Edition 158 - October 2015

Cover artwork by Holly Davies [Year 6]

Ruby Barrow [Reception]

Aston Baillie [Year 1]

May Townsend [Year 2

Arthur Lane Cooper [Year 3]

Sam Pawsey [Year 4]

Louis Beer [Year 5]

Artwork: Judie Weedon


The summer has not been that good, or not until the children went back to school, but it has not dampened the enjoyment or success of the many village events - the School, Manor Hall and Church fetes, the Horticultural and Craft Show, the Sterridge Open Gardens and the Celebration of the final end of World War II.

The cover by Holly Davies and the pictures on the centre pages are the Primary School winning entries in the Horticultural and Craft Show. One winner from each of the years, the work was based on Images of the Ocean and the theme of the Show, Cities, Towns and Villages. Congratulations to them all.

Once again a warm welcome to all newcomers to the village and farewell to those who have left, we wish you all health and happiness in your new homes. We are also thinking of all those not feeling at their best just now and send good wishes to get well soon.

If you have not already thought about taking part in the Games Night at The Globe, a reminder that this is imminent, following circulation day for the Newsletter on Thursday, it takes place tomorrow, 2nd October!

In each issue I thank the contributors for their continued support and cannot stress more that without you there would be no newsletter. However, it would be lovely to welcome some new ones! How about it?

Put pen to paper or e-mail me something for the December and Christmas issue.

Those items, as well as the regular articles, should be in the Shop, Chicane or e-mailed to me as soon as possible please, and by Wednesday, 11th November at the latest. Thank you.

Judie - Ed


Artwork: Paul Swailes


We were hoping for a decent summer like the last one but unfortunately the weather seems to have reverted to its pattern of the previous few years and July and August were both unsettled.

The 1st of July was the hottest July day in some parts of the country though not here. We recorded only 18.6 Deg C, whereas at Heathrow the temperature reached 36.7 Deg C. The 30th of July was the coldest July night on record in the south east and at Exeter airport the temperature dropped to 2 Deg C. Here it fell to 6.7 Deg C. We recorded a maximum temperature of 25.5 Deg C and a minimum of 6.7 Deg C with a maximum wind gust of 24 knots. The total rainfall was 101mm much of which was spread fairly evenly throughout the month.

There is not a lot to say about August. There were some fine days but only nine were totally dry and these were scattered through the month. It was not the wettest August we have recorded but with 167mm it was above average and two days were very wet with 22mm. It was another cool month with a maximum temperature of 24.4 Deg C and a minimum of 8.8 Deg C. The strongest wind gust was 24 knots.

Very similar sunshine hours were recorded for the two months with 168.93 hours for July and 169.30 hours for August.

The summer wasn't a complete washout but it wasn't much to write home about either, although the slugs are thriving!

The 1st September is the meteorological end of summer, perhaps we can hope for an Indian Summer instead.

Simon and Sue



We should like to thank everyone who helped and all of you who came to the Pig Roast at South Lee on the 25th July.

Your efforts and generosity has helped raise £800 for the North Devon Hospice and £800 for the Macmillan Nurses.

Chris and Barbara Gubb


Artwork: Paul Swailes


Following my comments in the August edition of the Newsletter, we have moved on to the stage where a meeting was held in Berrynarbor Church on 7th September with a prospective candidate for the position of a Vicar for both Berrynarbor and Combe Martin.

The meeting was extremely encouraging, and there will be two or three follow up meetings with other organisations in the very near future - with the outcome put forward to the Diocese and our new Archdeacon before any formal announcement will be made. Berrynarbor PCC looks forward to really positive news for the next edition of the Berrynarbor Newsletter.

Our annual Church Fayre was held on the 18th August in beautiful weather with the hope of attracting as many visitors to the event as possible. However, we believe that the weather slightly backfired on us and many visitors remained on the beaches! As a result numbers were well down on last year but nevertheless we enjoyed a good evening and were very grateful for the support we received. We managed to make a profit [albeit slightly down on last year] of a very creditable £807. These events cannot be run without all the support of so many volunteers - to the erection of marquees in the morning and to all those who helped on the evening! Once again, a very special thank you to Richard Gingell for transporting the skittle alley, barbeque and other items, and to John and Fenella Boxall for the loan of their barbeque.

We shall be holding our Service for Loved Ones with lighting of candles on Sunday, 1st November, at 3.00 p.m. This is a beautiful service which we hope many parishioners and others will support. Refreshments will be served following the service. Please note: there will be no Sunday morning service on this day.

We shall be holding our Remembrance Service on Sunday, 8th November starting promptly at 10.45 a.m. in the church with the laying of wreaths at the War Memorial at 11.00 a.m. With the anniversaries of the ending of the Second World War in both Europe and Japan, it is especially important that we in Berrynarbor pay our tribute to all those gallant men and women from Great Britain, the Commonwealth and other European countries, who gave their lives so that we may be free today!

The Christmas Carol Service in the Church will be held on Wednesday,16th December starting at 6.00 p.m. for the really young ones with the main service commencing at 6.30 p.m. From experience we have found that this format works very well indeed, giving the young ones the opportunity to sing all their Christmas songs and to participate in a Nativity scene without getting soaking wet in the village square - thanks to the British weather!

The Berrynarbor and School Choirs will be singing a selection of Carols and the evening will end, in the usual tradition, with the serving of mulled wine and mince pies! This service is always full to capacity, so please come early to find a seat!

Finally, the monthly Friendship Lunch from12.00 noon in The Globe will be held on the last Wednesdays in October, 28th, and November, 25th. The next one will then be on the 27th January 2016! Please come along and support this very enjoyable event.

Stuart Neale. Acting Chairman, Berrynarbor PCC


Artwork: Debbie Rigler Cook


Our congratulations and very best wishes to Vera Lewis, who celebrated her 100th Birthday on the 3rd August, 2015.

Her father, Tom Ley, in 1927 built Orchard House in the Valley, from where she and her sister Evelyn were married. Vera and her husband continued to live there until 1944 and she believes her daughter, Wendy, is the only baby to have been born at the house.

Vera, who lives in Epsom, Surrey, has been a reader and supporter of the newsletter since it began in 1989.





A Berrynarbor Boy, 1923 - 2015

Percy, the son of Bert and Edith Thomas was born at Wards, Victoria Street. Combe Martin, on the 6th February 1923. He spent a lot of time with his grandparents, Granny and Granfer Jones who lived at Wild Violets in Berrynarbor, where the toilet was in a shed built over the stream! He attended Berrynarbor School, moving on to the Grammar School in Ilfracombe where he excelled, amongst other things, at cricket which became a life-long interest.

After leaving school, Percy worked briefly at his father's market gardening business. He was then articled to an accountancy firm in Ilfracombe, became a member of the Parish Council, Snooker Club and a regular at The Globe! He and his wife Meg, had two children, Stuart and Loraine, and when they were grown he decided a move to Canada would further his career. In 1966 he became an auditor with the Canadian Federal Government specialising in Inuit and Native Indian affairs, distributing government aid to native tribes and groups in many areas of northern Canada. His work was based in Toronto but took him away from home for weeks at a time. He travelled in small planes often landing on frozen lakes or desolate areas in far flung places like Attawapaskat and Moosonee. He told stories of different people with whom he met; amongst the tribal chiefs and leaders were George, Half Shot in the Leg, and another called John Weaselfat! The names say it all.


He retired to sunny Florida and spent many happy days on the golf course or in the club house telling his favourite jokes, making new friends and enjoying the climate.

Percy was well known by all for his 'Percyisms'! He loved language and played with words and phrases constantly; had a dictionary in his brain and loved using words like promulgate!*

Apparently, when playing his favourite card game Nap [which by the way was also the name of the family cat!], he would lay a king with a flourish announcing 'Zog!' Many may have been confused, but those who knew the code knew it to mean 'King'. However, it was much later that the family found out that in fact Zog, was indeed a king, the King and ruler of Albania from 1925 to 1939 - not many people know that!

Percy had a joke for every occasion and his quick wit could manipulate and steer a conversation so that he could introduce one of his favourites. If anyone did something well or achieved a difficult task he would declare that he would make them King of all Baghdad!

If, in conversation, anyone should mention a visit to the doctor, he would recount one of his old favourites about a visit to the doctor. When asked to put out his tongue to be checked, the doctor would ask him to do it again standing facing out of the window. "Why?" he would ask the doctor. The reply, "Because I can't stand that woman in the house over the road!" This was predictably followed by at least an entire 60 seconds of his own laughter, accompanied by raised eyebrows and groans from the assembled group!

Percy was unique, no one quite like him. His wit, humour and generosity will be missed by all the family, and his many friends. He is simply irreplaceable.

Linda and Stuart Thomas

Our thoughts on the loss of a much loved father are with Stuart and Linda and all the family at this time of sadness

* Promulgate: Make known to the public, disseminate, proclaim!




We welcome back all our families to Pre-school and hope they all had an enjoyable summer break and return fit and well for a busy autumn term.

Pre-school would like to welcome Geoff Barrett as our new Chairperson, Jenny Beer as our Treasurer and a new member of staff Claire Haynes. Emma Lerwill has left the Pre-school after serving

7 years as Leader when she cared for in excess of over 100 children and we should like everyone to join us in sending her a fond farewell. I have temporally stepped in as Leader until a new lead has been appointed.

We have extended our opening hours to support working parents and their families and our new opening times are from 8.00 a.m.to 5.30 p.m., Monday to Friday.

Breakfast Club

8.00 a.m. - 9.00 a.m.

Pre-school Sessions

9.00 a.m. - 12.00 noon


12.00 noon - 3.00 p.m. or

3.30 p.m.


9.00 a.m. - 3.00 p.m. or

3.30 p.m.

All Day

After-school Club

3.30 p.m. - 5.30 p.m.


We are Ofsted Registered and in receipt of the 2gether Scheme and Early Years Entitlement.

To find out more and session availability please phone 07807093644 or e-mail preschoolberrynarbor@gmail.com

Topics of learning

This term the children will be learning all about themselves, building new friendships and some having their first taste of education.

Outside we shall be looking at the changes in our season; harvesting our runner beans, looking at the leaves changing colour and hoping to go on nature walks to explore our environment and our village.

Later we shall celebrate harvest time and learning the importance of bees in our gardens. We also intend to explore our senses; our sense of smell, taste, sight and touch.

In October we shall be holding our AGM. Anyone wishing to meet new people, share their experiences and knowledge or even learn a new skill is more than welcome to join us in supporting our local Pre-school. [Date to be confirmed.]

Finally I should like to thank the Berrynarbor Parish Council for their kind donation enabling us to purchase a new shed for

all our outside resources.

Susanna Hands



Thank you to everyone who sponsored Mum and me for our 10k London Run for Prostate Cancer Research. We raised an amazing £1,000! Thank you all so very much!


Congratulations to you both - what an achievement!



I should like to thank everyone who was involved with the planning of the event to commemorate the 70th Anniversary of the end of WWII. You (we) were a great team!

Thank you also to the helpers who turned up on the Friday to set up and those who helped set up and clear up on the Saturday too. It really is lovely living in such an amazing village with such fantastic community spirit.

I hope that everyone who came to the lunch and/or the evening dance had a great time - I know I did.

So, who is going to organise a street party for next year? It will be the Queen's 90th birthday.





Local Produce

We, at the Community Shop are very proud to say that

we support local suppliers and producers of food. This is

important for the local community as research on spending

by local authorities shows that for every £1 spent with a small or

medium-sized business, which our suppliers are, 63p stays in the local economy, compared to 40p with a larger business.

When you buy food sourced from local butchers, bakers and green grocers, it is likely that a decent percentage of the produce has had a short field-to-fork journey Along with supporting local farmers, it means the food is likely to contain more nutrients and have less packaging.

Some of the advantages of local and seasonal food are that it is:

  • Fresher
  • Tastier
  • Healthier
  • Good for reducing food miles
  • A way to support local farmers and keep growing skills alive
  • Helpful in supporting the local economy. The money that is spent with local farmers and growers all stays close to home and is reinvested with businesses and services in your community
  • Local foods promote a safer food supply. The more steps there are between you and your food's source the more chances there are for contamination. Food grown in distant locations has the potential for food safety issues at harvesting, washing, shipping and distribution.
  • Local growers can tell you how the food was grown. You can ask what practices they use to raise and harvest the crops. When you know where your food comes from and who grew it, you know a lot more about that food.
  • When you support local businesses, your buying power also helps support local farmers and your local community. Buying locally produced foods can help reduce transportation, which decreases the CO2 emissions. It also helps to reduce the amount of packaging needed.

Added to this you have the advantages of the delights of your Community Shop where you will always find a friendly face and a warm welcome, walk off those extra pounds coming to us and be a part of the community of Berrynarbor.

We are always ready to welcome new volunteers. If you would like to become a member of our happy band and have time to spare, no matter how little, please pop in and see us.




Well, what a busy start to the new school year it has been. During the summer break steel supports and dividing walls were put in to form a new office, corridor and learning area on the ground floor. We are looking forward to the development of a mezzanine floor above, creating space for a staff room and an additional office space. Many thanks to Lee and his team who worked long hours through the Bank Holiday weekend to ensure the building was ready for the start of the term. Then, on the Wednesday, it was all hands on deck as Staff and Governors cleaned, moved furniture and unpacked boxes ready for school to start the following day. It has been exciting seeing this next stage in the improvement of our learning environment unfold and we look forward to its completion.

So, what else has been happening?

Twelve Reception children have been welcomed into Strawberry Class under the care of Mrs Wellings and her team. There have also been some additions to the other classes as a family of three have moved into the area. We hope they will all soon feel part of our school family.

The lovely weather during the second week of September fell at just the right time for our junior aged children's Wild Night Out. The children spent a day enjoying a variety of outdoor activities and then spent the night under canvas. Blueberry camped at Watermouth Valley and Elderberry was at Stowford.  It was a great way for staff and children to get to know each other at the beginning of the school year.

The children have been harvesting vegetables that they have grown in the school garden and one day enjoyed a delicious potato salad made from freshly dug potatoes.

After school sports clubs have resumed with ball sports and dancing being enjoyed by several children. All in all a happy start to the new school year. Sue Carey - Head Teacher



Eyebrows have been raised by the recent decision to withdraw a number of words from the new edition of the Junior Oxford Dictionary.


The words have been removed to make room for CELEBRITY, BLOG, BROADBAND.

Other words, not connected with natural history, which have been taken out are WINDOW SILL and JAM JAR.

Presumably today's media and technology savvy children will never slip on a mossy stone, be pursued by a wasp or place a jam jar of flowers on a window sill.



Artwork: Harry Weedon


Autumn is here and for Berry in Bloom that means all change to

the tubs and planters. So it is out with the summer planting that is looking very tired and in with the tulip, hyacinth and dwarf daffodil bulbs to give us all a good show of colour in the spring.

This last summer hasn't been very good but the joy of gardening is that you always have next year to which you can look forward.

September was the Sterridge Valley open garden trail. After all the bad weather through August, on the day it was the PERFECT autumn day and the gardens were looking beautiful. A yummy cream tea was served at the Manor Hall by Judie and helpers and we managed to make just under £300.00, so a big thank you to all involved. We do rely on these fund raising events to pay for the bulbs, flowers and hanging baskets so we are grateful for the support from the village and holiday makers.

We await the results of the Britain in Bloom competition on 24th September at the presentation in Dartmouth.


Artwork: Angela Bartlett

Mincemeat and Marzipan Tray Bake

At the village celebration on the 5th September for the end of World War II, Barbara brought a very tasty [if you like marzipan] cake. I love marzipan and asked her for the recipe.

Ingredients to make 15 squares

115g/41/2oz softened butter plus extra for greasing
225g/8oz self-raising flour
400g/14oz jar fruit mincemeat
115g/4oz mixed dried fruit
115g/4oz muscovado sugar
Finely grated zest of half a lemon
1 teaspoon mixed spice
2 beaten free range eggs

Topping and icing

250g/9oz marzipan
115g/4oz icing sugar
1 tablespoons lemon juice

Pre heat the oven to 160 Deg C/325 Deg F/Gas3. Grease and line a 28 x 18cm/11 x 7inch shallow tin lined with baking parchment. Put all the cake ingredients in a mixing bowl and beat for about 3 minutes, or until smooth. Spoon in to the prepared tin and smooth the top level. Bake for 50 minutes or until golden.

To make the topping, grate the marzipan using a coarse grater.

When the cake is baked sprinkle the marzipan over the HOT cake, and then return to the oven and bake for a further 10 minutes.

Cool in the tin for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to get completely cold. Remove the paper.

To make the icing, mix the icing sugar with the lemon juice and drizzle over the cake.


Cauliflower salad

My secret is out! Many people have asked me for the recipe for my curried cauliflower salad and I have only let a few know the secret; BUT as our shop is now stocking the magic ingredient here it is, and it is so easy. This is also how I make Coronation Chicken - substituting cold roast chicken for the cauliflower.


1 cauliflower
1 bunch spring onions
1 small bunch fresh coriander
Bought or homemade mayonnaise [I use Hellmann's]
Patak's Aubergine Pickle [used to be known as Brinjal pickle] now stocked in our shop

Chop the white part of the cauliflower in to small pieces - in this recipe the cauliflower is raw. Chop the spring onions into small slices; you can use some of the green part as well. Trim the ends of the stalks of coriander then chop the bunch stalks and all.

Put in to a large bowl and mix with as much mayonnaise as is needed plus as much of the pickle as you like. This is entirely up to you; I use roughly 2 parts mayonnaise to 1 part aubergine pickle, but taste as you make it as the pickle is fairly spicy.

I do hope you enjoy the salad it is great with cold meat.





Items brought forward from the Parish Council:

1.  Parishioners are invited to make suggestions as to how to improve the facilities at the public toilets in Castle Hill.

2.  There is to be a Consultation on the Dog Area and Parish Field.  

3.  Representations by members of the public at Parish Council Meetings:

To facilitate future Meetings and to ensure that the 3 minute speaking time by members of the public under the Public Participation slot is respected, the Public Participation Slot will be the first item on the Agenda. 

If representations are in connection with a Planning Application, it will be the Chairman's discretion as to whether the representations are heard during Public Participation or, as is the practice in some other Councils, heard immediately before that particular Planning Application is considered. 

If members of the public have written representations, it is respectfully suggested that these are sent to the Clerk ahead of the meeting so that they can be e-mailed to Councillors to give sufficient time to read digest it ahead of the meeting.  You will appreciate that representations on 2 or 3 A4 pieces of paper take time to read and Councillors cannot be expected to digest all that is said during the time it is being read out.  This will be to the advantage of Councillors and those making representations.

When Planning Applications are received in a timely way from North Devon Council, the Clerk will send them to a Councillor for studying ahead of the meeting and they will be circulated to Councillors as far as possible so that as many as possible will have seen the details beforehand, as well as viewing the Applications on the North Devon Council website.

Councillors volunteer themselves for the good of the community and the meetings need to be shorter: 

Granted there was a Public Rights of Way presentation and an additional presentation from the Manor Hall Chairman at the August Meeting which would not normally be the case, but after over 4 hours of sitting around the table when members of the public have left some time before with still a lot on the <>agenda to discuss, and most Councillors having to be at work the next day, to be able to give of their best for the Parish, meetings should be a maximum of 2 1/2 hours.

Your Parish Councillors are passionate about the village as are many other parishioners and are committed to always assessing each initiative or issue in the interests of ALL in our community as a whole. 

However heated a debate may become, a level head and respect for others is expected.

4.  The Parish Council is working with the Primary School to encourage people to go to a lunch club and after school clubs.

5.   If you would like to receive the Agenda and draft Minutes when they are sent out, please let the Clerk,

Sue Squire [sue@suesquire.com] know and she will add you to the circulation list.  If you don't have e-mail and would like a copy of the Minutes, please ask Sue on [01598] 710526, and this can be arranged.

Sue Squire - Parish Clerk



In 1942 a long term trial of PLUTO [Pipeline Under the Ocean] took place, with a prototype pipeline stretching from Swansea oil refinery via the Bristol Channel to Watermouth Bay near Ilfracombe in North Devon. This 27 mile long stretch of 2-inch cable delivered 125 tons a day or 38,000 gallons a day for three weeks. The pipeline was laid by HMS Holdfast, a converted cable laying ship and a self-propelled Thames barge Oceanic.

PLUTO was a new type of pipeline that was laid across the English Channel after the Allies had landed in Normandy. It enabled fuel to be pumped across the Channel for use by the thousands of vehicles used by the Allied troops in France. Fuel could be pumped directly from the UK network of pipelines, and was connected to new pipelines laid overland on the continent, following the advance of the Allied armies.

PLUTO was not the only means of supplying fuel to the Allied armies in France. In fact the pumping of fuel using PLUTO only began on 18th September 1944, which was more than three months after D-Day, and beyond the end of the Battle of Normandy. These first pipelines were laid between the Isle of Wight and Cherbourg. A second set of pipelines was laid between Dungeness and Boulogne.

Two articles, from Tony Beauclerk and Don Taylor, appeared in the April 1998 issue of the Newsletter.



As you may recall, many large flags were purchased for last year's Commemoration of WW1 which added wonderful colour to that event in the Manor Hall. Recently, many of these flags were used once again in celebration of the end of WW2, also held in the Manor Hall.

These flags are held in safe keeping in our house, and it has occurred to us that if there is another celebratory event held specifically for the benefit of Berrynarbor, either in the Manor Hall or in a private residence, then please do not hesitate to contact Sue or me on [ 01271] 883893 and we should be happy to lend the flags.

We are, of course, mindful and grateful to Berrynarbor Parish Council who kindly donated funds last year to the WW1 committee so that we were able to purchase all the large flags.

Stuart and Sue Neale




Sadly, the Entries for this year's show were fifty per cent down on last year.

With the fundraising necessary for the show, we need to consider whether it is worth carrying on as a yearly event, change to a 2-yearly event or should it fold?

The answer lies in the hands of the villagers!

Would you like to join the Committee? If you would like to bring new and fresh ideas to the event, please contact Karen in the Shop.

The Committee would like to thank all those who made an effort and supported us.

On the afternoon there was an excellent turnout which was great, and we raised just under £330.00 before costs, so a big thank you.to everyone who came along.

The results for this year were:

The Globe Cup [Floral Art]

Pip Summers Junior: Shannon Hill

The Walls Cup [Home Cooking]

Sue Owen Junior: Shannon Hill

The Davis Cup [Handicrafts, Needlework]

Judie Weedon Junior: Daniella Hill

The Watermouth Cup [Handicrafts]

Sylvia and Dave Mason Junior: Lucy Stanbury

Grow Your Own

Potatoes: Tony Summers No Junior entries

Sunflowers: Sue Owen Junior: Shannon Hill

The George Hippisley Cup [Art]

Linda Camplin Junior: Caitlin Burgess

The Vi Kingdon Award [Photography]

Judie Weedon Junior: Shannon Hill

The Derrick Kingdon Cup [Fruit and Vegetables]

Pat Weston Junior: Salah Gingell

The Lethaby Cup [Potted Plants]

Tom Bartlett Junior: Caitlin Burgess

The Manor Stores Rose Bowl [Cut Flowers]

Tom Bartlett Junior: Caitlin Burgess

Home Made Drinks

Colin Applegate Junior: Shannon Hill

The Manor Hall Cup - Best Horticultural Exhibit: Tom Bartlett

The Ray Ludlow Award -Best Non-Horticultural Exhibit: Judie Weedon

The Junior Cup [Cumulative Total]

1st Caitlin Burgess 70pts

2nd Shannon Hill 63pts

3rd Salah Gingell 20pts

The Sally Barten Bowl [Junior Handicrafts, Needlework]: Daniella Hill

The Watermouth Castle Cup Best Exhibit on Show theme of Cities

Towns and Villages: Judie Weedon

The organising group would like to congratulate all the winners and thank everyone who took part or helped run the event in any way.


First, on behalf of everyone who entered the show and those who came along in the afternoon to see the exhibits, a big thank you to the organising group. As a member of a past organising group, I know how much hard work goes into running this event - and it is a lot! How disappointing to have only half the previous entries. As a winner, it is always nice to have your work rewarded, but with so few entries that achievement is rather hollow.

Where were you all? Hopefully, this was just a one-off and you'll be back!

The Horticultural and Craft Show was pioneered by Jenny Taylor and Derrick Kingdon and the first Show, under the auspices of the Manor Hall Management Committee, was held in September 1978.

Since then it has run every year except for 1984 when due to the lack of an organiser the event didn't get off the ground, and 1997 when due to the untimely death of Princess Diana, the Show was cancelled at the very last minute as her funeral took place on the day in question.

Following on from Jenny and Derrick and their group and from 1986 to 1994 the event was chaired by Joy Morrow. In 1995, Dave Beagley and the Committee organised an event which in spite of high temperatures and drought, was a great success.

From 1996 to 2003, Linda Brown Chaired the organising Committee, running seven excellent shows in the face of falling entries.

2004 saw a new independent organising group taking over, with record entrants and entries in its first year - 93 entrants and over 600 entries. In excess of 250 people viewed the display and the sum of £325 was raised for future events. A new category for juniors was established and monetary prizes awarded. This group ran the Show successfully until 2010 in spite of the strange weather in 2007 and 2008,

Since then, successful shows have been run by the organising group, the make-up of which has changed several times.

Can we let this first class event, with its diverse classes - of which everyone must surely be able to enter at least one - no longer be one of the village's annual events? I sincerely hope not.



Artwork: Peter Rothwell


There are quite a few things to report regarding the hall, ranging from August to Christmas!

Berry Revels

We were lucky with the weather in early August, so thanks to all the helpers and volunteers who helped us raise £1370 net of all expenses, and thanks also to all those who came along. It's good that people get together at events like this, and of course it all helps our fundraising.

Christmas Card Exchange

We have decided NOT to run the Christmas card exchange this year, so some people may wish to place Christmas messages in the newsletter instead, or make other arrangements. We do intend, however, to have a short get-together to say thanks to all the people who have helped out with Hall affairs over the last year, whether by delivering newsletters, helping with the Revels, joining our working parties, and so on. We'll give details of this in early December and the December Newsletter.

Health and Safety at the Hall

The Management Committee has reviewed the health and safety arrangements at the hall and has agreed a new policy, together with carrying out a wide range of repairs and other actions. Part of our new procedure involves an updated booking form which sets out the responsibilities of those who hire the hall, together with a new hall user handbook. Both of these documents will be sent to anyone hiring the hall from now on, usually by email. Regular users of the hall have also been sent copies by email during September, and their continued use of the hall means that they are also deemed to have accepted the updated conditions of hire.

Hall Renovation - What Next?

We are often asked what is happening next! Our plans for the hall continue to move forward. The newsletter delivered to all households in the village in August contained a near-final floorplan for the main hall and invited comments and queries at the drop-in session held on 1st September. This followed the in-principle agreement of the Parish Council in August to facilitate our planned extension to the east elevation of the hall into the play area. At most this will mean moving the existing fence line some two meters or so, and moving the swings slightly further into the play area.

Whatever the outcome of our grant applications, we shall have to install a new heating system for the main hall. Therefore we are also commissioning an energy assessment of the hall to determine the energy output needed to heat the hall as it is now and as it might be after renovation, and to give options for new heating installations.

All this means that we shall be able to finalise detailed drawings and apply for planning and listed buildings consents this autumn. In parallel with this we shall obtain full QS costings for the works. As and when the consents are secured we shall finally be able to submit our Big Lottery application, with a fully designed and costed project and all statutory consents in place.

In addition there is work to be done to develop separate work specifications and costs for the Manor House wing, as the Big Lottery does not fund heritage projects. We shall, therefore, be applying for separate funding for the work needed to the medieval roof and the Tudor facade of the old wing.

This is a very short summary of what is a quite complex project!

Grants and Donations

At its August meeting, the Parish Council also agreed to make a grant to the Manor Hall of £4500, matching funds made available by the North Devon Council. The Men's Institute has also made a donation to our funds of £500, which is very generous indeed. We thank both organisations for their support - it is very important to be able to demonstrate community support for our plans when seeking grant funding, so these contributions are really helpful.

Manor Hall Management Committee



You will have read in the report from the Manor Hall that they will not be providing the Christmas Card delivery this year. Although it is rather early to be thinking about Christmas, the shops are already full of cards and other Christmas things and it will be here again before too long!

Many readers have been sending their greetings to friends and neighbours through the Newsletter for some years, and will be able to do so again this year. This has become a popular and traditional way to send Christmas greetings.

So, to everyone, especially newcomers and those who have perhaps sent cards via the village delivery, 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 by Wednesday, 11th November at the latest. Messages will appear in the December issue of the Newsletter.

After covering the cost of printing, donations will be shared between the Newsletter and the much needed funds for the Manor Hall - your donations have always been very generous, so please carry on that way!



Artwork: Helen Weedon


Steve McCarthy

As summer progressed, so the presence of one wild flower was always evident along the path I had discovered the previous winter; a path following the course of two separate streams that ran within a deep natural cutting, hidden by overhanging trees. Enchanter's nightshade thrived in this shady region and yet, growing to fifty centimetres at its tallest, needed to be viewed en-masse in order to be appreciated. Such was the case where the Lower Stream disappeared into a buried pipeline at the Hushed Hillside, each plant showing off its numerous leafless spikes that elongate to where the any white flowers open and twinkle.

Another wild flower to prosper in these favoured conditions was hedge woundwort. It too found its own spot to flourish at the foot of the short steep track up to the Old Farm gate. On a dull day its deep reddish purple flowers can appear luminous, packed as they are in whorls that form a dense, pyramidal spike. Its unpleasant smell, especially when bruised, can, however, be a turn off to the admirer; as it must have also been for ancient folk who had the plant used on them to staunch bleeding or heal their wounds.

Illustrated by: Paul Swailes

Bramble blossom on the other hand is happy in both sun and shade. It could be spotted immediately after descending Jacob's Foot, the small flight of wooden steps at the eastern end of the pathway. There are over four hundred species of bramble in Britain, the blossom always five petals but the colour ranging from white through to purplish pink. My favourite country name for bramble is brummeltykites. Folklore says that brambles should not be picked beyond Michaelmas 'else the devil will defile them'; a saying based, one assumes, on the likelihood that any blackberry picked after this date will have probably gone over. Its leaves were once used as a remedy for burns whilst its branches were placed around graves to keep bad spirits away. Attempts to cure diseases were also undertaken by walking people beneath an archway of brambles.

At Tumble Bridge where the calming sound of a gentle waterfall could be heard, one would often admire sporadic wood avens - or as the plant is also known, herb bennett. With their five yellow petals spreading to form a cup shape, the flowers were once hung in country homes to keep the devil away. Its fruits meanwhile have hooked prickles that enable them to catch onto fur and clothing.

Ahead of Borderbay Bridge where the Top Stream runs beneath a simple wooden structure and heads away from the path to border two farms before meandering towards a little bay, meadowsweet could be found making the most of the damp streamside conditions. Creamy white and thickly clustered, its flowers were held sacred by druids and were used by witches to enable them to leave their bodies. On a more down to earth basis, literally, the plant was also once used on floors to sweeten the air. Elizabeth I was particularly fond of the plant and would request it be strewn across the floor of any home she was visiting.

The high banks recede either side of the bridge, dispersing the trees and inviting three different wild flowers to make the most of the daylight on offer. On the nearside the commonest of the willow herbs, the broad-leaved, displayed their small deep pink flowers made up of four notched petals. An irritating weed to many gardeners, the plant's relentless invasion is thanks to its hairy seeds that easily disperse in the wind.

Meanwhile an outstanding lone marsh thistle stood beside the bridge with its headed cluster of deep purple flowers bursting from the tip of a stem some four feet tall. A great attraction for bumble bees, its traditional appeal for human consumption was to eat the young stems raw as part of a salad. On the far side of the bank a large clump of hemlock stretched out - so thick, the density of the flat white topped flower heads pulled the rest of the plant into the river and diverted the course of its water. Conspicuous by its purple spotted stems and its unpleasant smell, the plant is poisonous; Socrates is reputed to have drunk a fatal infusion as a means of his execution. Its country name, devil's blossom, is self-explanatory.

Just where the banks rose again to create a new archway of branches, a wild flower that enjoys woodland margins was in good number. With their off white umbrels, sometimes with a hint of pink,

hogweed is also a plant to avoid as it can give out a substance that causes the skin to become sore or blister in sunny weather; unless of course you particularly want to pick the young leaves which apparently taste like asparagus when cooked! It was once an economical source of food for the household pig, hence its name.

At The Glue, a boggy area that gave a hint to the embryo of the Lower Stream, some escapee meadow buttercups could be seen along the ridge of the banks. With their five shiny yellow petals, the plant always reminds me of how children once held them beneath each other's chins to see if they liked butter. The plant was also once held around the neck as a supposed cure for lunacy whilst the roots, ground up with salt, were said the help cure the plague.

At Hangman Peek, where a trough in the bank acts as a perfect frame for Little Hangman, daylight from a further break in the overhanging canopy had encouraged a resplendent display of red campion. Its Latin name is silena dioice; silenus being possibly from its red complexion [it has five deeply notched petals] and its jolly appearance in winter; dioca from its meaning of 'two houses', based on each plant having only one sex and so needing two plants to produce seeds. It is also known as bachelor's buttons - in the sixteenth century women wore the flowers beneath their aprons to entice men.

Both red campion and enchanter's nightshade were in evidence at the Hidden Falls, but it was a profusion of herb Robert that always caught the eye here. Boasting their small dish shaped flowers, each one's orange stamen blended with the five deep pink petals. However, in western Britain the flowers can sometimes be white. Here is also a smaller flowered sub-species known as little robin, a rarity only to be found in western as well as southern Britain.

Finally at Lower Ash, where an ash tree's branch had partly split and now lay horizontally across both banks, a trio of one of my favourite wild flower species leant out to greet me - foxgloves. All three displayed a plethora of deep pink bell shaped flowers, densely packed on their tall spikes. The origin of its name is believed to be a corruption of the word 'folks and 'gliew', the latter an Anglo Saxon word for an instrument with many bells. Fairy bells is a country name for the plant as it is believed that the flowers ring out to summon the fairies; unfortunately if a human hears the ringing, they are supposedly destined to die! On a more realistic note [unless of course you believe in fairies] William Withering is famed for making a great medical breakthrough in the treatment of heart failure by extracting digitalis from the plant and testing it on turkeys. The plant's Latin name is diigtalis purpurea. It is of course now used widespread and is a great benefit to millions of people worldwide.


Artwork: Angela Bartlett


Dear All

There was a young lady from Ryde
Who at green apples and died.
The apples fermented inside the lamented
And made cider inside her inside!

At my age of 86 I feel that I should try to keep an eye on my health. Although I once had a table tennis table I could not get anyone interested enough to play and for that reason I made a practice table and installed it in the back of my garage. I have a timer and put this on ten minutes. I have two or three sessions a day to try to keep the flab at bay. Then, my next door neighbour gave me a dart board. This I also installed in the garage. So, now I have two games.

Watching The Cube on television I saw another game which I copied. This was to roll a ball to a certain area where it must stop. I achieved this with an old length of gutter with a stop at one end. The area in which the ball should stop was marked with red tape about 14 inches, an inch or two away from the far end. So, this was now game number 3.

The fourth game again came from The Cube and was quite simple. All you needed was six tennis balls and a bucket. I stand the bucket about eight feet away and throw the balls to bounce once before it goes into the bucket. All good fun and bending down to pick up the balls is good for the waistline!

Illustrated by: Paul Swailes


Out in my garage I try to keep fit.
I'm retired now, so it helps me a bit.
I play table tennis all on my own,
It's good for my tummy
It gives it a tone [or should do!].
The other three games I've described in this letter
So exercise quick, you'll feel a lot better!


Tony Beauclerk - Stowmarket



Correspondence to The Independent

U-boats in Wales

Recent correspondence about U-boats making landfall in the British Isles reminded me that they were renowned for surfacing on dark nights in secluded Cardigan Bay coves in order to purchase a sheep from a local farmer. The Kriegsmarine developed a taste for Welsh lamb during the First World War and are reputed to have maintained the custom during the Second, or so I was told in my youth. R. Coles, Hampshire

For you, Dai, the meat sale is over

Yes, German U-boats used to surface in Cardigan Bay where they would buy meat, at hush-hush prices from a local farmer. He was known throughout Cardiganshire as Dai Swastika and to his Berlin handlers as Jones the Spy. His phone number was given to the Nazis by Von Ribbentrop who had once worked out of Aberystwith as a wine salesman and had many friends in the area. That's why the Luftwaffe never bombed the town, or so I was told in my youth. Dr M. Stephens, Cardiff

Those U-boats

In August 1942, when I was a boy staying in a village near Aberporth on Cardigan Bay, from time to time a strange aircraft would fly slowly up and down the coast as if looking for something [a waiting U-boat?]. The coastal anti-aircraft guns would fire at it, but never managed to hit it. Dr. Stephens' letter explains why.

J .Evans

Goering steps in to U-boat tales

I feel that Dr. Stephens is treating the letters concerning U-boats in Wales with undue scepticism and hilarity. Not only did the U-boat crews land to replenish supplies but they also bought Welsh antique furniture from various coastal locations. This was shipped back to Germany and was much prized by the Nazi leadership and Goering, an avid collector of other people's treasures, including Welsh dressers. Alas, all was destroyed in the Berlin bunker in 1945.

Incidentally, a relative was told by a farmer of a meeting with a U-boat commander who had an uncanny resemblance to the actor who played the U-boat captain in a famous episode of Dad's Army. All this I was told in my youth. G. Thomas, Shropshire

U-boats over Somerset?

Somerset can beat Welsh dealing with the Kriesmarine. On 16 October 1940, a damaged Dornier bomber lost height, nearly cleared Maesbury hill, but scraped the earthworks of the ancient hilltop fort and crashed. All four fliers were killed.

This established two records. The Dornier is still known locally as 'the only bomber brought down by the Ancient Britons' and because the Germans were short of navigators, the crew included a naval flier,

Lt. Erwin Black, giving him the dubious distinction of being the only

German naval officer killed in action in Somerset. D. Brown, Somerset

Perhaps we North Devonians are more moral than the Welsh, or simply less enterprising. We only supplied U-boats with water during the Second World War. They would come ashore in rubber boats, at dead of night, to collect fresh water from the Sherricombe Falls, Holdstone Down, near Combe Martin. This has been verified by the son of one of the commanders, making a postwar visit. The very soft North Devon water is not especially good for drinking but perfect for getting a good lather from ersatz soap. D. Huxtable, West Sussex.

Welsh dressers? That's nothing. Those U-boat crews also started buying up our car industry and our public utilities and bidding to build our railway rolling-stock.

Contributed by David Huxtable via Lorna and Michael




Berrynarbor Wine Circle summer trips have been occurring off and on for many years. Recently, we have had a wine tasting by Majestic at Arlington Court, visited Eastcott Vineyard, near Holsworthy, had a wine tasting at Majestic's of Barnstaple and in July this year, we visited Yearlstone Vineyard, near Bickleigh. They have been well-supported and enjoyed by all.

Yearlstone Vineyard was described by one member as the 'prettiest location we've been to'; I'm assuming that's as a BWC visitor! It has, certainly, a stunning location with wonderful views of the Exe Valley, but then, ideally, vineyards should be on free-draining soil and south-facing slopes in order that grapes can ripen well in sunshine, and they do. Their winery is one of the best equipped in England; their bottling machine was fast, efficient and fascinating to watch!

Owners, Roger and Juliet White arrived at this vineyard in 1994. When they arrived, some of the vines were more than 30 years old and, therefore, grape production was poor. They have removed and replaced vines to ensure that they can produce award-winning wines. Juliet, previously a Kitchen Designer, undertook a viticultural course at Plumpton College in Sussex: England's only wine college. They grow a variety of grapes and produce six types of Cool Climate wines, including a refreshingly dry rose and Vintage Brut: Yearlstone's fizz.

Yearlstone do group tastings in the evenings; we followed their very friendly, informative tour and tastings with an evening meal here too. Unfortunately, it was a cool evening, so we had to eat inside their cafe; their spacious terrace overlooks their superb views. I had their Spanish style king prawns with garlic, wine and sherry, with salad. They were absolutely delicious - I could have drunk a bowl of the sauce! Their desserts change regularly, but I had their lemon and pine nut torte, which was good. All food is made by their Chef, Tim Harris, initiator of Crediton's Food Festival.

The vineyard and cafe are open to the public for tastings and lunches between 11.00 a.m. and 4.00 p.m. on Wednesdays to and including Sundays, in spring and summer. They are well worth a visit.

Judith Adam

The 2015/2016 Wine Circle season begins on Wednesday, 21st October. The programme up to Christmas is as follows:

Wednesday October 21st: Jack Hicks of Majestic Wines Barnstaple - The Variety of Italy

Wednesday November 18th: Peter Rollinson of Bray Valley Wines, South Molton  

Wednesday December 9th: The Wine Circle Christmas Food & Drink Evening. Maximum of 60 people so tickets and food contributions must be arranged at the latest by the November meeting.




Elizabethan Engineer and Speculator


In the North Devon Journal's copy of August 20th this year, you may have noticed a small entry with a photograph of three teenagers and the heading "Chance to explore a silver mine". We took the chance - and maybe you did, too, in which case you would have had a very agreeable and enlightening experience of Combe Martin's silver mine that closed commercially in 1880.

The open day was made available mainly because of the year-long work put into a Young Roots project by Sam and Hannah Boyce and James Found who created an exhibition on the history of the mine and produced a film about it, on sale for £5 that can now be bought from Combe Martin Museum. The project was supported by the Lottery Fund, North Devon AONB and Exmoor National Park and is now on permanent display at the site.

From this, one of the things we learnt was that miners as well as sailors measure depth in fathoms: one fathom is 6 feet - or the length of a man's outstretched arms. Combe Martin's St Peter's Church, whose ornate design was paid for by the wealth of the mine, is about 16 fathoms high. Even the shortest mineshaft is 20 fathoms - or 8 double decker buses piled high. The deepest shaft is 120 fathoms - 40 flights of stairs deep! And the tunnels run under the main street. By this summer, excavation of existing shafts by volunteers has reached 28 fathoms [10.5 double deckers!].

Following our visit, we watched Penelope Keith on Channel 4 visiting Combe Martin and the mine as part of her Hidden Villages series. During the show we saw a delightful Ellis brooch, dating from 1837 and privately owned. Other pieces not shown are treasures of St Peter's church.

The exhibition and television programme made me think of the many people, since the first records in 1292, who have had dealings with the mine.

One of the earliest, in 1294, was William Wymondham who in the twenty-second year of the reign of Edward l " accounted for 270lbs weight of silver forged for Lady Eleanor, daughter of Edward l" and two years later brought to London 704lbs.

But standing out was Sir Bevis Bulmer. Born in 1536, he was the son of Sir John Bulmer and his wife Margaret Stafford who was said to be the illegitimate daughter of Edward Stafford, 3rd Duke of Buckingham. Unfortunately both parents became involved in a rebellion known as the Pilgrimage of Grace and were executed the year after their son's birth, their land transferring back to the Crown.

Bevis's interest in mining started as a youth when he visited the iron smelter at Rievaulx Abbey and he began his career at some of the former Bulmer properties at Wilton in North Yorkshire. He then founded lead and calamine mines in the Mendip Hills in Somerset and in 1581 visited the silver mines and smelters in County Wexford.

In 1583, Dr John Dee had entered into a lease to work the silver and lead mines at Combe Martin and Knap Down, but a year later fled the country because of bad debts. The lease was taken over by his former pupil, Adrian Gilbert [brother of Humphrey Gilbert the celebrated Elizabethan navigator] and John Popplar, a London lapidarist. In their first year they made a rich strike at Fayes Mine in Combe Martin, but had great difficulty in smelting the ore.

The fame of the strike and smelting problems became well known and Sir Bevis brought 2lbs of ore to his refiner, Stephen Atkinson, who smelted it successfully. Bevis then approached the partners for a deal: he would bear the cost of raising the ore and smelting it for a half share in the profits. With their agreement and under his direction, the mine reached 32 fathoms and an equal length along the vein. In the first two years, each partner gained £10,000 [more than £1.5 million today], which went down to £1,000 by 1592 when the vein was almost exhausted.

A smelt mill and silver refinery was built in the 1520's by Joachim Hochstetter [doesn't sound a local chappie!] but had been idle for many years. This was probably refurbished by Bulmer for his own use. From the last smelt he had two silver drinking tankards made: one for William Bourchier, Earl of Bath in 1593 on which was inscribed

In Martin's Combe long lay I hid,
Obscured, deprest, with grosser soyle,
Debased much with mixed load,
Till Bulmer came, whose skill and toyle,
Refined me pure and Cleene,
As richer no where els is seene,
And adding yet a farder grace
By fashion he did inable,
The worthy for to take a place,
To serve at any Prince's table,
Combe Martin gave the use alone,
Bulmer fining and fashion.

His engineering skills had produced a patent for his lighthouse, followed by a patent for a machine to cut iron for nail making which brought him approval by the Queen in May 1588. Further expansion of his skills came when the Corporation of London gave him a lease to build a 'water works' powered by a 'newly erected engine' for supplying drinking water to Cheapside. To mark his success, the second tankard, weighing 131ozs was presented to Sir Richard Martin, Lord Mayor of London and Master of the Mint in 1594. On it was an engraving of Sir Bevis and another poem about his achievements. Over the years, this has been melted down into 3 tankards and spouts were added in 1731. These are now at the Mansion House marked 'The gift of Bevis Bulmer'. One tankard is still used today at the Lord Mayor's banquet.

Bulmer continued his mining activities under James l. He spent several years in Lanarkshire mining gold, but as Atkinson, his constant companion throughout his mining career, wrote, Bulmer 'wasted much himself' and 'gave liberally to many' in order to be 'praised and magnified' and always had 'too many irons in the fire'.

In 1611/12 both men worked in mining at Kilmore in Tipperary, Ireland, but according to Atkinson, Sir Bevis Bulmer died in 1613 in Yorkshire 'penniless', owing Atkinson £340 as well as leaving debts in Ireland.

Nothing is known of his marriage, but he had a son, John, and three daughters, Elizabeth, Prudence and Elizabeth [again].

After he left Combe Martin, the mines fell into disuse and since 1648, repeated attempts to work them have failed. Yet many eminent geologists regard the area as a highly valuable but neglected district.

To get back to the present day mine, visits can be arranged by appointment, preferably on Sunday mornings. You will need to e-mail Max Boyce the underground Mine Captain on cmsmrps@hotmail.co.uk . It is well worth a visit to see and support a long associated piece of Combe Martin's history.

Grateful thanks for all the help provided by the Boyce family and Marie Boudier.

PP of DC



"When I set out for Lyonesse"

Castle Boterel, St. Juliot and 'A Pair of Blue Eyes'

". . . blue as autumn distance - blue as the blue we
between the retreating mouldings of hills and
slopes on a sunny September morning. A
and shady blue, that had no beginning or
and was looked into rather than at."

These lines are from Thomas Hardy's novel 'A Pair of Blue Eyes' which is set in and around Boscastle and St. Juliot church at Hennett a few miles inland.

In 1870 while working for a firm of Dorset architects, Thomas Hardy had visited St. Juliot to make preparations for the restoration of the church which had become very dilapidated. There were cracks in the 14th century tower; the carved bench ends had rotted and ivy hung from the roof timbers where birds and bats had taken up residence.

It was a visit which changed Hardy's life. As the rector was ill with gout it was his sister-in-law, Emma Gifford, who greeted Hardy and showed him around the church. Four years later they married and Emma persuaded him to give up architecture to be a full time author.

From blustery and busy Boscastle I took the path inland along the River Valency towards St. Juliot church. It was a very pleasant walk through little water meadows of yellow hay rattle and southern march orchids; banks of bugle and ox-eye daisies, flag irises at the water's edge.

Then on through woodland, a little boggy underfoot after a morning of heavy rain but now the sun had come out and with it a great abundance of butterflies; common blues, wall browns, orange tips and speckled woods.

On Hardy's visits to supervise the work on the church, he and Emma would often stroll down this path to the sea, Emma described the route:

"Often we walked to Boscastle harbour down the beautiful Valency Valley where we had to jump over a low wall by rough steps . . . to come out on great wide spaces suddenly . . . "

In 'A Pair of Blue Eyes', Boscastle is given the name Castle Boterel much as in Hardy's Wessex Dorchester becomes Casterbridge and Barnstaple is Downstaple.

St. Juliot is in an attractive, secluded setting. The church contains a memorial to Emma, which Thomas Hardy designed, on the wall of the north aisle and in 1928 a tablet was installed recording Hardy's association with the church and the neighbourhood.

More recently a three panelled engraved window, commissioned by the Hardy Society, was placed there. It includes a line from his poem 'When I set out for Lyonesse'.

Unfortunately, the ancient chancel screen is not there. Hardy had left instructions for the screen to be retained and its damaged tracery to be renovated but was shocked to find that due to the misplaced generosity of the builder it had been replaced by a new and "highly varnished travesty". "I'll give 'em a new screen instead of that patched up old thing", the builder said.

Emma wrote: "scarcely any author and his wife could have had a more romantic meeting, with its unusual circumstances in bringing them together . . . at this very remote spot, with the wild Atlantic Ocean rolling in with its magnificent waves and spray, its white gulls and black choughs and puffins, its cliffs and rocks and gorgeous sunsettings in a track widening from horizon to the shore."

Illustrations by: Paul Swailes

Sue H



Thomas Hardy was a prolific Victorian novelist and poet with more than numerous books. poems and quotes to his credit. Many readers will have both enjoyed his books or studied them at school. Many more will have seen those turned into films, including - Tess of the D'Urbervilles, The Return of the Native, The Claim, Jude, The Mayor of Casterbridge, Under the Greenwood Tree and Far From the Madding Crowd.

Hardy was born on the 2nd June 1840 at Higher Bockhampton, Stinsford near Dorchester. His father was a stone mason and violinist, his mother enjoyed reading and relating all the folk songs and legends of the area.

In 1874 he married Emma Gifford, who was born in Plymouth on the 24th November 1840. Unable to have children, the marriage became increasingly unhappy and after some 20 years, Hardy began to see other women whilst Emma became a recluse. although she was an active suffragette and supported women's suffrage. She died in 1912 at the age of 72 from heart failure and was buried at Stinsord.

In 1914, Hardy married his secretary, Florence Dugdale, 39 years his junior.

Following his death from pleurisy on the 11th January 1928, his funeral at Westminster Abbey caused controversy. The nation supposedly wanted him buried in Poets' Corner whilst he himself had made it plain that he wished to be interred at Stinsford with Emma and his parents. A somewhat grotesque compromise was reached and his heart was buried at Stinsford whilst his ashes were interred at Westminster Abbey.


Artwork: Angela Bartlett


Delbridge's Furnished Apartment - Hills Farm

I was very fortunate to obtain this postcard within the last few days. It has a 1911 Berrynarbor August 9th postmark over a green half pence stamp.

Between Moules Farm and Hills Farm four children, two boys and two girls, can be seen on the unmade road surface. They are probably on their way home from Berrynarbor School. The message on the reverse of the card says:

"This is the spot where we have landed and this the house
we are residing. The surrounding scenery is simply
. I don't know if you will like Ilfracombe we were there
, but I much prefer Berrynarbor. If the weather is
too bad look out for some cream. I have just had a bath,
am sitting on a rock surrounded by hills, hope the weather
continue fine. Love Nora"


The postcard is addressed to Mrs. Pearce, 66 Barclay Road, Leytonstone, Essex. I was especially pleased to be able to get this card as it is yet another, but not numbered, photographic postcard by William Garratt.

In the Watermouth Estate Sale held at Bridge Hall, Barnstaple, on the 17th August 1920, it sold as Lot 24 by the auctioneer, John Smale, F.A.I. , as follows:

Lot 24. Hill Cottage Tenement.

A Highly Desirable SMALL HOLDING comprising
A Slated Dwelling House, Outbuildings, and about 7a.3r.37p.*
Of Pasture and Arable Lands, in the occupation of Mr. W. Draper as a Yearly Lady-day Tenancy and Mr. W.H. Howard as a Michaelmas Tenant.
There are some good Building Sites and a good Spring of Water on this Lot.
The Apportioned Title on this Lot is 16s.6d.

The auction price commenced at £300 and sold for £760 with the completion date set for 25th March 1921.

* 7 acres, 3 rods, 37 perches

Tom Bartlett,

Tower Cottage, September 2015 e-mail: tombartlett40@hotmail.com




Well done to everyone who was involved with the carnival float this year " 100 Years of Ladybird Books".


Many thanks to all who painted, stapled, lifted, downloaded, copied, etc., etc., and of course, those of you who took part. The costumes were fabulous and we were pleased to win 1st Best Topical and 1st Best Overall at Combe Martin [cups can be viewed in the Village Shop]. We also achieved a 3rd in the Ilfracombe Carnival as well as amassing 3 rosettes for individuals who entered different classes.

Big thanks to Phil the Music Man, and all those who gave up their time to help get things ready to roll! See you next year!




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