Edition 164 - October 2016


Lundy Through the dunes at Woolacombe
Illustration by: Paul Swailes

Artwork: Judie Weedon


Summer is over and for us here, it really hasn't been a great one weather-wise. Extraordinarily, only 50 miles away, around Taunton, they've had quite a good one. It's no wonder we live in a green and lush part of the country! So, with winter approaching, don't forget to put the clocks back an hour on the 29th/30th October - at least we get an extra hour in bed!

The cover, Lundy through the dunes at Woolacombe, is the work of our Artist in Residence, Paul, one of his beautiful illustrations for the poem, At Woolacombe and Mortehoe, on page 10. Thank you, Paul, not only for the illustrations in this issue, but for the many hundreds over the last 26 years, since issue No. 7

Here again I must thank all the contributors although it would be lovely to have some new ones to support our great regular writers.

We seem to suffer a lot of changes in the residents of our village and we wish all newcomers good luck and happiness in your new homes. Judging from the number of properties on the market, we'll be saying some good-byes with our best wishes to you too.

Sadly, not everyone is feeling too good and the weather does nothing to help, but we hope you will all be feeling better and very soon.

If you are reading this on the first or second day of its circulation, do look at the article about butterflies for the Children's Hospice on page 31 and get your order in fast. Also, don't forget that Gary's book - an amusing account of life in Berry before the flowerpot men - is available from the Shop, Globe and Sawmills.

We are privileged to be having the Military Wives Choir here at St. Peter's - tickets are now on sale at the Shop.

Finally, Christmas cards are already on sale in the shops, but if you would like to send your greetings via the messages in the Newsletter, details can be found on page 45 and messages should be received by Wednesday 9th November, which is also the deadline for articles and items for the December and Christmas issue, the final one of 2016.

Judie - Ed




Well, the hoped for settled spell of summer weather didn't materialise, July and August were both fairly mediocre until near the end of August. Unfortunately, our weather station, which has been providing all our information since 1994, had a malfunction of the rain gauge at the beginning of July so we had to resort to more basic methods of measuring the rain. After much research we decided on a new weather centre which we are now trying to find our way around. It will provide a lot more information than the old one once we get the hang of it, although we haven't got a sunshine hour recorder [an expensive extra] so will continue to rely on Chicane for the sunshine.

Back to the weather. In July the jet stream was stuck too far south which produced the unsettled conditions. Rainfall amounts were fairly low at 34mm for the month, but were spread throughout the month with most days having showers or drizzle. Apart from a mini heat wave on Monday 18th and Tuesday 19th when temperatures reached 27 DegC and 30.7 DegC respectively, temperatures were pretty average. The lowest temperature recorded was 9.9 DegC on the 6th. Winds in the month were fairly light with a maximum gust of 29 miles an hour which was also about average. Despite the unsettled conditions, 185.98 hours of sunshine were recorded, which was 17 hours more than last year.

The first day of August was very wet and our new rain gauge recorded 44.8 mm of rain, this was followed by strong winds and we recorded a maximum gust of 36 miles an hour on the 4th. The weather then settled down with reasonable temperatures and low rainfall until the weekend of the 20th when the Met. Office warned of a storm approaching. This unfortunately put paid to the Round Lundy Yacht Race which Simon was hoping to take part in on a friend's yacht. The Saturday ended up with 16mm of rain and wind speeds up to 40 miles an hour in the valley. According to information we received it was gusting up to 50 miles an hour towards Lundy. That depression passed through and the weather settled back down leading to a glorious bank holiday weekend for a change and a very pleasant end to the month. The total rain for the month was 88.8mm with a maximum temperature of 28.3 DegC on the 23rd. Last August we had 169.30 hours of sunshine and this year we had 179.24, which was a bit above the average for the month.

The 1st of September is the Meteorological start of autumn - where did that summer go?

Simon and Sue


Artwork: Steve Angold [Aged 10]


At last some good news! Our new Vicar, Rev. Michael Rogers, will be installed in St. Peter's Church on Sunday, 23rd October at 11.00 a.m. The service, which will be a combined service with Combe Martin, St. Philip and St. James and Berrynarbor, will be led by our new Archdeacon Rev. Mark Butchers, and all are invited to this special day. More good news follows with the appointment of Bob Coles who will take on the role of House for Duty Priest in support of Michael Rogers. Bob will assist both Berrynarbor and Combe Martin parishes and his special Licencing Service, supported by Michael Rogers, will be held at St. Peter's Combe Martin on Monday, 5th December. [NB An evening time has yet to be finalised and we shall inform everyone as soon as possible.]

The Flower Festival entitled Anniversaries 2016 was an outstanding success, with wonderful displays commemorating The Royal Mail, William Shakespeare, Sir Isaac Newton, the first commercial flight of Concorde and the first flight of the famous Spitfire. The artist L.S. Lowry was celebrated as was England's famous 1966 World Cup victory, Roald Dahl and Beatrix Potter, and Capability Brown. It was, of course, the Queen's 90th Birthday, the 100th anniversary of the formation of Cubs and Scouts, the 300th anniversary of the Great Fire of London and not forgetting the 50th anniversary of the Ilfracombe Flower Club.

A big thank you to everyone involved in the floral displays and to those who helped with the refreshments over the four days of the Festival, and, of course, to all those who supported this event. It is a pleasure to announce that £464 was raised which will be apportioned to the Church and Ilfracombe Floral Art Club, whose members' support was much appreciated.

We were hoping to hold a small fund raising event in September, but this has been put on hold for the time being. However, we are all preparing - especially the Berrynarbor and School Choirs - for the forthcoming concert by the Military Wives Choir on Friday, 4th November. There is much to do organisation-wise and we hope to raise much needed funds for both the Manor Hall and the repair of the church roof.

Sadly, two of our Choir members - Linda Lunn and Elain Filer - are going through difficult times with Linda losing her husband recently and Elaine's brother very poorly in a hospice. Our thoughts and prayers are with them both and their respective families.

Please note that the Sunday Services for October will be slightly different and are as follows:

  • Sunday, 16th October Songs of Praise, 11.00 a.m.
  • Sunday, 23rd October Installation of Michael Rogers, 11.00 a.m.
  • Sunday, 30th October Joint Service with Combe Martin, 11.00 a.m. [a non-Communion service]
  • Sunday, 13th November Remembrance Sunday, 10.30 for a 10.45 a.m. start

Friendship Lunches will be held in The Globe as usual, 12.00 noon for 12.30 p.m. on the last Wednesday of the month - 26th October and 30th November.

Stuart Neale


This picture of St. Peter's was taken some 50 years ago and shows elm trees on the left hand side of the lychgate. Sadly, they died. One fell down the other was cut down by Ivan Huxtable, Bill's twin brother. He was the only person with a chain saw!

Lorna Bowden

Was this a case of Dutch Elm Disease? Dutch elm disease is caused by a member of the sac fungi and is spread by the elm bark beetle. Although believed to be originally native to Asia, the disease has been accidentally introduced into America and Europe, where it devastated native populations of elms that did not have resistance to the disease. About 1967, a new, far more virulent strain arrived in Britain on a shipment of rock elm logs from North America, and this strain proved both highly contagious and lethal to European elms; more than 25 million trees died in the UK alone. By 1990 very few mature elms were left in Britain or much of continental Europe.

One of the most distinctive English countryside trees, the English elm is particularly susceptible. Thirty years after the outbreak of the epidemic, nearly all these trees, which often grew to more than 45m high, were gone. The species still survives in hedgerows, as the roots are not killed and send up root sprouts or suckers. These suckers rarely reach more than 5m tall before succumbing to a new attack of the fungus. However, established hedges kept low by clipping have remained.




Thank you to everyone who entered, supported and helped on this year's Show. A new committee is required to carry this event on, so please come forward and volunteer or the Show could end!

In the afternoon there was a good turnout which was great, and we raised just under £160.00 after costs, so a big Thank You.

The organising group would like to congratulate all the winners. The awards for this year were:

  • Floral Art - The Globe Cup - Lyn Wheelan
  • Home Cooking - The Walls Cup - Sue Owen
  • Handicrafts - The Davis Cup - Chris Jesson
  • Handicrafts - The Watermouth Cup- Tony Summers
  • Grow Your Own [Potatoes] - Kim Beaver
  • The Largest Sunflower - Sloley Farm
  • Art - The George Hippisley Cup - Judie Weedon
  • Photography - The Vi Kingdom Award J- im Constantine
  • Fruit & Vegetables - The Derrick Kingdom Cup - Tony Summers
  • Potted Plants - The Lethaby Cup - Sloley Farm
  • Cut Flowers - The Manor Stores Rose Bowl- Barbara Eales
  • The Manor Hall Cup for Best Horticultural Exhibit- Barbara Eales
  • The Ray Ludlow Award for Best Non-Horticultural Exhibit - Tony Summers
  • The Watermouth Castle Cup for Best Exhibit on Theme of Show- Sloley Farm
  • Overall Children's Winner Rose Bowl - Roxanne Barrow

Children's Cumulative Totals:

  • Under 5 years
    • 1st Roxanne Barrow - 28 points
    • 2nd Emily Stanbury - 14 points
    • 3rd Poppy Townsend -13 points
  • 6- 9 Years
    • Joint 1st Ruby Barrow and Salah Gingell - 21 points
    • 3rd May Townsend - 7 points
    • 10-13 Years 1st Witold Zajac - 6 points

The Charity Wheels raised £52 for Devon Freewheelers. Well done to those who entered and helped raise this donation.

Hall Centenary Artwork [1914-2014]

'The Show Judges would like to especially commend the Hall Collage. Wonderful skills and example of bringing the community together!'

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, especially Karen for all her hard work.




Photos by: Karen Loftus




'Wine makes daily living easier, less hurried, with fewer tensions and more tolerance.'
Benjamin Franklin

Unusually, our seasonal programme isn't finalised yet; however, I can tell you that we begin on Wednesday, 19th October, with Peter Rollinson of Bray Valley Wines, South Molton. Bray Valley began in 2002 with Charlie Cotton recognising that only the supermarkets could provide his daily drinking wines. Their wines, 80-100 types, are shipped in and known to him as they have all been tasted at some point. Peter jumped at the opportunity to join the business in 2005. When I mentioned 'livers', he replied, "I probably don't have one!"

November is 'up for grabs', but December, is our pre-Christmas event and will be our usual Committee's Choice. Wednesday, 14th January 2017, our first meeting of another new year, is on the 18th and will be our ever-popular Call My Wine Bluff. One of our members said that she wished we could do this every month! I know it takes hours of preparation by Tony Summers, our Chairman, so I know it won't happen, but we like to provide a varied programme too.

Our season begins in October and runs until May. Tastings are always the third Wednesday of every month, apart from December's, which is the second Wednesday. The monthly fee, per person, has been £6 since 2008; this covers the bills for our food and drink and Hall fees. As we all know, all prices rise; so, as from October, per-person fees will be a very reasonable £7.

We don't charge for conviviality! Our monthly tastings are a great way to meet others from the village who may not be your neighbours. We look forward to seeing new faces; the Hall has plenty of space, but our enjoyment often fills it!

Judith Adam - Secretary and Programme Co-ordinator



New Information Point

After a year of waiting, the 'phone box from Berry Down has finally arrived at the shop.

The intention is to turn it into an information point, a relevant use of a de-commissioned 'phone box, with maps, leaflets and general local information; it will help walkers with extra information, provide information on local events and services and at the same time assist visitors and delivery drivers in finding the house they are looking for.



Many thanks to Alan, Richard and Keith for their hard work on the day bringing it to its new home and Alan for giving up so much time to dig it out. Thanks also to Stowford Meadows for the telehandler.

The 'phone box joins the new benches which eventually will provide a seating area, refreshments and access to maps and information leaflets of attractions in our area, thus providing a valuable and hopefully attractive addition to the services offered by the Community Shop.

Now we need to refurbish the 'phone box! As you can imagine, it will require a good few hours of work, so, if you have a bit of time to spare we should be very, very grateful for you to come and help us restore it to its former glory! Please let Debbie or Karen know if you would like to join a work party to help us achieve our mission - coffee, tea and biscuits on offer!



Across the grass, along the shore, the waves are crashing, constant roar.
Best foot forward, brace to the wind, "Hold on to your hat," I said, and grinned.
The sea is grey, and green, and blue, a marv'llous ever-changing hue,
A soaring gull wings by on high, and now we hear its plaintive cry.

The tide flows in, and ebbs away, and headlands guard and end the bay.
On rocky Morte the waves crash down, at Baggy Point, a green dome crown.
Against the blue, the white clouds race, so smoothly by, with stately grace.
The air is fresh, and clean, and clear, just breathing fills one with good cheer.

Amid the bay, far out to sea stands Lundy Island, wild, and free.
Behind the dunes, on Potters Hill, the view of Lundy's better still.
When reaching rock at Putsborough end, we turn around and footsteps bend

To Combesgate back along the bay with Mortehoe high above the spray.

Whilst walking back along the shore, I dream of days I came before.
The first time I was just a lad on holiday with Mum and Dad.
My sister also, friends as well, we all fell under quite a spell.
We surfed, and shrimped, and swam in pools, and climbed the rocks, and dug with tools.

We built up castles, high and wide until the sea swept them aside,
And dammed up streams, and floated boats, and girt our castles round with moats.
We're coming here again quite soon, we came here on our honeymoon,
And later when the children grew, we brought them here with grannie too.

We wanted them to join the fun, and feel the spray, and wind, and sun;
To dig, and surf, and climb, and run, and love this place as we have done.
When sometimes visibility is marred, a raging westerly blows hard,
And rollers lined across the bay surge forward firmly through the day.


The sea is boiling down below, a restless, swirling, foaming flow.
We watch for hours the giant knocks administered to jagged rocks.
The shooting spray is splashing high without a care as time goes by.
The wind now seems a little cold, a sign, perhaps, we're getting old.

A grandchild first, and now there're two, have been indoctrinated too
With qualities which stand, and last from very different long time past.
With health, and fitness, and good fun, succeeding generations run.
As years and centuries roll away there's little change across the bay.

Tomorrow we will walk to Lee, along the paths above the sea,
'cross field, and hill, and down the lane the pleasant vistas never wane.
The village lies between the hills, it's warm, and low, and often fills
With scent of flowers mingled sweet, afloat upon the summer's heat.

This place of great tranquillity Is great to visit, and for tea,
But cut off from the world without, then, once I'm in, I would be out.
Back at Woolacombe, the bay then welcomes me return to stay,
And watch the sunset fill the sky with beauty, colour, climbing high.

I come from Hampshire, roots in chalk, and there I also love to walk.
My heart is there, but likes to roam, and Woolacombe's its second home.
When strolling on the golden strand, or somewhere else, but near at hand
I hope that you can share with me the peace and joy, be happy, free.

Unknown - 1998

Illustrations: Paul Swailes



Having met up with Nipper [Gerald] Bray in The Globe, he tells me that there were some errors in the photographs appearing in the August Newsletter!

The first is in the picture of a Dance at the Manor Hall and he says the lad in the middle at the front is not Alistair but Dave Chalmers.

Regarding the picture said to be taken outside the Sawmill Cafe following Tom's article on the Sawmill Inn was, in fact, taken by Nipper, and it was in front of the log cabin [cafe] at Watermouth Caves, now Watermouth Cove.

It shows. from left to right, Theodore Chalmers, 'Psychie' Sanders [chef], Chris Huxtable, John Valance and Malcolm Chalmers.

He says he believes that the young man by the signpost might be Robin Kift from Langleigh House.






Does anyone remember anything about two sisters, Helen and Marguerite de Munck, who lived in Birdswell Lane? Helene died more than 50 years ago, 1964, Marguerite in 1987. They were born in Belgium and for a while ran a B & B at The Old Court.

If anybody feels that they can help, or even supply a photograph of these sisters, I should be delighted to receive this to forward to another author, writing a soon-to-be published book on a contact of Helene.

Please contact me on geoffrey.judith@gmail.com.

Judith Adam


Artwork: Harry Weedon


The judging for both competitions has taken place and we await the news of how we have done. I think the village has looked lovely this summer and hopefully the judges have agreed. I know that the team couldn't have worked harder. We get the results at the beginning of October.

We shall be taking out the tired summer bedding and planting the spring bulbs in late September and early October.

The village Open Gardens afternoon in August was successful and we made over £300 to go towards spring bulbs etc. but as the weather was lovely that afternoon we had hoped for a few more people. Maybe the holiday makers were all headed for the beach on that day. Many thanks to everybody who supported us in whatever way, especially all those who worked so hard to open their gardens, and Phil and Lynn for hosting the teas in their lovely garden at the Lodge.

If anyone is interested in helping our team we should welcome you with open arms, just contact me on 01271 883170.

With the money donated at her funeral, in remembrance of Edna Barber we have now purchased a ceramic planter. It is placed near the remembrance cross in the churchyard, planted with a rosemary surrounded by violas and under planted with bulbs to flower in the spring.

Wendy Applegate


Artwork: Angela Bartlett

Butternut Squash and Ginger Squares

This is a lovely moist cake with a warm autumn taste and freezes well. Makes 1 x 23cm [9inch] tray bake.

  • 175ml [6floz] any light oil such as vegetable or groundnut oil
  • 225g [8oz] golden caster sugar
  • 3 free range eggs separated
  • 3 tablespoons whole milk
  • 125g [4.5oz] coarsely grated raw butternut squash
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger
  • 75g [3oz] walnuts finely chopped
  • 75g [3oz] raisins
  • 175g [6oz] plain flour
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 3/4 tsp cinnamon

To Finish:

About 3 tablespoons stem ginger syrup from a jar plus 2-3 knobs of stem ginger finely sliced

Preheat the oven to 190C/170C fan/gas 5 and butter and line a 23cm [9inch] non-stick square cake tin or equivalent such as a brownie tin.

Whisk together the oil and caster sugar in a large bowl to combine, then whisk in the egg yolks and milk. Fold in the butternut squash, grated ginger, walnuts and raisins.

Sift the flour, baking powder and spices together and fold into the mixture.

Whisk the egg whites in another bowl until stiff using an electric whisk and then fold them in two batches in to the cake mixture.

Transfer this mixture to the prepared tin and smooth the surface. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until shrinking slightly around the edges and a skewer inserted comes out clean. It is essential not to open the oven door before this time.

Once removed run a knife around the edge of the cake and drizzle over the ginger syrup, evenly coating the surface with the back of a spoon, decorate with the sliced ginger in syrup.

Cover with cling film and set aside to cool before cutting into squares.

The recipe says that these keep well for several days in a tin, but in my house they disappear in a moment, I hope you enjoy them.



Dave Beagley

Solution in Article 35.


Artwork: Paul Swailes



In August we advised that a new returnable breakages deposit was being expanded to cover the issue of rubbish being left behind, as often seems to happen after a large event. We have had incidents with food waste, bottles, drinks cans and large quantities of cardboard being left behind and we have no facilities for this kind of waste disposal. In future, for larger events, mostly but not exclusively parties and weddings, the breakages deposit will be £50, payable in advance. For children's parties it will be £15.

These deposits will not be refunded if the hall is left in a mess and/or rubbish is left behind.

Remember these changes will not affect regular users with their week by week events, although the new terms will apply if a regular user wishes to hold a one-off event.


Like last year, we shall not be holding a Christmas card exchange service this December given a decline in the use of it in recent years. We are sorry if this causes any inconvenience. Some people may wish to place season's greetings in the village newsletter instead.


We look forward to the special event being held in the church on Friday, 4th November - it may be that this is sold out by the time this newsletter goes to print, but if not then please remember that it is a joint fund raiser for the Church and the Manor Hall. Tickets on sale at the Shop. Many thanks to Judith Adam and Stuart Neale for their work in organising this event.


As stated in the August Newsletter, the work to implement our structural engineer's recommendations to repair and stabilise the old [medieval] roof above the Men's Institute is now out to tender. At present we can't say exactly when this work will start on site but it should take place this coming winter. In order to comply with the planning permission obtained, we have had to agree a very detailed archaeological Written Scheme of Investigation for this work with North Devon Council. We can say, however, that the proposed work will accord with SPAB principles [Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings], that is to be non-destructive.


In the June Newsletter, we summarised the proposal to convert the Manor Hall Trust into a new type of charity knwn as a Charitable Incorporated Organisation or CIO. This topic has been the subject of public discussion back in June, and we are pleased to say our new CIO is now registered as a charity with the Charity Commission, Charity No.1169090. As advised previously, in the new CIO constitution we have also replicated the existing practices for appointing Hall Committee Members - that is electing some committee members at the AGM, with others being nominated by key user groups, in the same way as first established in the original 1947 conveyance of the Hall. The nominating organisations are the same, that is the Parish Council, the Primary School, Berrynarbor Pre-School, the Men's Institute and the Parochial Church Council. However, to start with, the CIO will operate with the existing Trustees, i.e. the current committee members.

As the new CIO will effectively merge with the current charity, it will keep the same name, the Manor Hall Trust. We now need to complete the necessary legal documentation with the Parish Council.

Manor Hall Management Committee



On free speech
"Having the right to say something is not the same as its being right to say it."
G.K. Chesterton



Our son Andrew was a very fine sportsman and excelled in many disciplines, including swimming, athletics, mountain bike racing and mountaineering.

In January 1991, aged just 16, he contracted salmonella and his condition deteriorated so badly an ambulance was called and [as we found out later] he sadly died in the ambulance as it was passing Ilfracombe Swimming Club on the way to the North Devon Hospital.

A special trophy was requested by Ilfracombe College [as it was then] in memory of Andrew's achievements which is presented annually to any pupil who has achieved sporting excellence and sportsmanship throughout the year.

A few days ago, June Marangone mentioned to me in passing that a boy from Berrynarbor had won Andrew's Trophy, and I am delighted and proud that this special award has really come home to Berrynarbor!

This year's winner is Finley Ball who has and continues to achieve sporting excellence in a wide range of disciplines - swimming, athletics and football. He is a member of the Surf Life Saving team at Woolacombe and a member of Ilfracombe Football Club. However, it is cross-country running in which he really excels winning both the North Devon Cross Country League and North Devon Schools competitions. As a result of these achievement he was selected to run for Devon in the English Schools Cross Country event. Finley also ran in the London Mini Marathon coming a respectable 29th - well up in the field!



Finley is very proud to have won Andrew's trophy, especially in view of Andrew's sporting achievements at County and National level. The photographs show Andrew sitting on top of the second highest mountain in the Pyrenees, having climbed it with a group of other students who formed he North Devon Pyrenees Expedition in 1990, and Finley holding the Andrew Neale Trophy.

Stuart Neale



Recently I was reading a smallholding magazine and this article regarding profit from hedgerows, caught my eye. It suggested planting a few damsons instead of blackthorn and Kentish cobnuts or filberts instead of the common hazel as both of these would be beneficial to wildlife, and could be a small cash crop at any farmers' market, without using any paddock space or pasture.

This made me remember our Sunday family walks in the '50's around the lanes, fields and woods of Berrynarbor. Someone would always carry a bowl or bag to bring home our foraged gatherings. On one occasion we picked a whole pudding basin full of wild strawberries on the road to Berrydown, not far from where we lived. On arriving home these were soon "polished off" with the cream from the top of scolded milk from Barton Farm and, of course, a sprinkle of sugar! I am sure this is when my love of foraging began!

My grandmother was a very resourceful woman, she could still put some form of greens on a dinner plate even after all the winter cabbage and collards had finished. Collards being spring green type growths that come from the cross split stumps left in the ground. but before the summer cabbage was ready.

She would, on rare occasions, armed only with an old motorbike gauntlet, pick young nettle tops down the lane! These are similar to spinach, but stronger and darker. These were quickly boiled and strained, salt and pepper added, finished off with a knob of butter and gran's favourite spice, a hint of nutmeg, which she could produce from her pinny pocket quicker than Roy Rogers could draw his six shooter!

Gran also introduced us to small young dandelion leaves. I personally thought they were a little bitter, but in a salad sandwich with salad cream etc. they were quite good!

On visiting Normandy a few years ago. there, in a supermarket, were pale forced dandelion leaves 2.80 euros a bunch!

Blackberries [Bramble]

Almost everyone has picked and eaten these berries. The small red and part ripe ones can be made into good wine, while the plump, larger berries can be used in many ways. Try blackberry liquor using a similar recipe for sloe gin, but with a little less sugar. Freeze the required amount of berries before adding to gin or vodka in a Kilner jar, gently agitate weekly for the first month, then forget them for the next three or more, then carefully strain and decant.

Folklore tells us that after Michaelmas Day the Devil has spoiled the berries and his little helpers have put maggots in them just for fun!


Hazel and sweet chestnuts thrive in Berrynarbor. We kids used to play and collect hazelnuts from a wooded goyle known as Sherry-Brockholes, not far from Ruggaton Farm. Sweet chestnuts seemed to favour Sterridge Valley from Woolscott Cleave right down to the Old Rectory.

Collect both nuts when they are brown and ready to come free from their husks. Chestnuts are best rolled under foot to remove them from their spiny husks. Store them both in old onion sacks, hung from a beam in a cool and airy place.

In medieval times, before the potato had arrived, chestnuts were used very much in the staple diet, even ground and added to bread flour.

Mushrooms and Fungi

The golden rule with these is, if you cannot identify them, do not pick or eat them, therefore the three I have chosen to mention can be found in supermarkets when in season. The field mushroom is the same species that you see in the supermarket, but has much more flavour. They prefer a sloping field that faces south, near the top or ridge, especially if stock has been present in the last few years. Cropping season is August to October.

Oyster mushroom clumps can be found on dying deciduous tree trunks in woodland. The top cap can be a little darker than the supermarket variety. It is generally safe to say that any fungi growing from a tree trunk above chest high are safe to eat, although some can be tough and unpalatable.

The chantarelle or girolles are a wonderful, medium sized funnel shaped mushroom, completely egg yolk yellow and a joy to find and eat! They can be found growing through the moss at the base of beech hedges and trees in dappled light. Cropping season is May to November.

They need to be gently fried in garlic butter with salt and pepper then add some milk and simmer until it reduces.

It is said that even the grumpiest French chef will smile when he sees chantarelles!


Ray Thorne


Illustrated by: Paul Swailes


Artwork: Helen Weedon


One aspect of my job role in supporting adults with mental health problems is to receive telephone calls on my allocated duty days. The enquiries vary enormously. It may be a patient requesting an earlier appointment with their care co-ordinator or a third party expressing concern about someone they have just visited. Some calls. on the other hand, are from people in crisis which, more often than not, have resulted from an occurrence that triggered their sadness, anxiety or anger to spiral out of control. In some cases, these uncontrollable feelings can lead to a desire to carry out a harmful reaction either to their environment, to other people or to themselves.

Before I go any further, I must emphasis my greatest respect for skilled workers, both in an employed and voluntary capacity, who receive such calls without any prior knowledge of the person on the other end of the line. For even if I have not dealt with them personally, they will at least be known to our service. This allows me the luxury to bring up their details on my computer screen and, when they are in crisis, refer to their coping strategies. These strategies are fluid and regarded as work in progress, the person developing in time more effective ways of coping. Interestingly, a new technique is being introduced and is one that many of our patients are finding beneficial.

It is a form of therapy about which even I as a professional was at first sceptical - just a previous therapy regurgitated in a modern format; another gimmick from America; an opportunity for someone to make a few bucks selling their books, CDs and DVDs. Of this latter point I felt I even had proof, two friends having bought CDs and finding them ineffective. Mindfulness, huh . . . just wait until I speak to that mental health OT who runs the group.

So I did. She said that ideally people should not be left to their own devices; for it to be effective, people need guidance and support. But what of my other points? In response, she said there was scientific evidence, that it was based upon Buddhist teachings from two thousand years ago and that it had comparisons with the various principles and practices of all religions. Hmm . . .

Stripping away all its layers it seems that Mindfulness, in its simplest form, is about living in the present moment - a point highlighted in my previous article about all the appointments and schedules that seem to dictate our modern lifestyle. That's not to say, of course, that we can stop the march of time. But do we have to live by the clock? For as William Henry Davies wrote in his poem, Leisure. 'What is this life if, full of care, we have no time to stop and stare.'

It is his last three words that are the key. After all, it is one thing strolling through an autumnal woodland admiring the various shades of gold. but it is another to make a conscious effort to stop in your tracks and not only stare but also to listen intently and to inhale the aromas; to study the view furthest away from you, the area close at hand and the detail above and below you. Of all these directions, looking downwards can feel the most unnatural. Yet you will be surprised what there is to see, especially at this time of year when the woodland floor is resplendent in fungal colours and shapes. But it can also be beneficial to look at the ground surrounding your feet, for you will discover autumn leaves all at their unique stages of decomposition. Only this morning, whilst walking our three Labradors through Weston Woods, I glimpsed a sycamore leaf on the path undergoing its annual decay. Having picked it up, I brought it home and examined it whilst supping my milky coffee. Yes, I know it seems a bizarre thing to do. Yet the more I studied the leaf, the more beautiful it became.

Typically palmate in shape and having five pointed lobes, this particular leaf was roughly the size of a young teenager's hand, slightly outstretched. The main lobe, pointing directly at twelve o'clock, was around three inches in width across the centre with the other four lobes decreasing at various rates with the lobe pointing southwest, have a width of just over an inch. The outline of the leaf displayed two distinct edging patterns, one having a jagged edge the other an irregular, ripped appearance. From its base, five veins curved upwards and then through the centre of their allotted lobe. Some lobes had further veins that were quite distinct, leading off alternately from the central vein. Mustard yellow dominated the leaf, covering most of the top lobe and its right hand neighbour. A coffee cream shade followed the contours of the main lobe's central vein with the side veins also slightly covered, portraying milk chocolate fingers. Its neighbouring lobe, meanwhile, could still boast green areas whilst owning two black patches, one the shape of Africa the other Lundy. Africa also had four dark islands surrounding it, three on its eastern flank and one close to its south-western coastline. Part of this lobe's edging was also dull grey as if tinged by a smouldering fire.

The two lower lobes also contained green; had I been an artist, it would seem as though I had flicked a brush full of parakeet green paint over the south-eastern lobe whilst its opposite number had a fresher shade of lime green. Five pointed lobes on one leaf, each boasting a unique pattern.

But what, I hear you ask, of those people who are at the other end of that telephone line? For I can hardly advise them to get in their car or catch the next bus and head out to the Mendips in order to divert their thoughts and take in their rural surroundings. After all, if they are in an emotional crisis how can what I have just described be applicable to their situation? As ever, I will leave that until next time.

Steve McCarthy

I should like to dedicate this article to my dear cousin Glenis. A fellow author, she gave me great encouragement when I considered writing a book about the Cairn. "Go for it, Steve," she said. "If anybody can describe a leaf you can!"




The new school year is well under way and it has been a busy few weeks. Mrs. Wellings and her team have been enjoying getting to know the 13 little ones who have started in our Reception class this term.

Throughout the rest of the school the children have been settling in to their new classes and taking on different responsibilities. For example, it's great to see the older ones taking care of younger children at dinner times - confirming their meal choices, helping them make a good selection from the fruit bar and then cutting up and serving the fruit and sitting alongside those who need help.

The weather in the first week of term was very changeable so Classes 3 and 4 had to postpone their camping trips until the second week when the forecast was for exceptionally good weather. Class 4 had a Wild Night Out at Stowford Farm Meadows and Class 3 camped out at Watermouth Cove.

As some of the children were busy with their camps we delayed our celebration of Roald Dahl's 100th until Tuesday 20th September. The children were invited to dress up as a character from one of Roald Dahl's books. [See opposite] The dinner menu choices for the day were BFG ears with snozcumber gravy, No Bird Pie, Mr. Twits' Beard Soup, James and the Giant Peaches and Willy Wonka's Chocolate Milk. The children were also encouraged to join in a book swap by donating one they had enjoyed reading in exchange for a book someone else had donated.


The ever popular Football Club, run by Rosie Smith, started up again in the week after the camp outs, and Sarah Peach started a four-week Cooking Club for children in Class 4.

The School Harvest Festival was held at the end of September. The children enjoyed singing their favourite harvest songs.

On behalf of our partner school, West Down, we should like to thank all of you who helped support their Raising the Roof Appeal following the theft of lead from their school roof.

Sue Carey - Head Teacher




Welcome back to preschool. We hope you all had an enjoyable summer break and return fit and well for a busy autumn term. We should like to welcome all our new children and their families to our Pre-school and hope they enjoy their learning journey with us.

Our opening times are 8.30 a.m. to 4.00 p.m. Monday to Friday. We are flexible and have a range of session times to meet your needs.

Sessions 8.30 a.m. or 9.00 a.m. - 12.00 noon AM
12.00 noon - 3.00/3.30 or 4.00 p.m. PM
8.30 a.m. or 9.00 a.m. -3.00/3.30 or 4.00 p.m. ALL DAY

We are Ofsted registered and in receipt of the 2gether scheme and Early Years Entitlement. We provide care and education for young children between the ages of 2 and 5.

Please visit us or call 07807 0903644 or email preschoolberrynarbor@gmail.com for additional information.

Topics of learning
We are starting this term with a settling in period and learning about ourselves and our families. We shall be learning our pre-school rules, what we can and can't do as well as how to stay safe. We plan to work around stories such as The little Red Hen, The Gruffalo and Going on a bear hunt.

With parent support we hope to run a music work shop in readiness for a short performance towards the end of term to celebrate the Christmas season.

Outside we'll learn about the change of season going from summer into autumn; looking at leaves changing colour and going on nature walks to explore out environment as well as harvesting our runner beans, tomatoes and continuing to take care of our pumpkin.

A note from the committee - We are looking for anyone who would be willing to join our committee. Without a committee the Pre-school would not be able to run and we are therefore seeking people who would be committed to supporting the

Pre-school in a voluntary role and to undertake a DBS check. Please ask a committee member or a member of staff for further information if you are interested.

Following the committee meeting on the 19th September, we'll be holding our AGM on Monday 3rd October 2016 in Pre-school at 7.30 p.m. when all parents or carers should attend to ensure the continued provision of the Pre-school and elect a new committee.

Without your input or support Pre-school cannot open or provide a service.

Events - Charlotte will be running a Macmillan Coffee Morning in the Manor Hall from 9.00 a.m. to 1.00 p.m. on Friday 30th September 2016. This could be an opportunity to meet new families as well as raise money for a very worthy cause. Any donations of cakes or biscuits would also be appreciated.

Fundraising - Thank you to all who attended the Hog Roast at South Lee Farm on in July. A great evening was had by all and the weather was good. £750.00 has been donated to Pre-school to purchase some new resources for our children. A big THANK YOU goes to all who helped and supported this annual event.

Clothes recycling - We shall be fundraising this way again and will confirm the date as soon as Bag2School can arrange a collection date. Keep your eyes open for posters and start sorting out your wardrobes and drawers for any unwanted clothes.

Used ink cartridges - We are collecting used ink cartridges -exclusions apply so please see the box at Pre-school. We can get as much as £1 per ink cartridge! So if you have any used ink cartridges that are accepted, please place them in the box at Pre-school. We are also registered to accept LaserJet ink cartridges, so if you use them in your work place, we should be grateful to recycle them and fundraise at the same time.

Please tell your friends and family about our two recycling schemes, to raising funds for preschool.

Thank you from all the staff at preschool.

Sue, Karen and Charlotte





Berrynarbor Craft and Art Group


The Craft and Art Group are arranging a Display of Work, showcasing art, embroidery, knitting, beading, lace-making, patchwork, weaving, etc., to be held in the Manor Hall during the last week of October.

It will open on Tuesday, 25th October and run daily through to Friday, 28th, from 10.00 a.m. to 12.30 p.m. and 2.00 to 4.30 p.m., and on Saturday, 29th just from 10.00 a.m. to 12.30 p.m.

Entry is £3.00 to include light refreshments, coffee, tea and cakes, there will be a raffle. Some of the items may be for sale.

For those not able to visit during the weekdays, there will be an evening session on Friday [25th] from 7.00 to 9.00 p.m. with a glass of wine and nibbles.

Proceeds will go toward the refurbishment of the Manor Hall.

Please make a note of the dates and come along to support not only the Manor Hall but the Craft Group, and encourage your family, friends and visitors to do likewise.

We look forward to seeing you.



will be open at the week-ends during October. The Garden, Plant Sales and Tea Room will be open from 11.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Check the website www.marwoodhillgarden.co.uk for other October events. The Gardens close on 31st October and reopen mid-March 2017.

Don't forget that a wide variety of gifts can be found in the Gift Shop section of the Tea Room as well as gift vouchers for plants, cream teas and season tickets - excellent and unusual gifts for Christmas!

There is always something to see in the Gardens, currently sporting autumnal plants and colours.



Although I said I was not going to sell plants this year, I had so many that I put them out for a few weeks. I was so pleased to be able to take £250 in to the Children's Hospice at Fremington, where I am known as the Plant Lady!

As the Hospice is celebrating its 25th Anniversary, they have been selling butterflies [like the poppies at the Tower] which are to remain in their garden until October, when they will be posted to their owners. They cost £15 each and are lovely, so I treated myself and in so doing helped the Hospice which I know does such wonderful work.

Thank you yet again to the many villagers and holiday makers for buying plants. Although my donation was so much smaller this year, it is such a pleasure to know that it is a help, even in a small way, and is appreciated so much.

Thank you.

Margaret [Walls]

PS One of the dads who has been helped by the Hospice said:

    "Spending time at the hospice gives us the ability to be a parent. Our daily life is consumed with suctioning, medications, catheterising, repositioning, worry that our child will not come out of the next big seizure. The time we spend at the hospice enabled us to be family and a mummy and daddy to all three of our children. We are able to have fun as a family all in the comforting knowledge that our child is receiving the best possible care."



These beautiful butterflies will only be available until the end of September, that is just two days following the circulation of this Newsletter. So, help the Hospice and

Order yours today!

Your butterfly will become part of this display in the garden of your local Children's Hospice South West until the end of September 2016. All butterflies will be posted during October 2016, in a beautiful commemorative box with a very special keepsake certificate. Each butterfly costs just £15 including postage and packaging.

Go to www.chsw.org.uk/25th-anniversary/butterfly and order now!




The Parish Council has had a busy year dealing with various issues within the parish. The Fountain at Sawmills has been repaired and the defunct Berry Down phone box is now in place next to the shop. A new Parish Council notice board will soon be going up on the wall of the public lavatories next to the post box in the car park. The old notice board will also remain in use. The new dog run area has garnered many thanks from dog owners in the village and the new football nets and posts now mean that the village is a step closer to the creation of a Berrynarbor Junior Football team. The existing scramble down short cut path that had been causing considerable erosion to the bank for some years has been made safe by the provision of a proper path but vehicle, pushchair and disabled access is still by the usual existing route at the other end of the field. The replacement benches with backs should provide a welcome place to rest while watching others be more active!

Looking to the rest of the year, the Parish Council will be considering how it can improve and benefit the community.

Councillors have spent the last few months looking at the finances and gathering advice from various associations that support and advise the parish Councils in their work.

Parish Councils are required to ensure that its funds are used to

  • provide community buildings
  • support local community groups
  • work with residents on local issues
  • provide and support sports and recreation grounds
  • promote and market the area for tourism
  • provide and support entertainment and arts
  • provide and maintain open spaces and biodiversity
  • provide allotments if required

It is not good practice for a Parish Council to keep large sums of money it its bank account for no reason, but it must ensure that a reserve is kept for unforeseen circumstances and that running costs can be met at all times. The Council has accrued a substantial amount of money over the past years and, while £10,000 has been earmarked for the refurbishment of the Manor Hall and £5,000 has been agreed as the Council's minimum reserve level, it has been noted that the Council should be using the monies saved for the benefit of the Parish.

It is therefore important for the Parish Council to identify areas that need improvement within the parish, to balance the monies spent on all ages and sectors of the community and to ensure that the work is carried out to a sufficient quality.

There are various grants and funds we shall be accessing to help finance certain projects that we have on our 'wish list' - these include a refurbishment of the lavatories, enhancement of the Barton lane entrance

to the village, new village signs and planters [working in conjunction with Berry in Bloom] and we welcome any suggestions from parishioners to add onto the list. Some of these are priorities and others are things we can, at present, only wish for!

The Parish Council is tentatively looking at Neighbourhood Plans and if it decides to move forward with this project a public meeting will be held with the village in due course. It involves a considerable amount of time and work and the Council is discussing its merits at the moment. We shall keep you updated.

A lavatory refurbishment is part of our long term plan, in the meantime a deep cleanse and a repaint will be carried out shortly.

Tenders are invited for the internal painting of the public lavatories. Apply to the Clerk Vicki_2@hotmail.co.uk

Sian Barten - Vice-Chairman

Berrynarbor Parish Council
Adam Stanbury [Chairman] 882252

Gemma Bacon [883341]
Jenny Beer [jen.beer@btinternet.com]
Julia Fairchild [882783]
Denny Reynolds [inskip828@btinternet.com]
Sian Barten [882222]
Adrian Coppin [882647]
David Kennedy [07791 781283]
Clare White [882959]

Victoria Woodhouse - Parish Clerk - [vicki_2@hotmail.co.uk]

County Councillor - Andrea Davis [883865]
District Councillors - Yvette Gubb [882364], John Lovering [john.lovering@northdevon.gov.uk]

Snow Warden - Clive Richards [883406]


Artwork: Angela Bartlett


Jean and Fred North were now retired and had just moved into a two- down three-up semi-detached house in Llandrewdrig just north of Aberystwyth in Wales.

The house was in good decorative order and did not need painting inside or out. The back garden had a nice lawn and beyond that a little vegetable plot.

However, the one thing they had always wanted was a fish pond.

"Well," said Fred, "Where do you think I should dig the hole for our fish pond and what shape?" he asked.

"How about down near the bottom of the lawn," Joan replied.

"OK, I'll start tomorrow," said Fred and the next day made an early start.

He carefully removed the turf from an area of about seven foot by four and put it on one side thinking he might use it elsewhere.

"This is a heavy soil" he thought and by lunch time had only gone down about a foot.

He resumed his dig in the afternoon and shortly his neighbour, Mr. Robinson, leant over the fence and said, "I'm your new neighbour, nice to meet you." They chatted for a while and got along well.

As he had not got his pond deep enough, Fred resumed the next day.

"Phew! It's hard work," Fred said to himself and he stopped for a rest and mopped his brow. Later, skimming his spade over the surface, he exclaimed "Hello, what's this?" as he gently scraped away it turned out to be a bone.

"Oh, my goodness," he though, "It looks like a human bone!"

He took a hand trowel and gradually he revealed a complete skeleton. What on earth was he to do? He ran indoors to tell Jean who was aghast at what he told her.

After a good strong cup of tea and a lot of pondering, they decided to tell the police. It was not long before they heard the wailing of a police car and a sergeant and constable arrived.

After seeing the hole with the bones in it, the police asked, "How long have you lived here?" Jean and Fred assured them that they had only just moved in and knew nothing of what had been found.

"Never the less, we should like your passport just to be on the safe side, though you are not suspects," the sergeant remarked.

It was only a short time before the police erected a tent around the hole and told Jean and Fred that the bones would be removed for forensic tests. In due course this was done.

A day or two later Mr. Robinson was there to have a chat over the fence and Fred explained what had happened and asked him if he had any ideas on the matter.

"Well, give me a while to think about it," he said.

Some time later the police called and suggested that they all sit down to hear what they had to say. The sergeant cleared his throat and started to explain that the skeleton had now been examined by their department dealing with such matters and in fact the bones were not those of a human but were, in fact, those of an orangutan.

"So, there won't be any charges and here are your passports back."

Fred and Jean gave sighs of relieve but were told by the police that they were still interested in how the bones got there. "We shall continue our enquiries", the constable remarked.

The next day Fred was in the garden, this time filling in the hole as he and Jean had decided in view of what had happened that they didn't want a pond any more.

Once again Mr. Robinson popped up over the fence for his usual chat. "Why not ask the oldest man in the village? His name is Mr. Clegg and he lived at No. 3 Church Street. He is very with it despite his age, so go on there's nothing to lose."

So the next day Fred made off to No. 3 and was invited in.

"Ah!" Clegg smiled, "I think I have the answer. There was a Mr. Cranham who had a zoo near here many years ago. The zoo never really took off and eventually went bust. However, Mr. Cranham was very fond of an orangutan called James and after the zoo closed, he took James back to his home, now yours, to keep in an enclosure for the rest of his days. James must have died and from what you have told me been buried in what is now your garden!

"Well I never," gasped Fred, "The police will be interested to know this." As Fred left, he could hear Clegg muttering, "And so will

Mr. Robinson, the old know it all!"

Illustrated by: Paul Swailes

Tony Beauclerk - Stowmarket


Flu and You
Combe Coastal Practice

Please come to the surgery for your flu vaccination.

We offer this vaccination to the following groups:

  • Patients aged 65 or over or

Patients aged who are under 65 with any of the following problems:

  • Asthma or another chronic chest complaint.
  • Heart problems
  • Diabetes
  • Kidney disease
  • Liver Disease
  • Neurological Disease
  • A pregnant woman
  • A carer
  • If you suffer from a serious illness and have a reduced ability to fight infection

For patients who are at risk the best action is to have a flu vaccination every year, this year you may receive a personalised text message or telephone call promoting the service, just follow the instructions given in your message.

We are not sending out letters to all patients to save on costs and paper but please give us a call or book online for your vaccination.

You can either telephone the surgery, after 11.00 am [to avoid the busiest times] and ask our team for an appointment at one of our special flu clinics.

We have various dates and times for clinics - give the surgery a call and speak to our reception team to book now!

We shall also be holding clinics especially for children, ask our team about these dates.

If you are unable to leave your home for medical reasons we can arrange for a District Nurse to administer your flu vaccination at home.

Please ring the surgery numbers below to arrange your appointment.

Surgeries can be contacted by telephone on the following numbers

Ilfracombe: 01271 863119 or 01271 863840 - Combe Martin: 01271 882406 - Woolacombe: 01271 870276



A Walk Through History

I'd never been to Tolpuddle so when I saw, in the local paper, that a coach was going from Barnstaple, it seemed an ideal opportunity. The village, six miles east of Dorchester, is of course famous for the Tolpuddle Martyrs, the six agricultural workers who in 1834 were sentenced to seven years' transportation to Australia. In 1830, the farm workers' wage had been nine shillings a week. This was reduced to eight shillings and then in 1833 to seven.

When in 1834 the men were threatened with a further reduction to six shillings a week, they tried to negotiate with their employers, under the leadership of George Loveless and with the vicar acting as an intermediary. Promises were made but not kept so the men formed a Friendly Society of Agricultural Labourers to further their cause.

A local magistrate sought guidance from the Home Secretary, Lord Melbourne [1], and the six men were arrested and imprisoned at Dorchester. At the Assizes they were tried under the Mutiny Act of 1797, charged with administering an illegal oath. But their real offence was uniting to defend their livelihoods. The jury was made up of local farmers and the sentence of seven years in the penal colonies of Australia provoked a great outcry. There were protests and demonstrations in their support and a petition with a quarter of a million signatures. Eventually, the Tolpuddle Martyrs won free pardons and returned home after serving less than half of their sentences.

I started my walk at the western end of the village where in 1934, a hundred years after the notorious trial, a row of six cottages was built in memory of the Martyrs. It is a long, attractive building in the Arts and Crafts style with a series of gables along the front and between them deep roofs with a dozen dormer windows. It is set back from the main road by a green swath and incorporates a museum. [2]

Next I headed for St. John's church where in the churchyard studded with self-heal and ladies' bedstraw, can be found James Hammett's grave. [3 and 4] He was the only one of the six Martyrs to settle in Tolpuddle on his return from transportation. In 1934 a headstone carved by Eric Gill was added to the grave. In the centre of the village is a three-hundred-year old sycamore known at The Martyrs' Tree, under which the men gathered for some of their meetings. [5]

Further along on the opposite side of the road is Thomas Stanfield's cottage where the friendly society met - a neat white cottage typical of the village. His son John was also one of the six Martyrs. [6] George Loveless and his brother James [another Martyr] were both Methodist lay preachers and at the eastern end of the village is the Methodist Chapel with its elaborate memorial arch. But before that, lies a much more recent addition to the village. About ten years ago, after an acre of land had been set aside for use as public open space, a group of villagers under the acronym TOSCA [Tolpuddle Open Space] created a picnic area, adventure playground, orchard and wild flower meadows. [7]

Gatekeepers and small skipper butterflies homed in on the field scabious, meadow cranesbills, knapweed and ox-eye daisies. There are gnarled old apple trees, red current and spindle bushes. The restored village pump stands under a huge bay tree.

In 1630 sluices and weirs had been constructed to manage water from the chalk springs and River Piddle and to produce there these water meadows. And now in the twenty-first century thanks to TOSCA's thoughtful landscaping they provide a delightful feature. [8]


Should you ever find yourself in this part of Dorset, I would recommend a walk through this interesting village.


Illustatrated by: Paul Swailes

Sue H



[Late 1600's - early 1700's]

Chambercombe Manor

[Otherwise Kate Oatway]

It was a pleasant, sunny day [yes, we had one or two this summer!] when we decided to take a visitor to Chambercombe Manor. It was some years since our last visit, yet the Manor had lost none of its charm.

In parts dating back to the 11th century - it is mentioned in the Domesday Book - this dwelling is reputed to be the most haunted house in the United Kingdom! A host of phenomena have been noted over the years: the swinging pendulum of a clock without its weights, spinning of curtain poles, unexplained rocking of a baby's crib, and many other things.

The Champernon family owned it from around 1160 until the early 16th century when Henry, Duke of Suffolk and father of Lady Jane Grey, became the owner. There passed many years during which it lost its prowess as a Manor House and became a farm - and here begins the story of Kate Oatway.

"It was a warm sunny afternoon in the 'sixties of the last century . . . even the fowls were quiet and the farm dogs lay basking in the sun" starts the official guide book's opening of the legend of The Haunted Room - later detailed as 1865 - that tells the story of a mysterious discovery.

On that day the tenant farmer, Jan, was carrying out repairs to the thatched roof when he noticed for the first time the outline of a window to a room he didn't know about. Mystified, he searched inside the house and realised that there must be a secret room between what is now called 'Lady Jane Grey's' room and the next room. He and his wife managed to break through the wall. The air was musty, but lighting a candle they could see in the dimly lit chamber, the remains of a magnificent tapestry on the walls, ashes from a wood fire in the grate and in the centre a four-poster bed made of black oak and enveloped in dusty curtains. Somewhat hesitatingly, they pulled these aside to find laid out on the bedspread and yellow with age, a skeleton, its bony fingers clutching the coverlet!

It was sometime before the authorities decided that the skeleton was that of a young woman, but who she was and how she died was not discovered. However, rumour had it that the ghost who subsequently haunted Chambercombe Manor was that of Kate Oatway, whose father William Oatway, took tenancy of the Manor in 1695. Her grandfather, Alexander, was a rich landowner who was a notorious wrecker of ships. He would go out at night with a band of villains waving lanterns from the shore in the hopes of luring ships onto this treacherous coastline. They would then murder the crew and any passengers, and plunder the wreck. The booty could then be taken through the secret smugglers passage from Hele Beach back to the Manor.

William, however, was much more law abiding. He married a beautiful Spanish lady whom he had saved from one of his father's wrecking expeditions. He would have loved to buy Chambercombe Manor, but didn't have the money, so leased the property. In time, they produced a daughter whom they christened Katherine, who inherited her mother's good looks and grew into a vivacious young woman.

Kate met and fell for an Irishman, Captain Wallace, and after their marriage they decided to live in Dublin. A tearful Kate said goodbye to her parents, vowing to return one day to visit them.

One night, sometime later, during a ferocious storm, William went down to the beach to help out with a wrecked ship. Suddenly, during a lull in the howling gale, he heard a moan from nearby rocks and discovered a young woman, badly beaten and bloodied from being dashed against the rocks. He carried her back to the Manor where he and his wife did their best to save her, but her injuries were so many that she died that night. They searched her body hoping to find out her identity and came upon a money purse strapped around her waist. On opening it, there was so much gold and jewellery that with shaking hands, William realised that he could buy his beloved manor - and so took the purse off the body.

Next day, a shipping agent called at the Manor, asking if they had seen a lady passenger missing from the ship. William, scared that he would be robbed of his new wealth if he said anything, denied having seen her. He was then asked to keep an eye on the coastline in case the body, that of a lady called Mrs Katherine Wallace, should be washed up.

William was horrified. He had robbed his own daughter! He promptly walled up her body in what was to become the secret chamber and he and his wife left Chambercombe Manor, never to return.


And so, if you visit Chambercombe Manor on a dull day, and hear ghostly footsteps along the corridors, or hear a low moaning from the secret chamber, or pass through a cold spot within the house, don't be alarmed, they may have nothing to do with Kate! There have also been sightings of two little girls in an upstairs window, a ghostly figure dressed in white by the pond outside the cafe, and a friendly male ghost who tries to proposition the ladies.

But it's a shame to spoil a good legend!

By the way, you still have time to go to Chambercombe this year until October 28th. I'd recommend you take a guided tour [Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays] as it's worth the extra £4. You are allowed to take photographs inside the house and who knows what you may find on your camera?

PP of DC





2nd St Peter's Church: 11.00 a.m. Harvest Festival
5th St. Peter's Church: Harvest Supper, Manor Hall, 6.30 p.m.
9th St. Peter's Church: 11.00 a.m. Holy Communion
11th Parish Council Meeting, Manor Hall, 7.00 p.m.
16th St. Peter's Church: 11.00 a.m. Songs of Praise
17th to 28th: Primary School - Half Term
19th Wine Circle, 8.00 p.m., Manor Hall - Bray Valley Wines
23rd St. Peter's Church: 11.00 a.m. Installation of Michael Rogers
24th to 28th inc. Ilfracombe Academy - Half Term
25th Mobile Library in Village from 11.40 a.m.
to Friday 28th: Craft and Art Display, Manor Hall, daily 10.00 a.m.to 12.30 p.m. and 2.00 to 4.30 p.m.
28th Craft and Art Display, Manor Hall, 7.00 to 9.00 p.m.
29th Craft and Art Display, Manor Hall, 10.00 a.m. to 12.30 p.m.
30th Summer Time Ends - Clocks go back one hour at 1.00 a.m.
St. Peter's Church: 11.00 a.m. Joint Service with Combe Martin.
4th St. Peter's Church: Military Wives Choir, 7.30 p.m.
8th Parish Council Meeting, Manor Hall, 7.00 p.m.
11th Soup & Pudding Evening, Kentisbury Village Hall, 7.00 p.m.
13th St. Peter's Church: Remembrance Sunday, 10.45 a.m.
16th Wine Circle, 8.00 p.m. Manor Hall
22nd Mobile Library in Village from 11.40 a.m.

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]
3rd: Craft Art Group, 9.30 a.m.
WednesdaysPilates Body Workout, 9.00 a.m. School p.m.
ThursdaysWatercolour Painting 10.00 a.m. [10 week terms]
FridaysToddlers Soft Play and Activity a.m.
Primary School p.m.
Penn Curzon RoomPre-School: Daily - Term time only
Breakfast Club ages 2-11, Daily 8.00-9.00 a.m.
Morning Session: 8.30 - 12.00 or 1.00 p.m.
Afternoon Session: 12.00 to 3.00 or 4.00 p.m.
All Day: 8.30 a.m. to 4.00 p.m.
Mobile Library
Village Shop: 11.40-12.10 p.m. Sterridge Valley: 12.25-12.55 p.m.

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







Although it may seem rather early to be thinking about Christmas, cards are already on sale but fortunately no advertising on the television as yet! However, it won't be too long!

Sending your seasonal greetings to friends and neighbours here in the village through the Newsletter has become both traditional and popular, 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 and by Wednesday, 9th November at the latest, please.

After covering the costs 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 with that tradition as well!


Artwork: Angela Bartlett


Berrynarbor Church and Village

For this month I have chosen an upright view of St. Peter's Church and part of the village.

This view was taken by Thirken Photographer Berrynarbor around 1920. What I find very interesting is the fact that a door can be seen to the left of the Penn-Curzron Room as well as a door shown on the right. I wonder if the door on the right gave entrance only to the stair to the first floor room which we know as the Men's Institute Room [Snooker].

The roof of Tower Cottage can be seen, complete with its tall chimney, just below the church tower. A small group of people, including children, can just be seen standing at the bottom of the church steps, outside the bus shelter.

In the centre the roof of what was Claude Richards cottage and dairy [now Dunchideock] can just be seen, together with the three cottages just to the right. In the foreground is the roof of Briar Cottage, at one time our post office.

Tom Bartlett
Tower Cottage, September 2016
e-mail: tomandinge40@gmail.com