Edition 58 - February 1999

Artwork by: Peter Rothwell

Artwork: Judie Weedon


A Happy New Year to you all! I hope everyone had a good Christmas. Like last year, 1999 has come in wet and windy and although the days should be drawing out now, the mornings still seem very dark and the evenings are not much better. However, the mild weather is again producing early buds on the magnolia trees and daffodils in flower in the Valley.

Thanks to everyone for keeping the contributions coming - to Peter Rothwell for another country cover [if not actually Berrynarbor this time], Nigel and Paul for their illustrations and all the 'regular' writers. Not to be forgotten are Nora and Alan and Sue Sussex who continue to kindly deliver newsletters with the papers, and the people behind the scenes that help with the printing, collating and stapling, etc. For newcomers to the village, newsletters [if not delivered with the paper] may be collected from the Post Office, the Globe and Sawmills. The mailing list continues to grow and if you know of anyone who would like to be added [including yourself if you do not always find it easy to collect a copy], please let me know.

Easter is quite early this year, with Good Friday on the 2nd April. So, items for the April and Easter issue will need to be in by mid-March, by Monday, 15th March, at the latest please. Thanks.





The 1st December saw a well-attended meeting but alas, no speaker! However, a written quiz saved the day and created a lot of local interest - or lack of, as the case may be. Tea was served with mince pies, the competition for them having been won by Edna Barnes. A big thank you to all who took part. For those members who had participated, there was a wee gift to take home and good wishes for those who would not be coming to the Christmas Lunch.

What a wonderful atmosphere greeted us all at the Globe on the 21st December, when 25 members assembled for their Christmas Lunch. Everything was perfection and a good time was had by all. Our grateful thanks to Lynn, Phil and their staff.

The first meeting of 1999, on the 5th January, was also well-attended with not too many suffering the 'virus' going around. After birthday presentations and general notices, members were given a most interesting talk by Andy Cooper, News Editor of the North Devon Journal who spoke on the history of the paper up to the present day. After a question and answer session, it was time for a welcome cuppa, after which Andy had to dash back to the paper - such a busy man and members were appreciative that he had found the time to come.

A message from Jean Cummings' daughter thanked everyone who had remembered Jean and Cyril at Christmas. Jean is not too well at the moment and unable to reply herself.

The Treasurer reminded members that it is subscription time once again! The next meeting will be on 2nd February, when our very own Kath will be taking us on our annual mystery holiday via her wonderful slides. Visitors, as always, are most welcome - 2.30 p.m. at the Manor Hall. Every good wish.

Illustrations by: Debbie Cook

Vi Kingdon - President

Just a Thought for 1999

I wish I knew the answer
To all the frowns I see.
I'd like to gather them all up,
And dump them in the sea.

SMILES can be so infectious,
If spread along life's way,
Who knows, maybe, just maybe,
They can keep those frowns at bay.



Just a few lines to tell you how we are coming along since we left the village. It doesn't seem a year ago since the van pulled away from Bessemer Thatch and we handed the keys to Colin and Wendy. The time has been packed full, mainly with family.

Heather spent the first part of the year in California seeing our grandchildren - Adam, Joe and Luke [they are very American!]. We then went to Northampton to be around when our latest grandchild, Jack, was born. All are doing well and as you might expect, are handsome and clever!

We are now in Southern Spain for the winter [something we have both wanted to do for years] and we hope to return to the UK around April. We are staying in a friend's villa with the home comforts of washer, cooker and 'EastEnders' on the telly.

A very happy Christmas and a very Happy, Healthy New Year to all our friends in the village.

Heather and Les [Levi]

[Apologies that this letter is rather late - unfortunately, it was not received in time to be included in the December issue.]



Mick Gowar

Illustrated by: Paul Swailes

Dear Auntie

Oh, what a nice jumper I've always adored powder blue and fancy thinking of orange and pink for the stripes how clever of you!

Dear Uncle

The Soap is terrific - so useful and such a kind thought and how did you guess that I'd just used the last of the soap that last Christmas brought.

Dear Gran

Many thanks for the hankies. Now I really can't wait for the 'flu and the daisies embroidered in red round the 'M' for Michael how thoughtful of you!

Dear Cousin

What socks! And the same sort you wear so you must be the last word in style and I'm certain you're right that the luminous green will make me stand out a mile.

Dear Sister

I quite understand your concern - it's a risk sending jam in the post But I think I've pulled out all the big bits of glass so it won't taste too sharp spread on toast.

Dear Grandad

Don't fret, I'm delighted. So don 't think your gift will offend. I'm not at all hurt that you gave up this year and just sent me a fiver to spend.


Artwork: Peter Rothwell


Very many thanks are due to those who helped with the Village Post. Lots of people contributed again and special appreciation is due to John and Marion Hood who sorted the bulk before we all enjoyed a coffee morning and then delivered our share of Christmas Cards. Thanks again.

Early notice of our Annual General Meeting which this year will be on Wednesday, 14th April at the Hall. A warm welcome to everyone.

Graham E. Andrews - Chairman



Apologies to Jim and Linda [not Sheila] McDonald who have moved into Cairn Cottage, and to Val who has three grand-daughters, Ella, Lucy and Alice.



A reminder that Fred, our Fish and Chip man, calls each Wednesday evening' from 6.15 to 7.00 p.m. [car park by the old Chapel]. The service, which is excellent, could be in jeopardy if it is not used regularly. So, if you fancy a quick, tasty and inexpensive meal for the family on Wednesday evenings, why not call up and see Fred.



With Christmas and the pantomime season just finished, and with our own BBC about to stage another show in March, how many readers remember a pantomime presented in the Manor Hall twenty years ago?

Looking through photographs over the Christmas holiday, Louise [nee Walls] came across this photograph of the cast of 'Puss in Boots' taken in 1978. The performers were:

  • Back row: Carol Jackson, Jeremy Baxter, Val Hann, Graham Scott-Goldstone, Elaine Fanner, Sue Scott-Goldstone, Dorothy Hepper, Barry Hepper, David Hann, Bob Lock, Clare Sullivan
  • Middle row: Caroline Summers, Rachel Taylor, Simon Hann, Angela Summers, Sarah Bowen
  • Front row: Sarah Songhurst, Samantha Bailey, Louise Walls, Carolyn Potts, Julie King, ? [thought to be Marie Jackson], Angela Peddle, Neil Richards, Adam Stanbury, Judith Prater, Caroline Sullivan, Susan and Michaela Grill.




A sincere thank you to everyone who so generously bought Christmas Cards to support the Leonard Cheshire Foundation Home at Westmead, Braunton.

You helped to raise the magnificent sum of £270.70.

I shall now be delighted to collect your old cards - Christmas and all other greeting cards - so that they can be made into new ones. Cards - Greetings, Birthday, Anniversary, etc. will be on sale throughout the year.

Eunice Allen - Bali-Hi, Sterridge valley Tel: [01271] 882491

Thank You for supporting the
Christmas Raffle at the Post Office.

We have sent £20.00 to the Children's Hospice and £20.00 to the Salvation Army. The Prize winners were:

  • 1st - Stilton and Port - Mr. and Mrs. Geoff Smith, Rectory Cottage
  • 2nd - Bottle of Wine - Graham and Glenys Hatcher, Miss Muffets
  • 3rd - Box of Chocolates - Mr. Lane, Brookside
  • 4th - unclaimed - so was eaten by our customers!

Nora and Alan

Following our retirement from business in the pharmacy in Combe Martin, we should like to thank all our customers for the support they have given during the past twelve years. We hope our services have been satisfactory to all. Thank you, too, for all the good wishes so many of you have expressed.

We wish our successors, Sarah, Trevor and Karina Kibble, from Coventry, all the very best, and hope that they will enjoy the same support that we have experienced from the residents of Combe Martin, Berrynarbor and surrounding communities.

Nicki and Brian Ball - Little Firs



There must be a mistake, surely? Many of us can remember the slogans, 'Plant a tree in '73' and 'Plant one more in '74'.

However, from recent articles in the press, some twenty-five years later the issue is becoming not too few of these leafy objects, but too many. Scientists are warning of a new ecological problem: a rapid spread of forests and woodland that is threatening the world's landscapes.

Where land was once grazed but now abandoned, the amount of cover has gone up, in some places by up to 15 times. Ecologists are concerned that birds such as the Dartford warbler, the stonechat and the linnet - inhabitants of open scrubland -- are now becoming rare and are being replaced by common woodland birds; and many species of wild flowers are dying as they become shaded out.

During the winter, the National Trust has been carrying out a programme of woodland management. Thinning has been undertaken to give the remaining trees more space, sunlight and moisture to grow, allowing more sunlight on the ground under the trees. This encourages a crop of flowers in the spring which in turn is of benefit to many insects and animals, for example increasing the nectaring sites for butterflies.

Is this a problem? And does it affect our village environment? Certainly, walking up the valley one becomes aware of how much the trees have encroached over the years, creating more shade and reducing, quite significantly, the number of hours when homes and gardens are in sunshine -- that is when the sun is out!

Kath Arscott - Barn Cottage




The last few meetings of the Parish Council have debated the effects of recent storms on the village, and in particular the flooding in Silver Street and in some other properties in quite remote locations.

The Council is far from convinced that the County Council's proposals for the village centre are robust enough to prevent more problems in the future and are arranging further discussions with County Council officials in order to achieve a permanent solution.

Graham E. Andrews - Chairman



Saturday, 6th February 1999
7.00 p.m.
St. Peter's Church
South Molton Music Studio Singers and Pupils
Director: Monica Ley

Admission £2.50, including Coffee
Proceeds in aid of Church Funds


Artwork: Steve Angold [Aged 10]


Christmas Time: The Church was beautifully decorated once again ready for Christmas. The wonderful flower arrangements were much admired and proved a perfect setting for the lights of Christmas: the Advent candles, the tree and the crib. A sincere thank you to all those who gave their time and skills and to those who have kept everything looking fresh over the past few weeks. It is now the middle of January and the church is still a delight to visit.

Christmas services were well attended and it was lovely to welcome the Sunday School and so many young families to the Carol Service. Then there was the magic of the Midnight Mass and the joy of Christmas morning.

A total of £240 has been sent to the Children's Society - more than twice as much as last year. Thank you for your generosity.

Sunday School: The Sunday School is continuing to meet while Sally is 'out of action'. We all wish her a speedy recovery and hope she will be back with us before too long. Another teacher would be a great help, so please let me know if you would like to assist on a regular basis.

  • Don't Forget: The Concert on 6th February at 7.00 p.m. Details above. Tickets are on sale in the Post Office or from Margaret Andrews [883385] or myself [883881].
  • Lent: Lent begins with Ash Wednesday on 17th February. Mothering Sunday is on 14th March and we shall hold our special family service with the Sunday School. Please watch out for posters for Palm Sunday, 28th March, Good Friday, 2nd April, and Easter Day, 4th April.

The church will be decorated for Easter late Friday afternoon and Saturday. If you would like to contribute towards the cost of Easter lilies, please let Betty Davis know [883541].

Mary Tucker


Artwork: Debbie Rigler Cook


A very warm welcome to Roy and Jackie Pierpoint who moved into Langleigh House in early December. Roy and Jackie, who have 'retired' here from Ascot, have five daughters and eleven grandchildren - Langleigh House will be full at holiday time!! Jackie originally trained as a nurse and Roy's interest has always been in cars and motor racing, from which he made a living in the 1970's driving sports cars and saloons. Also residing at Langleigh House are Roy's two pre-war cars - an Austin 7 and a [police type] Wolseley.

Having, for a while, allowed others to enjoy living in their home in the Valley, Julia [nee Hannam] and Rob Fairchild and their daughters, Ella and Lucy [and the 2 cats and a dog!], moved in to Wood Park just before Christmas. For Julia it is a return to the village she loves and grew up in and we welcome you all and wish you every happiness.

It is farewell to Nick and Stephanie Long who have left Fuji to move to Braunton. Good luck in your new home.



It was once said of Herbert Morris [Peter Mandelson's grandfather]: "He is his own worst enemy." "Not while I'm alive he's not", responded Ernest Bevin [the post-war Foreign Secretary and former farm worker who was born and brought up on Exmoor, at Winsford]!


Artwork: Debbie Rigler Cook


See yon stripling! When a boy,
A mother's pride, a father's joy!

Sir Walter Scott

In the true tradition of Bowden Boys, young Thomas put in his appearance on the 9th January. A son for Richard and Jane [nee Cox], Thomas weighed in at 8 lbs 6 oz and is, with Samuel, Anna and Jonathan, a fourth grand-child for Lorna and Michael.



On the 20th August last year, Alec Wigmore ordered us a replacement window from a firm in Ipswich, Suffolk. It was to take about ten days. Seven weeks later, and my patience running out, it arrived! Our existing window was removed, and the new window . . . but alas - on closer inspection, it was discovered that we should have to go outside to open it! The old window went back in.

A week later, another window arrived, but no, they still had not worked out how to open a window from the inside! I telephoned the company and said that if they didn't get this right soon, I was going to get in touch with Ann Robinson and 'Watchdog'. Panic! The engineer came all the way down from Ipswich to see the problem. Well, he thought he'd sorted it out and said he was sorry and another would be arriving post haste. It did, but the mechanism was hardly working at all. Back to the drawing board.

Another three weeks and a fourth window arrived. It would open from the inside but the leaded lights pattern was different from the existing ones. However, we decided to keep it but have the glass and the leaded lights changed. A week later the handle on the window came into its own - and snapped! Two weeks later a new handle arrived, but not the new leaded glass. That arrived on Christmas Eve and was fitted on the 11th January.

It had taken five months - 20 weeks and 4 days - from the date of the order and the window only measures 3 feet by 3 feet!

Mavis Pesic - Hollyhocks




The Pre-school, held in the Penn Curzon Room at the Manor Hall has vacancies on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Sessions run from 9.15 a.m. to 12.15 p.m. and cost £3.00. We take Government vouchers in payment for 4-year olds. Please call in on any of these sessions or telephone 883333 or 867465.

The pre-school also has a Toddler Group which is held every Friday in term time. This is from 10.00 a.m. to 12.00 noon in the Manor Hall, and everyone is welcome. Just turn up or telephone Julia on 882783 for further details.



Hopefully, not too many people have succumbed to the current 'flu' and cold bugs, but if you have, we hope you will be feeling better very soon.

Angela Richards came out of hospital in early December - although she has since had another brief spell 'inside' - but is progressing slowly. She would like to thank everyone for their, cards, flowers and messages of encouragement to her and her family, and hopes to be in circulation again before too long.

We were delighted for June Annear that she was able to spend a few days at home over Christmas and look forward to her next visit.

After a spell in hospital, Robbie is on the mend and currently convalescing with Betty.

Our best wishes to Sally [Barten] who has had a new knee and to Kathleen Norman who is also in hospital. We hope you will both be out and about very soon.

Laurel Draper has had a cartilage removed and hopefully this will ease the pain of the last few months. He and Celia have had an anxious time whilst Lisa was in hospital with pregnancy complications. However, it is good to know that she, and the expected twins, are all progressing well. Our best wishes to you all.

To all our patients, get well soon, we are thinking of you.




We are now on countdown. The Parish Council are giving the Millennium Committee solid support, for which the Committee and I are most grateful. Lynn and Phil from The Globe have very kindly offered to give lunch on Saturday, 1st to the Senior Citizens who are unable to attend the evening function. Many thanks to them.

One of our main sponsors, the Berry Broadcasting Cast, are performing their annual show on Friday and Saturday, 12th and 13th March, with all proceeds going to the Fund. So, please buy your ticket and give us your support.

As you can see, we now have our own Berrynarbor Millennium logo, kindly designed and produced by Shaun Cooper, which will go on all correspondence. The Mug project is well in hand and Julie Richards has produced two plates on which every child in the Parish will have their name inscribed. Which brings me to a major point - from 1st March, a register will open at the Post Office for people to register their child/children's name. Please do this, we don't want to disappoint any child and I'm sure you won't want the task of explaining why you didn't register!

Due to many requests to hold another public meeting, we shall be doing so on SUNDAY, 14th FEBRUARY, at 7.30 p.m. at the Manor Hall. If you can attend, please do so as we need your support.

Neil Morris - Chairman




Well, we didn't get our white Christmas, just a continuation of the rain and wind! November and December together produced a total of 314mm [approx. 12 1/2 inches] and here in the sheltered valley we recorded wind speeds of over 27 miles per hour [force 6] on 18 days in these months. The worst day was Christmas Day, with speeds up to 42 miles per hour. The first frost came early, on 16th November, when the temperature just dropped below freezing.

Looking back over 1998, the total rainfall was 1658mm [approximately 66 inches], the wettest year since 1994. Early January saw the strongest wind and we recorded a high of 67 miles per hour - we dread to think what it must have been like at the top of Hagginton Hill!

As in 1997, the warmest month was August, with a top temperature of 29.6 Deg C.

All in all, 1998 was a pretty disappointing year - let's hope for better things in 1999, although it hasn't started very well so far.

Sue and Simon,
Valley View



This bequest of land from Claude Richards is maintained by the Parish Council and opened daily for quiet use as a memorial to members of that family. The Council, with the co-operation and support of the Parochial Church Council and approval of the family, and entered the garden for the Quiet Gardens Scheme. A Constitution and Advisory Group [Parish, Church and family representation] was established and has just been accepted by the International Quiet Garden Scheme and Family representation] was established and has just been accepted by the International Quiet Garden Scheme and will be listed in their Directory.

This Charitable Trust, with patrons from all Christian denominations, initiates a network of quiet spaces for prayer, reflection, meditation and appreciation of beauty and experience of creation. It is hoped that there will be prayer cards, leaflets, available in time, as fund-raising permits, and that there will be our usual warm welcome to visitors who discover our Quiet Garden and rather special Parish.

Graham Andrews, Margaret Andrews and Jill Sidebottom

Reg. Charity No 1038528

Illustration by: Paul Swailes



These photographs have been taken this autumn and winter and include:

  • The Sterridge in spate at Sawmills - October;
  • Autumn leaves at The Lees;
  • Exmoor from Berry Down;
  • Flax bales at Smythen and
  • Christmas sunset in the Valley.



Did you wonder what was growing, with pale green foliage and tiny white flowers, in abundance in the Smythen fields this summer? Well, the answer is flax.

When flax is harvested, linseed oil is expressed from the seeds and the residue used to feed cattle. The oil is used in the manufacture of paint, wood treatments and varnish.

The fibre of the plant, which is cultivated almost world-wide, is used to produce linen. The stems are retted [soaked] in water after harvesting and then dried, rolled and scutched [pounded], separating the fibre from the central core of woody tissue. The long fibres are spun into linen thread, twice as strong as cotton, yet more delicate and suitable for making lace. The shorter fibres are used to make twine or paper.

It was the white flower that was confusing! Surely flax is blue? There are, apparently, different varieties, both blue and white in colour. Two years ago, the same fields were a beautiful pale blue - followed last year by a crop of fine swedes, most of which, after incredibly muddy lifting, found their way to Tesco stores.

The weather this year, however, has been against the people leasing the land from Brian and Maud. First it delayed planting and then when it should have been harvested - in August/September - it was far too wet. The seeds were all lost through wind and rain and the stalks only suitable for cattle bedding. They were eventually baled in the very late autumn, as shown in the photographs.

Thank you, Maud, for answering our questions.

Judie Weedon


Artwork: Angela Bartlett

Ingenious Invention

During my stay at Berrynarbor during World War II, I made a number of friends and this is the tale of a couple of very ingenious lads. Both lived in the Sterridge Valley - the first was Derek Altree of Holmleigh. Some of you may remember him and his mother and father. His father, Percy, was a postman, who also grew delicious tomatoes where Chicane now stands. I understand that his greenhouses were constructed from window structures of bombed factories. Percy had quite a lot of land which he cultivated, involving a lot of hard work carried out mostly by hand. The second lad was Donald Thirkle, who lived with his mother at Hillside, further up the road.

One day, whilst rummaging around in the undergrowth on the lane to Ruggaton, Donald came across a roof- that is to say the roof of a car. Pulling aside the tangled folliage, he discovered it was a very old Austin 7. On making enquiries, he learned that it belonged to Len Bowden and had once been used as a chicken house. After some discussion and haggling and the parting of a £, he and Derek dug it out. The very dilapidated remains were carted over to the Altree's, where what remained of the body was removed, leaving just the chassis, wheels and engine.

Now Donald had, I understand, worked on aircraft engines and Derek was pretty mechanically minded, so they talked about whether it could be made to work again and decided to have a go. They dismantled everything - cleaning, checking, repairing, making bits and then putting it all together again.

Unfortunately, in those days car batteries were hard to find and without one all their efforts would be in vain. Not to be beaten [and DO NOT try this at home!], they somehow rigged up and used the main electricity supply - a most dangerous thing to do! But, after some fiddling, the engine fired and 'bingo', they had got it going! It ran quite well.

Percy, who had watched the lads with interest, started thinking about a use for this new weird vehicle. After a while he came up with the idea of it becoming a tractor. 'L' shaped plates were bolted direct on to the wheels and a driver's seat built on. He managed to get a battery and I believe a second gear box was fitted to give power at low speeds. A plough was made to suit the job and cultivation became a 'doddle' for Percy and his vegetables! Talk about necessity being the mother of invention - you have to admire them don't you?

Tony Beauclerk - Colchester



Thomas Hardy

The bars are thick with drops that show
As they gather themselves from the fog
Like silver buttons ranged in a row,
And as evenly spaced as if measured, although
They fall at the feeblest jog.
They load the leafless hedge hard by,
And the blades of last year's grass,
While the fallow ploughland turned up nigh
In raw rolls, clammy and clogging lie -
Too clogging for feet to pass.
How dry it was on a far-back day
When straws hung the hedge and around,
When amid the sheaves in amorous play
In curtained bonnets and light array
Bloomed a bevy now underground!

Illustration by: Nigel Mason



A most enjoyable evening was had by all when the Men's Institute held their annual Trophy Presentations on the 26th November. The trophies were presented by the Chairman, Gordon Hughes.

WinnerRunner Up
Handicap Singles
[Len Bowden Memorial Shield]
Maurice DraperGordon Hughes
Scratch SinglesJohn HuxtableKevin Brooks
Doubles CupRay Toms and Keith WallsVic Cornish and Phil Bridle
Highest BreakRoger Luckham and Mark Adams
Winter LeagueMaurice DraperNoel Stokes
Summer LeagueMatthew Walls

John Huxtable




Whilst membership is at an all-time high, with 58 members, a warm invitation is extended to newcomers to join us at the Manor Hall on the third Wednesday of each month at 8.00 p.m.

The programme of remaining evenings includes a Wine Presentation by Jolly's Wines of Bideford on 17th February; Tony Summers will introduce a selection of Tesco wines on 17th March, followed by presentations by C. Lightfoot of St. Austell and John Hood in April and May.

The Christmas meeting was extremely successful with over sixty members and friends being treated to a Hawaiian Barbecue Wine Tasting by the Stoke Rivers Ensemble, complete with shorts [the clothing variety!], music and festivities. In January, members introduced their own favourite wines, ably compered by Tony Summers.

Tom Bartlett - Publicity Officer [883408]


THEY ARE . . .

The school photograph in the December issue stirred up many memories and Ellie [nee Vellacott] - with a little help - has managed to name all the pupils but four. She believes that it was taken in [the summer?] 1970. If you still have your copy of the newsletter, you can now put names to faces and perhaps even tell us the missing names:

From left to right:

  • Back Row -- Vera Cowperthwaite, Robert Ambrose, Stephen Bowen, Peter Bowden, Byron Coombes, David Richards, Richard Fry, Keith Hussell, Adrian Rimmer, Adrian Brookman, Steven Dennis, [not known - Mark Crabb from, Canada?], Nigel Watts, Timothy Brookman, Muriel Richards, Marjorie Hurrey
  • Second Row - Caroline Brain, Lisa Harding, Peggy Strudwick, Wendy Smith, Rachael Fanner, Beverley Coombes, Janet Huxtable, Wendy Fanner, Gillian Huxtable, Jamie Baldwin, Maurice Hay, Brian Huxtable, Antony Rice, Martin Lowe, [not known], Ian Pringle, Michael Huxtable
  • Seated - Tanya Walls, Paula Yeo, Lisa Draper, Bettina Coombes, Suzanne Twitty, Hayley Mills, Ellie Vellacott, Tracey Yeo, Debbie Rice, [not known], Diane Smith, Janet Fanner, Jackie Baldwin, Julia Stanbury
  • Front Row - Ian Huxtable, Ricky Brain, Charles Bulled, Stephen Desmond, Tony Maude, Bobby Bowden, Phillip Peddle, Tony Greenaway, Richard Stanbury, [not known], Brian Huxtable


The Berry Broadcasting Cast
Their 1999 Show


At the Manor Hall, Berrynarbor
FRIDAY and SATURDAY, 12th and 13th MARCH
Curtain Up at 7.30 p.m.

Tickets - price £4.00 Friday, £5.00 Saturday
Available from The Post Office and The Sawmills

All proceeds to the Berrynarbor Millennium Fund


Artwork: Peter Rothwell


The Rectory
Combe Martin

Dear Friends,

This month of February is dominated, in the commercial market, by 'Valentine's Day'. Card producers are hoping that you will send cards. Some shop-keepers are hoping you will buy presents to show your love for your loved one. The sentiments and hopes of the shop-keepers, and those expressed in the Valentine cards, have little to do with the sentiments and hopes of St.Valentine, whom we remember on the 14th February. His love was not of the eros [sexual] kind but of the agape [Christian love] kind. His was the love which gives and gives, and does not expect a reward. His love, like that of God himself, and like that of good parents, is the love of you, just because you are you. Valentine loved God because he is God, and it cost him his life.

There was once a young boy who would not invite his friends round to his house to play because his mother had badly scarred hands and he was, basically, ashamed of her deformity. His father sensed this, and asked the lad if this were so. He did not answer but just went red instead. "Let me tell you something", said his father. "Many years ago when you were a baby, you fell into a fire and your mother put her hands into the fire to save you from death. As a result, her hands were badly damaged, as you see now. Those scars, my son, are the scars of love."

After his resurrection, Jesus showed the 'scars of love', the holes in his hands and side, to his disciples. Those scars reveal the depth of God's love for us, and the resurrection shows us that not even death can separate us from his love.

With all good wishes,

Your Friend and Rector,

Keith Wyer
from Christians Together



On Saturday Morning, 2()th February, Berrynarbor Conservatives will be holding a Coffee Morning at the Manor Hall, from 10.30 a.m. until Noon.

This year there will be District and Parish Council elections on the 6th May, followed by elections for the European Parliament on 10th June.

We expect to be able to give details of both these events, when we shall be electing members who will be spending our money for the next four years.

See you there.

Graham E. Andrews



January should have seen gardeners sowing seeds in their heated greenhouses and preparing soil by digging and mulching - not in this weather!

In February - with the early primroses - make Primrose Tea by adding a handful of flowers to I pint of boiling water. Steep for 10 minutes and strain and serve. A fragrant and calming drink, ideal taken at bedtime - zzzZZZ.

Cowslips have become a rare sight these days, so grow your own easily. Sow in March and plant out in July.


Sally Baddick
[age 4 plus]

The Manor Hall
Mondays, 3.40 to 4.25 p.m.
£1.70 per session

For further details, please contact Sally [883323]



Following my article on Erick Zapletal and the Czech pilots in the October issue, I was delighted to discover that the flowers on his grave had been put there by the family. I was even more delighted to be contacted by both Litzi and her brother, Roderick and his wife, who have all visited me. Litzi confirmed that Erik had been buried on the north side of the church and the grave had originally been marked by both the two wooden crosses I had found in the grass.

Litzi, who was born at the end of March 1945-3 months after her father's death, came with her husband for coffee just before Christmas. She now lives at Pensilva, near Liskeard in Cornwall, where they run a boarding kennel for dogs and cats.

Litzi has very kindly sent me this photograph of Erik and Heather on their wedding day, which took place at St. Peter's on the 19th October, 1943.

When Litzi was two years old, Heather took her to visit her hubband's family in Czechoslovakia. Litzi remained in contact with her grandmother and in 1973 visited her in the Czech Republic, when she was 86 years old, also meeting her father's youngest brother, Zdenek and his family.

In 1977, Litzi and her husband took her 15-year old son, Mark, and their 3 year old daughter, Marenka, to Czechoslovakia to meet their great grandmother. This was a wonderful experience for all involved, particularly so as the lady was in her 90's and died shortly after.

Heather Zapletal [nee Miller] sadly died in January 1996, but Litzi and her family have a very fond affection for Berrynarbor and visit the village and St. Peter's fairly regularly.

Judie Weedon



"Where a black quagmire quakes beneath the tread, The fieldfares chatter in the whistling thorn."
John Clare

At the turn of the century, a country parson and local historian, the Reverend James Street, described our walk thus:

"Pleasant amongst walks is that by Whitelackington, through Dillington Park to Ashwell. Quite charming is the view over rich undulating country; flocks gathered into large hillside fields ... the deep hollow and its withy bed; old world farm buildings and over the border, the most picturesque of ancient smithies. "

Here we turned off the Whitelackington road, by this former smithy its mullion windows and ornate porches, where only a generation ago Mr. Spinks, the blacksmith and farrier, still tended the horses' hooves of the district and fashioned wrought iron gates.

Next to it, the entrance to Dillington Park, "delightful with its grassy slopes and knaps and stately trees", the Reverend Street's description again and still applicable almost a century later.

The long drive passes through mature parkland with many huge oak trees, some hollow. Near the trunk of one we found a dead partridge, the red-legged variety, introduced to this country from 1790 [not our native grey partridge with its quieter plumage].

We reached the arboretum, known as The Wilderness, where there are yew trees believed to be more than five hundred years old. Ranged about the terraced, steep north-facing bank are a variety of trees, mostly planted in the middle of the nineteenth century, including blue cedar, Monterey pine, tulip tree and snowdrop tree, lime, laburnum, Wellingtonia and snake bark maple. The tallest is a grand fir, 128 feet high. During this century, a further three hundred trees and shrubs have been added.

The wiry branches of a wych elm interwove to form a netlike structure, curving down towards the ground, so that the overall effect was of a dome-shaped hut that one could step inside. Goldcrests were busy among the yews and variegated hollies.

When I was a child, this woodland was 'out of bounds' and guarded by a game-keeper. The challenge was to stalk across the fields to it without being seen and enjoy the drifts of snowdrops there. We ranged freely in the more extensive and unkempt woods towards Ashwell, where we climbed trees, tracked and built dens. Nowadays, visitors are encouraged and a helpful diagram of the arboretum is provided.

Sheltered below is the handsome Elizabethan mansion, many gabled with an embattled porch and tall windows, built in the form of a letter 'E'. The neoclassical stable block houses a small theatre and the mansion is a centre for adult education, but once it was the home of Lord North, who bears the dubious distinction of being Prime Minister when we 'lost our American colonies'!

Lord North moved to Dillington in 1756 when he married Anne Speke, who had inherited it. She was an ancestor of the nineteenth century explorer of the source of the Nile, John Hanning Speke.

Lord North was at the opera one evening when he was asked, "Who is that plain looking lady in the box opposite?" "That is my wife." "Oh, sorry" said the enquirer, attempting to put right his blunder, "I did not mean that lady, but the one beside her." "The other one, sir, is my daughter. I may tell you that we are considered to be three of the ugliest people in London."

A half-mile avenue of fir trees leads to a pair of quaint entrance lodges [their odd shapes reminiscent of threepenny bits], but we left the drive to trudge through a field of stubble, to a place where in the distance one can just catch sight of faraway Glastonbury Tor. We reached the slightly elevated position, lined up a couple of trees - a flock of lapwings billowed overhead - and there, away on the horizon, a shape like an upturned pudding basin, the mound with the winter sun briefly illuminating the tower on the top.

Artwork by: Paul Swailes

When I'm tired of London and all its weary ways,
I shall look to Westward and think of golden days
Away down in the West Country, where I would like to be,
On the rolling hills of Exmoor, high above the Severn Sea.

Sir Francis Carruthers Gould



2ndW.I. Meeting, 2.30 p.m. Manor Hall: Travels with Kath - Slides and Talk
Yoga, Manor Hall, 7.00 p.m.
3rdMobile Library in Village from 11.30 a.m.
4thWhist Drive, Manor Hall, 7.30 p.m.
6thConcert: Songs from the Heart, St. Peter's Church, 7.00 p.m.
9thParish Council Meeting, 7.30 p.m., Manor Hall.
Yoga, Manor Hall, 7.00 p.m.
11thWhist Drive, Manor Hall, 7.00 p.m.
14thSt. Valentine's Day. Millennium Meeting, Manor Hall, 7.30 p.m.
15thCollege and Primary School: Half term all week
16thYoga, Manor Hall, 7.00 p.m.
17thAsh Wednesday. Mobile Library in Village from 11.30 a.m. Wine Circle - Presentation by Jolly's Wines, Manor Hall, 8.00 p.m.
18thWhist Drive, Manor Hall, 7.30 p.m.
Combe Martin Historical Society - More History of Lynton and Lynmouth, John Travis
20thConservative Coffee Morning, Manor Hall, 10.30 a.m.
23rdYoga, Manor Hall, 7.00 p.m.
25thWhist Drive, Manor Hall, 7.30 p.m.
2ndW.I. Meeting, 2.30 p.m. Manor Hall - 37th Birthday and Millennium Presentation by Neil Morris.
Yoga, Manor Hall, 7.00 p.m.
3rdMobile Library in Village from 11.30 a.m.
4thWhist Drive, Manor Hall, 7.30 p.m.
6thJumble Sale in aid of Village Carnival Float - Manor Hall, 2.30 p.m.
9thParish Council Meeting, Manor Hall, 7.30 p.m.
Yoga, Manor Hall, 7.00 p.m.
11thWhist Drive, Manor Hall, 7.30 p.m.
12thBBC Show 'Berry Shows Time', Manor Hall, 7.30 p.m.
13thBBC Show 'Berry Shows Time', Manor Hall, 7.30 p.m.
14thMothering Sunday
16thYoga, Manor Hall, 7.00 p.m.
17thMobile Library in Village from 11.30 a.m.
Wine Circle - A Tesco Selection - Tony Summers, Manor Hall, 8.00p.m..
18thWhist Drive, Manor Hall, 7.30 p.m.
Combe Martin Historical Society - North Devon Shipwrecks, 8.00 p.m. Chris Mandry
23rdYoga, Manor Hall, 7.00 p.m.
25thWhist Drive, Manor Hall, 7.30 pm.
30thYoga, Manor Hall, 7.00 p.m.
31stMobile Library in Village from 11.30 a.m.
1stCollege and Primary School: End of Spring Term.
Whist Drive, Manor Hall, 7.30 p.m.
5thEaster Monday


Artwork: Angela Bartlett


The Lodge

This picture of The Lodge was taken by Garratt around 1907, just a few years after it was built in 1904. The Lodge was built by the Reverend Reginald Churchill for his relatives, possibly his brother, as a 'gentleman's residence' and the master carpenter in its construction was A. Jones, who left his name on one of the large roofing trusses. Kelly's Directories of 1914 and 1919 inform us that the then owner-occupier was a Miss Hutchinson but by 1926, ownership had passed to Charles T. Fishe. On his death, it passed to Charlotte Josephine Fishe, followed by Mrs. Grace Beatrice in 1935 and Charles Conibear in 1939 and later to Lorna Esther Irwin.

During World War II, families - probably service families - were accommodated to recuperate, and Doreen Prater has met some when they have returned to see the Lodge and the village. Percival Arthur Norman, Motor and Garage proprietor of Combe Martin purchased the Lodge in December 1944, and Doreen says that it was Norman who first opened it as a guest-house. He remained there for about 15 years before it was taken over by the Larkins, who occupied it for another 15 years until Alan and Doreen, and their three children, Andrew, Richard and Judith, moved there from Reading in 1976. With Doreen's fine cooking, the business prospered and they had a large extension put on at the rear of the building in 1977-78 and a granny wing for Doreen's mother in 1986-7. In 1994, with Judith assisting, they opened a licenced restaurant, but then due largely to Alan's failing health, they sold the Lodge to its present owners, John and Joyce Mabin in September 1996.

John and Joyce have discovered, due south of the Lodge, the original cast iron water pump which drew water from a depth of around 10 to 14 feet. It was probably the source of water for The Unicorn, which was demolished some time before the Lodge was built, somewhere between 1898 and 1904. John and Joyce would welcome any information on the water pump or The Unicorn Inn. The last proprietor, listed in White's 1850 Directory, was Richard Smith and I hope to write about the Unicorn Public House in a future issue.

I must thank Bob Richards who, following my request for information on the Fire-Bomb Shower mentioned in the last Newsletter, called in just before Christmas. He informed me that during the last war he carried out duties as a fire/bomb watcher up at Berry Down and could not recall any bombs being dropped anywhere in Berrynarbor, but had seen bombs dropped over Holdstone Down. He had recollections of bombs being dropped on a village near Winkleigh [airfield] and I was then able to determine that the village in question was almost definitely Merton. Thanks, Bob, and thank you for the information you gave me on the Caves near Knapps, about which I shall be writing in the future.

Tom Bartlett
Tower Cottage, January 1999



Cake Stall, Raffle, Refreshments, etc.

If you have any jumble, bric-a-brac, etc. to donate, please phone Vi or
Ann Davies [882696 or 883837] to collect, or bring it along to the Manor Hall
on Saturday, 6th March, between 10.00 and 12.00 noon. Thanks.



If anyone has a taste for home-made bread, but hasn't the time or inclination to bake their own, help may be at hand.

Having recently joined the local LETS [Local Exchange Trading System] scheme, I'm hoping to be making organic wholemeal bread on a regular basis, and shall be able to supply anyone in the village who is interested. During the '80's, I worked for three years at the South London Bakers' Co-operative, who supplied most of the major whole-food stores and restaurants in the City.

Initially, I plan to bake on Wednesdays. Loaves will be ready for collection, still warm [!], by late morning/lunchtime, and I aim to deliver the remainder in the evening. The loaves keep well and are very suitable for freezing.

If you would like more details, or would like to place an order - bread will not be baked until ordered [or would like details of the LETS scheme] please contact me on 882293.

Steve Handsaker - 4 Croft Lea

P.S. There is an exhibition of the work of 50 North Devon artists and craftspeople [including myself, hopefully] at the Broomhill Art Hotel [between Muddiford and Barnstaple]. It is free to visit, open between 12.00 noon and 4.00 p.m., Thursday to Sunday, until 21st February.



Ann Moseley [Billett] - Poole

Illustration by: Paul Swailes
Brown, white, thick, thin,
Square, round, cottage, tin,
Crusty, toasted, sliced and fried,
Doorsteps cut with cheese inside.
Newly baked, fresh and hot,
Buttered thick, jam on top.
Bran, wholemeal, granary, wheat,
Sliced, crumbed, savoury, sweet.
Sandwiches all shapes and sizes,
Hot toasties oozing surprises.
Baps, rolls, buns and stick,
Buttered thin, buttered thick.
Crusts off, crusts on,
Curls in hair, not straight and long.
Sung in rhyme by Tommy Tucker,
He had it white for his supper.
Fresh or stale, it's a winner,
Morsels with wine, not for a sinner.
All work it for a livelihood
On the poverty line - not so good.
Hospitality in a letter
Saying 'thank you' so much better.
Buttered, what side is it on?
Never know till it's gone.
It is the Staff of Life, we're told
Rich, poor, young and old.
Where to find this precious thing?
Look inside, it's in your bin!


E-mail received 10.29, 19.01.99.
[just as last page had been completed!]

I was pleased to have been mentioned in Issue No. 57 of the Newsletter regarding the birth of our son -Joy Pringle's grandson. It is good to be remembered. Thank you. I enjoyed reading through the issue, pausing at the many names that I recognise and reminiscing a little. Even though I left North Devon in 1984, I still think of

Berrynarbor and Combe Martin as my home. I have had a base in Coventry since I went there to study for my M.Sc. in 1987. For the past 6 years, my work has kept me on the move, so I've not really any roots in Coventry, and we're ready for a move. Sheila and I often discuss the possibility of returning to North Devon, but our work makes this impractical at present as I need to be near an airport.

I took time to study the school photograph and can still put names to the majority. I'm the one with his chin far too high for sense and the posing grin! In the original it looks as if I have something sticking out of the corner of my mouth, but I claim it's a blemish on the film - honest, Miss! I'd guess the year was 1970 as there are some in the photo 4 years older than me, and I went to the Comp in 1974. I was sorry to hear about Marjorie Hurrey. Did Mrs. Cowperthwaite have a name? I asked my mother, but she said, 'Not that I know of'!

Kind regards to all,

Ian Pringle