Serjeant Walter HALLETT born 1886 killed 14 Sep 1914

Feniton WW1    Walter HALLETT

Walter  was born 29 Nov 1886, in the parish of Gittisham son of John James Hallett and his wife Elizabeth nee Newbury. Sometime between 1886 and 1891 the family left Gittisham, moving to Newton St Cyres where we found them on the 1891 census.

In the 1901 census they were living at Salmon Hutch Crediton. Walter was employed as a Gardener aged 14, his father was a Foreman Platelayer on the Railway.

The 1911 census finds him visiting with the  Steer family of 3 West View Fraddon Crediton. By now he is working on the railway as a Porter.

According to his Service Record he was 6 ft 1 in tall. He was employed on the railway from 27 February 1911 at Sampford Courtenay as a porter on 15/- per week.

It does not state this on his record but according to the Honiton Deanery Magazine he was in Feniton when he was called up. The record states he was called up on 4 August 1914 to the Army Reserve   to the Coldstream Guards

Sadly he was killed in action on 14 September 1914, aged 27 and single.
 He is commemorated on the Crediton War Memorial and the Common Wealth Graves Commission memorial at La Ferte-Sous-Jouarre. The date of death puts him in the action in the First Battle of the Aisne.

La Ferte-Sous-Jouarre


Feniton History Group 52nd Meeting

Another very interesting evening. I want to thank Chris from Ottery Heritage for joining us, his local knowledge is much appreciated.

The main topic being our joint effort with Ottery to place a stone to mark the historic boundary between the two parishes.

Looking at the drawings from Chris Wakefield and the quotes David kindly gleaned for us, the general consensus is to chose the triangle design. It would cost in the region of £170. Feniton Parish Council are keen and have asked to be kept informed of developments. I will do some more work on this in the coming weeks.

For  part of the fund raising needed for the stone,  Chris has kindly offered to do a talk in the Church for our April 2015 meeting, this then leads up nicely to unveiling the stone as part of our Rogation Walk, on Sunday 10th May 2015. Sadly we don't have any choir boys to "Beat the Bounds" with!! 

Roger has been sending on lovely snippets from the old newspapers, we have decided that the  Court social articles found  in the Times, would have been the  Twitter and Facebook of the day.

Next year will see the 160th anniversary of Bishop Patteson leaving Feniton Court on his  journey to Melanesia.  The writer ,Charlotte Yonge has put this in her book  titled" Life of John Coleridge Patteson"

He chose to walk to the coach that would take him to join the railway at Cullompton. The last kisses were exchanged at the door, and the sisters watched him out of sight.

I write one line to-night to tell you that I am, thank God, calm and even cheerful. I stayed a few minutes in the churchyard after I left you, picked a few primrose buds from dear mamma's grave, and then walked on.

The above has sparked a debate, as to how and where he would have picked up the coach? Was it a family carriage, or the stage coach, what route would it have taken. Perhaps at Fairmile to Cullompton via Clyst Hydon. Perhaps we will never know. It was suggested we look at the Turnpike records of the time, 1855 to see were the main roads went. Did he have luggage? There is a road marked on some maps called "Sidmouth Road" this was a road improved for travellers to from the railway at Culllompton to Sidmouth in the days before Sidmouth Junction Station at Feniton. It was deemed too expensive to do the whole route due to the Goyle at Tipton St John.

An article in the Exeter Flying Post suggests there was once a footbridge over the Otter at Fenny Bridges, dated October 16, 1856, again the Turnpike Records would be useful to find. In the article it states the County was found to be responsible for its repair.

The Group are looking to publish a book and a good discussion followed on how we might achieve this. Brenda brought along a selection of local books to show what form it could take. We also need to look at the software needed for the publisher, and pictures would be needed. This will be our topic for the next meeting on Thurs 2nd Oct in the Nog Inn.

I have asked Graeme if he can come to our November meeting, and he is very happy to come, just waiting for him to confirm the date. He tells me this: "I have some interesting news for you and the history group. A novel due to be published at the end of the year includes the main character visiting Sidmouth junction, The Railway Hotel, Escot Church and the Escot estate together with a visit to a fictitious farm called Fenwater Farm. " Intriguing. "You are the first person in Feniton to be told about this and feel free to share the news if you wish."

Feniton History Group 51st Meeting

I hope you all enjoyed our ad hoc evening! I know I did.

We discussed the vexation of the 1991 census population being just for the "new village", so of no use to man nor beast.

WW1. The research is ongoing for more on the Home Front.
I have made a list of the men killed and will ask Rev.  Cate to read his name on the Sunday nearest the death 100 years later.  The name and short biography can be put on the blog and in the parish magazine, if Brenda and Val agree.

The Parish Council discussed have a Belgian refugee family, but it is not recorded if this actually took place.
October 23rd 1914   Several ladies have started a movement to house a Belgian family in the village. It was proposed by Dr Hart that a ‘family of not more than 5, of the agricultural class, be brought and entertained as long as the war lasts’.
Brenda told us how she read the Parish Council Minutes Books and made notes of interesting  items before they were placed in the Devon Record Office. It seems the ones from the late 1950s are missing. May have been lost or in the home of the parish clerk of the time. My late father in law was the clerk at that time, and sadly I have not seen books in the papers here.

Alan and Brenda told about the plans for a bridge over the rail crossing, the parish council had received so many complaints about the delays with the gates, one plan was to raise a bridge from Sherwood across to the Talaton Road, but as we know nothing came of this.

David has taken on the task of finding out about a stone marker for the Feniton Ottery Boundary. Rogation Sunday is 10th May 2015.

We had a natter about the early days of research in the Record Office, looking and the census films and even the original parish registers, Brenda would nip in there during her lunch break at work. I went in most Tuesdays with Mum in Law and we ploughed through these for days before we could draw up the family tree, now you, if your luck whizz through a few generations in a matter of hours.
I asked the group to consider what projects we would like to carry out, George and I would like to make more regular visits to Honiton Museum, the village book is something we need to put in hand, and the Pulman's weekly paper which is in Taunton Record Office, any idea for public events would be welcome.
Tony aided a discussion on language and names how did the early Devon tribes know they were the Dumnonii, and also words like Avon which is taken to mean river. Ton being town. Wikipedia has more on this.

Jenny showed us the poster she has designed for the Deer Park  Hotel, relating the Battle of Fenny Bridges. It is wonderful to see this little know event documented and recognised.

Tony told how the Exeter Football WW1 play went, it was a shame it was highlighted as football when really it was more about Exeter's history of the time. He also told us how useful the WEA course in Bradninch House Exeter is, free admission.
Jenny asked about computer software for recording family research, so I will plan a session here once harvest is done.

David and Roger have located a document mentioning the village in the National Archives. It gives the village on two lines, when I would think it should be one:
Fenyton, Gilbert Collyns dep. for John Pringe.
Maleherbe, Gilbert Collyns dep. for John Pringe.

We must thank Roger for all his tenacity in searching online for the village. It is wonderful to add to our notes and expand on events. I will share these with you when you come to the house.
One of the snippets Roger gleaned relates to a footbridge at Fenny Bridges 1856, Sir John Kennaway  mentions the dispute as to who is liable for it's repair, but it was the County's and repair was ordered.

Thank you all, it was a good evening.

WW1 Service 3 Aug 2014

Just a note to thank everyone for making the church display such a success. I was told how  much it meant to many whose Grandfathers and Uncles had served in the War. The common phrase I heard today, was "they never spoke of it at home" Also thank you to the Reverend Cate and the church team.

WW1 Service of Commemeration

St Andrew's Church Feniton are holding a WW1 Commemoration Service at 11am on 3rd August 2014 We would like to invite anyone with connection to the village and the men who served in the War.

Feniton History Group will put  up a display of our fallen soldiers and life on the Home Front.


Just a note to thank everyone who helped with the display boards last week, put my mind at rest to know it is nearly done.

The plan will be from now and  throughout  the 4 years of the Centenary will be to mark the 100 year death of each man we have record of.

The time of putting the display on Saturday  2nd August has changed from the afternoon to late morning, as many of the group will be at the Hearing Dogs Coffee Morning. So that will save two trips down to the church.

Feniton History Group 50th Meeting

David asked for our help with the WW1 Commemoration Service to be held at 11am on Sunday 3rd August.
This was agreed. If anyone has anything to help with the board display that would be much appreciated. Can you help with putting up the display please on Saturday 2nd at 2:30 ?
Brenda mentioned that Ottery Heritage will have a WW1 exhibition in the Old Boys School from the 15th to 20th July.

George told us about his experience of walking the parish boundary, with a view to hold a beating of the bounds event next April at Rogationtide, 25th April. He explained that in parts it is a difficult walk and the lanes make it rather unsafe, also the distance is more than many could manage in a day. So it was decided to plan a walk from the Pumping Station in Campfield, up to Tower Hill, down to the River Tale and along to Talewater and back to the village by the Talaton Road. Thank you George for all the effort you have taken.
George is a keen walker and will put the parish on the map for other Geocachers to follow.
I have contacted Ottery Heritage who are very keen to be involved.

Following my finding a mention of Hayes Manor, partly in Feniton and partly Talaton it is thought to take in  the area of Talewater. The Wright family farmed Talewater Farm and are mentioned in some deeds along with the name Radcliffe. There is Radcliffe House on the right between Talaton and Clyst Hydon at Aunke, but the current house is too late to be linked to the Hayes Manor? Another name in the deeds is English. The Manor was sold to Sir George Yonge, then to the Kennaways and became part of the Escot estate.
Thank you Roger for your help is looking this up. Alan tells us he came across mentions of it in Mr. Yates files in Honiton Museum, so must pop in there and check it.

With Jo we looked at the Tithe map to find mentions of field names and the Drang Path her relative mentions in his notes on Feniton History. The Drang path must have ran through Feniton Court to Sowton on the Buckerell road. Thank you Jo that was an interesting exercise.

David told us about a contact he has had from someone asking about the Rumbold family from Colestocks, sadly the headstone in the churchyard has been defaced and it is intriguing as to why.   It looks like it was deliberately done and not just random vandalism. 

Next meeting on Thursday 7th August in the Nog Inn.