The February meeting was taken by Vice Chairman Margaret
Crabbe and commenced with a short AGM.
Both the Secretary, Marion Carter, and the Treasurer,
Janet Steed, wished to step down from the committee this year.Janet Gammon kindly agreed to act as Treasurer
as well as Outings Secretary.Margaret
thanked Marion and Janet for all their hard work and the other members who help
to make the Ladies Group a success.
Margaret then welcomed Lani Shepherd, who designs and makes
contemporary stained glass panels at her local studio.Her
designs have been commissioned for public spaces and private homes worldwide.
Lani originally came to North Devon to retire but after a while realised she
needed a hobby, which has now turned into a business!The
stained glass panels are made from hand-made art glass in the Tiffany
technique, or copper foil method. Lani
brought along samples of her work which were admired by one and all.
On 2nd March, Sarah Curtis came from the Dogs Trust [formerly
the National Canine Defence League] and brought with her a Bassett hound called
Harvey.The Trust, founded in 1891, has 18 re-homing
centres nationwide. 16,000 dogs were
cared for in 2009 and the average stay is four to six weeks - 94 % are re-homed
and only 3 % destroyed.It was nice to hear that 3 % are returned to
All the dogs are checked by a vet, neutered and an identity
chip inserted. Much effort goes into
matching a dog to its future home and there is a one-week trial period before a
final decision is made.If the new owner
experiences a problem, the Trust guarantees to take the dog back.
The facility at Ilfracombe was rebuilt in 1996 and handled
600 dogs in 2009.There are fourteen
staff and it costs £200,000 a year to run with no government funding.There is a charity shop in Ilfracombe, which
£37,883 last year.Sarah illustrated her talk with colourful
slides.Janet Gammon suggested various
ideas for this year's outings and asked for comments.The
suggestions were a visit to Woody Bay Railway to include a cream tea in the
cafe, Arlington Court
and a Cream Tea at Simonsbath - we are not counting calories!
The raffle was won by Ethel Tidsbury.The Meeting ended, as always, with tea,
biscuits and a chat.The speakers at
the next three Meetings will be:6th
April -Bernard Hill [the fox man], 4th May
- Tom Bartlett [Old
Berrynarbor in Pictures]
and 1st June - Tim Davies [Birds of Berrynarbor].Do come along!Everyone is welcome and meetings start at Doreen Prater
my name softly after I have gone.
loved the quiet things, the flowers and the dew,
mice, birds homing; and the frost that shone
nursery windows when my years were few;
autumn mists subduing hill and plain
blurring outlines of those older moods
follow, after loss and grief and pain -
last and best, a gentle laugh with friends,
bitterness forgone, and evening near.
we be kind and faithful when day ends,
shall not meet that ragged starveling 'fear'
one by one we take the unknown way -
my name softly - there's no more to say.
SALLY ANNE RICHARDS
village was stunned to learn that having treated her illness with cheerfulness
and disdain, Sally passed away peacefully at home on the 17th February.Our thoughts are with Martyn, her father
Norman and her grandmother Ivy and all her family at this time of such sadness.
On the day of her funeral, the sun shone and there was
'standing room only' in the Chapel.So
many members of her family, friends and colleagues from work were there to wish
her well and send this much loved free spirit on her way 'home'.Bless you Sally from us all.
Norman, Dave and Martyn would like to thank everyone for the
cards and kind words of sympathy following the sad loss of Sally.
Thanks also go to the Rev. Keith Wyer for being fantastic at
such a difficult time and all the care and support of the community, Macmillan
and Hospice nurses.Money raised, £367
so far, will be split between Macmillan Cancer Support and the North Devon
Sally was born in Ilfracombe and grew up in Berrynarbor.She moved away to take on many new ventures,
returning home some years ago.
Such a lovely, free-spirited friend, daughter,
grand-daughter, soul mate, sister and aunty, she will be greatly missed.
we love don't walk away
walk beside us every day.
unheard, but always near,
loved, still missed and very dear.
ST. PETER'S CHURCH
A wonderful service on Mothering Sunday which did the School
proud.About thirty children filed into
church in an orderly fashion and settled down quickly.Parents and brothers and sisters were
already in the pews along with the church choir and our regular congregation.
The Lesson from St. Luke was read very clearly by Oliver
Ivan, the school sang a Mother's Day song unaccompanied and one child from each
year group read a poem, producing spontaneous applause - and some tears.Each child had a personally made card for
their mother and bouquets with cards were distributed around the whole
congregation on behalf of St. Peter's.The service ended with Macy Ivan singing 'Somewhere over the Rainbow',
accompanied on the guitar.
Special thanks to Mike Taylor who led the service, Mrs.
Newell and School Staff for their work with the children and Sue Wright who
made up some 50 bunches of flowers for us all.
April 23rd is St.
George's Day.St. George is usually portrayed slaying the dragon but there is also a
story that the Emperor Constantine [3rd/4th Century] built a church over the
Saint's grave and declared him guardian of seaside towns, ships, channels and
dangerous waters.And there is a St. George's Channel off the Welsh coast between Great Britain
There will be two special dates in May.Ascension Day is on the 13th and Pentecost
[Whitsunday] will be celebrated on the 23rd with Holy Communion.This is the week-end before the Bank
Friendship Lunches will be on Wednesdays 28th April and 26th
onwards.Everyone is welcome to come
along and join us.
A receipt has arrived from Shelterbox thanking us for the
£400 sent in response to the Haiti
The money was collected
in church and through the Community Shop.We have also received a thank you letter
from the Children's
Hospice for the £250 sent from Christmas collections.
MANOR HALL MATTERS
The feedback from those who supported the Simon Banks Musical
Evening and Supper in early February wasextremely positive and thanks must
go to committee members for their help in staging the event and providing
puddings!Particular thanks to Alan
for his tenacity throughout the preceding days and weeks to get things
organised.So, a qualified success for
our first 'fund raiser' of the year!
Growing our funds is really important as they
are forever being stretched! At the time of writing, for example, we've just had to
contend with a major breakdown of the gas boiler which serves the Penn
Curzon Room and to reorganise the configuration of some of the guttering at the
rear of the building to avoid further water entry and damage to plasterwork beyond
that which occurred during the bad weather since the new year.
So, can I again emphasise the continued
importance of fund raising and the hope of your full support for the
two Beaford Arts events scheduled for a few weeks' time?
Also, just round the corner, on Wednesday
5th May to be precise, we shall be holding our Annual General Meeting.This will be, as always, an open meeting
and we should love to see a presence from all the User Groups.Please do your best to send a
Hopefully by now, the Regular User Groups
will have received a short form on which to record and input their collective
views to define the projects and priorities they believe the
Manor Hall Committee should consider in the months and years ahead, both for
the buildings and the facilities.From these form inputs and from the Committee itself, we hope to
organise a short, medium and long term Action Plan as well as developing plans
for further fund raising and grant applications to support the Action Plan
and anticipate some ambitious ideas!
One project which will get underway in the coming weeks will
be the external decoration and treatment of window timbers.Timings are not yet fully defined and will
be dictated, to some extent, by the weather.
Colin Trinder - Chairman
WEATHER OR NOT
We don't need to remind anyone that January and February were
In January the temperature dropped to below or near freezing
on twenty-two nights;daytime
temperatures were well below double figures for most of the month.The highest temperature was 11.8 Deg C on the
16th and the lowest was -4.6 Deg C on the 7th.This was not actually as low as last January when we recorded -5.6 Deg C,
but then the cold spell was not so prolonged.We got off lightly here in Berrynarbor, temperatures in other parts of
the county dropped to -14 Deg C and -15 Deg C.We did record wind chills of -14 Deg C on two days and -11 Deg C, 012 Deg C and
-13 Deg C on three other days.There were
falls of snow on seven days with a maximum fall of 10mm [3/8"] - a light
dusting in comparison to the massive 480mm [19"] Aviemore had in one
night!The cold frosty weather meant
that there was little rain in the month, the total being 65mm [2 9/16"],
this was not exceptional but January can be a very wet month.With a lack of rain, this meant more
sunshine and the hours recorded were 20.51, capping last year by 71/2 hours.
February had a few spring-like days but again the
temperatures stayed mainly in single figures with a maximum of 11.4 Deg C on the
24th.The overnight minimums although
dropping below freezing on several nights were higher generally than in January
and the lowest recorded was -2.5 Deg C on the 12th.There was also a wind chill of -11 Deg C on two
consecutive days.It was another dry
month with a total of 86mm [3 3/8"] of rain, the wettest day being the 2nd
with 12mm [1/2"] and there were also four days with some snow.One thing we haven't seen a lot of this
winter is south-westerly gales.In
January the strongest wind guest was 28knots from the north and in February, it
was 24 knots from south-south east.
There was very little sunshine in the early part of February,
with the total of 23.06 hours being only .22 hours higher than in 2009.
March has started dry and sunny with high pressure still in control,
but it is still pretty cold and the ground is still frozen where the sun hasn't
reached it.The daffodils are being held
back but the snowdrops and crocuses are putting on a good show.
Simon and Sue
LEGEND LIVES ON
Caroline, the world's most famous offshore radio station, where DJ's such as
Johnny Walker, Tony Blackburn and Dave Lee Travis cut their teeth and made
their break in radio, is still on the air, over 45 years on from when the
legend began. As well as land based studios in Kent, it still has a radio ship,
the Ross Revenge, docked at Tilbury, which is undergoing renovation works. Radio Caroline broadcasts special live
programmes from the Ross Revenge over bank holiday weekends, and tours of this
legendary vessel are available.
based Paul Crockett, known on air as Paul Andrews [long story], recently became
the new early breakfast show presenter, with a weekday show between 6 and . Paul
presented many radio programmes for a number of local radio stations when he
lived in Hampshire, and after an 11 year break, says, "It's great to be
back behind the microphone again and to be part of a great team of dedicated
Radio Caroline is predominantly an Adult Album station biased
towards rock music, offering an alternative to local radio stations, with a mix
of comfortable classic songs from the last four and a half decades, together
with less familiar songs not often heard on the radio.Radio Caroline can be heard on Sky channel
0199, and over the internet at www.radiocaroline.co.uk.Internet radio is the fastest growing radio
FROM THE RECTOR
As I prepare to leave you, I just wanted to say 'Thank You'
for making my time here so memorable.Thank you for allowing me to share in your moments of laughter and joy,
and tears of sorrow.We have
experienced the highs and lows of life together and those moments will always
stay with me. Our friendship has been an expression of the love we share.
Throughout my ministry I have tried to show and express
something of God's love for you.I
apologise for the times I have failed but I shall always remember your smiling
faces, and the times we have shared together, in Church, at school, in the pub,
along the road, in the shops.
When the Queen's anniversary was celebrated and television's
Richard and Judy came to Combe Martin, I was given one question that I would be
asked by the presenters, which was "What are the people like?"
I never actually got
the chance to give the answer I had prepared, because they were running out of
time at the studio!I probably muttered
something like "There are good and bad here", but what I really
say came from one of my
favourite stories about a gamekeeper who liked to shoot ducks and wanted to try
out his new gun dog.When he shot a
duck, he said to the dog, "Go fetch."The dog looked up, wagged his tail and
calmly walked across the pond, picked up the dead bird, walked back and dropped
it at his feet.The gamekeeper couldn't
believe his eyes!He shot another duck,
and exactly the same thing happened again.He could hardly contain his excitement when he invited a few friends
along to see the new gun dog in action.At the pond he shot a duck, and the dog behaved exactly the same as
before.The gamekeeper looked at his
friends.Not a flicker!He shot another duck and exactly the same
thing happened again.Not a
flicker!Unable to contain his
excitement any more he said, "Did you notice anything special about the
dog?"One of his friends, in a broad Devon accent, replied, "Funny you should say that. he
can't swim, can he?"
So often we do not see the miracles around us, and so often
we take our friends and loved ones for granted.Open your eyes and tell your friends and loved
ones just how much they mean to you.Then, maybe, I shall have achieved something here in my ministry.God bless you all.
Friend and Rector,
On a very practical note:When I leave on 30th June, after thirty eight years of ordained
ministry, I have to cut all ties with the Parishes.In accordance with Diocesan rules for
retirement, the Bishop's permission to officiate, that is take services,is withdrawn for twelve months, and the
priest has to re-apply if he or she wishes to help out anywhere in the Diocese
after that time.So I am afraid I cannot
'come back' to carry out normal Sunday Services, Baptisms, Weddings or
Funerals.During the interregnum, these
will be organised by the Wardens.A
couple of years ago, the Bishop of Crediton assured me that my position would
be filled straight away, so hopefully you will not have to wait long to
celebrate the arrival of your new priest.
The Berrynarbor Newsletter arrives on my door mat - I
recognise it at once.On goes the
coffee and I sit curled up in my chair and read it from first to last page!
I live in Swindon now but
was born in Ilfracombe, the youngest daughter of Charles Huxtable, Stone Mason.
The February issue and the article about Gentlemen of the
Roads was of particular interest.I
well remember seeing George as a child.None of us children were afraid of him.I grew up, married and we had a flat at Chambercombe, overlooking the
pier, harbour and Hillsborough.
One very cold morning, my first baby woke for a feed and
whilst I was giving her a bottle, I was looking out of the window.Then I saw him.A man asleep in the shelter on a bench.He awoke and walked to the cold stream - yes
it was George.He took off his coat and
'whitish!' shirt, proceeded to wash his face, neck, chest - down to his waist -
after which he dried himself with his shirt.Then he put his shirt in the stream and gave it a good wash, after which
he wrung it out and put it back on.After replacing his coat he returned to the bench for breakfast which
looked like a piece of bread.
George enjoyed talking to our many visitors on the sea front
and harbour, people seemed to find his tales of great interest.
I have never forgotten seeing George, Gentleman of the Road
getting ready for his day.A gentleman
yes, and a very clean one as I saw that morning!
LITTLE BRIDGE HOUSE
As you know from my many requests for plant pots, I sell
plants in aid of our children's hospice at Little Bridge House in Fremington.
Two weeks ago I had an invitation to go and see this
The thought, love and
care which takes place there is beyond belief and I cannot begin to tell you of
the impression it leaves.Above
everything, you get a feeling of the happiness it gives to the families and
children who are able to spend time there when their lives are sad.
Care staff and equipment of every kind is in abundance.One room is full of toys, one for family
meals and a wonderful kitchen where meals are provided at any time.A bathroom catering for any disability, size
or age, which gives the children a freedom not always possible at home, a soft
play area, messy play area, teenage room, Jacuzzi [complete with cinema
screen], beautiful family bedrooms for mum and dad and brothers and sisters -
these are just some of the facilities and I could go on, but seeing is
believing and above all, this is the complete care these children and their
families are given during their stay.
Then we were taken out into the NarniaSensoryGarden.Being a gardener, I was overwhelmed by the
thought, once again, of sound, vision, texture and movement - I could imagine
the pleasure everyone visiting Little Bridge House gained from it.I feel now that when I am asked what I
should like my donations to go to, I shall say the grounds, play equipment and
Little Bridge House has only 11% government funding and when
I tell you that it costs £3 million a year to run, it is amazing how this money
is raised.200 families are helped each
year, both for planned respite and emergency care and when the time comes, for
palliative and end-of-life care.
We are so lucky to have Little Bridge House in North Devon carrying out such wonderful work.Hopefully the donations I am able to
give with your help, both from Berrynarbor and the many visitors to our village
can in some small way help to carry
on this work.
Plants will be on sale again from Easter - weather permitting
- when between us we can 'do our bit' in 'making the most of short and precious
A CHRISTMAS/EASTER CAROL
My programme went out with the
recycling before I was asked to write my thoughts about the Berrynarbor panto. . . I need it to work out exactly what the
plot had been, which says something in itself, or maybe it's because I'm from
Ilfracombe and I is blonde!
I was there on the recommendation of the
Charalambous bros., accompanied by a three year old and my visitor from Turkey, who I'm
introducing to English culture and language.I explained that local
productions include local people and local references, which were a-plenty, and
despite our total confusion, and maybe that of some of the cast, we chuckled
away whether we got it or not.
Naff costumes, bad timing, muffled old gags and cringe-worthy
sexual innuendo!Despite reading
magazines in his shop all day,
fairy narrator Nick Charalambous struggled to read his lines in the French
voice of Rene - just a few of the many things that made this village amateur
production so hilariously amateurish and utterly, delightfully, charming.The scenery artwork was impressive as were
the sound effects, when Paul Crockett remembered them, and I think I recognised
some professional singers who weren't at all bad.
I expected the night to be fun and it was!'Fun' being a quote from the three year old.I see
Nick Charalambous daily who's been so excited about an opportunity for public
cross-dressing but I had no idea that so many inhabitants of Berrynarbor shared
the same eccentricity and make-up that terrified
my grandson. The cast included a male
fairy, a male genie and so many dames with varying degrees of lunacy and scary
I have two Golden Globe nominations - the local pub's
called that, get it? - for best performances. Firstly to Phil Charalambous, a man normally
appearing in a dazedworld of his own
who clearly excels at portrayingcharacters other than his own and to Seretse, recognised by my grandson
from his playgroup at Sure Start, for a splendid spliff-waving, all-singing [about
doughnuts with jam in], quick-fire joke-telling Bob Marley. Explain that one next week Seretse!
Hat's off to everyone. Thank you for a great night out. Village life at its best.
Erica Castle - Amateur Critic!
SOME LOCAL CHARACTERS - 4
Sid was a real wit and always had a smile on his face and a
joke on the tip of his tongue.
One morning when he and several of his colleagues were
waiting for the transport to pick them up from the village to take them to
work, down through the village came a stranger.With his brief case, umbrella and very smart
clothes, he looked completely out of place in Berrynarbor at that time.He knocked on the door of one of the
"T'is no good knocking on that door," piped up
Sid."Theyem all out except for
the clock and even ee be gwain!"
At this remark, Sid and his fellow workers fell about
laughing - it's not what you say but the way that you say it!The poor man, thinking he had met all the
village idiots in one go, turned about and beat a hasty retreat.
and his Wife Flo
One lovely summer evening, the lads from the village
including Gerald and his cousin Frank Huxtable, known as 'Laddie', and any
visitors who wanted to join in, were playing a game of cricket in the field
opposite Middle Lee Farm.As was
usual, a small group gathered to watch and they were joined towards the end by
William Draper or 'Muxey' as he was known.Muxey was a very good gardener and used to till the land up the lane
behind Middle Lee, now known as Thirkles Field.He used donkeys to do the ploughing.
On this occasion Muxey was carrying a basket in which he had
some of his produce and the vegetables were admired by everyone gathered.
A few days later Gerald met up with the very chipper Frank
who told him he had won first prize at Combe Martin Horticultural Show.Gerald was somewhat surprised, knowing that
Frank wasn't in to gardening let alone growing vegetables.
With a wink, Frank told Gerald that he had crept up to
Muxey's field at dusk and pinched some of his carrots, entering the best of
them in the Show, thus winning the first prize and pocketing some very welcome
ARTHUR [TIDDLY] EDWARDS
Although Tiddles was not the brightest lad, he commanded a
great respect from his peers for his sporting ability - he was simply the best
at football, cricket, darts, snooker and skittles.And he could also run very fast.Everyone wanted Tiddles on their team.
amazed his friends by throwing a stone at the church clock, stopping the hands
Once, when The Globe was being renovated and the builders had
some sand delivered, a large tipper lorry emptied a mountain of sand in the car
park at the rear of the pub.What a
wonderful playground for the village lads!They put some planks up each side of the heap and on their old bikes
raced down from the Manor Hall and up and over the sand,Time and time again they raced until one of
the lads removed the plank.Unknown to
Tiddles, who was in front, he hit the pile of sand, the front wheel stuck fast
and he flew over the top, landing flat on his back, somewhat dazed, on the
There was another occasion when Tiddles ended up on his
back.Tiddles exercised Bebe, Ivor
Richards' pony.Like a lot of ponies,
Bebe had to be pushed to go anywhere, but once turned for home, quickened her
pace, especially with a novice rider on her back.Tiddles had ridden Bebe up through the
Valley, turning about mid-way to come back.Bebe then gained pace until she was cantering through two rocks, the
noise from her hooves echoing and Tiddles shouting.Rosie Bray was in her garden, half way up
Jan Braggs Hill, and could hear the racket.She went to the gate just in time to see the horse fly past, over the
brow of the hill it went and down through lower town, with the noise still
echoing around.A swift turn up Castle
Hill heading to her stable and food.But alas for poor Tiddles, the wind had blown the top stable door shut -
no problem for Bebe but Tiddles came a cropper!
Val and David Hann are delighted to announce the arrival of
their eighth grandchild.Rosamund Lucy
Alexandra, a second daughter for Ben and Pip and sister for Penelope, was born
on the 17th February, weighing 8lbs 13oz.
and best wishes to you all.
A beautiful sunny morning welcomed Teddy, Wendy and Peter to
the Manor Hall and there was a good turn out to greet them - a few more would
have been even better!
After we had indulged in delicious cakes and coffee, Wendy,
who suffers from a rare skin disease that makes her skin vulnerable to tearing,
told us how her life with Teddy came about and having had him as a puppy, how
they have worked together to achieve today's wonderful partnership.
Teddy, a three-year old golden retriever, demonstrated just a
few of the ways in which he can help Wendy - fetching, carrying and unzipping
and removing her coat.Literally a
'life saver', he knows when she stops breathing in the night and after holding
her breath for a brief moment, Teddy immediately barked.
When he is wearing his blue jacket, Teddy is a 'working' dog
- calm, gentle, alert, obedient, watching and waiting to help.When his jacket is off, he is a normal young
dog - exuberant, full of life and fun, and it was lovely to see him wagging his
way around the hall, greeting and talking to everyone and lapping up the
A very big thank you to Teddy, Wendy and Peter for sharing
with us all their inspirational faith and loyalty, and to everyone who came to
support them and the event, especially those who came from beyond the village.
must also go to the generous raffle donators - MullacottVeterinaryHospital, MarwoodHillGardens,
Moules Farm Meats, Barbara and Simon at Hele Billy's Ilfracombe, the Harbour Deli
at Combe Martin, Sue's of Combe Martin, Sue Wright and other individuals.Henry Humpty and Daisy Dumpty and a lovely
cardigan - all knitted and donated by Joan - went for £34 at auction.
Lastly, thank you to all the cake-makers and helpers who both
set up and cleared away.
A heart-warming and happy morning which will see Canine
Partners benefit by some £250.
The hope was to buy a puppy for training, but this was out of
our reach!Instead, on behalf of those
present - and the village - two puppies have been 'adopted', one now and a
second one will be chosen after Easter.The remainder of the money we raised will go towards necessary equipment
Julie, who is the Corporate Fundraising Manager and deals
with adoptions for Canine Partners has written:
Thank you so much for your support and we are glad our Wendy
and canine partner Teddy inspired your group;they are both excellent ambassadors for the charity.
Thank you so much for adopting two of our puppies and
supporting the work of Canine Partners.
Your puppy, Pebbles, a very fluffy black labradoodle was the
third of five puppies born.The breeder
also has her grandmother who had 10 puppies only 11 days previously.So Pebbles has been brought up with her
siblings and 10 'aunts and uncles', along with her dad, a standard poodle, and
great granddad, a yellow Labrador.This gave her a lot of confidence around
large dogs.Early intense socialisation
meant that she adores adults and children and especially cuddles!Her favourite activity has been running
through an agility tunnel with her playmates.She was quick to learn a recall whistle by the time she was 8 weeks old
and ready to leave for her Canine Partners volunteer puppy parent.
I hope that you will be happy with your choice of puppy and
she will hopefully become another highly skilled assistance dog to help people
Our puppies are real dogs, with real stories to tell.Inevitably there are ups and downs in their
training and occasionally a puppy may not be considered suitable for matching
to a person with disabilities.This is
all part and parcel of our work and ensures that our assistance dogs are of the
very highest standards.It goes
without saying that any pup that does not 'make it' is found a suitable loving
You will follow Pebbles right the way through her training by
way of regular 'pupdates' up to the point of her graduation with her allocated
partner as a fully trained assistance dog.It normally takes about 18 months to train each puppy from first
selection to eventual graduation.
On behalf of all of us at Canine Partners, but particularly
on behalf of our puppies, thank you very much indeed for joining us in our
Details of Pebbles' progress and our new, second adopted
puppy will be given in future Newsletters.
As I've said before, I am privileged, as Editor, to hear from
and talk to readers from near and far.
Browsing the internet for Harding and Berrynarbor, Marie
Tièche came across our website.Interested to see mention of Sam Harding the blacksmith. she asked if it
was his picture that hung in The Globe.Able to look more closely at the photograph and make a few enquiries, I
found that the picture was of Dick Huxtable and Sam Harding.However, not Sam the blacksmith!This Sam Harding lived at Bountice, OrchardPark, before moving to Corfe Cottage
next door to The Globe.On the reverse
of the photograph is written:
affectionate remembrance of my two dear Friends
fromChas. W. Fletcher
Watford WayHendon NW4
In researching her
family, Marie found that she was descended from blacksmiths of Kentisbury and
Berrynarbor, from the Harding family and from George Dendle/Daniel whose son
William, her great-great grandfather, married Mary Jane Scamp in Berrynarbor
and whose father, Robert Scamp, was the blacksmith at West Down.Marie had had difficulty tracking back until
she discovered that for some reason, the family had changed their name from
Dendle to Harding!
According to the 1851 Census and White's 1850 Director,
George Dendle was the innkeeper of The Globe as well as a lime burner.
Marie currently lives in Jesteburg, just south east of Hamburg, having arrived
there from Spitsbergen.You can read about her adventures there in
her book 'Champagne
and Polar Bears'.[I have a copy you
Marie met a German professor in a bar in Norway, her life tooka turn for the extraordinary.She agreed to spend a year in the Arctic with him on a remote, glaciated island with only
two dogs for company.The deal was a year or nothing in a hut
surrounded by polar bears.It would be
like landing on the moon and living in a rabbit hutch.
Marie hopes to return to the UK and visit
the village and The Globe in the hope that 'they still sell their rather
more-ish fruit wines'.
Molly Alcock [nee Barrett] of Sheringham, Norfolk, sent pictures and writes:
I have only just been made aware of your newsletter by my
cousin, Maureen Underdown, nee Peachey, who used to live at 'Prospect' during
I, too, lived with my mother and older brother John in Berrynarbor
in 1940-1 when I was 6.We attended
Miss Veal's school and loved it - or at least I did!
For a short while we lived with Mr. and Mrs. Ivor Richards at
Moules Farm and then for a longer period at Capel Cottage - I still have a
postcard of this wonderful cottage and wonder if it is still there?During our stays in the village, we also
spent time at Croft Lee, Hagginton Hill and a cottage owned by Mrs. Toller at
Widemouth House that had its own little private beach - an absolutely idyllic
Whilst at Moules Farm I helped hand-rear a newborn lamb,
which I christened Tibby, who would rush up to me in the paddock as soon as I
came home from school.However, one day
Tibby was not there and I was told where he had gone.I didn't eat lamb for a long time!
I remember once that Ivor took me 'up over' to one of the
farm's far flung fields where the sheep were.I sat in front of him on a horse that I think was called Tommy.I wonder if Ivy can remember if my recollections
are correct?[Yes, Ivy does, Tommy was
When we left to go home, Ivy gave me a little black and white
kitten which we called Bimbo, one of whose sons became an absolutely adored
companion of mine for ten years until I was sixteen.
Some of my family are spending time in Ilfracombe during the
Easter school holidays - they have been told to visit Berrynarbor at length and
photograph everywhere so I can see what it all looks like now!
REFLECTIONS NO. 43
A clump of snowdrops cling to a bank where the urban road
becomes a country lane.The emergence of these nodding white flowers
is supposed to herald the end of winter. Yet
this morning they appear to be hunching their stems as much as possible in
order to protect themselves from the biting north-easterly wind.Every
cold blast forces their spear-shaped leaves to tremble, whilst up above the
wind whips through the sycamores arching the lane. As their
branches shake in response, it is hard to imagine them awash with fresh leaves
rustling in a warm spring breeze.Where
the archway ceases, the rhubarb-like leaves of winter heliotrope dominate the
Although some of the
pale lilac flowers have now withered, as one would expect at the beginning of
March, many are still standing resplendent; and was that a scent of vanilla I
caught in a cold gust of wind, just then?The flowers' presence is a
testament to winter's grip despite having passed the first of March, "the
first day of spring".
Moreover, the fields which rise on the eastern side of this
tight valley are blanketed by frost; a reflection of how,
yet again, temperatures dipped well below
freezing last night. The sun has only
just appeared above the woodland which adorns the ridge of this hillside; it will be a good hour yet before the sun's
early-spring rays can set to task upon the frost.
The hedgerow's shadow having receded a little, I followed the
narrow path of sunlight on the far side of the lane.The
unabated wind, however, had a cold, penetrating feel to it which prevented the
sun from warming my icy cheeks. Today is
no morning stroll, more an urgency to keep walking at a swift pace in order to
stay warm - not that I run the risk of missing any sights within the passing
hedgerows and banks.None of last year's wildflowers have
survived, a change to previous years when mild winters encouraged species such
as red campion and herb Robert, to name just a couple, to remain in flower
The only variation to the plethora of greens, browns and
greys on view are the pale blue and primrose-yellow feathers of a blue tit who
is hunting for any tiny morsels of food life available upon the nearby
branches. Yet even he is persuaded to fly off and seek
refuge within the woods when his feathers are literally ruffled by yet another
cold blast of air.
The hedgerow gives way to the old stone bridge, allowing the East Wilderbrook to flow beneath the lane and surge
northwards towards its underground meeting with the West
Wilderbrook just before WildersmouthBeach.'Surge'
seems a very apt word for the brook today, its waters swollen and covering the
majority of rocks; a reflection of this year's frost, snow and rain now seeping
out of the hills.Beyond the bridge,
the wood's border comes down to meet the lane. I tried
hard to picture the carpet of bluebells that will adorn the woodland's floor in
spring.Instead, my eyes were distracted by the sight
of two horses in the field beside the wood, both standing tight in its lowest
corner in order to seek refuge from the cold wind whistling through the trees.
An hour later, on my way back home, the sun had risen
sufficiently to shine upon the whole lane. Stopping at the farmer's gate, I spotted the
gorse flowers on the far hilltops.No longer twinkling like the lights of
Christmas, their bright yellow colour was fading fast.I knew
this to be a sign that the same hilltops would soon be dusted in the white
blossom of Blackthorn.Leaning against the gate, the hedgerows at
either end acted as a buffer from the wind's race with itself down the
lane.I turned to face the sun, closed
my eyes and allowed its mid-morning rays to warm my cheeks. Lovely!I then heard a sound which brought a smile
to my face: the bill of a spotted woodpecker
vibrating and drumming fast upon a branch somewhere in the distance - a sure
sign of early spring.On opening my eyes, I observed a lone flower
taking advantage of a sheltered spot within the hedge bank.Away
from the cold wind, the sun's rays had encouraged its yellow, shiny petals to
open up - the first lesser celandine of spring. On a
tree above the bank, a male chaffinch began calling; not just a 'pink' or a 'weef',
but his distinctive longer song that ends with a flourish.Was he
rehearsing his courtship song for the coming of spring?His
plumage, in particular the pink on his breast and the slate-blue on his head
and behind his eyes, was no longer as dull as it had been throughout winter.
Perhaps spring really is just around the corner.
FROM OUR COMMUNITY POST OFFICE
As of now, the new glass porch is going
up!This should be ready for Easter,
and already the smart trolley for fruit and vegetables, well made by Tony
Kitchin, is in place.It is hoped, too,
that we can have second-hand books for sale on display.
Everyone should by now have received a newssheet about our
bonus offer.The shop is doing well, but
we still have that mortgage to pay, so every pound extra that you can spend
will help.Don't forget that Anita
tries to shop locally, which helps producers as well as the shop [and is often
cheaper!].Also, if you order fruit and
vegetables in advance, there is a10% discount!
Yvonne Davey has started a folder where people within the village
who have accommodation to let can add their own details.Just bring these into the shop.If you have friends or family coming, and
not enough room to take them, then this is a good place to find
accommodation.See Yvonne's article
which follows.The folder will be
found in the coffee area.
Kath Thorndycroft is hoping that all gardeners [and others!]
have planted extra 'bits' for the Great Plant Sale to be held in aid of
our Shop on Monday, 3rd May. She'd like to hear from you - Tel:
Our Annual General Meeting will be held on Saturday 15th May
at We hope that as many shareholders as
possible will be there.
HOLIDAY ACCOMMODATION IN BERRYNARBOR
A File, to be kept in the Community Shop, is being compiled
to advertise to visitors Bed and Breakfast, Guest House, Hotels and
Self-Catering establishments in the village.
If you are in the accommodation business and would like to
take advantage of this opportunity, please bring details - brochures, cards or
A4 advertisements to the Community Shop.These will be collated and included in the file at a cost of £5.00, the
money going towards Shop funds.
If you would like more information or have any queries,
please contact me on  882822.
Cherry Hinton, Barton Lane
Brian and Mary's Christmas message from Stogursey brought
memories of early days flooding back.
I took up residency in the village of Stogursey,
1947.I was 15 years of age and had
been accepted for a trainee motor mechanic apprenticeship in Johnson's
Garage.It boasted a staff of 4 fitters
and an electrician foreman.The owners,
Mr. and Mrs. Johnson, had bought the business a couple of years earlier and had
set about rescuing a dying concern.They were very successful.The
onus now was on buying all the old and dilapidated Fordson tractors, covering
all models, and overhauling them for a quick sale.
What of Stogursey itself?It was a small village about nine miles from Bridgewater.It boasted two pubs and a small hotel.The majority of houses had no running water
or electricity in 1947 and there was no public transport as I remember.A private company ran a school bus and a
limited service to Bridgewater
mid-week and Saturdays.
Johnson's Garage had its own electric generator and supplied
the hotel and a couple of private houses.I had lodgings with Mrs. Johnson's parents and fetched water a couple of
times a day from a well.Just about
every family in the village had to cook with paraffin stoves or if you could afford it, Calor gas for light, heat and
cooking.To me the whole set up was a
paradise after living in London.
I became totally integrated into village life.To the locals I was, 'that there boy from London'.Cricket was my favourite sport and I wasn't
disappointed, playing for the village within a week of arriving.
Like all small villages, Stogursey had its characters, but
for me, Old Liza, as she was called, had no competition!In her late '70's, she had an addiction to
alcohol and sleeping rough.Nevertheless, once a year Johnson's Garage supplied a taxi to transport
her to the hotel where she had been employed in her youth, for a special meal.What a transformation - she looked a proper
However, to finish my feat of memory it would not be complete
without mentioning Colonel Armstrong.He was the epitome of the old soldier and that, of course, was what he
was.About 80 years old but still
upright and smart, he was full of tales of the old British
Empire and the two big wars in his time, and yes, he had the
Sadly, all good things come to an end.On 9th June 1949 I received my call up papers for eighteen
months' National Service in the British Army, but that is another story.
Waking up to a white and wintry morning, one wondered if the
Knit In Coffee Morning for the North Devon Hospice would go ahead.But as normal in Berrynarbor, knitters and
supporters braved the elements and turned out!Twenty-one knitters nattered whilst
producing amazing technicoloured strips and enjoying unlimited gorgeous cakes
and coffee, also enjoyed by those who came just for a natter.
Thank you to everyone who supported this event in any way -
knitters, cake makers, raffle prize donators, helpers and visitors.Your generosity meant that £255 and a
bagful of multi-coloured strips were taken to the Hospice in the afternoon.
In life there are only two things to worry about.
You're either rich or poor.If you're rich, you've nothing to worry about, if you're poor, you've
only two things to worry about.You're
either well or ill.
If you're well, you've nothing to worry about.If you're ill, you've onlytwo things to worry about.You'll get better or you'll die.
If you get better, you've got nothing to worry about.If you die, you've only two things to worry
about.You'll go to heaven or to hell.
If you go to heaven, you'll have nothing to worry about.If you go to hell you'll be so busy greeting
all your old friends you won't have time to worry!So why worry?
This little gem was circulated round the office where I
worked in the '60's by the draughtsmen, always the first to latch on to
anything of this nature!
NEWS FROM THE PRIMARY SCHOOL
We are pleased to welcome Lydia[Class 1], Harry[Class 3] and Finley Carless [Class 4] who
have moved from Buckinghamshire with their mum, dad, grandma and grandpa to
Berrynarbor.We hope they will be very
happy at our School.
Congratulations to Sally and Mark Jefferys and Millie [Class
1] on the birth of George - 8lbs 5oz on 18th March.Everyone is doing well!
The Reverend Keith Wyer has been a wonderful supporter for
all our pupils, parents, staff and governors for so many years, and it is with
much sadness we learn that he is leaving us.We shall be making sure he is really busy between now and his departure
We've had a few events over recent weeks and our sincere
thanks go to the helpers and supporters who make these events successful.
·£181 was raised from the Bring
and Buy and Cake Sale for Haiti
on the 19th February.
Curry and Quiz Nite on 26th February raised £400 profit!The Manor Hall was full and everyone had a
fantastic fun evening.Look out for the
·£80 was raised for Big Yellow
Friday [Liver Disease Foundation] on the 5th March
·We sold off unclaimed/un-named
lost property for approximately £20.
We have received an 'All Clear' from our recent asbestos
Once again we are collecting the current promotion vouchers
from Tesco and Sainsbury's.Being such
a small school it takes a while to accumulate a large number.Please ask your friends and families to save
them for us.Thank you for your
Thank you for the kind donation of £100 from two village
members.The money has been used to buy
screening trellis with planters and plants.Thank you also to the Community Shop for donating the Walt Disney Dinosaur
Our school took part in the lovely Mother's Day Service in
the church and the children read their poems about 'My Mum'.Here are some for you to see:
you are great
more than a mate
you are my mum
you are so much fun.
care for me
before I was 3
helped me learn
you ask none in return
when I'm bad
never get mad
I'd just like to say
love you more each day.
by Josh, age 5
Mum loves me
Mum kisses me
Mum hugs me
Mum cooks dinner
Mum is lovely
Mum helps me with my homework
by Louis, age 5
Mum does the lunch
Mum does the feeding of my Little brother Ben
Mum does the washing up
Mum does the making of the beds
Mum does the washing
love my Mum.
by Kitty-May, age 7
is so special to me
OShe is the only Mum that is best for me
me on bicycle rides
HI love my Mum in my heart
ESometimes she gets grumpy but I know every single day
she loves me and that's what counts
RWhen the rain comes down she makes sure I am warm.
Our Class 4 pupils will be cooking a 3-course meal for their
parents on Friday, 26th March. They
have chosen their menu and parents have made their choices.The children will spend the day preparing
and cooking the food under the supervision of Mrs. Lucas and they will serve it
and wait on tables in the evening.
We shall be having our usual Easter Egg Hunt before we break
up and then our hectic schedule of summer activities starts on Monday, 19th
Thanks again for all the support we receive from the village.
- Acting Headteacher
Wine Circle, which meets every third Wednesday in
the month from October to May has
had two meetings since the last newsletter. In February, Nicola Keeble, Jill McCrae's
daughter who lives in France,
gave us an excellent presentation of wines from her area near Bergerac. She had
obviously put a lot of work into it, giving us many details of wine production
as well as choosing some superb wines for us to taste and all presented in a
very professional, light hearted manner. Many thanks Nicola, you are welcome
In March, we had a first
visit from James Nancarrow, the manager of Majestic Wine Warehouse in Barnstaple. We
have had previous visits from Majestic but these have been done by Paul his
assistant manager whose enthusiasm has been rewarded by promotion to manager of
another branch. Congratulations Paul.
James' theme for the
evening was wines from Argentina and he certainly gave us some different wines
to taste with examples of wine from not so well known grape varieties -
Torrontes, Bonarda, and of course the Argentine speciality, Malbec. The latter he described as "a bit of an
indulgence" and I think most people would agree wholeheartedly as it was on
special offer, reduced from £26.00 to only [?] £22.00 per bottle!The consensus was that it was very nice but
if the alternative was three bottles at £7.00 guess what the choice would be?
Our next meeting is on 21st
April when our speaker will be
Brett Stevens from the Fabulous Wine Company. Brett is a real wine enthusiast and with a
generous budget to work to will undoubtedly present us with some excellent
wines to sample. In May the normal
meeting is preceded by a short AGM
- most years it takes all of 10 minutes - then our speaker for the evening will
be the ever popular Jan Tonkin with his usual mix of wine knowledge and lively
wit. Bound to be a fun evening. Anyone
wishing to attend is most welcome but if it will be your first time, please
contact me beforehand on  883600.
In pursuit of an April rarity:Romulea columnae
It was April and we were heading for the Dawlish Warren
National Nature Reserve at the mouth of the Exe Estuary.
There is a flower that grows at Dawlish Warren and at no
other location on the British mainland - so, a true rarity.It is the Sand Crocus [aka the Warren
Crocus] and April is the month when it comes into bloom.
We wondered whether we were likely to find an example during
our visit.A voluntary warden, working
beside a pond, indicated the little dune meadow where the crocus grows.We searched thoroughly but found no
crocuses.We were told that as the sun
had gone in, the flowers would have closed their petals and were likely to
remain closed, and thus invisible, for the remainder of the day.
We returned the following morning.It was bright and sunny - a good sign.But we searched again and found
nothing.Feeling rather sheepish, we
continued our walk, enjoying the coastal scenery, birds and butterflies.
When we came across the warden, we mentioned our lack of
success.He explained that although the
sun was out it had not yet been out sufficient hours to coax open the shy
We left the reserve via the railway bridge, which carries the
mainline trains at frequent intervals.We paused along the road to admire an acacia
tree, with its knobbly yellow mimosa flowers.The tree's owner soon popped out of her house to tell us about its
history.She was proud of her splendid
tree but had been asked to have it cut down when it was threatening nearby
power lines.However, a compromise had
been reached.A few offending boughs
had been removed and the tree saved. She
was keen to show us around her garden but when she suggested giving us a guidedtour of her neighbours as well, we declined!We said we'd hoped to see the Sand Crocus
but had failed totally.Were we so
unobservant or had it all been anelaborate hoax?"You'll need a magnifying glass,"
she laughed, "It is very, very tiny."
That afternoon, at our third attempt, when we walked back to
the Warren, we
knelt down and scanned the short turf with our hand lens and quickly located
the elusive flowers.And they were
To appreciate fully the subtleties of colour and markings a
magnifying glass proved a useful aid.The narrow pointed petals are pale lilac mauve with purple veins;yellow at the base with bright yellow anthers
and a delicate apple green on the outside.The Sand Crocus plant is one to two inches high and the flowers, half an
inch across when fully open.The thin
grass-like leaves are curly and wiry.
Later, when we saw from the coast path a man walking slowly
over the crocus meadow, staring earnestly down at the ground, we asked if he
was looking for the Sand Crocus.He
was, and suddenly we had become experts!We crouched down and found several open crocus flowers spangling the
turf.We handed him the magnifying
glass and on cue, as he photographed one of the flowers, a Small Copper
butterfly landed on it.Normally mauve
and bright orange clash but in this case the colour combination looked perfect.
The man had been travelling around the country seeking and
photographing rare plants.He had
received his training at KewGardens where he said he
had been a contemporary of Alan Titchmarsh!
- the 'Walkers are Welcome' Accreditation
Last autumn, at the time the future access to our local coast
path, on the headland at Watermouth, was being
in West Somerset was awarded the 'Walkers are
Described by Martin
Hesp in the Western Morning News, as an accolade and an 'Oscar of the walking
world', the W.A.W. status is expected to help strengthen Wiveliscombe's
attraction for visitors and in turn, to boost the area's economy
PAST TIMES WITH WALTER
During the construction of the ForthRailwayBridge, it appears a
problem arose which had not been foreseen.
When the engineers were laying the final section that would
complete the links between the two sides of the bridge, they found they were
too short.The holes in the girders
were not in line with the holes they would need to match before the bolts could
Some bright spark in the construction team told the workers
not to panic, but to wait as the rising sun shone on the nearly completed
bridge.So they waited, while the sun
warmed the metal and expanded the bridge.
Two hours later those vital bolts slipped smoothly into
Charles Babbage was born in Teignmouth in 1791.He was
a prolific inventor and mathematician.
He is best remembered for conceiving the idea of an
analytical engine which could be programmed by punched cards to make a
variety of different calculations.His
vision was never realised, mainly due to the limitations of the mechanical
devices of the time, but his concept is now recognised as the basis for modern
Charles Babbage, the 'father of computers', died in 1871.
In1787, the regal
copper coinage being very scanty, pennies and halfpennies were struck by a
number of firms, among them the Anglesey Copper Mining Company, and there began
a fresh token epoch.
Those token coins presented an immense variety of types -
persons, buildings, coats of arms, local legends, political events and so on,
all drawn upon for subjects of design.They were struck by many firms in most cities and towns in the country
and are to be found in good condition.It is quite good fun to browse in shops which sell antiques, asking to
see their collection of coinage and spotting some of the token money which
circulated many years ago.
With the issue of the copper coinage of 1898 tokens were made
illegal, but the dearth of silver currency was still felt.During the Napoleonic Wars there came a
small wave of prosperity in the industrial districts and the inevitable need of
small change, so in 1811 tokens again made their
appearance.These were suppressed before the last
King George III in 1830.
Charles Cunningham Boycott was born in 1832.He became a land agent and, in the 1870's, went to CountyMayo
acting as agent for the landlord, Lord Erne.
In 1880, his tenants, spurred on by the Irish Land League
under Charles Purnell, demanded a substantial cut in their rents.Boycott refused and Parnell suggested that
everyone in the area should suspend all dealings with Boycott.No one would work on the land, household
servants downed tools, shops would not serve him, and even his post remained
It turned out to be a highly effective tactic and one
newspaper, The Times, in London
adopted Boycott;s name as a word meaning 'to ostracise or refuse to deal
with'.This word has since passed into
the English language.Every day, it
seems, a new word enters our vocabulary.In recent times we have added hyperinflation and credit-crunch.Don't hold your breath for the next spate of
PARISH COUNCIL REPORT
During the Parish Council meeting held on the 9th March,
various planning applications were discussed, including the refusal by the
North Devon District Council for a retrospective planning application for the
lion enclosure at the Combe Martin Wildlife and DinosaurPark.This property is within the Parish boundary
of Berrynarbor.Having discussed this
application at length at previous meetings, Councillors were unanimous in their
decision to write to the planning authority and voice their disappointment that
this decision had been made and to demonstrate their support when eventually an
appeal is made to the Planning Inspectorate.
The children's playground by the Manor Hall is, as I write
this report, nearing completion.Thank
you to all those in the village who have helped and to the BBC for their generous donation.An official opening will be held and the
date will be advised when all the work is complete.
There is still a vacancy for a Parish Councillor.Anyone who has the time and interest to join
YOUR Parish council would be very welcome to apply, either to myself or in
writing to the Parish Clerk.
The April meeting, on Tuesday 13th, is the Annual Parish
Meeting at which the past year will be summarised and plans for the future
given. to which parishioners are warmly welcome - please do attend if you
can.This will be followed by the April
Parish Council meeting.The May
meeting, on the 11th, is the Annual Parish Council Meeting at which officers
for the coming year are elected.
On behalf of the Parish Council I wish you all a Happy
Sue Sussex - Chairman
Councillor, North Devon District Council
Bloom and Best Kept Village
Spring has been such a long time coming but at last the sun
is shining and although cold, the spring bulbs are just about showing their
faces. In the autumn we planted about a thousand
crocus bulbs in Claude's Garden and they are in bloom along with several clumps
of snowdrops that were already there - they look lovely.This
autumn we could plant another thousand and it would not be too many!
I expect many of you who use the shop and the car park will
notice that the hedge at the back and side of the public toilets has been cut
back and a membrane laid with gravel over it. This has tidied up the area and completes the
work that was done in conjunction with the shop last year.This work was funded by Berry in Bloom and so we are very grateful
for the very generous donations from the Hart and from Amos-Yeo families.
We are planning to have a litter pick on either of the two
last Sundays of March [dependent on the weather] prior to the Easter
holiday.The litter over the winter has definitely
accumulated in certain areas, although I know that some good souls pick litter
all year round.
We are also collecting up and delivering the hanging baskets
to Streamways Nurseries, Georgeham, for filling. If you
would like to join in with this scheme, please let me know.
Hot Cross Bun Puddings
with Pecan, Orange
Not a cake recipe this time but lovely little bread and
butter puddings with an Easter twist.They are very easy to make, so I hope you
large free-range eggs1 x 500ml pot
of readymade custard
zest of 1 orange plus juice of 1/2 orange
cross buns torn into small chunks
pecan nuts, roughly chopped
light soft brown sugar2 tbsp runny
or crème fraiche, to serve
will also need:6
x 200ml ovenproof dishes, or ramekins
Pre heat the oven to 180 Deg C, fan 160 Deg C, Gas mark 4.Lightly
butter the ramekin bowls. Break the eggs into a large bowl and lightly
beat together. Stir in the custard, half the orange zest and
the hot cross bun chunks.Divide the mixture among the dishes. Toss the pecans in the sugar and scatter over
Place the dishes on a baking sheet and bake in a pre-heated
oven for 20-30 minutes [check after 20 minutes] until set and golden
brown.Meanwhile, in a small saucepan,
warm the honey, orange juice and the remaining zest, pour this over the
puddings and serve with cream for a lovely Easter pudding.
Going through my files a couple of days
ago checking for whom I might write about next, I came across the Rev. Robert
Stephen Hawker from Morwenstow, a slightly 'dotty'' vicar who dreamt up Harvest
Festivals and wore eccentric clothing.But
this rang a bell.
At the end of 2008 I had copious notes
on Stephen Hawker, to which I added an article from last August's Travel
Telegraph 'Tales from Cornwall's
wild side'.I remembered receiving an
e-mail from John Fryer Spedding thanking me for sending the article about him
[December 2008]. In it he commented on being deputy chairman of the Tennyson
Society and had studied Stephen Hawker and how nice it was to see such lovely
photos of his Vicarage and Hut in that same newsletter. That's where I'd heard of him!Checking back there was a delightful article
about Hawker in Walk 111 - and with the same photos I'd saved. [great minds,
About to throw away my notes, I realised
that there was someone else in the Cornish Tales article: Sir Goldsworthy Gurney. Blessed with a name like that, he might be
interesting - and so it proved.
Goldsworthy Gurney was born in the village of Treator near Padstow on St. Valentine's
day 1793. His unusual Christian name
came from his godmother who was a maid of honour to Queen Charlotte. The Gurney family's lineage could be traced
back to arriving in Britain
with William the Conqueror.
Goldsworthy attended TruroGrammar School
before studying medicine, inheriting a medical practice in Wadebridge when he
was twenty.They trained them quickly
in those days!There he met Elizabeth
Symons and married her in 1814. Their daughter Anna Kane was born the following
In 1820 he moved his family to London to 'seek his
fortune'. Their son Goldsworthy John
was born in 1822. Whilst still
practising as a surgeon, he followed his interests in chemistry and mechanical
science. His great skill was to put
scientific thought on to paper and into lectures.So
medicine gave way to lecturing in chemistry and natural philosophy at the
Surrey Institution where he was appointed Lecturer in 1822.
Whilst there, he invented the
oxy-hydrogen blowpipe, a system for producing a very hot flame from a jet of
oxygen and hydrogen. After
experimenting with various substances, he discovered that a brilliant light
could be produced when the flame was played on to a piece of lime. This was limelight, which was so intense that
it could be spotted many miles away.
He invented a high pressure steam-jet or
blast-pipe. This increased the draw of
air through pipes and could be used to improve mine and sewerage ventilation. It could also put out underground fires.
In contrast to scientific workings and
inventions, Gurney was an accomplished pianist and even constructed his own
At an early age he had met his fellow
Cornishman Richard Trevithick, the pioneer of steam railways. Inspired by this meeting, Gurney later went
on to develop steam-power for, as his patent read 'propelling carriages on
common roads or railways - without the aid of horses, with sufficient speed for
the carriage of passengers and goods'.An 'embryo' carriage travelled from London to Bath and back in July 1829 at an average
speed of 14 miles per hour, including refuelling and taking on water. It was not a commercial success, however, mainly
because passengers were not happy to sit atop a dangerous steam boiler.So he developed an articulated carriage
called the 'Gurney steam drag'. Here
the passengers sat in a carriage pulled by the steam engine. Sir Charles Dance, using three of these
articulated vehicles, started a regular service between Cheltenham
but apparently the hope of a business was dashed by the interference of wealthy
horse coach proprietors, narrow-minded county gentlemen and district
magistrates. By means of parliamentary
intrigue [nothing changes!] and fearing the loss of their livelihoods, these
folk made sure that turnpike tolls on steam carriages were £2. A horse drawn carriage charge was two
shillings. Added to this, these 'worthy
squires and magistrates of the Cheltenham district', without any need for it,
covered the road with a foot deep layer of loose gravel, which added further to
difficulties and put a stop to the business. By 1832 he had run out of funds
and had to auction his remaining assets, losing a lot of money in the process.
One of his many achievements was
building BudeCastle. Having leased a plot of land overlooking SummerleazeBeach from his friend Thomas Acland in
1830, he determined to build on shifting sand, using a specially constructed
concrete raft. It is still standing
today nearly 180 years later.
At the Castle and licking his wounds
after the failure of his carriage enterprise, he turned back to illumination
developing the Bude light, patented in 1839. With one light, plus lenses and prisms, he
distributed light into every room - and even into one room at the Falcon Hotel,
500 yards away across the canal. The
Bude light also added to the improvement of theatre lighting.
Three Bude lights were used in the House
of Commons, thus dispensing with 280 candles, and these remained for 60 years
until the arrival of electricity.
His innovations were also used in
lighthouses. By using lenses and
introducing on-off patterns of light, sailors were able to identify exactly
where they were.
The Gurney Stove, patented in 1856, used
external ribs to increase the area for heat to be transferred. These are still in use in some cathedrals
In 1852, based on his experience with
mine ventilation, Gurney was appointed as a consultant to improve the
ventilation for the new Houses of Parliament. Two years later he was appointed 'Inspector
of Ventilation'. He had success in moving air around the buildings, but getting
rid of the foul smells from the Thames was
Goldsworthy 's wife died in 1837 and he
moved to Poughill on the outskirts of Bude with his daughter Anna Jane who
became his constant companion. Perhaps
because of this, when Gurney married Jane Betty, a farmer's daughter from Sheepwash,
the marriage didn't succeed. He was 61;
she was 24 and Anna Jane was 39. Jane
Betty was removed from Gurney's will although they never divorced. However, it is probable that she didn't lose
much! In 1863, Queen Victoria knighted him for his inventions and
discoveries but later that year he had a stroke that left him partially
paralysed. He died apparently penniless
on 28th February 1875
and is buried in LauncellsChurch near Bude.
What an extraordinary man he was! There isn't space to tell more of his many
inventions and activities, but if you are in Bude, the Castle is now a heritage
centre, open daily, with galleries of his work - and a bistro to refresh
And shame on Cornwall that in the whole of the county
there is no memorial to this forgotten genius.
PP of DC
OLD BERRYNARBOR - NO. 124
The contribution for this issue is unprecedented.Postcards from previous articles have been
used, but as they date back to issues in 1989/90, there will be many people to
whom they are new!
This winter has played havoc with many of our local roads,
but of course they were not always tarmaced and smooth.In the early 1900's, they were just made of
compacted stones as these pictures show.
The first is a Garratt postcard c1904 showing Pitt Hill with
Fuchsia Cottage on the right and the steps leading up to the old Post Office on
the left.The first building on the
left is where the Bassetts of Watermouth stabled their coach and horses whilst
attending Sunday Service at St. Peter's Church.
The knife-sharpening barrow, outside The Globe, belonged to
Jim Glass who would go round from village to village, spending one or two days
sharpening knives, scythes, scissors, etc.At night he would doss down with Sam Harding's horses at the
blacksmith's, next to the school.There
he would be warm!
The second picture is another Garratt postcard of the same
date and shows members of the Street family on the unmade lane at WoodPark,
with the cottages Riversdale, Brookvale and Woodvale.
As and when these roads needed maintenance, large stones and
rocks would be brought in, probably from the quarry at Harper's Mill in the SterridgeValley.They would be broken into smaller, suitably sized stones by men employed
as 'stone crackers'.A steam driven traction engine would then be
used to roll the stones into the road, leaving a relatively hard but dusty