The 87th Meeting of The Feniton History Group was held in the Nog Inn


Thrilled to see so many here, and I must record that the March meeting was cancelled due to Snow! What a strange Spring this is.

I have extracted the relevant pages of the 1939 Registration for the village, available on the Find My Past website, subscription required.  This was recorded to issue ration books for WW2.

Geoff, a volunteer at South West Heritage  Trust, formerly the Devon Record Office,  has been collating Theatre records and the Papers of Lord Sidmouth more detail here from Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viscount_Sidmouth

Geoff also mentioned the wonderful archive of the photographer  James Ravilious, amounting to some 78 thousand photos of Devon, its landscape and the working people on their farms and in the villages.

David shared with us his research into the Transi Tomb:

Fenton’s Transi is likely to have been carved from an emaciated live model, possibly a male prostitute and not a cadaver

If we are right in the assumption that our transi is that of the last William Malherbe (b1446- d1493) what influence could a Bishop of Winchester have had on the choice of a Malherbe tomb? Up to the time shortly before William Malherbe’s death the Bishop of Winchester was Peter Courtenay (1486-1492/3) who, prior to that was Bishop of Exeter from 1478 to1486/7.  If the Malherbe’s moved in high circles there could have been a chance they were known to each other and that Peter Courtenay, the Bishop of Exeter and subsequently the Bishop of Winchester had that influence and recommended a Southwark sculptor. Both the Malherbe and the Courtenay families stemmed from Brittany, France being the country where transi tombs were the vogue. 

I have been told that monuments such as ours would have been carved before the death on the person commemorated, in which case it would have been in the period that Peter Courtenay was Bishop of Winchester.

This can only be conjecture but despite that, an interesting twist on who our transi may commemorate.

Where does Southwark fit into the story?
The stews, (or brothels), of Southwark’s Bankside were infamous in the Middle Ages and though banned by Henry VIII in 1546, their notoriety lived on.

 Nevertheless, the women who worked in The Stews became known as “Winchester Geese” but the “Winchester Goose” was also used to describe a swelling in the groin caused by venereal disease.  

The regulations which controlled brothels, though they were regularly flaunted, it fell to the Bishops of Winchester, as Lord of the Manor, through his bailiff, steward or constables to administer and enforce the 1161 regulations at his Court Leet (a manorial court).  Most offences were punishable by a fine, another source of revenue for the Bishops.

Jenny  is working  with a film director on a production relating to the events of the Battle of Fenny Bridges, 1549.  This was followed by a discussion on what happened to the bodies after the battle. There is thought to be a  plague pit  under thr north vestry of Ottery St Marcy Church, perhaps they were burnt? Interesting discussion. The victims of the Woodbury  squirmish were buried on site, so  what happened to the Fenny bodies?

Rosemary’s Sewing group are to make five wounds battle banner for the film. 

Brenda has been looking at the 1918 Flu epidemics, a  ww1 military encampment brought it to Europe, then Scotland and down through the country. East Devon may have eased it congested lungs. The high mortality did not seem to have raised the burial numbers in Feniton 1918. The virus killed more than 50 million people, three times the number that fell in the Great War. Bovril was in short supply for the patients due to shortage of jars, it was advertised as something to make you influenza proof!

Alan has been reading a book written by Asa Briggs, a Social  History of England detailing  crops and husbandry. A very strong history of social, economic and political life in the British Isles.

George and his family, with Jenny’s skills in producing booklets, has set out his biography, also he went to the Ottery Heritage meeting  about  a ship sunk  in Poole harbour.

Val told us about the postcards  from her relative while in France during WW1

Hugh has been researching the heat wave suffered on 30 Sept 1892, the Ref. was suffering from the heat.

It was so good to see you all after the winter hiatus. Thank you all for a lovely evening.

Remembering Tom Marshall


MARSHALL, Tom
Rank: Private
Service No: M2/133381
Date of Death: 12/04/1918
Regiment/Service: Army Service Corps
593rd M.T. Coy. attd. VIII Corps Heavy Artillery.
Grave Reference III. E. 23.
Cemetery YPRES RESERVOIR CEMETERY

In Feniton on the 1911 census, brother of William and Lillian Marshall  born about 1871, farm worker at Long Park

Friends of St. Andrew's Church


Valerie, who is the Chair of the Friends of St Andrews, has asked me to forward on to you the Agenda for their AGM 

Although you may not be a registered Friend of St Andrews, but as member of the congregation you give your support to the church in another way, it would be appreciated if you could find time to attend their AGM and hear about their plans, finance and the past contribution they make to the church.

 I have to say without them the church would be a poorer place and not in such a good structural state of repair and we would not have the village plant sale which is an enormous social event.

You will not be "pressed ganged" into anything but your presence at the AGM would give encouragement and thanks to them, so please, if possible, diary today Monday 26th March at 7.30 in church.
Kind regards, David


2018  ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING

To be held on
Monday 26th MARCH  2018 at 7.30 in the Church

AGENDA
1.   Apologies
2.   Minutes of 2017 AGM
3.   Matters arising
4.   Chairman’s Report
5.   Treasurer’s Report   
6.   Election of Committee
7.   Matters arising from 2017/18 season
8.   AOB  

Followed by general meeting:
1.       Minutes of last meeting
2.       Matters arising
3.       Treasurers Report -  as above
4.       Data Protection
5.       Update of church maintenance
6.       Fundraising event
7.        AOB
8.        Date of next meeting   



HERRIDGE, Reginald

The Feniton History Group are commerating Reginald Herridge who died in WW1


Born : Feniton 1889
Baptised : 25th December 1889
Parents : William and Mary Herridge, Sidmouth Junction.
Married : Ivy Blanch Best – Honiton Q3/1915
Died : 22nd March 1918
Buried : Sery-les-Mezieres Communal Cemetery, France. Grave 8.
1891 Census : 62 Railway Cottages, Feniton – aged 1
1901 Census : Sidmouth Junction – aged 11
1911 Census : Parkholm, West Hill, Budleigh Salterton – boarder aged 21.
Occupations : Railway Porter
Address on enlisting : Budleigh Salterton. He enlisted in Exeter.
Regiment : 7th Battalion, Queens Own (Royal West Kent) Regiment
Rank : Private
Service Number : TF/241343
Notes : The 7th Battalion landed at Le Havre on 27th July 1915. He is buried in Sery-les-Mezieres Communal Cemetery, France, along with four other British soldiers. This is behind German lines in an area that was never occupied by the British until almost the end of the war. The most likely explanation is that he was taken prisoner of war during the German offensive in early 1918, was probably wounded during his capture and subsequently died of the wounds in captivity – possibly at a German field hospital. At the time of his death his wife was living at 8 Holland Road, St Thomas, Exeter. Although he has a Territorial Force reference, he may have been a volunteer as the 7th was a volunteer battalion.




Sorry m'dears....

Apologies for missing the last two meetings, due to flu.

I just wanted to pass on the links to the Suffragette Movement which was formed 100 years ago this month (February)

I wonder if there were any local girls who took part?

transformingsociety/electionsvoting/womenvote/.
There is an excellent guide to researching Suffragettes on the National
Archives website:
womens-suffrage/.
See also Woman and her Sphere: Suffrage Stories:

Suffragette Collection on Find My Past
Search our new collection of over 3,000 records from The National Archives recording the details of the women and men who supported women's suffrage in the early 20th century. Discover your suffragette ancestor among the arrest records, parliamentary papers, watch list of over 1,300 suffragettes, personal statements, reports of force-feeding, and transcripts of speeches.

* * * * * * ** ** * * * * *

Also, there is a local Facebook page that will be of interest, lovely photos
from the various sports teams, carnivals and railway, worth a look.

Feniton History Group held the 84th meeting in The Nog Inn

It is with sadness I mentioned to the Group that Chris Saunders has left our membership, we will miss his expertise and company.

The last two events we have held in the church were wonderful, but due to bad weather the attendance has been poor.

The talk by Jim Woolley and Bob Neal on "Ottery's Sacrifice", the book tells of the men and families affected by WW1, was well received and very poignant, seeing the Commonwealth War Graves in France and Belgium. The book is available from The Curious Otter Book Shop.

Thank  you to Jim and Bob for an informative evening.

David has picked up on the name Lady J. Rickman from the Kelly Directories dated 1893 and 1889 each mention her charity of £25 for Public Use. She is a puzzle, and does not seem to be in any listing on line.  The search is ongoing, so watch this space.
Do have any suggestions? Where did the compilers of the directories get their information?

In a DFHS magazine from 1994 David found in a book shop gave detail of a fire in Ottery St Mary, a messenger went from Ottery to the station at Feniton to telegraph the message to Exeter, the cause was children in a cottage playing with matches in a cottage off Jesu Street  was the cause  article written by Jean Harris.

He also found a volume of the Devonshire Transactions containing notes on the Devon Dialect.

Geoff, who volunteers in the Devon Record Office, is cataloguing papers from the Garret Family of Bishops Court, the papers hold details of their taxes. It was cheaper to hire a coach and horses then to own one, due to the tax. The estate was sold to John Garrett in 1830, he made his fortune from tea.  Of late is was used by W.E. Taylor a paint company


George on one of his walks has visited Redlake China Clay, here are a couple of links to the area:


Alan tells us: You never know what will turn up from the past, boxes containing military orders for King Philip’s Spanish Armada have been found.

Even a “new” type of dinosaur has been found.

Brenda has found an article in the Western Times detailing the first train to come down the rail line, stopping at Feniton. It had 20 carriages and 3 trains. The day was a wet one with fast falling rain  and a solar eclipse at the time. Speeches were made £300  had been spent on the  road to Sidmouth. Sir  John Kennaway went to lunch with  the navies.

Was the Back Drive to Escot put in to aid access to the station for the railway access?
This is disproved by Rev. Swete’s visit to Escot, see below*

Many commentators say how beautiful East Devon is.
John Leland came through in 1542.
Celia Fiennes travelled through in 1698 and remarked what a good road it was from Exeter to Honiton.

In 1795 the Reverend Swete made his "Picturesque Tour of Devon" and describes his visit to Escot. *"Northward of the house I came to some iron gates that opened onto a public road contiguous which was a cottage that had been formerly used as a lodge.”

 Thackeray  was at Larkbeare:
Major Carmichael-Smyth,  step father  to Thackeray,  retired to Larkbeare,  near Ottery St. Mary, in South Devon, which he rented from the local potentate. Sir John Kennaway, setting up as a small country squire or gentleman-farmer. There he reaped his crops, brewed cider, and shot partridges, while his wife drove in her carriage with a footman
on the box, to visit the neighbours. Larkbeare was the Fairoaks, Ottery St. Mary the Clavering St. Mary, and  Exeter the Chatteris of  his novel “Pendennis”.

Jenny has been asked to help with a film covering the Battle of Fenny Bridges, using her research as a basis.

There seems to be “Treacle Mines” in Feniton according to a post on Facebook page Feniton Focus. 


KENNAWAY Sir John Bt. Passed peacefully in Worcester Royal Hospital on October 22nd, 2017, aged 84 years, after a short illness. Published in the Malvern Gazette on 10th November 2017

Feniton History Group held the 83rd Meeting in the Nog Inn

We reviewed the fascinating illustrated talk by Martin Howell, it was sad that due to the very bad weather only 9 people came. This raised £40 for the Church Fabric Fund

Our next event is the WW1 Talk with Jim Woolley from Ottery Heritage on Thursday 30th Nov in the Church at 7:30 pm.

For the culmination of the 100 years since WW1 it was decided to mark this with a Themed WW1 afternoon tea in the Church or village hall, war time cakes and music. Suggested date Saturday 10th November 2018.

George : Has been looking at the horrific events after the Monmouth Rebellion, (1685) the South West was littered the decaying bodies hung in cages from churches and at Cross Roads after being boiled in pitch.  Bitterly Cross was one such place. Between Feniton and Talaton.

This links gives the account of the time:

 We discussed child labour in the mines, mills and small boys working for chimney sweeps, Jenny related the story of a young girl who had stolen a violin case, all driven by poverty, followed by harsh sentencing in the courts.

This tells more:

George  spoke of the American grave yard and the French Prisoners of war


He also told us the Dartmoor Jail Museum was worth a visit.

I related my conversation with my grandson regarding the Devon dialect, he had not heard of regional accents,   the Cornish spoke late Anglo Saxon and had their own language, which is being revived in an effort for it not to be lost.

Bob is enjoying the garden, and told us about the  Indian service  1930/32 medal with 2 bars.  There was a Water Carrier medal. The English detachment did not get involved with the skirmishes, but if a white person involved they would shoot. His father served in India in the 1930s. Sadly, all his father’s effects were lost when his home was cleared after his death.

Jenny  has a relative of the Horsey family  of Clifton May Banks House. Sadly, with the wills destroyed in the second world war the line is not easy to follow.  

 Brenda brought along her Grandfather’s postcards from WW1, he was a Batman to an Officer. The cards are written with a pencil, only the Officers had access to ink! He was in hospital in Birmingham in July 1917, using the dates from the postmarks Brenda has worked out where in the world he was at the time of posting.

While searching the newspaper archives Brenda found some articles relating to Cecil Harris  of Bricklands now Appletrees. behind the Nog Inn.  Samuel, his father lived at Pound House in Payhembury he was a carpenter and wheelwright.  Cecil was a carriage builder. In  1928,  when the building  of council houses was proposed, he criticised the siting of the council houses because he thought it more sensible they should be near the Station where there was a mains sewer that could be used instead of the proposed site in Station Road. He also worried about flooding in front of Bricklands. He went with the nickname  “Crab Apple Face.”   His wife died in  a cycle accident.

Cecil  had the first motor garage in the area , he was offered the Vauxhall dealership, but he thought cars had no future and turned it down. Arthur, Cecil’s son was  put forward for e military medal.

Brenda attended the DFHS conference  and mentioned the Heathcote family who were keen on education and erected a school. At the conference Brenda met the author of a new book about  Thomas Fowler, an inventor from Torrington who invented a calculating machine.



 Geoff told us of a family with 22 children raised  in a bigamist marriage, the father remarried the 1st wife to legitimise the children inc a spell in Canada.

Alan has seen the item on the Spotlight news about Drowners Huts on the River Frome in Dorset, for the men  working on the  water meadows.  He asked if the small derelict shed at Fenny Bridges would have been such a building?

Alan also recalled a boundary change that meant Feniton Parish were responsible for the maintenance of the Bridge.

It was a lively and fascinating evening, thank you all.


Next meeting 8pm in the Nog Inn on 7th December 2017.