Edition 51 - December 1997

Artwork by: Debbie Cook

Artwork: Judie Weedon


Is it really only a few weeks until Christmas? The unseasonally warm weather doesn't help to get in to the mad, 'pre-pressie' mode, but it will be here before we know it!

By popular request, a reprint of the Notelets, especially of the Village Scenes, will be available shortly, hopefully in time for the W.I. Coffee Morning in the Manor Hall on Saturday, 29th November. My thanks to everyone who has already bought packets - the fund for another 'colour supplement' is growing - and to everyone who has sent donations or contributed to the collection box in the Post Office.

Our next issue will be February but before then I must thank everyone who has contributed to this issue: to Debbie for her lovely cover - how lucky we are that she finds time in her busy life, to delight us with her work - and for the Christmas Woodland Scene Colouring [please see later in the Newsletter], Paul for his patience in illustrating so well whatever I ask him, to Tom and 'Our Walker' for their unfailing support and Vi, Mary, Dave, Nigel and Peter, whose regular contributions are much appreciated. Thank you all.

Items for the February issue will be needed by mid-January and Wednesday, 14th January at the latest, please. I am still hoping that someone will start the ball rolling for a new series by providing a favourite photograph [old or new] and telling us of the memories it provokes.

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





Once again our members enjoyed entertaining members of the Ilfracombe Disabled Association in September, and Viv Fryer's demonstration on making marzipan fruits was well received by one and all. One gentleman asked her if next time she could make some animals - nothing impossible for our Viv! Many thanks to everyone for their help - the tables looked most appetising, or rather what was on them did!

A very warm welcome was extended to our Guest Speaker, John Hood, on the 7th October. John is not only a resident of Berrynarbor but also a Reflexologist. He gave a most interesting insight to his profession, and the general discussion that followed proved very enlightening. John left us with a few exercises that we could all practise. Thank you, John, for giving us your time. The competition - for a winter warmer - was won by Olive Kent with a pair of knitted gloves.

29th October saw 150 Teddies set off on the first part of their long journey. I certainly miss their cheeky faces and hope that there will be more knitted over the winter months to give pleasure to those 'special little people'.

Our Annual Meeting time again at the beginning of November. We were sorry to lose 4 members off the Committee: Margaret Kemp and Ivy Richards, Linda Brown and Joyce Elliott. My grateful thanks to them all for their support; the former two for so many years and the latter for the past twelve months - proud grandmothers naturally want to spend more time with their little ones. Two new members were nominated, Vera Perry and Kath Waller, so together with Edna Bames, Ann Hinchliffe, Rosemary Gaydon and myself, we hope that members will be pleased with what this committee accomplishes in 1998. Arrangements were made for the Coffee Morning on 29th November in the Manor Hall from 10.30 a.m. Eunice Allen will have a selection of greetings cards on sale in aid of the Cheshire Homes, so make a date to buy some. Thinking ahead to Christmas, there will also be lots of other goodies for sale.

At the December meeting on the 2nd we shall be thinking of the festive season with 'Preparing for Christmas' and if members wish to bring a small gift for another member, there will be the usual lucky dip before we go home. There will be a special Christmas raffle and the competition will be a selection of 4 mince pies. Cakes, given by the Committee, will be provided for the tea, but we are not proud, so if anyone else wants to bring something, please do!

On behalf of the W.I. ladies, a Very Happy Christmas to all readers, and a Healthy and Peaceful New Year.

Vi Kingdon - President

CHRISTMAS - a time for forgetting Yesterdays cares and strife.
CHRISTMAS a time for remembering The joys and blessings of life.


Artwork: Debbie Rigler Cook


The removal men have been quite busy in the village lately! It is always sad to say 'good-bye', but nice to welcome newcomers.

Our best wishes go with Jean and Jim Constantine who have left Haggington Hill to move to Exeter, where they are still looking for a permanent home. Moving in to Ragstone Cottage are Jacqui and John Weaver - not a long distance from Cedars in the Sterridge Valley! Continuing the chain and taking up residence at the Cedars, we welcome David and Julie Earls and their son, Adam, who have moved from near Guilford in Surrey.

If you have driven up Castle Hill of late, you will have noticed the recent conversion near Hammonds Farm. Now complete, this is the new home of Scott and Linda Balment. Newlyweds, Scott - who comes from Ilfracombe - and Linda - who comes from Barnstaple - run Go Carts, the North Devon Carting Centre In Barnstaple. Our congratulations on your recent marriage and best wishes for the future. We hope you will both be very happy here in the village.

Having welcomed Rachel, Peter and baby Thomas to Wood Park in the last Newsletter, we must now say 'farewell' as they are off to Buckinghamshire where Peter will be taking up a new job as a Chef.

Last time we were able to briefly 'welcome' the Wellers to Berrynarbor Park, but now we can be more personal and wish Dan and Margaret every happiness here, having found our idyllic village after three years' nomadic existence in the West Country. Having both retired, Dan and Margaret's journey began in East Anglia where they ran a charter boat on the River Cam.

Bessemer Thatch is under new ownership, Heather and Les having moved to a temporary home at Roundswell. We shall miss them both [what about the Show?] and wish them well in the future. Taking over, and new to the hotel business, are Wendy Burchell and Colin Applegate from Wootton Bassett in Wiltshire. Wendy, a Health Service professional, has a family association and a lot of experience in the catering world, and Colin was a Customs Officer. Welcome - we hope you will both be happy and successful here.



From Dawn and Art Jameson - Mill Park House

Having moved into Mill Park House nearly a year ago, we should like to say how much we enjoy living here in Berrynarbor. Everyone has made us very welcome and we feel very much at home. As yet we have not been able to participate in the many activities going on in the village as we have been busy renovating the house and gardens to their former glory. We have now acquired the adjoining buildings so it looks as if it will be a long term project! Which leads us to enquire if there is anybody who could enlighten us about the history or has any information on the Mill? We should love to hear from you, please ring us on 882990.

Dawn and Art Jameson

From Peggy Eppingstone

To all my friends:

I am sorry I left Berrynarbor without saying good-bye to all of you. Events suddenly started to move too fast.

I miss you very much but have settled into Beer very happily and met a lot of old friends and acquaintances. Mary-Lou has been down several times already - the journey is so much easier.

Now I wish you every joy at Christmas and a blessed, happy and healthy New Year.

With my love - Peggy

It is understood that Peggy has not been too well just recently and we send her our love and hope she will be feeling better soon.



llfracombe College

Following their recent very successful run of Nell Dunn's seriously gritty but humorous play, 'Steaming', Studio Theatre are planning a large-cast production for March 1998, which it is hoped will encourage new members to come forward and take part.

If you are interested or would like more information, please contact either the Secretary, Peggy Strudwick [8822641, or the Chairman, Chris Jackson [883343].



It is good to report that Anne Hinchliffe is back in circulation following her recent operation and we understand that newcomer, Adam Earls, is also doing well after recent hospitalisation.

Commiseration and best wishes for speedy recoveries to Sylvia Yates of Lower Rows Farm and Sheena Bowden of Ruggaton, both now out of hospital, also Geoff Mayo of Birdswell Lane, Arlene Lewis of Barton Lane who has broken her wrist and, of course, anyone who is not feeling 100%.





Manor Hall, 9.30 a.m. to 11.30 a.m.

We are planning Cake, Toy and Craft Stalls, Bric-a-Brac, Lucky Dip and Raffle So please join us!

We look forward to seeing you and thank you for your support over the past year.


Artwork: Debbie Rigler Cook


Little Boy, Full of Joy,
Little Girl, Sweet and Small,
Cock does crow, So do you;
Merry voice, Infant noise
Merrily, Merrily to welcome the Year.

William Blake

Saffron and [Granny] Jan Alcock are delighted to announce the arrival of Georgina Monique Pearl on the 27th August. Georgina, who weighed in at 6 lbs 5 oz, was Christened at St. Peter's Church on the 11th October.

Rob and Julia Fairchild [nee Hannam] are very happy to announce the arrival of a little sister for Ella Kate, Lucy Florence, who was born on the 1st November weighing 6 lbs 3 oz.

Just a few lines to let you know of our latest 'arrival'. We were all delighted when Sarah, our youngest daughter, and her husband Paul, who have two lovely daughters, Gabrielle and Hollie, were advised by the 'scan' that they were expecting a third little girl. But surprise! Surprise! On 25th October, little Charlie Paul William arrived, weighing in at 7 lbs 14 oz. Everyone was thrilled to bits!! We are looking forward to next February, when our eldest daughter, Nicki, and her husband Paulo expect their fourth baby, a brother or sister for Luca, Joseph and Rosie, our seventh grand-child - wonderful!

We are both well and enjoying renovating our new home. We send our best wishes to all Berry friends and wish everyone a very Happy Christmas.

Jackie and Paul Lethaby

P.S. We'll be in touch when the stork has called in February!

Congratulations and very best wishes to all the new babies, the proud parents and grandparents.




Last term Years 2 and 3 went on a few days' trip to Beaford for an Art based session. It was very successful and all the children had a good time.

This term a few children from Years 2 and 6 joined other children from the Ilfracombe Area at The Lantern for Maths Activities mornings. The children found it very rewarding mixing with other children and trying out new ideas. The P.T.A. ran a disco after bonfire night for all the children in the school. There was lots of dancing, eating, face painting and fancy dressing! Thank you to all the parents who helped.

Christmas is coming ... and everyone is welcome to our Coffee Morning on Monday, 8th December, 9.30 to 11.00 a.m. There will be the Book Fair, gifts, raffle, cake stall, coffee and mince pies. Some of the older children are running a bring-and-buy stall for the Blue Peter Appeal in aid of cystic fibrosis.

Our Christmas performance is fast approaching and again anyone is welcome to the dress rehearsal on Wednesday afternoon, 10th December.

We hope you have a great Christmas and thank you again for all your support over the year.


Amy, Year 1 [age 5]
Sentence written for a book she is making about her teddy

Poem - Katrina - Year 5



Best Kept Village Competition 1997

The Parish Council wishes to make it clear that the judges' criticisms of certain footpaths, verges and hedges, which were reported in the October Newsletter, did not refer to the many footpaths maintained for the Council by Gerald Bray, but to one particular path which is not the responsibility of the Parish Council. The Council is more than satisfied with the standard of maintenance undertaken by Mr. Bray.

With regard to the criticism concerning overgrown hedges, the County Council's Divisional Surveyor has pointed out that these are not the responsibility of the Highway Authority, but of the various landowners. Residents could help maintain the standard of footpaths, and other areas, by reporting any litter, fallen trees, broken fences or signs, to the Clerk [862362] or to any member of the Parish Council.



Vi Kingdon - 1997

Time - such a little word
And yet it rules our lives,
From birth until that final call,
On time you can rely.
It records our every move,
As each day goes by,
Where to go and what to do,
And even when in bed we lie.
It waits for no one,
Rich or poor it treats the same,
The famous or the infamous,
There's no priority in a name.
So let us not neglect it,
But treasure it each day,
For without TIME we would be lost,
And history never made.

Illustration by: Paul Swailes


Artwork: Debbie Rigler Cook


Congratulations to Les Bowen [late of Valley View] who was presented with the Best Small Garden Award for individuals whose gardens were found to be outstanding by the Barnstaple in Bloom Committee.

After two years at Brunel University, Uxbridge, studying for a Diploma in Youth and Community Studies, and a year at Birmingham University, Ann Davies has been awarded a B. Phil. [Ed] degree in Community and Youth Studies. Until recently, Ann was a member of the Community Education team at Ilfracombe College, working as an Assistant Community Tutor, but has now taken over the post of Community Development Co-ordinator with NCH Action for Children in Barnstaple. Congratulations and well done!

Congratulations and best wishes to Eden who has now returned to Portsmouth University to complete the final year of his B.Sc. degree in Animal and Plant Biology.

The 6th November, at Cheltenham Town Hall, was Graduation Day for Karen Sayer, who, after studying at Cheltenham H.E. College, received a West of England University B.A. [Hons.] degree in Tourism and Human Geography.

Karen continues to live in Cheltenham where she is enjoying working for Cheltenham Council as a member of the Events and Bookings team, responsible for the organisation of literary festivals, concerts, etc. In her job, Karen deals with famous personalities, and has recently had the pleasure of meeting Michael Palin. Congratulations and keep up the good work!

Congratulations to Win White who celebrated her 100th Birthday on the 21st November!

Win, who was born in Derby, married her husband in 1917 and they emigrated to Canada in 1919, returning to England in 1926, following the loss of their baby daughter. They again settled in Derby until 1947, when they moved to Cornwall. Later they moved to Woolacombe where their daughter, Betty, met and married Reg. In 1953, Win and her husband finally came to live in Berrynarbor, and for 38 years lived with Betty and Reg. Her husband passed away in 1966. Due to Betty's ill health, Win now lives at the Pinehurst Residential Home in Ilfracombe.

On behalf of my Mother, I should like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for the lovely flowers, cards and messages sent to her on this very special occasion.





In October, Tony Summers enthralled a well-attended first meeting from start to finish on the wines from the "RIOJA" region of Spain, which he and Pippa had just visited. All the wines, both red and white, were of excellent quality and the Chairman, Alex Parke, ended the successful evening by thanking Tony and Pippa for sharing their Rioja experiences and tastings with everyone present.

Members look forward to the November meeting and it should be noted that the ever-popular Christmas Wine and Food Meeting on Wednesday, 10th December, will be by TICKET ONLY. These can be obtained from the Treasurer, Jill McCrae at Woodmead, Barton Lane [882121].

Tom Bartlett


Artwork: Angela Bartlett


For this Newsletter, I have chosen a postcard showing the village from Duckywell at the foot of Pitt Hill, published by J. Welch and Sons [JWS 1684] of Portsmouth c. 1908-1909. On the left we see Rose Cottage', formerly known as No. 32, Duckpool, and in the occupation of Mr W. Street when it was sold as Lot No. 63 in the Watermouth Estate Sale of 17th August 1920, with completion date 25th March 1921. Complete with large garden and orchard, the Lot fetched £290. On the right are the two cottages formerly known as Nos. 30 and 31, Ellis Cottage, and in the occupation of Mr W Sloley when they were sold in the same sale for £205.

Standing out at the top of Pitt Hill, the then newly built 'Lodge' can be seen, whilst to its left and in the following order can be seen the back view of the Chapel, St. Peter's Church and the 'Old Court', formerly known as 'Berrynarbor Cottage', and later just 'The Cottage'. The foreground is now the site of 'The Haven' and its garden.

As can be seen from this particular view, little has changed over the past century and Berrynarbor can be thankful that the Parish, District and County Councils have all worked with one accord in maintaining a 'Green Belt' around the centre of Berrynarbor, and I know most residents hope that this policy will continue into the next century.

I found it interesting that in my Ilfracombe collection, I have a JWS 1683, which shows the 'Old door and Tablet, Parish Church, Ifracombe', dated 4.9.1910 and shown to the right.

I also have JWS 1693 'In the Harbour, Ilfracombe', which is postmarked 1908.

Tom Bartlett
Tower Cottage, November 1997


Tel: Freephone 0800 614530

Careline North Devon was born on 1st April 1997, and is a telephone service set up with the aim of simplifying the search for information. It is especially for people with special needs, their families and friends, but also anyone concerned with caring. Information is essential to all of us if we are to live life to the full. Knowing what options are available enables us to make the correct choice. In professional jargon we have been referred to as 'information navigators', but we like to think of ourselves as friendly voices at the end of the phone who care about YOU and your problem [and the call is free!]. We are open Monday to Friday, 10.30 a.m. to 3.30 p.m. PLEASE CONTACT US IF YOU FEEL WE CAN HELP.


"of secret valleys "here the wild trees grow." Laurie Lee


Entrance to Chapel Wood R.S.P.B, Reserve, Spreacombe
by: Peter Rothwell

At Spreacombe [between Willingcott and Georgeham], Chapel Wood shelters the remains of a chapel dating from about 1250 AD. Low walls map out where the chantry stood and the two-roomed dwelling of the priest. A stream almost surrounds the ruin, widening at one point to form a pool with water cress growing in it and above it is the wooded hillside.

Today Spreacombe is a quiet, secluded place. In the Doomsday Survey of 1086, the hamlet is recorded as Esparecoma, a name derived from the Old English spraeg and cwm, meaning brushwood valley.

Beside the Ancient walls grow the angular leaves of Solomon's Seal, arranged like shelves along bowed stems, which earlier in the year would have obscured from view the long. white bell flowers suspended from the base of each leaf. The botanist Richard Mabey calls Solomon's Seal one of 'our scarcer woodland plants'. Culpeper suggested its use in the treatment of bruises.

Along the edge of the field, leading to Chapel Wood, we had passed an attractive collection of wild shrubs and native small trees. There was the spindle tree [a member of the Euonymus family], indigenous throughout the British Isles but not generally common, with its green, four-sided twigs and odd pinkish red fruit capsules, deeply lobed and marked with grooves giving the appearance of little parcels, pulled out of shape where the string has been drawn too tightly.

Some were in the process of splitting open along these grooves to reveal bright orange-coated seeds. Spindle wood was noted for its toughness and was used for making small items where this strength was required, hence its alternative names of 'skewerwood' and 'pegwood'. Its young shoots were turned into artists' charcoal.

Growing together were wayfaring trees and guelder roses, both varieties of viburnum and both with beautiful berries, but their leaves are very different. The wayfaring tree has broad oval leaves, wrinkled and finely toothed; the undersides covered with white hairs earning it the name 'cotton tree'. It was also known as lithewort and twistwood because the supple and elastic nature of the young branches led to their being used instead of withy in basket making.

The clusters of flattened oval fruits are at first red, then black when ripe. They have been described as bunches of glowing coral beads that in autumn become beads of jet. On the day in October when we visited the wood, they were at the transition stage of being a mixture of coral and jet.

There was also a fine display of guelder rose berries, round, clear, translucent red; also arranged in clusters. It is said that for anyone who likes the sight of red berries in their 'most jewel-like splendour', there is nothing in winter to compare with the guelder rose. The berries are eaten with honey in Scandinavia [though uncooked they are unpalatable] and in the Cotswolds it was called 'kings crown' because coronets of the scented, creamy white flowers were used to crown the king of the May. The maple-shaped leaves are divided into three or five deeply toothed lobes, turn crimson in the autumn.

We followed the track up through the woods. Under some of the trees were groups of beechwood sickeners, a poisonous fungus with bright red cap and white gills and stem. At the summit, 450 feet above sea level at the northern boundary of Chapel Wood, is an earthwork; the remains of an ancient British hill fort, probably dating from the early Iron Age.

Illustrations by: Paul Swailes

Sue H


Your Village Hall needs YOU!

One grant application has already been submitted and others will be sent shortly. We therefore have to start planning to raise the village's share [£30,000] of the total cost [£80,000] of the proposed improvements to the Hall. The Management Committee are asking all villagers and groups who use the Hall to treat 1998 as fund raising year for the Manor Hall, because whether we are successful or not with our grant applications, we need to start building up some reserves to carry out repairs/improvements which will be necessary in the near future. A programme of planned events will be published shortly and we should like everyone in the village to support as many of these events as possible. As yet, the position of Fund Raising Co-ordinator has not been filled, so there is still time for interested persons to contact Brian Mountain on 883032.

It was pointed out that village hall management committees should be representative of all groups using the hall. We therefore contacted all user groups not currently represented and we are pleased to say that most have now appointed a representative to the Management Committee.

As usual we shall be organising the Charity Distribution of Christmas Cards [10p each] around the village, with all proceeds this year going to the improvement fund. The posting box will be in the Post Office [thanks to Alan and Nora] from Monday, 8th December, until 10.00 a.m. on Saturday, 20th December, after which, at 10.30 to 12.00 noon on that day, we shall be holding a SHERRY AND MINCE PIE morning [coffee will also be available!] in the Hall. So come along - meet your friends, have a chat and buy a raffle ticket.

The Management Committee would like to take this opportunity to wish all Berryites a peaceful Christmas and an equally peaceful 1998 [except at fund raising events!!]



The Manor Hall Management Committee has made grant applications towards the cost of improvements to the Manor Hall, totalling £180,000. If these applications are successful, the local community will have to raise one-sixth of the cost - £30,000.

The Management Committee has asked the Parish Council to consider a one-off increase in the Parish precept next year to assist in raising this sum. As this would affect all Council Tax payers, the Parish Council has decided to call a special Parish Meeting on TUESDAY, 30TH DECEMBER, at 7.00 p.m., in the Manor Hall, so that local residents can have the opportunity of expressing their views on this proposal, whether for or against. Details of the improvements will be displayed at the meeting, and will be explained by the Management Committee.

The current Parish precept is £4,800, and the apportionment of that sum over the different property Bands is shown below. Also shown, is the apportionment for the total Council Tax payable in 1997/98, and the effect of a one-off increase in precept at levels of £1,000, £5,000 and £10,000.

Band ABand BBand CBand DBand EBand FBand GBand H

A vote will be taken at the meeting, and an increase in precept next year, specifically for the Manor Hall, will only be approved by the Parish Council if there is a majority in favour, and only at a level agreed by the meeting.

If you wish to express your view, as a Berrynarbor Council Tax payer, and to vote on the issue, please be at the meeting.



The following report taken from a TIMES supplement last August and sent by Margaret Stewart [Loma Price's daughter] from St. Austell, only endorses our pride in our Primary School. We are grateful to David Chaplin, his staff and the Governors for their dedication to all the pupils in their care.


Devon EX34 9SE

Tel (01271) 883493
Education authority: Devon

KS1 Reading 84% (16); Number 100% (19)
KS2 English 90% (10); Maths 100% (11); Science 100% (11)

Pupils 89
Boys (5-11) 42
Girts (5-11) 47

Head: David Chaplin, 37, appointed in September 1992.

Staff: 4 (men 2, women 2).

Background: Located in the centre of the village and founded in 1847, the buildings were extended in 1992 to improve cloakroom facilities. The grounds were developed as an environmental area/outdoor classroom. The school is over-subscribed and has a successful and supportive parent-teacher association. Good community links: a recent partnership with a village playgroup ensures continuity for children entering the school. There is joint planning for the under-fives and the school is well supported by the village. Pupils of all abilities are well integrated, giving access to a broad and balanced curriculum. Extracurricular activities vary each year according to interest: football, tag rugby, cycling, clay/pottery, needlework, athletics, choir. There is a strong tradition of residential visits from year 2 and extensive use of the locality as a teaching resource. The governors are committed to a high level of classroom assistance in every class.

Discipline: The school's written policy places emphasis on the positive reinforcement of good behaviour. There are high expectations and pupils are confident, happy and self-motivated. Uniform: Burgundy sweatshirt, white polo shirt, grey trousers/skirt/leggings.

Inspection: September 1996: "A successful school that has significantly more strengths than weaknesses. By the end of key stage 1, standards of attainment are well above average in art and music, with pupils making very good progress, and standards of attainment in mathematics, music and science are above average, with pupils making good progress, except for music, where progress is very good. In all other subjects, except design and technology and information technology, attainment is in line with national expectations and pupils are making satisfactory progress. By the end of key stage 2, standards of attainment are well above average in an and music and pupils make very good progress, and standards of attainment are above average in mathematics and science, where pupils make good progress. The quality of teaching is a strength of the school."


Painter and Decorator

Rates for Indoor Work - Free Quotes - All work Guaranteed

Telephone: [Evenings] 882021


Artwork: Peter Rothwell


The Rectory
Combe Martin

Dear Friends,

How can you tell that Christmas is nearly here? Well, apart from all the Christmas decorations and gifts in the stores, the answer is: they are selling Hot X buns in Tescos! I kid you not. They are selling Hot X buns in packs of four. I suppose they will sell Christmas puddings at Easter next year! What a crazy mixed up world we live in. I suspect that the motive for selling food normally associated with Good Friday is that the bakers want to increase their profit. It seems as if Christmas has really lost its uniqueness and message. The directors of the big companies just seem to see Christmas as a "Big Profit Time", with late-night shopping in the hope of getting people to spend more and more money. Christian ideals are not part of their scene - only money and profit. What was it Jesus said, 'You cannot serve God and money"?

Christmas time is a time for the giving of presents, as tokens of our love for others. I suspect that most of us will give gifts to members of the family, and hope to receive some small tokens in return. For parents, the pressure from the TV and the media is enormous to spend a fortune on toys for their children, because this item is what 'all the children are getting for Christmas' and you wouldn't want to disappoint them now, would you? But how many of us will be giving presents to people who are worse off than we are, with no hope of receiving a gift in return? Will we be making a gift to the homeless? [Jesus was born in a stable]. Will we be making a gift to the hungry or thirsty in this country or overseas? ['In that you did it to the least of these my brethren, you did it unto me', said Jesus.] This is the Christian spirit. It is the spirit of giving and not getting, of loving neighbour and not just self and family.

Christmas is a family time. How much time will we find to spend with our families, I wonder? Family time should be a time of mutual enrichment and development. A time of fun and joy. A time for just being together and enjoying each other's company. Do not forget that you are also a member of the Christian family, God's family, and that we should spend time together worshipping and loving God, 'who so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, to the end that all who believe in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.' [John 3:16]

That is God's Christmas gift to us in his son, born at Bethlehem, and alive for ever more. Please note that God's motive is 'love' for the world, in other words, us! This involves 'giving' - a positive outward expressing of that love. It cost Him, His Son, that we might experience the very life of God Himself. This is just part of the great Christmas Message.

A Happy and Joyful Christmas to You All,

Your Friend and Rector,

Keith Wyer


Artwork: Helen Armstead


Harvest Festival - thank you to everyone who brought gifts of flowers and produce to the Church for Harvest Festival. The Church was beautifully decorated and came alive with the colourful displays. We enjoyed a well-attended service on the Sunday and, although there were not quite so many of us as usual for the Supper on the Wednesday, the atmosphere was so friendly and relaxed. Thank you once again to all who helped in anyway - a real team effort. The evening raised £120 for the Children's Hospice, about half of this coming from the auction of produce.

Remembrance Day Service - A muffled peal of bells summoned us to the Church on Sunday, 9th November, for a dignified Remembrance Service which was sensitively led by the Rev. Andrew Jones. The lesson was read by Dennis Collins and the Last Post and Reveille sounded by Bugler, Ivan Clarke. Wreaths were laid at the War Memorial on behalf of the Parish Council and St. Peter's Church. The collection for the Earl Haig Fund amounted to £83.00.

Heating - the new heaters have been installed in the Church and are working well. Some £2,000 towards the cost was raised from events held during the year and the remainder, just under £5,000, came from PCC savings.

Christmas Services - A warm welcome is extended to all members of the village to join us for our services over the Christmas season and we look forward to seeing you all.

  • Wednesday, 17th December, 6.30 p.m. - Carol Service
  • Sunday, 21st December, 10.30 a.m. - Family Service
  • Christmas Eve, 11.30 p.m. - Midnight Mass
  • Christmas Day, 10.30 a.m. - Family Service
  • Sunday, 28th December, 10.30 a.m. - Sung Eucharist

We are all invited to the Christingle Service to be held in Combe Martin on Sunday, 14th December at 3.00 p.m.

The Church will be decorated on Christmas Eve. Please get in touch with Betty Davis if you would like to make a gift or donation. Collections from the Carol Service and the Midnight Service will go to the Church of England Children's Society.

Mary Tucker



2ndW.I. Meeting: "Preparing for Christmas"
4thWhist Drive, Manor Hall, 7.30 p.m.
5thPre-School Christmas Coffee Morning, Manor Hall, 9.30 to 11.30 a.m.
8thChristmas Card Posting Box Open at Post Office.
Primary School Coffee Morning 9.30 to 11.00 a.m.
9thParish Council Meeting 7.30 p.m. Manor Hall
10thMobile Library in Village - PLEASE NOTE NEW TIMES:
Sandy Cove - 11.30 a.m. Barton Lane - 11.50 a.m.
Square - 1.15 p.m.
Sterridge Valley - 1.45 p.m.
Primary School Christmas Performance Rehearsal - all welcome.
Wine Circle, Manor Hall, 8.00 p.m. - Christmas Wine and Food
11thWhist Drive, Manor Hall, 7.30 p.m.
Combe Martin Historical Society: Hall, 7.30 p.m. - Tom Bartlett Slide Show and Social Evening
14thChristingle Service, Combe Martin Church, 3.00 p.m.
16thIlfracombe College Annual Carol Celebration, Ilfracombe Parish Church, 7.30 p.m. Everyone welcome.
17thSt. Peter's Church: Carol Service, 6.30 p.m.
18thWhist Drive, Manor Hall, 7.30 p.m.
19thW.I. Christmas Lunch at The Globe, 12.30 for 1.00 p.m.
College and Primary School: End of Autumn Term
20thCharity Christmas Card Post closes at 10.00 a.m.
Sherry and Mince Pie Morning, Manor Hall, 10.30 a.m.
21stSt. Peter's Church: Family Service, 10.30 a.m.
31st New Year's Eve- 'Sixties' Night at The Globe
6th College and Primary School: Start of Spring Term
W.I. Meeting : Talk by a Devon Fire Offcer
7th Mobile Library in Village from 11.30 a.m.
8th Whist Drive, Manor Hall, 7.30 p.m.
12th Closing Date for Entries for the Colouring Competition
13th Parish Council Meeting, Manor Ha11, 7.30 p.m.
14th Deadline for Items for February Newsletter
15th Whist Drive, Manor Hall, 7.30 p.m.
Combe Martin Historical Society, Methodist Hall, 7.30 p.m. Moose Boyer, Combe Martin Census
21st Mobile Library in Village from 11.30 a.m.
Wine Circle: Members' Favourite Wines, 8.00 p.m., Manor Hall
22nd Whist Drive, Manor Hall, 7.30 p.m.
29th Whist Drive, Manor Hall, 7.30 p.m.
3rd W.I. Meeting
4th Mobile Library in Village from 11.30 a.m.
5th Whist Drive, 7.30 p.m.



Sally Baddick will continue her Keep Fit and Movement classes on Wednesdays, 10.30 to 11.30 a.m. in the Manor Hall, recommencing after Christmas on 14th January. Although this is the only course run in the village, there is a wide selection of courses held in Combe Martin, either at the Community Centre, St. John's Hall or the Wild Pear Centre, these include:

Open Sessions, Help with Maths, All Round Body Workout, Tai Chi Chuan, Yoga and Relaxation and Craft Club. There are one-day 'Specials' - Food Hygiene, 28th February; Glass Painting, 11th February; Batik, 19th March and Curtain Workshop, 26th February.

For more information or details on these courses, or for a brochure offering the full range of courses, please contact Ilfracombe College on 864171.


The magic of the twelve Christmas Days freed the spirits of field, wood and
water. In Russian forests, nymphs called 'rusalky' left their lakes and
streams to dance and sing their secret songs.



et if his majesty, our sovereign Lord,
Should of his own accord
Friendly himself invite,
And say 'I'll be your guest tomorrow night',
How should we stir ourselves, call and command
All hands to work! Let no man idle stand!
Set me fine Spanish tables in the hall,
See they be fitted all;
Let there be room to eat
And order taken that there want no meat.
See every sconce and candlestick made bright,
That without tapers they may give a light.
Look to the presence: are the carpets spread,
The awning o'er the head,
The cushions on the chairs,
And all the candles lighted on the stairs?
Perfume the chambers, and in any case
Let each man give attendance in his place.'
Thus, if the King were coming, would we do;
And 'twere good reason too;
For 'tis a duteous thing
To show all honour to an earthly king,
And after all our travail and our cost,
So he be pleased, to think no labour lost
But at the coming of the King of Heaven
All's set at six and seven;
We wallow in our sin.
Christ cannot find a chamber in the inn.
We entertain him always like a stranger,
And as at first still lodge him in the manger.

[early 16th century]

Illustrated by: Paul Swailes


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 Cards [of any kind] for Recycling


Artwork: Paul Swailes


The Children's Hospice S.W. benefited by £65 as a result of the annual Pumpkin weekend. Thank you to everyone who entered into the spirit of the event - from tiny seeds large pumpkins ... and what a whopper grew in the Luckham garden! Congratulations to William and Rachel on surpassing their last year's heavy-weight champion - this year's 'heaviest' weighed in at 114 lbs! Congratulations to them too for their delightful pumpkin pictures below. 'Pumpkin Bunkin' won Jacqui and John Weaver the Best Dressed Award and Ashley Lane successfully defended his title when for the second year his pumpkin reached the bottom of Pitt Hill first.

The inevitable rounders match followed with Phil's team suffering a crushing defeat at the bat and hands of Ann [Davies] and her team.

Christmas Opening:

  • Christmas Eve - Carols in the Car Park, 7.30 p.m. Christmas Draw, 9.30 p.m.
  • Christmas Day - 11.00 a.m. to 1.00 p.m.
  • Boxing Day - Quiz Night
  • New Year's Eve - Sixties' Party until 12.30 a.m.

Phil and Lyn, hot on the line from Granada, send everyone their
very best wishes for a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.


Christmas Eve was a time for human feasting - and for something else. In
Scandinavia, people said the ghosts of the dead returned in the night to visit the
homes they had loved. Their descendants welcomed them. After the
meal of the living was finished, food was left for the dead.


Christmas Fruit Cake

  • 1 cup water
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 cups dried fruit
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 8 oz nuts
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 bottle Malt Whisky
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • juice of 1 lemon


  1. Sample the whisky to check for quality!
  2. Take a large bowl. Check the whisky again, to be sure it is of the highest quality!
  3. Pour one level cup and drink. Repeat.
  4. Tum on electric mixer, beat one cup of butter in a large fluffy bowl. Add one tsp sugar and beat again.
  5. Make sure the whisky is still O.K. Cry another tup.
  6. Turn off the mixerer.
  7. Break two eggs and add to the bowl and chuck in the dried fruit. Mix on the turner. If the dried fruit gets stuck in the beaterers, pry it loose with a drewscriver.
  8. Sample the whisky to check for tonsisticity.
  9. Next sift two cups of salt, or something. Who cares?
  10. Check the whisky.
  11. Now sift the lemon juice and stain your nuts. Add one table. Spoon. Of sugar or something. Whatever you can find.
  12. Grease the oven.
  13. Turn the cake tin to 350 degrees.
  14. Don't forget to beat off the turner.
  15. Throw the bowl out of the window.
  16. Check the whisky again and go to bed.

Anne Bailey

Thanks Anne for the tip!
Bad luck, Brian, no cake again this year!

Illustrated by: Paul Swailes



Included with this issue is Christmas scene at Holly Tree Cottage, especially, and very kindly, drawn by Debbie for children of all ages, even those who left childhood behind them many years ago, to colour or paint during the long winter evenings!

Illustrated by: Debbie Cook

There is NO age limit and prizes will be given for ALL age groups. You are only asked to make sure that on the back of your entry you put your name [in block capitals], address and age, and if you don't want to divulge secrets, please just put 25+! Entries should be handed into the Post Office or Chicane by Monday, 12th January at the latest. Lots of prizes, let's have lots of entries please!

P.S. Additional copies of the picture may be obtained from the Post Office or Chicane.


On a less cheerful note...

In order that the New Year might prosper, the old year - and the spirits
released by the solstice season - had to be buried or driven away. In villages
from Britain to Austria, the old year - in the form of a straw dummy called
Death - was carried through the streets and then drowned or burned.
At Christmas. the future was revealed: a man might see the shades of those
who would die in the new year, but among them he might also see himself.

Ghosts and Folklore

Mark Norman



King John was not a good man
He had his little ways.
And sometimes no one spoke to him
For days and days and days.
And men who came across him,
When walking in the town,
Gave him a supercilious stare,
Or passed with noses in the air
And bad King John stood dumbly  there
Blushing beneath his crown.
King John was not a good man,
And no good friends had he.
He stayed in every afternoon .
But no one came to tea
And, round about December,
The cards upon his shelf
Which wished him lots of Christmas cheer,
And fortune in the coming year,
Were never from his near and dear,
But only from himself. 
King John was not a good man,
Yet had his hopes and fears.
They'd given him no present now
For years and years and years.
But every year at Christmas,
While minstrels stood about,
Collecting tribute from the young
For all the songs they might have sung,
He stole away upstairs and hung
A hopeful stocking out.
King John was not a good man,
He lived his life aloof;
Alone he thought a message out
While climbing up the roof.
He wrote it down and propped it
Against the chimney stack:
'To All and Sundry - Near and Far
F. Christmas in particular'
And signed it not 'Johannes R.'
But very humbly, 'Jack'.
'I want some crackers,
And I want some candy;
I think a box of chocolates
Would come in handy;
I don't mind oranges,
I do like nuts!
And I should like a pocket-knife
That really cuts.
And, oh! Father Christmas, if you love me at all,
Bring me a big, red india-rubber ball!'
King John was not a good man -
He wrote this message out,
And gat him to his room again,
Descending by the spout. 
And all that night he lay there,
A prey to hopes and fears.
'I think that's him a-counting now,
[Anxiety bedewed his brow.]
'He'll bring one present, anyhow -
The first I've had for years.'
'Forget about the crackers,
And forget about the candy;
I'm sure a box of chocolates
would never come in handy;
I don't like oranges,
I don't want nuts,
And I have got a pocket-knife
That almost cuts.
But, oh! Father Christmas, if you love me at all,
Bring me a big red india-rubber ball!'
King John was not a good man
Next morning when the sun
Rose up to tell a waiting world
That Christmas had begun,
And people seized their stockings,
And opened them with glee,
And crackers, toys and games appeared,
And lips with sticky sweets were smeared,
King John said grimly: 'As I feared,
Nothing again for me!'
'I did want crackers,
And I did want candy;
I know a box of chocolates
Would come in handy,
I do love oranges,
I did want nuts.
I haven't got a pocket-knife -
Not one that cuts.
And, oh! if Father Christmas had loved me at all,
He would have brought a big red india-rubber ball!
King John stood by the window,
And frowned to see below
The happy bands of boys and girls
All playing in the snow.
A while he stood there watching,
And envying them all ...
When through the window big and red
There hurtled by his royal head,
And bounced and fell upon the bed,
An india-rubber ball!
And oh, Father Christmas,
My blessings on you fall
For bringing him
A big red India-rubber Ball!

Illustration by: Paul Swailes



Christmas Information

With Christmas approaching rapidly, we have stocked up with items which we hope will bring Christmas cheer and enjoyment. We have cakes, puddings, mince pies - all with delicious ingredients - sweets and other stocking fillers, as well as cards and wrapping paper for your parcels.

Don't forget to place your orders for bread, cream, vegetables, etc.

Christmas Eve is on Wednesday and we shall be closing as usual at 1.00 p.m., but please call in if you can and join us for a sherry during the morning.

We shall be:

  • CLOSED [no papers] - on Thursday, Christmas Day
  • CLOSED [no papers] - on Friday, Boxing Day
  • OPEN as usual - from Saturday, 27th December to Wednesday, 31st December
  • CLOSED - from 1.00 p.m. on Thursday, New Year's Day

We take this opportunity to thank you for your support and custom and wish everyone a very happy Christmas and New Year.

Nora and Alan



and a