Edition 100 - February 2006

Artwork by: Debbie Rigler Cook

I was surprised, just after Christmas, to receive a card from Judie asking me, as originator of the Newsletter, to write a foreword for this Birthday Edition.

Was I the originator? I have never thought of myself as such. Maybe the initial suggestion came from me. I had attended a course for Councillors and this was an idea put forward as a means of keeping the community together. I thought it would be a good idea for the Village but had neither the time nor expertise to take on such a project. A small group of villagers offered their services, with Judie as the typist, and so the Newsletter was born.

By means of persuasion, cajoling and, I suspect, a little bullying, she has gathered together enough material for the Newsletter to appear without a missed beat. There have been no awards, but the Newsletter is truly community based and the contributions from residents, and now other people interested in the village, have served to make it a most informative and interesting publication, one of the best I have seen. It is also helping to keep the ex-residents, like myself, in touch with life and times in the Village. I should be very interested to know how many other newsletters started at about the same time, still exist in their original form, I suspect that ours must be pretty high in the rankings.

I should like to end with a word of thanks to all those who, over the year, have contributed articles and illustrations and helped make the Newsletter the success it is. However, the greatest thanks must go to Judie for all the dedication and expertise she has lavished on it. 'Well done' sounds a bit flat, but please be sure that it is meant wholeheartedly and I think she should be proud of a really great achievement.

Can we look forward to a Bi-Centenary?

Jenny Taylor - Le Bois Belloir


Artwork: Judie Weedon


So , here we are at issue No. 100! Looking back it is interesting and gratifying that with everyone's involvement, we have come

  • from August 1989 to February 2006
  • from 20 pages to 44
  • from stencils and duplicator to computer and print
  • from all black and white to some coloured covers and pages
  • from poor quality reproduction of photos to better [but still with room for improvement!] ... and...
  • from minimal to many beautiful original black and white and colour illustrations... and...

The response to my plea for funds has been incredible!

  • The Parish Council's annual donation came just in time to pay off the debts!
  • A donation from the Ozelton Family and John and Fenella Boxall via two donated Christmas trees
  • Some wonderful individual donations
  • And the extra support in the collecting boxes [please keep that up!]

Thank you to you all - your support has shown that you really do appreciate your Newsletter!

Thank you to EVERYONE who has contributed in any way whatsoever over the hundred issues.

Before Christmas I was approached for information about the village from another publication - Devon Life. I believe the February issue contains a feature on North Devon and we should have a mention.

Articles and items for the April and Easter issue will be needed by mid-March, 15th at the latest please. No, the bullying won't stop and don't forget that New Year resolution you were going to make to contribute an article!

Finally, thank you Jenny for your kind words and Debbie for our celebratory cover.







10.30 AM, THROUGH TO 4.00 PM.
All proceeds to Newsletter Funds



The list of readers subscribing to receive their Newsletter by post continues at around 100 - nearly a quarter of readers. If anyone else would like to receive their copy this way, please do contact me. Details are:

To simplify finances, the Newsletter year runs from February to December. The current annual cost for postage and envelopes is £3.50 and donations towards the cost of the Newsletter itself - approximately 50p per issue - would be most welcome and appreciated. Subscriptions for 2006 are, therefore, now due.





At the meeting in December we welcomed Steve from the Exmoor Zoological Park. He brought along a few 'specimens', namely a large snail, slug, snake and skunk, which were viewed with some trepidation by a few members!

Also at the meeting were Viv and Steve Blackman. They had come to take part in the unveiling of the mosaic, which a few members had produced with their help. It was much admired and will be a lasting record of the W.I. in Berrynarbor. All who attended the meeting were offered Pimms and apple juice, sherry or tea with mince pies to celebrate the occasion, and Christmas presents were exchanged. The Pimms Winter Warmer was kindly donated by the producers - Marion Carter had sent them an e-mail, responding to an advertisement in 'Home and Country'.

Members, twenty-two in all, once again enjoyed a Christmas Lunch at The Lodge on the 19th December, and as usual Phil and Lynne produced a delicious meal which ended with a sing-a-long with Phil.

The January meeting, on the 3rd, was attended by 22 members and 2 guests. Three practitioners from the Bridge Chambers Health Practice gave an interesting insight into complementary medicine. The subjects were hypnotherapy, Chinese medicine and herbs and counselling. The raffle was won by new member Jenny Cox and the competition for a jar of herbs by Margaret Crabbe.

The next meeting will be on 7th February when the speaker will be Les Tovey with his slides of Combe Martin Shops in the Past. The competition - an embroidered tray cloth.

The Head Gardener from Marwood Hill Gardens will be our speaker on the 7th March and the competition a posy or jar of marmalade. Visitors and new members very welcome.

Doreen Prater - President




Love survives,
Lives on and grows.
It gilds the dawn
And paints the rose.
Makes a snowman,
Cuts the grain.
Graces laughter,
Eases pain.
It lights the soul
Through countless lives.
All else must fail
But love survives.

Tricia Sturgeon


It is so sad that as the Newsletter reaches its centenary edition we are mourning the loss of our well-loved village centenarian, Lorna. Lorna passed away peacefully on the 9th January.

However, it is fitting that as we celebrate 100 issues we also celebrate nearly 102 years of a wonderful life - an inspiration to so many.

A much loved and loving mother and aunt, Lorna will be sadly missed by everyone who knew her, but none more than her family.

Our thoughts and prayers are with them all: her daughter Margaret and her husband John, and especially her niece Lorna and Michael and her great and great-great nephews and nieces.

Her funeral - a lovely service with the church beautifully decorated with white lilies and pink and white flowers - was held at St. Peter's on the 16th January, with many relatives, friends and neighbours there to wish her farewell.

The family would like to thank everyone for the messages of sympathy and kindness shown to them at this sad time, and for attending the funeral. Especial thanks to Rector Keith, Stuart and the Choir, the Bell Ringers and Sue for the beautiful flowers.


Artwork: Paul Swailes


A very welcome donation of £103 has been received as a result of the Autumn Bazaar organised by Doreen Prater for the Church and the North Devon Hospice. Our thanks to Doreen and her helpers for all their efforts in making this such a successful and enjoyable afternoon. All items not sold were collected for sale in the Hospice shops.

How wonderful it was to see so many coming into church to take part in the services over Christmas! A lot of preparation and rehearsing had gone on in the weeks before the Carol Service and everyone enjoyed the Choir items [which included a carol sung in Polish] and the children's presentation of 'Christmas 1905'. The crib was blessed at the service on Christmas Eve and the Family Communion on Christmas Day and New Year's Day were particularly well attended.

Once again a big thank you to the Davis family for decorating the tree in time for the School Christmas Service, to all the flower arrangers and to those who made such generous donations towards the cost of the flowers. Collections and donations over Christmas for the Children's Society amounted to a record £322.70.

A reminder at the beginning of the year of the monthly pattern of services on Sundays which all begin at 11.00 a.m.

  • 1st Sunday - Family Service with the Sunday School
  • 2nd Sunday - Sung Eucharist
  • 3rd Sunday - Village Service with the Choir
  • 4th Sunday - Sung Eucharist
  • 5th Sunday - Usually a Communion Service but see notice board for changes.

A warm welcome is extended to everyone and coffee or tea and biscuits are served afterwards. We are all looking forward to the pancakes on Shrove Tuesday in the Manor Hall, and Lent begins the next day with Ash Wednesday on 1st March. One special service in March - Mothering Sunday on the 26th.

The Friendship Lunches will continue to be held in The Globe on the last Wednesday of the month - future dates 22nd February and 29th March. The lunches are quite informal with people arriving from 12.00/12.30, ordering what they want at the bar and paying individually. Anyone is most welcome to come and join us. It is helpful to give your name to Mary Tucker [883881] so that The Globe has a good idea of the number expected.

Mary Tucker




Christmas now over, a new year begun, here are some dates to put in your new diaries:

  1. PANCAKE DAY - Tuesday 28th February, 10.00 a.m. to 12.00 noon in the Manor Hall - please come and join us. All profits are for the Sunday School and a charity of the children's choice.
  2. MOTHERING SUNDAY - 26th March, in church at 11.00 a.m.
  3. FAMILY SERVICES - the first Sunday of each month

The Christmas Play organised by Val and her helpers, with this wonderful poem written by Rachel, was a great success, and dedicated to Auntie Lorna Price - a dignified lady, passionate and knowledgeable about Berrynarbor, who sadly passed away in January.



Our story begins, as we have been told
By Mrs. Price, a hundred and one years old,
That one hundred years before us now,
Berrynarbor, a farming village, and how
The children would walk to school, forth and back
All their belongings brought home in a sack.
The Headmaster, of course, was Mister Toms,
Who'd cross the slipper across their bums!
Unless they were good, respectful, polite
Just like these lovelies before you tonight!
To teach, back then, there were sixty to seventy.
Huxtables, Bowdens and Richards were three
Of the names that are still in our pretty place
Representing the village and its present face.
No cars back then, a charabanc would be
The only way of visiting to see
Barnstaple market, especially at Christmas
The annual highlight for a local lass.
Upon the hill in the castle beyond
Were the family of Bassetts, who were very fond
Of the locals and villagers and Rector Churchill,
Whose job, of course, was this church to fill.
The family would enter and he would meet,
Walk with them and guide them to their seat.
For the Christmas Service, always important
To celebrate the birth of Jesus, the infant
See Mary and Joseph here now alive
Just as the Nativity in nineteen o five.


Illustrated by: Debbie Rigler Cook

I was rather sad not to get up to our church to hear this magnificent poem read and see the children, but I am still involved and Val keeps me in touch. Over Christmas I either saw or heard from many Sunday School children, past and present, which was lovely.

Love and best wishes to you all for 2006.



Artwork: Paul Swailes


The Christmas Card Collection and Distribution was again very successful and the event raised £180, including the Coffee Morning and raffle. All our thanks to the helpers and especially to the Community Shop for collecting the cards.

During January the locks on the doors to the Manor Hall and Penn Curzon Room will be changed. This will help to comply with insurance recommendations and also the possibility of illegal access due to so many keys in circulation at the present time.

The key system cannot be copied except through the master key holder - contact the Chairman who can authorise a replacement at a cost of £10.00.

With the current interest in the 'No Smoking' in public areas' debate and imminent changes to the Law, the Committee has decided to recommend that a No Smoking policy be employed for the Manor Hall buildings, both for health and fire safety.

Bob Hobson - Chairman, Manor Hall Committee


Artwork: Paul Swailes


It seems incredible that another year has flown by and we are looking at the end of year details.

As we said in the last Newsletter, November started very wet, windy and mild with the strongest wind of the month gusting up to 34 knots on the 3rd. As the month progressed, the temperature dropped to a minimum of -1.2 Deg C at 0605 hours on the 20th. On the 25th, we saw the first snow of the winter and a wind chill of -13 Deg C at 0805 hours. The wettest day of the month was the 9th with 38mm [11/2!] and the rainfall total for the whole month was 151mm [6"], which made November the second wettest month of the year after October. The hours of sunshine recorded were 20.67 - slightly higher than previous Novembers.

The beginning of December was a bit warmer although the maximum temperature recorded of 11.9 Deg C was below that of the previous four Decembers. Overall, however, it has been a cooler month with a low of -4 Deg C, which was the lowest temperature we recorded in 2005 and lower than any December since 2001. It was also a dry month with a total of only 97mm [3 7/8"] which included a fall of wet snow on the 29th. On the 1st we recorded the lowest barometric pressure of the year at 975mb and strangely enough, on the 11th we recorded the highest for the year at 1040mb. The sunshine hours were about average at 7.77.

The total rainfall for 2005 was only 1100mm [43 1/4] which made it the driest year since we began our records in 1994, the next being 1124 [44 1/8"] in 2003. Compare this to our highest annual total of 2032 [79 3/4"] in 1994 - getting on for nearly double! Anyway, the days are starting to draw out a bit which is always a cheering sign and we wish everyone a Happy and Peaceful New Year.

Simon and Sue


Artwork: Paul Swailes


It is sad to say goodbye to Doreen Prater and Hilary and Roger Stevens, but rest assured, they will all continue to be part of our village life; but it is good to welcome Yvonne in from the outskirts.

Doreen has left Cherry Hinton for the 'Big Apple', where she will be nearer her family - in future reversing the trips from Berry to Barnstaple! Hilary and Roger are leaving Brambles and going to Stallards in Braunton, where although they will be nearer Angela, they will be further form Lisa in Combe Martin, but Roger will continue skittling with the Globe team!

All three have lived here for nearly thirty years and they will be missed. We wish them every happiness in their new homes and look forward to seeing them at village activities.

Exchanging the wonderful views of Combe Martin Bay from the isolation of Ropes End, for equally beautiful ones, Yvonne is delighted to be nearer in to the village, and Cherry Hinton is now home to herself, Misty and Bluey. We hope she will be very happy there.

By the time this 100th edition of the Newsletter is 'off the press', I shall have moved to 9, Wayfaring, St. John's, Barnstaple. I have purchased a house with a small garden, built in 2001, quite close to Tesco, St.John's Garden Centre and my family!

I have spent twenty-nine happy years in Berrynarbor - twenty of which were at The Lodge with Alan, and Andrew, Richard and Judith until they 'flew the nest'. But you have not seen the last of me as I shall still be attending Church and the W.I.!

I thank my friends for their friendship and support over the last few years and shall be pleased to welcome any of you to my new abode.

As some of you already know, Yvonne Davey is now living at Cherry Hinton and I hope she will enjoy living there as much as I have. Happy New Year to you all.



Artwork: Debbie Rigler Cook


Robin and Naomi Hinchliffe are very happy with their Christmas present! Zinnia Gloria, a sister for Reuben, arrived on the 29th December, tipping the scales at 8lbs 3oz.

Wendy and Alan Lord have a new grandchild! They are delighted to announce the arrival of a daughter for their daughter Melanie and her husband Rob. Elise Mary, a sister for Luke, was born on the 11th January weighing 7lbs 9oz.

Our congratulations and best wishes to parents, and grandparents, and a warm welcome to the little ones.


Artwork: Debbie Rigler Cook


Warmest congratulations to Yvonne Davey who has received a Devon Volunteering Award, one of 40 in the County. The award was in recognition of her work and 8-year Chairmanship of the Management Committee of the North Devon Volunteer Development Agency [formerly Ilfracombe Volunteer Bureau], particularly during a difficult time when it's future was very much in the balance. Well done!

It is lovely to congratulate two couples on reaching their Golden Wedding Anniversaries.

Barbara and John Wood, who were married at Yardley Old Church in the Midlands on the 3rd December 1955, celebrated on the day with their family and later with friends at The Lodge.

Gordon and Mary Hughes also celebrated at The Lodge, with family and friends on the fiftieth anniversary of their wedding at Eggbuckland, near Plymouth, on the 10th December 1955.

Congratulations and best wishes to you all. Good luck and happiness for many years to come.

Sophie Mummery, now in Year 10 at Pilton Community College, was nominated together with 3 other pupils for an award for 'Effort in Year 9'. At a presentation evening at the Barnstaple Motel on the 18th January, Sophie became the overall winner and the proud owner of a cup, certificate and gift voucher. Well done, Sophie!



A big Thank You to all my friends and neighbours for the gifts and cards given at my surprise 80th Birthday Party.

Best Wishes,

Ivy White



If you are wondering if you have missed what is now an annual barn dance at Sloley Farm, worry not! This will happen a bit late this year - so here is an early warning, put the date in your diary NOW!

SATURDAY, 6TH MAY [at least, hopefully, it will be a bit warmer!!]




On behalf of everyone at the School, may we wish you all a Happy New Year.

The end of last term was very busy as usual. In November all the children took part in a competition, to design a money box, in partnership with our neighbours at the Community Shop. Reuben in Class 1, Lewis in Class 2 and William in Class 3 were the overall winners, and they received Art and Craft prizes kindly donated by the Shop.

The Shoe Box Appeal

On 28th November we held our annual workshop and service for Christingle in the Church. Reverend Wyer and other friends in the village joined children, staff and parents to make our own Christingles, followed by a candle-lit moment of contemplation and prayer.

Shepherds and Kings at the Nativity Play

We invited the Working Space Theatre Company to the Manor Hall on the 30th November to provide an enjoyable production of A Christmas Carol. The children and parents really enjoyed this event, which was well matched to the age of the children.

It was lovely to have the space to hold our Christmas Fayre in the school building this year on the 5th December. Thank you to The Friends of Berrynarbor School for again organising this.

On 7th December I took all 15 of the Year 6 pupils to Bratton Fleming to help plant trees in a new Community Woodland - a Woodland Trust initiative involving lots of local schools. We planted 50 hazel trees in one morning! The children worked extremely hard and listened to the leaders carefully. I was very proud of our oldest pupils for their sensible attitude.

Our Christmas Service was written and prepared by the children. This gave us an excellent opportunity to consider the meaning of the Christmas story. Class 1 acted out the Nativity scene, Class 2 had to imagine how the shepherds might have felt and Class 3 told the story of the Three Kings. They sang really well, too, with musical accompaniment from our guitar, saxophone and clarinet players.

We finished our term with a wonderful Christmas Dinner, our Class 1 Play and a special visitor bearing gifts on the last day. Mrs. Lucas and Year 5 and Year 6 pupils provided a spectacular Christmas Dinner Party for our Senior Citizen friends in the village.

Pensioners' Party! Waiters and diners at the Christmas Dinner

Thank you to Mr. and Mrs. Bolton, holidaymakers who have stayed for many years in the village, for their donation towards our new Library. Any further donations for books would be very welcome!

Karen Crutchfield - Head Teacher


W.H. DAVIES 1871-1940 Poet and Author

Silver Hours, the poem featured in the December Newsletter, was written by the Welsh poet William Henry Davies, but are you aware that the well-known lines "What is this life if, full of care, We have no time to stand and stare?" are also attributable to him?

Davies was born in Newport, Monmouthshire, the son of a publican. After an elementary education and various labouring jobs, he crossed the Atlantic several times on cattle boats, travelling to New York, the Klondike and across Canada, where jumping a freight train, he injured a leg which had to be amputated.

Returning to England he slept in dosshouses and made a living as a pedlar and street singer, writing his poem 'Leisure':


What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare?

No time to stand beneath the boughs,
And stare as long as sheep and cows:

No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass:

No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night:

No time to turn at Beauty's glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance:

No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began?

A poor life this, if full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

Following the rejection of his first book of poetry, then its printing on the condition that he distributed copies himself, George Bernard Shaw took an interest in him, as did the poet Edward Thomas. Thomas took him under his wing, finding him a cottage in the same village as himself and his family.

When his wooden leg unfortunately became broken, Davies did not want the villagers to know he had an artificial leg and so Thomas, to spare his embarrassment, gave instructions, with drawings and measurements, to the local carpenter, without telling him what the mystery object was. When the new leg was delivered, they were both amused to see that on the invoice, the carpenter had written, 'Curiosity Cricket Bat'!

At the age of fifty Davies married Helen Payne, thirty years his junior, and they settled in Sussex and later Gloucestershire.

He was awarded an honorary degree by the University of Wales in 1929 and returned to Newport in September 1938 for the unveiling of a plaque in his honour, with an address given by the Poet Laureate, John Masefield. This was his last public appearance as his health deteriorated, not helped by the weight of his wooden leg, and he died in September 1940 at the age of 69.



On Thursday, 8th December, the Mens' Institute held their Annual Presentation Evening. A very enjoyable evening was spent by everyone and the Chairman, Gordon Hughes, presented trophies to the following winners:

 WinnerRunner Up
Winter LeagueTony SummersJohn Huxtable
Scratch SinglesJim ConstantineMaurice Draper
Handicap SinglesMatthew WallsKevin Brooks
DoublesKevin Brooks & Matthew WallsMaurice Draper & Mark Adams
Summer LeagueMaurice Draper Gerry Marangone
Highest BreakTony Summers [26] 
Ray Toms CupMaurice Draper 

John Huxtable


Artwork: Angela Bartlett


When we were young we were at school trying to learn things that were meant to make us more clever. However, in the meantime we got up to things that were somewhat less than clever! If you say you honestly didn't, then I would say you are probably unique. Some times clever, some times stupid, but on looking back, usually amusing.

I have two boys - well not exactly boys, one is forty-two and the other forty-eight!

Illustration by: Paul Swailes

One day when they were teenagers, my wife Betty and I went out to do a couple of hours' shopping. While we were gone, the younger, Chris, decided he would like to do some painting upstairs. He fetched a tin of paint and a brush and started off upstairs. Unfortunately, he stumbled and dropped the tin, the lid came off and the paint splashed over the stairs and on to the wallpaper.

He called out to his brother, "I've dropped the paint down the stairs, Mum and Dad are going to be livid, they've only just decorated the hall and landing."

Being quite resourceful, his brother, Ray, went quiet for a moment before saying, "There is still some of that wallpaper up in the loft. You go and get some paraffin and try to clean the stair carpet while I go in the loft and have a look." After a short while, he descended the ladder with a big smile on his face. "I've found two rolls and there is some paste in the garden shed. I'll go and get it and the scrapers."

Meanwhile, Chris had made a fair job of cleaning the paint off the stair carpet, "I've tried to wipe if off the wallpaper but it's soaked in", he said with rather tearful eyes. "Well, it's luckily only two sections," Ray replied. "If we are careful, we can scrape away on each side, remove each section and replace them."

They removed the two lengths, cleaned up that part of the wall, fetched the papering table, mixed up the paste and replaced the two lengths of paper with the pattern matching perfectly! Nevertheless, Betty's intuition rumbled them but we thought our boys had been very resourceful.

We had a garden shed which Ray used for making his model aeroplanes and his other hobbies. One day he asked if he could run a cable from the house to enable him to have lighting and power in the shed.

We saw no objection and told him to carry on. He put a plug on one end of the cable, which he had threaded through a convenient airbrick.

"I'll run it under the roof and into the shed", he explained. "I'll have to loosen the roof screws so that I can push the cable up and under, then I won't have any joins." Very sensible, we thought, water getting in won't cause any shorts.

The job was done and almost forgotten. However, one very windy day, Chris had reason to go to the shed. He opened the door and stepped inside. The wind was blowing hard and suddenly the roof took off, landing in our next door neighbour's garden. Chris stood there aghast in the now 'topless' shed! Although the roof landed next door, no damage was done either to our neighbour's garden or the roof, which was retrieved, reinstated and SCREWED DOWN this time!

    The spring is sprung,
    The grass is riz,
    I wonder where the boidies is.
    They say the boid is on the wing,
    But that's obsoid,
    Because the wing is on the boid!

If you are thinking this winter is cold, have a look at this igloo built in the back garden some forty-six years ago.

Tony Beauclerk -Colchester


Brian Wright

Solution in Article 35.


Artwork: Peter Rothwell


The Rectory,
Combe Martin.

Dear Friends,

Overheard at the breakfast table:

    Mother: "What does your girlfriend like in you?"
    Son: "She thinks I'm handsome, talented, clever, and a good dancer."
    Mother: "And what do you like about her?"
    Son: "She thinks I'm handsome, talented, clever, and a good dancer."

This relationship seems a bit one sided to me. True love is concerned not with self but with the other person and their qualities. Physical attraction may bring us together, as St. Valentine's time reminds us, but true love is really beyond definition and words, and perhaps shows itself in all sorts of little ways of concern and support. Rather like this definition of love by Elaine, aged 5: "Love is when Mommy gives Daddy the best piece of chicken", or perhaps the quote I gave at Christmas and some of you have asked for a copy: "Love is what's in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen." - Bobby, aged 7.

Love can be timeless and just being with the other person is heaven, but as St. Valentine's time reminds us, love shows itself in action, expressing that love we have for the other person. But perhaps the greatest thing about love, is the realisation that you are loved, that you are precious in their eyes, that you matter and are valued, for just being you.

That's the kind of love God has for you and me. Enjoy St. Valentine's Day (and all the rest as well!)

With all good wishes,

Your Friend and Rector,

Keith Wyer




Meetings are held on the third Thursday in the month at Combe Martin Parish Hall, at 7.30 p.m. prompt, and on the 16th February, Peter Laurie is giving a presentation on the 'Bratton Fleming Worthys'. On 16th March, Trevor Dunkerly gives an 'Update on Village Archaeology'. 20th April sees Maureen Wood giving an illustrated talk on Barnstaple Fair. The short AGM on the 18th May is followed by Moose Boyer giving 'More with Moose'. Membership is £4.00 and visitors £1.50 per evening.

TB of TC



Unsurprisingly, perhaps, the idea of forming a reading group came from a book called "The Reading Group"! I have always loved to read and knew from various casual conversations that many others in the village felt the same. So, having canvassed opinion and received encouragement and support from a number of people, especially Gilly, we picked a date, put up some posters and waited to see if anyone turned up.

Happily they did! At the first meeting the group decided to take it in turns to choose a book to read and discuss and agreed that criticism would be of the book and not the choice or the chooser! Also, to allow people to

drop in and out as other commitments demanded, that we would choose books for three months in advance.

We have now enjoyed three meetings after reading three very different books and with the aid of a few glasses of wine have all enjoyed our evening and [mostly] managed to finish the books. I think it has surprised and interested us all to hear how differently the same book can be interpreted and that others can see things which may have completely passed us by.

The group has now been registered with the Library at Combe Martin and copies of the books can be obtained from there if you identify yourself as a member - you do not have to join the Library to benefit from this service.

The next meeting will be on Wednesday, 8th February, 7.30 p.m. at Bessemer Thatch and we should welcome any new recruits. The book under discussion will be: Five Quarters of the Orange by Joanne Harris.

At each meeting, the date and venue of the next is decided although generally it is likely to be on the second Wednesday in the month and either at Middle Lee Farm or Bessemer Thatch. There is a charge of £2.00 per meeting to cover the cost of refreshments.

The books for March and April are: March: Woman in Black by Susan Howard and April: Driving Over Lemons by Chris Stewart.

Look out for the posters and if anyone would like more information, please feel free to ring me on 882256.



    One who is always poring over books, so called in allusion to the maggot that eats holes in books, and lives in and on their leaves!



My thanks to Jenny Taylor whose e-mail from her home in France gave clues sufficient to set me on the path to finding out the facts behind the small cross memorial on the coastal footpath near Widmouth House. My thanks also to Sylvia and Cecil Hancock, and to Marie Chugg.

Marie lived at Widmouth for 27 years and the cross is in memory of her mother, Mrs. Madeline Leng, and her uncle Mr. Leonard Elderfield, both of whom spent happy times at Widmouth. Marie, who has very happy memories of times they all spent there, regularly places flowers under the tree. Marie's son, Paul, still lives in Ilfracombe.

Once again my thanks to all concerned for solving the mystery.

Tom Bartlett
January 2006


Artwork: Helen Weedon


Countryside congratulations to the Berrynarbor Newsletter for reaching its centenary edition. What an achievement! Whilst other more well known publications have come and gone, the Newsletter has steadfastly delivered its bi-monthly pages of news and interest. For me personally, its two-month regularity of dropping through my letterbox makes it particularly special - all my other periodicals being monthly or quarterly.

Quarterly magazines are, of course, dated by the season for which they are published. Which led me to ponder . . . if our editor chose to title the newsletter by the seasonal time of year, what would the six issues be called?

April's would of course be christened the Spring edition. As the month progresses, our landscape is awash with swaying daffodils, the nodding flower heads of cow parsley, and the bowing branches of cherry trees heavy with blossom. In the garden, meanwhile, the male blue-tit is seen making continual visits to and from the nest box with food for its partner - without it she wouldn't put on that much needed weight to lay those all-important eggs. Although the month of June can boast ownership of mid-summer's day, it would be unwise to give its newsletter the same title. After all, one hardly expects to take a midsummer walk through the woods and see trees still coming into leaf or bluebells still on the ground. Yet this is just the case when the June edition is published. Perhaps then, it could be dubbed the "Early Summer" issue.

This in turn leads to August becoming the 'Late Summer' edition, and perhaps rightly so, even though this is the month for the family summer holiday. For there is a sting to August's tail. Was that a slight chill against my cheek as the evening breeze got up? And did I just notice a gold tinged leaf bid farewell to its tree? And what happened to those late evening dog walks through the woods? Come late August, it is then too dark.

October's instalment naturally becomes the Autumn edition - how long for, is open to debate. With climate change affecting our seasons and autumn in particular, gone are late September days of golden splendour. On the contrary, September is becoming the month of the Indian summer. Likewise November, once associated with cold temperatures, rain and even snow, is changing. Leaves now remain on trees into early winter, allowing November to become the month when beech trees are seen in all their splendour.

It is beech trees, along with oaks, that manage to cling on to their leaves at the dawn of December. Most other broad-leafed trees are bare. So too are the fields, the hedgerows, the heath lands and our gardens - just about. For each can boast its own December delicacy. In the fields, the first of the lambs are being born. Out from the hedgerows, the scent of vanilla is wafting into the air, courtesy of winter heliotrope. Upon the heaths, gorse flowers are on the increase again. And in our gardens, the blue tits, great tits, coal tits and blackcaps have come to the bird table, hungry for food. December's newsletter is undoubtedly the Winter issue.

And what of the February edition? Should it be titled "Late Winter"? After all, hours of darkness still out-strip the hours of daylight. The weather too can also be dull and overcast. In the countryside, the trees are still bare and the hedgerows have little on offer. In our garden, the flowerbeds are also devoid of colour whilst our bird feeders are frequently being visited due to natural winter supplies being almost out of stock. Surely, then, February is still very much a winter month? 

Maybe not. At the start of the month the sun is setting around five o'clock. This is late enough for the commuter to leave the office, for the first time this year, in daylight. Come Saturday morning, if they awake to find a dry and bright day with winds in a favourable direction, then outside pursuits require only a jumper and shirt - the coat stays on the hanger. Meanwhile, the trees in the countryside are not quite as "bare" as they once were. A red glow has appeared, courtesy of their new buds, preparing to shoot forth. The hedgerows too are no longer bare; look closely and you will see the first of the wild violets and lesser celandine appearing. It's all a sign of what's to come. And whilst the bird table is still busy with customers, another one has appeared in the rhododendron bush eyeing up the nest box. He is no fool; for he knows spring isn't very far away and if he doesn't get in that box first, another bird is sure to gazump him.

But best of all about February is the snowdrops. Yes, the flowerbeds may still be bare but a lawn that is awash with snowdrops is enough to make the most hardened of pessimists believe that winter is departing. And all of this happens in February. What to call this issue? "The Premature Spring Edition" sounds about right to me.

  Steve McCarthy

Illustrations by: Paul Swailes



The following letter, sent by Alex Parke to the North Devon Journal and printed in the issue of 12th January, describes the difficulty the Shop encountered with its new Liquor Licence and why it was 'the shop with no beer [or spirits]' in the pre-Christmas weeks.

I am struck by the wasteful stupidity of bureaucracy illustrated in your story of the parish councillor "carpeted" for selling a cake (at a loss) to her own parish council without declaring an interest.

A year ago we in Berrynarbor raised £10,000, employed a sub-postmaster/manager and successfully kept our village shop open with the help of 40 or so villager-volunteers who work without pay in the shop. We were licensed to sell alcohol, and for good reason the licensee was a committee member. But the licensing laws changed, causing many businesses unnecessary cost and trouble and we needed to make our manager the licensee.

We paid for his training and applied and paid for the new licence just before the dead line at the end of November. The bureaucrats, ignoring the fact that he was of good enough character to be accepted as a sub-postmaster, then demanded that he have police clearance before the licence could be issued.

He asked for forms. They sent the wrong ones. After repeated requests and considerable delay they sent the right ones.

We then learned that because "the police were busy ", clearance would take up to five weeks, and we still haven't got it.

Therefore, during the month before Christmas our shop was unable to sell liquor and has lost a considerable amount of our normal turnover. The bureaucrats even went to the trouble to send a provocateur to the shop on a Sunday morning to try to buy a can of stout "for a Christmas pudding"! Fortunately, the volunteer on duty did not sell, and was ableto see off the inspector who followed her in.

I live in hope that one day our judiciary will say, "This person is guilty, but the law, and those who have drafted and applied it are stupid. I fine the defendant 10p. and award all costs against the prosecution!" Until that happens on a regular basis we will continue to be cursed by the "British Disease" of bureaucratic constipation which is clogging our country.

  A.V. Parke
[Secretary, Berrynarbor Community Enterprise Ltd]




Firstly the good news! In case you've not realised it, our shop is no longer 'dry'. Our licence is now through and we are open for selling a range of wines, beers, lagers, stout and spirits. You may be pleased to know too, that in spite of bureaucrats forcing us to lose alcoholic sales over the Christmas period, takings were still up on 2005. For those of you who didn't see Alex's letter in the North Devon Journal regarding this 'fracas', you have just read it here!

By the time you read this, our noble band of volunteers and their partners will hopefully have enjoyed a pleasant evening at The Globe on 27th January and our thanks to Don, Edith and staff for providing such a good spread - and of course to all the volunteers who do such a magnificent job in our shop.

You may have noticed that we now have a small selection of jewellery on sale at modest prices - ideal for gifts. The selection of delicious fresh soups from the Devonshire Soup Company are proving popular, whilst your pooches and moggies are being pampered with a range of cat and dog foods packaged by Melian, so no need now to trek into their shop in Ilfracombe.

It's not long now until St. Valentine's Day on 14th February, for which we will have a good selection of cards and chocolates, and flowers including red roses [or even a single specimen beautifully presented] can be ordered. After that, Mothering Sunday looms on 26th March. Again, flowers can be ordered, cards will be on sale and there will be a good selection of pot plants and chocolates. And then, before you know, it will be Easter, with hot cross buns and simnel cakes available. So happy 'whatever-it-is', and even Happier Shopping!

PS - I'm sure we all wish to congratulate and thank Judie for this 100th Newsletter - and the 99 that have gone before! Here's to the next 100. Well done, Ed.

PP of DC

A Message to All Non-Customers:

We, at the shop, are aware that there are many villagers who do not use the shop at all, I wonder why; where are we going wrong? Do you know we have almost 1000 different items in stock? We have fresh bakery, green grocery, organic milk etc every day. The folks behind the counter are fellow villagers. The Post Office can supply a wide range of facilities.

And all this is on your doorstep - no need to use petrol going to Ilfracombe, Barnstaple or even Combe Martin. We are not perfect, but we do our best, and with your support we will build the new shop - bigger and better. We really would like to know in what way we fail to meet your requirements; if you could spare a moment to tell us (even just an anonymous note through the door) we should be most grateful. Extending opening hours is difficult because the staff are all volunteers who have home life to consider, and we also know that many people do not get home until after we have closed. Apart from that, we will try to give what you, the villagers, want. It is your shop, we make no profit from it, and the future depends on the support of as many Berrynarbor folk as possible.

Come and spend a bit, and make an old Treasurer happy!!




Because of my connection with the village shop, I am there almost every day. It is a pleasant walk, summer and winter, and my two dogs enjoy the exercise. On the return journey up the hill to Turnround, I am frequently disgusted to find dog mess on the pavement. I observe that it is the same dog time after time, and, I presume, the same owner.

So, this is a plea to that person - please pick it up ! I will even suppiy you with bags if you make yourself known to me. I don't want to tread in it, but is it fair to the poor schoolchildren who go up and down that pavement?

I do hope this message reaches the right person, most dog owners that I know are responsible, considerate people.

Brian Hillier, Berrynarbor Park.


Robert Browning

The grey sea and the long black land;
And the yellow half-moon large and low;
And the startled little waves that leap
In fiery ringlets from their sleep,
As I gain the cove with pushing prow,
And quench its speed i' the slushy sand.

Then a mile of warm sea-scented beach;
Three fields to cross till a farm appears;
A tap at the pane, the quick sharp scratch
And blue spurt of a lighted match,
And a voice less loud, thro' its joys and fears,
Than the two hearts beating each to each!

Illustration by: Paul Swailes


Berrynarbor Sunday School
[North Devon Hospice]

10.00 a.m. to 12.00 Noon

Raffle, Coffee or Tea and a Pancake - £1.00

Once again on Shrove Tuesday, the knitters of Berrynarbor will be clicking their needles in an effort to raise funds - even more than last year - for the North Devon Hospice. At the same time, The Sunday School, with Sally at the helm, will be providing scrumptious pancakes and coffee to raise funds for themselves and a charity of the children's choice.

Knitters are required to use size 8 [4mm] needles and double knitting wool, working in garter stitch and 20 stitches to the row. The rules are simple:

  • When you hear the starter's bleat, you cast on and knit for 2 hours
  • You can have a break half way through for a pancake and coffee
  • Loo breaks are also permitted
  • Such is the trust that no-one will be tested for performance enhancing drugs
  • Breaking the concentration of others by laughing, singing or talking is encouraged, but
  • Sabotage, i.e. standing on another knitter's wool, is strictly forbidden!
  • At the signal to stop, you finish the row you are on [not the row you would have completed if you hadn't been laughing/talking so much] and cast off.

This is a sponsored event and sponsor forms may be obtained either from the Shop or from Judie at Chicane. Following the event, the finished strips, and sponsor money are collected in and taken to the Hospice, where the strips are turned into blankets.

Once again the Spinners have kindly agreed to share the Hall and join in, and if you are neither a knitter nor a spinner, then please

DO COME ALONG for a coffee and pancake, join in the fun and support the event.



[Berry Broadcasting Company]
on Friday & Saturday,
10th & 11th March 2006


Manor Hall Curtains Up at 7.45 p.m.
Bar, Draw, Ice-creams
Fish & Chip Supper following Show
Tickets £5.00
available late February from Post Office & The Globe



5th Primary School Christmas Fayre, 2.00 p.m, Main School
3rd The Globe: Ann Summers [ladies only], 7.30 p.m.
Card Games Club, Manor Hall, 7.30 p.m. [2]
4th Celebrations to mark 100 issues of the Newsletter - Manor Hall, 10.30 a.m. through to 4.00 p.m.
5th Quiz Night at The Globe, 8.30 p.m.
7th W.I. Meeting, 2.30 p.m., Manor Hall: Les Tovey - Slides of Combe Martin Shops in the Past.
8th Mobile Library in Village from 11.30 a.m.
Berrynarbor Reading Group, Bessemer Thatch, 7.30 p.m. - "Five Quarters of the Orange"
14thSt. Valentine's Day
15thWine Circle: Two Davids' Presentation, 8.00 p.m., Manor Hall
16thCombe Martin Historical Society: Peter Laurie - Bratton 'Fleming Worthys', Parish Hall, 7.30 p.m.
17thCard Games Club, Manor Hall, 7.30 p.m. [3]
18th"All You Can Eat" Italian Night at The Sawmills
19thQuiz Night at The Globe, 8.30 p.m.
20thPrimary School & College: Half Term to Friday, 24th, inclusive
22ndMobile Library in Village from 11.30 a.m.
Friendship Lunch: The Globe from 12.00 noon
28thShrove Tuesday: Sunday School Pancake Coffee Morning and the North Devon Knit In, Manor Hall, 10.00 a.m. to 12.00 noon
1st Ash Wednesday
3rd Card Games Club, Manor Hall, 7.30 p.m. [4]
5th Quiz Night at The Globe
7th W.I. Meeting, 2.30 p.m., Manor Hall: Head Gardener, Marwood Hill Gardens
8th Mobile Library in Village from 11.30 a.m.
10thBBC "Berry Goes Back to the Future", Manor Hall, 7.45 p.m.
11thBBC "Berry Goes Back to the Future", Manor Hall, 7.45 p.m.
15thWine Circle: Andy Cloutman, Quay West Wines, Manor Hall, 8.00 p.m.
16thCombe Martin Historical Society: Trevor Dunkerly - "Update on Village Archaeology", Parish Hall 7.30 p.m.
18th"All You Can Eat" Curry Night at The Sawmills
19thQuiz Night at The Globe 8.30 p.m.
22ndMobile Library in Village from 11.30 a.m.
26thMothering Sunday St. Peter's Church: Family Service, 11.00 a.m.
29thFriendship Lunch: The Globe from 12.00 noon
1st "All You Can Eat" Mexican Night at The Sawmill Inn
2nd Quiz Night at The Globe, 8.30 p.m.
4rd W.I. Meeting, 2.30 p.m., Manor Hall
5th Mobile Library in Village from 11.30 a.m.
7th Primary School & College: End of Spring Term

Manor Hall Diary:

MondaysBadminton, 7.30 p.m.
Tuesdays2nd & 4th in month: N.D.Spinners 10.00 a.m. onwards
Yoga, 7.00 p.m.
ThursdaysWhist Drive, 7.30 p.m.
FridaysShort Mat Bowls, 7.00 p.m.
SundaysShort Mat Bowls, 2.00 p.m.

Mobile Library:
(Assistant - Jacqui Mackenzie)

11.30 - 11.45 a.m.Sandy Cove
11.50 - 12.05 p.m.Barton Lane
1.15 - 1.40 p.m.The Square
1.45 - 2.05 p.m.Sterridge Valley




The Christmas meeting was a complete sell out and once again Barney Dunstan and his wife did us proud. Members thanked not only Barney but also Tony Summers and all the many members who had assisted in making it another memorable Christmas Presentation.

The Members' Favourite Wines meeting held on the 18th January was also very popular and a super evening had by all. On the 15th of February we welcome our own two Davids, who will be giving their very first Wine Presentation, whilst on the 16th March, Andy Cloutman returns to give a presentation on Quay West Wines.

The April meeting will be on the 19th and the 2005-6 season will finish with the AGM on 17th May.

Prospective new members are reminded that due to the new Licensing Laws it is essential to contact either the Secrerary, Tony, on 883600, the Treasurer, Jill, on 882121, Chairman Alex on 883758 or myself, 883408, to enrol as members at least 24 hours before attending your first meeting.

Tom Bartlett - January 2006




Seen in a Devon Tea Shop:

Today's Special
Pot of Tea
With Stones and Jam



This Club, running initially on a trial basis, is for those card players wishing to join others for a game of cards - Bridge [rubber not duplicate], Canasta, Cribbage, etc. It will be bi-weekly, on Friday evenings at 7.30 p.m. in the Penn Curzon Room of the Manor Hall, and the first meeting, when a good start was made, was held on the 20th January, from when it will run fortnightly.

All players are very welcome and in the case of Bridge, this is for 'improvers' and help with your game will be available. There is a minimal charge of £1.00 per night which includes tea or coffee.

Games will be played on a rota:

  • Evening 1: [20th January] Bridge
  • Evening 2: [3rd February] Bridge/Canasta
  • Evening 3: [17th February] Bridge/Other
  • Evening 4: [3rd March] Bridge/Other

If you would like more information, please speak to Alan or Nora [01271-889393], call at Briar Cottage or come along to the Manor Hall on the dates given above.




Politician and Newsagent

"Now landsmen all whoever you may be,
If you want to rise to the top of the tree
If your soul isn't fettered to an office stool
Be careful to be guided by this golden rule
Stick close to your desks and never go to sea
And you all may be the rulers of the Queen's Navy"

These are the final lines sung by The Rt. Hon Sir Joseph Porter in Gilbert and Sullivan's Opera 'HMS Pinafore'. If last Autumn you saw the performance of this lively show at the Queen's theatre you may have noticed, if you coughed up for a programme, that in the notes W S Gilbert [why the popularity of initials?] poked fun at W H Smith, parliamentarian and newsagent, in the above lines. This intrigued me, as I'd never really thought about the man behind the household name to be found in most high streets throughout the country.

With the chaos of the pre-festive season I put the thought on the long finger. Many of us possibly bought something, if only cards or wrapping paper, from W H Smiths [it's odd - unlike 'Marks' or 'BHS', I've never heard it called 'Smiths' and rarely 'WHS'] and now that we've all settled down into a new year, it seemed appropriate to look at the man who bore the brunt of Gilbert's humour.

His grandparents, Henry Walton and Anna Smith founded the wholesale and retail newsagents, booksellers and stationers in 1792, trading under the name H W Smith. When their youngest son, William Henry, was old enough to join the family firm, he showed enterprise in getting the newspapers off to the rest of the country on the morning coach instead of the night mail coaches, thus becoming the pioneer of a rapid newspaper distribution. Later he was among the first to use the railway to further his business. In 1828 the concern became known as W H Smith.

Then we come to W H Smith II, later Viscount Hambleden. In 1848 at the age of 23, he opened the firm's first railway bookstall at Euston Station. He entered Parliament in 1868 and 9 years later was appointed First Lord of the Admiralty under Disraeli - in spite of never having been to sea. When Salisbury became Prime Minister, he was appointed First Lord of the Treasury and Leader of the House of Commons. The satirical magazine Punch gave him the nickname 'Old Morality'.

When in 1905 certain railway contracts had to be given up, his son, the 2nd Viscount Hambleden took the decision to open up 173 shops to replace the lost bookstalls. Under his leadership and that of his son, the 3rd Viscount Hambleden [who died in 1948], the number of shops doubled - and the rest, as they say, is history.

PP of DC




Thank you to those who attended the public meeting, on the 15th December 2005, regarding traffic issues. A response to the questions raised by the public and Councillors has been received and is in the process of being replied to. Councillor Gingell and I do not agree with the report concerning work that has supposedly been carried out on our village roads, and we shall continue to try to resolve this.

Traffic calming is being addressed but no decision can be reached until D.C.C. has carried out the speed checks at the locations suggested by residents and Councillors. Full consideration will be given to their report.

Berrydown Cross - Conflicting statements have been received regarding a request for a new road to the north of the bend and these are in the process of being investigated. Thankfully the drainage improvements are now almost complete and hopefully there won't be a recurrence of the flooding experience of a year ago.

A copy of the Council's questions resulting from the public meeting, and the reply received from D.C.C., together with comments from Councillor Gingell and myself, will be available for anyone to read in the Post Office. We welcome any written comments regarding this report.

County Councillor Andrea Davis requested in her report that all residents should examine any hedges that encroach the roads or footpaths, and to trim them back before the bird-nesting season. We requested that D.C.C. do the same on any hedgerows that they maintain.

Ilfracombe College - Late buses are now available on Mondays and Thursdays, for any student wishing to stay on at school for after-school activities. Please contact Mr Paul Swailes for more information.

Sponsorship - One of our many benches in the village is now past repairing, after many years of service. Would anyone like to sponsor the life of a bench in memory of a family member or friend? Please contact any Councillor if you would like to do so.

Welcome to our new Councillor Mr Clive Richards. As you probably know, Clive has lived in the village all his life. I feel sure his local and practical knowledge will be an asset to this Council.

And finally, the Council would like to congratulate the Editor and her supporters on reaching the 100th edition of the Berrynarbor Newsletter.

Sue Sussex - Chairman



Although the days are lengthening, the evenings are still long, so why not while away a dark, cold February evening with this 'Name the Bird' Quiz?

This Quiz originated from McHenry Rural Health Care to raise money to buy a bed or mattress for a new Clinic. McHenry is a small charity working in Cameroon, West Africa, in remote villages where health services are non-existent - at times it is 20km to the nearest Health Post. Mary McCormick, a returned VSO and Chairperson of this charity, treks to these remote places [no vehicle] with her Cameroon team of two.

To find out more, visit her website: www.mchenrycharity.freeuk.com .

  1. A good golfer might get one [5].
  2. Darkness in the storm [11].
  3. Headless host gets wealthy [7].
  4. Tip ragman [anagram] [9].
  5. Colourful beater [12].
  6. Boast [4].
  7. Musician on the beach [9].
  8. Fish follows leading actor [8].
  9. Sounds like gasoline [6[.
  10. Uplifts [5].
  11. Entrance for knave [7].
  12. A pleased puppy [7].
  13. A race pill ice [anagram] [12].
  14. Architect [4].
  15. Alias castle [4].
  16. Useful after snowstorm [8 or 9].
  17. Fight over a tier [7].
  1. Lack courage [5].
  2. A shining top [9].
  3. Symbol of peace [4].
  4. Burglar's occupation? [5].
  5. A bulb or an insect [9].
  6. Fix the end [7].
  7. Alter a tale [4].
  8. Colourful beginning [8].
  9. Not the whole edge [9].
  10. Colourful toy [3, 4].
  11. Grumble [6].
  12. One of 26 [3].
  13. Rub a measure [9].
  14. Polish the Air Force unit [7].
  15. Blowin' a bit [6].
  16. This athlete likes it wet [5,7].
  17. Timber male [8].
  1. Sounds like poor English [6].
  2. Do you pay the barber this? [9].
  3. Speedy [5].
  4. Heavenly frolic [7].
  5. Say 'through' quietly [6].
  6. Tar played on garden tool [5].
  7. Reveille for a feline [9].
  8. Pastime [5].
  9. Rock talk [9].
  10. Wizard [6].
  11. Out of date court headdress [8].
  12. Sunbathing in scarf effect [11].
  13. One who reads superficially [6].
  14. Obsolete bad coin [6,4].
  15. Insect after devout cap [8].
  16. Quick look up & down stairs [6].



Ruby Country

Green landscape; a wealth of ancient country churches and the Ordnance Survey range of maps - just a few quintessentially English delights. In his autobiography, 'Long Life', Nigel Nicholson includes a eulogy to Ordnance Survey maps; their usefulness and the pleasure derived from them.

He writes, "The OS has made us a nation of map lovers and in consequence a nation of walkers." He comments that in homes in the US it is rare to find an example of their equivalent series of maps yet "in England every stationery shop sells the OS maps. Why the difference? Because, an American has suggested to me, they think big, we think small. A more likely explanation is that we walk, they don't."

I'd spread out the Bude and Clovelly OS map in order to work out a route for a car journey when something right at the edge of the map intrigued me - a church beside a little lake, surrounded by parkland and beyond, patches of woodland in all directions.

It seemed worth making a slight detour and fitting in an exploratory walk of Buckland Filleigh, two miles to the east of Shebbear. We parked near a large, old walled garden, the only sound the harsh churring of a mistle thrush flying past and landing in a tree top. We walked along the lane. It was very cold but bright, the pale blue sky marbled with mauve. Snowdrops were in bud in the hedge banks and there was a sparkling of periwinkles. A rippling grey cloud of starlings took off from a field of stubble. As we watched them come down again, we saw a flock of redwings was moving about the sloping field, flanked on three sides by mixed woodland.

As we turned a curve in the road we received a tremendous surprise. Next to the church was a mansion in the formal neo-classical style. We were not expecting to find such a grand building in this quiet corner of Devon. Pevsner describes "the church and house exceptionally beautifully placed between undulating hills, luxuriantly wooded and with views towards Dartmoor."

The original Buckland House was damaged by fire in 1798 and in 1810 it was transformed by James Green who became County Surveyor for Devon and who was, "an accomplished and innovative practitioner of the Neo-Classical style." He added pedimented gables, a Doric portico with four giant granite columns and a central domed lantern.

The plan of the building is F-shaped and in contrast to the classical severity of the north and east sides, something of the older house is visible on the south side with its asymmetrically placed two-storey porch.

The Reverend Sabine Baring-Gould tells the story of how the house was besieged during the Civil War, when the family silver was buried in the grounds by the butler, who was killed on his way back to the house. The silver has never been recovered!

Close to the house is the church of St. Mary's and Holy Trinity, with castellated walls and Norman doorway and a pulpit incorporating some early Renaissance panels.

We headed for the lake, hidden behind the church,and found a small triangle of water populated by ducks. The lake dates from the mid-eighteenth century and was part of some landscaping under-taken for William Fortescue who was Master of the Rolls.

Across the field from the lake was a way marker sign for one of the recently devised Ruby Country Trails, part of the attempt to promote 'Ruby country' as a tourist venue; that area of western and mid Devon which isn't coastal and isn't part of Exmoor or Dartmoor. Taking its name from the ruby red Devon cattle, it seeks to stamp a distinctive identity on this rural hinterland.

We climbed to the top of the field to obtain a better view of the other side of the mansion [from where it looked even bigger] and its lake and church and woods. A beautiful setting, well worthy of a detour.

Illustrations by: Paul Swailes

Sue H



Buckland Filleigh, according to White's 1850 Directory, is 'a village containing 275 souls and 3037 acres of land, nearly all the property of Lord Ashburton and Lord Clinton, the former of whom owns the manor of Buckland-Filleigh, and has a pleasant seat here, formerly the residence of the Filleigh and Fortescue families. . . . The church (St. Mary) is a beautiful little structure, standing close to Lord Ashburton's mansion, and containing several handsome monuments of the Fortescue family."

At that time, the incumbent was the Rev. Stephen Nosworthy, B.A., Richard Gilbert was the parish clerk and tailor, John Braund the carpenter, James Martin the blacksmith and 'victualler' of the Ashburton Arms and James Nollys the land steward. The land was farmed by Messrs. Hugh Crocker, Samuel Heard, William Hooper, James Lane, J. Reddeway, James Risdon, John Piper, Thomas Walsh, Jno. Warmington and Henry Whitelock.

Today, Buckland House is very different! On a site going back to the time of the Norman Conquest, this magnificent Grade II mansion boasts a two storey gallery ballroom, a huge dining room, a snooker room and a Tudor sitting room and library. Upstairs, reached by an imposing staircase, are fifteen bedrooms, five with four-poster beds and nine bathrooms, with splendid Victorian ball and claw baths! The park around has a croquet lawn, lake and fine specimen trees.

And here is the difference. The house now offers first class accommodation for families or groups of friends to gather together!

For more details visit www.bucklandhouse.co.uk


Artwork: David Duncan


All you can eat for £9.00 per person at The Sawmills:

  • Saturday, 18th February - Italian Night
  • Saturday, 18th March - Curry Night
  • Saturday, 1st April Mexican Night

Dont forget to book early for Valentine's Night, Tuesday, 14th February and Mothering Sunday [Lunch] Sunday, 26th March.

  • Friday, 3rd February: Ann Summers [ladies only] in the back room, 7.30 p.m. [orders will arrive before Valentine's Day].

A range of sweet pancakes will be served at both pubs on Tuesday, 28th February [Shrove Tuesday].

Quiz Night at The Globe, Sunday, 5th February, and then every fortnight - 8:30 p.m. start.


Everyone needs friends, none more so than the North Devon Hospice and its patients. The individual care that we give to patients is second to none. It is available nowhere else in North Devon. But we are a charity dependent upon donations. Regular donations such as those made by the Circle of Friends' members, mean that we can plan for the future, give help in the best possible way.

PLEASE make a commitment to us, just £15 a year, so that we can make a commitment to our patients.

Join our Circle of Friends today, and you will receive our members' folder, newsletter and regular updates. Please call [01271] 344248 for more details.



It was with sadness that I learnt, just before going to press, that Terry Babbington had passed away at Southend Hospital on the 16th January, at the age of 52 and after many years of ill health.

Terry loved Berrynarbor. He had spent time here as a child and later came with his wife and three daughters for many family holidays, usually staying at Grattons. It was his dream to one day retire here, but sadly that was not to be. Terry was an avid collector of postcards, books and other memorabilia of the area and some ten years ago contributed to our Newsletter on a regular basis, writing articles under the title of 'Berrymania'. These were varied and interesting, often accompanied by postcards and often seeking information on them. Two particularly spring to mind - one of The Hunt meeting outside The Globe, probably in the 1950's, the other of the funeral of the Late Capt. C.N. Bassett, R.N. on 6 February 1908.

For the April 1996 issue, Terry sent this copy of a delightful watercolour of the old Post Office and Fuchsia Cottage painted in September 1913 by J.B. Martin.

Our thoughts are with his wife Pat and the family at this time of sorrow.



Artwork: Angela Bartlett


For this Centenary Newsletter I have looked up papers from the Ilfracombe Chronicle 100 years ago, from which to reprint articles of interest to us all in Berrynarbor, and I hope you enjoy reading them.

Saturday, 3rd February 1906, Page 6


"Some young men of the village were returning from taking part in the demonstration at Ilfracombe in honour of Mr. Soares' victory, and in descending Hele Hill the horse became very restive and bolted. Three of the occupants jumped out, but Fred Richards, son of Mr. B. Richards, who was in charge of the horse, was thrown out with much violence to the ground. He was cut about the head and face, and is suffering from concussion of the brain."

E.J. Soares, Esq., M.P.

Ernest Soares was the Liberal MP for North West Devon. The victory referred to was his Election win of 1906. He was returned as MP in the Election of 1910.

Saturday, 3rd February, Page 7


"Albert Jackson, deck-hand of the steamer Devonia, fell overboard on Thursday near Bull Point, and was drowned."


The Devonia in the Outer Harbour, Combe Martin

"Smallmouth Caves - Two beautiful caverns, entered from a retired cave beyond Watermouth." Watermouth Castle and Caves - Watermouth Bay, almost entirely land-locked is between two and three miles on the road to Combe Martin.The caves may be approached by boat, which is the best way when the tide is high, or by the gates just beyond Watermouth Castle. The castle is picturesquely situated on a hill overlooking the road and harbour."

Saturday, 24th February, Page 6


"A Class for work and social intercourse has been formed for the women and girls of the parish. The first meeting was very successful, about 30 being present. The first hour is devoted to sewing, etc. and the second to recreation. The Ladies organising the meetings are Mrs. and Miss Churchill [Rectory], the Misses Hutchinson [The Lodge], Mrs. Hibbert [Lilieshoe] and Mrs. Harris [The Cottage]."

Note: Whilst I believe these meetings were held in the Vicarage to start with, they soon had permission from Lady Penn-Curzon to hold their meetings in the village Parish Room, which was then thatched and is now used by the School for the Infants' Class. "The Cottage" is now known as The Old Court and "Lilieshoe" was probably Beech Lee.

Tom Bartlett
Tower Cottage, January 2006
e-mail: tomandinge40@gmail.com


Artwork by: Debbie Rigler Cook