Edition 11 - April 1991

Artwork by: Alvary Scott

The cover for this issue is printed with the kind permission of Alvary Scott of Christow, Nr. Exeter, who sketched St. Peter's during a visit to the village in the summer of 1989.


In April and May, when young and tender, stinging nettles provide a good spinach substitute. The formic acid which produces the sting is completely destroyed by cooking, but remember to wear gardening gloves when collecting the leaves!

When only 3" or 4" high, in early spring, pick the whole shoots. In late spring only use the tops of the plants and the young, pale green leaves. DO NOT EAT nettles after the end of May [and certainly not after they have started flowering] as they become coarse and bitter and have laxative properties.

Egg Florentine with Stinging Nettles

Remove any tough stems and wash the nettles thoroughly. Place them in a saucepan with just the water which clings to the leaves after washing. Cook until soft with the lid on. Strain well, squeezing out all the moisture.

Roughly chop the nettles and return to the pan with a knob of butter, salt, plenty of black pepper and a grating of nutmeg. Cook for about five minutes, turning and mashing, and then spread the resulting spinach-like puree over the base of a greased oven-proof dish.

Arrange poached or boiled eggs on top of the nettles and pour a cheese sauce over the top or sprinkle with grated cheese and bread crumbs. Finish under the grill until browned.

Nettles have a reputation for purifying the blood and are alleged to be helpful in treating a range of ailments, including arthritis and rheumatism. They have been used as a hair tonic and infusions of nettles were recommended for soothing minor burns.

They are also the food plant for the caterpillars of red admirals, peacock, coma and small tortoiseshell butterflies.




The Eucharist is celebrated every Sunday at St. Peter's at 10.00 a.m. Evensong is sung for both parishes every Sunday in the Combe Martin Church at 6.30 p.m.

  • Holy Communion at 8.00 a.m. ON THE SECOND SUNDAY OF THE MONTH.
  • Sunday School for all the children of any church is held in the Penn Curzon Room at 10.30 a.m.
  • Weekday Services: Thursdays at 10.00 a.m. Holy Communion.


Artwork: Helen Armstead


It is hoped to hold a Flower Festival in our beautiful church - an opportunity to serve ourselves and the visitors in many ways - and the first meeting will be held in the Vestry at 2.30 p.m. on THURSDAY, 4TH APRIL. We welcome anybody willing to lend a hand, whether of the congregation or not: male and female made he them!!

  • On TUESDAY, 7TH MAY, Christians Together of Six Churches will visit and bless various parts of the two parishes by car. Offers and requests for seats in cars to Churchwardens and Clergy please.
  • On SUNDAY, 2ND JUNE, the entire Deanery will go to Exeter Cathedral Evensong at 5.30 p.m. The time of the coach leaving Berrynarbor will be published later. Please give your names to the Churchwardens and Clergy NOW - last chance Sunday after Ascension, 12th May.
  • CHURCHWARDENS Betty Davis [Chatsworth, Barton Lane] and Mary Tucker [Seacliffe, Newberry Road] were unanimously, and with acclamation, elected Churchwardens. Leonard Bowden was elected Churchwarden Emeritus and thanked for over forty years on the Parochial Church Council and for his services as Churchwarden and Treasurer.




The Neighbourhood Watch Scheme is now well on its way but not yet fully operational. The road signs should be ordered by the end of March - there will be 6: one at each of the road entrances to the village and one in the centre. The individual house roundels and information are now being distributed. Please display the roundels in prominent positions, visible from the road - they are a DETERRENT - which is what the scheme is all about. Ultra violet markers to mark individual items will shortly be with the Contacts [please see the February Newsletter and make a note of who is your contact and their 'phone number].



Is it election year again??
Oh, what a dreadful chore!
Candidates greet you in the street,
Their leaflets through your door.
They promise this ... they promise that ...
And things that cannot be ...
But they mean well, and this I know
'Cos one of them is me!!!!

Written 'tongue-in-cheek' [!] by your North Devon District Councillor



Artwork: Harry Weedon


Once again the Parish Council has endorsed the village's entry into this competition. Sadly, the Youth Club is unable to undertake this project this year, so IT'S UP TO US AS A VILLAGE, WORKING TOGETHER.

How YOU can help:

  1. Don't drop litter and if you can, please pick up any that you see. Encourage others to do the same.
  2. Please, if possible, put your rubbish out for collection on the day, NOT the night before, and tie securely. The birds, wind and animals can scatter it everywhere!
  3. Have you a 'pooper scooper' for your dog?

If you can help in any way, please contact Joy Morrow, Fuchsia Cottage [882531] after the 15th April.

Preliminary judging takes place during May and June, with judging in July. Judges DO NOT advise when they are coming - they can appear at any time! The judging schedule is:

  1. Absence of litter and unsightly refuse dumps on verges.
  2. Condition of village greens: playing fields, school yards, public seats ad notice boards.
  3. Condition of private buildings, gardens and allotments, including hedges, walls, fences and outhouses.
  4. Condition of churchyards, cemeteries and war memorials.
  5. Condition of public halls, sports pavilions and surrounds, car parks.
  6. Cleanliness of bus shelters, telephone kiosks and public lavatories.
  7. State of footpaths, stiles, field gates, signposting, ponds and streams.
  8. Condition of commercial and business premises including advertisements and other signs.
  9. Clear evidence of local commitment and initiative in the care and maintenance of the village.

Items 1 to 8 carry a maximum of 10 points each, and item 9 a maximum of 20 points.

* Did you know that Berrynarbor has won in 1985 and 1988 and that in all the intervening years has been placed Runner-up for North Devon?

Let's do it again!

Joy Morrow



A reminder that South Molton Recycling collect glass, tins and newspapers, etc., for recycling from the village on the FIRST Wednesday in each month.

It is sad to see bundles of newspapers and boxes of bottles waiting - sometimes on the same Wednesday - for the dustmen, when a few extra minutes' trip to the Manor Hall would see them being put to profitable use.




Wednesday, 17th April Manor Hall, 8.00 p.m.

"California versus Australia for Quality and Value" - talk and tastings with Alan Richardson. Contribution £2.50. Enquiries to: Alan Richardson [882831]


Artwork: Judie Weedon


May I take this opportunity to thank you all for your continued support for the Newsletter - keep the contributions coming! Very special thanks, however, to: Maureen and Graham at the Post Office and Sue and Melvyn at Combe Martin, for distribution; Barbara Pickup and Marion Billett for help with collating and stapling; Alan Bacon and Ilfracombe College for the use of facilities and encouragement; and to the'regular' contributors, particularly the "Country Contributor" for our Local Walks and other interesting articles. Thank you.

Articles, etc., for the June issue please in the box at the Post Office or with me by Wednesday, 15th May.




Grateful thanks to Lorna Bowden who has supplied the following details appertaining to the photograph sent by Mrs. Hockridge which appeared in the February issue.

The photograph was taken in 1947 following a ringing festival/competition when West Down won the shield. The little man with glasses in the front is Percy Thorne [fondly known as Dicky Doughnut]. He was captain of the bellringers for many years and lived at Ruggaton and later Rectory Cottage [Wild Violets] with his wife Stella. His son, Francis, now lives in Braunton but often rings at Berry on Sunday mornings. His granddaughter, Nicola Thorne, was featured in this week's [21.3.91.] Journal as Braunton's Carnival Queen.

Berrynarbor ringers at this time would have included Jack Dummett, Reg Leigh, Long Jack Draper, Leonard Dummett, Frank Huxtable, Albert Jones, Nip Jones, Lionel Dummett and George Diamond.

Any other information from Mr. Mervyn Phillips of West Down.

See original article in Edition 10.

* UPDATE: June 2022 - Many thanks for the updated hi-resolution copy of this photo supplied by Charlie Eric Lewis Leigh. Charlie says "My Dad is standing in the fourth row back second in from the right, wearing a cap. His name was Reginald Leigh and he was born in Berry in the small cottage in the village hall car park on the right under the church wall."




Our Memories morning went very well and we were delighted to be visited by Mrs. Joan Morton, who as Miss Wainwright came to the school in 1932 as a pupil teacher. She had lots to tell us from a teacher's point of view. We were also very pleased to see Mrs. Leyton and Mrs. Hammett, ex-pupils of the school, and Mr. Graham Andrews, who also shared his boyhood memories. Photos from Mrs. Price helped to recall many happy occasions and memories of the past. Our next Memories Morning will be during the Summer Term when it is hoped that Mrs. Cowperthwaite, ex-Headteacher, will be able to join us. Perhaps some of her pupils will also be able to join us. Watch the school windows for details and the date.

The rumour that our school is to close is TOTALLY UNFOUNDED. The Area Education Office, Governors and I confirm this.

The Blue Peter Bring and Buy Sale was a roaring success. From the unwanted bits and pieces brought by the children, and contributions from locals [both known and unknown!] together with the teas provided by the P.T.A., a grand sum of £118 was raised. This, with the £70 raised at the Carol Concert and the £30 given from the Youth Club's Christmas Concert has been sent to the Romania Appeal . Thank you, everyone, for your support.

Pam Cruse


For Mothering Sunday:


When I'm ill and very sick
She comforts me in every way
She's got that loving smile which makes my illness go away.
She works too hard she needs a break
She keeps the household tidy and makes my bed every day.
She's just that kind of person, bonny bright and gay.

Look into the future
Forget about the past
Because whatever happens our love will always last.
After this I'll do the same for you
Whenever you're unhappy
I'll know our love is true.

Melanie Lane & Owen Blake





We are very sad to report that since starting work on the newsletter, Leonard Bowden passed peacefully away at his home, Ruggaton Farm, on Wednesday, 20th March. He will be greatly and sadly missed in the village.

We extend our sympathy to his widow, Valerie, his brother, Arthur, his eight children [2 daughters and 6 sons], his sixteen grandchildren and his two great-grandchiIdren.




At the February meeting, members were sorry to learn that Miss Dina Sifton - the programmed speaker - had been hospitalised, and best wishes for a speedy recovery were sent. Kath Arscott stepped in and, as always, gave an interesting and colourful slide show of her recent trip to the Northern Territories of Australia - the photography was first-class. Win Collins will be our Delegate, both at the Exeter Spring Council Meeting and the A.G.M. in Birmingham.

Many thanks, once again, for support and attendance at our Coffee Morning when £95 was raised which will not only help W. I. funds, but also "The Hearing Dogs for the Deaf", our charity for 1991.

The March meeting was our 29th birthday when we had the pleasure of welcoming two new members - Mrs. Elliot and Mrs. Pugsley - and visitor Doreen Prater. It was a pleasure to introduce Bryan Carslake. This young man dedicates his time to caring and rearing wild birds and introducing them back into the wild. He was accompanied by "Goldie" , his pet barn owl who viewed one-and-all from her shoulder perch - her behaviour was exemplary! If anyone needs help or advice about barn owls or any bird in distress, please ring Bryan [860166]. After tea and cake, the choosing of the hand-made Easter Card - a wonderful selection - and although Peggy Gingell was the winner, all the participants deserved a prize. Thank you, ladies, and good luck to Peggy in the Group Competition next month.


  • 2nd April - Life Cycle of a Salmon - Mr. Morton
  • 17th April - Group Meeting, East Down Hall, 7.30pm
  • 7th May - Discussion of A.G.M. Resolutions
  • 14th May - Coach trip to Taunton
  • 4th June - Shopping 1990's - Tesco Representative

Vi Kingdon - President

Forget about the calendar,
Think not of age or youth.
But spend the precious years,
In search of life's eternal truth.


Artwork: Angela Bartlett

"In Berrynarbor 22"


This is yet another photograph by the accomplished Bristol photographer, John William Garratt [18651946), taken c1904. The postcard shows the then thatched Brookside Cottage, 63 Silver Street, next to the cottage that is now the Post Office. The occupants of Brookside at that time were Ben and Polly Draper and their children, Polly, Lucy and Ephraim. It is probable that apart from Ben, they are all shown on this photograph.

Mr. C. Huxtable lived next door at 62 Silver Street, which as mentioned in the last Newsletter, was purchased by Tom and Sarah Hicks for £155 and opened as the New Post Office in the spring of 1921.

Brookside, or 63 Silver Street, was described in the 1920 Watermouth Estate Sale as "LOT 58 - A Good Thatched Cottage with Piggery, Workshop, Garden and Premises situate in the Village and being [still] in the occupation of Mr. B. Draper as a Quarterly Tenant." Brookside sold for £100 and I presume it was Ben Draper who purchased it. [Perhaps someone can confirm this for me?]

At some stage the thatched roof was replaced with corrugated iron, which whilst practical and relatively inexpensive, looked ugly by comparison to thatch or slate. Fortunately, in the late 1980's, the old and somewhat rusted corrugated roof was replaced by a new slate roof, fitted for Mrs. Whitehouse, with an immediate improved visual appearance to the property.

Fred and Vera Whitehouse moved into Brookside back in 1947, having come from Hagley in the Midlands. Fred was a member of the Church Choir until his death in the early 1970's, and Vera moved to the Susan Day Home in Ilfracombe in May 1989, where she is still well looked after.

The property, also, is being well looked after by its new owners, who are renovating the cottage and adding a garage.

Tom Bartlett
Tower Cottage, March 1991



Tom will be giving another of his interesting Slide Shows on Wednesday, 3rd April, 7.30 p.m. at the Manor Hall - Tintagel to Lynton and Lynmouth through old Postcard Views. Admission adults £1.00, children 50p, including Tea/Coffee and Biscuits.



Thomas Nashe

Spring, the sweet spring, is the year's pleasant king;
Then blooms each thing, then maids dance in a ring,
Cold doth not sting, the pretty birds do sing:
Cuckoo, jug-jug, pu-we, to-witta-woo!
The palm and may make country houses gay,
Lambs frisk and play, the shepherds pipe all day,
And we hear aye birds tune this merry lay:
Cuckoo, jug-jug, pu-we, to-witta-woo!
The fields breathe sweet, the daisies kiss our feet,
Young lovers meet, old wives a-sunning sit;
In every street these tunes our ears do greet:
Cuckoo, jug-jug, pu-we, to-witta-woo! Spring, the sweet spring!



Parish and District Councillors will be elected on Thursday, 2nd May.

If you are unable to visit the Polling Station in the Penn Curzon Room at the Manor Hall, between 8.00 a.m. and 9.00 p.m., then you may be entitled to vote by post or by proxy. If you are not fit, if you are on holiday or you work away from home, you may well be entitled to an Absent Vote. If you need help, please Phone 883385 and leave a message for Graham Andrews before 12th April.


Artwork: Debbie Rigler Cook


CONGRATULATIONS to Grandmother, Jan, and Bill and proud parents, Shirley and Rob mummery, on the birth of their second daughter, Sophie Rose, a sister for Charlotte. Sophie weighed in - and nearly on time! - at 6 lbs 10 oz on the 13th February.

BEST WISHES to Caroline Summers of Philton House who will be marrying Andrew Pearce at St. Peter's on Saturday, 6th April . We congratulate Andrew, who comes from Bristol, and wish them both every happiness in the future. They will be living in Bristol, where Caroline is a nurse at Frenchay Hospital.

FAREWELL to Jean and Jim Constantine, Nick and Sue, and good luck and happiness in their new home at Thorverton, Exeter.

GET WELL SOON to Gordon Hughes - we hope your stay in hospital will be brief and that you will soon he feeling better.



During the two months before the next edition of the Berrynarbor Newsletter, most people will have had more than enough of Local Government! Doors will be reached by eager candidates keen to promise the New Jerusalem. Leaflets, manifestos, and election addresses will drop through letter-boxes in a blizzard of paper, extolling the virtues of each candidate and assuring us of the very best intention and attention.

The one common link between all that is said and written during the campaign will be the imploring of each elector to actually cast the vote that democracy has given them.

May I start that process by saying quite simply that the District Councillors elected on Thursday, 2nd May, will contribute many hours of work; not only attending meetings, and writing reports like this one, but also reading page after page of agendas, reports and minutes, taking 'phone calls, writing letters, considering the latest Government Policy Statement, calling on folk who have asked for a visit, and so on. The workload is tremendous and often it is easy to isolate both sides of a debate, more difficult by far to decide which argument should prevail or if the compromise is appropriate.

Your Parish Councillors will perhaps spend less time, but their intimate knowledge of the village, its people, its buildings, its trees, its fields, its street lights, and so on, will be frequently tested. They, too, will be spending far more time serving their community than actually at formal meetings of the Parish Council.

Both Councillors will be subject to the restraint that is laid upon everyone in public life. For each of us living in a free country, the opportunity exists to do whatsoever we wish to do provided only that we do nothing that is forbidden by law; on the other hand, Councillors, like Ministers of the Crown, can only do that which the law specifically permits or indeed requires them to do.

So, the message to the elector is: please give the few minutes it takes to visit the polling station and cast your vote. Before that day arrives, we shall see all sorts of opinions aired and publicised.

It is very much hoped that we shall be spared some of the political tactics which recently seem to have become the fashion in some circles. The basis of the tactic is to promote a falsehood as fact, launch a spurious campaign against the supposed injustice, and then when it is clear that the anxiety levels of the most vulnerable members of our society have been raised, claim to have overted the proposal and gained a victory.

This disgraceful trick was used about the main Post Office in Ilfracombe, and later we saw similar unfounded rumours spread about North Devon's National Health Service. The latest rumour of this sort has alleged that our greatly prized Berrynarbor School is to lose a member of staff, or even close. Let us be clear about this attack. IT IS COMPLETELY UNFOUNDED. This is smoke without a fire. The Governors of the school are managing very well within their budget and plan ahead to maintain the present staffing level and the high standard of education for the children.

Meetings attended 21st January to 10th March - 63

I look forward to meeting as many of you as possible during April.

Graham E. Andrews
District & Parish Councillor
Tel: 883385



Monday to Saturday [except public holidays] Combe Martin to Ilfracombe:

Sandy Cove0817Church High Street, Ilf.0820
 0900 0903 0912
 0945   0955
 1030 1033 1042
 1115   1125
 1200 1203 1212
 1245   1255
 1330 1333 1342
 1415   1425
 1500 1503 1512
 1545   1555
 1611   1621
 1642 1645 1554
 1742 1745 1754
 1842 1845 1854
 1909   1920
 2109   2120
 2309   2320
High Street, Ilf.0747Church Sandy Cove0758
 0832   0843
 0917 0927 0930
 1002   1013
 1047 1057 1100
 1133   1143
 1217 1227 1230
 1302   1313
 1347 1357 1400
 1432   1443
 1517 1327 1530
 1540 1550 1553
 1612 1622 1625
 1712 1722 1725
 1812   1823
 1840   1852
 2040   2052
 2240   2252



1stEaster Holiday
2ndW.I. Meeting - Life Cycle of a Salmon, Mr. A. Morton
3rdSouth Molton Recycling in Village, 11.00 - 1.00p.m.
Slide Show, Manor Hall, 7.30 p.m. - Tom Bartlett
4th1st Flower Festival Meeting, Vestry 2.30 p.m.
9thAnnual Parish Meeting, 7.00 p.m.
10thMobile Library in Village from 12.05 p.m.
11thU3A Luncheon, Sandy Cove hotel, Berrynarbor - Andrew Jones, 'My Diary'
13thSouth Cerney Ringers Peal, 5.45 p.m.
15thCollege and School: Start of Summer Term
Badminton, 8.00 p.m.
17thW.I. Group Meeting, East Down 7.30 p.m.
P.C.C. Meeting, 2.30 p.m.
Wine Appreciation, 8.00 p.m. Manor Hall
22ndBadminton, 8.00 p.m.
23rdSt. George's Day
24thMobile Library in Village from 12.05 p.m.
29thBadminton, 8.00 p.m.
1stSouth Molton Recycling, 11.00 - 1.00 p.m.
2ndPolling Day: Parish & District Council Elections, Penn Curzon Room, 8.00 a.m. to 9.00 p.m.
5thRogation Sunday Prayers for Young Crops
6thBadminton, 8.00 p.m. May Day Bank Holiday
7thW.I. Meeting: Resolutions, National A.G.M.
Christians Together Visit
8thMobile Library in Village from 12.05 p.m.
9thAscension Day, Holy Communion 10.00 a.m.
U3A Luncheon Torrs Hotel, Lynmouth: John Saxton A Background to Newspapers.
10thRev. and Mrs. Dossetor in residence at Parson's Pightle [for 2weeks]
13thBadmintons 8.00 p.m.
14thW.I. Trip to Taunton. Parish Council Meeting, 7.30 p.m.
19thWhitsunday [Pentecost] Eucharist, 10.30 a.m.
20thBadminton, 8.00 p.m.
22ndMobile Library in Village from 12.05 p.m.
27thto 31st May, inc., College and School: Half Term Spring Bank Holiday
2ndVisit to Exeter Cathedral, Evensong, 6.30 p.m.
3rdBadminton, 8.00 p.m.
4thW.I. Meeting: Shopping in the 1990's [Tesco Rep.]
5thSouth Molton Recycling, 11.00 - 1.00 p.m.
Mobile Library in Village from 12.05 p.m.



  1. What measure of land is 4840 square yards?
  2. What is the common name of the cranefly?
  3. Which trees have been destroyed by 2 species of ambrosia beetle?
  4. What is Vulpes Vulpes better known as?
  5. What is the common name of the plant Belladonna?
  6. Britain's 3 indigenous snakes are: the adder, the grass snake and ...?
  7. Which tree's Latin name is 'Quercus Robur,
  8. Buff Orpington, Plymouth Rock and Dorking are all breeds of what?
  9. What is a young hare called?
  10. Name the evergreen semi-parasite that was sacred to the Druids.
  11. Velvet, Spider and Hermit are all types of what?
  12. What are morels, ceps and chanterelles?
  13. What is the staple diet of the red grouse?
  14. Which birds of prey have been successfully encouraged to breed at Loch Garten?
  15. What is Britain's smallest bird?
  16. What is the largest purely freshwater fish native to the British Isles?
  17. What is a ditch in parkland called which stops livestock from roaming without interrupting the view?
  18. What is a domesticated form of polecat better known as?
  19. Which animals nest in a drey?
  20. At the entrance to what would you find a lych-gate?
  21. Which poisonous flower produces digitalis?

How well can you do? Answers in the next issue of the Newsletter.



"... I hear thee and rejoice.
O cuckoo! shall I call thee Bird,
Or but a wandering Voice?"


Before the next Newsletter appears, we shall have heard this welcome sound something to look forward to. Meanwhile, on a mild Saturday morning in early March, we took 'the long route' into Combe Martin, via Lower Hodges.

First climb up Castle [or Ridge] Hill and take the road past Cross Park. In the hedgerows were some of the early flowers - a lot of green flowered dog's mercury, a few red deadnettles, celandines and lungwort, with its mixture of deep pink and blue flowers and spotted leaves.

Just before you reach Rockville there is a bend in the road, which is an ideal place to pause to look at the view across the fields; an attractive barn to the left and to the right, where the field forms a little summit, a large stone is balanced. Sheep or cows usually congregate on this mound, but today a beautiful bay horse was standing guard over the stone.

A short distance beyond Rockville [now renamed], look out for the bridle way sign on the left-hand side of the road. Turn off along the track and then follow the yellow waymarker arrows across the fields below Higher Hodges.

From here one has splendid views down Salt Wood Valley and across Combe Martin Bay. From the corner of the final field you enter a hidden woodland track with primroses, which leads to Lower Hodges. The footpath passes through the stable yard and then turns left along a quiet drive which in April has a colony of early purple orchids growing on each side of it.

When you reach the road, turn left and it is downhill all the way into Combe Martin, with drifts of daffodils in the hedge banks and large patches of them blooming in the fields.

The steep lane leads you to Rectory Hill but before continuing left into the village, turn to admire the mellow-building of the Old Rectory and its tranquil setting.

The road brings you face-to-face with the entrance to St. Peter ad Vincula and the opportunity to go inside to view its rood screen [with some of the painting still intact); the various creatures carved on the ends of the choir stalls and the stained glass windows. [Note the evocative one by a local artist, installed only eight years ago, depicting gulls and the sea and pebbles.]

On the way home we observed two oyster catchers on Newberry beach - handsome, large, black and white waders with pink legs and long orange-red bills. You can often hear them piping before you can see them. They were very active compared to the huge number of gulls, which were covering the rocks. [The black-headed ones were regaining their black faces.]

As we turned up the steep lane towards Berrynarbor, we heard a distant curlew's cry. A happy - or perhaps sad note on which to end.

Sue H