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 cafĂ©. 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:

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.

01404 549471

Feniton History Group held the 65th meeting

The business part of the meeting confirmed the change of date for Jim Rider.
Here are his notes on the talk:

“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. I will be presenting an illustrated talk on the event in Feniton Parish Church at 7.30 pm on Thursday 21st April 2016.  Everyone welcome.“ 

I have spoken to Graeme Smith and he will be joining us for the June meeting (2nd June) in the Nog Inn.

Friends of Feniton Church asks if we can do a display or our choosing for the plant sale on 14/15 May, the Group felt they had nothing new to offer at the moment.

I have seen various Conflict Commemorations and thought we should check if we have and service folk from later conflicts who lived in Feniton.  Geoff suggested we might look at the Boer War and the Crimea.

 We had a good natter about the wonderful photos taken by James Ravilious, son of the painter Eric. This link tells more: http://tinyurl.com/hhrtq8h

Geoff told us about the maps he is working on as part of a conservation volunteer project in the Devon Record Office. He had come across a map showing Vicarage Cottages at Fairmile, these would have been demolished when the A30 was widened. A photo of the cottages is shown on page 95 of “Around Ottery St Mary” by Gerald Gosling and Peter Harris. Published 1994.

George is looking at non-conformist chapels in the area for his current research.

Jenny is pleased to say she has completed her major research on the Western Rebellion She tells us one of the Malherbe family was held to ransom in 1483 a  ransom was  paid   He  was wounded by a musket shot. So perhaps this is the “wound” in the shoulder of the tomb in Feniton Church? She has also finished her work on early immunisation and Benjamin Jesty.

Will tells us he has a colleague, Glen Ford, who is to x-ray the arrow heads from Windmill Hill to  confirm the evidence relating to the period of the Western Rebellion.

Brenda explained how well the  School Project is progressing, and now has some Church of England  notes on Feniton.  The current school was opened in 1967  on its current site so it will be its 50th year in 2017.

In 1863 the first school opened with 30 children, but, it seems like they made the list up from the  church baptism  register instead of using the actual children.  Some were too old to be in school, so a false document if ever there was one!  

We welcomed Roy, a new member, he is a  Metal detectorist  studying the Vikings of Exeter and Crediton.

 George sold us about a  Cist burial  on Dartmoor 3500 years  ago,  it held beads , a wicker pot  and even bear pelt.

I have resigned from the WW1 farming project, sadly due to time pressure, I just can’t get to the sessions in Exeter and incomplete data for the village.

Thank you all for yet another fascinating evening.

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

Feniton History Group held the 64th meeting in the Nog Inn

The talk by Jim Rider: the new date is Thursday 21st April at 7:30 pm.

We quickly discussed our current research, Food & Farming in WW1, Brenda’s school project, both with the Devon History Society. David has more on the dispute between the Rev. Head and the Bishop! George is looking at Nonconformists in the area. Geoff, through his volunteer work in the Devon Heritage Centre is working on maps from our local land agents, Whitton and Laing and a new deposit in from the Estate Agents Force, who were also Undertakers.

Maps were mentioned and Stanfords were mentioned as suppliers:

A good online source for  UK maps is at http://maps.nls.uk/

For the new season of history events in Devon I suggest you keep an eye on the link:

Thank you to Jenny and George for arranging the visit of Will Churcher to the meeting. It was the best evening we have had in a long time!  Fuelled by Landlord Mike’s ale!

Will was accompanied by his friend Chris, who joined in our conversations with a mind of an engineer.

So interesting and just amazing to hold the musket shot and bodkins found by Will with his metal detector.

The finds relate to the time of the Prayer Book Rebellion, 1549.  Will is working on a  Civil War project for a  hands on history collection to be put together for the Royal Albert Museum in Exeter.

Will urged everyone to be honest and responsible in their metal detecting and take finds to the museum for verification.

I was so enthralled by the artefacts, my notes taken on the night may be lacking! 

Sadly, nothing has ever been found in the fields where the Battle at Fenny Bridges took place, apart from an arrow head in a tree.

Clyst St Mary saw one of the important battles in the  Rebellion. After the battle at Woodbury Common on 4 August 1549, the rebels under the control of Humphrey Arundell had re-grouped with the main contingent of 6,000 at Clyst St Mary, but on 5 August were attacked by a central force led by Sir William Francis, under the control of John Russell, 1st Earl of Bedford. After a ferocious battle Russell's troops gained the advantage leaving a thousand Cornish and Devonians dead and many more taken prisoner, 900 of whom were massacred later that day at Clyst Heath. Many of the soldiers and villagers were drowned in the river.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clyst_St_Mary#Battle_of_Clyst_St_Mary

In the marshes at Clyst St. Mary finds include musket balls, and a Baldrick which is a  sword belt. The Bridge there is meant to be the oldest in Devon. A Gunner held the bridge with a canon by John Hammond. The area may have been flooded, so  they would have crossed at Bishops Clyst.

Tudor Bodkins arrow heads probably Devon made and could  pierce armour, they wore helmets,  and possibly  chain mail.   

 George modelling a “Lobster Pot Helmet”

Windmill Hill, Greendale, no musket balls found, but a  very early screw thread bolt was found . We chatted about the history of nuts and bolts

Will showed us a Culverin ball shot, size of a golf ball, from this sort of weapon, David pointed out this could well be that depicted in the wound carved into the cadaver in the church.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Culverin

German and Italian mercenaries fought in the rebellion:

Feeding an army in 1549 must have been difficult, but the land owner would have feared for his safety had he not provided supplies.

Siege of Exeter was also part of this cruel era.

Will showed us two amulets relating to the time,  one marked Prides Rump Purge

We talked about other sieges, one being  of   Newark in  1645.

Will was asked whose side he would be on, the Rebels was Will’s reply!!!

Many thanks Will and Chris.

Next meeting in the Nog Inn 8:00 pm on Thursday 3rd March.

Feniton History Group held the 63rd meeting in the Nog Inn

A near full house of our members, and as usual we had a wide ranging discussion.

Jenny and George are arranging a visitor to talk about archaeology finds relating to the Western Uprising.  This be in the Nog Inn at our February meeting on the 4th Feb.

We confirmed the event in the Church on the Thurs. 17th March when Jim Rider will talk to us about flight G-ARBY, the airliner that crash landed on Bishops Court Farm on 17 Jul 1980.

I mentioned I was having a chat on social media regarding the origins of the name for the village of Talaton, here are my thoughts:

The origins of the village name, Talaton. i.e. ton being a hamlet,  and Tal, may be from the River?
The River Tale, a tributary of the River Otter has its source in the hills behind Broadhembury at Hanger Farm, OS map ref: ST 11864 06059. It then meanders through Broadhembury, Colliton, Danes’s Mill, Payhembury, passing the hamlets of Higher and Lower Tale on the high ground, Tale Common Head to Tuck Mill, to Talewater, through Colesworthy, Clapperentale, Escot, Fairmile, to Cadhay, here it meets with the River Otter, OS map ref: SY 09207 95911.

The village of Talaton lies over a ridge from the Tale Valley, geographically it does not share the Tale Valley, apart, from the River Tale being part of the parish boundary between Feniton and Talaton, where is runs through Talewater and Colesworthy. 

Chris Saunders came to give us an update on the possible restoration of the monument at Patteson’s Cross. The Ottery Heritage are in full support for this repair and this repair only, they will not adopt the monument or take responsibility for it after this.

The ownership of it is still unknown, but Devon Highways tend the grass island it sits on and will allow its repair. So advice from a conservator would be welcome. Chris will potter on searching for the best way to progress this, if we come across anything relevant please pass it to Chris.

Chris  then spoke about a book he has received via a visitor who stayed at his house, unbeknown to her that she was staying in the area where Bishop Patteson resided!. In the under croft of her home in Auckland she found the diaries of one Thomas Kerr, a Meteorologist, he took part in the same mission as Bishop Patteson.

The book is called “The Search for Thomas Kerr: Mariner, Mapmaker, Missionary, Meteorologist”. There’s something irresistible about a diary, especially one from over 150 years ago discovered under a house. Scrawled cryptic entries on water-stained pages, near-impossible to read, but hinting at the story of a man’s adventures sailing in the South Pacific. That random find sent author Jean Day on a fifty-year journey of discovery where she found uncanny parallels between her life and that of the long-departed diarist, Thomas Kerr. This book is the story of how she unravelled the tangled threads of the careers he followed; his travels across the globe, from being an orphan in Devonport England; to becoming a naval officer and taking part in charting NZ on the HMS Pandora and fighting in the Chinese Opium Wars. His life as a Melanesian missionary in the islands around Vanuatu; and then as Vicar of Devonport NZ; and his final years as a meteorologist at Valentia, Ireland; until his death in 1875.

Chris also explained there were two vessels called “Southern Cross”  This link gives more detail: http://www.solomonencyclopaedia.net/biogs/E000302b.htm

David related his current research into one Bishop Phillpott of Exeter, with whom our own Rev. Head  clashed  over teaching the catechism.  Rev. Head was dismissed from his post because  of this, but was welcomed back to Feniton with much jubilation, his horses being unhitched from the carriage and he was pulled into the village by the parishioners! He was a man who took his faith seriously, but did not follow the popish ways, he said this: Water is water, bread is bread, wine is wine.

Paterson was ordained by Philpott.  Bishop Phillpotts was involved with the slave trade, on an estate in the ownership of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts. https://www.ucl.ac.uk/lbs/person/view/18347  The slaves were branded with the word Society.

Thank you  all  for such an interesting evening. I look forward to seeing you all in February 2016!  Happy Christmas.