Feniton History Group held the 76th Meeting in the Nog Inn

Another lively evening!! 
 I have been contacted by a gentleman asking if he could do a Talk on Dowsing,
Mr Palmer, was decided to look at this later in the year as we are rather busy over the coming months.

 Our Events: 
Railway Display in the Nog Inn on Sat. 18th March, we can sort  the detail next meeting. There will be 30 to 40 guests. This is for the General Steam Navigation Locomotive Restoration Society AGM.

We have the Church Screen talk on Thurs 20th April we will need to set this up at the March meeting.

Brenda has some excellent articles in the magazine of late, hope you have read them.
Love the one entitled Feniton’s Very Own Dad’s Army, by Brian Carnall.  Alan’s article on 19th Century Travel and the  Feniton Inn,  aka, Parr Cottage history is fascinating too.

Thank you Jenny for helping with the school project on the Battle at Fenny Bridges, we have both received a lovely “Thank You“ cards from the whole class, one pupil told us we will make wonderful teachers when we qualify!! We found the youngsters so polite and interested.

The Feniton Neighbourhood Plan Group are looking at unregistered heritage assets and green spaces, it was thought that most towns have wonderful parks, but not so in the villages.

Will tells us he is starting a Geological job in London so won't be down in Devon for many, many months. He will make contact when job ends but it may be next year.  Very best wishes to all at the History Group.  We will miss his company, take  care Will.

Chris Saunders can report to the meeting that the funding level for the Patteson Cross refurbishment  project has now met the expenditure thanks to a donation from Patteson House at The King's School and a grant from Ottery Town Council. The latter does still have to be ratified by full council sometime soon. The Commutation and rededication took place this month.

Chris attended the Tony Beard Memorial Service in Exeter Cathedral, many memories of a fine Devon man. Sadly, missed by all who knew him, personally and as a presenter on Radio Devon

Geoff  reported on the following finds while volunteering in the Devon Heritage Centre: 
 Records from the Exeter camera club now in DRO, he  gave details of an outing to Powerham Castle  with a heavy plate cameras, they got lost,  left  the camera on  the train, fell over the wall in the deer park,  got off at the wrong station on the way back ! Their trips were always an escapade it seems.

Archaeological papers detail a Neolithic dew pond  and pebble bed road. 

Army recruiting letters and copies and replies in Muster rolls for Devon Napoleonic wars and later.

Caster Castle, the cottage where the gardener for Feniton Court lived, past the Old School on the right on the Curscombe Road.  Alan went there before the war with his father as keen gardeners, the sub gardener lived there. The head gardener lived in Thorn Cottage, Mr Hapgood.   Christopher Flood was a Honiton Banker and had financial interests in mauch of the property in Feniton.

Christopher Flood notes,  he was called “King Caster” one of the Pot Wallop voters. More on this at this link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Potwalloper  Honiton was one of these seats.
His daughter is mentioned in the List of Feniton Rectors.

Henry Erskine HEAD        1828-1860
He was born on 9th January 1797, the seventh son of James Roper Head of Rochester. He married Elizabeth Flood of Honiton, daughter of Christopher Flood, on the 15th December 1823. He was at one time Chaplain to the King of Hanover. He was installed on 4th July 1828 - presented by John Rogers of Honiton, Druggist. During his period in office the church was in a bad state of repair and urgent restoration was carried out in 1836. He either died in Feniton on 16th May 1860 aged 63 or in London on 17h May 1860. (There are two accounts giving different locations and dates!) There is a memorial to him on the North wall of the chancel. Not buried in Feniton. He and his wife had 5 babies die between 1830 and 1836 in Feniton, 4 boys and a girl. Just one child survived, Margaret.
 We nattered about how researching has changed over the years, from looking at the actual documents, and trailing to London,  now it is all on line, back then you had to trawl the actual files.

 Bob’s holiday saw the 1st snow in Spain for 91 years. He told us how important the “right”  language is in  Valencia, it must be the local lingo.

Brenda,  asked if we could advise us of anyone who were  at the Feniton school 50 years  ago when it moved to the new site. Pupils in 1950s  and 1960s may have memories. 
 Alan was asked to find the origins of the The Hardy Wine family, they seem to hail from Stockland, not Gittisham, as thought, but of course they could have lived there  before he emigrated, the enquirer thanked us for our efforts.  

 A point was raised by Jackie as to how the village streets are named? Found this on a government website:
City, borough and district councils allocate postal numbers to houses and buildings in their area. They also name new roads and streets.
The council involves the land developer in the street naming process. They invite suggestions and possible alternative names from the developer. These street names with postal numbers go before council for approval.
But over the years these change due to new developments and war damage etc.
Thanks to all for a fascinating evening.

Next meeting in the Nog Inn on 2nd March 2017.

Feniton History Group held the 75th Meeting in the Nog Inn

Sadly, I missed the meeting due to a heavy cold, thank you to you all for taking the reins, see you do it so well you don’t really need me!

David told us about a talk he went to on Church screens. The speaker has written a book, and would be willing to come and give us a talk. We thought maybe in the Feniton church, later in the spring.
This has now been have provisionally booked the church for 20th Apr 2017.

Hugh brought along the account book of his grandfather’s market garden business and greengrocery round in Plymouth dating back to 1907, with wages listed and prices of items. The business is still being run by a descendant.

We had some more discussion on local place name pronunciations, such as the emphasis of ‘ford’ in Sidford, Colyford etc.

John  Masters explained how his locomotive restoration society are rebuilding a Bulleid Merchant Navy Class, named ‘General Steam Locomotive Co.’ 35011. He brought photos of the engine in its original and present rusty state.  The SW branch are to have their AGM at the Nog Inn on March 18th, about mid-day until 4.00pm. He would like us to put on a display of photos, layout plans etc relating to the 1960s. It was suggested that in the lounge bar would be best, and that we open it to others who may like to come and look.

Chris Saunders has notified us that the fund raising for the restoration of the Pattesons Cross Monument has reached its target. The monument looks very fine now the work is complete.

Alan has met someone who wants to find out something of the family of a Thomas Hardy who emigrated from Gittisham to Australia in 1850. Alan wondered if we can help. This Thomas Hardy started a winery in 1853 which is still running today and is very well known. To prove this, Alan brought along a bottle of Hardy’s finest Australian wine!

I had a rummage on Find My Past and have found a possible baptism for Thomas in Stockland, there is not one in Gittisham. Just ask if you would like the detail of the search. I have sent a copy to Alan and Brenda.
The following dates need to be noted for discussion at the February meeting.

The Train AGM, The Nog Inn.   Sat 18th March.
Talk in Church on Screens.       Thur 20th April
Rogation Walk Rogation walk. Sun 21 May 2017

It has been suggested that we invite the following people to share their interests with the Group: Jim Woodley, WW1 in Ottery, David on the Church Graffiti, Graeme on his local finds.

The Parish Council are applying for grants to restore and renovate the Lych Gate. So, 2018 might be a good year to mark this and perhaps have a History Weekend in the Village?

The next meeting will be on Thursday 2nd Feb. 2017.

Feniton History Group held the 74th meeting in the Nog Inn

I am very pleased to report that Feniton Parish Council have kindly re-erected the boundary stone with cement.

We thoroughly enjoyed chatting with Roger about his family and the history of Ottery. Roger has his family bible with the list of births, dates and death, they have very deep roots in the area. Roger asked about the Battle of Fenny Bridges, where were all the bodies buried after the battle?  Approximately 300 men died from each side. Perhaps in Ottery?

Alan mentioned he has been reading the book “Ottery St Mary” by John Whitman,  an interesting book, I have a copy here and will bring it to the next meeting.

Jenny has been working on the History of the cottage known as “Prince James’ Lodge”. It is a delightful mixture of facts and local history woven in with some conjecture. Will the truth ever be found? if so Jenny will work it out!!!

Jenny brought some fascinating articles for us to peruse, a “Finger Bible” very small and neat, perhaps to fit in a glove to take to church on Sunday? Also a silver coin engraved with the name Isabella Lawes dated 1813 and  a deed dated 1628, a charter for land at Fenny Bridges. It is stiff and folded, some of the names are readable, Sir John Symes of Somerset, he married into the Horner family, related to the nursey rhyme, “Little Jack Horner”.  Sir Nicholas Symes of Exeter, who married one of Jenny’s ancestors, Dorothy Horsey.  

George has been studying the 39 Articles of Faith and dissenters and non-conformists who believe there should be only one head of the church, not Bishops. 

George love long walks at told us about the Bridgwater and Tiverton Canal to Star Cross, and mentioned the Two Counties Way.

Alan is continuing his quest to find the route Bishop Patteson took when he departed Feniton. Due to time constraint, I have not yet written this up, so when it is done I will share it with you and on the blog. Sorry Alan.

Looking ahead to next year, it has been suggested that we invite the following people to share their interests with the Group: Jim Woodley, WW1 in Ottery, David on the Church Graffiti, Graeme on his local finds.

We also would like to have a Rogation walk.  This takes place on the 21 May 2017, the Fifth Sunday after Easter. Suggestions of a suitable route would be welcome.

The Parish Council are applying for grants to restore and renovate the Lych Gate. So, 2018 might be a good year to mark this and perhaps have a History Weekend in the Village?

I want to take this opportunity to wish you  all a Very Happy Christmas and all the Very Best for 2017. Looking forward to the next meeting Thurs 5th Jan 2017 in the Nog Inn. I also pass these wishes to Mike and Rosemary at the Nog for making us so welcome each month.

Chris Gibbins.

Feniton History Group held the 73rd meeting in the Nog Inn

During the afternoon meeting to look at the map website in relation to Feniton, we found it rather sparse on detail and hard to locate a format for data entry, so we have decided to see how it develops and look at it again next year.

Geoff is busy with his volunteer role at the Devon Heritage Centre, this time cataloguing railway documents, one item was staff movement books, he looked for staff local to Feniton, but none found.

The Topsham branch line was mentioned more can be found at this link:

It is suggested that we have a summer outing and walk using the train.

We spoke of the fire at the Royal Clarence and Bob explained how the roof and wall voids allowed the heat and fire to spread from the gallery across to the hotel.

The next discussion was very timely it being Remembrance Tide. Many of our armed forces were awarded medals for their service, though many deserving soldiers missed out due to being on duties not recognised as deserving an award.

In WW1 medals were only given for overseas service. The Battle of Britain flyers also went without while based in the UK, Churchill said that giving medals to all would devalue the status.  More information from this link:

Medals are still being awarded for WW2. The Women’s Land Army have only recently been recognised and the French government has been awarding the L├ęgion d’honneur to D-Day veterans from many different countries for several years, as a way of honouring and thanking those who fought and risked their lives to secure France’s liberation during the Second World War. The Arctic Star is a military campaign medal which was instituted by the United Kingdom on 19 December 2012 for award to subjects of the British Commonwealth for service in the Second World War, specifically those who served on the Arctic Convoys north of the Arctic Circle

Next meeting will be in the Nog Inn 8pm on Thursday 1st December.

Feniton History Group held the 72nd meeting in the Nog Inn

Well what can I say? Another wide ranging and interesting evening. Thank you all.

Sadly Jim is unable to join us with his Ottery WW1 book in November, so we will try to book him sometime next year.

Below are the links to the mapping project, I think it will be interesting to take part and with the local knowledge we have with Alan, Brenda, David and Jo, it will be worthwhile to take part.

Jenny related her fascinating work on “The Mystery of Prince James Lodge”, copies for sale in the Church. I can’t imagine what it would have been like to have all the troops descend on the village  in  1640 and require food for the horses and 2000 men!

Geoff who volunteers in the Record Office has been helping with three van loads of material, the contents of a loft from a business premises in Exeter. Details relating to Shell Mex Garages etc.

Geoff also mentioned maps on parchment / linen for the Red Cross parcel system in Scotland. Also the sinking of the HMS Royal Oak, WW2, there is an Iron Cross medal 2nd class in Honiton Museum.

David is studying Church Graffiti relating to St. Andrew’s here.  Some marks are mason’s working marks, others are witches marks to ward off evil. Feniton has a sun dial scratched into the stone. Names are found, James Russel 1673 or 5, Charles and Minnie in the Belfry! Graffiti was the only way the poor had of making their marl, etched with the point of their shears, sometimes used to sharpen arrows.

Jackie has been to a talk on making of mosaic and found it very interesting, and still done today as a craft or hobby.

Brenda came in with a grin from ear to ear after making a wonderful breakthrough in her family tree research, her five times grandmother from North Devon is related to the family whose descendants were the founders of the Union Castle Line, ship owners. She has found wills and inventories.

George, along with Jenny have been looking at the Quaker Meeting in Uffculm and the 39 Articles of Faith. This links to the Cadbury and Fy families, of chocolate fame!

Bill who has been digging drains in his neighbour’s back garden has found large pieces of shoddy brick work, that must have been rejected by the builders in the 1970s when the bungalows were built.

Will came over to show us an amazing ring from the 2nd or 3rd century a Edward the 6th Shilling and a touch coin from the 1400s. He told us about his visit to Dorset where a hoard of Roman coins found in a pot 6 inches across.

Alan rounded the evening off for us with more of his Devon dialect and local sayings, much to our amusement.  The use of nicknames. The direction of travel, over to, down to, up to.

WW1 Soldiers who died in September 1916 "We will remember them"


Born, 1894 in Broadhembury,  son of Henry and Mary Elizabeth Lovering of Kercombe, Gittisham. ?Curscombe Feniton?

He served in the 4th Battalion Devonshire Regiment and died on the 16th September 1916 age 22 and buried in the Baghdad North Gate war cemetery.

Soldiers Died in the Great War 1914-1919
Broadhembury, Devon
Cullompton, Devon
Regiment, Corps etc.:
Devonshire Regiment
Battalion etc.:
2/4th Battalion (Territorials).

Formed at Exeter 16.9.14. Oct. 2/Devon & Cornwall Bde. 2/Wessex Div. 12.12.14 embarked at Southampton for India arriving early Jan. 1915. 15.10.17 sailed from Bombay for Egypt. 25.10.17 landed at Suez. 13.12.17 to 234th Bde. 75th Div. July 1918 left 75th Div. and disbanded in Egypt on 17.8.18.
Date died:
16 September 1916
How died:
Theatre of war:

He enlisted at Cullompton into 2/4th (Territorial) Battalion,  Devonshire Regiment (NOT the 4th Battalion). The Battalion was formed at Exeter on 16th Sept 1914 and was attached to the Devon & Cornwall Brigade of the 2nd Wessex Division on 2 Oct 1914. They embarked at Southampton for India on 12 Dec 1914 arriving there in early Jan 1915 when they moved to Wellington in the Madras area. The Battalion saw no action for 1916 and most of 1917.H he died of an illness and was not killed or wounded in battle. But if he did die of an illness when serving in India why is he buried in Baghdad? I can only think that as the CWGC site has him in the 4th Battalion, Devon’s on death that he had been sent from his own battalion to make up the strength of the 4th which was serving in Mesopotamia. (Although the Devonshire Regimental history lists him as dying in service with the 2/4th Battalion)  According to the Regimental History the 4th and 6th Battalions in Mesopotamia were very badly affected by illness during the period May to August 1916 at times having half of the strength in hospital.