This year there will be a new competition for the Show - Grow a Spud!

Buy your seed potato at the Gardeners' & Crafters' Lunch and plant it in a container of up to 10 litres of compost or soil. Prizes will be awarded at the Show, to be held this year on 29TH AUGUST, for the largest [heaviest] potato and the best [heaviest] crop, in both the Overall and Junior classes. Potatoes cost £1.00 each and must be purchased either at the Lunch or by telephoning 883544 to reserve your spud.

A simple and fun competition for all the family. Get them all - kids, parents, aunts and uncles, and grandparents to grow their own lunch! Further details will be available with each purchase.

Subjects for the Art and Photography Classes of the Show should, as in the past, be available in the April issue of the Newsletter and it will soon be time to think about planting those flowers, vegetables and fruit.


What the Papers Said 150 Years Ago

28th October 1858:

A CHILD MORTALLY BURNT - On Friday, an inquest was held at Berrydown Cross, before R. Bremridge, Esq., county coroner, on the body of Emily Jewell, a girl between seven and eight years of age, the daughter of James Jewell, a labourer, residing in the hamlet. It appeared that on Wednesday morning, the father and mother left the house, the former to go to his work and the latter to the mill to get her grist ground, leaving the deceased and a younger child to take care of themselves as best they could. After the mother was gone, the children fastened the door by pushing something over the latch to prevent other children entering the house. In the course of the morning the neighbours perceived the smell of fire, and soon ascertained that it proceeded from Jewell's house. As the door was fastened they had to force it open; and, on doing so, found the elder girl burnt in a miserable manner. Mr. Stoneham, surgeon, of this town, was sent for, and on his arrival, pronounced the case to be hopeless. The poor child lingered until the next morning, when death put a period to her sufferings. The verdict of the Jury was in accordance with the facts, but the coroner thought it his duty to address the parents in strong terms of censure for their carelessness in leaving children so young in the house by themselves. It appeared that about eight years ago they had a child, of the same age, burnt to death under similar circumstances, and a third had since suffered from a like casualty, though the injuries had not proved mortal.

4th November 1858 County Courts [Before John Tyrrell, Esq., Judge.]

Tuesday, November 2nd -THE GAME LAWS -Quick v. Beer - Plaintiff is a farm servant, lately in the employment of Mr. Ley, of Crosshill, in the parish of Berrynarbor; and the defendant, gamekeeper to Arthur Davie Bassett, Esq., of Watermouth. The action was brought to recover £1.15s, the value of a gun and a quantity of powder and shot, the property of Quick, which Beer had illegally seized and taken possession of on the 20th of Sept., last. Mr. Incledon Bencraft appeared for the plaintiff; Mr. Hooper Law for the defendant. The plaintiff and James Ley [brother of his late master] were recently summoned before the Bench of Magistrates at Combmartin, for trespassing in quest of game, and convicted and fined for the offence; although the defence set up was, that they were upon ground where they had a right to be, and employed in farm operations - that the farmer had the right to kill rabbits, etc. It appeared that on the day named the two young men went to the field to work, taking with them a gun, intending to kill a rabbit if one should chance to start up - that Ley fired off the gun, which had been loaded several days, throwing up a stone as a mark at which to aim - that immediately after the gamekeeper and the Rev. Arthur Crawford Bassett entered the field and demanded who had fired the gun to which the plaintiff returned an evasive answer. Beer then searched in the hedgerow and found the gun hid under Quick's coat, of which he took possession, together with a quantity of powder and shot in the pockets of the coat. Evidence was given pro and con., the plaintiff and

his witness denied that either beat or searched for game, and Beer deposed that he saw Quick fire, and both beating the covers, though he confessed he was at a great distance at the time and several hedges intercepted the view. His Honour reviewed the evidence, and said he did not consider that adduced by the plaintiff worthy to be trusted, as much as that of the game-keeper. Judgement for the defendant - Mr. Law declined to ask for costs.

Tom Bartlett
Tower Cottage, November 2008



1st July 1858 ILFRACOMBE

RARE VISITOR IN THE CHANNEL- On Saturday some attention was excited by the appearance in the offing of a ship of unusual stateliness and size, accompanied by a smaller craft as odd as the other was majestic. The Coast Guard were able to give the information that the large ship was the Russel, one of Her Majesty's steam frigates, carrying 60 guns. The accompanying vessel with leg-of-mutton sail fore and aft, and funnel between, was a gun-boat. The frigate was a gallant object with all her canvas spread, going up with a fair wind, the sun shining upon her and everything looking so beautiful. The spy glass revealed her two tiers of guns - she did not appear to have her steam up. It was said she was cruising round this part of the island for the purpose of inspecting and promoting the means of defence along the coast. It is an extremely rare thing to see a ship of war in the Bristol Channel; men accustomed to traverse it do not recollect seeing one for years, hence the anxious inquiry, to what cause is it we owe the unexpected visit?

26th August 1858

PAINFUL ACCIDENT - Yesterday [Wednesday], as the Rev. Thomas Hulme, Wesleyan minister, of this place, and the Rev. Joseph Chapman, with some friends were making an exploratory visit to the rocks and caves at Watermouth, the first named gentleman had the misfortune to slip his foot on the smooth surface of rock, when he fell and broke his right arm between the elbow and the shoulder. To make the matter worse, the bone is fractured in an oblique direction, rendering it more difficult to set and particularly difficult to keep in its place. The case is in the skilful hands of Mr. Foquet.

Tom Bartlett
Tower Cottage, July 2008
e-mail: tomandinge40@gmail.com



NDJ July 15th 1858 BERRY REVEL. - On Wednesday, last week, Henry Webber, carpenter, (an ex-policeman of the Bristol Force.) of the parish of Berrynarbor, was brought in custody of Police Constable Hodge, before N. Vye, Esq., and the Rev. S.T. Slade-Gully, at the rectory in that village charged with having brutally assaulted, Jane Berry, wife of a labourer on the 6th instant. Berry Revel begins on the Saturday, and lasts several days including the Sunday. On the night in question this young wife had, very indiscreetly gone to the dancing-room of the "Globe" Inn, where between 10 and 11 o'clock, she was met by the defendant who is a single man. Being it is understood, old acquaintances. And complainant not being accompanied by her "natural protector," defendant proceeded to take unbecoming liberties with her, which she resented by giving him a push or a blow, telling him "to keep his hands off." He, brute as he was, flew into a rage and made a furious attack by her with his fists, struck her about the face and eyes, and when she was leaving the house he knocked her down and otherwise maltreated her, swearing in the most horrible manner that he would be "the death of her." The complainant carried the evidence of her ill-usage in her face, she had a dreadful pair of black eyes and other marks of foul treatment. The charge being proved, the magistrates fined him £3 with 11s 6d, expenses, with the alternative of a month in Prison. the money was paid.

22nd July 1858 A Fearful Fall. - Early on Monday morning a terrible accident happened at Berrynarbor to a young man, about 18 years of age, named Philip Lancey, as he was going down to Watermouth in search of crabs. The youth and his step-brothers, William Hicks, are the sons of a poor widow in the village, named Margaret Lancey, who render her by their attachment and labour, important comfort and assistance in the up-hill struggles of life. On the morning mentioned, a relation who had been paying them a visit being about to leave, the brothers went down to the shore to get some crabs or lobsters to gratify their departing friend. Many of the pots for trapping these crustances, are fastened to staples secured in the rocks, as the unfortunate youth was descending Ditch Cliff, opposite to Watermouth Castle, he fell a height of some fourteen feet on a ledge of rocks below, and from thence he rolled into the sea. His step-brother saved him from a watery grave, but it was found that a terrible wound had been inflicted on his head. The Surgeon was immediately sent for from Ilfracombe, who discovered an extensive laceration of the scalp and fracture of the skull. It does not appear to have affected his mental faculties, but serious apprehensions are entertained of a fatal result. The case is in the able hands of Messrs. Stoneham and Foquet.

Tom Bartlett
Tower Cottage

NB Please note that these * extracts from the papers are reprinted exactly as published.



COMBE MARTIN PETTY SESSIONS Monday Jan. 4th 1858. [Present - The Rev. S.T. Slade-Gully and J.C. Roe, Esq.]

ASSAULTS - Ann Williams, of Berrynarbor, was charged by Maria Huxtable, of the same place, with assaulting her on the 23rd ult. Some disagreement arising between the two parties in this case, about their boys, who had been playing outside their dwellings, when the defendant gave the complainant a slap in the face and several other blows, and then threw a pitcher of water over her by way of finish. Fined 5s, with 11s.6d. costs.

TRESPASS - William Adams was charged by A.D. Bassett, Esq., with trespassing on his coach road, at Berrynarbor, it being private property, on the 1st instant. Robert Lovering saw defendant on the road with a horse and cart, and told him not to go on, but he persisted in passing over it. Sentenced to pay 6d damages and 8s costs.

Marriages 7th inst., [January 1858] at Berrynarbor, by the Rev. S.T. Slade-Gully, Charles Henry, son of William Williams, Esq., Tregullow, Cornwall to Harriet Mary, eldest daughter of Arthur Davie Bassett, Esq., Watermouth, Devon.

Tom Bartlett
Tower Cottage



North Devon Journal, August 1857

To the Editor of the "North Devon Journal"

SIR - Having just returned from your excellent North Devon watering place - Ilfracombe - and its delightful neighbourhood,

I cannot refrain from calling the attention of the authorities to the frightfully dangerous state of a short portion of the path to Watermouth. The earth and rock have broken away on the left-hand side of the originally narrow path, leaving barely room to pass, and exposing the unsuspecting traveller to a precipice of such fearful depth that falling from it must be instantly fatal.

It is a shame that a peril so easily to be guarded against should exist amidst such beautiful and attractive scenery, and I trust a regard to the public safety will induce the responsible party at once to prevent the sacrifice of life which, if the path be neglected, I expect to hear has arisen. Hoping the insertion of this notice may be useful.

I am Sir, yours &c.Leicester, Aug. 1857 - A VISITOR

Monday Dec. 7th [Extract]

GAME LAWS - James Tucker, was charged by farmer Dermaid of Hele, near Ilfracombe, with trespassing in search of rabbits in a field of his in the parish of Berrynarbor, on the 10th September. Complainant heard the report of a gun and going in the direction of the sound, he found the defendant in his field with a gun with which he shot a rabbit. - Richard Gammon, a witness called by the defendant, said that on the day in question, he invited him [defendant] to come and shoot some rabbits with him on his land. They went to Mr. Watt's where they had leave to shoot, and acknowledged having passed over one of Dermaid's fields, but denied having fired a gun there. The Bench considered the charge proved, and fined defendant 10s with 8s 6d costs.

Tom Bartlett
Tower Cottage, November 2007
: tomandinge40@gmail.com



North Devon Journal, 2nd July 1857:


"Welcome Home! On Saturday last this village was the scene of great rejoicing on the occasion of the return to his paternal home of Lieut. Francis Gully of the 31st Regiment, son of the Rev. Thomas Slade-Gully rector of the parish, after eleven years service in the East Indies. The gallant officer was greeted with bell ringing and the discharge of artillery, and the villagers generally testified their joy at his return and their regard for their worthy rector and his much-respected family. Our correspondent writes: 'Such rejoicing was not witnessed in Berry before.'"

North Devon Journal, September 1857:

"Stealing by a Servant - Mary Ann Moon, a girl belonging to Berrynarbor, was taken before N. Vye Esq. on Wednesday last week, charged with stealing a handkerchief, and other articles, the property of a lady lodging at Mrs. Lammas's, Montpelier Terrace. She was remanded to the Petty Sessions at Combe Martin on Monday, when she was convicted and sentenced to three months' imprisonment."

Tom Bartlett
Tower Cottage



The following extracts from a local newspaper from the early 1900's have been sent in by Vera Lewis [Ley] from Epsom, whose family lived both at Goosewell and later at Orchard House.

'To augment the prize fund of K Company of the 4th V.B.D.R. a concert was given in the Temperance Hall, which had been decorated by Sgt. Major Instructor Dennis and Colr.Sgt. Pugsley. Among the items deserving of notice was the splendid rendition of 'Eileen A!annah' by Mrs. Manning and Miss Copner's 'When Jack and I were Children'. Miss Bray gained much applause for 'Mary was a Housemaid', as also did Miss Saunders for 'Turham Toll'. The novelties of the entertainment were a skirt dance and a hornpipe by Miss G. Chalacombe, and a whistling solo by Captain Cooke. Mr. Brown received well merited applause for his recitation in the Devonshire dialect, and so did Mr. Bray for his piccolo solo. Mrs. Page, Corpl. Goss and Pte. Goss each sang a pleasing song. Mr. Page as a nigger caused roars of laughter by his songs and topical allusions. Much of the success of the entertainment was due to Mrs. Gubb as the accompanist. The company's band under Bandmaster S. Pearse, played selections. The funds of the company benefited by about £4.10s.'

'A highly successful entertainment, in aid of the Church choir fund, was given at the Temperance Hall on Wednesday evening. The various items were well carried out, the choir rending plantation songs in a very creditable manner, reflecting great credit on the organist Miss Bray. The play entitled 'A Rise in Life' under the management of Mr. Alfred Brown, provoked roars of laughter and was very cleverly acted by the various performers. '

Taking part were Vera's father and uncle, George and Tom Ley [Jnr.]. The Reverend Churchill's contribution was 'In Memory of our Queen', and since Queen Victoria died in January 1901, the event must have been shortly after her death. Queen Victoria died in the 64th year of her reign - the end of an era. She had reigned three years longer and was three days older at the time of her death than George III. She was survived by 6 children, 40 grandchildren, 37 great grandchildren, including four future monarchs Edward VII, George V, Edward VIII and George VI.

Tom Bartlett
Tower Cottage, January 2002
: tomandinge40@gmail.com



Ilfracombe Chronicle, Saturday, 14th April, 1906:
Non-attendance at School

Edwin Coaker, Berrynarbor, was summoned for a similar offence in respect of his child Annie, and pleaded guilty. Mr. Sing said the child ought to attend the Berrynarbor School, which was the worst attended in the County. Last year the attendance was only 50% and the Ratepayers lost 1d each on about 10, 000 attendances not made. William Draper, Berrynarbor, also pleaded guilty in respect of his child Florence, aged 13 years.

Tom Bartlett
Tower Cottage, March 1996
: tomandinge40@gmail.com



From the Ilfracombe Chronicle, Saturday February 1st 1896, Page 8

PRESENTATION On Monday last a deputation, consisting of the Rev. R. Churchill [Rector of Berrynarbor], C.H. Basset, Esq., Watermouth Castle [Chairman of the School Committee], Mr. Councillor Jones and Messrs. Lewis and Lancey, waited on Mr. Clift, until recently the Headmaster of the National School at Berrynarbor, to present him, on behalf of the parishioners, with a purse of gold, as token of esteem and respect, and of their appreciation of the manner in which he has discharged the duties of the school in the eleven years during which he has presided over it. Each member of the deputation bore testimony to the high state of efficiency to which Mr. Clift, working under the usual difficulties in rural districts, had brought to the school. Mr. Lewis and Mr. Lancey, as representing the parents of the scholars, said that the training given by Mr. Clift to the children had been such as to create the greatest satisfaction in the minds of all. The whole neighbourhood deeply regretted his removal, and wished him, in a new sphere, all success and happiness. Mr. Clift made a suitable reply, thanking the donors for their generous gift, and the parents for their support and sympathy so freely given during his long term of work amongst them. He had never had the slightest friction with any of the parents, but had been able to work happily and pleasantly within the School and outside it.

* With thanks to Ilfracombe Museum

Tom Bartlett
Tower Cottage, Jan. 1996



Ilfracombe Gazette - Saturday, 15th May, 1893

A tramp named Elizabeth Morrish, was sent to prison for seven days without hard labour, for vagrancy, by Messrs . J.C. Naish and C. H. Dickinson, Magistrates, sitting at the Town Hall, Ilfracombe, on Wednesday.

P.C. Newcombe, of Combe Martin, who proved the case, said he found the defendant in a linhay at Berrynarbor. She had undressed herself and was fast asleep. The defendant informed the bench she was on her way from Liverpool to Hastings.

Tom Bartlett


I hope you also like the following article from the Ilfracombe Observer and North Devon Review of January 1893.

Tom Bartlett


Ilfracombe Observer and North Devon Review
January 1983


At Combmartin Sessions on Monday, before Messrs. C. H. Dickinson and G. N. Maule, charges for fowl stealing were heard against Benjamin Draper, a mason, and William Dennis, a labourer, young men, of Combmartin. Two thefts were committed on Christmas Eve, two live fowls being stolen from Frederick George Bevan, a market gardener, of Berrynarbor, and two live fowls from Nicholas Cutcliffe, a retired farmer, of Combmartin. Mr. Bevan having given information to P.C. Flannagan of his loss, subsequently identified his two fowls in the constable's possession. The prisoner Dennis was then present, and, in answer to the charge of theft, he denied stealing the fowls, but said he knew who did steal them. The fowls now produced were the ones lost, and were valued at 5s. William Draper, of Berrynarbor, a brother of one of the prisoners, said that both prisoners came to his house between 10 and 11 0'clock on Christmas Eve, and brought with them four fowls. Draper said he had the fowls from his sister and Dennis said he had played cards for them. Witness bought the fowls, and gave 2s for them, besides giving the men board and lodgings. P.C. Flannagan deposed to arresting Dennis.

In the presence of the prisoner, the prosecutor Bevan selected two fowls out of three shown to him. Dennis denied stealing them, but said he knew who did. Witness took prisoner to the llfracombe lock up. In the second case Mary Jewell, widow, of Combmartin, proved fastening the fowl-house on Christmas Eve, and on the following morning finding it broken open and two fowls missing. The two fowls produced were the stolen fowls. The prosecutor, Nicholas Cutcliffe, also identified the fowls. P.C. Gribble proved apprehending Draper and taking him to Ilfracombe. On charging the prisoner he said, I had them at my sister's," He, however, afterwards said, "I am guilty. I took the fowls. I will give you no more trouble, and I am very sorry." The next morning both prisoners were charged jointly, and neither made any reply. In defence on Monday the prisoner Draper said he was drunk at the time and was certainly not in his right mind. Dennis pleaded his innocence of stealing the fowls. The Bench considered the cases proved against both prisoners, and, inasmuch as they had been locked up for eight days, fined them 5s. each in the first case, and 15s, each in the second case and costs, or in default seven days' imprisonment each.

Tom Bartlett
Tower Cottage, Jan. 1996




I hope you like these cuttings from the Ilfracombe Gazette, 12th November, 1892.

[The Primrose League were members of the Conservative Party]

From the Ilfracombe Chronicle, November 1892.

Tom Bartlett
Tower Cottage, November 1992