members of this secretive world would live in a North Devon village, but they had to live somewhere and, after her espionage activities, a quiet rural life was what, probably, she needed in retirement.

Judith Adam

The Old Court c. 1930's from the Tom Bartlett Collection



Robert Frost

Whose woods these are I think I know.

His house is in the village though;

He will not see me stopping here

To watch his woods fill up with snow.


My little horse must think it queer

To stop without a farmhouse near

Between the woods and frozen lake

The darkest evening of the year.


He gives his harness bells a shake

To ask if there is some mistake.

The only other sound's the sweep

Of easy wind and downy flake.


The woods are lovely, dark and deep,

But I have promises to keep,

And miles to go before I sleep,

And miles to go before I sleep.


Robert Lee Frost was an American poet.His work was initially published in england before it was published in America.He was born on the 26th March 1874 in San Francisco and died in Boston on the 29th January 1963.He was at one time the United States Poet Laureate and was a recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry

Paul Swailes


Yes, it's that time again - February and Finance and time to look at the financial situation of the Newsletter.

Currently funds are looking stable thanks to the generous support of the Parish Council, also the Parochial Church Council, donations from the Christmas messages, the donation boxes and the subscribers who receive the Newsletter in the mail.

However, that does not mean we can be complacent.Prices for stationery, printing inks, etc., continue to rise. The annual subscription for postal readers will, for this year, remain the same at £6.00 to cover the cost of envelopes and stamps, as will the cost of advertising.However, it may be necessary to increase these in future, the costs having remained the same for many years.

Although technically a 'freebie', the Newsletter costs approximately £1.50 a copy, so your donations are not only welcome and appreciated, but necessary!

Some postal subscriptions have now run out and if you are someone to whom this applies, a letter is enclosed with your Newsletter.

My thanks to our Shop, The Globe and Sawmill Inn for having copies available, and to Tyler who delivers Newsletters with the papers from Combe Martin.It is understood that Central Convenience have been taken over and it can only be hoped that the new set up will continue delivering papers to the village.

Judie - editor



"I hope you will grow up gentle and good, and never learn bad ways;do your work with a good will, lift your feet up well when you trot, and never bite or kick even in play."

Narrated by a lively, gentle horse, Black Beauty, as both the horse and book are called, has remained a children's classic since it was first published in 1877, and earned a name and fame for its author, Anna Sewell.

Anna Sewell was born in March1820 in Great Yarmouth, a daughter for devout Quakers Philip and Mary Sewell, a successful author of children's books. Anna and her brother Philip were largely educated at home due to financial constraints.

When she was only four, Anna slipped at home severely damaging her ankle, which with another accident ten years later, resulted in her being unable to stand without a crutch or walk any distance for the rest of her life.Consequently, for mobility, she would use horse-drawn carriages contributing to her love of horses and concern for the humane treatment of all animals.In 1832 the family moved to Stoke Newington and Anna, at the age of 12, attended school for the first time.

Over the years the family moved several times;to Brighton, Lancing, Wick and Bath, often in the hope of improving Anna's deteriorating health.

In her late teens, she and her mother apparently left the Society of Friends to join the Church of england, although they remained active evangelists.

In 1866, her brother Philip's wife died leaving him with seven young children and the family moved to Old Catton, near Norwich, to support him.It was here that Anna began to write the manuscript of Black Beauty, often so weak and bed ridden that writing was a challenge and she would often dictate the text to her mother, or write snatches on slips of paper.

Anna, who never married or had children, died of hepatitis or tuberculosis on the 25th April, 1878, only five months after Black Beauty was published, but she lived long enough to know of its initial success.

Although now considered a children's classic, Black Beauty was originally written for those who worked with horses, with the aim of inducing kindness and sympathy in their treatment.It is considered to have had an effect of reducing cruelty to horses, particularly banning the painful use of bearing reins.

Black Beauty, one of the top ten best-selling novels for children, has sold more than fifty million copies world-wide, and been adapted for film and television many times.


Letter from the Rector

Dear Friends

Nicky Gumbel, Vicar of Holy Trinity, Brompton, writes: "I belong to a squash club, which is also a gym. each year on 1st January they bring in extra gym equipment. The place is packed out. By about 7th January, they move out all the extra equipment, as most people have given up their New Year's resolution, and the club returns to normal!"

I don't know whether you have the same trouble with New Year's resolutions - or any other resolutions for that matter?Making important changes in our lives is always difficult, whether it is about improving our health and wellbeing or our bank balance or our relationships or something else.

St. Paul compares our life to running a race:"Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training.They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last foreverTherefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly." [1 Corinthians 9:24-26]

I find that helpful because most successful sportsmen and women get a lot of help with their training. Some are in teams with a manager, others meet a trainer on a regular basis. Achieving our goals and making life changes is much easier when we get someone else on board to help us.

What are you trying to achieve which you could ask someone else to help you with? And might we find some community goals, which we have to work on together?What would make our village even better than it already is?

A Happy New Year to you all from my colleague Bill and me.




Middle Lee Farm

For this Newsletter I have chosen an upright postcard showing the wife of farmer Phillip Pethrick at the gate of Middle Lee Farm around 1903.She is dressed in typical village clothing of the time, boots, long skirt with white apron, blouse and a straw boater.One can only presume that she is going to take water to the animals or chickens with the large and heavy watering can she is holding.

It appears that the photograph, by W. Garratt of Bristol, was taken in the summer, as both bedroom windows are wide open.

In September 1906, the occupancy of Middle Lee Farm [119 The Village] was taken over by Francis [Frank] Toms.This tenancy continued until the large Watermouth estate Sale took place on Tuesday,

17th August, 1920, at the Bridge Hall, Barnstaple, when Frank Toms purchased Middle Lee Farm, Lot 21, for £1,350, with completion set for Lady Day on the 25th March 1921.

Upon Frank's death in 1923, his son, Daniel, took over the farm and Tea House.

Dan and his wife Lizzie had two children, Reginald and Violet.Reginald went to live in Weybridge, Surrey, until his death in 1997.Vi remained in the village and married Dave Goodman and they lived in Dormer Cottage. Dave died in 1987 and shortly after Vi moved in to the Cottage, 44 the Village, until her death in 2002.

Dan's nephew, Ron Toms, was brought up by his mother Hilda and his grandparents, Frank and ellen Toms, at Middle Lee.He married his wife, Gladys, in 1943, and they lived in Birdswell Lane with their two children, Raymond and Sheila.

Sadly, whilst writing this article, I learnt that Ron had died aged 101 at Lee Lodge, where he had been well looked after for nearly ten years.

In 1939, Middle Lee Farm was purchased by Raymond George Smith and more recently it has been owned by Alex and Pam Parke, Jenny and Robin Downer, and currently by Phil and Chris Brown.


Tom Bartlett

Tower Cottage,

January 2018






Friday, 2nd March, Manor Hall

Come and join fictitious Radio 6 music journalist Stuart Morecombe on his quest to find the lost disc.

A night of riotous music and theatre in aid of the Village Shop's 10th Anniversary.

As the story unfolds, the audience is taken on a hilarious and strangely moving trip through popular music of the 20th century, taking in WW2, JFK, the Smith's at Glastonbury and Carnaby Street in the swinging '60's.

There will be a lot of music, laughter and puddings, but above all fun! Tickets £10 from the Shop, bring your own drinks.

Best of all, Berrynarbor gets to preview this show, thanks to Beaford Arts, before it goes to Latitude and edinburgh Festivals.



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