Edition 45 - December 1996

Artwork by: Debbie Cook

Artwork: Judie Weedon


Lots of thanks! For your kind comments regarding the October issue and its coloured photographs and the many contributions left at the Post Office; to Phil and Lynn and the Parochial Church Council for such generous donations; and to everyone who has helped to re-boost newsletter funds by purchasing the 'Christmas Cat' cards and 'Nature Notelets' [from Debbie's originals].

These cards and notelets may be bought from me, at Chicane, for £1.75 for a packet of 12 cards with envelopes [all proceeds to the newsletter] or they will be on sale at the U.R.C. Christmas Coffee Morning on the 7th December.

Printed under threat of ... my special thanks to Ann and Marion for their poem, which is very much appreciated, as are all the other contributions to this issue, particularly our regular artists and writers Debbie [for another delightful seasonal cover - she will now be illustrating the April, August and December issues for a change!] - Paul and Nigel, and Tom, Dave, Vi, Mary and our 'Local Walker'. Thank you all.

February will be the next edition and copy will be needed by mid January, Wednesday, 15th, at the latest please. If you have not contributed before, why not spend one of those long, January evenings putting pen to paper and telling us about YOU - your holiday, your family, your pets or your hobbies, etc.!

In the meantime, have a very happy Christmas and my best wishes for a peaceful and prosperous New Year.

Judie - Ed




Combe Martin Town Hall, 7.30 p.m.

Proceeds in aid of Children's Hospice South West




1st October, the beginning of a new month and a well-attended meeting. Steve Walker was our guest speaker, and what an interesting afternoon he gave us - telling us how in the 16th Century Mr. Punch first became an international figure and introducing us to Judy and the Crocodile, complete with sausages! All the props have been made by Steve himself and out of the big case also came some Victorian memorabilia depicting Punch and Judy, with one special piece valued at £4,000, which was placed on our table. There was a big sigh of relief, especially from the Treasurer, when it was safely packed away again! Doris Upton spoke for everyone when she said that it had been one of the best meetings, and congratulated Steve on all that he had accomplished in keeping the Punch and Judy story alive.

The competition for a peg doll was won by Rosemary Gaydon with a delightful effort, duly admired and given to Steve's companion, Julie.

November 5th saw the Annual Meeting come round once again, and members welcomed Mrs. Elizabeth Ressell V.C O. The Committee, already selected by the members, were voted in 'en bloc' and although five names were nominated for President, four declined, so 'yours truly' carries on! I thank everyone for their support in the past, their faith in the future and hope that they will enjoy the year to come. An anniversary card was sent to Edith Rumley, who with her husband, Les, will be celebrating their 65th wedding anniversary on the 17th November - how wonderful! Edith was an enthusiastic member before moving to Amesbury and she is fondly remembered for her artistic skills, especially smocking.

With Christmas fast approaching, everyone will be busy, but some members hope to attend the Christmas Workshop on the 29th November and we shall be partaking of Christmas Lunch at the Globe Inn on the 16th December. Between these two events there will, of course, be our December meeting with the Rev. Jim Bates starting off a social afternoon's proceedings by a discussion on Christmas Past and Present. Following on there will be a nice selection of 'eats' and a wee gift [about £1] for members from the Lucky Dip before they go home.

Owing to increased costs, I am afraid that from the New Year, visitors will be asked to pay £1.50 which will include refreshments and raffle, but please do come along and join us.

All the members join me in wishing one and all a Very Happy Christmas and everything they would wish themselves for 1997.

Vi Kingdon - President

Christmas is a time to be merry,
To remember friends of yore;
To remember all the good times
That have gone before.
So as you pen those Yuletide cards,
Why not include a letter,
BT say "It's good to talk",
But the written word is often better.



2ndBadminton Club, 7.30 p.m. Manor Hall
3rdW.I. Meeting: 'Christmas Past & Present' - Rev. Jim Bates, Social Afternoon
5thWhist Drive, 7.30 p.m., Manor Hall
6thVillage Christmas Card Collection Box in Post Office to 21st December
7thU.R.C. Christmas Coffee Morning, Manor Hall, 10.30 a.m. to 12.00 noon
9thPrimary School Coffee Morning, 10.00 - 11.30 a.m. Everyone welcome.
Badminton Club, 7.30 p.m., Manor Hall
10thParish Council Meeting, 7.30 p.m. Manor Hall
R.S.C. at Ilfracombe College - The Comedy of Errors
11thMobile Library in Village from 11.55 a.m.
Wine Circle - 8.00 p.m., Manor Hall: Wines for Christmas, Andy Hodge
12thU3A Christmas Luncheon, Woolacombe Bay Hotel
Whist Drive, Manor Hall 7.30 p.m.
15thSt. Peter's Church: Family Service, 10.30 a.m.
16thW.I. Christmas Lunch at The Globe, 12.30 for 1.00 p.m.
Badminton Club, 7.30 p.m., Manor Hall
18thSt. Peter's Church: Carol Service, 6.30 p.m.
19thIlfracombe College Carol Celebration - Parish Church, Ilfracombe, 7.30 p.m. Everyone welcome.
Whist Drive, Manor Hall, 7.30 p.m.
20thCollege and Primary School: End of Autumn Term
21stMince Pie, Coffee and Sherry Morning, 10.30 a.m. to 12 00 noon, Manor Hall.
Close of Village Christmas Card Collection
24thCarols in Globe Car Park, 7.30 p.m.
St. Peter's Church: Midnight Mass, 11.30 p.m.
St. Peter's Church: Family Communion with Carols, 10.30 a.m.
26thFeast of St. Stephen
Globe Quiz Night
31stNew Year's Eve Globe: Beach Party 'till 12.30 a.m.
2ndWhist Drive, Manor Hall, 7.30 p.m.
7thW.I. Meeting: Tarka Home Trust - Mr. Phillip Roberts
8thCollege and Primary School: Start of Spring Term
Keep Fit with Sally Baddick, Manor Hall, 10.30 a.m.
Mobile Library in Village from 11.55 a.m.
9thU3A Luncheon
Whist Drive, Manor Hall, 7.30 p.m.
13thBadminton Club, 7.30 p.m., Manor Hall
14thParish Council Meeting, 7.30 p.m., Manor Hall
15thWine Circle, 8.00 p.m. Manor Hall: Members' Favourite Wines
16thWhist Drive, Manor Hall, 7.30 p.m.
19thSt. Peter's Church: Family Service, 10.30 a.m.
20thBadminton Club, 7.30 p.m., Manor Hall
22ndMobile Library in Village from 11.55 a.m.
23rdWhist Drive, Manor Hall, 7.30 p.m.
27thBadminton Club, 7.30 p.m., Manor Hall
30thWhist Drive, Manor Hall, 7.30 p.m.
3rdBadminton Club, 7.30 p.m., Manor Hall
4thW.I. Meeting: 'Kath on her Travels', Slides and Talk
6thWhist Drive, Manor Hall, 7.30 p.m.



I should like to say a great big thank you to all of you out there who sponsored me in my Welfare Awareness Ride for the International League for the Protection of Horses.

The ride was held at Lower Dean Riding Centre, Trentishoe, owned by Sam and Chris Bowden and Maureen and Graham Jones [former owners of Berry Post Office], on the 22nd September 1996. The 10 mile route was from the Riding Centre to Hunters Inn, then on to Parracombe through the network of scenic bridleways and back to the Riding Centre along the road. More than a pat on the back is deserved for Sam, Chris, Maureen and Graham for organising such a wonderful and fun event.

I managed to raise £97.50 which will go towards helping neglected, homeless or unwanted equines, by providing them with food, a safe, caring place to live and veterinary care. In total the event raised over £600. Thanks again to all who sponsored me.


Me and Snippet ready for the off!

Jancy Davies

Congratulations, Jancy, on raising the most sponsorship money.


David Beagley


1. A single performance 3,5,5
7. Dividing 7
9. Smell 5
10. Burnt remains 3
11. Inability to hear 8
14. Having emotional paroxysms 2,9
17. Submits stories 8
19. Toilet commonly 3
21. Remove trousers 5
22. Grovelling 7
23. Puts together again 13


1. Without parents 6
2. From the soil 7
3. Part of the eye 4
4. County Town N.W.Midlands 8
5. Solitary 5
6. Pulls out 5
8. Excellence 9
12. Internation distress sign 3
13. Light inflamable gas 8
14. Frozen water 3
15. He plays a large instrument 7
16. Romeo & Julliet 6
17. Radio Detection 5
18. Pertaining to Hypogastric area 5
20. Sand or gravel 4

Solution in Article 22.



The 1996 Photographic Competition has now been judged and 1st Prize has been awarded to Kathy Arscott of Berrynarbor for a nice view of Broadsands. Five runner-up prizes were also awarded, all of which have gone to visitors. There were few entries from local residents and none of those submitted was considered suitable for publication in the 1997 Guide. The winners were: Kathy Arscott, Berrynarbor [Broadsands], Patricia Cutts, Barnstaple [Combe Martin Harbour at low tide], Nick Fairweather, Botley [The harbour at low tide], D.J. Neadle, Walsall [Newberry Beach] and Cliff Hayward, Brentwood [Lester Point].

The T.I.C. is now closed but there will be a continuing service by post, telephone and fax. Please remember that we hold small collections of literature on other parts of the country and will be glad to help anyone who needs advice.

We shall re-open in time for next Easter.

Don Taylor - Secretary


Artwork: Debbie Rigler Cook


Hillary and Roger Stevens are delighted to have become grandparents with the birth of Jay Emery on the 20th October. Jay, son of Lisa [nee Stevens] and Adrian, weighed in at 6 lbs 10 oz.

Steve and Odette Chivers are delighted to announce the safe arrival of their daughter, Skye. Bom at Hammonds Farm - like her brother Kyle - on the 7th November, she was a 7 lb 3 1/2 oz bundle for stork - Sally Barten - to deliver! Steve and Odette send special thanks to Sally now happily on her visit to Australia to meet her grand-daughter, Molly -for her wonderful help and kindness.

The 7th November was also the birth day of Tia Jasmine, a sister for Ryan and Keifer, who weighed in at 6 lbs 2 oz. Tia gave her parents, Sarah and Barrie, grandparents Jo and Gary and great grandmother, Vi, a worrying time at first, but thankfully she is now doing well.

Doreen and Alan Prater, now back from their holidays in South Devon and sunny Spain, and living at Venture Cottage [Il], are delighted to announce the safe arrival of their second grandson, Liam Charles. Liam, son of Judith and Charles, arrived on the 13th November, weighing 6 lbs 6 1/2 oz - mother and baby are doing fine.

To you all, congratulations and very best wishes.



Tom and Audrey Tucker, and not forgetting Kathleen, would like to thank all relations, friends and neighbours for joining them and making their Diamond Wedding a very special day.



The following extract from an enquiry received by Pat and John Gale from Westborough, Massachusetts, reads:

When I read your address it did indeed seem a small world. My mother's family came from Berrynarbor - my second cousin still owns the house at the bottom of what used to be called 'Pisspot Lane'. My mother spent every summer there with her mother, a true Devon lass who never reconciled herself to living in Yorkshire. Through my mother we have all developed a love of North Devon, in fact my sister who lives in California would love to buy a home in Berry and my brother now lives in Tavistock, and on my visits to him we always make the pilgrimage to Berry. I see your address is Watermouth - my mother has fond memories of swimming in Watermouth Cove and this brought back many happy memories. My mother's family name was Harding - people in the village would remember them.

Pat Piperato

Pat is quite right, people in the village certainly remember the Harding family and her second cousin, who owns Hillcrest at the bottom of Castle Hill, or Pisspot Lane, is Dorothy Grinnall, who now lives in Horsham, West Sussex.

The Harding family have lived in and around Berry Narbor since church records began in 1540 and records show that in 1544, in the reign of Henry VIII, Nicholas Harding was taxed on his goods.


In his 'Old Berrynarbor' article in the August 1992 Newsletter, Tom Bartlett's postcard [reproduced here] shows Sam Harding's blacksmith shop in Silver Street in 1904. Sam and his father, Thomas [born 1821/2], were both blacksmith's and a brief outline of the family tree from then to now is:

Thomas and Kezia Harding [nee Hill]
Samuel and Ellen Harding [nee Richards]
William and Dorothy Harding [nee Osmond]
Dorothy [nee Harding] and Peter Grinnall

Ellen Harding was the daughter of Benjamin Richards and Mary Ann Dyer of Hammonds Farm, and grand-daughter of James Richards and Mary Draper of Moules Farm

My thanks to Pat for passing the letter on to me and to Lorna for her information on the Harding family and for locating Pisspot Lane/Hill. A copy of the Newsletter will be winging its way to the States - we certainly get about!




We send our best wishes to Maud Draper who is in the N.D.D.H. following a heart attack. It is good to report that the latest bulletin says that she is improving slowly - keep up the good work, we are thinking of you. Our best wishes also go to Vi Goodman who has had a brief spell in hospital - we look forward to seeing you out and about again soon; and it is good to see Una Warburton out and about again following a nasty fall.


The Village Video

Due to requests, we have produced 50 more video copies of 'A Berry in Summer'. This version has been improved by Andy Marangone - he's the clever one in the team - the V E. Day party has been reproduced in sepia and given a crackle film effect. The result is impressive and the tapes have been recorded to a high quality. Because of production costs, the price is slightly higher at £7.99 each. Tapes are available from Little Orchard or through Nora and Alan at the Post Office, who have kindly agreed to stock some.

A new film is 'rolling' which we hope to have ready by this time next year - so many things happen when the clocks go back!

I have filmed an occasional wedding on request and to date have not had any thrown back at me, so if you are considering a video of your wedding, I should be happy to give you a quote. If you take your own, I can provide both a copy and editing service - all at reasonable costs.

Neil Morris [Fanmor Productions]
Little Orchard, Barton Lane, Berrynarbor. Tel: 883077


at Ilfracombe College


'An intelligent Delight' - Independent
'Outstandingly funny and wonder-filled' - Observer

Tuesday, 10th December to Saturday, 14th December, 7.30 p.m.
Matinees: Wednesday, 11th, and Friday, 13th, 1.00 p.m. Tickets: Matinees £7.00
Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday Evenings £8.50*
Friday and Saturday Evenings £10.50* *Concessions - £1.50 reduction
Box Office: Queen's Theatre [24242] or Pavilion Theatre [862228]


Artwork: Helen Armstead


Harvest Thanksgiving

Thank you to everyone who came along and made Harvest Thanksgiving such a success. The services were, perhaps, not quite so well attended this year but numbers at the Supper were up to normal and we all enjoyed an excellent meal prepared by the ladies of the Church. We were pleased to see the Sunday School taking an active part in all our celebrations and especially glad to welcome Bishop Richard to Evensong and Supper.

The church was beautifully decorated and did credit to all the flower arrangers - a bale of hay, corn and mini-sheaves of wheat, barley and oats in the windows and a net and lobster pots helped to create the atmosphere. On their table the children had a seed tray already sown for the spring - the sowing and nurturing of seed was the theme of the Sunday service.

The auction after the supper raised £65 and altogether the PCC were able to send off a cheque for £200 to Children in Distress.

Thank you once more to everyone who helped in any way and our special thanks to Anne Gosling for all her efforts and Lynn and Phil at the Globe, our potato cookers once again!

Family Services

On Sunday, 20th October, we were pleased to welcome the family of Ron and Gladys Dyer. Ron and Gladys [who is the daughter of Vi Goodman] were celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary. On her wedding day Gladys planned to walk the few yards to the church, but although the day dawned fine, the Gas Board decided to dig up the village street!

The marriage of Ron Dyer and Gladys Toms, St. Peters Church, Berrynarbor - 20th October 1956

  1. Gladys Toms (Bride)
  2. Ronald Dyer (Groom)
  3. Valerie Williams (Bridemaid)
  4. Nellie Seward
  5. Sonia Stoddart
  6. Bert Seward
  7. Wilfred Toms
  8. Colin Dyer
  9. Desmond Lee (Best man)
  10. Doris Dyer
  11. Gilbert Dyer
  12. Violet Goodman
  13. David Goodman
  14. Ruby Draper
  15. Daniel Toms
  16. Elizabeth Toms
  17. Terry Goodman
  18. Raymond Toms
  19. Sheila Toms

Our next Family Service, followed by coffee and then a short Communion, will be on 15th December at 10.30 a.m. and there will be another on the 19th January.

Christians Together

Christians Together in Combe Martin and Berrynarbor held their Evensong at St. Peter's on 27th October, There was a good congregation, the Anthem was sung by the Choir from Combe Martin and Gerry Marangone sang a solo. Afterwards everyone went over to the Manor Hall for coffee and biscuits.

Remembrance Sunday

The special Remembrance Service was well attended this year and a small group gathered again at the War Memorial on Monday, 11th November, to observe the two minutes' silence. The collection on the Sunday, which amounted to £65, has been sent to the Earl Haig Fund

Fund Raising

The Coffee Morning held on 9th November raised over £100 - a magnificent effort. Thank you to everyone who helped or contributed in any way and, of course, to all of you who came on the day. £35 has been passed to the Manor Hall Committee to help pay for the banners and the remainder has been paid into the Flower Fund. [There are whispers of a Flower Festival early next summer!]

Christmas at St. Peter's

We are looking forward to seeing you all at our Christmas Services:

  • Wednesday, 18th December, 6.30 p.m. Carol Service
  • Christmas Eve, 11.30 p.m. Midnight Mass
  • Christmas Day, 10.30 a.m. Family Communion with Carols

After no flowers during Advent, the church will be decorated on Tuesday, 24th December. The flowers will be mainly white with some yellow.

Please let Betty Davis know if you would like to give any.

Mary Tucker




10.30 - 11.30 a.m. MANOR HALL, BERRYNARBOR
For further details contact Ilfracombe College [01271] 864171



Clubs, clues, photographs and views,
Coffee mornings, sales, walks, articles to amuse,
Gardening tips, recipes, crossword puzzles too,
A mine of information, collated just by you.
Delightfully illustrated, from cover and throughout,
Just open it and read "What's on and Roundabout"
Time means nothing as she rushes all around
Collecting news, times of events, to you they will astound.
Fingers fly across the keys, deadline is in sight
Pages numbered - check they're all in line,
Now the folding's underway, never mind the time.
Staple one, two, three and four, hundreds more piled on the floor.
Deadline's getting closer, not a second now to rest.
Nothing is too much trouble to provide this bi-monthly quest.
Nearly eight years our editor, Judy, dedicated to the task
Deserves a heartfelt thank you, as she will never ask.
OUR THANKS TO YOU JUDIE, and sorry for the mess,
Hotline off the press!

Ann and Marion


I have been offered the opportunity to record lives of the Saints. The Church of West and East lists several Saints for every day of the year. For many Christians, this is a living part of the Church: we love them, they love us - my choice is a very personal thing.


On 26th December we celebrate the Feast of St. Stephen. After the Ascension, the church grew at such a rate that the Apostles created the Order of Deacons and St. Stephen was their first choice. He had much grace, great power, power to work miracles and show signs.

He proclaimed the Lord Jesus Christ as God and Saviour. Famous Jews from many parts of the Middle East objected to this teaching, but could not defeat him in debate. So they accused him of blasphemy in respect of his exposition of the place of Moses, the Law of Moses and the significance of the temple. In court he preached a powerful sermon after the manner of St. Peter. He was condemned to death by stoning and immediately was granted a clear vision of Our Lord Jesus Christ in heaven. They stoned him to death: and in the hour of his death he offered two prayers used by many generations of Christians since - 'Lord Jesus, receive my spirit' and 'Lord, do not hold this sin against them'.

Preb. Epp.

P.S. 26th December is also known as Boxing Day.

The Martyrdom of Saint Stephen attributed to Antonio Carracci [c1610].

Saul [later St. Paul] guards the clothes of those who stone St. Stephen outside the city [Acts of the Apostles 7:58-60].

Antonio Carracci was a member of the Italian family of painters whose forte was the painting of elaborate murals in the Farnese Palace and other palaces and churches in Rome in the late C 16th and early C 17th.


The Martyrdom of Saint Stephen

Possibly by Antonio Carracci, 1589? - 1618
Date, about 1610, Oil on canvas
Acquisition credit, Holwell Carr Bequest, 1831
Inventory number NG77

© The National Gallery, London
Licenced under CC BY-NC-ND 4.0



John Betjeman

The bells of waiting Advent ring,
The Tortoise stove is lit again
And lamp-oil light across the night
Has caught the streaks of winter rain
In many a stained-glass window sheen
From Crimson Lake to Hooker's Green.
The holly in the windy hedge
And round the Manor House the yew
Will soon be stripped to deck the ledge,
The altar, font and arch and pew,
So that the villagers can say
'The church looks nice' on Christmas Day.
Provincial public houses blaze
And Corporation tramcars clang,
On lighted tenements I gaze
Where paper decorations hang,
And bunting in the red Town Hall
Says 'Merry Christmas to you all'.
And London shops on Christmas Eve
Are strung with silver bells and flowers
As hurrying clerks the City leave
To pigeon-haunted classic towers,
And marbled clouds go scudding by
The many-steepled London sky,
And girls in slacks remember Dad,
And oafish louts remember Mum,
And sleepless children's hearts are glad,
And Christmas-morning bells say 'Come!'
Even to shining ones who dwell
Safe in the Dorchester Hotel.
And is it true? And is it true,
This most tremendous tale of all,
Seen in a stained-glass windows hue,
A Baby in an ox's stall?
The Maker of the stars and sea
Become a Child on earth for me?
And is it true? For if it is,
No loving fingers tying strings
Around those tissued fripperies,
The sweet & silly Christmas things,
Bath salts and inexpensive scent
And hideous tie so kindly meant.
No love that in a family dwells,
No carolling in frosty air,
Nor all the steeple-shaking bells
Can with this single Truth compare
That God was Man in Palestine
And lives to-day in Bread and Wine.

Illustrated by: Nigel Mason



We'd reached the area of salt marsh near the mouth of the River Caen when over on Horsey Ridge we noticed a large dark grey object resembling a huge boulder. But as we stopped to look we realised that the 'boulder' had started to rock from side to side and that there appeared to be a head at one end.

We climbed from the causeway and trudged across the sand and mud to confirm what we thought we had seen and spent the next half hour delighting in watching a grey seal basking in the autumn sunshine, swimming and fishing. The magnificent animal appeared very relaxed and unselfconscious as it yawned and stretched, slowly raising its head and rubbery looking tail, while resting its weight on its chest, making an inverted arch.

It must have been about eight feet in length; its eyes large and round and its coat dappled and blotched in darker and lighter tones of grey.

Although it was mid afternoon at the weekend, not many people were about - a few fishermen mostly. One of them came down to the water's edge to collect crabs. He barely gave the seal a second glance.

He had encountered it there several times before, or one like it, and regarded it as unwelcome competition. Grey seals hunt near the coast for salmon, herring, cod, flat fish and occasionally squid and crabs. Adult seals need about 11 lbs of food a day.

Typically animals of exposed rocky coasts, the grey seals have, however, been visiting estuaries and seeking out sand bars at low tide. Small groups are often found in sea caves on the North Cornish coast while large numbers are present on the Scilly Isles and Pembrokeshire coast, where they have been established longer.

Also known as the Atlantic Seal, they occur on both sides of the ocean, but in less significant numbers off the coasts of Canada and Newfoundland. There are colonies in Norway and Iceland but they are most numerous around the British Isles, where their population has been increasing.

The life span of the grey seal is between fifteen and thirty years but one was known to have lived for folly-one years.

As the seal on Horsey Ridge lollopped into the water after a fish it was transformed from the awkward, vulnerable creature on land Into a streamlined and graceful swimmer, diving and somersaulting, gliding effortlessly. Oxygen stored in its muscle cells as well as in the blood enables the seal to remain under water for a long time. Now it was glossy and dark, the markings no longer evident, the coat appearing metallic and hairless. Eventually it landed on a small sand bank, resting and waiting until the incoming tide lapped over the edges of the bank; peering about it as if to check the progress of the water, just as the tide swallowed up the little island, the seal rolled into the sea and shortly afterwards disappeared.

Sadly, the tranquillity and special character of the area have been put under pressure in recent weeks with two events which have hit the headlines - the industrial pollution of the River Caen resulting in the death of hundreds of trout and the savage attacks on a fox and swans, on the marsh and at Crow Point, by 'revellers'.

Sue H


Buy your
and support your local

12p each from
Eunice Allen, Bali-Hai, Sterridge Valley call or 'phone 882491

Birthday and other cards - 25p each

Eunice would be delighted to collect
All old greetings card [of any kind] for Recycling


Artwork: David Duncan


Carnival Club: For those who haven't worked out what this year's float was all about, it was based on the Walt Disney film TOY STORY, a battle between new and old toys for their young owners' affections. It was the Class Winner and Best Pub Float in Combe Martin and Overall Winner in Ilfracombe and Barnstaple. We hope our efforts helped to raise lots of money for charity as well as the pleasure it gave all of us to take part.

Thanks to all the kind people who helped to produce the float, to name a few - Gill and Brian Mountain for our corner of their bam, Richard Haines for the use of his motors, Hele Building Supplies for material help, Herbert and Alan Parkin for the tractor, and last but not least, Jackie Weaver for the loan of John!

Pumpkin Weekend - The now annual Pumpkin Growing and Dressing competition benefited the Children's Hospice at Fremington by more than £100 . The heaviest was a new village record, 87 lbs, grown by William Luckham of Birdswell - our youngest contestant. Well done! Olinda Holden and Ray Toms, 2nd and 3rd, weighed their pumpkins in at 54 lbs and 39 lbs. Best Dressed honours went to Jancy Davies who had put in a lot of work on a "sunflower" pumpkin. Congratulations and thanks to all who dressed pumpkins.

We have to admit that the 'residue' left all down Pitt Hill was our fault but It was all in a good cause. The Junior Race was won by Sam, with Rachel 2nd, Greg 3rd, Ben 4th, Dan 5th and Shane 6th, and if anyone has seen Christopher Adams, please send him home! Ashley, followed by Melanie and Mark were the adult race winners.

Christmas Opening

  • Christmas Eve: Carols in the Car Park, 7.30 p.m.
    Christmas Draw, 9.30 p.m.
  • Christmas Day: Open 11.00 a.m. to 1.00 p.m.
  • Boxing Day: Quiz Night with Quizmaster, Neil
  • New Year's Eve: 'Beach Party' until 12.30 a.m.





Wesley Manse
Combe Martin
November 1996

Dear Friends,

There sometimes seems to be an unofficial competition from people claiming to have heard the first Cuckoo of Spring. I wonder if I can claim to have heard the first Carol of Christmas - and this in a Barnstaple shop in late October! The words of the first verse of the carol I heard were:

Love came down at Christmas,
Love all lovely, Love Divine;
Love was born at Christmas
Star and angels gave the sign

I love the Christmas season for all sorts of reasons. I like the fact that the Christmas message is depicted on the greetings cards we exchange with family and friends, and I am pleased that a great number of these have representations of the birth of Jesus, which after all is 'The reason for the season'!

I take great pleasure in hearing Christmas carols being sung as I enter shops and stores and to hear people humming along to the familiar tunes. I welcome the feeling of goodwill generated by the lights and decorations in homes, shops and streets. I love the joy which shines from children's faces as they share the Christmas message in Nativity plays and concerts.

The carol ends:

Love shall be our token,
Love be your and love be mine.
Love to God and all men,
Love for plea and gift and sign.

May the love, joy, and peace which Jesus brought into the world, be with you all, not just for the Christmas season but all through the year. I hope you will take the opportunity to attend one of the Christmas services to thank God for his present to us of Jesus.

Peter Ellis
Pastor, Methodist Church


Artwork: Angela Bartlett

Berrynarbor Sterrage Valley


This photograph shows Len Bowden with the 'jingle', or trap, he used for delivering milk around the village. Originally, milk in large churns would have been carried in the jingle with Len, or members of his family, using quart, pint or occasionally half-pint ladle measures to pour the milk into the jugs or containers provided by the customers. Here we see Len with the jingle in the Sterrage Valley, just outside Pink Heather, with two of Mrs. Songhurst's regular visitors sitting on board, complete with at least two crates of bottled milk. The pony pulling the jingle is probably Little Doll, as mentioned by Lorna and Valerie Bowden in their article on Len in Newsletter No. 12 - June 1991.

It is rewarding to know that both the farming families of Bowden and Richards had dairies providing milk to both Berrynarbor and Combe Martin right up to recent times. When Inge and I moved here from Ilfracombe in the early '70's, milk was still being delivered around the village by both Claude Richards and Michael Bowden. Later, Michael's brothers Ben, Paul and finally Peter delivered the milk until the Dairy closed down around July 1991, some months after Len's death at Ruggaton Farm on 20th March.

My particular thanks to Len's wife, Valerie, who had to put up with me posing all kinds of questions to her one November afternoon, and for the loan of this and other pictures.

Tom Bartlett
Tower Cottage, November 1996




The quality of teaching at Berrynarbor V.C. Primary School has recently been highlighted by an independent team from the Office for Standards in Education as a major strength of the school. 'The majority of the teaching is good with a significant percentage very good, and is the main factor contributing to the standards of attainment', the inspectors said.

The Chair of Governors, Rev. Keith Wyer writes: The Headteacher, staff, pupils and parents are to be congratulated on the findings of the Ofsted Inspectors. This successful school [their words] has come about because of the vision and hard work of everyone associated with the school. How can we improve? The only two areas for action had already been identified by the Governors and been addressed as part of the school's continuing process of evaluation and progress. The Headteacher, Governors and Staff are constantly striving to improve the quality of education for our children. The school has been given a few years to implement the action plan for the key issues.


Artwork: Debbie Rigler Cook


A warm welcome and congratulations to Claire and Michael Prentice who have moved in to Summerhill, Hagginton, following their recent marriage and honeymoon spent in the Canary Islands. We also welcome Tony and Marilyn Mascall who have come to live at Berrynarbor Park from Northampton; Jim and Linda McDonald who will be exchanging a busy life in London for one of active retirement at Hole Farm, Goosewell and Thistledew, Birdswell Lane, is now home to Sylvia and Ernest Baker who have come from Berkshire.

Best wishes to you all, we hope you will be very happy here in Berrynarbor.

Residents of the Sterridge Valley were sorry to say 'good-bye' to Sandra and Jim Jackson, Michael and Alyson, plus their 4-footers - we wish them well.



What shall my true love
Have from me
To pleasure his Christmas
The partridge has flown
From our pear tree.
Flown With our summers,
Are the swans and the geese.
Milkmaids and drummers
Would leave him little peace.
I've no gold ring
And no turtle dove.
So what can I bring
To my true love?

A coat for the drizzle,
Chosen at the store;
A saw and a chisel
For mending the door;
A pair of red slippers
To slip on his feet;
Three striped neckties;
Something sweet.
He shall have all
I can best afford -
No pipers, piping,
No leaping lord,
But a fine fat hen
For his Christmas board;
Two pretty daughters
[Versed in the role]
To be worn like pinks
In his buttonhole;
And the tree of my heart
With its calling linnet,
My evergreen heart
And the bright bird in it.

Phyllis McGinley

Illustrations by: Paul Swailes


A Correspondence
John Julius Norwich

25th December

My dearest darling

That partridge, in that lovely pear tree! What an enchanting, romantic, poetic present! Bless you and thank you.

Your deeply loving Emily

26th December

My dearest darling Edward

The two turtle doves arrived this morning and are cooing away in the pear tree as I write. I'm so touched and grateful.

With undying love, as always, Emily


27th December

My darling Edward

You do think of the most original presents; whoever thought of sending anybody three French hens? Do they really come all the way from France? It's a pity that we have no chicken coops, but I expect we'll find some. Thank you, anyway, they're lovely.

Your loving Emily


28th December

Dearest Edward

What a surprise - four calling birds arrived this morning. They are very sweet, even if they do call rather loudly - they make telephoning impossible. But I expect they'll calm down when they get used to their new home. Anyway, I'm very grateful of course I am.

Love from Emily


29th December

Dearest Edward

The postman has just delivered five most beautiful gold rings, one for each finger, and all fitting perfectly. A really lovely present - lovelier in a way than birds, which do take a lot of looking after. The four that arrived yesterday are still making a terrible row, and I'm afraid none of us got much sleep last night. Mummy says she wants to use the rings to 'wring' their necks - she's only joking, I think; though I know what she means. But I love the rings. Bless you.

Love, Emily


30th December

Dear Edward

Whatever I expected to find when I opened the front door this morning, it certainly wasn't six socking great geese laying eggs all over the doorstep. Frankly, I rather hoped you had stopped sending me birds - we have no room for them and they have already ruined the croquet lawn. I know you meant well, but - let's call a halt, shall we?

Love, Emily


31st December


I thought I said no more birds; but this morning I woke up to find no less than seven swans all trying to get into our tiny goldfish pond. I'd rather not think what happened to the goldfish. The whole house seems to be full of birds - to say nothing of what they leave behind them. Please, please STOP.

Your Emily


1st January

Frankly, I think I prefer the birds. What am I to do with eight milkmaids - AND their cows? Is this some kind of a joke? If so, I'm afraid I don't find it very amusing.



2nd January

Look here Edward, this has gone far enough. You say you're sending me nine ladies dancing; all I can say is that judging from the way they dance, they're certainly not ladies. The village just isn't accustomed to seeing a regiment of shameless hussies with nothing on but their lipstick cavorting round the green - and it's mummy and I who get blamed. If you value our friendship - which I do less and less - kindly stop this ridiculous behaviour at once.



3rd January

As I write this letter, ten disgusting old men are prancing about all over what used to be the garden - before the geese and the swans and the cows got at it; and several of them, I notice, are taking inexcusable liberties with the milkmaids. Meanwhile the neighbours are trying to have us evicted. I shall never speak to you again.



4th January

This is the last straw. You know I detest bagpipes. The place has now become something between a menagerie and a madhouse and a man from the Council has just declared it unfit for habitation. At least mummy has been spared this last outrage; they took her away yesterday afternoon in an ambulance. I hope you're satisfied.


5th January


Our client, Miss Emily Wilbraham, instructs me to inform you that with the arrival on her premises at half-past seven this morning of the entire percussion section of the Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and several of their friends she has no course left open to her but to seek an injunction to prevent your importuning her further. I am making arrangements for the return of much assorted livestock.

I am, Sir, yours faithfully,


Illustrations by: Paul Swailes


wish all our friends in 'Berry'
and a

Bessemer Thatch
Christmas 1996



Illustration by: Paul Swailes



At a recent meeting of the Men's Institute, the following Officers were elected:

Special thanks were given to Josef, the retiring Treasurer, for his hard work in the past, and thanks were also given to his wife, Heddi.

New members very welcome!

John Huxtable



The U.R.C. CHRISTMAS COFFEE MORNING on Saturday, 7th December Various Stalls, Raffle, etc.



Christmas Information

During our work up to Christmas we've stocked up with items which we hope will bring Christmas cheer all round. This year we've concentrated our Cards on the Charities supporting OXFAM, Save the Children, Cancer Research and the British Heart Foundation. Please help us to help them.

We have cakes and puddings with delicious ingredients and, of course, will provide the pens, paper, string, stamps and sealing wax for your presents. Hopefully we'll be sold out before we close for business at 1.00 p.m. on Tuesday, Christmas Eve.

Please note:

Wednesday, Christmas Day
Thursday, Boxing Day
Friday to Tuesday
Wednesday, New Year's Day


Shop Closed - No Papers
Shop Closed - No Papers
Normal Opening Hours
Half Day [as usual]



December was the tenth month of the early Roman year and got its name from decem, the Latin for ten. Probably it has had more names conferred upon it than any other of the twelve months. Among Saxons it was originally Winter Monat, but after their conversion to Christianity, it became Heligh Monat, or holy month, in honour of the birth of Christ.

  • December frost and January flood - never boded the husbandman good.
  • December cold, with snow, good for rye.
  • Frost on the shortest day indicates a severe winter.

The Latin church called Christmas the Feast of Lights, because Christ, the true light, had come into the world - hence the Christmas Candle and the Yule Log, which sometimes was of immense size:

  • "Now blocks to cleave this time requires, Gainst Christmas for to make good fires."

In the western parts of Devon, a superstition prevails that at 12 o'clock on Christmas Eve the oxen in the stalls are found on their knees, as an attitude of devotion.

Mince pies were intended to represent the offerings of the Wise Men. As many of the ingredients come from the East, the connection is plain, but what can be the origin of the notion that to eat mince pies made by as many different cooks as possible will ensure as many happy months? Some authorities are of the opinion that mince pies were formerly baked in coffin-shaped crusts intended to represent the manger, but in all old cookery books the crust of a pie was styled the coffin.

Christmas weather proverbs:

  • A warm Christmas, a cold Easter.
  • A green Christmas, a white Easter.
  • Christmas in snow, Easter in wind.
  • A light Christmas, a heavy sheaf.

Tom Bartlett - Tower Cottage
from Signs and Superstitions by Helen Greig Souter



Christmas trees and holly, children round the tree,
Hanging decorations, faces full of glee.
Mum is busy baking, Dad gets in the way,
Everyone is eager to greet that Special Day.
Morning comes and sleepy eyes soon brighten when they see
Their presents in their stockings and on the Christmas tree.
And when the day is over and tired heads laid to rest,
Sweet dreams prolong the wonder of the day they love the best.

Illustrations by: Amy and Rachel
from the Berrynarbor Playgroup

Betty Brown - Combe Martin



The Holly bears the crown - holly has been used for centuries to decorate houses. Silver or golden edge leaves of variegated types have a wonderful sparkle and shine in winter, whether they are growing in a garden or used among other evergreens to make Christmas decorations.

Fabled beasts - the reindeer is now fixed in most people's minds as a Christmas animal. Until recently they ranged across northern Scandinavia and Siberia, but their numbers have been greatly reduced. They are also native to North America where they are known as caribou. Both man and beast require special adaptations to survive wintry conditions. Reindeer grow long winter coats over a dense, soft underfur, which insulates them from icy Arctic winds. The animals' broad hooves prevent them from floundering in the snow, which is why the idea of reindeer pulling Santa's sleigh is not quite so far-fetched at it may seem. Lapps and Eskimos have always used domesticated reindeer to pull their sleighs.

The goose is getting fat - the goose had a fine and long tradition as a bird for festive tables until the turkey usurped its position! The goose was both a humble and a royal bird, gracing the table of peasant and king alike. Apart from its rich and delicious meat, other parts such as quills, feathers and grease were vital for the running of the country household,


Wishing All Readers