Feniton History Group held the 70th meeting in the Nog Inn


Very sadly I have to report that since our meeting the Boundary Stone has  been uprooted, and is now back in my garage. We will have to discuss what we do about this at the next meeting. The ownership of the stone was also muted.

We had our usual lively and varied discussion, hope I have remembered it all!

2017 will see the 50th anniversary of the closure of the Railway Station. Brenda and Alan remembered the village was promised better transport links by bus, which, never came about!

 Geoff tells The Devon Record Office (Southwest Heritage) has set up a new database of its holdings.  http://devon-cat.swheritage.org.uk/

 Brenda has found some wonderful maps of Feniton Court in the DRO.

The Feniton Carnival was remembered, it was set up to raise funds for the Youth Centre, the last one was held in the late 1980s. The village groups borrowed tractors and trailers from the local farmers. The WI did a float relating to “Boy George” and also one “Ascot” where the ladies became rather tipsy on all the wine! Another float was “Citizen Smith”.

Chris reported all is in hand for the restoration of the Patteson Cross Obelisk, and a fund raising event is taking place in Feniton Church 23rd September. We have been asked to put up one of our display boards, we have the material from the event held previously. 

Alan spoke about place name pronunciation, how people from away say the names wrong. It all has to do with dialect and localisms!!  This led onto how the lack of road signs after the war lead to confusion in the Devon Lanes.

Brenda is still gleaning wonderful snippets regarding Parr Cottage and its history as the village Inn, reading rooms and men’s club. She has found an inventory which contained things like spittoons, a lot of the expenses went on lamp oil, coal and daily newspapers.

The education act of 1870 upset the farmers who had to let their farm lads go to school! It was thought the working classes did not need education.


Bill has been busy with the Carving Group and it is now a very popular craft for villagers.

Feniton History Group held the 69th meeting

Thanks to Brenda and David for running the meeting due to my absence!

Jenny is working on St James Cottage , later named Wimsheet. She outlined where the cottage was which was on the Curscombe road near the sharp bend and after the stream bridge. She had rules out most options of it being linked to Prince James. Can Geoff  check if it is marked on any old maps

Brenda is still working on the Parr cottages, Alan reported on stories associated with Long Linney and Rutts lane. George  is interested in Article 39 of the C of E. Bob offered help with any project work

David reported on the nature of Church graffiti and how it was the only record  of the poor in our churches, all other memorials were of and for the wealthy.

Will has being doing some more detecting at Windmill Hill, sadly no major finds.

The Group all seem happy to have a meeting in August, so I have booked the Nog Inn for Thursday 4th August at 8 pm.


Chris Saunders is leading a project to get the Patteson’s Cross Memorial repaired, there will be a fund raising event in Feniton Church on Friday 23rd Sept at 7:00 pm

Feniton History Group held the 68th meeting in The Nog Inn

I hope you won’t be bored with me repeating this, but again we had a jolly and far reaching natter on various topics!

We are thinking about marking the 50 years after the station closed on 3 Jan 1967, which would be next year.

David and I have been looking at emails from a researcher looking into the Pring family of East Devon. One Martin Pring born here in 1580 turns out to be a noted explorer. A Google search brings up various reports of his life as a sea captain and explorer. He was baptised in the church on 23 Apr. 1580 -  bur; 1627 St. Stephen’s Bristol. He was son of John Pring of Thorne.


There are two meetings planned, the first from Ottery Heritage by Jim on his book commemorating WW1 in the area and Jenny and George have kindly said they will show the Western Uprising PowerPoint which is nowing be updated to include new research.

Chris from Ottery Heritage has been working hard on the project to repair the Patterson Cross Monument and has received consent to organise its repair. Hoping to start in Sept, all being well.  There will a Social Evening to raise funds. The stone masons will require a welfare station on site adding to the costs.

Geoff, while volunteering at the Devon Records Office has been indexing  planning  documents for Honiton dated 1920s  / 1930s , this detailed the  Reads garage pump on arm reaching on to the High Street, and its necessary  fuel tank , the Turks Head Café and planning for the houses in Honiton Bottom. Plans for Pubs and Inns in Honiton, Tavern Beer houses. The  act of 1830 tried to put an end to too much Gin!,  but anyone could sale beer,  but not spirits. The old water board site in Kings Road was an aircraft factory war time, permissions for toilets in the pubs. In 1932 the houses were to be built with bathrooms and a washroom/ scullery.  This is a wonderful resource for the social history of the town. There is also a plan of Cullompton after the fire.

Brenda has been working on the history of the Parr Cottages, they have a long and varied past, as an Inn or Cider House,  as far back as 1649 when the “ale wife” served the church workmen, the village meeting rooms. The property was part of the Feniton Court Estate and the name Parr may have come from the village Par in Cornwall where the Rashleigh’s who owned the Court had their main family home. 

Jenny  and George took the Western Uprising talk  to the U3A meeting where it was well received, but they had trouble with the  Beehive hall equipment  which did not match their own computer so did the whole talk by the seat of their pants!! Jenny has copyrighted the talk to Feniton History Group to protect it. 

 Jenny tells us she may have links to her own family with the Frys, Quakers from Spicelands, Uffculm leading to a link with Cadbury family and chocolate.

Alan told us about the legend of the cottage near Buckerell Cross called  “Prince James Lodge”  this may be the  son of  King Charles 1st.  Since the meeting Jenny has been doing some research on this and found three men named Prince James, the most promising candidate would be the Duke of Monmouth who was in East Devon after landing at Lyme Regis. So an interesting task is in hand here!

The then evolved into a chat about long distance footpaths used by fleeing Kings, the Monarch’s Way and the Liberty Way


The route of the Liberty Trail route is based on information recorded by six rebels from various villages in Somerset and Dorset. Villagers from the two counties made their way to join the Protestant Monmouth Rebellion in 1685.The rebels wore green sprigs tucked into their hats to declare their support for Monmouth. Weapons that they carried included farm scythes and other suitable agricultural tools.

Roy  has been out and about and found some 13C / 14C finds  including a pommel hilt in the Membury area.

George told us computer problems have stopped him progressing with the Nonconformist research. He related the 1860s  law requiring a licence to use  private buildings as a church.  He mentioned the Five Miles act.


I have had a query from a lady researching the Wreck of the Berar off Rousdon in 1896. The was said to be an oak bucket at the Railway Hotel saod to have come from the wreck, the only link I could find was the landlord Fred, G Greenham who married Elizabeth Loveridge of Axmouth in 1889. They were at the pub from about 1910 to 1928.

Many thanks to all, so many interesting snippets.


The next meeting be in the Nog Inn 8 pm on 7th July.

Feniton History Group held the 67th meeting in the Nog Inn

 We had another evening consisting of a good natter about various topics,   the old chapel at Sidmouth Junction, sad that we could not have made use of it for the village as an arts centre and café. Being an old building the upkeep would have been a problem.

 Something I omitted from last month was the amount of £66.00 raised by Jim Rider’s talk. This has been passed to the Church. I have received a note from Jo Chown thanking us and hoping we will continue to make use of the building in this way.

Brenda bought along an interesting article about Sidmouth junction Station shown in the form of a model in a railway magazine, very well made, though  Alan says the train on the branch line is wrong it would have been a tank engine suitable to run the line without being turned around.

The conversation then moved on to Moles, Badgers and hedgehogs and the plans to re-wild rural areas.

The Boundary Stone unveiling and walk was a great success, the Group hope to make this an annual event on Rogation Sunday.  

Brenda is researching the cottages now known as Parr Cottages. This building has a long and varied history, being the local inn or cider house, a room was used by the Men’s Club. Brenda now has the minute books which from 1924 onwards. The club was started by the Rev. Watson to give men something to do. John Virgin was running it when it closed.

The rooms there were used like a village hall, the parish council held their meetings there, it was also used for the large ploughing match lunches, wonderful write ups in the newspapers of the day. The men were asked to use the facilities rather than the garden!  The rooms played a big part in the social life of the village.

We talked about how Post Cards were delivered same day compared to modern day communications, how many of us during our school days found the teaching of history uninspiring.

Hugh  told us about his interests in the history of Plymouth Argyle football  team. The whole town had a half day closing for the match days and the dockyard also let their employees off.  Seeing the local sports news Hugh must be very chuffed to see his team off to Wembley! My brother who lives in Hampshire tells the Portsmouth followers are devastated!!

Jenny and George are taking the Western Uprising PowerPoint to Honiton this week. Jenny has kindly honoured us with the copyright to safeguard it.

Thank you all for a jolly evening. Shout if I have left anything out.

 Our next meeting is on 2nd June, when we look forward to having Graeme with his metal detecting and field walking find.

1061 Boundary between Ottery St Mary and Feniton

On Rogation Sunday 1st May 2016 The History Group and guests attended while Rev. Cate unveiled a Boundary Stone to mark this ancient boundary. We followed this with a walk along a part of the boundary.

Susie Bond has kindly written about the process that led us to the event:
https://susiebond.wordpress.com/






Feniton History Group held the 66th meeting


We finalised the details of the talk by Jim Rider in the church on 21st April Jim has his own projector. £3 on the door with tea, coffee and biscuits, meet at the church 7 pm to set up.

George asked if there was any interest on holding a  railway event in  March 2017 to mark the 50 years since the Sidmouth Line closed. It looks like we may do something, so watch this space.

The placing of the Boundary Stone is all in place for Sun 1st May at 2:30 pm and invites have gone out by email. Rev. Cate has kindly offered to do the unveiling.

Graeme Smith has confirmed he will be able to join us for the 2nd  June meeting, when he will update us on his finds in the area. Roy while  metal detecting  found a railway badge

Geoff who volunteers at the Devon Heritage Centre has seen a voter  list dated 1759 / 60 list for Exeter Parliamentary elections. Dan Defoe passed through Honiton in the 1720s and mentions the parliamentary situation of some of the towns in the Southwest.


He has been given the task of identifying photos  of early railways including some of the Brunel broad gauge line in South Devon and the Pumping Station at time of the change from broad gauge to standard gauge.

Brenda has been looking up things in the old newspapers and we discussed the prize for the farm labourer with most children given at Ploughing Matches, the more children, the more free labour for the boss, but, it must have been so hard in the old damp and near derelict cottages found on some farms.

We nattered about research the other conflicts and if out menfolk from the village would have been on the Boer war and Crimea war. Sadly, the many army lists only mention the officers.

 David has an Advowson relating the village, it shows who had the right to present the Rector to Feniton Church. It lists many names, some we know about as part of the Manor of Feniton, others no known, so another jigsaw to collate.

The title of Yeoman was discussed. This link helps define it:

Alan  bought along a map showing how the roads in the old village  had changed over  time from 1700 to 1900, he used notes from Victor Chown’s book and Donns map 1765.

 The oldest route in Broadhill,  was a  sand quarry which was  worked out in the 1700s, then used as the cutting for Sandy Knapp/ Green lane  about 1765 ish.

Rutts Lane from Cheriton Hill used to run through Beechwood copse  to Sandy Knapp in a straight line.  Broad Hill was put in about 1830. Rutts Lane  was  too high and was lowered to meet Broad Hill, closing the lane through Beechwood.

In 1840 Sir John Patteson who lived in the court, closed Church Lane which, at the time was the through road to Curscombe. The top of Sand Knapp was  too steep for wagons. The council lowered it, the sides are still visible in the sand bank. The sand was used for building, Westlades was built  using material from the quarry. Thank you Alan.

Brenda raised a query about the land and garden around Sherwood Villa, seems to be an old wall running across towards Appletrees. Does anyone when the Villa was built?

David told us of his visit to Beer Quarry Caves and suggested it would be somewhere for a FHG group outing.

Brenda's progress on her projects, we all love her excitement at what she has discovered! Her current quest is the Feniton Inn situated where Parr Cottage is now. It was run by Henry Darke, he married in  1823 to a  farmers daughter, Ann Burton.

The old newspapers reveal it was the venue for the annual dinners held after the ploughing matches.  They describe a big room with a huge roof and tent sides.

 In the Railway Hotel the beer was dearer in the lounge bar.

 We spoke about the age of the new estate.  Memories of the houses being built and even a playground which never came too!! That rings a bell with the current new housing development. Ely Close was built about 1972.

Looking through the Vestry books in the Heritage Centre Brenda found that  in 1873 St Anne’s chapel  was  sold, the money to benefit the school but the Honiton Union said no. The  Population at the time was 306.

Also found was reference to  Branscombe Mill at Fenny Bridges, this is something we have not heard before.  In the back of the Church wardens book  is a 1806  description of walking the boundary.

This concluded another wonderful evening, thank you all.


'Mayday in July', the last flight of a Viscount.


This was a fascinating talk, adding a human element to the accident, which some of the audience remembered. If you get chance to hear Jim's talk don't miss it.

Thank you Jim for a very informative evening.


This took place in Feniton Church 7:30 pm on Thursday 21st April on behalf of Feniton History Group.


Jim Rider's new book  'Mayday in July' has been published by the Ottery St Mary Heritage Society and is now available from the Curious Otter Bookshop in Ottery St Mary (price £7.95).  It is also available on line from Amazon.  The book tells the story of the last flight of a Viscount airliner, G-ARBY, which landed in a farmer's field south of Ottery St Mary in July 1980.  All sixty two people on board walked away and there were no injuries.  It is a remarkable local story and has never been fully told before.

For more details on 'Mayday in July' talks please contact Jim Rider.

CONTACT DETAILS
01404 549471