and schoolteacher, stomp round the maypole,
not forget how to unwind the ribbons.’
‘Festival’ by Patricia Beer
REPORT FROM THE PARISH COUNCIL
The Parish Council now has only one vacancy following the
co-option of Lee Lethaby and Steve Hill of Mill Park. If you would like to be considered to fill
this vacancy, please contact the Clerk, Sue Squire, on  710526 or e-mail
her on email@example.com.
The Active Villages project is gaining momentum with
involvement from the School and Manor Hall Committee.
Commemorative Diamond Jubilee Mugs will be presented to
children under the age of 16 years on the 2nd June 2012. Parents and carers of eligible children are
invited to give their names to the Clerk, as above.
Ahead of the March meeting, more than a couple of dozen
parishioners met to discuss plans for celebrating the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee
and a Committee was formed. A donation
of £200 will be made by the Parish Council to help towards the cost of the
Brief questionnaires will be circulated around the village
regarding Parish Plans which will give all residents the opportunity to have
Tenders for cleaning the public toilets are invited and
details are available from the Clerk, as above.
The April meeting of the Parish Council will be preceded by
the Annual Parish Meeting.
ST. PETER’S CHURCH
A reminder that Sung Eucharist is now on the 2nd and 4th
Sundays in the month, with a Village Service on the 1st and Songs of Praise on
the 3rd, all starting at 11.00 a.m.
When there is a 5th Sunday in the month, a joint service will be held in
one of the churches in the North Devon Coast Team.
On the 29th January a Team Service took place here in
Berrynarbor. It was a very uplifting
service with over 60 present and was led by Rector Chris with Vicar Yvonne,
Revd. George and Reader Chris James all taking part. Afterwards a bring-and-share lunch was
enjoyed in the Manor Hall and farewells said to Chris James and his wife
June. The next Team Service will be on
the 29th April in Lynmouth.
April will start with a special service on Sunday 1st. It will be Palm Sunday and will be
celebrated with rousing hymns and the distribution of palm crosses. In the afternoon at 4.00 p.m. there will be
a Confirmation Service in Combe Martin church to which everyone is invited to
come along and support the candidates from all over the Shirwell Deanery.
The church will be decorated for Easter from late Friday and
donations towards the cost of flowers will be most welcome. Please give to Sue Neale [Tel: 883893].
During Lent, tins of food are being collected to be given to
the Freedom Centre in Barnstaple.
Please hand in by Easter – there will be a box at the back of the church
on Sundays. Continuing with charity
giving, Christian Aid week begins on 13th May and envelopes will be delivered
round the village. If you are out at the time, please return
your envelope to the Community Shop. Eastertide
will end with Ascension Day on Thursday, 17th May and Pentecost [Whit Sunday]
will be celebrated with Holy Communion on Sunday,
27th May at 11.00 a.m.
Friendship Lunches at The Globe will be on Wednesdays 25th
April and 23rd May, 12.00 noon onwards.
Do come and join us.
FROM REV. CHRIS
As I write, everywhere nature is waking
up. The festival of flowers has begun
its annual pageant and daffodils fill every grove – at least that’s how it is
in my garden. Wait till April really
gets going. Nature really will have
woken to humming life and glorious technicolour. The seasons get demarcated in my garden by
colour. April is the yellow month!
It’s like that with a faith that centres
on the events of the first Good Friday and Easter. God raised him up and life came bursting out
more irresistible than any flower, more irrepressible than any plant. Jesus could not remain in the tomb for
long. He broke through. We know all too keenly that life does that
in our gardens but not with people. Even
with the promise of resurrection and the life eternal, the death of loved ones
haunts us profoundly. Human or animal
life does not return – not to this world.
Yet with Jesus it was different.
He was full of divine life. God
raised him up and his soul and body came back, restored not to a temporary
state in which death has been suspended but to an eternal power in which he
would never die again. This is Easter-
it means ‘rising!’
The evidence for the resurrection is a
lot stronger than you might think. This is not the tooth fairy. Do you realise that at one stroke, the
authorities could have stopped the new Christian movement in its tracks? They
could have produced the body! That would
have put an end to this nonsense about Jesus coming back to life. But they didn’t and they couldn’t. The tomb
was empty. This was a crime scene and
the body of evidence had disappeared.
Who moved the stone? No one ever visited the tomb and made it a shrine
of pilgrimage. The tomb completely fades
out of the story. If the authorities never
produced the body of Jesus, neither did his followers. Even when intense persecution threatened, the
first Christians kept on insisting that Jesus had returned from death and that
they were eye-witnesses.
For over nine centuries, the church in
Berrynarbor has been proclaiming and witnessing to this message, especially at
Easter. That makes over 900
Easters! 900 times, bells, readings,
chants and hymns have been alive this time of year with a message of joy and
Here’s a thought. If any archaeologist should ever be able to
find the tomb of Jesus beyond doubt, the local church here would have to pack
up and go home! They won’t, of course,
but the resurrection is so central to Christian faith that take it away and it
all collapses. Jesus rose again and
this incredible fact means that on offer is complete forgiveness, the chance to
wipe the slate clean, peace, strength and God’s very live presence and hope for
By all means discuss and debate with me
what an Easter faith means. Or come along to a special meditation on Good
Friday at 2.00 to 3.00 p.m. to mark the last hour of Jesus on the cross, or on
Easter Sunday morning at 11.00 a.m.
P.S. While we are on dates, here is a big whoops!
I was inaccurate in the February
Newsletter regarding Bishop John Jewell, the local boy. This year is the 450th anniversary of a
major book he wrote in defence of the Church of England and the moderate
position it had come to. It was called
‘The Apology’. 2012 is not the 500th
anniversary of his birth for John Jewell was born in 1522. What a mistake for a
historian to make!
It's that time of year again for
Financial Matters for 2011/2012 to be tidied up ready for Audit Sign-Off and ready
for presentation at the upcoming AGM to be held on Wednesday, 2nd May at 7.30
Recently, the Hall affairs have
been run by a Team of 8 Committee Members, probably the lowest membership on Committee
for a number of years, and we should dearly love to see another 3 or 4 people
coming forward to join the Team, to bring fresh ideas and new added
support. To find out more about what's
involved, please don't hesitate to contact anyone on the Committee - you can
find their names and contact numbers on the Notice Board inside the Hall . . . then
make it known that you're ready 'n’ willing to help and available for election at
But whether you are seeking to join the Committee,
or simply reflecting your appreciation of the benefits of the Manor Hall as one
of its users or supporters, we'd love to see you at AGM, please put the 2nd
May date in your diary now!
With the Diamond Jubilee in early June
now fast approaching, you should be aware that the Hall Calendar has been
blocked out for that weekend in order to give the Village the resource of
an all-weather venue option for a party or whatever other function or activity
is chosen by you as Berrynarbor's Celebration. Hopefully, between the time of writing
this and the publication of the Newsletter, there may already be some embryonic
plans in place for an event of some sort.
If there's to be a Jubilee Celebration of
60 years, then there's also a case for Berrynarbor Villagers to smile a
bit and remember that 2012 marks 65 years of the Village having the Manor
Hall as a central resource and meeting point following its purchase from the
Bassett's Watermouth Estate back in 1947.
Another Manor Hall date-for-the-diary is
Tuesday 21st August – The Berry Revels 2012!
WEATHER OR NOT
After a very windy start to the year with winds forecast up
to storm force on the 2nd/3rd January and again on the 4th/5th [here it gusted
up to 41 knots which was the strongest wind we have recorded in any month since
January 2007], the weather settled down to being mild and damp. It wasn’t until the 13th that we had any
frost and for the first time this winter the temperature dropped below freezing
with a minimum for the month of
-1.6°C on the 16th before
recovering and becoming mild again. The
temperatures were fairly consistent through the month reaching double figures
on 23 days with a maximum of 11.9°C on the 12th. The last few days turned more seasonal with
the first snow on high ground on the 29th/30th. Here we had 19mm [¾”] of rain. The total for the month was 124mm [5”] which
was a bit below average. The sunshine
record of 13.56 hours was probably about average, the figures having ranged
from 7.2 hours 20.51 hours for the month.
At the beginning of February the weather turned colder with
overnight temperatures dropping to -5.8°C and -5.1°C between the 2nd and 4th,
these were the lowest temperatures we recorded for the month. On the 4th, heavy snow was forecast for much
of the country but here the temperature rose all day and by 10.00 p.m. it was
up to 7.7°C so we had rain which amounted to 9mm [3/8”]. We were away from the middle of February
until the 7th March so our figures include up to this date. We understand that while we were away, you had
some lovely spring weather, borne out by the 40.82 hours of sunshine, the
second highest recorded in a February.
The total rainfall up to the 7th was only 53mm [2 1/16”] which was
fairly low for February although we have noticed that the rainfall in February
has generally been a lot less in the last few years. The maximum gust of wind was 29 knots on the
18th and there was a wind chill of –12°C
on the 1st.
We’ve come home to the daffodils and primroses out and some
spring-like weather – hopefully winter is on its way out.
Simon and Sue
As part of the cultural Olympiad, running in conjunction
with the sporting events, Woolsack [www.woolsack.org] has asked crafters to
produce cushions made from British wool.
These cushions, to be made by the end of March and can be knitted, woven
or felted, will be given to all participating athletes – a little something of
Britain to take home as a memento.
The North Devon Spinners, who meet twice a month at the
Manor Hall, have been busy producing cushions, especially Kath Arscott who,
despite having broken her leg, was able to attend the Spinners’ recent annual
And talking of knitting, the Craft Group and friends set to
on the 27th February and knitted strips for the North Devon Hospice, enjoying
tea and cakes and biscuits and a good natter together. £200 and a box of many colourful strips has
been handed over to Ali at the Hospice.
The group meets every Monday
afternoon in the Manor Hall from 1.30 p.m. and everyone is welcome to come
along and work on their own personal craft, be it knitting, embroidery,
beading, painting, etc.
FEET – PEOPLE JUICE
Dance will perform People Juice, a community dance project in Berrynarbor on
Sunday, 29th April, at 3.00 p.m.
This promenade performance, which thanks to Beaford Arts for
securing an Award for All grant, means that the children from the school will
be taking part in a number of workshops, discovering that anyone can
dance! Viv Gordon, Art Director of Mean
Feet, will be working with the Pre-School, Mother and Toddler group and the
shop volunteers to create a merry dance that will lead you, the spectators,
around the village at 3.00 p.m., culminating in a
great big tea party sometime after 4.00 p.m.
As the performance will be moving through the village,
Beaford has applied for some road closures [2.00-6.00 p.m.] to ensure
everyone’s safety. It would be
appreciated if you could move your vehicle from the Manor Hall car park and the
area to the rear of the Globe to the village car park. Should you live in
Birdswell Lane and you are not attending the performance, though we hope you
will be, it is suggested you also park in the village car park. Steve Hill of Mill Park and Chris and
Barbara Gubb of South Lee have also very kindly thrown open their
premises to provide extra car parking space outside the road closure
This is a one off, never to
be repeated event brought to you by Berry's very own Royal Ballet Corps! Do come along and support them. Why not a make a real family day
of it with a roast lunch in The Globe beforehand and then wander
out and wonder as the fun and madness unfolds. Wrap up warm to follow the
dancers around the village and then pile into the Manor Hall for a
celebratory tea afterwards.
If you would like to join in
with the dancing or could be involved in any way by making cakes or
serving tea, please call me on 01271-882675.
COMING AND GOINGS
The comings and goings, to and from the
village, were for many years and until quite recently, a regular feature of the
Newsletter, and this way of keeping in touch has been missed. Perhaps with YOUR help it could be revived?
So that we can welcome you, may we suggest that newcomers
either write a short piece about themselves and pop it in to the Shop or
Chicane, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or
speak to me personally on 883544.
Equally, if you are leaving, by doing the same, our good wishes could go
Judie – Editor
P.S. If you know ‘coming’ or ‘going’ applies to
your neighbours, please give them a nudge to get in touch!
Dr. Doran, in his 1850 History
of Court Fools gives a completely exhaustive account of licensed and unlicensed
court fools, jesters and mirth men throughout the ages. The following brief selection is just a few.
Jester to George I, was not only
a fun-maker but also a ghostly adviser of the Hanoverian.
The fun-maker and jester to
Pope Gregory XVI.
Physician to Henry VIII and
his unlicensed fool.
Fool to Louis XIV, the last
licensed fool in France.
ROSEN Fool to Emperor
William the Conqueror who gave him 3 towns and 5 caracutes in
Gloucestershire. A caracute is an area
of land that a plough team of 8 oxen could till in a single annual season.
Jester to the court of Mary
Queen of Scots.
Cardinal Wolsey’s jester whom
he made a present of this ‘wise fool’ to Henry VIII who returned word that ‘the
gift was a most acceptable one’.
Court jester at Hampton Court
to Henry VIII .
Henry VIII with his three children and
of Czarina Elizabeth of Russia. mother of Peter
II. ‘A stolid brute, fond of practical
SCIENCE” with the BTO’s GARDEN BIRDWATCH
You probably have a bird table and a bird bath and regularly
put out peanuts and seeds. Your garden
probably also includes the sorts of flowers and shrubs which attract birds,
butterflies and bees.
In January you may have joined in the RSPB’s annual Big
Garden Birdwatch. A lot of people do
and participants increase each year.
But did you know that as well as the RSPB’s bird count once
a year, the British Trust for Ornithology organises a garden bird survey all
the year round?
Participants record the birds, butterflies and wild
creatures which visit their garden each week and submit these records to the
BTO once a quarter or enter the information online.
Gardens are important wild life havens, providing food and
shelter, and the data gathered from Garden Birdwatchers is useful in helping
towards the conservation and understanding of nature.
I joined the survey in 1995 and can thoroughly recommend
it. I’ve found it interesting and
enlightening – not just counting birds but observing their behaviour too – and
it’s nice to know that the records of the birds and animals which come to your
garden have contributed to a national database.
There is a membership subscription to cover costs. A magazine is included four times a year and
new members receive a copy of the book Garden Birds and Wildlife.
If you’d like more details the Garden Birdwatch Team at BTO,
The Nunnery, Thetford, Norfolk, IP24 2PU [or e-mail gbw@bto;.org] would be happy to hear from
A GOOD READ AWAITS YOU AT THE VILLAGE SHOP
Brooklyn by Colm Tóibín
For some weeks a copy of Brooklyn by Colm Tóibín has
languished among the second-hand books for sale at the village shop. I’m surprised it has not been snapped up.
Set partly in rural Ireland and partly in New York in the
1950’s, Brooklyn was the winner of the 2009 Costa Novel Award.
Ellis Lacey lives with her widowed mother and older sister
Rose and since leaving school has had difficulty in finding full time
employment. One day her sister
engineers a meeting with a priest who has returned from New York, for a holiday
in Ireland. He suggests Ellis goes to
Brooklyn where he would be able to arrange work and lodgings for her.
Ellis is surprised at how readily her mother and sister
agree to this plan. Events move rapidly
and she soon finds herself enduring a lonely and gruelling journey by sea to
The book gives an insight into life in a small town in
Ireland at that time and of the Irish and Italian communities of Brooklyn.
There are dilemmas of loyalty and duty and difficult
decisions to be made and towards the end, a scene between the girl and her
mother, so poignant, of such restraint and control; all the sadder for what is not expressed,
that just to think of it brings a lump to my throat and a heavy heart. And it’s not often a book does that.
TRACING FAMILIES IN BERRYNARBOR
A Letter to the Editor
I came across the Berrynarbor News
website through a search of ‘Dummett Berrynarbor’ on a search engine. Through research into my family tree I have
found many of my ancestors lived in Berrynarbor and have found some fascinating
information reading through all of the newsletters available online.
Stanley James Dummett, my grandfather, was
born in Berrynarbor (1901-1968; and later moved to Barnstaple where the family
have stayed) to James Dummett (1867-1918) and Louisa Blanch Dummett (formerly
Leworthy; 1880-1957). In various editions of the newsletters I have
found information relating to the Dummett family. Through information from the censuses and
family knowledge I found 7 of my grandfather’s siblings; Charles Henry (1897 –
1975; married Emily Fisher), John (also known as Jack; 1899 – 1980; married
Annie Lancey), Sidney (1904-1948; married Blanche Bowden - the story about
Blanche in Edition No. 127 was very interesting), Gordon (1906-1992; married
Doris Leslie; known to have moved to Bristol), Doris Hilda (1908-1978; married
Stan Harding), Lionel (1910-1986; married Phyllis Watkins; I found her memoriam
in edition No.105, Lionel was referred to as one of the Dummett brothers, so
seems they were well known in the area!), and Leonard (1912-1998; married Alice
I found the picture of Leonard‘s wedding to Alice in your last edition. In the picture one bridesmaid is named as
Doreen Spear (Len’s sister) who I had not previously found in my research. This
discovery led me to search the entire collection of your newsletters available
online for any other information on the Dummett family. I
found in issue No. 107 information of another sister Vera Dummett (1917-1959;
married Gordon Newton), Doreen was again mentioned, and I read that they lived
with their mother Louisa along with their husbands. This story also mentioned that there were 11
children overall (so I still have one unknown Dummett left to find!). James Dummett, the father died in 1918 during
the Spanish flu outbreak and in my research I found that Doreen Spear was born
Elsie Doreen Dummett in 1921 - obviously a few years
after James died!
I should like to know if anyone has any more information/pictures or memories
of the Dummett family in Berrynarbor, and also any clarifications on the
information I have found: are the
siblings’ names correct; is the information on Elsie Doreen correct and if so
was it known that she had a different father;
and who is the missing sibling?
I do know that James Dummett was born and raised in Marwood and his
father Robert and previous generations came from Braunton, and James and Louisa
married in 1896. In issue No. 120 I
discovered the brilliant story about Betsy Leworthy (who was Louisa’s mother)
and her donkeys. Betsy Willis
(1839-1912) married John Leworthy (1841-1915) in 1860
and they also came from Berrynarbor. There is a mention in your story of the
only known child Alfred Richard Leworthy (1866-1953; married Annie), along with
Louisa I have also found; John Willis Leworthy (1860-1889; married Mary),
William Henry (1864-1947; married Eliza), Thomas (1870-1918; perhaps also died
of Spanish flu?), and Clara Jane (1874-1905; married Willie Dennis). I have found that John and his father Thomas
were both blacksmiths, Betsy’s father was William Willis (1801-1864, born in
Combe Martin) and mother was Alice Hicks and her previous generations all from
I also wonder if there is any other information on the Leworthy family
I should love to hear from anyone who can help clarify the above, and
would greatly appreciate any new information.
Mrs Karen Goodwill - Barnstaple
CHOCOLATE PUDDLE PUDDING
I renamed the following recipe to the
above title when I came across it while I was thumbing through my food
processor recipe book. I was intrigued
and couldn’t see for the life of me how on earth this recipe was going to
work. I’m usually up for a challenge
so I gave it a go. It’s amazing, light
[although it looks anything but], perfect for a cold day and impressing guests.
The ingredients can all be found in our
(4ozs) self-raising flour
(4ozs) soft margarine
(4ozs) dark brown sugar
tbsp dark brown sugar
(¾ pint) boiling water
Put all the pudding ingredients into the
bowl and process until well blended.
Spoon into a greased 1 litre [2 pints] ovenproof dish and smooth with
the back of a spoon.
Blend the sugars and cocoa with a fork and sprinkle over the pudding
mixture. Gently pour on the boiling
water, in a circular movement. [I can
hear you saying “What?!! How on earth
does that work?” Believe me, hang in
there, it does.]
Place the dish on a baking sheet in the
oven for 35-40 minutes at 180°C, 350°F, Gas Mark 4.
Serve from the dish; don’t try to turn the pudding out as the
sauce has sunk to the bottom.
Yummy with ice-cream. Enjoy!
Kath Hely - Rockton Cottage
REFLECTIONS - 53
are usually observed in pairs. The jay
on the other hand is a solitary bird most of the time. Yet for other birds being part of the gang
is the preferred lifestyle.
house sparrow is one such species.
Having been born and raised, fledglings will join up to form new flocks
in late summer. During winter the new
and existing flocks will then roost in dense shelter such as rhododendrons or
hawthorn bushes. Each flock will have
its own scout bird who is regularly sent out to look for food. Once located, the remaining flock soon
follows; something I remember watching
as a child when living in London suburbia having scattered my broken up crusts
of toast across the back lawn.
Human scraps have always been a staple
diet of the urban house sparrow, a factor dictated by the holes and crevices in
buildings which are their preferred nesting site. The rural house sparrow meanwhile is just as
happy nesting in a farm building where there is livestock whilst exploiting any
arable food that can be sourced.
Although Breeding Bird Survey data
indicate an increase in the house sparrow population in Scotland, Wales and
Northern Ireland, the species has disappeared from other parts of Britain. Now a Red List species, it has declined in
Britain by over 65% in recent years with the south and east of England most
affected. Theories include leaded petrol
affecting the insect population [a vital food source for young], modern
buildings having fewer holes and crevices and a lack of winter food for the
farmland house sparrow.
Another bird synonymous with flocks is also one of
our most common, the starling. Up until
the mid-nineteenth century it was relatively uncommon in Britain – until, that
was, Europe’s indigenous forests were cleared for farming. This encouraged the species further west to
take advantage of the new cropped grassland, a favourite feeding habitat of the
starling with a beak powerful enough to part the ground as it probes grass
roots in search of invertebrates.
Such feeding grounds are not just
restricted to farmland. Common and
widespread in most habitats, I would often observe them probing our back lawn
when we lived on the outskirts of Brighton.
From a distance their plumage could appear all black but from my back
window I would admire each starling’s candescent green and purple shades. Yet their wonderful sheen appears to go
unappreciated by some ornitholigists, perhaps because the bird is so
common. It can also be regarded as
irritatingly noisy, but listen momentarily and you will soon hear the mimickery
of other birds or machinery.
Like the sparrow, a feeding flock will
quickly form once one starling is seen pecking away – more eyes to watch for
predators! But they are no ‘Bird Brain’,
having excellent memories for good feeding locations, once discovered it will
always be under observation by at least one bird.
The feeding flock in our back garden
numbered fifty or so – a snippet compared to the many thousands that would
amass on the dilapidated West Pier and a speck compared to the 30 million that
come across the east coast of England every autumn migrating from Europe. Their
arrival almost doubles our winter starling population.
would see fewer in the summer months, a time when they prefer woodland and
farmland for feeding. Both a help and a
hindrance to the farmer, they can inflict great damage but will also consume
large amounts of leatherjackets.
diet of food consumed by certain species can alter over time. The long-tailed tit for example is
adding peanuts to its main diet of insects; and it was whilst living in
Ilfracombe that a flock would
twice daily around 9 o’clock and 6 o’clock to feast on the peanut feeder. Their arrival provided an opportunity for
their most delicate of pink coloured feathers on their shoulders and under
parts to be admired – not forgetting their long tails which are over half the
length of the bird itself.
The long-tailed tit’s nest building is
to be respected. Taking up to three
weeks to construct, the nest is lined with up to 2,000 feathers, some of which
are recycled from the bodies of dead birds.
A mainly sedentary bird, it will move short distances form its nesting
site in winter in search for food. In
doing so, a family will join with other flocks until totalling around
twenty. This group can often include
other species of tits. Individual
are made up of parents, their offspring and any of the parent’s siblings who
lost their own nest that year – unable to go on to raise their own brood, the
siblings would instead assist the parents with feeding their
of goldfinches meanwhile can be initially created by nesting together in a
loose colony. Once the chicks have
fledged, families then flock together where food is plentiful. Their diet includes thistle, teasel and
dandelion seeds – they are the only bird capable of reaching seeds buried deep
within teasel flower heads thanks to their long, fine beak.
Unlike most other birds, goldfinches can
hold food with their feet. In the past,
however, it proved to be a disadvantage, the bird being caught and caged for
its party trick. In order to have a
drink the bird had to pull the strings of a cart full of water up a slope
without letting go. They were also
caged for their pleasant, canary-like, twittering song and striking plumage, in
particular their bright yellow wing bars and their black, red and white striped
The species is increasingly using garden
bird feeders, the possible result of a steady decline of food sources
naturally. Where we now live we back
onto farmland, one of the goldfinch’s habitats, and have been fortunate to
enjoy observing a flock in our garden all winter, sometimes totalling twenty
three. Admiring their beautiful
plumage, it is no wonder that their collective name is a charm of goldfinches.
Following my recent accident,
we should like to thank all the kind people of Berrynarbor, our family, Val and
Neil, Sarah and Graham, Paul and Clair, Shirley and Don and Penny.
A big thank you, too, to all the pupils at our school in
Classes 1 and 2 for all their love and get well wishes sent to me.
Thank you for all the flowers, get well
cards, phone calls and so many offers of help in so many ways.
people of Berrynarbor are so caring and thoughtful and our sincere thanks to
June and Gerry
OH WHAT A NIGHT
Adventures of Team
Of course, I blame Yvonne. After doing a series of challenges, which
included a mile swim in a mucky lake last September, followed by a 10 mile run
along the Tarka trail, and a (simple) Santa Run around Barnstaple
Christmas, she stated that she now needed another challenge to look forward
to. Foolishly, I suggested the Star Trek
Challenge, something we had been talking about for the last 20 years – one year
we even got as far as obtaining an entry form, but as Foot and Mouth developed
that year, the whole event was cancelled.
After Yvonne had mentioned the walk to some friends at work, she had
enough support to form a team – I don't know whether I intended to be part of
that team when I first suggested it to her, but my name was included anyway!
The Star Trek Challenge was started 20
years ago by the Rotary Club of Ilfracombe, and basically it's a load of
idiots, sorry, walkers, who trundle across Exmoor in the middle of the night,
at a very silly time of the year - early March being prone to snow, ice, gales
and rain - with the hope of raising lots of cash for local charities. Teams have to consist of at least 4 members, for
safety reasons obviously – if someone gets injured one member has to stay with
them and stop them from dying of hypothermia, whilst the other pair go off in
search of help. The motley crew that
Yvonne managed to put together consisted of Ann and Paul, nurse Sandra, our
dear friend Tim J. who assured us he knew how to use a compass so was welcomed
with open arms, Yvonne, as chief instigator and leader, and myself bringing up
the rear. The fact that I was nearly 20
years older than the rest didn't seem to deter them – probably ‘cos Yvonne
insisted that I did lots of walking and was reasonably fit - and stupid!
So on March 3rd 2012 we all met at a
field near Hawkridge on top of Exmoor.
The actual organisation and work that goes into setting up the whole
challenge is quite mind-boggling. So
many volunteers, serving hot drinks, food, making sure we are all correctly
equipped, helping to park cars [and especially helping to clear the car park in
the early hours of the morning, when said field was almost waterlogged], people
in caravans at various check points on the walk making sure each team reaches a
certain spot in the allocated time . . . not to mention the emergency teams ready to be
called out in case of accidents or, worse, people getting lost for hours. The planning beforehand is incredible, so
many factors to take into consideration – such as reasonable paths, places to
set up the check points, safety issues, compass bearings and clues to set – the
list goes on and on. I think the credit
should go to all the volunteers, who in my mind, work so much harder than we
have to. After all, we had chosen to do
the walk for FUN.
Back to our adventure now . . .
So after checking in, receiving,
studying and mapping the route of our first section, we left the site at around
7.45 p.m. – dry, warm, dark but with some moonlight filtering through the
patchy cloud. After a short walk down and back up the lane,
we turned into a small wood, and immediately felt the adventure was
beginning. We managed to answer a few of
the clues relatively easily, but what Francis Drake had got to do with a woodland
path on the edge of Exmoor we never did fathom out! The first leg of our journey took just over
the allocated time - put that down to inexperience, not to mention wasting time
trying to work out the Francis Drake clue - and we checked in at the first
caravan feeling, well, quite cocky. At
each check in you handed in your answer sheet and scores are collected later
which all go towards the overall result of the Trek. Once you are ready to leave, they hand you
the next set of map instructions and clues, so off you go again. The section times vary between 55 minutes and
1 hour 35 minutes, so probably about 2 to 3 miles each stretch, and the times
allocated are meant as a guide only, enabling the emergency services a better
chance to find you if you were lost and hadn't checked in within a certain time
– thus giving them a smaller area to look for you if you were really, really
off course. As I said before, brilliant
and expert organisation.
Now there is no point in my going
through the journey step by step, suffice to say we made it back to the half-way
point in a respectable time and were welcomed by hot pasties and warm tea. Most groups spend about 20–30 minutes taking
refreshments before adjusting rucksacks [amazing how many people offloaded
unnecessary clothing into their cars] and visiting the porta-loos. Once we had all decided we were happy to
carry on for another 4 hours, the same procedure as before was implemented and
off we went.
The weather by now was definitely
changing – rain was forecast and we considered ourselves very lucky to have got
this far without a soaking.
The next stretch of our walk soaked our
boots – it was so muddy, I reckon at least 25cm deep in parts and the suction
was almost enough to drag your boots off.
But, we carried on regardless, trying to ignore Paul’s pleas of 'Are we
there yet?' I am pretty sure it was
just his sense of humour, and let's face it, a sense of humour at 2.00 a.m. on
the moors, in the pitch black, is ESSENTIAL. Fortunately, it wasn't until half past two –
at the point when we were probably on highest ground and deepest moorland –
that it started raining. First a fine
drizzle, turning to light rain followed by heavy rain. Yvonne, very dexterously I thought, managed
to put on her waterproof trousers, but I soon gave up after deciding that
trying to balance on one leg with only one boot on in the pouring rain and wind
could only end up in disaster. As my trousers were already damp and we were
on the homeward stretch, I decided to brave the elements and wait until we
reached the meeting point, when I could change into dry attire without too much
risk of injury.
One last check point, where we were told
‘less than an hour now folks', which cheered us up no end and kept us going
through the last stretches of mud, up and down dale and through a few very
soggy fields. The glow from the meeting
point in the near distance was a welcome sight and to see it getting larger and
brighter spurred us all on. We finally reached the last check in point and
duly, and happily, handed in our bedraggled form at 4 o’clock in the
morning. Self-congratulations all round
were soon followed by hot drinks and sustenance. Just one last chore to perform, having the official
team photograph taken, which, considering our soggy state, it was amazing that
we all managed a beaming smile. Probably
due to sheer relief that it was ALL OVER and no one would have to do anything
like that again – well, not until next year.
Since writing this memoir, Yvonne has
done a quick calculation and it appears we have raised over £1,300 for the
charity fund. So many thanks to all our
I should like to give special thanks to
Yvonne for actually organising the team, getting us in place and at the right
time, complete with all the correct equipment and information, but especially
Tim for his skill as a map reader without whom I am convinced we should still
be stuck out there somewhere on Exmoor. Oh, and Aunt Ruby for the Mars Bars! Well done everyone - same time, same place
BERRY IN BLOOM & BEST KEPT
This is a very busy time of the year for
the ‘blooming’ team, but with the lovely sunshine we have been having lately we
are ready to start the year’s gardening and litter picking. Our first litter pick will be Sunday,
1st April, meeting at 2.00 p.m. at
Bessemer Thatch. Everyone is welcome to
join us and we’ll follow the litter pick with tea and cake. This is weather dependent, so if in doubt
please check with me on  882296 or 07810038659.
At the Berry in Bloom and Best
Kept Village meeting held on 7th March, it was agreed to change the dates of
the Gardens Open to May 20th for the Sterridge Valley and September 9th for the
Village gardens. This is because of the
very busy June, July and August this year with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, the
Olympics and all the usual village fetes.
As always we are keen for any new gardens to open - they don’t need to
be perfect but if you have a lovely view, interesting water feature or
whatever, please get in touch with me.
We’ll be running a Fun Quiz Night at the
Manor Hall, 7.00 p.m. on Friday 20th April with Phil Bridle as Quiz Master, and
with supper included for just £6.00. We
shall also be manning the cake stall at the Horticultural & Craft Show Coffee
Morning on Saturday 7th April, so we look forward to seeing you all there.
We hope that you will support these
events as we’ll not be getting any funding this year and must be
A friend of mine sent me this recipe for
an unusual chocolate cake that would be lovely for an Easter tea.
Chocolate Coca Cola Cake
Oil for greasing
Generous pinch of bicarbonate of
3 heaped tbs
unsweetened cocoa powder
300gm caster sugar
2 free range eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
200ml Cola (use Diet Cola if you
For the frosting
200gm Icing sugar 100gm butter
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
Pre heat the oven to 180°C, Gas Mark
Grease a 24cm loose-bottom cake tin
and line the bottom with baking parchment.
Sift the flour, the bicarbonate of soda,
and cocoa powder in to a bowl and stir in the sugar. Stir in the beaten eggs and vanilla extract.
Put the butter in a saucepan and melt
over gentle heat. Add the Cola to the
melted butter and stir to mix, DO NOT
ALLOW TO BOIL. Stir in the milk and
remove from the heat.
Quickly whisk the Cola-butter mix in to
the dry ingredients. Mix gently but
thoroughly. Pour the mixture in to the
prepared tin and bake for about 40 minutes or until a skewer inserted in to the
centre comes out clean. Cool in the tin
for 15 minutes and then finish cooling on a wire rack.
For the frosting, cream the butter, sugar,
cocoa powder and Cola together and cover the cake.
As this cake would be lovely for Easter,
mini chocolate eggs would decorate it beautifully.
BERRYNARBOR WINE CIRCLE
The February Wine Circle
meeting was billed as Judith’s Mystery Night, and it turned out to indeed
include a bit of mystery. She came up with the novel idea of
presenting a blind tasting of a wine for which we had to decide what the
grape was, then to compare it with wines made from the same grape but from
different areas of the world.
The mystery white drew several
different proposals as to what grape it was, including Chenin Blanc and Pinot
Grigio, but was correctly identified by one table, not only the grape but to its
actual region – an appellation Touraine made from Sauvignon Blanc in the middle
Loire region in France. The
Touraine is similar to two other, but expensive wines made from Sauvignon Blanc in near-by areas - Sancerre and Pouilly
Fume. The Touraine,
like them is a crisp white wine, perfect with all forms of sea food, but at a much
more affordable price. The Touraine Sauvignon Blanc was then compared
with one from South Africa and a most unusual offering, a sparkling Sauvignon Blanc from
Brancott Estate, New Zealand, a first for most of the members.
mystery red had everyone guessing, and mainly wrong! It was in fact a
Cabernet Sauvignon from the Pays D’oc region of France - most thought it was a
Merlot from just about anywhere else in the world but France. However, once the grape variety had been
revealed the next two reds were more typical of the grape with its strong
blackcurrant flavours. Once again though, the difference of style from Pays
D’oc, France, Clare Valley Australia and Mendoza in Argentina made for
very interesting tasting and comparisons.
Well done Judith, a new idea very well
executed and again a most enjoyable social evening for the Berrynarbor Wine
NEWS FROM OUR COMMUNITY SHOP AND
Thanks to the help of so many people,
our Carnival of Venice evening
in February was voted a success. Gerry,
with his lovely voice, set the scene as Gino the romantic gondolier and Stuart
accompanied him dressed as one! Diane
Denney from Somewhere2Travel2 brought the Carnival alive with her illustrated
talk on its history and our Berrynarbor cheffesses [Wendy, Anita, Yvonne, Kath,
Janet and Pam] produced a delicious three-course Italian supper.
A goodly number wore masks and the
outstanding prize winners were Colin Applegate and Gilly Loosemore.
Barnstaple’s twinning association lent
us a huge Italian flag and bunting in its colours and gentlemen appeared at
just the right time to decorate the hall.
Added to this were Deb’s rounding up some lovely raffle prizes and
Paul’s converting cassettes to CD’s for the music. We raised £500 for the shop and additional
small donations to Berry in Bloom and our Newsletter, so again, thanks to all
Easter is almost upon us. In the shop is a selection of Easter Eggs
for £1.50 [a good price!], little knitted chicks for £1 which will take a small
egg, Easter cards and of course Hot Cross Buns.
Do take a look at our £1 stand
where items change frequently. You may be
tempted with an impulse buy, but won’t regret it!
Kath reiterates that she would like any
seedlings, plants, cuttings, ‘can’t bear to throw aways’ or surplus to
requirement to be handed in at the Manor Hall on Sunday 6th May for the Great
Plant Sale. Beforehand, if you
have spare plant pots [particularly large ones] that you can donate, please
take them to the shop and if you need pots, please ask there. Tables to rent,
cost £5 - same as last year, are bookable by ‘phoning Kath on 889019. And, of course, we should like to see as
many as possible at 2.00pm on the 6th, eager to buy up all the wares!
And finally, the Berrynarbor Shop
Golf Tournament will take place on Friday 25th May [Tee off 1.00 p.m.] The usual format applies. ‘Phone John
Boxall for details , and do try to encourage new competitors. There
will be lots of prizes and at the end of the day, there’s a prize winners
dinner [non players also welcome].
DISTANT MEMORIES OF
First of all I have to acknowledge that I stumbled upon your magazine by accident, I was looking
former friend and employer in England on Google, when I spotted the name Beauclerk and
by clicking on it was introduced to your delightful magazine. Then again I saw the name in the letters in
the October 2011 issue from Eric Hammond and Tony Beauclerk.
It was after I had read these letters that I
realised I knew them both, for I too had
lived in Upminster for nearly 20 years and went to school with Eric.
My link with Berrynarbor dates back to the war
years of 1939-45, when I was evacuated for a short time to stay with Gerald
Beauclerk and family to escape the bombing where we lived. I must have been about 8 or 9 years old and
attended the village school which consisted of a large single room with a
blanket dividing it into 2 class rooms. However,
I was at a disadvantage in the school as they had not yet been taught long
division, whereas I was ahead of them coming from near London.
During those Devon
days, I experienced Gerald making and flying his model aeroplanes and my flying
what was in those days called a FROG KIT plane with wound up elastic bands to
keep it in the air, gliding or crashing when the power had finished. Tony
had dug, what appeared to be to my young eyes, an enormous tunnel and rooms
underground in the garden. I remember
going underground with him and being in awe.
His sister Jean was a good artist and painted scenes on sea shells
and flat stones. I was not in her world
so did not have much to do with her. She
wanted to be a Doctor and I have wondered over the years whether she achieved
Gerald taught me
chess and although I was only 7 years old took to it like a fish to water. We had many battles across the board, even
late at night, although I believe my mother put a stop to that! Later I joined the Upminster Chess Club and so
have to thank Gerald for enabling me to enjoy chess in competition for many
years. Sadly, like so many things my friendship with
the family vanished. I served in Gibraltar, doing my National
Service in the Army, Spain and then came Canada.
I could go on but
must stop as this epistle does not recall much of Berrynarbor or Ilfracombe
where I used to swim in the rock pool and fish.
I thank you for
putting to rest some ghosts that have haunted me in a pleasant way.
Stan Walker – St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada
WHERE ARE YOU NOW?
Lorna’s article on
the Youth Club in the ‘70’s and ‘80’s brought a very welcome response from
Kevin Robinson, also from Canada.
‘I remember those days with great
fondness and try to keep in touch with as many of the old gang as possible: Wendy and Rachel [Fanner], Phil Desmond, Dave Sawyer,
Liane [Hughes], the Chuggs of Berrydown, Dave Richards, Kim Markham, Sue and Jenny
[Todd] and the Bowens.
‘Me? Well I emigrated to Canada and after many
years in the automotive business I became a Motoring Journalist. I now write
auto-related news stories and new car reviews for several publications
including two local Toronto lifestyle magazines [Caledon & Orangeville
Living], my own site www.carkeys.ca, and the largest automotive web content provider here
in Canada, www.auto123.com. My work is
published under the pen name of Kevin “Crash” Corrigan [a long story, but
Corrigan was my original birth name] and although the pay scale isn’t quite
that of Jeremy Clarkson, I enjoy the work immensely. It has enabled me to travel the world - I’m
off to Monterey California this week and Malaga Spain the week after - and I
get to drive many of the vehicles I dreamt of as a child, I always was a tad
car-crazy! I also get to boast of a different brand new
vehicle parked in my driveway each week, and there are not many who can lay
claim to that!
I’ve made several appearances on Canadian
television over the years in my role as an automotive expert, am a judge for
the Canadian Car of the Year Awards, yet I’m probably best known now for my car
piloting escapades. In 2010, I achieved
3rd place in the coveted Targa Newfoundland Rally - a week-long high
performance road rally and one of only four such events held worldwide. I
believe that growing up in and around Berry provided me with more than a little
assistance in achieving that result The winding road from my home at Berrydown
into the village certainly helped shape my driving skills, and meeting the odd
farm tractor on a blind bend did wonders for my reaction times!
Being a farm boy at heart - my family
used to own Longlands Farm at Kentisbury Ford - I now live on a small acreage
just north of Toronto where I keep two horses, a dog, a cat, and a pot-bellied
pig called Patrick [Paddy the Pig]. My
sister Karen now lives in in the village and I hope to visit sometime in the
I should love to hear from any of the
old gang, and I thank you Lorna for reminding me of all the wonderful friends I
enjoyed during my time spent in Berrynarbor.
You live in a wonderful village and a place where the residents can be
truly proud to call home.
Kevin ‘Crash’ Corrigan] – Toronto, Canada
Come on, please,
let’s be hearing from some of you other members of the Youth Club, even those
who live locally or have parents still living in the village! It would be good to know where you are and
what you’ve achieved.
FROM THE PRIMARY SCHOOL
As Easter is early this year we have
already nearly completed the Spring Term!
The children have been busy this term
taking part in various sporting activities, including Sports Hall athletics at
Ilfracombe College, and an inter-schools swimming gala at Ilfracombe pool. We have a group of children going to an
Orienteering Festival at Ilfracombe College next week. There are also some friendly football matches
being organised between some of the local schools and we shall be playing
Ilfracombe Junior School on Monday 19th March.
Thursday 1st March was World Book
Day. The children and staff were
encouraged to dress up as their favourite fictional character, and parents were
invited to school during the morning to take part in some reading related
activities. This was very well attended
and enjoyed by all.
On Big Yellow Friday,
a fun day to raise funds for a charity supporting children with liver
disease. We shall all be dressing in
yellow costumes for the day to raise awareness and money for this worthwhile
Our PTA have also been busy. Their
recent Curry and Quiz night, held in the Manor Hall at the end of February was
a huge success, and a good time was had by all.
This is a great money raiser for our school, and we would like to thank
everyone who took part.
Following on from the Senior Dudes Christmas
meal, Class 4 children will be preparing, cooking and serving a wonderful meal,
but this time it is for their parents and takes place on Friday 16th March.
Class 3 will be holding their Easter
play in the Church on Thursday 29th March.
All are welcome.
We shall again be collecting vouchers
from Sainsbury’s and Tesco towards sports equipment for our school, and should
be very grateful for any donations of vouchers.
This year saw our first team of Star
Trekkers; Mrs Wellings, Mr Jones, Mrs
Lucas, Mr Newell, Mrs Richards and Mrs Davies all took part and successfully
completed the walk in 8 ½ hours! Well
done to you all!
We would all like to wish you a Happy
Carey – Headteacher
The 24th January was a very special day and another telegram
from the Queen for Ina and Cecil [Hodkinson] who were celebrating their
Platinum Wedding – 70 years together, what an achievement!
Our congratulations and very best wishes to you both.
Congratulations are also in order for two new babies in the
Morley Barrett, a second son
for Geoff and Elaine and a brother for George arrived safely on the
23rd January weighing in at
6lbs 7oz. Morley is another grandchild
for Pat and Richard, and Chris and Barbara.
Just tipping the scales
slightly higher at 6lbs 10oz, Eily Rose Wedlake made her debut on Friday 9th
March. A daughter for Amy and Gary and
a first grandchild for
Angela and Richard.
A warm welcome to the two
little ones and congratulations to the proud parents and grandparents.
I have just looked up the word ‘kite’ in the dictionary and
it says: ‘a toy consisting of a light
frame covered with a light thin material, usually in the form of an isosceles
This may have been the only idea of a
kite at one time, but how things have changed.
They don’t even have to be in the air.
On a minesweeper there was a device attached to a sweep-wire submerging
it to the requisite depth when it is towed over a minefield.
My first recollection of kite flying was
as a child. I would make my own. If they nose-dived, then a larger piece of
rag on the tail would usually put things right.
Our family devised a kite in the size
and shape of a domestic door. People
said, “That’ll never fly”, but it did!
With a heavier string and an enormous pull, it broke lose one day and we
spent an hour or so hunting to find where it had landed.
But kites can be very dangerous too. In their modern form they have enormous
lifting power. At Brightlingsea a man
was lifted across the river and landed unhurt on the other side.
A man at Stowmarket was not as fortunate when he was lifted
up and dropped. He lost his life.
Today, looking out at sea young people can be seen kite
My own experience of being lifted by a form of kite was
parachuting at Looe in Cornwall. I was
strapped to a form of parachute on the deck of a boat. As the boat gathered speed, the line was let
out as you rose in the air. I was told,
“Not to worry if the line breaks, you will just float down into the
water.” They failed to mention the
sharks and conger eels lurking down below!
Of course the wind has been used in other ways. Take, for example, windmills. Some years ago the Abraham Brothers had a
nice arrangement in that one owned and operated the local windmill for grinding
the grain, whilst the other ran a bakery – in those days bread was oven
baked. What were often mistaken for
windmills on the Norfolk Broads were in fact water pumps.
down your way whilst on holiday, I observed a man floating high up at
Woolacombe. It was a banana-shaped
craft and he was circling around for most of the afternoon. Similarly a man flew up and down near the
cliffs at Cromer in Norfolk. I met him
later on the pier and asked him if had to learn to fly a hang-glider or have a
certificate or something. His reply
was, “Oh, I don’t know about that, I just did it!”
Nowadays in a full circle, the windmill has returned in the
form of huge wind turbines. Two hundred
feet and more in height, hundreds of them can be seen on and off our
shores. I don’t know what the
neighbours would say if I put one in my front garden!
Illustrations by Paul Swailes
SALE - £250.00
in a shop Bacton, Suffolk
weaving in and out of the traffic with this motor bike!’
COUNTRY WALK – 131
Far From the Madding Crowd at Maiden Castle
Last year in early May we were passing through Dorchester
when I was surprised to see from the map how close Maiden Castle was. Only a couple of miles from the town it was
worth a detour.
We walked along the track leading to the ancient monument. It loomed impressively ahead, much bigger
than I had expected.
The guide book claimed not only is it the best example of a
prehistoric fortress in Britain, with enormous earthworks, but Maiden Castle is
also one of the finest Iron Age hill forts in Europe.
The short turf was studded with cowslips and the air was
full of linnets and skylarks. Several
stonechats perched on bushes at the side of the track. I turned my head in the direction of a harsh
churring sound and caught sight of the mistle thrush responsible for it.
As we reached the hill fort a bright orange butterfly; a small heath, fluttered past slowly and low
to the ground. There was a view,
somewhat incongruously of Prince Charles’ Poundbury development, looking rather
like a Toytown version of how a housing estate should be. Well, at least the inhabitants of Poundbury are able to enjoy a wonderful view of Maiden
It is about three-quarters of a mile long. The Romans built a temple at the eastern
end. From a distance it had appeared to
be a smooth and solid mound but we found ourselves in a complex system of
earthworks folding and circling about us
like hills within a hill. What a feat
of engineering those Ancient Britons achieved.
My companion had gone a little way ahead and was soon out of
sight. When I saw him on top of an
escarpment, which dropped steeply only to rear up just as steeply on the
opposite side, I felt a sense of déjà vu although I had never been there
I recognised it as the location for the scene in the film
version of Thomas Hardy’s Far From the Madding Crowd, in which Sergeant Troy
[played by Terence Stamp] impresses Bathsheba Everdene [played by Julie
Christie] with his swordsmanship.
Having assured her first that the sword is blunt Troy,
‘brilliant in brass and scarlet’, shows off his prowess, charging up and down
the slopes, brandishing his sword ever closer to the watching Bathsheba until
finally he uses it to cut off a lock of her hair.
“But you said that it was blunt and couldn’t cut me!” she
“That was to get you to stand still, and so make sure of your
safety. The risk of injuring you
through your moving was too great not to force me to tell you a fib.” Troy explained.
Bathsheba shuddered, “I have been within an inch of my life
and didn’t known it!”
These were the images that popped unexpectedly into
my head as we wandered about the strange landscape of Maiden Castle.
Although Bathsheba marries Sergeant Troy, the marriage is a
disaster and she finally settles with the dependable shepherd Gabriel Oak. He tells her, “Whenever I look up there you
shall be and whenever you look up there shall I be.”
I wondered what Bathsheba and Gabriel would have made of Poundbury or what their creator Thomas Hardy – an architect
before he found fame as a writer would have thought of it. A carbuncle on the face of his beloved
Illustration by Paul Swailes
EVENTS FOR YOUR DIARIES
The Ebbw Vale Male Voice Choir will be giving a Concert at
Holy Trinity Parish Church Ilfracombe on Saturday, 21st April at 7.30 p.m. Possibly the best male voice choir in the
country, it is indeed an honour that they are returning to give another charity
concert. Tickets at £8 and £10 can be
obtained from the TIC at The Landmark, Tinker Tailor in Ilfracombe High Street
or by ‘phone  866647.
SATURDAY 12TH MAY
At 9 Berrynarbor Park, 2.00 - 5.00 p.m.
Time to enjoy a gorgeous
in great company. There will be a good raffle and we’ll think
of other ways to
encourage you to spend your money!
All proceeds to the
North Devon Hospice in memory of Brian who was lovingly cared for there at the
end of his life.
We are hoping for great
BERRY IN BLOOM 2012
SUNDAY, 20TH MAY
to 5.30 p.m.
Ticket: £4.50 [Under 8 £3.50]
at Chicane from 3.00 p.m.
event of bad weather, please ring  882296 to check the Gardens are still
and Programmes available from the Shop or the Globe from early May
OLD BERRYNARBOR NO. 136
Sandaway Caravan Park, Berrynarbor
This postcard of the Sandaway Caravan Park, Berrynarbor, was
posted on the 16th August 1965 by Gwen and Ernest to friends or neighbours in
Kidlington, Oxford. They say that they
lost their way twice on the way down and that the weather is good and they have
had to buy sun hats to protect them from the sun. [Summers past!]
At that time the Park was owned and run by the Carey family
and many of the caravans were privately owned and let for one or two week
periods during the summer season.
The Carey family had owned it and the Market Gardens from
the early 1950’s. Mrs. Carey’s nephews,
Ernest and Bill, ran the market gardening side of the business whilst she and
her niece Marjorie ran the camp site for tents and caravans.
In the mid-1960’s it was sold to the Howard family and by
the 1980’s was being run by Alfred Taylor who later lived in the Channel
Islands and had a manager running the now much improved Caravan Park.
In the early 1990’s, the large business of John Fowler
Holiday Parks purchased the site and are still running it today with its many
facilities including a swimming pool, shop and club house.
I should very much welcome any more information about the
Tower Cottage, March 2012
MOVERS & SHAKERS NO. 38
MARY JANE CHALLACOMBE
Baptised 3 March 1844 – 11 July 1915
Developer of Collingwood Hotel,
‘With deep regret we announce the
death of Miss Mary Jane Challacombe, of Lyncott, St Brannocks Road, Ilfracombe
who passed away quite suddenly on Sunday.”
That report was the Ilfracombe
Chronicle’s farewell announcement of
17th July 1915 of a ‘conspicuous figure in the business life of Ilfracombe.’
It was with some sadness that I read of
the demolition of the Collingwood Hotel in January’s North Devon Journal, not
because I’d ever been in there, but it had a certain gracious style when I first
knew it. Then Mary Jane Challacombe’s name emerged as the original owner, and I
wanted to know more about this lady.
A ‘phone call to Michael Challacombe,
her great-great-nephew yielded not a lot!
As he remarked, he never thought as a child to ask his grandfather about
her. He knew that her parents had owned
several farms at West Down during the Napoleonic Wars, and thought she might be
buried in West Down Church graveyard. No such luck! On a cold wet miserable January day Alex
and I scoured all graves in the church of
St Calixtus [No I’d not heard of him
either, but he was Pope from AD 212 - 217 and then was martyred.] Anyway, our search was in vain – and then
Ilfracombe Museum came up trumps. Her
grave was in Ilfracombe’s Parish Church – and yes, I found it. She is buried with two of her aunts,
Elizabeth and Mary Ann, as detailed on the now-weathered headstone.
But back to the beginning. Mary Jane Challacombe, second daughter of
John and Ann Challacombe, was baptised in Holy Trinity Church on
3rd March 1844, Her father was listed as a Master Saddler,
her mother a dairy woman. With the
inheritance after her father’s death, she decided to go into property. Over the years she acquired what is now the
Cider House in St Brannocks Road and built the properties on the other side of
that road including Lyncott, home to the Challacombe family for many
years. She had apartments at 2 Market
Street, and then opened a boarding house at No 10. Around 1875, in an area called Mill Meadow
[the remains of that mill has just been demolished with the hotel], a man from
Newport, Monmouthshire built four terraced villas and called them
Collingwood Terrace, apparently
after Admiral Cuthbert Collingwood who was Nelson’s heroic second in command at
the battle of Trafalgar. Three years
later, Mary Jane leased the two central houses and opened them as boarding
houses. Eventually she leased all four
and bought numbers 2, 3 and 4.In 1889 she added a large rear extension for
kitchen, dining and coffee room and more bedrooms.
following year a new façade and extra floor were added and the Collingwood
Hotel emerged as one of the best hotels in Ilfracombe. On the photo of the terrace you will see on
the right bay windows at ground level and basement. Look at the photo of the hotel
and ignoring the extension on the right you will see the same two bay windows,
a rare part of the building’s remaining origins. The hotel’s main entrance was
the surviving doorway of one of the original villas. Way ahead of her time, she owned the first
motor car in Ilfracombe and had a garage built at the hotel for it. Having completed her project, three years
later, Miss Challacombe retired. She was not interested in town affairs, but
according to her obituary ‘was an enthusiastic Liberal. She took a keen
interest in the founding of the Liberal Club and was a diligent worker on the
Women’s Liberal Association.’
She never married, it is said, because
her husband would get all her money, but she had a ‘live in’ male friend for
many years. Could this be
Dr. John Cornbill, who in the 1881
census was listed as ‘Boarder, at 2 and 3 Collingwood Terrace, Surgeon not
practising’, and in the report of her death as an ‘immediate mourner’? He left a message, ‘after a friendship of 40
years’ on her wreath.
It is thought
this photograph is of
Challacombe, but can anyone please confirm this?
By 1920 the Collingwood had grown to a
first class hotel, boasting 120 bedrooms - only the Ilfracombe Holiday Hotel
was larger with 250. Its iron fretwork
was painted white – not Victorian green or black - and successful years lay
Five generations later, Michael Challacombe with his wife Wilma, a much
loved proprietor, ran the hotel for its last 40 years. They sold the hotel to
Wetherspoons in 2007, a year before Wilma died.
After surveys, Wetherspoons decided that the hotel must be pulled own as
interior load-bearing walls had been knocked through over the years and the
building was unsafe for reconstructing the interior.
Now after 5 years of haggling over what the replacement will contain,
the grand old lady has been reduced to rubble, with many locals [including me!]
photographing its demise. An Art-Deco building is planned, costing £4million.
It will have 54 bedrooms and a restaurant and will be raised up to avoid
flooding problems. Car parking will be to the rear. Perhaps, as the Collingwood
was in its day, it will become ‘one of the finest places to stay in Ilfracombe.
It would be good to think that Mary
Jane Challacombe would approve, but at the least, she reserved a large plot
that might otherwise have been built on, for a brand new 21st
century hotel that according to District and Town Councillor Paul Crabb is ‘a
very important step forward in Ilfracombe’s on-going regeneration.’
Thanks to Michael Challacombe and
the Ilfracombe Museum for their information
PP of DC
The 1926 General Strike in the United Kingdom was a strike
that lasted nine days, from the 4th to the 13th May. It was called by the general council of the
Trades Union Congress in an unsuccessful attempt to force the Government to act
to prevent wage reduction and worsening conditions for coal miners.
Organisation for the Maintenance of Supplies was a British right-wing (but non-political)
movement established in 1925 to provide volunteers in the event of a general strike. During the General Strike of 1926 the OMS was taken over by the government and was used to
provide vital services such as transport and communications and to maintain
order in the street. These volunteers
were known as Special Constables.
An agreement to end the dispute took
place on the 12th May. The miners maintained resistance
for a few months before being forced by their own economic needs to return to
The effect on the coal-mining
industry was profound and by the late 1930’s, mining had fallen by more than
1/3rd from its pre-strike 1.2 million miners,
But by the outbreak of the Second World War, productivity had rebounded
from 200 tons produced per miner to over 300 tons.
Richard [Dick] Richards
1878-1948 a volunteer Special Constable in 1926 and his thank you from the
Government. His task was to make sure
the village remained quiet and peaceful!
The photo shows him sitting outside his home at 24 Henton [Hagginton]
Hill. Dick, Lorna’s grandfather, was a
forester and agricultural worker.