Edition 152 - October 2014

 Photo: Judie Weedon

Artwork: Judie Weedon


After a lovely summer, although August might have been better, we are now enjoying some beautiful warm autumnal weather. But the dry spell is causing the leaves to turn and fall early. The evenings are drawing in and in a few weeks we'll be turning the clocks back again!

The summer events all went off with a swing - both the Manor Hall and Church fetes saw some rain but that did not deter the punters who came to enjoy and give their support. And the Berry in Bloom team could not have asked for a better day for the Village Open Gardens!

The wonders of modern technology - Paul, now enjoying retirement, was able to illustrate Trevor's autumnal poems whilst relaxing on a recliner by a swimming pool in Turkey! Thank you, Paul, and all the contributors to another full and interesting Newsletter.

Pictured on the covers are poppies planted by Mike in the fields of Lower Rows Farm - an amazing show.

Christmas cards are already on sale in the shops, so don't forget you can send your local greetings in the December issue. Full details follow but messages will be needed by the 5th November.

Although it seems very early, the 5th November is also the deadline for items for the December, Christmas and January issue - can we really be thinking of 2015, where does time go?

My best wishes to all contributors and readers, especially newcomers to the village, and get well wishes to those not feeing at their best at present.

Judie - Ed


Artwork: Paul Swailes



Stapleton was founded by Peter and Carol Duncan in 1975 on what was a traditional family dairy farm near Torrington in North Devon. They remain a fully independent British company, contributing to the economy of Devon and employing around 35 people.

Stapleton has won nine Quality Food Awards for their yogurt and ice cream since 2000. The 'Q Awards' are the most important awards for food products in UK supermarkets.

[Note from the Ed. Try their Extra Thick Smooth Greek Recipe Natural Yoghurt - really good!]

New in the Shop!

We now have a range of Curry Packs created & produced in North Devon by Anglo Indian Chef, you may have seen them at Barnstaple market, so now you can buy them from us for the same price. Choose From Bhuna, Biryani, Dhansak, Do-piaza, Jalfrezi, Korma, Madras, Pasanda, Patia, Rogan Josh, Tikka Masala, Vindaloo and Pilau Rice.


We have a large selection of New Stationery items next to the magazines and papers,

You can purchase mail bags for your parcels all in time for Christmas presents - a pack of 8 small £1.20, 7 medium £1.25 and a 5 large £1.30. And talking of Christmas, we have the Berrynarbor Christmas cards on sale so buy now before we run out!

Committee Changes

Tony Kitchin has decided to step down both as Chairman and committee member of Berrynarbor Community Enterprise. The committee, on behalf of the shareholders, thanks Tony for the contributions he has made to the success of the organisation over recent years. Phil Brown takes over as interim Chairman. Among other changes, Graham Blanchard and Jackie Hews have been co-opted onto the committee - Graham will be taking on the role of Treasurer while Jackie will be involved in a number of initiatives relating to the shop volunteers and publicity. We wish them well with their new appointments.


Artwork: Paul Swailes


Although July didn't break any of our records, it was warm (often hot), dry and still for most of the month and it felt like proper summer weather. The maximum temperature was 27.8 Deg C with a minimum of 10.6 Deg C and winds were light for most of the month reaching 22 knots on two days.

The total rainfall was only 31mm, 18mm fell on the 4th and 6mm on the 7th so the rest of the month was very dry, in fact it was the second driest July we have recorded only being surpassed by July 2013 when we had 21mm. Likewise, the hours of sunshine recorded at 210.93 was the second highest after last July.



August was disappointing. The first proper rain for a while fell on the 1st (21mm) and it continued showery. Hurricane Bertha made her presence felt on Sunday 10th with heavy rain followed by blustery showers, although it was not as bad here as forecast. Although the low tracked rapidly to the North of Scotland, it upset the weather here for most of the month with cooler temperatures and quite strong winds at times. Nationally it was the coldest August for several years. We recorded a maximum of 24.1 Deg C on the 5th and a minimum of 8.1 Deg C on the 20th with a wind chill of 6 Deg C. In some parts of the county there were reports of frost with temperatures dropping to 3.7 Deg C and 3.6 Deg C on the 19th and 20th. The temperature started to recover on the 25th, Bank Holiday Monday, but with 17mm of rain it was a washout! The total rain for the month was 120mm,

August is very variable so that was nothing out of the ordinary. Despite the cool conditions there were 181.97 hours of sunshine which was the highest since 2003.

Simon and Sue



Berrynarbor has often been described as a special village as it has all the required facilities, but it takes more than facilities to make a good village. It takes people and it seems to have an abundance of special people, willing to offer their ideas, prized possessions and time, but perhaps we all believe that if a job's worth doing, it's worth doing well.

International events were televised, but cities, towns and villages played their part too. Stuart Neale led the planning for Berrynarbor's tribute, ably assisted by a team of volunteers. After several months of researching, telephoning and gathering, the Manor Hall event was described by a villager as 'Excellent!' On the day, Saturday August 2nd, all volunteers wore period costume, which added to this commemoration, visited by more than 200 people.

Children from the village school, Years 3-4 and 5-6, created their own war memorial, so effective that somebody thought the real one had been brought in from the churchyard! Summarised life histories of three Berrynarbor Boys were nearby, a reminder that village lads had lived and worked here before leaving their homes, like thousands of others, but never returning.

Items lent included medals, beautiful and period hand-embroidered postcards sent to loved ones, photographs and books of exquisite Great War drawings by a Government War Artist. Stories of grandfathers or great uncles who left our shores, once trained, and fought in battles such as the Somme in France, Passchendaele and Ypres in Belgium and those further afield, including Palestine. All were there for remembering and reading.

Colourful flags, one for every participating country, hung above Codebreakers' Corner, a quiz-type game complete with a Morse Code machine for the children, as well as numerous recruitment posters, pictures and information relating to the international leaders of the day. And, of course, a delicious refreshments corner where homemade goodies were served throughout the day and lunch was of the era - Trench Soup, Game Pie and Vegetable Pie.

To see WW1 veterans in a video relating their personal stories of trench warfare, the bombings and the fighting was extremely moving and made viewers glad and grateful that they and their immediate family members had not been involved in any World War, and so say all of us.

The day's event produced a very gratifying £420 which is to be sent to the Royal Star and Garter Homes who have been helping injured servicemen since WW1.

Judith Adam

Photographs: Geoff Adam and Jim Constantine



The Newsletter - and its website - is read all over the world, so it was great to hear from Paul Savje of Boston, Massachusetts, who has been researching his wife's family and whose grandmother was Ellen Wright.

Ellen Huxtable was born in 1858, the daughter of farmer John and Harriet [nee Perrin] Huxtable. John and Harriet began their married life at Lidford Farm, Ilfracombe, but by 1857 they had moved to Bowden Farm and around 1881 they moved to Ruggaton Farm, a neighbouring farm of 130 acres.

Ellen was baptised on the 5th December with her 3 year old brother, Frederick, at St. Peter's, Berrynarbor, the fifth of eight children.

In December 1882 Ellen married James Wright, born in Sandford, mid-Devon in 1861, and who started the West of England Iron Works, a very successful engineering business. How James and Ellen met is not known. Berrynarbor is over 30 miles from Sandford.

At about the time of his wedding Ellen was already pregnant and James left the family business in Sandford and took a job as a blacksmith in Swansea. His new wife was left behind with her parents at Ruggaton Farm. James's departure to Swansea played a major part in initiating the tragedy that followed. Ellen must have been missing her husband; she was pregnant and her behaviour possibly triggered by emotions and hormones. For whatever reason, she embarked on a most foolish crime, in which she was bound to be discovered and seems to have had no understanding of the banking system.

The North Devon Journal reported the incident in detail in its edition of 25th January 1883.


On Saturday afternoon Ellen Wright, a married woman about 23 years of age, daughter of a farmer of Ruggaton Farm, Berrynarbor, was charged before N. Vye, Esq., and G.N. Maule, Esq., at the Town Hall, with feloniously forging on January 19th a banker's cheque, for the payment of £30 with intent to defraud. The prisoner who has been but recently married, and was accompanied by her father, mother and sister, was allowed a seat during the hearing of the case. Considerable interest was manifested in the proceedings and the Town Hall was densely crowded.

Mr. J.A. Thorne, barrister at law, instructed by Messrs. Barnett and Langdon, appeared on behalf of the National Provincial Bank. The prisoner was undefended." Full details of the trial follow.

Paul continues: Less than a week after committing the crime, Ellen, carrying her first child, newly married daughter of respectable solid Victorian yeoman and churchwarden and his wife, a member of a well-regarded tradesman's family, was incarcerated in Exeter Prison. The Nominal Register of Devon County Prison, Exeter, recorded the following about Prisoner No. l860 Ellen Wright:

"Tried on 20th January at Ilfracombe and at the Assizes at Exeter Castle on 23rd January 1883, Forgery of a banker's cheque for the payment of £30. Sentence: 6 calendar months with hard labour. Aged 23, born in Ilfracombe. No previous convictions listed, Married, Religion: C of E,

Hair: Dark Brown, Height: 5ft 5 ins, Education: Imp [imperfect], Distinguishing marks - two cuts across left wrist. Slight scar over right eye. Date of Discharge: 22nd July 1883.

Ellen's 3 sons - Arthur, Frank and Alfred

We can only speculate as to how she had acquired the two cuts across her left wrist. Lilian Wright, the first daughter of Ellen and James was born on the 19th May 1883 in H.M. Prison, Exeter.

It is difficult to imagine the horror that Ellen must have felt at her imprisonment amongst sad and frightening examples of the Victorian female underclass. Nonetheless, she survived.

When she was released, Ellen found that James had changed both job and address. He signed on as a signal man for the Great Western Railway in March 1883 at the rate of 18 shillings per week, and moved to Cardiff. Ellen joined her husband in Wales. Their second daughter, Florence Miriam was born in 1886. James committed some minor infringements of the rules of work but managed to escape with cautions and no fines, despite these, his weekly wage was increased year by year to 22 shillings by 1886. Sadly, Ellen's father died in 1888, but in March that year Ellen gave birth to a son, Arthur John. The family was then living in Canton, Glamorgan.

Ellen's Great Granddaughter,
Cheryl Frayling Wright,
Coronation Street's Susie Birchell

One might hope that the family had put their troubles behind them and could settle down as if the events of l883 could be left behind. But in fact it was at this time that the marriage and family fell apart. In about January 1889 Ellen seems to have left James for another man - Ernest Frayling. And as if this was not bad enough, in James's work record with the GWR there is a final and unexplained entry for February 1889 'dismissed'. Was his dismissal linked to the departure of his wife?

By the time of the 1891 census, the family had split up. James had disappeared completely and cannot be found on the return anywhere. Daughters Lilian and Florence were living with their widowed grandmother, Eliza Wright, in Sandford and Ellen was at Newcastle upon Tyne with her new partner. She claimed that her occupation was tailoress and had knocked 10 years off her age! Ellen and Ernest Frayling, who was a cabinet maker, had baby Arthur John with them. It may be that Arthur was Ernest's son although his birth certificate

states that he was the son of James. This move to the other side of the country suggests that Ellen and Ernest were trying to get as far away from James, South Wales and Devon as they could.

There is no record of a marriage between Ellen and Ernest though she was using his surname and over the coming years they had three children, Ernest Francis or Frank, Alfred Sydney and Maud Eleanora.

According to the family, Ernest had some kind of furniture business - a shop or factory, which was burnt down. It appears that misfortune continued to follow Ellen, for in 1899 Ernest died in Somerset aged only 31.


Artwork: David Duncan


Our thanks to everyone who helped at the Church Fayre on Tuesday August 19th at the Manor Hall.

Despite a torrential downpour spot on 5.30 p.m., villagers and visitors alike arrived in good number and everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves. A very special thanks to our Barbeque Team [who got absolutely soaked during the downpour] for providing excellent burgers and hot dogs for all! After expenses, we managed to raise the sum of £995 - well done all!

The Harvest Service will be held on Sunday 5th October at 11 a.m. which will include music and readings from Berrynarbor School. We all look forward to a joyful service!

The Harvest Supper will be held in the Manor Hall, 6.30 for 7.00 p.m. on Wednesday 8th October. Following last year's successful evening, there will be a sing-song, led by Stuart and a quiz organised by Malcolm Sayer. Tickets at £5 each are available from the Shop as well as in Church. NB: Please remember to bring your own cutlery!

A Candlelit Service for Loved Ones will be held on Sunday, 2nd November at 3.00 p.m. There will be no morning service that day, so we hope that this special afternoon service will be enjoyed by all.

The annual Remembrance Service will take place on Sunday, 9th November at 10.45 a.m. We look forward to having a large congregation this year - especially mindful of the Centenary of WW1.

Our PCC, who look after and administer all Church matters, are looking to someone in the village who might be willing to take on the post of Secretary. Whilst this is a most important position which needs filling as soon as possible, the PCC meetings are only held at six weekly intervals.

Friendship Lunches at The Globe will be on Wednesdays 29th October and 26th November, from 12.00 noon onwards and as always, everyone is welcome.

Finally, we are all sad to learn of Mary Tucker's imminent departure from the village. Mary Tucker BEM [to give her the correct title] has not only been a pillar of strength within the Church community over many years, but also to the whole village! She has given much of her time to the residents of Berrynarbor, whether visiting the frail, sick or others over so many years - an amazing example to us all!

We wish her many happy years with her family in the North of England, where I'm sure she will continue to be a most valuable member of the community. God Bless you Mary from everyone in Berrynarbor!

Stuart Neale




I saw old Autumn in the misty morn
Stand shadowless like silence, listening
To silence, for no lonely bird would sing
Into his hollow ear from woods forlorn,
Nor lowly hedge nor solitary thorn; --
Shaking his languid locks all dewy bright
With tangled gossamer that fell by night,
Pearling his coronet of golden corn.

Where are the songs of Summer? -- With the sun,
Oping the dusky eyelids of the South,
Till shade and silence waken up as one,
And Morning sings with a warm odorous mouth.
Where are the merry birds? -- Away, away,
On panting wings through the inclement skies,
Lest owls should prey
Undazzled at noon-day,
And tear with horny beak their lustrous eyes.

Where are the blooms of Summer -- In the west,
Blushing their last to the last sunny hours,
When the mild Eve by sudden Night is prest
Like tearful Proserpine, snatched from her flowers
To a most gloomy breast.
Where is the pride of Summer, -- the green prime, --
The many, many leaves all twinkling? -- Three
On the mossed elm; three on the naked lime
Trembling, -- and one upon the old oak tree!
Where is the Dryad's immortality? --
Gone into mournful cypress and dark yew,
Or wearing the long gloomy Winter through
In the smooth holly's green eternity.

The squirrel gloats on his accomplished hoard,
The ants have brimmed their garners with ripe grain,
And honey-bees have stored
The sweets of summer in their luscious cells;
The swallows all have winged across the main;
But here the Autumn melancholy dwells,
And sighs her tearful spells
Amongst the sunless shadows of the plain.
Alone, alone,
Upon a mossy stone,

She sits and reckons up the dead and gone,
With the last leaves for a love-rosary,
Whilst all the withered world looks drearily,
Like a dim picture of the drowned past
In the hushed mind's mysterious far away,
Doubtful what ghostly thing will steal the last
Into that distance, gray upon the gray.

O, go and sit with her, and be o'ershaded
Under the languid downfall of her hair:
She wears a coronal of flowers faded
Upon her forehead, and a face of care; --
There is enough of withered every where
To make her bower, -- and enough of gloom;
There is enough of sadness to invite,
If only for the rose that died, -- whose doom
Is Beauty's, -- she that with the living bloom
Of conscious cheeks most beautifies the light; --
There is enough of sorrowing, and quite
Enough of bitter fruits the earth doth bear, --
Enough of chilly droppings for her bowl;
Enough of fear and shadowy despair,
To frame her cloudy prison for the soul!

Thomas Hood [1798-1845]


Red o'er the forest peers the setting sun;
The line of yellow light dies fast away
That crown'd the eastern copse; and chill and dun
Falls on the moor the brief November day.

Now the tired hunter winds a parting note,
And Echo bids good-night from every glade;
Yet wait awhile and see the calm leaves float
Each to his rest beneath their parent shade.

How like decaying life they seem to glide
And yet no second spring have they in store;
And where they fall, forgotten to abide
Is all their portion, and they ask no more.

Soon o'er their heads blithe April airs shall sing,
A thousand wild-flowers round them shall unfold,
The green buds glisten in the dews of Spring,
And all be vernal rapture as of old.

Unconscious they in waste oblivion lie,
In all the world of busy life around
No thought of them-in all the bounteous sky
No drop, for them, of kindly influence found.

Man's portion is to die and rise again:
Yet he complains, while these unmurmuring part
With their sweet lives, as pure from sin and stain
As his when Eden held his virgin heart.

John Keble [1792-1866]

Edmund Waller [1606-1687]

THE seas are quiet when the winds give o'er;
So calm are we when passions are no more.
For then we know how vain it was to boast
Of fleeting things, so certain to be lost.
Clouds of affection from our younger eyes
Conceal that emptiness which age descries.

The soul's dark cottage, batter'd and decay'd,
Lets in new light through chinks that Time hath made:
Stronger by weakness, wiser men become
As they draw near to their eternal home.
Leaving the old, both worlds at once they view
That stand upon the threshold of the new.

Alfred Lord Tennyson [1809-1892]

Sunset and evening star,
And one clear call for me!
And may there be no moaning of the bar,
When I put out to sea,

But such a tide as moving seems asleep,
Too full for sound and foam,
When that which drew from out the boundless deep
Turns again home.

Twilight and evening bell,
And after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness of farewell,
When I embark;

For tho' from out our bourne of Time and Place
The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot face to face
When I have crost the bar.

Illustrations by: Paul Swailes



Dave Beagley

Solution in Article 24.



Artwork: Peter Rothwell


Hi everyone,

Warm congratulations to Stuart Neale and the group who put together a stunning exhibition to remember the First World War on 2nd August. I was blown away by the size and scale of it! Very well done also to the school children who constructed a replica of the War Memorial; so lifelike that someone thought it was the real thing and it won First Prize at the Horticultural and Craft Show. Excellent!

I was sorry not to have been in the village the night of August 4th. Candles in many houses evocatively remembered the British Declaration of war against Germany a hundred years ago.

That evening found me at Mons, the scene of the first encounter between British troops and German forces that then forced a retreat. Our party saw the canal bridge where the first Victoria Crosses of the war were awarded. We were unable to get into the well-known cemetery of St Symphorien just outside the town as there was to be a major event that evening - televised nationally. We did look up, however, in Mons itself and suddenly there were Prince William and Kate on the balcony! Along with Prince Harry, they were making an appearance before the main event later. At Ypres on another occasion, we saw Gareth Malone, whose daughter, I believe, took part in a group of school children singing for the occasion. The Menin Gate is of course where British troops marched through on their way to battle. To see the various memorials round Ypres itself is hugely evocative. At Tynecot cemetery, the graves stretch far into the distance. On the wall of memorial, the first name was the son of the Vicar of Combe Martin at that time. Captain Pine died in battle in 1915.

I fully realise that the First World War is a hugely complex historical event. Our remembrance is often dominated by cliche of young British soldiers, many of them budding poets, led to early and ghastly deaths in muddy wastes by incompetent generals for reasons that were seemingly futile. Certainly, the reality is far more nuanced and complex that such cliche suggests. It is only part of the truth. Nevertheless, the visit left me angry, which is unlike me; angry at tactics and a waste of lives.

"I need you to lay down your life Perkins", runs the strapline for a current radio series. "We need a totally futile gesture at this time!" As a Christian, I believe that the sacrifice of Jesus was not a futile gesture; that it was for a reason. The good news that is offered to us through the events of that first Good Friday and Easter Sunday are for real and can be life-transforming.

Alas, the time has come for me personally to take that message elsewhere. As the great age of 60 beckons for me and in the wake of a re-organisation of North Devon churches, I shall be moving on to pastures new [to invoke another old cliche!]. I have been offered and accepted,

the role of Team Rector of Totton, on the edge of the New Forest. It has 45,000 people, so it is a big challenge for my last lap in ministry and working life but the bonus is that it is near our grandkids in Bournemouth.

Plenty of time to say goodbyes as it does not happen until after Christmas! But I shall miss North Devon greatly and the many friends I have made here as well as the parishioners - great characters all!

With best wishes,

Rev. Chris




There still remain 3 vacancies on the Parish Council. These will be filled by co-option by the Parish Council.

Reports were given at the August and September meetings by County Councillor Andrea Davis, District Councillors Julia Clark and Yvette Gubb and the Police who reported that crime rate was 75% less than last year. Linda Thomas reported on the Play Area, Lorna Bowden on the Manor Hall and Steve Hill on the Emergency Plan.

Planning applications were considered and approved.

A Parish Council website, to include pictures, to be constructed by Mr. T. Squire.

The bad quality of the road from Turnarounds to Wild Violets and the Pothole on the road from Diggers Cross to Bodstone had been reported and the pothole repaired.

A replacement Berrynarbor sign in the Sterridge Valley at a cost of £45 plus VAT was considered and agreed that 3 new signs be ordered to replace it and two other village entrances.

Accounts and payments were approved and authorised and the 2014 Annual Return had been received back from the Auditors.

DCC Highways had written in connection with the closing of Barton Lane from 22nd September to 24th October for the renewal of water pipes.

Correspondence and publications were received and considered.

The next meetings of the Parish Council will be held in the Manor Hall at 7.00 p.m. on Tuesdays 14th October and 11th November, Members of the public are warmly invited to attend.



In the late 1950's, Jim Ley would walk from his home at Hole Farm at the back of Northfield Wood, Berrynarbor, to visit my father at Lydford Farm, Watermouth. My father, John Barten, then in his twenties, would enjoy Jim's company and took an interest in the old ways of farming and his stories from the First World War.

Time moves on and now both Jim and my father are no longer here, but I do have a remnant from those stories between Jim and my father - a horse's bit from Jim's prized horse, a horse which accompanied him during part of the First World War. A Pelham bit I believe it is called, 'Solid Nickel' it says on one side and on the other it is clearly stamped '391'.

The story I knew was that of two young Berrynarbor men, one being Jim Ley. Both, once in the Devon Yeomanry, had survived the perils of the First World War but could not return home with their beloved horses. Their final task before returning was to despatch their own horses, a task which neither could conceive possible. The two agreed to despatch each other's and it was believed that Jim returned home with his own horse's bit, the one he then gave to my father during the 1950's.

Over the years my father often talked of the 'old bit in the shed', 'the one that came from Jim's War Horse', and as a child I was horrified by the deed that had been executed.

More recently with stories of War Horse in the headlines and the anniversary of the Great War looming, my interest in this horse's bit grew. I managed to track down Jim Ley's grandson and was invited to his farm in North Molton where we discussed the life of Jim Ley and perused shiny medals and framed photographs.

Jim and Eva on their Wedding Day

From that discussion, an article published in the North Devon Journal in 2012 and Barnstaple Museum, we can learn a little of Jim Ley's overseas service. He left Liverpool on 24th September 1915 on the H.M.T. ship Olympic to fight on the Gallipoli Peninsula. For three months the allied forces had endured freezing temperatures and Jim was eventually evacuated from Gallipoli with severe frostbite on

16th December 1915. He recuperated in St David's Hospital in Malta aboard the hospital ship Karapara. Jim eventually returned to Norfolk to a regimental stud farm where his equestrian knowledge was put to good use. According to his grandson, Eric Ley, and my father and the stories they remember, it is believed Jim saw more service at the Palestinian frontier and yet more fighting before the war was over.

Jim Ley eventually returned to Berrynarbor and married Eva Stanbury in 1918. They had three sons, farmed at Hole Farm, and for some time Jim was the warden of Berrynarbor Church. He suffered from the frostbite he had endured in Gallipoli for the rest of his life and died in 1976.

We now return to the North Molton Farm on the 4th July this year when Eric and I discussed the journey through that war that his grandfather must have taken. The story seemed to be more about the journey this horse's bit had taken through the years and how it had been finally returned to where it belonged, together with those sepia photographs and shiny medals.

As our discussion came to an end that evening, I took one last look at the line of medals. I turned one over to read the back and clearly under the writing 'Royal North Devon Yeomanry' were the numbers '391', the very number stamped on the horses bit.


Capt. Ley [3rd left seated] at Gallipoli

* Photographs by kind permission of Eric Ley

Be Barten



Before the outbreak of the war, the main source of power on the farm was the horse. The majority of the new machinery introduced on the farm in the 19th century was still horse drawn and it is estimated that by 1913 there were over I million horses working the farms.

When the war began in 1914 the British army only possessed 25 thousand horses. The war office urgently began to source another half a million to go to battle, meaning that thousands of farming families had to give up their beloved animals. The change that those horses must have endured was huge; they were mainly used for logistical support as they were capable of travelling through deep mud and over rough terrain. The death rate was high, but so was their value to the armed forces; by 1917 some troops were told that the loss of a horse was of greater tactical concern than the loss of a human soldier.

Fodder for horses was the single biggest commodity shipped to the front line. In 1917, allied operations were threatened when horse feed rations were reduced after German submarine activity restricted supplies of oats from North America combined with poor Italian harvest. The British rationed hay and oats, although their horses were still issued more than those from France or Italy.

The First World War was the last combat to use horses on a mass scale. The loss felt by farming families by their absence was huge, and they were forced to find alternative means of power.


Article from the NFU Farming and the First World War supplement and published by The NFU. Agriculture House, Stoneleigh Park, Stoneleigh, Warwickshire. CV8 2TZ August 2014

Be Barten


Artwork: Angela Bartlett


During the 1914-1918 war, my aunt Constance Gladys Anderson Naylor, was given time off to be in what was called the V.A.D. The initials VAD stand for Voluntary Aid Detachment, in other words part time nursing.

With the huge number of casualties of the war, many places - schools and even large private houses - were turned into temporary hospitals.

Amongst the things left by my aunt was an autograph book in which some of the injured soldiers she had nursed had written contributions.

Tony Beauclerk - Stowmarket

The Voluntary Aid Detachment referred to a voluntary unit providing field nursing services, mainly in hospitals, in the United Kingdom and various other countries in the British Empire. The most important periods of operation for these units were during World War I and World War II.

The VAD system was founded in 1909 with the help of the Red Cross and Order of St. John. By the summer of 1914 there were over 2,500 Voluntary Aid Detachments in Britain. Of the 74,000 VAD members in 1914, two-thirds were women and girls.

At the outbreak of the First World War VAD members eagerly offered their service to the war effort. The British Red Cross was reluctant to allow civilian women a role in overseas hospitals: most volunteers were of the hospital discipline. Military authorities would not accept VADs at the front line.

The growing shortage of trained nurses opened the door for VADs in overseas military hospitals. Female volunteers over the age of twenty-three and with more than three months' hospital experience were accepted for overseas service.

During four years of war 38,000 VADs worked in hospitals and served as ambulance drivers and cooks, serving near the Western Front and in Mesopotamia and Gallipoli.




Combe Martin Bridge Club would like to welcome new members for an afternoon of friendly duplicate bridge in the Pack of Cards on Mondays at 2.00 p.m. Please call Elizabeth Reynolds on [01271] 882940 for more information.



Barbara and Chris Gubb and family thank everyone who helped to make the Pig Roast on 26th July a great success.

£2,000 was raised. £1,000 to be donated to the North Devon Macmillan Nurses and £1,000 to be shared by Berrynarbor School and Pre-School.

The pig was delicious, the burgers cooked to perfection. The Knowleberries entertained us. The cider and beer went down a treat and the vintage tractor rally was great fun. Thank you Berrynarbor for turning out and donating so generously.

Yet again I must say thank you to all the people of Berrynarbor and the many visitors who buy plants from me in the Sterridge Valley.

As you probably know, the proceeds go to our Children's Hospice at Little Bridge House in Fremington, a wonderful place looking after terminally ill children and their families. The care and understanding which takes place in this hospice is unbelievable - it is a place of happiness rather than sadness and I am always so pleased to be able to help by the donation you all enable me to give.

This year because of my late start, it is a little lower than last year at £700, but without all your custom this would have been impossible.

So thank you again so much.

Margaret Walls at Higher Rows


CHICKS Making Memories

Join us throughout October by holding a Tea@Three tea party for children's charity CHICKS who provide free respite breaks for disadvantaged children.

A great way to raise funds and meet up with friends. Choose a theme for your event, a Cream Tea, Mad Hatters or Afternoon High Tea party. Choose a date to host your tea party at home, work, school or ask your local cafe to make a donation for every cup of tea sold.

Contact mick@chicks.org.uk or call 01822 811020 (option 1) and ask for a promotional poster.




The six weeks break has just flown by and we hope everyone had an enjoyable holiday. The weather has been great! We held 8 successful Summer Clubs during the holiday - 4 at Berrynarbor and 4 at West Down. These clubs gave the children the opportunity to meet their friends, have fun and do a little reading and writing to help keep their brains busy.

During the holidays we undertook major building work, moving offices and class 1. Lee Gooch worked amazingly hard and we now have a beautiful early years' classroom much more appropriate for the needs of our youngest children. Our offices have moved to the front of the school and we hope to add a mezzanine floor to provide a staff room and small group teaching space.

We welcome our new reception class and hope they enjoy their time at school. We officially welcome Mrs Lucy Jones who will be working 3 days a week and Ms Pip Owen who will be teaching 2 days a week for the time being. We have also been lucky to appoint Miss Jess Rollin who has joined our staff team in Strawberry class and Mrs Loanna Ball who is supporting Sarah in the kitchen. We are also pleased to welcome Mrs Julie Gooch back to our school.

At the end of the Summer Term we said goodbye to our Year 6 pupils. We wish them every success for the future. We have already heard that many are enjoying their new schools and have settled in well.

Elderberry class have just experienced a Wild Night Out at Stowford Meadows. Blueberry class enjoyed their Wild Night Out at Watermouth Valley campsite. This great experience gave the children opportunity to appreciate the natural environment during the magical twilight times of dawn and dusk.

The start of term has seen the start of our new curriculum with some exciting new learning projects planned. We have also finally managed to establish an afterschool club giving parents the opportunity to go back to work or training.

Our Harvest Festival this year will be held on Wednesday 1st October.

During the summer holiday we found some old school log books. These fascinating documents have given us a window on the work of our colleagues from the past. Looking back at the oldest log book I can see that the children had just one calendar month for their summer holiday back in 1883 and they returned to school on August 13th. They finished the school year in July with 122 on roll and an average attendance of 88 children per session! We expect the children to come to school every school day in 2014 and now have 87 children on roll - I'm not sure where we would put 122 pupils!

In September 1957 the head teacher recorded:

  • 10.09.57 - School reopened at 9am. No's on registers 49 - seven new entrants. During the holidays the three rooms have been tiled with accotiles and each room has had an alicon stove installed in place of the old tortoise stoves.

  • 11.09.57 - Mr Jordan called in school to see the work which had been done.

  • 13.09.57 - One of the tiles in the big room has cracked badly.

  • 19.09.57 - Piano tuned and cleaned today.

  • 20.09.57 - Dr Vernon today gave polio vaccine to 10 children.

  • 28.09.57 - The annual jumble sale was held today and £23 was made for the school fund.

  • 02.10.57 - Mr Whitworth [district architect] called today. We are proposed new toilets - contract for which has been given to Pearce (Ilfracombe)

Sue Carey - Headteacher


Artwork: Harry Weedon


On the whole we have had a lovely summer and the first few weeks of September have been warm too. However, the hanging baskets and tubs are beginning to go over and it will not be long before we'lll be getting ready for winter and spring by planting bulbs and winter flowering bedding. We have had lots of visitors and villagers alike commenting favourably on the displays and one plant in particular, the small violet/purple trailing scaveola, in the baskets at the shop has been much admired.

On the first weekend of September we had the gardens in the village open and as the weather was so lovely many garden lovers made the hike up Barton Lane to view Longacre and then up Castle Hill to visit Sloley Farm, stopping on the way at Maurice Draper's show stopper of a garden - a new garden to us - and to take in the views from Gilly's garden. Back down to the centre of the village to see all the work that has been done at Geoff and Judith's, Flowerdew, then Lee Cottage and Langleigh House , where plants were for sale in aid of Berry in Bloom. Finally a yummy cream tea at the Lodge with Phil and Lynne and a walk round their lovely established garden. Thanks to everyone who opened their gardens, helped with printing tickets, baking cakes, serving at table, doing the raffle and transporting chairs and anything else. We made about £360.00 including the plant sales.

Late News: Not having entered for the last three years, we were thrilled to learn that we had been awarded Gold in the RHS Britain in Bloom Competition this year - well done to all the 'Bloomers'!

Wendy Applegate


Artwork: Angela Bartlett

This is a good time of the year to think about Christmas! This year Colin and I shall be making lovely fruit liqueurs to give as presents. They are SO easy to make but start now as they need time to mature. Best fruits are sloes, damsons, blackberries and raspberries but other fruits such as lemons and apples are good too.

This year is brilliant for blackberries and Colin has picked masses so we shall make blackberry and apple gin - bramble apple gin sounds so nice! If you don't like gin, vodka or brandy is fine. We look in supermarkets for their cheap offers.

Bramble Apple Gin

You will need a large bottle in which to steep the liqueur. We use large lemonade bottles, but sterilised kilner jars are what the recipe states.

  • 750ml/1pint bottle gin
  • 225g/8oz blackberries
  • 225g/8oz apples
  • 200g/7oz caster sugar
  • 1 bay leaf

Pretty bottles available from kitchen shops, supermarkets and on line

Sterilise the Kilner jar either in the dishwasher or in the oven. If using a lemonade bottle wash and rinse well.

Wash the apples - no need to peel or core - and the blackberries and then dry as best you can.

Chop up the apple and put in the jar/bottle along with the blackberries. Add the bay leaf and sugar and pour over the gin. Put on the lid and shake well. Store in a cool dry and dark place and shake the jar/bottle every other day for at least four weeks.

After the minimum time, pour the liquid through muslin or kitchen paper and bottle up in sterilised bottles. Add a home-made label and Christmas ribbon and give with love.

Wendy Applegate



Although entries were down on last year, a big thank you to everyone who made an effort as by judging time on Saturday morning the Hall looked great. In the afternoon villagers, and holiday makers as far as Germany and Wales, viewed the exhibits and supported the event.

The results for this year were:

  • Floral Art - The Globe Cup - Sue Neale
    Junior: Caitlin Burgess
  • Home Cooking - The Walls Cup - Wendy Applegate
    Junior: Shannon Hill
  • Handicrafts - The Davis Cup - Judie Weedon
    Junior: The Sally Barten Bowl - Shannon Hill
  • Handicrafts - The Watermouth Cup - Susan Branch
    Junior: Berrynarbor Primary School
  • Grow Your Own Potatoes - Jackie Pierpoint
  • Sunflowers [widest] - Jackie Hews
    Junior: Shannon Hill
  • Art - George Hipppisley Cup - Judie Weedon
    Junior: Isabel Astill-Chandler
  • Photography - The Vi Kingdon Award - Hannah Rumsen
    Junior: Caitlin Burgess
  • Fruit & Vegetables - The Derrick Kingdon Cup - Dave & Sylvia Mason
    Junior: Caitlin Burgess
  • Potted Plants - The Lethaby Cup - Judie Weedon
    Junior: Shannon Hill
  • Cut Flowers - The Manor Stores Rose Bowl - Susan Branch
    Junior: Caitlin Burgess
  • The Manor Hall Cup - Best Exhibit Horticultural- Dave & Sylvia Mason
  • The Ray Ludlow Award - Best Non-Horticultural Exhibit - Judie Weedon
  • The Junior Cup - [Cumulative Total]
    • 1st Caitlin Burgess
    • 2nd Shannon Hill
    • 3rd Isabel Astill-Chandler
  • The Watermouth Castle Cup - Best Exhibit on theme Year of The Storm: Geoff Adam

Under supervision from staff, pupils competed for the Primary School Class. Winners were:

  • Reception - Fiona Cunningham & Indie Mathews
  • Year 1 - Sophie Bird & Daniella Hill
  • Year 2 - Lilly Slater & Naomi Smith
  • Year 3 - Amelia White & Katelyn Ball
  • Year 4 - Hazel Rees & Jed Haines
  • Year 5 - Karina Puodzuinaite & Holly Davies*
  • Year 6 - Ellis Rees & Dylan Bacon*

* = See pictures and poems on inside of front and back covers (articles X and Y)

We should like to congratulate all the winners, thank everyone who took part or helped run the event in any way and we look forward to seeing you next year!

We are planning to have the 2015 show programme possibly in the December/Christmas Newsletter giving everyone plenty of time to produce their exhibits.

The Organising Group




The start of the new school year has been a lovely time for the Pre-school. We have welcomed many new children and their families and they are all settling in well. The beautiful weather has meant there have been lots of opportunities to play outside in our newly cleared outdoor space.

We are hoping to develop our outdoor space over the next couple of months with some astroturf and other resources for the children. We are also going to be decorating the pre-school room with a lick of paint and some new flooring and we are always looking for volunteers to help with these sorts of jobs!

On 13th October at 7.45 p.m., the Pre-school will be holding its Annual General Meeting, when a number of committee members will be stepping down. The positions of Treasurer and Chairperson will become vacant and we shall be looking for volunteers to fill these positions. There are also other general committee positions that will need to be filled. The Pre-school can only remain open if there are 5 committee members. We are therefore looking for members of the community, as well as parents, to help fill these positions. Volunteers do not need any educational experience, just a DBS [criminal record check] and enthusiasm for developing the Pre-school. Please drop in to the Penn-Curzon Room if you think this might be something you are interested in.

Pre-school now has a breakfast club that is open from 8.00 a.m. every morning that children between the ages of 2-11 can attend. There are also places available in sessions from Monday to Friday. The morning session runs from 9.00 a.m. to 12.00 noon and the afternoon session is from 12.00 noon to 3.00 p.m. Please feel free to visit us and have a look around if you would be interested in your child attending.

We should also like to say a very big 'THANK YOU' to those who organised and those who attended the Hog Roast over the summer. We are extremely grateful for your kind donation and will put it to good use!

Catherine Orr - Chair





"Pleasantly the old town stands fanned day and night

by the fresh ocean breeze."


Charles Kingsley, clergyman, poet, novelist and radical, wrote part of Westward Ho! while staying at what is now the Royal Hotel, East-the-Water, Bideford, and in 1944 the Chiefs of Staff of the armed forces met there to plan the Normandy landings.

They probably held their meeting in the conference room on the first floor, famed for its ceiling which made architectural historian, Nikolaus Pevsner swoon, the hotel's current facade being something of an enigma. It was built around an earlier house dated 1688 and parts of the original seventeenth century building survive including that ceiling.

Pevsner claimed it is "one of the most gorgeous plaster ceilings in Devon with a wreath of flowers in the most daring relief so that whole fruits and flowers are completely detached from the wall and also with cherubs and birds." It really is very remarkable.




A few years ago the North Devon Journal published, side by side, a photograph of the buildings along The Quay, viewed from this end of the old Bideford Bridge, with a photograph of Curacao off the coast of Venezuela in the Caribbean. The two places, so far apart, bore an uncanny resemblance to each other.

Whereas Barnstaple largely turns its back on its river, Bideford embraces its River Torridge with gusto. The Quay is a bustling place. People promenade along it; sit outside cafes and chat or watch the fleets of lorries unloading Peters Marland clay into the large foreign vessels moored there. Bideford's Newsletter, the "Buzz", includes a page of Shipping News with details of ships, cargoes, crews and registered flag owners at Bideford and Yelland as well as details of ships observed in the Bristol Channel.

At the end of The Quay we find Charles Kingsley himself; an imposing statue and just around the corner, one of North Devon's greatest assets - the Burton Gallery, a pretty Art Deco building at the entrance to Victoria Park. As well as housing the town's museum and permanent art collection it hosts a changing series of exhibitions, some of national and international importance. It is an attractive and welcoming place and even includes a popular French cafe - Cafe du Parc. Look out for Robert Paterson's beautiful stained glass window at the end of the craft gallery. Another example of his work is in Combe Martin's St. Peter ad Vincula Church.

Originally marshland which was drained, Victoria Park is a lively place enjoyed by all ages. As well as all the usual features of a park it incorporates a Sure Start Children's Centre and in the former municipal greenhouses, a Jig Saw horticultural project.

From the park there is a riverside walk which leads to council offices whose design must have been inspired by the architect Sir Basil Spence. It is a pleasing example of 1960' architecture, light and airy and featuring an elegant stairway. Opposite the gallery and park, off Kingsley Road, is The Strand with an interesting variety of buildings. At one end a house with an unusual elevation is the subject of a painting in the gallery's local collection. At the opposite end the former Northdown House was once the home of Charles Kingsley. In more recent times it was the Stella Maris Convent. Nearby, Bridgeland Street has a fine collection of late seventeenth century houses built for wealthy merchants at the height of the tobacco trade with Virginia.

A winter visit could include Kenwith Lakes to observe the wildfowl or a walk along the saltmarsh southwards from the town. Bideford, so much to see, so much to do. Whenever we have spent a morning or afternoon there we feel as if we have been on a brief holiday.

P.S. Have you discovered yet the White Moose Gallery, hidden away in the old Moose Hall in Trinity Street, near Barnstaple's square and bus station? It is a pleasant modern space and from the 7th November until the 3rd January, it will be showing the photography of Chris Chapman. You may have seen his television films about Exmoor's landscape and people. Open Monday to Saturday, 10.00 a.m. until 5.00 p.m.

Sue H


Artwork: Peter Rothwell

Fundraising for the Manor Hall

In our pursuit of grants for the Hall, something that is very important is the degree of local support, partly evidenced by local fundraising. So it's a very big thank you to those who came to this year's Berry Revels in August - we raised over £1800 despite the downpour halfway through. The best result in years. Thanks are also due to Ann Davies, who co-ordinated the planning and whose powers of organisation are a thing to behold!

At the time of writing we are pursuing the purchase of Rotary Mega Draw tickets around the village, and looking forward to the Auction of Promises at The Globe on Saturday, 25th October. Some will remember something similar done for the Jubilee, and what an evening it was. All funds raised at the auction will also go towards the much-needed work to the Manor Hall.

Works to the Hall

If anyone is unclear about just what work the Hall needs, have a look at the August newsletter, or you can email me at narb@btinternet.com. We are also looking for volunteers to join any of four design sub-groups - these will involve a few meetings and contributing to particular topics which are:

1. A new and larger kitchen 2. Options for the stage 3. Heating and insulation options and 4. How to deal with the storage problems at the Hall. Someone out there will have some brilliant ideas so let's hear them please! If interested then again please email as above or phone [01271] 883747.

I can now say we have our structural engineer's recommendations for the old roof, above the Men's Institute, and thankfully there is nothing too complicated in the works required.

Finally a welcome to Andy Bird who has joined the management committee in interesting times!

Len Narborough and the Manor Hall Committee



[November 29 1855 - November 12 1936]

Past owner of the ancient fishing village of Clovelly

It was a hot, sunny day. As we stood at the top of Clovelly's Down-a-long cobbled street, two ladies were finishing loading their week's shopping onto a sled before starting the precipitous descent to their home, one holding ropes at the rear, the other guiding and braking the sledge.

"How long have you been doing this?" I asked the older lady.

"Oh, about 40 years" she declared very matter-of-factly.

This set the scene for a pleasant - if energetic - descent to The Red Lion, 400 feet below. On several cottages, I noticed the initials CH and a date, not as I'd originally thought, the date of construction, but the date of renovation by Christine Hamlyn, a member of one of only three families who have owned Clovelly since the middle of the 13th century.

At the time of the Domesday Book it was owned by the King. This continued until 1242 when the Giffard family acquired it. By 1370, it was owned by William Cary, of one of the great Devon families. The Cary's lived in Clovelly for the next eleven generations. The successors died out when in the final generation of the seven children, the sons didn't marry and the daughters were childless.

In 1738 Robert Barber, widower of Elizabeth Cary, sold Clovelly to Zachary Hamlyn for the princely sum of £9,438 and to this day it is still in the same family. What a record!

Christine Louisa Hamlyn-Fane was born at Fulbeck, Lincolnshire on the 29th November, 1855, the younger daughter of Henry Edward Fane and Susan Hester. Her maternal grandmother had been a Hamlyn and the family adopted the name of Hamlyn-Fane.

Her brother, Neville died in 1884 aged 26 and her sister Constance inherited land at Ringwood. Christine was given the Clovelly Estate. She loved it, and before her marriage in 1889 to Frederick Gosling, she asked him firstly to change his name to Hamlyn and secondly to donate part of his considerable fortune to restoring properties on the estate.

She became known as the 'Queen of Clovelly' and cared for it enthusiastically until her death in 1936. Early in her 'reign' she realised that as the herring shoals were diminishing, tourism was going to be more important than fishing. She was tiny in stature but very strong in fighting any commercialisation or modernisation other than to improve the cottages. Almost all the farms and cottages were renovated by her, hence the initials and dates on many of them. She installed drainage and water into the village, would allow no cars [as if they could drive through!] and the only transport was by donkey or sled. Tourists hated to see donkeys dragging Up-along with a large person astride - horses were all right but not donkeys - so these were put to rest in a sanctuary and now only appear for photographs or for small children to ride. Souvenir shops were restricted and washing put out discreetly only on certain days. An important point was [and still is] that all cottages must be leased as primary homes. Today, about 70% of the residents go out of the village to work, but come back home to roost! She also restored cliff paths and Hobby Drive which was built between 1811 and 1829. These days, one can walk the lower part of this Drive, but you may remember that in former years it was a very pretty drive to the village for a small fee - a lovely start to one's visit.

Apart from all the renovations, Mrs Hamlyn made several additions over the years. At the top end on the left is Mount Pleasant, a picnic area known locally as the Peace Park. Here she placed a memorial to residents killed in World War I. The Queen Victoria Fountain, let into the whitewashed walls not far below on the right and designed by a cousin of Queen Victoria, was given by her to honour the Golden Jubilee. In 1910, Christine visited Oberammergau. This is the home of the Passion Play and beautiful wood carvings. She returned with some of these carvings and you may still see them on Oberammergau Cottage, as the road turns right just below the Post Office. For her 80th birthday in 1935, the Wilderness Summerhouse, built in 1820, was restored. From there are magnificent views of Bideford Bay and Lundy Island. It was restored again in 2008 and has become a popular venue for outdoor weddings. You can get there by Land Rover. For a romantic wedding Clovelly is a perfect setting. If you don't fancy the Wilderness Summerhouse, then you could book the Hamlyn Room in the New Inn where hangs the beautiful portrait of Christine Hamlyn Fane on her wedding day.

Mrs Hamlyn and her husband had no children and in 1936 the estate was passed to her niece Betty Asquith, then to Betty's oldest daughter, Mary, in 1962. By 1983 Mary's son, the Hon. John Rous inherited it.

The work of keeping Clovelly beautiful and attractive to visitors worldwide continues. John quit his work in finance in London in 1987 and since then has lived with his wife at Clovelly Court, and has built on Christine Hamlyn's good work.

If you've been recently, you will know that access to the village is through the award-winning Visitor Centre, where a fee is charged, stopping if you wish to watch a 20-minute video of Clovelly's history. These fees, together with modest cottage rentals and souvenir shops help to raise funds for the village upkeep. Besides this, John arranges events throughout the year - gig regattas, excursions to Lundy's puffin and seal colonies and a popular autumn herring festival. The latest project is major renovation work at Clovelly Court Gardens. It's well worth calling in here after your visit to the village, and maybe buying organically grown vegetables and fruit, or perhaps cut flowers or a pot plant.

Christine Hamlyn died on 12th November 1936, a few days short of her 81st birthday. Inscribed on her tomb are the words 'I dwell among my people'.

During her 54 years of ownership, she achieved so much conservation and gave the village so much love that she rightly earned her name 'Queen of Clovelly'. In John Rous's words:

"She was a remarkable character, without whom it is unlikely that Clovelly would have survived in its present form."

PP of DC

With grateful thanks to The Hon. John Rous for his advice in compiling this article.




We are officially in autumn, summer was kind, mainly. With autumn comes a new Wine Circle season and I trust all current members are looking forward to it. We shall be very pleased to see newcomers. It is a very social event and a great way of meeting villagers who are not your immediate neighbours.

Our meetings are always on the third Wednesday of every month, other than our Christmas one which is always a week earlier, on the second Wednesday in December. 8.00 p.m. in the Manor Hall. Our first meeting is on Wednesday, 15th October when Karen Loftus and Debbie Thomas will perform a Double Act with Shop Delights!

I shall be giving Romania Surprises at the November meeting on the 19th.

Future Programme:

Judith Adam
Secretary and Promotional Co-ordinator



The computer swallowed Grandma
Yes, honestly, it's true!
She pressed Control and Enter
And disappeared from view.
It devoured her completely,
The thought just makes me squirm -
She must have caught a virus
Or been eaten by a worm!
I've searched through the Recycle Bin
And files of every kind;
I've even used the Internet,
But nothing did I find.
In desperation, I asked Jeeves
My searches to refine,
But, his reply was negative,
Not a thing was found online.
So, if inside your Inbox
My Grandma you should see,
Please scan & copy/paste her
In an e-mail back to me.


The Way Through the Woods - Rudyard Kipling

One Sunday evening I went out into the garden and had a wonderful encounter. I stood on our river bank that has a view of a bend where some lumps of rock have formed a little natural trout pool.

I heard a gentle rippling sound. What could it be? I hadn't long to think about that as an otter had come into view, swimming towards me, face and back exposed above water.

But, oh my goodness, there was a second otter behind her, smaller, and another. A mother otter and her two cubs.

Although I stood rigidly still they were bound to sense my presence and take fright. They were so close. But they continued to swim past me in single file.

A few yards on where the water shallows, the mother otter stopped. She raised her head, sniffed the air a little. The cubs came alongside her, three abreast. They seemed to pause for some while before slowly the mother turned and the three of them started to swim back past me the way they had come, this time the cubs were either side of their mother but back a little, making a 'V' formation.

We've had a couple of sightings of otters here about nine years ago, but they were fleeting and when it was dusk. On this occasion it was still broad daylight.


Long term readers may remember that in early 2003*, a young otter cub, perhaps abandoned by its mother as the weakling of her brood, was found in the Sterridge Valley. Sterridge, as it was named, was first taken to a veterinary centre in Bideford before being transferred to the Otter Sanctuary at North Petherwin. Sadly, following one-to-one support and an hour-by-hour vigil, the little bitch cub lost her brief battle for life.

*Reported in Newsletter No. 82, February 2003

Sterridge in the arms of one of her carers



Artwork: Angela Bartlett


The Village & Hagginton Hill

This first picture is from a miniature post card c1902-3 and measures as shown here, just 108 x 80 mm against the then normal 139 x 88 mm.

As post card views of the village go it is unusual having been taken from the area now known as the playing field or dog walking area. To the far left is North Lee Farm and to its right is the Linhey which had slate/stone steps leading up to the hayloft. On the bottom right are 30 and 31 Ellis Cottages, Pitt Hill. Note how few homes were actually showing on the section of Hagginton Hill at this time.

The second card, published by the Pictorial Stationery Co. Ltd. London under their Peacock Brand, has an Ilfracombe September 22nd 1904 postmark and the following unusual message:

    "Please tell Aunt Lou I am sending her a little parcel by post today, as I believe she prefers collecting such rubbish to post cards. Chas. L."

Remember that at this time virtually everyone was collecting post cards and putting them in albums - no radio or television at that time! The most noticeable aspect of this card is just how much ground on either side of Hagginton Hill was being utilised for growing crops, fruit, etc. As well as the trees in the foreground and by Berrynarbor Church, note the then thatched Bessemer Thatch and Jacobswell. Jacobswell was later to be turned in to a terraced row of cottages now known as Ferndale, Jacobs Well and The Olives.

In the centre of the card can be seen the roof of the then Congregational Chapel with its Memorial Stone dated 6th June 1881, together with a small part of the adjacent Sunday School building.

Tom Bartlett
Tower Cottage, September 2014
e-mail: tomandinge40@gmail.com




Although the Gardens, Plant Centre and Tea Room have now closed for the winter and will reopen on Sunday 1st March, do please contact Patricia if you would like more information on the gardens or future group visits.

Looking for that unusual but welcome Christmas present? Why not give a Season Ticket or Voucher to spend at the Gardens?

The Tea Room has become a happy and friendly venue for celebrations, particularly weddings. If you are looking for somewhere to hold that special occasion, look no further!

uPlease get in touch with us for more information.

Patricia Stout - Property Manager
Telephone: [01271] 342528
e-mail: info@marwoodhillgarden.co.uk.




It is rather early to be thinking about Christmas although cards and other Christmas things are already in the shops. But it will be round again before too long!

Sending your greetings to friends and neighbours here in the village through the Newsletter has become popular and traditional and you will be able to do so again this year.

To everyone, especially newcomers, if you would like to do this, it is very simple. Just decide on your message and leave it with a donation either at Chicane or the Shop. After covering the cost of printing, donations will be shared between the Newsletter and the much needed funds for the Manor Hall. Donations have always been very generous, so please carry on that way!

There will, as well, be the usual annual distribution of cards run by members of the Manor Hall Trust

Judie Weedon



3rd Ilfracombe Academy - Non-pupil Day
5th St. Peter's Church: Harvest Service, 11.00 a.m.
8th St. Peter's Church: Harvest Supper, Manor Hall, 6.30 for 7.00 p.m.
13th Pre-school AGM, 7.45 p.m. at Pre-School - Penn Curzon Room
14th Parish Council Meeting, Manor Hall, 7.00 p.m.
15th Wine Circle, 8.00 p.m. Manor Hall: A Double Act with Shop Delights
17th Fun Quiz Night, Manor Hall, 7.00 for 7.30 p.m.
20th to 31st Primary School: Half term
25th Auction of Promises for Manor Hall, The Globe, 7.30 p.m.
26th British Summer Time ends, clocks go back at 1.00 a.m.
27th to 31st Ilfracombe Academy: Half Term
28th Mobile Library in Village from 11.40 a.m.
29th Friendship Lunch, The Globe, 12.00 noon onwards
2nd St. Peter's Church: Candlelit Service for Loved Ones, 3.00 p.m.
9th St. Peter's Church: Remembrance Sunday Service, 10.45 a.m.
11th Parish Council Meeting, Manor Hall, 7.00 p.m.
19th Wine Circle, 8.00 p.m. Manor Hall; Judith Adam - Romania Surprises
25th Mobile Library in Village from 11.40 a.m.
26th Friendship Lunch, The Globe, 12.00 noon onwards

Manor Hall Diary
MondaysUpholstery, 9.00 to 1.00 p.m.
Craft Group 1.45 p.m.
Badminton, 7.30 p.m.
TuesdaysN.D. Spinners [2nd & 4th]
Yoga, 7.00 p.m.
3rd: Craft Art Group, 9.30 a.m
WednesdaysPilates Body Workout, 9.00 a.m.
Primary School p.m.
ThursdaysWatercolour Painting 10.00 a.m. [in 10 week term]
FridaysToddlers Soft Play and Activity a.m.
Primary School p.m.
Penn Curzon RoomPre-School: Daily - Term time only
Breakfast Club for ages 2-11, Daily 8.00 a.m.
Morning Session: 9.00 a.m. - 12.00 noon
Afternoon Session: 12.00 noon to 3.00 p.m.
Mobile Library - Assistant: Jacqui Mackenzie
Village Shop : 11.40-12.10 a.m. Sterridge Valley : 12.25-12.55 p.m.

School, Pre-School and Toddler Group - Term Time only



And there I was in the middle of a field,
The furrows once called 'scores' still with their gloss,
The tractor with its hoisted plough just gone

Snarling at an unexpected speed
Out on the road. Last of the jobs,
The windings had been ploughed, furrows turned

Three ply or four round each of the four sides
Of the breathing land, to mark it off
And out. Within that boundary now

Step the fleshy earth and follow
The long healed footprints of one who arrived
From nowhere, unfamiliar and de-mobbed,

In buttoned khaki and buffed army boots,
Bruising the turned-up acres of our back field
To stumble from the windings' magic ring

And take me by a hand to lead me back
Through the same old gate into the yard
Where everyone has suddenly appeared,

All standing waiting.