Edition 53 - April 1998

Artwork by: Debbie Cook


Little Lamb, who made thee?
Dost thou know who made thee?
Gave thee life, and bid thee feed,
By the stream and o'er the mead;
Gave thee clothing of delight,
Softest clothing, woolly, bright;
Gave thee such a tender voice,
Making all the vales rejoice?

Songs of Innocence
William Blake

Mary had a little lamb,
Its fleece was white as snow
And everywhere that Mary went
The lamb was sure to go.

Poems for our Children [1830]
Mrs. Sarah Josepha Hale [1788-1879]


Artwork: Judie Weedon


Easter is nearly here, spring just round the corner and lambs frolicking in the fields - just like the two on the cover. Thank you, Debbie, your beautiful covers are loved by us all.

My thanks must seem rather monotonous but I do appreciate all the help I get to make this, I hope, a rather special newsletter, enjoyed - it would seem not only by villagers but many other readers besides. Your contributions, literary, artistic and financial, have been most welcome and they will be welcome again come the middle of May! Items for the June issue should be at the Post Office or Chicane by Wednesday, 13th May, please. Thanks.

Judie - Ed



Applications are invited for the post of
Clerk to the Council
at a salary within the scale
£1,776 to £2,115 per annum
Further details and a Job Description can be
obtained from John Vince, Clerk to the Council,
Holly Lodge, Horne Park Road, llfracombe EX34 8JT Tel: 862362
Closing date for applications: 6th May 1998




A well-attended meeting on the 3rd February included two new members - Margaret Andrews and Doreen Prater. We welcomed Kath Arscott to open the first meeting of 1998 - after January's storm cancellation - with another of her excellent slide shows of a recent holiday in South Africa. She transported us with ease through the beautiful countryside and coastal paths, seeing the exotic birds and the wild life, which, as always, seem to pose for Kath! The time went all too quickly, and we were soon back to Berrynarbor where Kath's three pet sheep were waiting at the orchard gate. Many thanks, Kath, for sharing your holidays with us.

An exhibition table at the Church Cheese and Wine Evening on the 27th February looked very attractive, with craftwork from Eunice Allen, Kath Arscott and myself, books from Rosemary Gaydon and a beautiful flower arrangement by Linda Brown, much admired by everyone. The Scrap Album covering 36 years also proved of interest.

The March meeting, on the 3rd, a Musical Quiz afternoon, was a great success under the guidance of Mr. Green. He naturally thought us too young to recognise all the tunes of the '40's and '50's, but it was fun thinking back to those early radio and black and white television shows. As it was the 36th Birthday of the Institute, we enjoyed and thanked Maggie Bland for one of her lovely fruit cakes, and other members who supplied iced cakes - Eunice Allen winning the competition for same. Linda Brown won the other competition with an attractive flower arrangement in a candlestick, so she will go forward to the April Group Meeting at Shirwell. We welcomed Marianna Holdsworthy as a new member and we now number 35. Thank you for your support.

The next meeting is on 7th April when Madeline Robinson will be discussing Antiques and Collectibles. Visitors, as always, are most welcome.

A very happy Easter to everyone.

Vi Kingdon

By the roadside, in the field,
Greeting each newcomer,
Pussy-willows wave their plumes
Heralding the summer.

Late Extra: Ivy Richards has kindly offered to have a Coffee Morning for us at Southerley, Castle Hill, on Thursday, 7th May, 10.30 a.m. to 12.00 noon.

Illustration by: Paul Swailes




New Parish Councillor - Following the resignation of Jenny Taylor from the Council, no request was made for an election and, at its meeting on the 10th February, the Parish Council co-opted Matthew Walls of Pink Heather, Sterridge Valley, to fill the vacancy.

Local Advertising Leaflet - A suggestion has been made to the Parish Council that it would be helpful to residents and visitors if there was a leaflet advertising local services and businesses. If anyone is interested in organising such a leaflet, or advertising in it, they are asked to contact any one of the Parish Councillors.




Robert Babbington

It is with sadness that I announce the death of my brother, Robert Babbington, aged just 35. His illness was relatively short, a matter of weeks, and he died peacefully on 2nd December 1997. Although he would not be known to many of you, he had spent a lot of happy holidays in Berrynarbor and liked nothing better than to sit in the Globe in the evenings for a pint and a meal, usually steak and kidney pie.

If the surname is familiar to some of you, you may recall articles I wrote in previous Newsletters under the heading 'Berrymania'. My family and I are still shocked by the suddeness of this event but plan to continue our association with Berrynarbor. Although Robert will not be with us, I'm sure that he will look on us with an approving eye as we sit in the Globe for our meal and toast 'absent friends'. God bless, Rob.

Mum, Dad, Terry, Pat, Emma, Hannah and Lucie


Peggy Eppingstone

We were all saddened to hear of Peggy's sudden death at Beer in South Devon on the 21st February. Following cremation at Exeter and a Requiem Mass at Beer, Peggy's ashes were laid to rest at Clovelly with her mother. Our thoughts are with Mary Lou, her husband and the grand-children.

Barbara Pickup

On behalf of my family and myself, I thank you all for your kind thoughts, cards, messages and support following the sudden but peaceful death of my mother, Barbara Pickup, on the 11th March, at the age of 93. A loving and loved mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, she will be sadly missed.


Our thoughts are also with Daphne Darlington and her family on the death of her mother, Hilda, in Exeter on the 13th March, at the age of 92.

Edna Seston

After suffering a long illness, Edna passed away peacefully at home on the 19th March. We shall be thinking of Geri, Fernando, Sebastian and Lucia at this very sad time.

Joan Adams

It is sad to report that after her move to Exmouth just over a year ago, and following a heart attack in mid-February, Joan died in Exeter on the 23rd March. Our sympathy goes to her son, John, and daughter, Frances, and their families, and all her friends here in Berrynarbor.




An enjoyable Cheese and Wine Evening was held in the Manor Hall on 27th February. Almost all the village organisations put out table displays, which were interesting and imaginative, as well as providing us all with a great deal of information. A sincere thank you to all who took part. Once expenses had been deducted, £90.00 remained to be shared between Church and Manor Hall funds.

Eastertide Services

  • Good Friday, 10th April, 2.00 to 3.00 p.m. Devotional Hour led by Preb. Andrew Jones.
  • Easter Day, 12th April, 10.30 a.m. Sung Eucharist, when all who are confirmed should join us in Holy Communion.

The Church will be decorated on Friday evening after 4.00 p.m. and on Saturday morning. Flowers should be white or yellow and Betty Davis would welcome any gifts, as sadly it looks as if the daffodils will be over.

The Annual Meeting will be held in the Church Vestry on Friday, 3rd April, at 2.15 p.m. with the election of Churchwardens.

Looking forward to May: the P.C.C. will be holding a Coffee Morning on Thursday, 14th May, in the Manor Hall. All the usual stalls will be present and offers of help or gifts will be gratefully accepted.

Whitsunday falls on 31st May this year, the week-end after the Spring Bank Holiday, so please don 't forget this important date in the Church Calendar.

Visit of the London Emmanual Choir to Combe Martin - a Concert will be given by the Choir in the Parish Church, Combe Martin, on Saturday, 9th May, at 7.30 p.m. Admission will be by ticket only as the number of seats is limited. price £5.00 [concessions £4.00] are on sale now from Mary Tucker [883881]. Don't leave it too late!

The Choir will also take part in the Service on Sunday, 10th May, at 10.30 a.m. To enable people to attend this service, our own in Berrynarbor will be held earlier than usual at 9.00 a.m. Please see posters for details nearer the time.

Mary Tucker



I was disappointed to see the result of the Parish Poll. Thanks to a few people back in the 1930's, Berrynarbor acquired a property for the village, which has been a focal point for the Parish ever since, first managed by the Parish Council and later entrusted to a Management Committee.

Having served on both these bodies for a considerable number of years, I do not think many parishioners realise how much effort and time is involved in running and raising monies for the up-keep of the property - it is mainly left to a few stalwarts who have been involved over a great many years.

This was a golden opportunity to spread the cost over the whole Parish on a one-off basis, but I'm afraid this opportunity could now be lost.

The plans submitted were a bit 'grand', but I feel sure they could have been 'pruned' once we had got the backing to secure the grant. On the other hand, the Committee's forward thinking, such as the possible re-roofing and structural remedies, must be commended. Perhaps more information and explanation could have been given.

Bob Richards - Seascape, Barton Lane
22nd January 1998



Some readers may recall that, a few weeks ago, the local press announced that cut-backs in the late duty chemist services were being considered.

In spite of representations made, not only by myself in Combe Martin, but other pharmacists in the area, the Health Authority deemed it necessary to press ahead and abolish Sunday and Bank Holiday chemist duties in Combe Martin EXCEPT between the months of June to September. Until now, your pharmacy has been open for one hour every Sunday and every Bank Holiday throughout the year.

It has been pointed out to the Authorities that some residents do not have cars, and the proposed cuts were being made at a time of year when public transport would not be available. Furthermore, people feeling unwell would not, anyway, appreciate having to travel into Ilfracombe where Sunday and Bank Holiday services will continue to be provided. These protests have fallen on deaf ears.

In view of this, readers should note that, from April onwards, the pharmacy in Combe Martin will not open on Sundays or Bank Holidays except as stated above, when it will be open for one hour from 11.30 a.m. until 12.30 p.m. Mid-week services are unaffected by the cuts.

Brian Ball, MRPharmS
The Pharmacy, King Street, Combe Martin




The world has no such flower in any land,
And no such pearl in any gulf the sea,
As any babe on any mother's knee.

A.C. Swinburne

Sarah Redwood and Clive Blackburn are delighted to announce the safe arrival of Liam Robert on the 29th January, weighing in at 6 lbs 10 oz a first grandchild for Carol and John and first great-grandchild for Kath.

Colin and Doreen Harding are proud to announce the arrival of their sixth grandchild on the 1st March. Olivia Alice a second daughter for Debra and Gary and sister for Lauren and Alexander, tipped the scales at 9 lbs 2 oz. Colin and Doreen now have three grand-daughters and three grand-sons!

Congratulations and very best wishes to you all.



I think the first impression the audience had when entering the Manor Hall was of entering a real theatre - the raised stage, with side and main curtains, and additional lighting, had totally transformed the Hall. I understand that nearly six months of evening and week-end work went into this. The stage architects and constructors were Gary Songhurst and Maurice Lane, assisted by Stuart Neale, John Clarke and Derrick Phillips; the curtains were made by Joyce Songhurst and Heather Levy.

The performance this year was, can I say, 'the best yet'! So many people have remarked how slick and professional it was, the posters stated the curtain would go up at 7.30 p.m., and on the dot it did. The combination of back and front of stage made act-turn around swift, so saving the Compere having to fill time whilst scenery and props were being exchanged - well done the stage staff! Every year brings not only new acts but new faces, and the standard continues to rise. I felt the inventiveness of a strobe light in the Riverdance act was superb, perhaps they do dance that fast! A youth policy, with the Sunday School singing songs from 'Oliver', Sam Newell pushing Acker Bilk aside and Tom Malin now videoing, ensures the life blood of this annual show will continue.

By mid-day on Sunday, every bit of the theatre had been dismantled - no mean task - and the Hall was ready to resume its weekly activities.

Many congratulations to all involved - community spirit is alive and well in Berrynarbor!


A special film presentation by the TSW Film Archive
and photographic exhibition by the Beaford Photographic Archive
Television footage and photographs from the North Devon Area, combined with
other West Country pictures from the turn of the century to the 1970's.
An entertaining mix of humour, history and humanity.
Price: £2.00 [Concessions - £1.50, Children - 50p] Tickets: Tel. 883305




We should like to thank everyone who supported our recent Table Top and Jumble Sale by donating jumble, raffle prizes, booking tables and, of course, coming on the day. The event was a great success and we made £250 which will buy well-needed pre-school equipment. Please watch out for future fund raising events.

At present we still have vacancies at the Pre-school and Toddler Group. If anyone wishes to come along and visit, we are open on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday mornings from 9.15 to 11.45 a.m., and the Toddler Group runs on Fridays between 9.30 and 11.30 a.m.


Ilfracombe & District
6 Church Street, Ilfracombe, EX34 8HA
Tel: 862131 out of hours 862020/863425

We visited Berrynarbor in November 1996 to explain what Age Concern did and should like to take this opportunity to once again thank those people who called to see us at the Manor Hall. If residents would like us to pay a visit, either in the form of a 'Roadshow' [as before] or 'Surgery' during 1998, please contact us at the above address. It is possible that local clubs/organisations might like us, for instance, to provide a speaker for one of your meetings.

Nellie Muscutt - Rural Developunent Secretary




The Wine Circle celebrated its 10th Anniversary at the January meeting and many founder members recalled the first meeting and remembered Alan Richardson, Past Chairman and Founder, and we are all pleased that Inge remains a Committee member. Many of the members own choice of wines shared at this meeting could be likened to Alan's favourite quotation: "This wine is so fine it should be drunk in the kneeling position"!

In February, our very own Postman Pat presented 'Berrynarbor Beauties' and in March Jollys/Wickhams presented Wines of Chile,

The meeting on the 15th April is a 'Mystery Night', mainly because it was not determined what the evening should be, but Michael Jones and Jan Tonkin will be unravelling the mystery! The final meeting for this session will be on the 20th May, John Hood will present Australian Wines. The Circle will re-commence on a regular basis in October, when new members will be most welcome - 8.00 p.m. at the Manor Hall on the third Wednesday of the month.



"A host of unexpected wanderers from half across the world."

The path was muddy and slippery. We struggled to maintain our balance. Trains rumbled past on one side and on the other side, red-breasted mergansers swam on the estuary, diving at frequent intervals. Overhead was a straggle of brent geese, dark silhouettes against a pale sky. The walk along the sea wall from Powderham to Turf Lock on the Exe estuary is good for observing waders and wildfowl from August to April.

The site is of international importance for the dark-bellied brent geese which travel from Siberia to overwinter there. [At the peak, between November and January 2,250 of the birds have been counted.]

A dozen brent geese stood in a field beside the railway track, very smart and stately, darker than any other goose, with their black necks, heads and breasts, greyer plumage beneath and narrow white strips on each side of the neck.

The resident mergansers are joined by others from Iceland and Scandinavia. They belong to the 'sawbill' group of ducks. The male has a glossy green black head and back, grey flanks and chestnut breast; wide white collar, wispy crest and very narrow red bill. The female is brownish grey with a more conspicuous 'ragged' crest.

"On a lucky dawn, once in a lifetime you may see an avocet, lovely as a dream" wrote J Wentworth Day in his book British Birds of the Wild Places. A winter flock of avocets now occurs annually on the Exe and Tamar estuaries but the birds have been absent from Britain for a century. The taking of avocets and their eggs for food led to their dying out in Britain in the mid-nineteenth century. This is the elegant black and white bird adopted by RSPB as its special logo. It has been described as 'the most distinctive of Britain's wading birds' and its reappearance as 'one of the greatest conservation success stories of the past half century'.

We had gone to the Exe estuary hoping to see avocets and as we approached Turf Lock, a row of them came into view, sweeping their neat heads from side to side as they fed. Further off, towards Topsham, more of them were swimming - occasionally 'up ending' like ducks. In flight the very long blue-grey legs projected beyond the tail. The plumage is mostly white with narrow black bands crossing the wings; a black crown and nape. The upwardly curved and tapering black bill is the unusual feature.

After their long absence, avocets were rediscovered in Suffolk in 1947 and it was thought that wartime upheaval had caused continental birds to relocate and seek breeding grounds this side of the North Sea. The flooding of grazing marsh at Minsmere to create wartime defences fulfilled the avocets' requirements for brackish ponds. At Havergate, a stray shell destroyed a sluice gate creating a similar habitat.

In the winter following their return to this country, a small number began wintering on the Tamar but it was not until the winter of 1973-4 that fifteen avocets arrived to winter on the Exe. Now there are 450 during the peak months December to February.

We walked back along the road between the estuary and Powderham Castle. [The parkland is easily viewed from this road.] The herd of fallow deer browsed beneath the trees of the park, while among the deer a large flock of lapwings flickered about the grass. Nearby, were herons, pheasants, shelduck, teal and a little egret. There before us was an idyll scene - a scene not only beautiful to look at but of apparent harmony between the many different creatures present - yet another high point of the day and a satisfying end to our walk.

Sue H


Artwork: Peter Rothwell


The Rectory
Combe Martin

Dear Friends,

Easter time in North Devon always reminds me that God gave us two Bibles. One is the printed word we find in our Bibles, the other is the natural world around us. The Resurrection and the season of Spring both speak of new life. Nature becomes a vehicle of God's 'word' or 'message' for us - pointing us to the truth of God's life everywhere, including us.

In my researches recently, I came across a wonderful saying of Jesus not found in any of our canonical Gospels. It is this: "Split the wood and I am there; lift up the stone, and you will find me there." [Verse 77b, The Gospel of St. Thomas]. God's life is everywhere, if only we have 'eyes to see and ears to hear'. I hope and pray that this Easter you will discover the life that is God's gift to us, through Jesus Christ.

With all Good Wishes and Easter Joy to You and Your Family.

Your Friend and Rector,

Keith Wyer




With lifted feet, hand still,
I am poised, and down the hill
Dart, with heedful mind;
The air goes by in a wind.
Swifter and yet more swift,
Till the heart with mighty lift
Makes the lungs laugh, the throat cry:
'O bird, see; see, bird, I fly.
'Is this, is this your joy?
O bird, then I, though a boy,
For a golden moment share
Your feathery life in the air! '
Say, heart, is there aught like this
In a world that is full of bliss?
'Tis more than skating, bound
Steel-shod to the level ground.
Speed slackens now, I float
Awhile in my airy boat;
Till, when the wheels scarce crawl,
My feet to the treadles fall.
Alas; that the longest hill
Must end in a vale; but still,
Who climbs with toil, wheresoe'er
Shall find wings waiting there.

Henry Charles Beeching

Illustrated by: Nigel Mason



Retirement Wishes to Vi Davies who has given up helping at the Post Office - we shall miss you, Vi, but hope you will be happy in your leisure [?]!

Well done to Jeff Bowden who spent a Work Experience week with Rotapress, Combe Martin, who spoke very highly of his excellent attitude and enthusiasm.

Welcome Home to Elaine Gubb after 'au pairing' in the States. Although her visit was shorter than expected, Elaine enjoyed the experience and made many new friends.

Congratulations to Leanne [Jennings], daughter of Mary and Gordon Hughes, who has been awarded a Post Graduate Diploma in Marketing from the Institute of Marketing. Leanne, who is presently a Senior Manager in the Health Service, and her husband live in mid-Devon.

Get Well Soon to everyone who is feeling below par, and in particular get well wishes to Shaun Cooper, who is just out of hospital following a further operation on his knee and Bill Berry, who is home again after his stay in hospital although not 100%, we hope he will continue to improve. It is good to see Dick Barten around and about again and also Esme Ferris, following the fall in which she hurt her back. Backs seem to be the problem, so it is good to hear that June Annear, who broke hers in a riding accident, continues to make progress and is now nearly able to sit up. Best wishes, June, we all hope the improvement continues. Our thoughts are with Bob and Dorothy Froud and their son, John, and his wife. John is suffering from a spinal injury following a fall and is currently in Kings College Hospital, London. Nigel Mason continues with the crutches and the physiotherapy on his ankle - he was a captive audience to my request to illustrate the poem! Thanks, Nigel. Good wishes go to Betty Goodwin who is still in hospital and Iris Kempson-Jones, also in hospital. Due to her increasing loss of sight, Iris hopes to move shortly to the Susan Day Home - we shall be thinking of her.

Due to circumstances beyond their control, John and Peter, our Fish and Chip Men, are unable to continue their service. They will be missed, as many of us enjoyed taking advantage of an excellent quick and easy meal on Wednesday evenings. John and Peter thank you for your support and send their apologies.



Tom's article in the February Newsletter stirred memories and it was lovely to hear from Audrey Tucker and family. Audrey writes, "We were so pleased to see the photograph of, as we knew it, 68 Sterridge Valley, the home of our grandparents, Thomas and Bessie Toms. We used to walk there from school to have lunch with them, as with the limited time, it was nearer than No. 8 Goosewell our home.

"We remember our grandfather and Uncle Walter working the big garden behind and at the side of the house, and right at the very end, next to the Street's house [now Vi Kingdon's], they kept poultry for fresh eggs.

"Bali Hai [Eunice and Bernard Allen's] was built on all the garden, and in the hedge dividing the garden from the field, double daffodils would appear - no one knew how they got there!

"Mr. Dan Jones lived at Riversdale and the cottage in the middle had a number of residents, namely Gilbert Dyer, Mr. and Mrs. George Johnson and Miss Jones, a school teacher at Hereford House, Ilfracombe. Miss Jones painted a beautiful picture of our grandmother stood at her front door - they used it as a summer holiday cottage.

"We used to collect water from the tap on the opposite side of the road, by the side of which was a large, mock orange tree, and the perfume was overpowering! To the side was a small garden which we entered by a little gate in the road, and down at the very end, by the stream, was an earth toilet. Further up the road, adjoining this garden, was another small building, which was our grandfather's tool shed. This has all gone now, but happy memories.

"Further along the road, going towards the village, was my grandfather's place of work - Mr. Ellis's sawmills. The four terraced houses, always known as the 'council houses', are built there now. Our Uncle Leonard used to drive the steam engine to work belts for sawing the wood, and there was a dear old gentleman, Alf Brooks, who worked at the sawyard. We children spent many a happy hour watching this working being done. Our father, Jack Joslin, together with Albert Jones and Dick Richards [Lorna Price's father], used to fell timber for Ellis, going away on Monday mornings and arriving home on Friday nights."

[Thank you for sharing your memories. We do hope that Mildred's health continues to improve and that you will all be able to visit the village again before too long.]

Ivy White and her daughter, Marlene, have thrown light on the mystery building adjacent to Riversdale. It is believed that the original 'Bridge Cottage' was demolished probably in about 1927. Later, a rather 'jerry-built' dwelling was erected on the same site by Dan Jones and Stan Toms, and this was occupied by a Mr. and Mrs. Orrin. The properties Riversdale, Brookvale and Woodvale were owned by a Mrs. Perry, who rented them out. When she died, Marlene and Dave bought Riversdale and in the late 1960's they knocked down the remains of the adjacent dwelling.

* Returning to the postcard view, the land on the left of the photograph, approximately where the entrances to Holmleigh and Chicane are, belonged to the Revd. Reginald Churchill, who in 1926 sold it to James Bowden of Higher Rows. He in turn sold it to Percival Altree, who had moved down from Coventry during the War. In 1961 Mr. Altree sold the parcel of land to the north to Kathleen Lancey [Stella Bowen's mother] and in 1965 the parcel of land to the south to Colin and Doreen Harding. Following his death and the building of a new bungalow, a final parcel of land was sold in 1969 to Roy Evans, builder for Ken and Judie Weedon. Thus Cherry Dene, Valley View, Chicane, a new Holmleigh and Glenbridge were put on the map! *

This photograph of Bobby and Michael taken outside Riversdale in 1964 shows the little cottage by the bridge. It was built on the ruins of a much older cottage by Dan Jones, probably in the late '30's. He was a master good chap at gardening but not too hot as a builder. The cottage was let out until it was condemned as unsafe in the '50's. The last people we remember living there were called Orrin. Dave and Marlene Yeo pulled it down about 1966 and built the wall enclosing the pavement.

Lorna B and Lorna P

Dan Jones and his parents, Daniel and Loveday Jones, lived in Brookvale and Riversdale. Daniel's brother, Bert, lived at Bess Hill at the top of 'Henton Lane'. I thought the following might be of interest. It's an extract from his daughter's account of her childhood memories.

"Dad wasn't a very big man, under 6ft but strong. Straight in all his dealings he was called upon for a few unusual tasks. He worked as a carpenter/wheelwright for Mr. Ley, the farmer at Hole Farm. One corn harvest time, one son became mentally disturbed. Father sat up with him all night until the next morning - Mr. Bussell of llfracombe arrived in a pony and trap to take George away to the asylum at Exminster - and he never returned.

"And father did the same when Jack Ford 'went off his head'. It was always - get Bert - no one else would do it and risk possible danger. "The most unusual night was when the constable arrived with a prisoner and asked Dad to keep him locked up until morning. The policeman, Mr. Martin, lived further down the road.

"In our cottage in the back kitchen there was a large cupboard used for a spare bag of coal, brooms, etc. A chair was placed there and a bucket - for needs - and the door shut and buttoned by a largish wood button - about two inches had been cut away from the top so the air could circulate. The poor man sat there all night and Dad sat on a chair on the other side of the door until the next morning, when PC Martin arrived to take the man off.

"Poor Keeper Darch drowned himself in the pond near the Mill, and again Dad was called in, first to search for the missing man and then to get him out of the pond. Mother was the last to see the poor fellow as she sat by the bedroom window rocking baby Stanley off to sleep and he passed the gate and I was with her and saw him, slow and bowed in his old felt hat.

"Harry Slee, deaf as a post and next door neighbour, died suddenly out in the 'privy' around the side of their cottage, with a very narrow path leading to it. He was an elderly, big, heavy man, yet had to be brought in - for that Dad must have had some help. But whoever it was for, Dad made the coffins, not as they are done today, but from lengths of elm and oak, soaked in scalding water to 'turn' the wood one end and 'pitched', then planed and glossed, and walk to Combe to get the brass handles and soft pleated linings and cotton wool to 'lay soft' and a brass name plate which Dad took hours to inscribe - in copper plate,

"For all the members of the Ley family who died, Dad was the undertaker wearing his hard hat, brushed to a whisker, and gloves and arranged men to bear the coffin - walking funerals always except the Castle gentry who went on one of their wagons dressed in greenery."

Gladys Nunn nee Jones
Albert Jones born 1879, married 1904, died 1933

Lorna Bowden



A.E. Housman

Loveliest of trees, the cherry now
Is hung with bloom along the bough,
And stands about the woodland ride
Wearing white for Eastertide.
Now, of my threescore years and ten,
Twenty will not come again,
And take from seventy springs a score,
It only leaves me fifty more.
And since to look at things in bloom
Fifty springs are little room,
About the woodlands I will go
To see the cherry hung with snow.

Illustrations by: Helen Armstead and Paul Swailes




Our Pancake Coffee Morning was very successful and the total amount raised was £116.71p. Once again my grateful thanks to all who helped, and donated raffle prizes, cakes, preserves and bric-a-brac. All the delicious cakes, jams and marmalades sold and other items were passed on to the Pre-School Coffee Morning.

This year our donation of £10.00 has gone to a little known condition called ERBS PALSY. This is damage to peripheral nerves at birth, and affects usually the arm and hand. My little grandson, Rory Devon, has just undergone nerve transplant surgery to his left arm, which was severely affected at birth. He is in a plaster cast, encasing head, shoulders and arm, for 6 weeks, and then comes intensive physiotherapy to help restore movement to his hand and arm.

Janet, R.J. and Rory arrived here yesterday from London, where we are all convinced that in Berrynarbor he will grow strong. We should like to thank all you caring people for your prayers, loving words and kind deeds through this very anxious time.

Sally B.



Louise Baddick


  • 5 oz S.R. Flour
  • 3 1/2 oz Granulated Sugar
  • 4 oz Soft Margarine
  • 2 Eggs [beaten]
  • 2 tbs. Lemon Curd

To pour on top of hot cake when cooked: Juice of 1 lemon mixed with 2 tsps of granulated sugar.


Put all ingredients together in a bowl and beat well. This cake will cook in a hot or medium oven, but ideally at 350 Deg F, for approximately 55 mins.



Tuesday, 14th April, 1998, at 7.00 p.m.

Last December there was a Special Parish Meeting and the Manor Hall was packed. Thank you for attending in such numbers.

Every year there is an Annual Meeting of the electors of the Parish and it is our custom to hold it on the evening of our April Parish Council Meeting. [Those who do attend are welcome to watch the Council following the Annual Meeting.] Its main purpose is to hear about the activities of the Parish Council during the year just past.

The highlight has to be the Parish Poll that followed the Special Meeting. Both sides of the question had good support, but the result was quite clear. If the Manor Hall scheme is to be completed there will have to be other funding schemes. Parishes much smaller than Berrynarbor have recently opened village halls where the total cost reached around £500,000. It will be interesting to follow progress in this parish.

There was some confusion about the Council Tax Banding system, and a further table appears below:

BandProperties in VillageCriteria for Band by 1991 ValueCharge split into 9ths and amount
A29Up to £40,OOO6/9 £490.38
B27£40,001 - £52,0007/9 £572.11
C69£52,001 - £68,0008/9 £653.84
D81£68,001 - £88,0009/9 Base Charge £735.57
E89£88,001 - £120,00011/9 £899.03
F30£120,000 - £160,00013/9 £1,062.49
G16£160,000 - £320,00015/9 £1,225.95
HNilOver £320,00018/9 Twice Base £1,471.14

You will see there are no H Band properties in Berrynarbor. There are very few in North Devon, but Castle Hill at Filleigh is one example.

One feature of the year's work has been a high number of planning applications upon which we are always required to comment. The consultation period is now shorter than once it was, and there have been a number of extra Council Meetings to deal with the workload. Fortunately, none of the applications have been of such a nature as to introduce massive change to our community.

When the URC Chapel came onto the market, the Council monitored the local interest that had various schemes for the building's public use. In the event, the sale realised a figure way beyond the public purse and it will become residential in the near future.

Then we have some farewells to say. Jenny Taylor, the last Chairman, is expecting to go overseas in the near future and has resigned her seat on the Council. Over many years she gave tremendous service and has always been a leading voice in our debates. We wish her well in the future.

No By-election was claimed and after a vote of the Council between two volunteers, Mathew Walls was co-opted. We are most fortunate to have so many Councillors well below the average age.

Elsewhere in the Newsletter readers will see an advertisement for a new Parish Clerk. John Vince, who has revolutionised your Council's administration during his period as Clerk, is returning to South Devon, where his family have settled and will leave us, probably in August. We shall be searching, not only for a diligent officer, but for someone who can bring word processing and computer skills and equipment to the task.

Our lives will not be dull this summer, but then who would want to be part of a dull council? I hope to see you on the 14th April.

Graham E. Andrews - Chairman


Artwork: Peter Rothwell

Management Committee

At our meeting in February, the result of the Parish Poll regarding the financing of the proposed improvements project was discussed and a resolution put to the Committee stating that no further action should be taken with regard to the project and that the various grant applications should be withdrawn. This resolution was passed but it was felt that as the Parish Council had originally set the whole thing in motion, they should make the final decision. At the Parish Council the following week, it was decided that the grant applications should be left in place and if the applications are successful, the Parish Council would resolve the question of raising the Village's contribution [£30,000] towards the project.

The question of increasing the Hall rents was also discussed at the meeting but as there are a number of changes coming along which may necessitate a substantial increase in the rents, it was decided that the decision on increases be deferred until after the AGM, by which time the changes should be resolved.

The ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING for the Manor Hall will take place in the Hall on Tuesday, 5th May, at 7.30 p.m. All villagers are invited to attend. A number of long-serving Committee Members have indicated their intention of not standing for re-election. Therefore the Committee will be looking for community spirited villagers to take their place to assist with the running of the Hall. Those people who spoke out strongly, both for and against the proposed improvements to the Hall, would be especially welcome.

Tom Tucker



The very remarkable new issue of Lighthouse Stamps have been designed by Mr. Dick Davis, a nephew of Mrs. Mary Leckie of Barton Hill. Dick Davis trained at the Chelsea School of Arts and the Royal College of Arts, and now lives and works on the Isle of Wight.

The stamps contain an incredible amount of information/detail for such a small space. Each stamp depicts a lighthouse at different times in the history of lighthouses, with various sea colour backgrounds and a location plot from a maritime chart current at that time. Then, at the bottom, are strips which show the flashing or colour light sequences which identify the lighthouses to seamen.

A prize of a set of lighthouse stamps will be given to the first person to let me know which other of stamps was designed by Dick Davis [I hope Mrs. Leckie and Mrs. Reynolds will not mind being ineligible!].

Alan Rowlands alias Postman Pat alias The PMG


Parish of Berrynarbor
will be held in the Manor Hall at 7.00 p.m. on
Tuesday, 14th April, 1998

Come and hear what your Parish Council has or
hasn't done for you, and say what you would like it to do

The meeting will be followed by the regular monthly
Meeting of the Parish Council



As mentioned in a previous newsletter, during the Second World War, as a family, we moved from Essex to a house in Barton Lane, known then as Meadowdene [but later Four Winds and now Well Cottage]. In 1943, the Military were billeted at Watermouth Castle and were given a pipeline project which was probably the forerunner of the Pluto Line, which was later used to pump fuel from England to France following D Day.

The pipeline was laid across the Bristol Channel from the refineries in Wales, running up the beach at Watermouth Harbour. Just past the old entrance to Watemouth Caves, the soldiers let into the side of the hill, huge cylindrical tanks. The line continued to Mill Park Farm.

At that time, there was a lot of flooding at Mill Farm each winter and it must have been for that reason they built a raised road alongside the ordinary road, the retaining wall of which was made from sand bags filled with cement and then sprayed with water from the Sterridge.

Next, rock was blasted from the side of the hill to be used to fill the road to the level of the wall. At intervals along the road, were "U" shaped filling valves to fill tankers to supply military needs for the West of England. But before all this started, there was a burst in the pipe in the middle of the Bristol Channel. The only way to repair this was to keep pumping so that the fuel rose to the surface at the break. Grappling irons were used to find the ends and a repair was effected.

It was when my mother, Violet, went down to the village to make a 'phone call to a friend, that she picked up the receiver only to get a crossed line of military conversation advising that "We are ready to start pumping." After that, you would often see the petrol overflow the tankers on to the ground before a solider would call out, "It's full, mate!" From where we lived, and before there were so many tall trees, we had a grandstand view of all this, not to mention the view from the top of the 72-seater double-decker bus, which ran through the village, taking us to school at Ilfracombe each morning. Imagine such a bus trying to get through these days!

Now the specially constructed road has gone, but in among the trees on the eastern side up from Mill Farm, you might probably find the remains of the old rock quarry. But, beware! You might fall down from the top edge!

Finally, a little rhyme I learned which I think is Devon humour:

"Shear a sheep and catch un,
Make a rick and thatch un."

And have you heard the expression, 'apse the gate', meaning 'close the gate' or 'we sat around the fire yetting ourselves' meaning 'warming ourselves'?

Tony Beauclerk, Colchester


Artwork: Angela Bartlett

Watermouth Bay

With Tony Beauclerk's article on 'Pluto', I have chosen Watermouth Bay views for this April Newsletter. The first view would have been taken in the early thirties by an as yet unknown publisher. This publisher produced cards all over the West Country and possibly all over the U.K. The view shows Watermouth Harbour with the main road from Ilfracombe on the left and the boat-house which is just opposite the impressive entrance to Watermouth Castle, with large pillars, each topped with a large stone ball. On the right can be seen the Squire's footpath gate to cross the main road to the harbour. The Martello Tower/Dovecote can just be seen towards the end of the headland on the right, probably the oldest still standing building/structure at Watermouth.

The second view was taken by T. Sargeant for Frith's of Reigate around 1939 and shows clearly the footpath gate from the Castle in the centre. This is probably how the harbour would have appeared to the army officers and men billeted at Watermouth Castle during the Second World War.

The third view, produced by Miller and Lang as one of their National Series of Photographic postcards, would have been taken just after the Second World War, This, to me, is the most interesting as it shows to the right a weird metal-type structure which could easily have been something to do with the pipeline set up. I wonder if any of our older readers can throw any light on the subject, or maybe you have an old photograph or drawing of the activities that took place at the Harbour? If you do, it would be lovely if you could share them with us. My particular thanks to Tony for his response to my request.

Finally, on ornithology, can anyone tell me where all the great-tits have gone? We have, as always, many blue-tits, the occasional cole-tit and this year, as well as finches, a pair of siskins feeding on the peanuts we hangout in feeders. I just wonder if anyone in the village has seen quite regularly great-tits feeding in their gardens. Please me know.

Tom Bartlett
Tower Cottage, March 1998



This may not mean much to younger readers, but the initials stand for 'Pipe Line Under The Ocean'. This relates to a pipe which supplied petrol to our forces in Normandy from this country during the last war. Before the pipeline was laid, it was necessary to test whether it would be feasible and to this end an experimental pipe was laid from South Wales to North Devon. It fed fuel from BP's Llandarcy refinery near Swansea to Waternouth Cove, from where it was led to pumps in Berrynarbor. From there, tanker lorries carried it to wherever it was wanted.

The Bristol Channel pipe was laid in 1942. Apparently, the Bristol Channel was chosen because conditions there could sometimes be rougher than in the English Channel, so if it succeeded there, it was pretty sure to succeed in the latter. Indeed, one storm was so severe that the pipe broke away and struck one of the workers on the pipe-laying vessel, causing injuries from which he died. During the experiment a million gallons were transferred from South Wales in a few weeks. In the event, the English Channel pipeline was very successful and instrumental in helping the Allies to press forward with the invasion without delay.

These comments are prompted by the 75th anniversary of the Llandarcy refinery in June this year. I am indebted to Walter Turk and Norman Sloley for most of this information.

Don Taylor - Combe Martin

[I thank Don for this article, sent to me some time ago and which has been waiting - the right opportunity was now! With regard to Tom's query about great-tits - they are alive and feeding well in the Sterridge Valley, along with their blue long-tailed cousins. It is the cole-tit which is the rarer visitor here. Ed.]



3rdCollege and Primary School: End of Spring Term
7thW.I. Meeting: Antiques and Collectibles - Madeline Robinson
10thGOOD FRIDAY St. Peter's Church: 2 - 3.00 p.m. Devotional Hour
12thEASTER DAY St. Peter's Church - Sung Eucharist, 10.30 a.m.
14thAnnual Parish Meeting 7.00 p.m. Manor Hall
15thMobile Library in Village from 11.30 a.m.
Berrynarbor Wine Circle, 8.00 p.m. Manor Hall
20thCollege and Primary School: Start of Summer Term
23rdW.I Chichester Group Meeting Shirwell, 7.30 p.m.
4thMay Day Bank Holiday
5thW.I. Resolutions and Discussion, VCO in attendance.
Manor Hall Management AGM, 7.30 p.m., Manor Hall
7thW.I Coffee Morning at Southerley, 10.30 a.m. - 12.00 noon
9thLondon Emmanuel Choir at Combe Martin Parish Church, 7.30 p.m.
10th St. Peter's Church: Service - 9.00 a.m.
12th Parish Concil Meeting - 7.30 p.m., Manor Hall
14th PCC Coffee Morning
20th Berrynarbor Wine Circle, 8.00 p.m. Manor Hall [Final Meeting]
25th to 29th [inc] College and Primary School: Half Term Spring Bank Holiday
31st Whit Sunday
2nd W.I. Meeting : Galloping Gourmet Demonstration - Rosie Don

Whist Drive: Each Thursday in the Manor Hall, 7.30 p.m.

Mobile Library: From 11:30 a.m. Wednesdays: 1st, 15th and 29th April, 13th and 27th May