Edition 89 - April 2004

Artwork by: Nigel Mason

Artwork: Judie Weedon


"For winter's rains and ruins are over,
And all the season of snows and sins;
. And in green underwood and cover
Blossom by blossom the spring begins."

Swinburne [1837-1909]

Hopefully the snow has gone now - only just - but rain is still preventing the grass being cut and gardens tended. However, spring is on its way and the daffodils and other early flowering blooms have made cheerful splashes of colour throughout the village.

Thank you to the regular contributors - both writers and artists - and everyone else who has responded to my ever-repeated pleas! It looks as if this will be another full issue. However, don't relax, the June issue will be upon us before you can say 'Jack Robinson', and with another Art Show planned in early June, it would be appreciated if items could be in a little earlier than usual - by Monday, 10th May. Thank you.

Yes, it is now a couple of years since the last 'Country Collection' and plans are in hand for a third exhibition of the work of our Newsletter Artists. Also on display will be a selection of cards from Tom Bartlett's Postcard Collection and it is hoped to have a display of work from the pupils of our Primary School.

A Country Collection will be held in the Manor Hall from Monday, 31st May to Saturday, 5th June. There will be two sessions, from 10.00 a.m. to 12.30 p.m. and 2.00 to 4.30 p.m. on Monday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. There will be a morning session on the Tuesday the afternoon session will be for the W.l. On Wednesday, there will be a moming session and then one in the evening, 7.00 to 9.30 p.m., to give those people working an opportunity to 'view'. Posters giving details will be displayed around the village nearer the time.

This is the half-term week when it is hoped visitors will be staying in the village. Please encourage them to come, together with friends and relatives and everyone else you know!

I feel sure this will be another fascinating show and as the main fundraiser for newsletter funds especially to cover the costs of the coloured covers and inserts - I do hope you will all come.





At our February meeting, Sharon White gave us a very interesting talk with slides about the Children's Hospice and told us about forthcoming plans to open a Children's Hospice in Bristol. The vote of thanks was given by Margaret Weller. A birthday gift was given to Beryl Brewer, the raffle won by Liz Paget and the competition for a childhood toy by Janet Gibbins. We were pleased to have been able to take part in the North Devon Hospice 2004 Great North Devon Knit In on 24th February at the Manor Hall. It was great to be part of the community effort and was much enjoyed. Thanks go to Judie for organising it.

At our March meeting, Steve Wright from Care Direct gave a most informative account of the work they do to help those who are over 60 years of age to lead a good life. Win Collins gave the vote of thanks and Doreen Prater, Inga Richardson and Janet Steed received birthday gifts. Maureen Wonnacott won the raffle. We held a Birthday Tea at The Commodore Hotel at Instow on the 10th March. This consisted of a cream tea, which was very much enjoyed.

Our next meeting will be on Tuesday, 6th April at 2.30 p.m. in the Manor Hall when we shall have a demonstration of sugar craft by Janice Quinn, and our meeting on the 6th May will be discussing and voting on the Resolutions, which will go forward to National. So come on ladies, come and help influence government policy! We got things going on children's diet and the problem of obesity, so your opinion does matter. Then on Tuesday, 1st June, Judie will be telling us about the Newsletter and a speaker from the North Devon Volunteering Development Agency will be coming to talk to us in July.

Marion Carter




The Life that I have is all that I have and the life that I have is yours.
The love that I have of the life that I have is yours and yours and yours.
A sleep I shall have, a rest I shall have, yet death shall be but a pause,
For the peace of my years in the long green grass will be yours and yours and yours.


I occasionally read the newsletter from here in Bristol. My mother, Phyllis, was born in Berrynarbor, one of four girls, Winifred, Margaret, Phyllis and Sheila, and a son, Denzil, of Mr. and Mrs. William Draper of Jacob's Well. The family moved into llfracombe in 1946. My mother came to Bristol in the 1950's. Her sisters Margaret and Sheila stayed in llfracombe, Sheila moving to Yeovil and Taunton with the Somerset Constabulary, eventually returning to llfracombe with the Devon Constabulary. She passed away in July of 2002. My mother still lives in Bristol and Margaret in llfracombe. Winifred, the eldest moved to Campbeltown in Argyllshire in 1952.

There may still be some people in the village who might remember the family. So it is with regret that I inform you that Win passed away peacefully, but suddenly, at Campbeltown on 6th January, and was interred with her late husband, John, in Campbeltown Cemetery. Win joined the Navy during the War and met and married John Trappe in Ceylon. After the war, his work as a customs officer took him around the country and eventually to Scotland where they settled and brought up their three children - Margaret, Tim and Jennifer all of whom were born in either Berrynarbor or llfracombe. Win's last visit to llfracombe was sadly for her sister Sheila's funeral, but she always kept in touch with news of the area through her sister Margaret.

Philip Rollings - Bristol


It was with much sadness the village learnt that Bobbie had passed away peacefully at the age of 98 on the 28th January at Park View in llfracombe.

Bobbie was a regular worshipper at St. Peter's where her floral arrangements, especially behind the lectern, were much admired and appreciated, as was her support of parish activities. Many of her W.l. friends attended her funeral service at St. Peter's and the retiring collection echoed her interest and support of the Manor Hall.

Bobbie will be missed and our thoughts are with her friends and relatives, particularly her niece Beryl.

Florence Jessie Hacker

Florence Hacker, known to us all as Bobbie, is the last of a large family of seven girls and one very much loved brother, killed in the First World War. The family were poor but close, and Bobbie as a younger member of the girls was encouraged by her sisters to keep up her dancing and drama. On leaving school, she went to work in the teashop of a large departmental store, where she eventually became Manageress, and where she met her husband Charles.

Charles was in fact 33 years older than her, a widower and Headmaster of Emmanuel School in Battersea, with children older than Bobbie who resented their father's second marriage - a problem Bobbie managed admirably. Charles had a little car and for their honeymoon they motored around Italy. For some years, they lived in East Sheen and a holiday with their caravan brought them to Berrynarbor. Both fell in love with the Longsawte plot and in 1938 they had the bungalow built and moved in, just before war broke out.

They had 22 years together. Uncle Charles died in 1952 and since then Bobbie had been on her own.

My aunt was to me more like a big sister - we both loved cooking, sewing and gardening - it was uncanny how we always did alike. For years we had an hour-long telephone call at 4 0'clock on a Sunday, but since she had been in Park View, we had been unable to speak so often. However, on Christmas Eve we had a 20-minute conversation, just like old times. I shall miss her dreadfully but hope one day we shall be reunited in our Heavenly Home.

My thanks go to all who did so much for Bobbie in the village and for the support you have given me during the last few months - bless you. Thank you to Rev. Keith Wyer and all who helped with a beautiful service on the 5th February.

Our greatest comfort in sorrow is to know for sure that Jesus lives.

Beryl [Lake] - Isle of Wight

"Bobbie's Story"

"How are you my dear?" says a voice from the right,
The cataract eyes view the misty daylight.
"You'll be wanting your brekkies," echoes the voice,
"Is it toast, flakes or porridge? You have the choice."
Bobbie surveys the Nursing Home door,
Awake from her dreams of walking the Moor,
Remembering the days when with wind in her hair
And cheeks full of roses she strode without care.
Recalling with pride, when as a young bride,
She would measure the ebb and flow of the tide,
From her home on the cliffs, abutting the sea
She was happy and loved, and bountifully free.
"Tea or coffee, my dear?" from a voice at the rear,
No answer from Bobbie, she does not want to hear.
She's away with her thoughts of being up with the dawn
Making the scones for cream teas on the lawn.
Brought back to the present to wipe away tears,
She feels every one of her ninety-eight years.
Oh! for one moment to go back in time,
Would be for this lady, truly sublime.

Doreen P. Damsell - Oaklands, Newberry Close


Leslie passed away peacefully on 2nd February 2004, having just attained the age of eighty years.

He was born in llfracombe and following a career in the Royal Navy, qualified as a chartered accountant, subsequently moving to Nigeria where he lived and worked for many years. Leslie returned to the UK in 1978 and later bought Cherry Tree Cottage, where he and Betty enjoyed many happy years. This was followed by a move just a little further up the Valley to Higher Rowes Farm.

Whilst living in the village, Leslie was actively involved with the 'Berry Revels' and was always a staunch supporter of the RNLI. For a considerable time, he was the Treasurer of llfracombe Rugby Club. Les and Betty's final move took them to Yatton, near Bristol, to be closer to their daughter Jean and her family.

We send our love and condolences to Betty, Jean, John and the five grandchildren, Louise, Laura, Sophie, Ricky and Michael.


Artwork: Steve Angold [Aged 10]


Services are every Sunday at 10.00 a.m. The month's pattern is as follows:

  • 1st Sunday - Village/Family Service
  • 2nd Sunday - Sung Eucharist
  • 3rd Sunday - Village Service with Choir
  • 4th Sunday - Sung Eucharist
  • 5th Sunday - [where there is one] Please see notice board.

There is no Communion on the 1st and 3rd Sundays. Coffee and biscuits are served after the services.

We are getting used to the earlier time of 10.00 a.m. and, as with everything, some prefer it whilst others find it difficult. It must be said that over the past few weeks [and I am writing mid-March], numbers have been down with some taking an early holiday, others not well, etc. Perhaps things will pick up once spring is really with us - after all, there are over fifty of us on the Church Electoral Roll.

A special mention for the bell-ringers who continue to do us proud.

Special Services during April and May:

  • 4th April - Palm Sunday, 10.00 a.m. Distribution of Palm Crosses
  • 9th April - Good Friday 2.00-3.00 p.m. Quiet Hour of Devotion The Church will be decorated for Easter from late Friday afternoon. Gifts of flowers, which should be mainly white with some yellow, or donations towards the cost, will be most welcome. Please speak to Linda Brown [882600]
  • 11th April - Easter Day 11.00 a.m. Family Eucharist. Please note later time
  • 20th May - [Thursday] Ascension Day - Please see notice board details of services.
  • 30th May - Whit Sunday [Pentecost] - Please see notice board details of services.

The PCC will be holding a Coffee Morning on Thursday, 6th May, from 10.30 a.m. onwards. Do come along and support us: there will be a raffle, cakes and bric-a-brac stall, also plants for the garden. Proceeds will go towards church funds and to help towards the costs of the Flower Festival to be held in August.

Friendship Lunches at The Globe will be on Wednesdays 28th April and 26th May - time: 12.30 p.m., but this is flexible.

Mary Tucker




March has arrived along with masses of beautiful daffodils, but still very cold. Our children, now numbering 14, continue to meet regularly on Sunday mornings. We have two new recruits, Rocky and Shannon - we welcome them and hope they will enjoy their time with us.

Since Christmas we have been learning about children from the Bible and we are now getting ready for Mothering Sunday, for which we have a play about Mums prepared, and Easter.

Our Pancake Day was a tremendous success raising £176.56 for Sunday School funds. The children deserve a treat to blow away the winter cobwebs, so we shall be organising something during the Easter holidays. Thank you to our helpers, so many to mention but you know who you are - it just couldn't happen without you all. With the combined knit-in for the Hospice and the Spinners, the Hall was bursting at the seams, a very happy morning and it was great to see a lot of the school children too.

So we hope to see you in church on Mothering Sunday and Easter Sunday, at 11.00 a.m. We shall be preparing the Easter Garden on Good Friday in church at 10.00 a.m. If anyone would like to join us, please do. We get in a bit of a mess but the children love it!

True Story

At Sunday school, one young boy was fascinated by the story of the Creation. He was particularly interested in Eve being made from one of Adam's ribs. Later, at home, he started to clutch his side, groaning and pulling faces. His mother, rather alarmed, asked him if he was feeling ill.

He replied, "I think I am having a wife!"

Berrynarbor Sunday School wishes you a joyful Eastertide.



Mothering Sunday has just passed, but...

Do you remember
Walks in the park to the Fairy Tree?
Flour on her cheek while busy baking?
Going to work leaving a mountain of ironing returning to find it all mysteriously done and put away?
A strand of cotton on her skirt, left from her sewing?
Her bright blue eyes right to her last hour with me?
I do, I do!

Sally B.




Shrove Tuesday saw the Manor Hall a veritable hive of activity! The spinners were spinning, the W.I. selling cakes and other goodies, Sally and her helpers producing a never-ending supply of pancakes and coffee and twenty-two ladies, some from the W.l. and spinners, clicking away with their knitting needles, with enough different coloured wool to produce a technicolour dreamcoat! Even the children from the Primary School entered into the spirit of the morning, tossing pancakes in a race around the playground.

Thanks to all who participated and everyone who came to enjoy a pancake, the morning was a huge success. The cakes sold well; it was the best ever pancake morning and the knitters produced 33 feet 5 inches of strips [for blankets] and £430.60 for the North Devon Hospice.

Thank you very much for the sponsorship money of £430.60 received from the Great North Devon Knit In 2004. We have once again had a wonderful response and from the few events we were able to visit, it seems that everyone had a good time. We certainly appreciate all your time and effort not just doing the two hours' knitting, but in getting sponsored to do it, which can be the hardest point. Isn't it marvellous to think that by getting together for this event you provide such concrete support for our work with local people living with cancer and other life threatening illnesses? You really are stars for helping us to provide our much needed services. Thank you. Best woolly wishes,

Alison Hunt- Community Fundraising Manager



Once again I have enjoyed reading the Newsletter [No. 88]. The article about the coastguard houses reminded me how hair-raising it could be in winter.

The Southern National Bus Company always ran green double-decker buses between llfracombe and Combe Martin. In summer it was lovely, but in winter it was something else - especially if the wind was in a northerly direction! Just past the houses, the gusts of wind would rock the bus, it must have been quite a feat to keep it steady and upright. In winter I never sat on the top deck - too chicken!

The winters in the 1940's and '50's were much harsher - 1947 is the one everyone remembers. The buses did not run through the village at all. Two of them were stuck for almost six weeks, one in Barton Lane, the other on Pitt Hill, just below the meadow gate. Flocks of lapwings could be seen in Pitt Meadow and on a few occasions the sky would be black with starlings, the whirring sound from their wings was amazing, sadly they are now in decline.

I was attending Combe Martin Secondary Modern School at this time, and the school bus did not run for about two weeks [what joy!] because of the snow; the then proprietor, Mr. Percy Norman, decided he would use his large black taxi to ferry us all to and fro [huh!].

By the time the newsletter is next published the winter will be just another memory [hopefully]. At the time of writing this, 2nd February, I still have a fuchsia in flower in the garden, with snowdrops alongside; also marigolds, a Welsh poppy and a rose, but it lost its petals last Saturday in the gale, which sent all the wheelie bins on walkabout!

Rosslyn Hammett



We should like to thank all of those who attended the 'Coffee and Cakes' Morning at Fuchsia Cottage in January. We are delighted to have raised £165 to be shared between the Village in Bloom fund and Little Bridge House Children's Hospice. A big thank you also to everyone who donated wonderful cakes to share, prizes for the raffle and helped with the washing up!

Pat and Maureen

Fuchsia Cottage is, of course, the subject of the cover for this issue and sincere thanks to Nigel Mason for once again sharing with us another view of our lovely village.


Artwork: Debbie Rigler Cook


Saturday, 6th March, was a very special day for a very special lady in the Valley - a momentous occasion deserving a card from the Queen! Yes, Lorna Price was celebrating her 100th Birthday!

Lorna, we send you many congratulations with our love and very best wishes.

Disintegrating Together Pam Brown born 1928

    "Friends who are contemporaries and of long acquaintance fall apart at more or less the same speed. And so the aches and creaks and wheezes that come with age are transferred into companionable things - symptoms to swap, disintegrations to chart with a certain dry amusement. For how ridiculous it is that we, who only a flicker of time ago were young and very nearly beautiful, have come to this. Only friends gossiping over a cup of tea, can see the joke . . . knowing that, beneath the skin, we have not changed a scrap. "

I was born at Widmouth Farm Cottage on the 6th of March 1904, so have just celebrated my 100th birthday.

I had a lovely day, made so special by all the smiley people who came to see me; the bell ringers from St. Peter's who kindly rang a joyous peel in the morning, and the good wishes sent by so many cards.

Thank you all so very much - the beautiful flowers may fade and the chocolate boxes empty, but the mind's eye will hold these images to recall and remember.

My thanks to Phil and Lynne at The Lodge for making our family Sunday a real treat, and the gentleman diner [unknown] who gave me a kiss and made my day!!

God Bless

Lorna Price

I should like to take this opportunity to thank Lorna and Michael on the wonderful day they gave my Mum on her 100th Birthday. Lorna for providing a delicious tea and refreshments all day!! And Michael and his team for ringing the church bells. Also many thanks for fetching me from Barnstaple and taking me home again.

I'm sure Mum had a day she will never forget.


On left: Lorna, on the big day, with her six great-great nephews and nieces

One of Lorna's favourite poems, chosen for us to share

Thomas Hardy, 1840-1929

This is the weather the cuckoo likes,
And so do I;
When showers betumble the chestnut spikes,
And nestlings fly;
And the little brown nightingale bills his best,
And they sit outside the 'Travellers Rest',
And maidens come forth sprig-muslin drest, 
And citizens dream of the South and West,
And so do I.
This is the weather the shepherd shuns,
And so do I;
When beeches drip in browns and duns,
And thresh and ply;
And hill-hid tides throb, throe on throe,
And meadow rivulets overflow,
And drops on gate-bars hang in a row,
And rooks in families homeward go,
And so do I.

Illustrated by: Nigel Mason


Artwork: Paul Swailes


The Annual General Meeting of the Manor Hall Management Committee will be held in the Hall at 7.30 p.m. on Wednesday, 5th May, 2004.

This is an open meeting to which everyone is invited to attend. Please come along and have your say about how you think your Hall should be run in the future. You can also point out things which may be could have been done better in the past.

There is now an urgent need for new blood to join the Committee. Several of the present members are leaving, or have left the village or moved on to other things. There is now a chance for you to make a difference.

The clock in the Manor Hatl has stopped, broken, possibly never to go again! But, before we consider replacing it, does anyone know its story? I should not wish to throw away something which had a special place in the history of this village.

John Hood - Chairman




Our venue for the February meeting had to be changed at the last minute due to a clash of interests at Cook Island. Apologies to anyone who went there and found us gone! We did, however, have a well attended meeting at the Old Sawmill Inn.

The following week-end saw the Classic Bike Show at the Bath and West Showground, and although only two members braved the cold, it was an enjoyable ride and the show was very interesting.

Our March meeting was changed from a chat to a ride in the form of a Breakfast Run on Sunday, the 14th. The weather, unfortunately, was rather wet and windy, but a brisk ride, followed by breakfast at South Molton, made an enjoyable morning for those who braved the elements.

In April we are looking forward to some better weather, and our planned events are to be found in the Diary and also on the poster at the Post Office. There are several new riders in the village, and we do extend a most warm invitation for them to come and see what we are all about.



Artwork: Paul Swailes


Val and David Hann, having moved from Crofts Lee last August, have now settled into their new home at Bognor Regis in West Sussex. David, who celebrated his 70th birthday [belated good wishes, David] in September and Val, were delighted to welcome their latest grandchild. Poppy, a second daughter for Simon and Philippa and sister for Millie and George, was born on the 28th November. Congratulations to you both and best wishes for happiness in your new home.

Our 'Locum' Postmaster and Postmistress, Tony and Marilyn Mascall [late of Berrynarbor Park] have moved home within Corby, Northants, and we wish them well in their new abode.

We were sorry that after such a short time here, and due to circumstances beyond their control, Christina, Simon and Oscar have had to leave Church House and return to London. We send them our best wishes.

Belmont Grange in Ilfracombe is currently home to Doreen Siviter and we wish her well in her new surroundings. She writes:

    Belmont Grange
    Tel: 863816

    No words of mine can adequately express just how much I appreciate all the love, kindness and concern which has been shown to me by friends, neighbours and all in Berrynarbor who know me, since I came to stay here in Belmont Grange. Those of you who have visited me know that the surroundings are pleasant but not the same as my beloved Berrynarbor where I spent the happiest years of my life.

    I am grateful to be looked after but have not given up hope of coming 'home' again. Thank you all again -- I look forward to any news of Berry with interest.

    My sincere good wishes,


Eve and Dave Walker have now settled in to life at Miss Muffets, which they plan to reopen the Sunday before Easter. Miss Muffets will, in future, be a chip-free zone [!], and Dave and Eve will be concentrating on morning coffees and afternoon teas. They will be open from mid-morning to approximately five o'clock, for home-made cakes, and Devon cream teas, with a few 'specials' at lunchtime.

Dave, a bank manager, and Eve, a bank cashier, retired from banking some eight years ago and moved from South East London to Mortehoe, where they have been busy running a B & B and working part-time in a pub at Lee. They are 'retiring' a second time and plan to take life more easily at Miss Muffets.

Their daughter Sue, her husband Alex, and their three little girls are now living in Dave and Eve's old home at Mortehoe. Their son, Jamie, and his American wife live in the States, not far from Boston. Completing the family are their two cats, who after having acres of land to roam in are feeling the restrictions of village life!

We welcome you again and wish you luck and success with your new venture.

There have been changes at Lee Cottages lately - Clare and Dave have moved to Combe Martin and Vanessa and Ian are the new residents at No. 3, having moved in very recently. Good luck to you all in your new homes and we hope to welcome Ian and Vanessa more fully in the June issue.

Having watched, over the last few months whilst living in Barnstaple, their bungalow taking shape, it is lovely to welcome Rob, Shirley, Charlotte and Sophie Mummery to the extension at Holmleigh. Of course it is a 'return home' for Rob who spent his primary school and teenage years here with Jan and Derek, leaving when he and Shirley were married.

Rob, who works in the world of motoring and is a keen ex-Rugby player, now enjoys running and cycling and has taken part in two London Marathons. Shirley is a busy lady, running her home and working for Alpharma in Barnstaple, but finds time to enjoy swimming and embroidery. Charlotte and Sophie are both at Pilton College and, like their dad, enjoy cycling and running and Sophie is a keen member of St. John Ambulance. Bringing the family to five is Flossie the rabbit. We wish them all every happiness in their new home.

It is nice to welcome Pat and Dave Martin back to their home at June Cottage. Pat and Dave have retired as 'mine hosts' at the Ring O'Bells at Prixford. Thank you both for the great meals and hospitality so many of us from the village have enjoyed over the last few years and enjoy your less hectic life style and time to enjoy your boat.



The last few weeks and months have unfortunately seen rather too many friends and neighbours spending time in hospital. All are recovered or are well on the mend and our get well wishes go to them and, of course, everyone else who has not been feeling at their best just lately.


Artwork: Angela Bartlett


On the Road

Sixty years ago or more, things were very different from today. Once you got off the main roads there was very little traffic. One fine summer's day, when I was about seven, my mother took me for a country ride in her little Ruby Austin Seven. We hadn't been going for very long when she was flagged down by a rather tawdrily dressed woman. Recognising her as Romany, my mother stopped and asked, "What can I do for you?" The woman's face lit up with a smile and she said that she was pregnant and wanting to get back to the camp. My mother told her to get in and give directions for the way back to the camp. During the course of conversation, my mother enquired, "Is this your first baby, and when is it due?" "Oh, no," the Romany replied, "This is my third and it is due very soon." Mother increased her speed; she did not fancy being a midwife!

Soon she was asked mother to slow next gateway. We turned into the field, as directed, and found ourselves in the middle of several Romany caravans The occupants gathered round and our passenger explained how my mother had picked her up. They were all so pleased and offered us some of their hand-made clothes pegs. We drove off with a group of smiling people happily waving us goodbye.

One day, mother and Gerald had just returned from shopping and parked the car in the drive. Our front garden had a number of large shrubs and bushes, and as my mother glanced down, she saw two boots sticking out from just under one of the bushes! "l wonder who left them there?" she said to Gerald, who peered more closely and exclaimed, "Hang on, there's a pair of legs as well!" They both stood with their mouths hanging open, not knowing quite what to do. Then mother whispered to Gerald, "l think perhaps we should call the Police."

In a short while a car drew up and a policeman got out. "Well", said my mother, "Look for yourself." The policeman bent down and grabbed both boots. As he pulled, an Irish voice groaned, "De Valera ruined Ireland." It was a tramp who had had too much to drink and crawled under our bushes to sober up. The policeman managed to get him into his car, saying he would keep him at the station until he had sobered up.

"Do you think you could give him something to eat?" enquired my mother. "We are not Lyons Corner House, madam", came the reply, and off they went.

These tramps were harmless, just people who had lost their way in life. At Christmas, the same one would call on us at lunchtime and mother would set up a card table in the porch and give him the same full meal as ourselves. There was no alcohol, however, as this was never kept in the house.

In 1939, due to the War, we moved from Essex to Berrynarbor. It was not long before we met Roy S. Head, he was another wanderer. Sadly, Roy had suffered shell shock in the 1914-18 War and could not live within the confines of four walls. He was a very intelligent and well-educated man, thought to have been a doctor. It was also thought that his father, too, may have been a doctor and sometimes Roy was referred to as Dr. Head. He would wander all over the countryside, sleeping in fields, barns or under bushes. Sometimes he would go to his sister's cottage in Berrynarbor, no doubt for a clean up and a good meal or two. Then off he would go again to sleep in the old places and even in a pig shelter. Sadly, one day Roy was found at the side of the road, where he had passed away.

Talking with Roslyn Hammett the other day she told me that during her father Stan's seven year courtship of Bessie, he would walk to llfracombe to see her. On one occasion Stan turned up to meet Bessie with a rather dishevelled man, who had accompanied him for most of the way. When she exclaimed, "Why have you brought that tramp with you?" Stan, looking rather embarrassed, scratched his head, thought for a moment and then came up with, "He's not a tramp, he's a milestone inspector!"

Older residents of Berrynarbor must remember Jock Morrison. Jock lived for a while in a tent in the woods at the bottom of the Old Coast Road, probably called Napps Woods. As boys, we would, in our bravado, stop at his tent, pull aside the fly and call, "Morning, Jock!" Jock, startled, would raise his head, rub his eyes and grunt, "Mornin', boys." Then we would leave him so that he could go back to sleep. Jock could be seen washing his clothes at various streams around the village and if the weather permitted, his clothes would go back on still wet! Although his 'home' was the tent, he would sleep at other places, one of which was a shelter at Hillsborough. Unfortunately, once when he turned up at the shelter it was already occupied by a courting couple, too busy kissing and cuddling to worry about a man who paced up and down, waiting to go to bed, but eventually they left and Jock moved in. He would catch rabbits, not knowing they were infected with myxomatosis - they would just be sitting there, probably blind and easy to catch. Eating them didn't seem to do him harm!

Mrs. Emma Richards of Barton Farm was kind to Jock and he quite often enjoyed a Sunday lunch there. He would be given his food and eat it in the cow shed. His luck changed when Farmer Fred Richards had a cottage vacated at Combe Martin opposite the Pack of Cards, where I believe Jock was allowed to live, doing a bit of gardening to help make ends meet. How his life ended I do not know. Perhaps someone can enlighten me?

Tony Beauclerk - Colchester


Artwork: Peter Rothwell


Menus at both pubs will be changing before Easter. At The Globe, we are now doing two courses for £5.95 on Sundays at lunchtime [main course and sweet], and at the Sawmill the Carvery on Sunday, at £6.25, will continue to include a free sweet until just before the main season. The Sawmill '2 for 1' and 'All You Can Eat' nights have now finished until the autumn. Quiz nights at The Globe have also come to an end, but will start again in October.

Thank you to those who responded with suggestions when a notice was put up asking for ideas. We are looking into some of them and will display boards/posters to keep you informed. These include a Folk Sing-a-Long Evening, Seniors' Whist and Tea, and Mum and Toddler Mornings in school holidays.




March has proved a very busy month for the stork who has left babies scattered all around the country, making five sets of village grandparents - Roger and Hilary, Bernard and June, Ken and Judie, Peter and Anne, and Alan and Nora - very proud and happy!

  • Angela and Tony [Whelan], who live at Braunton, are delighted to announce the arrival of their first child JOSHUA THOMAS who weighed in at 6 lbs 12 oz. on the 2nd March.
  • Dominic and Julie [O'Regan] from Caddington, Bedfordshire, are proud to announce the birth of their daughter ELLEN SARATHA on the 7th March. Ellen, a sister for Louis, weighed 7 lbs 5 oz.
  • Emma and James [Weedon] of Milton Keynes have great pleasure in introducing their first child HARRY JAMES who tipped the scales at 8 lbs 12 oz on the 12th March.
  • Naomi and Robin [Hinchliffe] of the village, are very happy to announce the arrival of their first child REUBEN. Reuben also arrived on the 12th March, weighing a healthy 10 lbs 3 oz.
  • Kevin and Samantha [Rowlands] from Bristol are very happy to report that their third child ANNA FRANCESCA arrived on the 20th March. A sister for Matthew and Sarah, Anna weighed 8 lbs 3 oz.
    • Congratulations and very best wishes to all the proud parents and the new babies.




January's weather appears to have been pretty average though wetter than the last 3 years with a total rainfall of 183mm (7 1/4"), 30mm (1 3/16") of which fell on the 30th. The nearest total was 172mm (6 3/4") in 2003.

Temperatures were very similar to January 2003 with a max. of 12.3 Deg C though the min. of -0.4 Deg C was not as low as the last 3 years. The wind chill of -16 Deg C on the 28th, however, was the coldest since 1st January 1997.

The threatened arctic conditions did not reach us although we did have a mini blizzard at about 17:45 hrs on the 28th which produced 1mm of snow in about 10minutes. It was preceded by thunder and lightening.

Fortunately, the severe storm force 11 winds which were forecast for the llfracombe area also did not materialise and we recorded a maximum gust of 43 knots on the 31st. The sun shone on Chicane for only 7.43hrs as compared to 12.7hrs in 2003. Please bear in mind that these are not very accurate as the depth of the valley means the hours are reduced, particularly at this time of year.

February started quite wet with 82mm (3 1/4") of rain falling in the first week, the wettest day of the month being the 3rd with 25mm [1"]. As the month progressed, it dried up and from the 18th to the 29th inclusive, we had only 8mm (5/16"). This included a small amount of snow on the 25th and 26th. The total rainfall/snow for February was therefore only 90mm (3 5/8") drier than the previous 3 years.

The temperature dipped below freezing on 7 nights with a minimum of -2.4 Deg C on the 29th. In 2003, we had a -5.9 Deg C on the 17th. The maximum temperature was 14.6 Deg C on the 4th which was slightly up on the previous 3 years although the sunshine total of 30.95 hrs was slightly down on last year when 33.84 hrs were recorded. The maximum wind chill was -12 Deg C on the 26th.

The days are drawing out now, the grass is growing well and spring is on the way. Let's hope that we can look forward to another good summer.

Sue and Simon






The final two meetings of the 2003-4 season will be held in the Manor Hall at 8.00 p.m. in April and May.

Andy Cloutman of Quay West Wines will give a presentation on the 21st April [cost £5.00], and John Hood will present, on the 19th May [cost £5.50] an End of Season Spectacular.

The Wine Circle will recommence in October with the 2004-5 season.


Artwork: Peter Rothwell


The Rectory, Combe Martin.

Dear Friends,

I love the story about an Admiral in the Navy who led a task force for an exercise off the South Western Approaches. Unfortunately his flagship, H.M.S. Ark Royal, was delayed on leaving port, and he had to catch up with his task force late on a foggy night. Because they were simulating an electronics warfare attack, there was total electronic "black-out", i.e. no radar, and no electronic communications between the ships, so everything had to be done by signal lamp, flags and the "mark-one-eyeball".

As they approached the exercise area, they noticed a searchlight skimming over the water. The Admiral ordered the ship towards the light, but soon realised that they were on a collision course. He ordered the following message to be signalled: "We are on a collision course. Turn five points to starboard."

Back came the message: "No. You turn five points to starboard." The Admiral was furious and sent the following signal: "Turn five points to starboard. This is an order. I am an Admiral."

Back came the reply: "No. You turn to starboard. I am an Ordinary Seaman."

The Admiral and his staff were furious. His aircraft carrier was the biggest ship in the fleet and all the others ships out to give way to him. So he sent this message. "Turn to starboard. I am an aircraft carrier."

Back came the reply. "No. You turn to starboard. I am a lighthouse."

Jesus said, "I am the light of the world". He also said: "I am the resurrection and the life." Spring points out the way, and Easter reminds us that Jesus, the light of the world, overcame the darkness of death, to show us the way to eternal life. No wonder Easter is a time for celebration.

Have a good and joyful Eastertide.

With all good wishes,
Your Friend and Rector,

Keith Wyer

Illustrated by: Paul Swailes



Your Annual Parish Meeting

Each year on an evening in March, April or May, every local Council, that is to say every Parish, Town or Community Council in England and Wales, is required by statute to hold a meeting at which every elector may vote and at which the Parish Council reports on its work over the past twelve months, takes questions and present the Accounts.

The Chairman presents the Annual Report, and it now follows:

Berrynarbor Parish Council Annual Report 2003-2004
To be presented at the Annual Parish Meeting
Tuesday, 13th April, 7.00 p.m. at The Manor Hall

2003 was an Election Year for Parish Councils across the kingdom and there was very real disappointment that when nominations closed, we had attracted just nine candidates for the nine seats on our Council.

One of the principles of our democracy is that the people living in our community - the electors - actually elect the Councillors who exercise the power to levy taxes upon them, and it is sad indeed that so many years have passed since there was a contested election in Berrynarbor. Do not criticise the serving councillors who by submitting their nominations showed themselves willing to participate in the electoral process.

Amongst those who did not stand must be many with the skills required to serve the village. Hopefully in 2007, they will offer themselves so that the electors may have a real choice.

Thanks for past service now go to Bobby Bowden, Mike Lane and Bud Rice. Their replacements are Jim Constantine, Sue Sussex and Keith Walls. The six continuing members are Graham Andrews, Len Coleman, Paul Crockett, Richard Gingell, Anne Hinchliffe and Mary Malin.

The principle concern for your Council for some time now has been the future of retailing in the village. The attention of the Planning Authority has been engaged. There is much still to be done and vigilance will be needed over a long period. We shall do our best to answer questions at the Parish Meeting but the situation is widely known in the village.

Planning in the countryside around the village centre has become even more difficult. The policy for 'areas of outstanding natural beauty' [AONB] used to be development is not normally permitted in these areas, but the government has now removed the word 'normally' and the ban is now much stronger.

Meetings of the Council are open to the public and we have an opportunity for them to contribute any views early on our Agenda.

Correspondence should be sent to The Clerk, Sue Squires, at Threeways, Bratton Fleming, EX31 4TG, Tel: [01271] 710526 or fax 01271 710107. Please send letters to her and not via council members, who by carrying such letters in these days of standards legislation, may find themselves prejudiced.

I look forward to seeing you all at the Annual Parish Meeting.

Graham E. Andrews - Chairman



Peter and I went to see the Show on the Saturday evening. We were thoroughly entertained! We particularly enjoyed the men's ballet sequence and Peggy Spencer and Denis Roussos were very good.

The children had obviously rehearsed their part well and gave excellent performances.

We trust that Alan and Nora took the light-hearted storyline in the entertaining way it was intended.

We should like to thank all those involved in the production and performance. Long may the BBC continue to carry out the good work.

Jean Ede




We have had a very busy term with lots of exciting events and new opportunities!

January During January we had a visiting actor, Clive Pig, who brought Tudor times to life for us through drama and use of artefacts. Year 6 worked with Lillian Sum, a community artist, creating clay tiles for a new garden in llfracombe.

February We are currently raising funds for an orphanage in Uganda. We had an interesting talk from a representative from the charity. We are raising money for cooking facilities. Children are using their initiative to think of ways to raise funds.

At the end of February we had our OFSTED Inspection. The outcome will be published shortly. At this stage we can say that we are very pleased with the judgements made. Look out for an article in the Journal close to Easter time.

March The Friends of Berrynarbor and Parents provided us with an African Drumming Day with Drum Crazy on 1st March. The children really enjoyed the day and performed their work to parents.

Class 1 had a trip to the Mullacott Veterinary Hospital as part of their topic on caring for animals. Thank you to the staff there for an excellent visit. Years 3 and 4 have just returned from a residential trip to the Beaford Arts Centre. Emily and Ella have written a report.

Mrs. Karen Crutchfield - Headteacher


Beaford Arts Centre Residential Trip
Monday 8th - Wednesday 10th March 2004

Day 1 First we had to get to school at 8 o'clock - we left at ten past eight and arrived at Beaford at half past nine. Afterwards we got our luggage and went into the house. We sat in the music room and put our luggage in the corner and sat down. The lady told us the rules of the house and then we had Drum Crazy with John. Then we had a break and played on other instruments.

We went to the common room, then we went for a walk to the church and did some sketching of some old doors then we went back to the house, got our aprons and went to the art studio and started making masks, but we didn't finish them. Then we went back to the house and had roast dinner.

After dinner we went back to the house and did some more of our masks. Then, after an hour we went back to the house and got into our pyjamas and went downstairs and had a drink and a story and went to bed.

Day 2 First, we woke up early and got dressed and met in the common room and went to the park after breakfast. Then we went to brush our teeth. Afterwards we went to the art studio and Year 3 made their model doors out of cardboard and Year 4 made pots with Miss Campbell and had a break and then we went to finish. After we had lunch.

By Ella [Year 3] and Emily [Year 4]


William Wordsworth

Illustrated by: Paul Swailes
I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the Milky Way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.
The waves beside them danced, but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed - and gazed but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:
For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.


William Wordsworth 1770-1850

William Wordsworth was one of the most accomplished and influential of the English Romantic poets.

He was born in Cockermouth, Cumbria, on 7th April 1770 and educated at St. John's College, Cambridge. As a youth he developed a strong love of nature and in his school holidays frequently visited places noted for their scenic beauty. After receiving his degree in 1791, he went to France and became a convert to the ideals of the French Revolution. His French lover bore him a daughter in 1792, but due to the outbreak of hostilities between England and France, he did not see her until she was nine years old.

None of Wordsworth's poems were published until 1793 and his income from them did not amount to much. A bequest of £900 from a friend in 1795 allowed him, and his sister Dorothy, to move to Racedown in Dorset. He and Dorothy had a warm relationship and he relied on her a great deal for encouragement and support. Later they moved to Alfoxden in Somerset, near to his close friend Samuel Taylor Coleridge. 'l Wandered Lonely As A Cloud' [Daffodils], was written in 1807.

In 1799, Wordsworth and Dorothy moved to Dove Cottage in Grasmere, Westmorland. Also living nearby were Coleridge and Robert Southey, and the three became known as the 'Lake Poets'.

In 1802, Wordsworth married Mary Hutchinson, a childhood friend. Some years later, he and his family, including Dorothy, moved nearby to Rydal Mount, where, except for travels, he spent the rest of his life.

Wordsworth lived to see his work universally acclaimed and in 1843 he succeeded Southey as Poet Laureate. He died at Rydal Mount on the 23rd April 1850, and was buried in Grasmere churchyard.


Artwork: Helen Weedon


If I gave you the words "motorway" and "countryside" and asked you to think up a phrase that associated them, what would yours be? "A threat to wildlife", perhaps? Or would it be "tranquility forever shattered"? Or how about "a blot on the landscape"?

Well, let's get hold of the last phrase and assume that if something is a blot on the landscape, the "blot" must have little in common with the "landscape" around it. Surely you could therefore not deny that, for instance, the sound of harmonious birdsong is in sharp conflict with that of rubber speeding upon tarmac? Or that the sight of autumnal beech trees is in stark contrast to that of summer traffic jams?

If this is the case, then let me pose you another conundrum: did our forebears back in the eighteen hundreds think the same of the engineers who gouged tons of earth out of our farmland, built viaducts that destroyed valley scenes, created embankments that blocked views and laid track upon ground where cows once grazed? If our forebears did see these engineers in this way, and I'm only assuming they did, surely they would now turn in their graves hearing us today nostalgically talking about "the golden age of steam"!

These days, of course, anything related to this era is usually seen as a compliment to the countryside in which it is set. After all, who could deny that a steam engine merrily puffing its way through a wood of bluebells acts as the final touch to an idyllic spring scene? Other forms of transport can have the same effect as well. Take the sound of a distant drone of an invisible light aircraft above a hazy summer sky. It somehow completes the rural summer setting. Then there's autumn, a season synonymous with the sights and sound of farmland machinery gathering in the crops. And how about winter? With the sun setting late in the afternoon, the inside lights of a country double-decker bus are once again visible as they twinkle in the distance; and within many a Devon valley the sound of a bus's struggling engine can often be found echoing through its hills.

Of course many buses carry passengers going to and from work, most of whom are commuting from outlying villages - villages that are themselves a fine representation of the countryside. If you think of a village, you'll no doubt associate it with rural locations and in most cases the churches, cottages and other dwellings built by man's own hand often act as the final subject of an artist's painting that completes the picture.

Without the village, the colours of the painting have no contrast. In Berrynarbor, for example, could you imagine the valley painted without its church and cottages snug tight against the hills?

These buildings, however, don't just benefit artists or the people for whom they were built, come to that. Many man-made structures benefit wildlife, too. Take the church builders of centuries ago who erected houses of worship for their local parishioners. How many of them realised that their dainty looking porches would become homes for swallows to bring up their young? Or that the engineers who constructed great piers for holidaymakers to enjoy realised that they would later become great meeting places for huge flocks of starlings? And what about the plumbers who installed outside lavatories? It is unlikely that they reckoned on them becoming ideal accommodation for nightingales to make nests in. Then there's the carpenter whose chest of drawers, no longer used for its original purpose and now tucked away in the back of the garage, has become home for a robin or a mouse. And even the D.I.Y. 'kings' play their part, as gaps left when putting up an out-house has become home for a little wren. And all of these made by man in the first place.

The list could go on and on: a slate wall built centuries ago to hold back earth is now residence to an abundance of flora and fauna; the invention of the telephone that led to miles and miles of cables, now acting as a resting place for birds, the ideal location to see a fine row of house martins. And finally, man's development of technology. Thanks to this I can listen to a CD of birdsong or watch a video about our summer countryside - in the middle of winter!

So perhaps not everything mankind creates necessarily works against the rural setting in which it is placed.

Illustrations by: Paul Swailes

Steve McCarthy



From Rita and Dave Duncan, Delph, Nr. Oldham:

    Many thanks for continuing to send us the Bertynarbor Newsletter. Dave and I are both well and would like to be remembered to all in Berry who remember us! We so enjoyed our days at the Manor Stores and then our move to Croft Lee. Berrynarbor was such a wonderful place to bring up our three daughters - Angela, Fiona and Rebecca - now all happily married and with families of their own.

    Last year we celebrated our Ruby Wedding Anniversary and had a lovely party attended by family and friends.

    I still work part-time at a children's private nursery and David is working at Oldham Magistrates Court. We plan to retire next year when hopefully we'll be able to visit Berrynarbor a bit more often. We send our very best wishes to all.

From Alice Dummett, The Retreat, Sterridge Valley:

    A while back I was given a lovely magnolia to piant in memory of my late husband, Leonard. Having already got a large one in the garden, there was no room. I immediately thought of Claude's Garden. Jilly Sidebottom kindly allowed it to be planted there. The late Bobbie [Richards] and Brenda [Layton] were close fiends of Len's, not forgetting Brian at West Challacombe.

    My family from Bolton calls the garden 'Heaven', and when down here year by year spend a lot of time in it. My thanks to John Huxtable for planting the magnolia for me and I do hope it will give a lot of pleasure, as will the primrose bank in memory of Bob.

From Stanley Barnes, York:

    It was good to hear from Stanley again and to send him copies of the latest newsletters. He says:

    No. 88 is most interesting to me for the article by Tom Bartlett about Samuel Harding, my grandfather, whom I last saw in 1921, I think. He was then still busy with his blacksmith's trade at the forge and I well remember seeing it at full blast! I was six at the time and now have my 89th birthday on the 8th March. I send you my grateful thanks and wish to congratulate you and all your good contributors for making the Newsletter so fine a publication!

From John Harding, America:

    I stumbled upon the publication while trying to find the name of the small cove between Lynton/Lynmouth and Ilfracombe. It is a beautiful small cove that I believe is unique in that there is but a single lane track running along the rim, and it is a toll road to boot! I can even recall dropping a pound coin into the steel box at the western end of the road.

    But I digress. It was reading of the wedding of my second cousin on October 4th last, which truly caught my eye. Although I have not seen Hannah since she was about 15 or so, I did have the chance to view the wedding pictures when the family sent them over here to the States. Even so, it still seemed a very distant and remote event. Seeing it in print online from so very far away rather cemented the event in reality. As much as I would have dearly loved to have come back to Devon for the wedding, (and reading about it did cause me to wax a little sentimental for the village that I have not really seen in nine years or so) you did provide me the concrete evidence and indeed a world-wide confirmation of the blessed event and for that I thank you profoundly.

    My first memories of the village are from the early sixties staying at the cottage; with Cousin Claude and the dairy just up over the road; the shop down past the rows of cottages, and hanging on the road sign near the bus-stop. I can recall putting the new roof on Hillcrest, wandering around the village or going down to llfracombe, idly sitting on the wall of the churchyard and looking out across the valley. I suppose it is middle age that brings the rosy glow but I always seemed to have the best of times in Berry. Even the last time there when we brought my Grandmother home to the churchyard to be buried with her husband. The village was a blaze of colour and clean fresh air that kept everyone in the right frame of mind to celebrate the life of a loving mother and grandmother and not to be absorbed in self pity at the loss. Some places can do that for you. Some places are forever attached to such strong positive memories that they become a touchstone when things are sour and bleak. Berry is that for me, and now it has become that for Hannah and Richard.

    I know that places are never static. Geology is slow but geography has a way of changing all too rapidly. I hope that you all enjoy the village as it is now and recall it warmly in the future. Not to complain about the increase in cars, the widening of roads, or the manner in which pastures turn all too quickly into houses, summer visitors and weekend renters, where once were families and generations. But enjoy it while you have it now, and know that you have something that l, and I am sure many others, are jealous of, the last piece of something that is truly English. Perhaps quaint, perhaps a little dowdy, but still a wonder to behold and a warm, beckoning memory that will always be home.

    Best regards and with the slightest touch of envy,

From Sally Moldrich from Perth, Western Australia:

    My name is Mrs. Sally Moldrich and I was born in New Zealand but now live in Perth, Western Australia. I am travelling to the UK at the end of April and plan to visit Berrynarbor, where my mother spent most of her life in England.

    My mother, Maire, and her mother Mrs. Adelaide Grimaldi moved to Berrynarbor about 1926, into a house they had built for them. They lived there until 1948, when Nan sold the house to a man in the village who had been wanting to buy it - or so she told me. They went on a working holiday to New Zealand, meeting up with a friend who found them work. Her name was Mrs. Queenie Bassett, and I see that is a surname in your village history. I presume Nan and my mother knew her from Berrynarbor.

    My Nan died in 1964 and my mother in 1996, so unfortunately I am unable to retrieve any further information.

    During my visit to Berrynarbor, I should love to catch up with anyone who remembers my mother [she was between 10 and 32 years old when she lived there] and find the house she lived in. It was a rectangular, one-storey house and I think it was called 'Treetops'.

Can anyone help Sally at all? Lorna Price does remember the family and believes they were related to the Grimaldi family of clown fame.

Joseph Grimaldi [1779-1839], who gave his name 'Joey' to all later clowns. 'Treetops' she feels sure was in Barton Lane, perhaps a previous name of a property? If you can help in any way, please do get in touch with me.

Thank you.




Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my shape to keep.
Please no wrinkles, please no bags,
And lift my butt before it sags.
Please no age spots, please no grey,
And as for my belly, please take it away.
Please keep me healthy, please keep me young,
And thank you dear Lord, for all that you've done.


Artwork: Harry Weedon

Chinese New Year Celebrations - 31st January

Firstly, many, many thanks to John, Fenella and all their and Berry in Bloom friends for a fantastic evening at Sloley Farm. The evening was full of fun, fabulous food and music to dance the night away with Jimmy and Phil - what a great night!

RHS Bicentenary Launch - 16th February

The RHS invited the four national Britain in Bloom gold medal winners from 2003 to attend their Launch to mark the start of the RHS Bicentenary year. Berrynarbor was invited to stage an exhibition at Lawrence Hall, Westminster, London, which was attended by His Royal Highness, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. Anne Harris and Ann Davies travelled to London to represent the Village with the following in tow:

  • A Devon Cream Tea
  • Lots of photographs of the Village
  • A Pot Man - appropriately named Phil Pot!
  • And a six-foot high, decorated Mazzard Tree - which generated lots of admiring glances, particularly from a London Cabbie at Paddington Station when we reassured him it would fit into his cab!

HRH spent a lot of time chatting about Berrynarbor's exhibit, in particular the Mazzard tree, as the picture shows.

Photograph reproduced by kind permission of the RHS

Primrose Bank - Bob Richards Memorial

Many of you will have realised that the primroses at the entrance to Barton Lane are not wild primroses. The Nursery that supplied the plants have acknowledged a mistake this is disappointing for everyone, in particular the committee and volunteers who spent considerable time preparing and planting out the plants. However, a solution is in hand. Many people have already potted surplus wild primroses [from their gardens] to plant in the bank. If you have any plants willing to donate, please contact us even if it is only a few plants.

The plants, which are already planted, will not seed and additionally will not survive in a grass bank setting.

Elderly Brothers - Village Dance

The Elderly Brothers have very kindly offered to raise funds for the Berry in Bloom Competition. If you came along to the last dance, you will know what a great evening is in store.

The Dance is taking place on a Friday in June at the Manor Hall, 7.30 p.m. 'til late. Refreshments will be provided but bring your own tipple! The date and details will be displayed in the village and in the June issue of the Newsletter. Keep Fridays free!

Open Gardens

We have set two dates for our Gardens Open event- 11th July and 1st August, 2.00 to 5.00 p.m and insurance is covered by Berry in Bloom.

Illustrations by: Paul Swailes

We always welcome 'new' gardens and would love to hear from anyone who would be willing to open their garden on one of the above dates.

Best Kept Village
The Great Berry Litter Pick Up - Take One 2004 3.00-4.30 p.m.

Our first Litter Pick Up has been arranged for Sunday, 4th April, meeting at Roy and Jackie's home, Langieigh House. Don't forget to bring gloves, black rubbish bag and you will be rewarded with a cup of tea and Wendy's scrumptious cakes!

Please contact Vi Davies if you can help in any way with the Berry in
Bloom/Best Kept Village Competitions - 882696.



Last year I had the pleasure of reading some Berrynarbor Newsletters.

I live in Luton, known for its past glories of Vauxhall cars and straw hats, and nowadays for its airport and its large population - families and university students - from all parts of Britain and many different parts of the world. Second and third generation Lutonians are a rare species. I arrived here forty years ago when I married a Luton man. Most of his family moved away to greener pastures and, as my home town is Hyde, near Manchester, it is not likely that cousins and family folk will be living nearby or chatting in the corner shop. However, the reminiscences and tales in your newsletter bring some of my ancestors and distant relations a little closer.

My grandparents, Hettie [nee Routcliffe] and Frederick William Delve, migrated from Devon to the industrial north of England at the turn of the 19th-20th Century. Presumably, they went to seek new opportunities amongst the prosperous cotton mills of Lancashire. They landed in Hyde, a cotton town, tucked below the Pennine hills on the borders of Cheshire, Derbyshire and Lancashire.

Fred and Hettie married on Christmas Eve 1890 in South Molton. Fred was a journeyman carpenter. Hettie was born in Chulmleigh and was, at one time, a scullery maid in a big house in Filleigh. She had spent most of her life thereafter, so she said, 'on her knees, scrubbing floors'! Their first child, William Henry [Harry] was born in 1892 in llfracombe. When their second son, Frederick Charles was born in 1894, they were living in Witheridge Cottage, Hele. Sadly, Charles died of croup in 1897, in North Molton in the home of his great aunt, Maria Davey.

The Delves arrived in Hyde some time before 1901. However precarious life was for them in Devon, the reality of the grey streets huddled around the towering factory chimneys, belching out smoke over the town, and the brown, murky waters of the canal and the Rive Tame, must surely have made them long for the beauty and fresh air they had left behind in Devon. They found a place to live in the poorest area of Hyde, where the grime and effluent from mills and foundries converged to create a grim, squalid environment and although they managed, over the years, to rise to better things there was no silver lining in the clouds above Hyde. In 1901 Hettie gave birth to another baby boy, Walter. His death certificate, alas, came the following year. He 'failed to thrive'. [We have lost track in our family research of a daughter, Florence, who also died in childhood but whether in Devon or Hyde we have found no evidence.] Things must have got better because in 1904 another son, Fred, was born and in 1906 a daughter, Gertrude - my mother. Both thrived, I am happy to s ay. They and Hettie survived the two World Wars. Frederick William and their eldest son, Harry, however, did not. Harry died in September 1917 at Ypres and his father was buried in a pauper's grave in the local churchyard in 1922. Hettie passed on her love and nostalgia for Devon to her youngest daughter and in 1932 when Gertrude married Leon DeGroote, an immigrant from Bruges, they spent their honeymoon in Woolacombe - Gertie's first sight of Devon I think. They had three daughters. I was the youngest, born in April 1939. My grandmother and Uncle Fred lived with us until grandma's death in 1946.

Devon was always the place closest to my mother's heart and after my father's death in 1947, it was the place where she was happiest. My first sight of Devon was in 1948 when we visited Uncle Tom Routcliffe and Aunt Edith, in what to us was heaven - a terraced cottage up a steep hill in Torquay, with a garden of flowers and vegetables and real loganberries. There was brilliant sunshine in cloudless blue skies every day, and beaches and rocky coves and sparkling sea beyond our wildest dreams!

About three or four years ago Devon became a topic of conversation with a lady at church. I had known Joyce by sight for several years. She lives a couple of streets away from my home and once owned a corner shop nearby. After our conversation, Joyce brought me postcards and a news-cutting of her brother Ben and told me of her 'whiz' of a sister, Alvina, in Combe Martin.

In 2001 my sister and I, with our sons and daughters-in-law, had a week's holiday on Exmoor, and went in search of the places and people in our family history. We were delighted to find evidence of Routcliffes in Chulmleigh graves in the churchyard, the baker's shop, once owned by Routcliffes, and the Old Bakery where grandmother's Aunt Susie Tucker lived. We even met a member of the Routcliiffe family still living in the village. We knew less about the Delves, but as you may imagine, we found them in Lapford and Morchard Bishop, and it was the Delve family that brought us to Berrynarbor one day, in search of John and honour Richards. My great grandfather, David Delve, married Susan, daughter of William and Mary Jewell. Mary, was the daughter of John and Honour Richards [coincidentally, David's mother was also a Mary Richards, from Lapford, and her mother too! How do you keep track of them all?]

I reported our findings to Joyce, and to our mutual surprise it turned out we are both connected to the same Berrynarbor Richards clan - long may they flourish! For the past thirty or more years, living a couple of streets away, and with her own corner shop, was a 'cousin' - a few hundred yards away geographically and distant by several generations, but nevertheless a cousin. And that's how I get to read the Newsletter.

Freda Davis - Luton

This research has given me a link with Alvina Irwin, one of your readers and contributors but there is a sad follow up as Joyce, her sister, died suddenly on the 3rd February. I am so sorry that 'cousin' Joyce did not know I had actually finished the article and did not have a chance to read what I had written. FD



4thSt. Peter's: Palm Sunday, 10.00 a.m. Distribution of Palm Crosses.
Berrynarbor Bikers: Invitation to Yamaha Open Day, Cook Island
Great Berry Litter Pick Up - Take 1 2004: Langleigh House 3.00 p.m.
6thW.I. Meeting , 2.30 p.m. Manor Hall: Janice Quinn - Sugar Craft
7th Mobile Library in Village from 11.30 a.m.
9th GOOD FRIDAY St. Peter's: 2.00-3.00 p.m. Hour of Quiet Devotion
11th EASTER SUNDAY St. Peter's: 11.00 a.m. Family Eucharist
13th Annual Parish Meeting, Manor Hall, 7.00 p.m.
14th Bikers of Berrynarbor: Evening Ride, The Globe, 6.00 p.m.
21st Mobile Library in Village from 11.30 a.m.
Wine Circle, 8.00 p.m., Manor Hall: Andy Cloutman - Quay West Presentation £5.00
28th Friendship Lunch: The Globe, 12.30 p.m.
4th W.l. Meeting , 2.30 p.m., Manor Hall: National Resolutions
5th Mobile Library in Village from 11.30 a.m.
Manor Hall Management Committee, AGM, Manor Hall, 7.30 p.m.
6th PCC Coffee Morning , Manor Hall, 10.30 a.m.
12th Bikers of Berrynarbor: Evening Ride, The Globe, 6.00 p.m.
19th Mobile Library in Village from 11.30 a.m.
Wine Circle, 8.00 p.m., Manor Hall: End of Season Spectacular
20th St. Peter's Church: Ascension Day
26th Friendship Lunch: The Globe, 12.30 p.m.
30th WHIT SUNDAY Pentecost
31st to Saturday, 5th June: A Country Collection, Manor Hall
1st W.I. Meeting , 2.30 p.m., Manor Hall: Judie Weedon - Newsletter
2nd Mobile Library in Village from 11.30 a.m.

Manor Hall Diary:

MondaysBadminton, 7.30 p.m.
Tuesdays2nd & 4th in month: N.D.Spinners
Yoga, 7.00 p.m.
ThursdaysWhist Drive, 7.30 p.m.
FridaysShort Mat Bowls, 7.00 p.m.
SundaysShort Mat Bowls, 2.00 p.m.

Mobile Library:
(Assistant - Jacqui Mackenzie)

11.30 - 11.45 a.m.Sandy Cove
11.50 - 12.05 p.m.Barton Lane
1.15 - 1.40 p.m.The Square
1.45 - 2.05 p.m.Sterridge Valley



"It's a fine land, the west land . . ." John Masefield

We felt as if we might have strayed into Thomas Hardy country instead of the land west of Bideford. We had started our walk at Melbury Reservoir on the edge of Melbury Forest. Could Grace Melbury, timber merchant's daughter and heroine of 'The Woodlanders', have strolled here with Giles Winterborne, cider maker and part-time forester? Hardy said of Winterborne that he had, "a marvellous power of making trees grow there was a sort of sympathy between himself and the fir, oak or beech that he was operating on." There was certainly plenty of evidence of forestry activity taking place round about us.

But no! This might be Melbury Hill and Melbury Wood, but we were nowhere near the charmingly named Dorset villages of Melbury Osmond and Melbury Bubb. We were firmly rooted in North Devon between the villages of Buckland Brewer and Woolsery.

Illustration by: Paul Swailes

We looked across the reservoir, a small isosceles triangle of still, bright water. There was some movement at the centre. Could that be a great crested grebe that had just dived? We asked an angler who had arrived on the bank. He confirmed that it was and that a pair had bred successfully at Melbury Reservoir the previous year.

The reservoir is stocked with carp. Writing three hundred and fifty years ago, the much admired angler and lover of nature, Izaak Walton, called the carp, the queen of rivers; a stately, a good and a very subtle fish'.

We followed the path around the perimeter of the water, watching the grebe swimming and diving. It was 'wearing' its special display plumage. From midwinter both sexes grow a velvety, chestnut brown and black tippet on each side of the head, which frames the white face. When we were about a third of the way round we realised there was a second great crested grebe beside some rushes opposite. The first had disappeared but now there was a chortling sound and it had surfaced near the second bird. [They swim much more quickly under water than on the surface.]

Then we witnessed something we had only seen before on television the first phase of the elaborate courtship ritual, known quaintly as 'the head shaking ceremony'. Calling, the two birds swam towards each other and face to face, with long necks stretched upright; the double crests on the crown of the head raised; tippets spread out to form a circular ruff and their bills open, they both started to waggle their heads rapidly. After a while, they stopped calling and swayed their heads slowly from side to side. This was the second phase! Eventually they drifted apart.

They are fascinating and beautiful birds, spending most of their time on or under the water, flying very little. In late summer or early autumn, they shed all their wing feathers simultaneously, risking being flightless for four or more weeks while the new feathers grow.

The glossy white feathers on the breast are very dense and were known as 'grebe fur' and used for decorating fashion garments in the nineteenth century.

A few weeks before, I had picked up a copy of the 'Buzz', Bideford's Newsletter, at the library. In it was an article recommending winter walks in the plantations at Melbury and nearby Powler's Piece where the public is allowed access to the forest trails unless there are notices warning of tree felling, et cetera.

Locating these forests on the Bude and Clovelly ordnance survey map I found that only three miles to the south, as the crow flies, was a church I had long fancied visiting, since I first heard it was one of the few in the country to have escaped being 'improved' by zealous Victorians.

So off we proceeded to the small village of West Putford. Saint Stephen's church occupies an elevated position at the edge of the village. It was built at about 1300 to an early medieval cruciform plan; its West tower unbuttressed with 'stunted' pinnacles.

In the churchyard there were wild daffodils and banks of snowdrops, many of them double. A raven surveyed the surrounding countryside from the top of a yew tree.

We entered the church by its wonderful old south door, dated 1620. The Norman tub font has a ring of cable moulding between the circular bowl and the base. The pulpit and altar rails are eighteenth century, both with twisted wooden balusters. On the uneven walls the damp plaster was flaking and crumbling. The last entry in the Visitors' Book had been more than four months before; travellers from America seeking their family roots.

The Lych Gate and War Memorial at Putford Church,
from: the Tom Bartlett Postcard Collection

An interesting survival is the chancel floor which is almost entirely paved with medieval Barnstaple tiles. These are brown with a variety of patterns on them, including roses and fleur-de-lis.

As the church had not been subjected to restoration in the nineteenth century, I had thought there might be simple rustic benches or high box pews like those at Molland and Parracombe, but the church had been given a special grant in the 1930's to refurnish with modern pews. There were just a couple of canted bench ends remaining in the south transept.

We crossed a little field linking the churchyard to the road. Below the church is Churston Manor [aka Churchton House], an Elizabethan manor house built by the Prideaux family some time between 1576 and 1611. We turned a corner, passed the school, a field of thrushes and a few thatched cottages and were soon at the outskirts of the village where a little bridge crosses the infant Torridge.

From here the river has a long way south to go before it can loop northwards to seek its estuary. There were some patches of ice on the meadow beside the river. A moorhen swam past and was soon hidden.

We had intended to sample some of the forest walks but there was a flurry of snow so we decided to save that for another day when we would also explore the adjacent culm grasslands of Common Moor and Wrangworthy Cross and the eight Bronze Age barrows there, some of which could be seen from the road. And we should also want to revisit the reservoir some time, to see whether any chicks had resulted from that stately courtship.

My grateful acknowledgement to Dawn Frost, at the Bideford Buzz, for pointing us in this direction.

Sue H


Artwork: Angela Bartlett


Sterrage Valley Berrynarbor. 58 - View No. 88

This photographic view postcard was taken by Garratt c1907 and shows Lower Rows Farm and outbuildings in the foreground, with from left to right, 74, 73 and 72 Higher Sterrage Valley, better known as Pink Heather, Hillside Cottage and Cherry Tree Cottage.

Above anything else, it shows what an accomplished photographer William Garratt was and even more remarkable that he visited our village so often from his home at 9, Station Road, Bristol, where he published over 1800 photographs of Bristol taken by him. He was born in Leeds in 1865, married in 1893 and moved to Bristol in 1899, where he died in October 1946 at the age of 81.

Lower Rows Farm was sold as Lot 17 in the Watermouth Estate Auction Sale held on 17th August 1920 at the Bridge Hall, Barnstaple:

    Lower Rows Farm, a Good Dairy Farm, Comprising: A good Slated Dwelling House, Slated Outbuildings, and about 48a Or. 21p of Meadow, Pasture and Arable Lands, in the occupation of Mr. W. Lerwill as a Yearly Lady-day Tenant. The Apportioned Tithe on this Lot is £7.4s.0d. The farm sold for £1,000.

    Pink Heather was sold as Lot 80 in the same sale:

      A Very Excellent Tiled Cottage Residence, Garden and Premises, No. 74, Higher Sterridge Valley, in the occupation of Mrs Trump, as a Quarterly Tenant. The right to take Water from the Well in Ordnance No. 953 [Part Lot 12], by means of a pipe, as at present enjoyed, is included with this Lot. This sold for £300.

    Cherry Tree Cottage was sold as Lot 80 in the same sale:

      A superior Slated Cottage Residence, Containing: Sitting Room, Dining Room, Kitchen, Scullery, Larder, Coal House, Wash House, and Three bedrooms, with Large and Tastefully Laid-out Gardens, No. 72 Higher Sterridge Valley, in the occupation of Mr. A W Lugg, as Quarterly Tenant. The Apportioned Tithe on this Lot is 3s.0d. There is a Well on this Lot. Cherry Tree Cottage sold for £450.

    Hillside Cottage, Lot 81 , was also sold in the same sale:

      A Slated Cottage, Gardens and Outbuildings, No. 73, Higher Sterridge Valley, in the occupation of Mr. W. Irwin, as a Yearly Lady-day Tenant. There is a Well on this Lot.

Tom Bartlett
Tower Cottage, March 2004
e-mail: tomandinge40@gmail.com