Edition 41 - April 1996

Artwork by: Peter Rothwell

Artwork: Judie Weedon


Now and then

Hopefully it wont be long now before spring is really here with the trees in leaf again and the Valley, as seen from two rocks, looking like the front cover illustration by Peter Rothwell, 1995.


The photograph shows the "Cut Through" leading to Sterrage valley c1910 and previously produced in the December 1992 Newsletter.

Many thanks to Peter for the cover. This is HIS issue, as his talented work also illustrates the poem on the centre pages.

I am most grateful for the many compliments regarding the Newsletter, but credit where credit is due, it would not be possible without the help and support of the many contributors [especially of the regular features], the illustrators and the "backroom boys" who get it printed and put through your door. Thank you all.

And now, to keep you on your toes, may I ask for your help in getting items for the June issue to the Post Office or Chicane as early as possible in May and by Friday, 10th, at the latest. Has anyone an unusual hobby or pastime to share with us as a "Labour of Love"? If so, I should be delighted to hear from YOU.





A warm welcome greeted our speaker, Kath Arscott, on the 6th February. Kath had only recently returned from a month in Antarctica, capturing more scenes with her camera. Today, however, we were taken on a tour of Namibia and as always everyone remarked on the patience shown by Kath with close-ups of wild life. All too soon it was time to say 'farewell', with thanks from members and visitors for such a colourful tour. One of Kath's 'photos has been selected for the 1997 Devon Federation Calendar - a well deserved honour. Special birthday wishes were extended to Joan Adams, celebrating her 80th birthday on the 24th.

On the 23rd February, we contributed a display at the St. Peter's Cheese and Wine evening and my grateful thanks to Eunice Allen, Kath Arscott, Edna Barnes, Win Collins and Joan Wood who helped me to make it an attractive display. The Scrap Book re-lived a few memories and all-in-all it was a most enjoyable evening.

A well-attended meeting on the 5th March included several visitors and we were all introduced to Darren Gibson, who gave a most enlightening talk, with the aid of slides, on the work of the Devon Air Ambulance. So much is owed to this service, as Maggie Bland expressed in her Vote of Thanks, and members were able to show their appreciation at the Fund Raising table.

It was a real welcome back for Jean Cumings, after her recent health problems, and also Heddi Belka. As it was the Institute's 34th Birthday, original members, Jean, Maggie and Ruth, re-lived those early days and there was a lovely selection of cakes for tea - thanks to everyone who contributed. For the meeting on 2nd April, we are looking forward to a few gardening tips from Robert Gilbert [Silverdale Nurseries]. Visitors, both male and female, are welcome - £1.

On behalf of the ladies, a Very Happy Easter to one and all.

Vi Kingdon - President

Let us every day be sure to say,
A thank you, if we are wise,
For of all the friends we need the most,
There are TWO, our ears and eyes.


with a
in the

1st and 3rd Thursday each Month commencing
21st MARCH, 1996
10.15 a.m. to 12.00 Noon [Lesson 10.30 to 11.30 a.m.]
5 Lessons for £7.50 - payable at first lesson



A very sincere THANK YOU to everyone who came and gave of their time and money to the Village Coffee Morning on Saturday, 17th February. Thank you also to the many anonymous donations given, including the one so kindly left with June.

As promised, there will be a Part II .. come and enjoy a CREAM TEA AFTERNOON, May Bank Holiday, Monday, 6th May, at the Manor Hall, 2.00 p.m. Raffle items welcome, plus cakes. Please bring friends and visitors. Price £1.75.

June and Joy





We said 'good-bye' to Marjory on 29th January, after a long illness. Her ready smile, good humour and helpful, loving nature made her a very special person, who will be greatly missed.

She was born at Sloley Farm, the youngest child of Jimmy and Mary Bowden. She went to school at Berry, then later to Ilfracombe School, when the family moved to Ettiford. She would walk to school with the Chugg children from Keypits.


Jimmy and Mary Bowden with their Children, Lily, Lyster and Marjory 1909

When the Estate was sold, Jimmy bought Higher Rows. Marjory was adept at all farming tasks and worked alongside her father. Later she worked at Sloley with her brother, Lyster.

In 1933 she married George Hobbs, the local postman, When War broke out, George was posted to North Africa, whilst Marjory nursed her new-born daughter, Joyce, who was tragically born physically disabled. The War ended, George came home but sadly their little daughter died when she was six years old.

Marjory's father retired and built the bungalow next to his brother's in Wood Lane and Marjory and George moved in to Wood Park on her uncle's death in 1955. They set about creating a garden which was their pride and joy and admired by all who passed. Marjory was still gardening in her 80's and was delighted to win many prizes at the Horticultural Show. George died after a long and debilitating illness in 1975.

Marjory was a devoted and hard-working member of the village Chapel. She had a lovely voice and loved to sing and was a great supporter of the community, always generous whatever the function.

Lorna Bowden



A very successful Cheese and Wine Evening was held in the Manor Hall on Friday, 23rd February, 1996. The intention was to put on a general social evening for the villagers, with a special welcome to new residents, and with the proceeds being divided between St. Peter's Church and the Exmoor Search and Rescue Team.

In spite of the bad weather, more than 90 people attended and all agreed how much they had enjoyed the evening. The displays put on by various village organisations were much appreciated by everyone. Although the final costs are not, as yet, available, the indications are that the event will have raised almost £200. Many thanks to everyone who came along and supported us in various ways. Maybe we can do it again some time!

Tom Tucker


Artwork: Paul Swailes


Easter Services begin on Good Friday, 5th April, with the special service in the afternoon, 2.30 p.m. We shall be joined by members of the U.R.C. on that day, and the preacher will be their Minister, Rev. Frank Jones. Everyone is most welcome to attend and to spend a quiet hour with us.

Do come and join in our celebrations on Easter Sunday. There will be Holy Communion at 8.00 a.m. and then at 10.30 a.m. a Family Communion Service: always a happy occasion and the Sunday School will be taking part.

The church will be decorated late Friday afternoon and on Saturday morning [5th & 6th April]. Flowers should be white or yellow only. Please get in touch with Betty Davis [Tel. 883541] if you have any to give or would like to make a donation towards the cost.

Sunday, 28th April, promises to be a very special day. Ten years ago, Preb. and Peggy Eppingstone arrived in Berrynarbor and to mark the anniversary, the Bishop of Exeter is coming to celebrate and preach at the 10.30 a.m. Sung Eucharist, which will include a Confirmation Service for some of the young people from the Sunday School. Please come along and support them. After the service we shall all go over to the Manor Hall for coffee and biscuits and the Bishop hopes to meet and talk to as many people as possible.

May will be another busy month. On Thursday, 2nd, we shall be holding a Coffee Morning in the Manor Hall, 10.30 a.m. to 12.00 noon, and proceeds will go towards funding the Summer Fayre. There will be a raffle, cake stall and bring-and-buy. Any gifts will be gratefully received and please come on the day!

Whitsunday is on 26th May - another most important date in the Church Calendar. This year it coincides with the Spring Bank Holiday, so it shouldn't be forgotten!

Mary Tucker



Each year the Tourist Information Centre, in Cross Street, Combe Martin, incorporates more and more information about Berrynarbor. We now have a third-A4 leaflet covering the attractions of Berrynarbor and Combe Martin. This is available to all hotels, guest-houses and self-catering establishments in the village. The Combe Martin guide, as well as advertising 16 holiday properties in Berrynarbor, has a centre-page spread map covering both villages.

In order that more visitors enjoy Berrynarbor, we should like to expand our Walks Programme into the village. The Tourism Association are urgently looking for people willing to do a 'one off' walk, or lead walks on a regular basis, from the end of May to September.

We have found that visitors do not want a 'route march', they love a stroll with a bit of local interest thrown in [this can be geographic, historic, flora, fauna, or just a natter about the area]. The duration of the walk can be anything from 3/4 hour to 3 hours, and we have found these occasions enjoyed by Leaders and visitors alike.

The T.I.C. advertise the time, date and duration of the walk for you. The starting point is at your discretion, depending on the area of the walk. Choose your own dates and times. New routes and ideas most welcome - but we have maps, routes and ideas if you need them. The T.I.C. will be open from the beginning of April, and we shall be delighted to meet anyone willing to help. Please give this your consideration - help is urgently needed and will be most gratefully received.

The Tourist Information Centre Staff
Cross Street, Combe Martin - Tel: 883319



Robert Bridges

Illustration by: Paul Swailes
Look! look! the spring is come:
O feel the gentle air,
That wanders thro' the boughs to burst
The thick buds everywhere!
The birds are glad to see
The high unclouded sun:
Winter is fled away, they sing,
The gay time is begun.
Adown the meadows green
Let us go dance and play,
And look for violets in the lane,
And ramble far away
To gather primroses,
That in the woodland grow,
And hunt for oxlips, or if yet
The blades of bluebells show.
There the old woodman gruff
Hath half the coppice cut,
And weaves the hurdles all day long
Beside his willow hut.
We'll steal on him, and then
Startle him, all with glee
Singing our song of winter fled
And summer soon to be.



This month's pictorial poser is a copy of a water-colour which was given to me some 3 years ago, as a cheer-up gift during a bout of illness. It shows one of the classic village views so often to be found on old postcards - of the old Post Office and Fuchsia Cottage. It measures 11" x 8", and was painted by J.B. Martin in September 1913.

Little is known about the picture, although there could be a connection with Arlington Court, as it was given to the previous owner by someone who lives in that area, who, before retiring, worked on the estate. If anyone has any information as to who the artist was, or anything else, I should be most grateful.

Regarding February's picture of the charabanc 'Jumbo', Mr. Ben Richards of West Seven Ash Farm was quick to call me and is convinced that the man standing at the front is John Bowden, c1916, who moved to Kentisbury. More details later, hopefully.

Terry Babbington
38 Park Road, Thundersley, Essex SS7 3PP
Tel: 01268-758757


Artwork: Debbie Rigler Cook


Anne and David Beagley are delighted to announce the arrival, on the 22nd of February, of their grandsons, Jack and Liam [6 lbs 11 oz and 6 lbs 13 oz], twin sons for Clare [nee Beagley] and Kelvin Turner, and brothers for Jade.

Lauren Victoria, weighing 8 lb 6 oz, clocked in at 11.25 p.m. on the 29th February - a Leap Year baby for Debra [nee Harding] and Gary Baddick, sister for Alexander and new grand-daughter for Colin and Doreen.

Congratulations and best wishes to you all.




The day was COLD but the pancakes were HOT. Thank you to all who supported the Sunday School at their Pancake Coffee Morning. £120 was raised. Special 'hugs' to Rainer Jost for his kind gift of the flowerpot man to our raffle - which raised over £70.

We welcome William, Rachel, Eloise and Lydia to Sunday School. We are busy preparing for the Mothering Sunday and Easter Services, and await our new activity materials. Do you know of someone who might like to join the Sunday School? If so, please contact Sally [882746] or Joy [882532].




Ilfracombe Chronicle, Saturday, 14th April, 1906:
Non-attendance at School

Edwin Coaker, Berrynarbor, was summoned for a similar offence in respect of his child Annie, and pleaded guilty. Mr. Sing said the child ought to attend the Berrynarbor School, which was the worst attended in the County. Last year the attendance was only 50% and the Ratepayers lost 1d each on about 10, 000 attendances not made. William Draper, Berrynarbor, also pleaded guilty in respect of his child Florence, aged 13 years.

Tom Bartlett
Tower Cottage, March 1996
: tomandinge40@gmail.com



A warm welcome to Peter Howard and Louise Webber who have moved in to "Wood Park". Peter and Louise both work for Phillip Dennis. We hope you will be very happy here in Berrynarbor.



Our best wishes go to Barbara Simmons, who at the time of going to print, is due to go into hospital for an operation - we shall be thinking of you and it is good to report that Laurel Draper is progressing well following his triple by-pass operation. Heddi Belka, too, is well on the road to recovery and out and about again. Keep smiling and get well soon.

Get well wishes also go to anyone else in the Village who is currently not feeling 100%.



In a salt ring of moonlight
The dinghy nods at nothing.
It paws the bright water
And scatters its own shadow
In a false net of light.
A ruined chain lies reptile,
Tied to the ground by grasses.
Two oars, wet with sweet water
Filched from the air, are slanted
From a wrecked lobster creel.
The cork that can't be travels -
Nose of a dog otter.
It's piped at, screamed at, sworn at
By elegant oyster catcher
On furious red legs.
With a sort of idle swaying
The tide breathes in. Harsh seaweed
Uncrackles to its kissing;
The skin of the water glistens;
Rich fat swims on the brine.
And all night in his stable
The dinghy paws bright water,
Restless steeplechaser
Longing to clear the hurdles
That ring the Point of Stoer.

Artwork by: Peter Rothwell

Norman MacCaig

Norman MacCaig was born in 1910 in Edinburgh, where he worked as a schoolmaster. Much of his poetry is distinctly Scottish. At his best he is a highly skilled poet, with the ability to evoke a landscape skilfully and economically, conveying his strong feelings for natural surroundings in excellent verse.



Meet the Hollyhocks! Although the family have lived in the Valley for nearly three years now, they keep very much to themselves.

Some introductions - first there are Gran and Gramps, bespectacled and in their Sunday best. Gramps in his smart pink shirt, bow tie and waistcoat with watch and chain, puffs gently on his pipe, whilst Gran, in her pink frock, sits down for a well-earned rest with her cat, Bimbo, at her feet. [Just take a peep under her dress and, oh dear, you will see those ankles - "swollen, my dear, from standing at the mangle for well over 50 years"!]

Then there is Gramps's spinster sister, Great Aunt Lucy, who has a passion for sapphires - her brown floral print dress adorned by a sapphire brooch, a sapphire ring on her hand. She is reading Kate Greenaway's "Language of Flowers", but progress, like Rainer's Ben's hedge-cutting, is very slow and she has been learning about the "meaning of flower names" for some time now!

There are five grandchildren: Sophie and red-haired Patricia, quite the young ladies in their smart dresses and matching hats; Rupert, the apple of his grandfather's eye, in his green velvet breeches; Jessica, with her blonde ringlets and sprigged muslin dress, and baby Emily, asleep in her beautifully draped cradle.

The Hollyhocks are the incredible work of Mavis Pesic, who in a moment to spare in 1988 dreamt up her own original ideas to produce a life-sized family! Each doll has its own armature which allows it to be free-standing [or sitting], and trial and error found solutions to the problems of making faces and limbs and their stuffing. Gran began life as two cushions!

Under each doll's outer clothes are all the necessary under-garments, all of which can be removed [for Gran to wash and mangle!]. The stitching has all been done by hand and Mavis even made the cradle herself. The hours and hours of painstaking and loving work have resulted in something unique - almost unbelievable but also almost real, as members of the W.I. [Great Aunt Lucy and Rupert were recent visitors to a W.I. meeting] and anyone else who has had the pleasure of meeting these folk will tell you.

Mavis, whose REAL hobbies are gardening and interior decorating - all of which she does herself, including in the past the conversion of three properties - has also made other life-sized dolls, two of which have crossed the Atlantic to America, and Aunt Sally, the namesake of the Restaurant at Croyde.

The Hollyhock family - a real labour of love have to be seen to be appreciated.

Illustrations by: Paul Swailes




The Spring Term is generally a quiet term - getting over Christmas and getting ready for the summer! In March we had a Parents' Evening, concentrating on Mathematics throughout the school, showing the wide range of work and helping to explain the different activities undertaken at the school. There was a P.T.A. Easter Disco and the Area Schools Swimming Gala for the children. The Exmoor Bird Gardens put on a free Animal Roadshow as a goodwill gesture. During the Easter break we shall be preparing for the coming term's sporting activities and hope for fine weather.

We wish you all a Happy Easter.



Following your many requests, Debbie has very kindly agreed, and it will now be possible [for a limited period only] for you to buy copies of her delightful front cover Nature Studies.

These will be the 'original' illustrations, printed on A4 card, and will cost £2.00 a single print, £10.00 for a set of 6 prints [of your choice] or £18.00 for the complete set of 12, which includes the 'Christmas' cat. Proceeds from the sales will be split between Newsletter funds and the R.S.P.C.A. to assist with oiled birds and other marine life affected by the oil from the tanker, Sea Empress.

Enclosed with this Newsletter is an Order Form. Please complete it and return it, together with your money [cheques should be made payable to Berrynarbor Newsletter] to Judie Weedon, either at the Post Office or Chicane, as soon as possible. Please do not hesitate to ring Judie [883544] if you require further information or assistance.


The Clogger and Eel Sniggler

The traditional clog, with its wooden sole and tough leather upper, was perfect for working - dry, warm and hard wearing. Supplying the wooden sole to the boot-maker was the job of a specialist craftsman - the Clogger.

Made from alder, the Clogger used a variety of "stock knives" with a speed and dexterity which belied the simplicity of his equipment. The finished soles were stacked in a drying pyramid to cure, and the Clogger's pyramid could sometimes reach a height of 12 feet in 2-3 days!

The common freshwater eel once formed an important and nutritious part of the nation's staple diet. Whilst eels were caught commercially, for country folk the ancient but notoriously unreliable skill of eel sniggling was more welcome!

"Sniggling" involved poking a long, flexible baited stick or rod into the eel's hiding hole and at the first sign of movement, the 'Sniggler' quickly flicked the eel out on to the bank to meet its culinary fate.


Artwork: Debbie Rigler Cook


Our best wishes to Sue Day [of Meakings, Combe Martin, who kindly delivers Newsletters for us] on her recent marriage to Richard Sussex. Congratulations and happiness to you both.

News has filtered through from Singapore that Angela, eldest daughter of Tom and Inge Bartlett, was married to Jaynel on the 7th March. Our love and best wishes to you both.


'Over the Rainbow'

Using Rothern Bridge, on the western fringe of Torrington, as our base, we chose a Sunday in late February to walk part of the Tarka Trail.

First we followed the course of the old railway line south to Watergate Bridge. [This line was built in 1887 to transport Marland clay.] We walked across the railway bridge and looked down upon water meadows, where moorhens hurried for cover.

Then the path went by way of embankments and cuttings through woodland, with a tributary of the Torridge beside it. Along the route the hazels were laden with catkins; the black buds were showing on the ash and there were silvery pink pussy willows and patches of bright red cup fungus. At Watergate Bridge it started to drizzle and we were greeted by a rainbow.

Back at Rothern Bridge we took a detour from the Tarka Trail in order to look at the ruins of Frithelstock Priory - the only monastic ruins in North Devon. The turning for Frithelstock is next to the Toll House on the main Bideford to Torrington road. The small village, with its church of St. Mary and St. Gregory, beside a little green, is three-quarters of a mile along this road.

Fourteen pollarded lime trees line the path from the lych gate to the church porch, representing the fourteen Stations of the Cross from Jerusalem to Calvary. A sudden hail storm drove us to take refuge in the church which has a Norman font, a Jacobean pulpit and delicately carved stone, canopied niches in the columns. There are also memorials to members of the family of John Gay, writer of "The Beggar's Opera".

The ruins of the Augustinian Priory, founded in 1220, are adjacent to the church but on private ground. However, they may be seen from the churchyard. We made our way through drifts of snowdrops and witnessed our second rainbow of the day, just emerging from the horizon and while we gazed at the ancient walls, the rainbow gradually arched right over the priory, making a beautiful frame for the already magnificent scene, and then as if on cue, some lambs appeared from around the far corner and played among the ruins.

The impressive West front of the Priory, with its three tall lancet windows, is best viewed from the lane behind the church.


Finally, we resumed the Tarka Trail north of the 15th Century Rothern Bridge to Beam Weir, a stretch where the wide River Torridge loops dramatically and the trail crosses it several times, via the old railway bridges. Long-tailed tits flitted in the bushes beside the former track, squirrels sprang from trees by the river.

This is beautiful, lush countryside and in such a setting, near Beam Weir, is the fine five arched stone aqueduct [known as Canal Bridge]. It was built to carry the Torrington Canal over the River Torridge. The canal was opened in 1827 but by 1871, part of its course was being used for the new railway line. These relics of the Industrial Revolution sit happily in this 'natural' landscape, today renowned as a stronghold for otters.

Illustration by: Paul Swailes

Sue H



"What is Easter?" the child asked with wonderment and awe,
When he looked at the shop full of chocolate eggs, and Easter goodies galore.

Does the death of a man on a cross mean a thing,
When there's violence shown everyday in the media, in every way?

Can we expect a child to know that the man died for him, to show
The world that God in his love would forgive all the wrong that people in anger will do?

Let this be a time for loving and giving, a time for starting anew.
Let Easter time bring peace to the world, if only this could be true

Vida Butler



Thank you to the many 'Berry' friends who have wished us well with our new venture of The Exmoor Brass Rubbing and Hobbycraft Centre! Please pop in and say 'hello' when you are in Lynmouth - we think you will be pleasantly surprised. We are located overlooking the river at the foot of Watersmeet Road, adjacent to the car park and church - a beautiful location.

We should like to offer all Berry residents a 50p reduction on each brass rubbing made between Saturday, 30th March, until the end of April, excluding Bank Holiday week-end.

Rainer and Jill



Berrynarbor Playgroup - Ten Years Ago

Berrynarbor Playgroup has offered pre-school children opportunities to meet, play and learn from each other, in a safe, secure environment, for over 20 years. The Group meet in the Manor Hall, 3 mornings a week, for children aged 3 to 5 years, and I morning each week for parent/carers with toddler-aged children.

This photograph of the Playgroup was taken in the Penn Curzon room approximately ten years ago. The 'front line' are now all students at Ilfracombe College in Years 7 and 8.

  • Front Row: Ian Fry [East Down], Holly Fabian [Combe Martin], Robert Cook [East Down], Bethany Fabian [Combe Martin], Jancy Davies [Berrynarbor], Katie Gubb [Berrynarbor], Sophie Putnam [Hele]

  • Back Row: James Godfrey [ex Hele, Woolacombe], David Purdue [Berry Down], Laura Desmond [ex Hele, West Midlands], David White [ex Berrynarbor, Exeter], Sam Newell [Berrynarbor], James Middlemass [ex Hele, Barnstaple]

What a difference ten years makes!! Next issue, Berrynarbor Playgroup 20 years ago.

Ann Davies




Devon and Cornwall Constabulary - Cutting Crime in Rural Areas

Devon and Cornwall Constabulary have received a grant which will enable them to help elderly and vulnerable persons whose homes may need additional security, but whose financial circumstances do not allow them to have the work carried out. Anyone needing advice or financial help for such work should contact the Crime Prevention Officer in Barnstaple, on 335233.

Annual Parish Meeting

Another reminder that the Annual Parish Meeting will be held in the Manor Hall on Tuesday, 9th April, commencing at 7.00 p.m. Do come and find out what YOUR Parish Council has been doing and what it plans to do, or to say what you would like it to do!




Telephone: 01271 882521


[for the attention of those born before 1940]

We were born before television, before penicillin, before frozen foods, Xerox, plastic, contact lenses, frisbees and the pill. We were before radar, credit cards, split atoms, laser beams and all ball-point pens ... before dishwashers, tumble driers, electric blankets, air conditioning, drip-dry clothes ... and before man walked on the moon.

We got married first and then lived together [how quaint!]; we thought 'fast food' was what you ate in Lent, a 'Big Mac' was an oversize raincoat, knocking off usually meant the end of the working day, and 'crumpet' was what we had for tea. We existed before 'house-husbands', 'computer dating', 'dual careers', when a 'meaningful relationship' meant getting along with the in-laws, and 'sheltered accommodation' was where you waited for a bus.

We were born before day centres, group homes and disposable nappies. We had never heard of FM radio, tape decks, electric typewriters, artificial hearts, word processors, yoghurt, or young men wearing earrings. For us, 'time sharing' meant togetherness, a 'chip' was a piece of wood or a fried potato, 'hardware' meant nuts and bolts and 'software' wasn't a word.

Before 1940, 'made in Japan' meant junk, the term 'making out' referred to how well you did in your exams, a 'stud' was something to fasten a collar to a shirt, and 'going all the way' meant staying on the bus right to the terminus.

Pizzas, McDonalds and instant coffee were unheard of. In our day, cigarette smoking was fashionable, 'grass' was mown, 'coke' was kept in the coalhouse, a 'joint' was a piece of meat you had for Sunday luch, and 'pot' was something you cooked in. The sun was good for you, a suntan envied. 'Rock music' was grandmother's lullaby, Eldorado was ice-cream, a 'gay' person was the life and soul of the party and nothing more, and 'aids' just meant beauty treatment, or for elderly gents, a truss.

We who were born before 1940 must be a hardy bunch when you think of the ways in which the world has changed and the adjustments we have had to make. No wonder we are confused and there is a generation gap today!




2ndW.I. Meeting: Fuchsia Time - Robert Gilbert
3rdMobile Library in Village from 11.55 a.m. NO Lent Service
4thMaundy Thursday, Holy Communion 10.00 a.m.
Whist Drive, Manor Hall, 7.30 p.m.
5thGOOD FRIDAY, Lent Service, 2.00 p.m.
6thService of Light, Combe Martin
7thEASTER SUNDAY Holy Communion, 8.00 a.m.
Family Service, 10.30 a.m. Combe Martin 6.30 p.m.
8thEaster Monday
9thAnnual Parish Meeting, Manor Hall, 7.00 p.m.
11thU3A Luncheon. Whist Drive, Manor Hall, 7.30 p.m.
15thCollege and Primary School: Start of Summer Term
Badminton Club, 7.30 p.m. Manor Hall
17thMobile Library in Village from 11.55 a.m.
Wine Circle, Manor Hall, 8.00 p.m. A.G.M. and Wines from Germany - Tom Bartlett
18thWhist Drive, Manor Hall, 7.30 p.m.
Combe Martin Historical Society, Methodist Hall, 7.30 p.m.: Mines of the Brendon Hills & West Somerset Railway - M. Jones
19thFarewell to Bishop of Crediton, Crediton, 7.30 p.m.
22ndBadminton Club, 7.30 p.m. Manor Hall
23rdSt. George's Day
25thW.I. Chichester Group Meeting, Shirwell
Whist Drive, Manor Hall, 7.30 p.m.
Ladies Link Meeting, 7.30 p.m.
28thEucharist & Confirmation Service, 10.30 a.m. Bishop of Exeter
Christians Together, 6.30 p.m. Combe Martin
29thBadminton Club, 7.30 p.m., Manor Hall
1stMobile Library in Village from 11.55 a.m.
2ndSt. Peter's Coffee Morning, 10.30 a.m.
Whist Drive Manor Hall, 7.30 p.m.
3rdP.C.C. Meeting, 2.15 p.m. Vestry
6thMAY DAY Bank Holiday
Cream Tea Afternoon, Manor Hall, 2.00 p.m.
Badminton Club, 7.30 p.m. Manor Hall
7thW.I. Meeting - Discussion of Resolutions
9thU3A Luncheon.
Whist Drive Manor Hall, 7.30 p.m.
12thRogation Sunday to Saturday, 18th May : Christian Aid Week
13thBadminton Club, 7.30 p.m. Manor Hall
14thParish Council Meeting, 7.30 p.m. Manor Hall
15thMobile Library in Village from 11.55 a.m.
16thWhist Drive, Manor Hall, 7.30 p.m.
Combe Martin Historical Society, Methodist Hall: A.G.M. Historical Monuments of Exmoor - Robert Wilson-North
20thBadminton Club, 7.30 p.m. Manor Hall
23rdWhist Drive, Manor Hall, 7.30 p.m.
27thSPRING BANK HOLIDAY to 31st May: College and Primary School - Half Term
29thMobile Library in Village from 11.55 a.m.
30thWhist Drive - Manor Hall, 7.30 p.m.
3rdBadminton Club, 7.30 p.m., Manor Hall
4thW.I. Meeting
6thWhist Drive, Manor Hall, 7.30 p.m.


Artwork: Angela Bartlett

Watermouth Harbour and Smuggling

The first picture, taken c1920 by Garratt shows two sailing brigs, a yacht and speedboat with Watermouth Castle in the background, the Castle boathouse and another brig and a collection of small rowing boats. The second picture was produced by J. Vince at the tum of the Century, and shows both harbour and foreshore in a completely natural state, with no obvious signs of commercialism other than the wooden keg [cask or barrel] in the foreground.



Graham Farr in his book on "Ships and Harbours of Exmoor" states:

"Watermouth, the next creek, beautifully landscaped, has had a rather busier past. Here, too, was the inevitable lime kiln and, besides materials for this, there were coal and other goods for the nearby village of Berrynarbor. No doubt its magnificent isolation encouraged the free traders for it was certainly not a solitary instance when, in 1785, George Fishley, the Tidesman, discovered a 96 gallon cask of rum in an outhouse. Even the humble culm for the kiln provided opportunities for defrauding the revenue before the repeal of the coat duties in 1831. For example, in 1813, it was found that a cargo of culm, liable to low duties, discharged by the sloop "Watermouth", was being sorted and the large lumps put aside for domestic use, e.g. the scalding of milk, heating laundry irons, as well as house warming. By the time Fishley had reported to his superiors at Ilfracombe and returned with orders to bring back the disputed fuel, it had been spirited away. Again in 1839, Richard Cutcliff fell foul of the Customs Officers when he took sheep to Swansea for sale in the new smack "Watermouth", without coastal clearances or paying the necessary light and harbour dues.

"In 1866 one Symons was asked to build a new cargo sloop for the Squire, Rev. Arthur Crawfurth Basset, and decided to build it on the spot at Watermouth. The Little "Cruiser", originally 32 tons, was lengthened and rigged as a ketch in 1881, making regular channel crossings with coal and occasional cargoes of local produce, until she sprang a leak and sank five miles off the coast one stormy night in 1897. Meanwhile, pleased with the workmanship in the "cruiser", Squire Basset asked Symons to build him a small steam yacht and so, in 1868, the "Puffin" was launched. The Squire's earlier yacht, the "Waterlilly", was then sold to John Dovell of Combe Martin, by whom she was used as a fast market boat.

"Small sailing craft used the harbour at Watermouth for many years later, the last occasions being between the wars. "

Since Graham Farr's description, Watermouth Harbour has taken on a completely new role as a sheltered and safe haven for countless yachts and pleasure craft, particularly in summer. From late September until late spring, the majority of them are hoisted out of the water and 'parked' in neat rows on the hard-standing and alongside the old disused road. In addition, the Harbour has been able to boast of not only having a Harbour Master, Micky Irwin, but also a flourishing Yacht Club, complete with Club House. A small amount of fishing still takes place on a casual basis and some sea fishing trips during the season. As can be imagined, countless amateurs go rod fishing from the many rocks that surround and enclose the sheltered harbour.

Tom Bartlett
Tower Cottage, March 1996