7th November 2019
Geoff welcomed all to the meeting.
Bob informed us that he was going to emigrate to Spain and was busy packing. He expects to move during the New Year. We are sad that he is leaving us but wish him the very best for his new life in Spain. We shall miss him!
David had been studying his research on the church which he has been gathering over the years and he brought some snippets to share with us.
He began by saying that when we look at the church, we tend to think it has remained the same over the centuries; however, it has changed significantly over the years.
There were some deanery reports, dated 1674, which tell us that the South ile (sic…old spelling) required paving, that the roof over part of it was defective and leaked while the windows needed glazing. The seats in the main body of the church were stated as requiring boarding while the belfry had lost all of its boarding.
According to another report dated 1737, the pulpit and other parts of the building were described as being decrepit. A later description of 1757 written by the dean following his visitation of a number of parishes around Plymtree stated that none of the adjacent parishes, including Feniton, were ‘presentable’. By 1759, the roof of the north side of Feniton church and the porch, in addition to a number of other parts of the building, were in need of repair.
David told us that about one hundred years later, in 1874, that not only was the tower reported as being cracked and in need of restoration, but the steps were unsafe, the floor of the bell chamber almost gone, and the three bells, of which more were added later, required re-hanging.
Jackie asked when was the church originally built and David said it dated back to about the 12th century. He showed us on a drawing where some of the original parts remain and where there were later additions, mainly in the 18th century. We wondered if there was any evidence that Cromwell’s troops had damaged the church, but David thought not. If Cromwell had come to Feniton his troops would most certainly have destroyed the transi tomb.
George told us about an old map he had been examining which showed that the course of the River Otter was further west than where it is today. He asked if it was possible to view the original plans of the railway. Alan queried when the weir was first built across the river to divert some of the water into the Vine. Geoff suggested that maybe the weir was built when the mill was constructed or perhaps the railway moved it.
David then asked does anyone know anything about a person called Fulford, Geoff suggested to look in the records office
Peter mentioned that when he was standing by the lych gate on Sunday he was trying to work out by which route Uncle Tom Cobley, as described by Dr Todd Grey in his talk recently, had made his way to the church. Note we don’t think that Uncle Tom Cobley came to the village, just the song!!
Alan then told us about a family puzzle.
While researching the name of Powell in West Dorset in an area that stretches inland from Charmouth, he had visited some of the Powells in that area. He said that the unusual name of Bento was used throughout three generations of the Powell family. It was a common name in Europe and he wondered if one of the ancestors of the West Dorset Powells may have been shipwrecked along the coast there and that the family had kept the name and passed it down the generations.
As always, we thoroughly enjoyed out meeting.
Our next meeting is on the first Thursday in December at 8 p.m. Everyone is welcome to join us.