Edition 22 - February 1993

Artwork by: Debbie Cook

Artwork: Judie Weedon


Thank you, Debbie, for another beautiful cover illustration - the fourth in a series of wild animals, squirrel, fox, badger and now the otter.

A word on otters: They are water-dwelling carnivores, related to weasels, and there are several species, all very much alike. They have slim bodies and short legs and grow to a length, including their tails, of up to six and a half feet. The head is broad and flattened with the ears almost hidden in their sleek brown fur. They are wonderful swimmers and catch most of their food in the water, which includes eels, crayfish, frogs and small mammals. They will often cover some distance on land whilst frequently moving from one lake or river to another. Talking of otters. .

Judie - Ed



Tarka the Otter Henry Williamson [1895-1977]

"This story of an otter is as true as long observation and keen eyesight could make it. It lets you live with Tarka and see through his eyes the wild life of that stretch of Devon country which runs from Dartmoor to the sea, between the rivers Torridge and Taw. With a good map you can follow almost every step of the story, every twist and turn of the rivers and the sandy stretches at the estuary. "

Rinq of Bright Water Gavin Maxwell [1914-1945]

The delightful story of Mijbal and Edal and the other animals that shared Gavin Maxwell's life in a lonely cottage on the north-west coast of Scotland, is tragic, comic, vivid and absorbing.

Both these books are a must to read, if you have not already done so. They are a delight to both children and adults and provide compelling insights into the world of nature where both the animals and their beautiful surroundings spring into life.


Artwork: Peter Rothwell


Our Quiz on Boxing Day evening was attended by approximately 50 people. Congratulations to the winning team of Ann, Brian, Vi Davies and Alan Denzey. Also, congratulations to Sandra Richards who won our picture quiz - the answer is un-printable!

Thank you to all who came in fancy dress on New Year's Eve and made it such a happy and enjoyable evening.

Wartime - 1940's Evening

We are having a 1940's evening on Friday, 5th March and intend to re-create a wartime night with the skittle alley as an air raid shelter. Those in wartime costume will be given a ration of food from our wartime menu, e.g. rabbit pie, meat and tatty pie, etc.

In the air raid shelter, entertainment will be provided by the "Billy Cottonbuds Band", who will be playing the Big Band sound from Glen Miller, the Andrews Sisters, etc. , and many of the locals will be amusing you with sketches, songs, monologues and dance. Anyone who can contribute to the evening would be welcome [see Gary Songhurst]. Finally, if anyone has oil lamps or wartime memorabilia that will add to the atmosphere, it would be much appreciated. P.S. As we cannot find anyone who has accurate knowledge of the Tariff of the day, drinks will not be at 1940 prices!



Marion Billett saw the following in a Dorset paper and thought you might like it.

Posing the question, "What is a senior citizen? " the writer lists the following:

  • One who was here before the pill, TV, frozen foods, credit cards and ball point pens.
  • For us time-sharing meant togetherness, a chip meant a piece of wood or deep-fried potato, hardware meant hard wear and software wasn't even a word.
  • Teenagers never wore slacks or jeans We came before nylons, drip-dry, dishwashers, clothes driers and electric blankets.
  • We married first, then lived together, and thought cleavage was something butchers did.
  • We didn't have Batman, disposable nappies, jeeps, pizzas, instant coffee nor, happily, Kentucky Fried.
  • In our day smoking was fashionable, grass was for mowing, pot was something one cooked in, a gay person was the life and soul of the party while aids meant beauty lotions or help for someone in trouble. That just about sums it all up, doesn't it?




What a wonderful start to December! Our Party - the party spirit, decorated tree, festive food provided by the Committee [thank you] and some very decorative hats, made mostly by Ethel Tidbury and Doris Upton and modelled by members. It was no easy task to judge the competition, but on a points system, Jean Cumings and Joan Adams were joint winners . Congratulations to all concerned - Ascot could have competition! Reg Gosling and Alan Prater provided the music, the ladies of the Keep Fit gave an impromptu performance and a grand sing-a-long brought an enjoyable afternoon to a close ... everyone taking home a present from a fellow member.

On Tuesday, 15th December, 29 of us partook of an excellent Christmas Lunch at The Globe. Once again a terrific party atmosphere and Bobby Hacker won the lucky draw. Absent friends were remembered, and a message from Betty Parker was warmly reciprocated.

After wishing everyone a very happy new year, our meeting on 5th January welcomed two visitors from Combe Martin and the meeting settled down to be taken on a wonderful trip to Alaska and the Yukon by Kath Arscott and her outstanding selection of slides. We are very privileged to have such an expert photographer as a member. Thank you, Kath, everyone is now saying "where next?". The Holiday Memento competition was won by Rosemary Gaydon with a beautifully carved Russian bear.

At our next meeting on 2nd February when visitors are always welcome - £1, to include refreshments and raffle ticket - Mrs. N. Cornish will tell ug about "A Day in the Life of a Vet", and on the 6th April, Mrs. Turner will be telling us all about The Body Shop.

Vi Kingdon - President

Don't neglect the chance each day,
To do some kindly act,
Or pay a little compliment
With thoughtfulness and tact.



On Saturday, 12th December, a very enjoyable evening was spent in the Men's Institute by members and their guests for the Annual Presentation of the Club Trophies, which were presented by the Chairman's wife, Mary Hughes. Winners were:

League Champion:
Runners-up [equal]:
Doubles Cup Winners:
Singles Champion:
Highest Break:
Gerry Marangone
Gordon Hughes, Jim Brooks and David Richards
Raymond Toms and Josef Belka
Gordon Hughes and Noel Stokes
Raymond Toms
Richard Lewis

John Huxtable



17th March, 1920

The following article from the Western Times, 18th March, 1920, has been leant to me and is printed with the permission of Brenda Layton, who tells me that her uncle worked on the road with his horse and butt (a low loading cart] and was paid 6d per day.

Len Coleman


Direct Route From Ilfracombe To Combe Martin Restored

In the early part of 1918, a serious landslide, it will be recalled, occurred on the cliff face, near Watermouth, over which the Ilfracombe-Combe Martin main road ran at a height of about 250ft above the level of the sea. The portion of the main road affected was at once closed, and traffic diverted through Berrynarbor village. At first it was thought possible to avoid the landslip by a short deviation, cut further into the cliff face, but very quickly the landslip extended In either direction until about 200 yards of roadway have now either subsided or fallen into the sea. The whole scheme of providing a new road had, therefore, to be reconsidered, and the construction of one on the land of Napps Hill, some distance from the cliff face was decided upon. The work has proceeded with such satisfaction under the direction of Mr. R.M. Stone, County Surveyor for the Northern Division, that the new road was enabled to be opened yesterday afternoon. It is 1, 100 yards in length, and actually shortens the distance by road between Combe Martin and Ilfracombe by, roughly, a quarter of a mile. It has been made available for traffic at the earliest possible moment, owing to the narrowness of the only alternative route through Berrynarbor village, and is expected to be finished by Easter. The new roadway has taken about twelve months to construct, and the work has been admirably carried out under the personal supervision of Mr. R.J. Meakins, a member of the County Surveyor's staff. Direct labour has been employed, and the stone used has been obtained from an adjacent quarry. The cost of the work, when completed, will be just over £5,000.

The formal opening ceremony yesterday was performed by Mrs. Penn-Curzon, wife of Major Penn-Curzon, of Watermouth Castle, in the presence of a number of people, the gathering including Mr. R. P. Hiern, J.P., C.A., representing the Devon County Council; Mr. R.M. Stone, County Surveyor; Messrs. J. Woodward, J. Kelly, F.W. Birmingham, Vernal, and Miss Hammond, members of Ilfracombe Urban District Council, with their Surveyor, Mr. O.M. Prouse; Messrs. A. W. Gaydon, C.C., and Yeo [Surveyor], Lynton Urban Council; Mr. H. Isaac, Combe Martin's representative on Barnstaple Rural District Council; Messrs. A. J. Meakins, E. J. Rowe, S. Webber, and A.Ford, members of the County Surveyor's staff, and others.

Mr. Hiern, on behalf of the Main Roads Committee, introduced Mrs . Penn-Curzon, and asked her to kindly declare the road open, which she gracefully did by cutting a beflagged ribbon extending across the Combe Martin end of the road, and remarking, "I have very great pleasure in declaring this road open."

Mr. A. W. Gaydon, moving a vote of thanks to Mrs. Penn-Curzon for her presence and services, thought the new road would be of great benefit to the district, and hoped many thousands of passengers would be taken over it from Barnstaple, Lynton, Ilfracombe and Combe Martin - [applause].

Mr. F. Martines Hulk, of Combe Martin, cordially seconded, and referred to the excellence of the construction of the new road, which he thought was a very great improvement to the district, and trusted it would be beneficial to everybody - [hear, hear].

There was a very hearty vote. Mrs. Penn-Curzon, replying, thanked Mr. Stone, Mr. Meakins and all who had worked under them for the admirable way in which the work had been carried cut, and referred to the excellent way the workmen had behaved during the whole time they had been engaged there, remarking that they had given no trouble whatsoever - [applause].

Mr. Hiern in the course of a short speech, said it was generally conceded that the new road was a local improvement. Its construction had been a very considerable expense, which in the olden days would have fallen on the parish of Berrynarbor, but in these more enlightened days the expense was borne by the County - a back more capable of bearing such a burden than any one parish in the locality. Referring to the fact that the work had been done by direct labour, he remarked that in these times it was most difficult to get a contract for work to be done and if such could be obtained, they were subject to all kinds of alterations which might occur. He complimented the Surveyor [Mr. Stone] on the excellent arrangements by which the work had been carried out. The new road had made a difference, apart from that of shortening the distance between Ilfracombe and Combe Martin, for some people would think, perhaps, there had been some loss of natural scenery which could be observed from the old road, but he pointed out that against this, many interesting views were to be had from the new road which were not visible from the old, and in this connection he mentioned that passengers would now be able to get a glimpse of Bowden Farm, where it was said the Bishop Jewell, of Salisbury, was born. He was a man of whom the district was very proud. He remarked that they were very much indebted to the owners of the Watermouth Estate for the way in which they had met the County Council in the provision of land for the diversion. He expressed his personal thanks to Mrs. Penn-Curzon for her services in opening the road, which he thought would be a permanent local improvement - [applause].



  1. A new breed of dog was named after a 19th century Devon clergyman. Who was he? Of which village near Barnstaple was he vicar?
  2. Who was the saint born at Crediton?
  3. What North Devon resort is also the title of a classic novel? Clue: probably the only town in England whose name ends in an exclamation mark!
  4. Who was the resident of Bideford who wrote this novel in 1855 [at what is now the Royal Hotel]?
  5. Which other famous author went to school at the solution to Question 3? Clue: the school, the United Services College, was for the children of people serving in India.
  6. In 1967 a group of Swedish craftsmen came to England and settled in Torrington. Why?
  7. E.R. Delderfield based his novel [serialised for television] "To Serve Them All My Days" on a North Devon school. Name the school.
  8. Who was the Barnstaple man born in Joy Street in 1685 who wrote "The Beggar's Opera"?
  9. Who was the Barnstaple born architect who, in the 19th Century, was an early and influential exponent of the architecture and design style known as the Arts and Crafts Movement?
  10. Who is the Barnstaple man, currently director of the National Theatre, who took over the post from Sir Peter Hall?

Answers in article 18


Artwork: Peter Rothwell


The A.G.M. will be held on Tuesday, 6th April at the Manor Hall, 7.30 p.m., with a regular meeting to follow. New members are NEEDED for this Committee, so please come along. The village hall belongs to us all, please don't take it for granted.

Gone Walkies Several small, pink tablecloths belonging to the W. I. have gone missing. Have you got them amongst your washing pile by any chance? ! They have been missing for several months, so please look and see if YOU have got them.

Remember the Horticultural Show NEEDS your help See the article in the October 1992 issue, pages 18/19. Ideas are needed for the Schedule. Without more support, it may be that this event will not happen.

Please, PLEASE, PLEASE shut the outside door in to the Penn Curzon room when entering or leaving the building, especially on rainy days as the wet is not good for the door if it is left open. We have just spent money on this door due to damage. Please shut the door behind you. Thanks.

WANTED Old tights [washed please!] to be used to fill a draught excluder.

Beginning on the 1st February there may be some disruption in the Hall due to plumbing works [hot water taps are being put in the toilet block]. Please bear with us.

Joy Morrow


Artwork: Paul Swailes


We should like to restore Evensong at Berrynarbor. Please tell the Churchwardens if you would be able to come to Evensong here, and as soon as we know numbers, we shall make a start. Our congregations don't get much chance to talk to each other, and so for a few Sundays tea or coffee will be served after The Eucharist.

Last issue I asked you to come to the Ruby Anniversary of my Priesting. This you did! I spell it out - 170 of you. Thank you. The Bishop of the Diocese sent a personal letter and two of my Priest friends offered Holy Communion with myself as the Special Intention. We had lots of wonderful presents, not least a marvellous, inscribed cake, a huge collection divided by St. Peter's and my order of the R.A.O.B., and cards and letters galore from those who were unable to come. If this is what you think of me, then let me add something - you have a Church rich in beauty and as faithful a congregation as one could ask for, a Parochial Church Council working their fingers to the bone for you and what we should like more than anything is to pray with you on Sundays.

On Friday, 19th March, the Electoral Roll of St. Peter's is being revised and all those on the Roll are invited to take part in the discussion of the progress of the Church in the year to come. The Councillors have done a hard year's work and are entitled to have their reports scrutinised by the entire membership. We shall meet in the Vestry at 2.30 p.m. but will gladly move into the Church if the Vestry OVERFLOWS - AS IT SHOULD.

Mothering Sunday is on 21st March. There will be Holy Cormunion at 8.00 a.m. and a Family Service at 10.30 a.m. [no Eucharist], with the children from the School and from Sunday School, and presentation of Mothering Sunday cards and gifts of flowers to all the ladies in the congregation.

We thank the Editor of the Newsletter for allowing us space for these announcements, as not everybody takes the Church Chronicle.

Preb. Eppingstone


The Eucharist, 10.30 a.m

Evensong, Combe Martin, 6.00 p.m. [once a month the Christians Together go from Church to Church, and there is no Evensong.]

Holy Communion
Thursdays, 10.00 a.m.
2nd Sunday each month, 8.00 a.m.

The Rector, the Rev. Keith Wyer [883203] and Prebendary Eppingstone [882802) will discuss Baptisms, Confirmations, Marriages, Bereavements and SHOULD be invited to come and pray with the sick.

Prayer and Bible Study, Combe Martin, every Thursday, 7.30 p.m.



Neiqhbourhood Watch There will be a Neighbourhood Watch Meeting in the Penn Curzon Room on Friday, 5th February, 1993, to discuss how the Scheme is working and for any suggestions. A Co-ordinator is needed to take over from Norman Richards and it is hoped that someone will be willing to fill his place. Please make every effort to attend.

Berrynarbor Playgroup We should like to thank everyone who helped and supported our Christmas Play and Coffee Morning, especially Maureen and Graham Jones at the Post Office and Phil and Lynne at The Globe for the donation of draw prizes.

We shall be holding a Jumble Sale on Saturday, 13th February, and good jumble is needed. Please 'phone 883235 or 882167 if you can help.

Julie Parkin - Chairman

The sympathy of the whole village goes to those who were effected by the recent floods. A terrible experience and it is hoped that something can be done to ensure that it doesn't happen again.

Household Tip Use the grill at the top rear side of your freezer as a place to store butter in the winter. The warmth from the heat exchanger is just right for spreadable butter. This grill is also good for standing a bottle of red wine to bring it to room temperature.

Inge Richardson

Congratulations and very best wishes to Jonathan Haines of Watermouth Castle who will be marrying Debbie Hiddleston at St. Peter's Church on Saturday, 27th March. We wish them good health and every happiness for the future.

Wine Appreciation Group The February meeting is on Wednesday, 17th February when there will be a Talk and Tasting of Safeway's Award Winning Wines by Michael Jones. Contribution £3.00. A Talk and Tasting of wines of the Loire, Chinon and Touraine region by Mr. P. F. Lovelock of West Country Wine Importers will be held on Wednesday, 17th March. Contribution £3.00.

Both meetings will be in the Manor Hall at 8.00 p.m. and the group is open to all who love good wine and good food.




Care and Repair is a free advisory service, helping elderly home owners remain in their own homes in comfort and security.

This is done through giving sensitive advice, discussing options and, where needed, arranging building repairs and adaptations. Problems may range from small repairs to total renovation. The emphasis being on the client's choice.

326141 or 25757



Even the journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step.

Chinese Proverb

Said by the late Group Captain Leonard Cheshire, "Kindness in another's trouble: courage in one's own."



Found in Chester Cathedral

Give me a good digestion Lord,
And also something to digest
Give me a healthy body Lord,
With sense to keep it at its best.
Give me a healthy mind good Lord,
To keep the good and pure in sight,
That seeing sin is not appalled,
But finds a way to put it right.
Give me a mind that is not bored,
That does not whimper, whine or sigh.
Don't let me worry overmuch
About the fussy thing called "I" .
Give me a sense of humour Lord,
Give me the grace to see a joke,
To get some happiness from life,
And pass it on to other folk.



On Sunday, 20th December, we sorted 798 Christmas cards and only one had to be posted - to a lady in Cambridge. The cards are sorted into roads, and then in the order of houses, either from memory or by the use of our special list, kindly prepared by the postman.

Many thanks to Graham and Maureen at the Post Office, our collecting point, and to our sorters Stan Lineham, Keith Walls and Tom Bartlett.

Deliveries were made on the 20th and 21st thanks to Jill and Jennifer Jones, Kathy Arscott, Ethel Tidbury, Ann Pennington and Laura Hookway, Pam and Alex Parke, Grace Slade, Iain and Jill McCrae, Tom Bartlett, Graham Jones and Toby and Joan Wood.

We were able to write a cheque for £80.00 for the Manor Hall funds.

Alan Richardson



The Reverend Eli Jenkins' Sunset Poem

Every morning when I wake,
Dear Lord, a little prayer I make,
O please to keep Thy lovely eye
On all poor creatures born to die.
And every evening at sun-down
I ask a blessing on the town,
For whether we last the night or no
I'm sure is always touch-and-go.
We are not wholly bad or good
Who live our lives under Milk Wood,
And Thou, I know, wilt be the first
To see our best side, not our worst.
O let us see another day!
Bless us this night, I pray,
And to the sun we all will bow
And say, good-bye - but just for now!

Dylan Thomas



A family holiday with friends in Australia in 1991 made our eldest daughter, Karen decide she just had to go back and see more. And so she has taken a year off, after her 'A' Levels and before going to university, to do just that. For a year, she worked at week-ends and holidays at The Globe, saving all her pennies.

She left England on a very wet day at the beginning of November, landing first to 2ft of snow in Minneapolis, then a temperature of 75 degrees in Los Angeles. By the time she took off on the last leg of her journey, she was eating the third evening meal that day! When she arrived in Sydney, it was to torrential rain and flooding and the wettest and coldest Australian spring for years.

The first two weeks were spent near Sydney with our friends acclimatising herself to the cool weather [75 degrees!], and the next six, leading up to the week before Christmas, with A.C.T.V. (Australian Conservation Trust for Volunteers) . Her first base was a lodge near Bondi, working with the Road and Traffic Authorities planting trees. Next it was a caravan park in the forest, visiting a school where 1,000 plants were planted with the help of the children. Whilst doing this, her group of 8 appeared on "Good Morning Australia" television with Rolf Harris [and his didgeridoo!] , followed by a 'free' McDonalds breakfast. Her day off was spent at the Sydney Oval watching Australia v the West Indies cricket match - by all accounts very exciting, especially the 'Mexican Wave'!

A.T.V.C. then moved Karen's group to Nurrangingy Reserve, where they slept in a yacht club beside a lake, and worked In a nursery. Seeds of native plants had to be collected from the bush, and here she had her first confrontation with a big, black snake.

A visit was made to a spot called 'Wild Flowers' - where a bush fire two years ago has enabled all the plants to germinate and flower. Amongst the many interesting and varied wildlife Karen has encountered are koalas, kangaroos, snakes, parrots, legless lizards, crocs and a Bowyer bird, which only builds its nest with 3 sides consisting of anything blue - e.g. clothes pegs, straws, lids, etc. Night-time brings a galaxy of stars - the Southern Cross, the Seven Sisters, the Painter and many more. The six weeks ended with a visit to Australia's Wonderland and a beach barbecue.

Christmas was spent back with our friends with carol singing in shorts and a t-shirt and travelling on a tractor and trailer to visit neighbours and friends . Christmas Day was spent first at church and then on the beach [temperature 95 degrees] to "boogie board" on the waves. New Year's Eve was spent in Sydney with her friends from A.T.C.V. [a real international set - Canadians, New Zealanders, Irish, Scots, Danes and Geordies] and a gathering, both night and day, on the steps of the Opera House singing such songs as 'Rule Britannia'.

Karen is now on her way to Perth and we look forward to more news from down-under soon. She sends best wishes for a Happy New Year to friends, neighbours and everyone in Berrynarbor and at The Globe, especially Phil and Lynne.

Pat Sayer - Woodvale


Answers to the Quiz in article 8

  1.        The Reverend Jack Russell, Swimbridge.
  2.        Saint Boniface.
  3.        Westward Ho!
  4.        Charles Kingsley.
  5.        Rudyard Kipling.
  6.        They were glass blowers who moved to Torrington to assist with the establishment of Dartington Glassworks [now Dartington Crystal].
  7.        West Buckland School.
  8.        John Gay.
  9.        William Lethaby.
  10.    Richard Eyre.


Artwork: Angela Bartlett

Mr. and Mrs. Daniel Tons and their children outside their cottage, 68 Lower Sterrage


This photographic postcard was taken about 1921 and shows Mrs. Elizabeth [Lizzie] Toms holding a very young Violet [Vi], whilst her husband, Dan, rides horseback with son Reginald.

This proudly posed photograph outside their cottage gives a truly rural image to our village.

Dan Toms was born in 1889 in Berrynarbor, as were his parents and grandparents. He married Lizzie, born in Ilfracombe in 1887, at St. Peter's Church in 1913 and the service was conducted by the Rev. Reginald Churchill - Berrynarbor's longest serving vicar, 1884 to 1938 - 54 years as Rector. He was born in 1853 and died at Berrynarbor in December 1941, aged 88 years.

During the First World War, Dan Toms worked with a Mr. Ellis in the timber yard at Chapelton Sawmills, just beyond Bishop's Tawton on the main road from Barnstaple to Exeter. They would get up at 1.00 a.m. on Monday mornings, and with large knapsacks of food to last until Friday, set off walking to hopefully arrive some six hours later at Chapelton in time to start work at 7.00 a.m.! On Fridays, finishing work at 6.00 p.m., they would hope to be home in Berrynarbor by midnight!

On the death of his father, Dan and Lizzie moved into Middle Lee Farm, where they also took in guests and provided Devon cream teas for the many visitors to the village. Ill health forced Dan to give up farming and so they moved into Dormer House [now Dormer Cottage and Miss Muffet's] in the mid-thirties. Dan died in 1963 but Lizzie lived until 1979, when she was over 90.

Reginald now lives in Weybridge, Surrey. Vi married Dave Goodman, who had come to this part of Devon as one of the engineers with the PLUTO [Pipeline Under the Ocean] project, pumping fuel through a pipeline from Wales to Watermouth Cove. She remains living at Dormer Cottage. Her daughter, Gladys, lives at Clevedon, Bristol, with husband Ron and two children, Cheryl and Ian. Vi's eldest son, Wilfrid, lives and works in Abu Dhabi in the Middle East with his wife Valerie and children, Susan and Mark, whilst her younger son, Terry, lives with his wife June and three children, Christopher, Rebecca and Alice, locally at Braunton.

My grateful thanks to Vi for her help and assistance with this month's article.

How about it? Have you lived in the village all your life? Have you one or two old photographs or photographic cards that we could write about? Why not 'phone or contact me, I should love to hear from you. I should also be delighted to hear from anyone who has postcards or photos of the Rev. Churchill.

Tom Bartlett
Tower Cottage, January 1993


A Kindly Tribute by a Caring Officer

A long and winding road to tread,
there is no warming fire ahead.
From here to there one cannot see,
around the corner - he is free.
Walk the road with steady pace,
to slowly end your lifetime's race.
You lay at night to gaze at Mars,
be born again beneath the stars.
Walking man with life anew,
no longer here for me, for you.
His troubles now have taken flight,
his eyes have seen a greater sight.
The road runs out, his walking ends,
a final path at last ascends.
We wish you peace so far above,
on your final path, we wish you love.


This little poem was written by a local police officer who was stationed at the time in Combe Martin. He had been searching for a missing man who was suffering from senile dementia. The man had gone missing many times, but the police had always managed to bring him safely home until one night he could not be found and the search went on for six weeks. He was found on the edge of Exmoor in a hedge where he had Iain down to rest, fallen asleep never to wake again.



This winter at Tower Cottage we have often had a nuthatch at the peanut feeder beside our bedroom window. Generally it flies off in the direction of Old Court. Sadly, we have not had any woodpeckers or squirrels, but there have been robins, wrens, blue, great and coal tits, sparrows, thrushes, blackbirds and collar doves.

Turning out old items at Ilfracombe Museum recently, I came across the following list of Local Bird Names and thought it might be of interest to "zum of d'en local folks"!

ACKYMAL - Blue Titmouse
AKKET - Seagull
BLUEBIRD - Fieldfare
BLUEHAWK - Peregrine Falcon
BULLIE - Bullfinch
CRANE - Heron
DADFINCH - Chaffinch
DIPCHICK - Cormorant
DRISH - Thrush
FUZZCHITT - Stonechat
GLADIE - Yellowhammer
GOLDIE - Goldfinch
CUCKU - Cuckoo
or OOD AWL - Woodpecker
HOMESCRITCH - Mistle Thrush
KING MURRE - Great Auk
LINTIE - Linnet
MURE - Razorbill
PERCHER - Herring Gull
PIGEON HAWK - Peregine
BEANQUAKE - Corncrake

Tom Bartlett


I hope you also like the following article from the Ilfracombe Observer and North Devon Review of January 1893.

Tom Bartlett


Ilfracombe Observer and North Devon Review
January 1983


At Combmartin Sessions on Monday, before Messrs. C. H. Dickinson and G. N. Maule, charges for fowl stealing were heard against Benjamin Draper, a mason, and William Dennis, a labourer, young men, of Combmartin. Two thefts were committed on Christmas Eve, two live fowls being stolen from Frederick George Bevan, a market gardener, of Berrynarbor, and two live fowls from Nicholas Cutcliffe, a retired farmer, of Combmartin. Mr. Bevan having given information to P.C. Flannagan of his loss, subsequently identified his two fowls in the constable's possession. The prisoner Dennis was then present, and, in answer to the charge of theft, he denied stealing the fowls, but said he knew who did steal them. The fowls now produced were the ones lost, and were valued at 5s. William Draper, of Berrynarbor, a brother of one of the prisoners, said that both prisoners came to his house between 10 and 11 0'clock on Christmas Eve, and brought with them four fowls. Draper said he had the fowls from his sister and Dennis said he had played cards for them. Witness bought the fowls, and gave 2s for them, besides giving the men board and lodgings. P.C. Flannagan deposed to arresting Dennis.

In the presence of the prisoner, the prosecutor Bevan selected two fowls out of three shown to him. Dennis denied stealing them, but said he knew who did. Witness took prisoner to the llfracombe lock up. In the second case Mary Jewell, widow, of Combmartin, proved fastening the fowl-house on Christmas Eve, and on the following morning finding it broken open and two fowls missing. The two fowls produced were the stolen fowls. The prosecutor, Nicholas Cutcliffe, also identified the fowls. P.C. Gribble proved apprehending Draper and taking him to Ilfracombe. On charging the prisoner he said, I had them at my sister's," He, however, afterwards said, "I am guilty. I took the fowls. I will give you no more trouble, and I am very sorry." The next morning both prisoners were charged jointly, and neither made any reply. In defence on Monday the prisoner Draper said he was drunk at the time and was certainly not in his right mind. Dennis pleaded his innocence of stealing the fowls. The Bench considered the cases proved against both prisoners, and, inasmuch as they had been locked up for eight days, fined them 5s. each in the first case, and 15s, each in the second case and costs, or in default seven days' imprisonment each.

Tom Bartlett
Tower Cottage, Jan. 1996



1stBadminton Club
2ndCandlemas W.I . "A Day in the Life of a Vet",Mrs. N. Cornish
5thNeighbourhood Watch Meeting, 7.30 p.m. Penn Curzon Room
8thBadminton Club
9thParish Council Meeting, 7.30 p.m.
10thChristians Together: Rectory, 10.45 a.m.
Mobile Library in Village from 11.55 a.m.
11thSt. Valentine Coffee Morning, Manor Hall, 10.30
U3A Luncheon, Carlton Hotel, IIfracombe: Mrs. Susan Cresswell, "Care & Repair Housing Project"
12thNon-pupil Day at College and Primary School
14thSt. Valentine's Day
15thto 19th Half Term for College and Primary School
15thBadminton Club
17thWine Appreciation Group: Manor Hall, 8.00 p.m.
19thParochial Church Council, 2.30 p.m. Vestry
22ndBadminton Club
24thAsh Wednesday: Holy Communion, 10.00 a.m.
Mobile Library in Village from 11.55 a.m.
to 28th Studio Theatre presents "She Stoops to Conquer" Ilfracombe College
26thJoint Lent Service: 3.00 p.m. U. R.C.
2SthFirst Sunday in Lent
1stBadminton Club
2ndW.I. "The Art of Sugarcraft", Mrs. V. Fryer
The Christians Together, 7.30 p.m.
3rdLent Service, 3.00 p.m.
Wartime 1940's Evening at The Globe
8thBadminton Club
9thThe Christians Together, 7.30 p.m.
Parish Council Meeting, 7.30 p.m.
10thMobile Library in Village from 11.55 a.m.
Lent Service, 3.00 p.m.
11thU3A Luncheon, Granville Hotel: A.G. M.
15thBadminton Club
16thThe Christians Together, 7.30 p.m.
17thWine Appreciation Group, Manor Hall, 8.00 p.m.
Lent Service, 3.00 p.m.
19thAnnual Parochial Church Meeting, 2.30 p.m.
21stMothering Sunday: Holy Communion 8.00 a.m.
Family Service 10.30 a.m.
22ndBadminton Club
24thMobile Library in Village from 11.55 a.m.
Lent Service, 3.00 p.m.
29thBadminton Club
31stLent Service, 3.00 p.m.
5thBadminton Club
6thW.I. "The Body Shop" - Mrs. Turner.
Manor Hall Management Committee 7.30 p.m. Manor Hall
7thPrimary School and College break up for Easter



Bartlett's Abroad After two years at the North Devon College and a further two years at Plymouth Polytechnic working for his Diploma in Graphic Design, Roland is now off to join his sister, Angela, in Singapore, where she - also a graphic designer - is now Graphic Design Director for a pharmaceutical company. Roland hopes to follow in her footsteps! Caroline is somewhere cruising the world - anywhere between Alaska and the South Pole! Following her training in Beauty Therapy, she is taking six months off to act as a cocktail waitress on a round-world cruise liner. Good luck and best wishes to you all.

Noster Annus Mirabilis For those of you who, like me, have an aversion to round robin letters, this letter puts it in a nutshell!

    SIR- Can it be the recession and the price of cards? This year we have received even more of those photocopied "Round Robin" letters which people send their friends at Christmas, gleefully enumerating their successes.

    The recipient, aware of his own dull and uneventful life, is left with little joy and only the consolation of spotting spelling and grammatical errors. So this year we are taking our revenge, and would be grateful if you would publish the following:

    "Dear All,

    This year has once again been extremely enjoyable and successful for all of us. Our eldest daughter has been travelling the world with her husband in the various exotic locations to which he has been sent as a senior executive for a multi-national company, enjoying much first class air travel and company limousines.

    "Our son has traded in his Porsche for a Ferrari and is learning to fly a helicopter in his spare time from his creative job in advertising. He is currently considering offers from two head hunters.

    "Our youngest daughter, who has won innumerable student prizes, is doing a PhD, following her first class honours degree, before settling down. She particulary enjoyed her sponsored trips to Russia and Madagascar.

    "My wife and I have also had a busy year. Following my early retirement on a more than generous pension, I have decided against accepting various offers of directorships so that I can concentrate more time enjoying the yacht I purchased at last year's boat show.


    "The stablilisers that I had fitted to it seem to have been successful in reducing my wife's tendency to sea sickness. This has meant that she has at last been able to fulfill her ambition to cruise to Monte Carlo to watch the Monaco Grand Prix.

    "This year we have decided to spend Christmas in Switzerland, and, as a bit of extra fun, are asking Fortnum and Mason to send out a specially prepared swan that the hotel has agreed to cook for our Christmas meal. After a bit of skiing we are all off to the Galapagos, prior to returning to face the remnants of an English winter.

    "That's about all for this year, friends. Perhaps we shall meet up with some of you at Ascot in the coming year? Anyway, we all hope you enjoy 1993, however mundane it may be for you."

* UPDATE: August 2022 - It seems perhaps, that round robin letters such as this were the Facebook/Twitter/Snapchat posts (i.e. socal media) of their day!



"The mist that shrouded all things, cold and wet;
The dripping bough: the sad smell of rotten leaves."

Rupert Brooke

It was drizzling as we walked around Wistlandpound Reservoir in early January. Apart from the fact that it is always pleasant to take fresh air and exercise within sight of an open stretch of water, this was a disappointing walk.

On the same day last year, this circular route had yielded two unexpected discoveries. The swans, which we had noticed from the bridge when we arrived at the reservoir, on closer inspection turned out to be Bewick's - smaller and more rounded than the usual mute swans, and with lemon yellow instead of orange bills.

On the path at the far end of the reservoir, we were surprised to find a peacock butterfly, still alive; its colour not faded but the hind wings quite badly notched.

Today there was little activity on the water, where last year there had been a large number of ducks and gulls. However, a couple of dozen tufted ducks drifted serenely. The males are neat looking birds, black above and white below, with white flanks. The long, thin, drooping crest is distinctive. A bold white wing bar is seen in flight. The females are dark brown with a shorter crest.

Colour was provided by the gorse flowers, a few surviving campions and the glossy rich burgundy of the wet leaves underfoot.

The paths can be muddy in places, so Wellingtons are recommended. This is a short, easy walk, ideal for fitting into a winter afternoon before it starts to get dark.

Sue H




Whitsuntide, or Pentecost to give it its correct title, is the birthday of the Church. It falls seven weeks after Easter and commemorates the time after Jesus's ascension when the Holy Spirit helped the Disciples to renew their faith.

Processions of Witness have, in many places, died out, but in the area around Saddleworth, near Oldham, the tradition remains strong and many of the villages take part. The procession begins and ends with a service and well-loved hymns are sung along the route. Brass bands make a rousing call to witness and local bands have accompanied the Walks since the 1800's.

The tradition of providing the bands and the walkers with meals for the day was observed until about 1970. There would be breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea and in 1880, the feast at Delph (one of the villages in the Saddleworth area) consisted of 135 lbs of beef and ham, 33 quarts of milk, 36 lbs of farm butter and groceries amounting to £6.5.O. Treacle beer was sold at 1/2d per pint. In the evenings - full of good food - the bands would get together to play and it seemed logical, as well as enjoyable, to round off the day with a brass band contest, and so the Band Contests were born.

The Whit Friday Contest is a tradition kept alive by the villages, especially Delph, and by 5.00 p.m. on Whit Friday, the roads are crowded with coaches carrying bands from everywhere! From Bodmin in Cornwall, Cambridge University, Germany, Wales and Switzerland and, of course, the local bands: bands that even the uninitiated recognise - Faireys, Black Dyke, Brighouse and Grimethorpe .

The idea is to compete in as many contests as possible whilst at the same time consuming just a "teensy weensy" drop of beer! The bands form up in the road and march to the Delph Club - to play their entry - via the Bull's Head, the Rose and Crown, the White Lion and, making a sharp left, the Swan!

It is understood, however, that banding is the main object and the only link with beer is that they both begin with the same letter!


The excitement of Whit Friday started weeks before the event with a visit to Manchester's department stores to acquire a whole new set of clothes - from socks and shoes to a new hat, if your mother insisted on the latter.

When the great day finally dawned, we would be carefully dressed and presented with a basket of fresh flowers to carry. We would meet all our friends and relatives outside the village church, where a short service would be conducted. Then there would be a procession around the village, led by a brass band and followed proudly by the church banner, the Sunday School children and the congregation. Stops would be made at certain points for a prayer to be said and a hymn sung.

A few hours later we would arrive at the church hall for a delicious lunch, after which, weather permitting, it would be off with the new clothes and on with the shorts and trainers for an afternoon of family sports on the village green. The brass band would entertain as the mums and dads relaxed in their deckchairs.

The evening finished in a rousing way. Each village would hold a Brass Band Contest, and we would wait, sometimes until midnight, to hear the final results - would it be Brighouse or Black Dyke? I was always a very tired but happy little girl who crawled into bed that night!

Does anyone else celebrate Whit Friday in this way?

Rita Duncan

If anyone else can remember celebrating customs of this sort in their childhood, we would love to hear from you.

Illustrated by: Paul Swailes


Artwork: Judie Weedon


My sincere thanks to so many of you who have contributed items - original and otherwise - for this issue of the Newsletter, which I hope you have enjoyed.

I also hope that contributions will continue in their quantities [that does not mean that YOU can sit back and let someone else help out) in spite of it meaning that the last few issues have been larger and therefore take more time to produce! Long may that trend continue. Items for the next issue - April [and Easter) should be in at the Post Office or direct to Chicane, Sterridge Valley, by the middle of March, MONDAY, 15TH MARCH.

My thanks, too, to those of you who have either sent donations or put a contribution in the collecting box in the Post Office, and to Maureen and Graham and Sue and Mervyn for their continued help.