Feniton & Ottery St Mary Boundary Talk

Feniton History Group would like to thank Chris Wakefield for a very interesting and imformative evening.

Where there was water and shelter a community would perhaps make  base, as first they would have been hunter gatherers.

Some clearing by fire  for grazing animals some 5000 years  of arming in the Neolithic age followed by a
1000 years of governmental orders and the defining of  boundaries.

Arable era caused settlers, and to avoid crop damage by the grazing livestock so they had to fence to control  the animals.

Trade movement lead to the making of tracks.

 The A30 through Fenny Bridges is on the line of the Roman road called the Fosse Way. The road was cut through a ancient bank topped with a hedge between Ash Farm and Higher Gosford. The bank runs down to the River Otter and back towards Sweethams. It is much older than the Roman road. Parts of ths bank are lost due to farmers re ordering their fields.

One of the earliest roads was the one from Woodbury to Hembury Fort.

The lords of the Manor at the time of the Domesday were absent land Lords, held in high favour by King William.

Ottery St Mary has its charter describing its settlement in 1061. Feniton borders Ottery so we too share this history from Campfield up Tower Hill and the down to the River Tale., and also at Fenny Bridges.

Devon had more pigs than anywhere else, I looked up pig breeds known to have originated in Devon and found the British Lop from Tavistock and possibly the Large Black.   

Taxation  was by hide a not very consistent measurement, so then One Hundred hides  became a judicial area called Hundreds. The Church used this framework to raise funds.

Parish boundaries developed during the C9th to  C12th.  

Sir John Kennaway was in correspondence with Talaton Parish as to the River Tale boundary being changed by the flow of the water in 1844.

Mrs Frances Rose-Troupe The Anglo-Saxon Charter of Ottery St Mary printed in the Devon Trans. 1939 Vol 71.

Maintaining roads was the responsibility of the parish, Ottery got off lightly as the two Fenny Bridges  were in the Feniton Parish!

George Herbert's (1593 - 1633) description of Rogation Sunday:

 “1. a blessing of God for the fruits of the field:
  2. Justice in the preservation of the bounds;
  3. Charitie, in living, walking and neighbourliy accompanying one another, with reconciling of differences at that time, if they be any;
 4. Mercie, in relieving the poor by a liberal distribution of largess which at that time is or oght be made. 

Long wands are shown in some photos and even they waded in the river seemly dressed in Sunday suits!!

Change of plan

The talk with Chris Wakefield in Feniton Church on Thurs 30th April at 7:30 goes ahead as planned,


sad to report that we have to postpone the stone unveiling and the boundary walk,   on 10th May, until September, two reasons,

One. The stone is on the high seas somewhere between China and India!!! Delivery date unknown.

Two. Farmer, Husband, Boss and Son have asked that we don't walk across the cropped fields at this time of year!!

Thank you and we look forward to seeing you all on the 30th.

Feniton History Group held the 58th Meeting

What an interesting evening, many thanks to Roger who dropped by to share with us his interest in Fenny Bridges Mill. He has a death certificate gleaned for his interest in postal history. The certificate relates to Edward Coombe, Miller who died in 1840 and buried at St Anne's Chapel, but the graves there where re interred at Feniton Church. This is the inscription on the grave:

Edward COOMBE  of Feniton Mills in this Parish who gave land for the building of this Chapel 
d. 10.3.1840 in 44TH year of age
Also in the same vault  Sarah COOMBE his wife  d. 9.1.1860
(re-interred from Fenny Bridges Chapel 1949) 

Roger explained the marks on the folded death certificate gave the date of receipt and  the recipient would have paid the postage, envelopes were not used to the cost down.

More can be read here:

Regarding the roads in the village Jo kindly sent this note:

My Dad used to tell me  that he remembered the remains of the 'old road' which come down through a cleft in the rock behind Nap Cottage.  A cross road went North to Rutts at the top of the rise where Rutts Lane is now. 
He said there was an old woman's  cottage built into the cliff at the back of Nap Cottage garden and he and his mates used to climb up above it and drop stones on the roof.  I think it was of corrugated iron so they were typical little horrors!!  [Alan said his father was one of the little horrors!]
He remembered the new road being built as the Council needed to buy some of the Glebe Lands belonging to the Rectory (then Feniton House) and they lowered Broad Road gradually as it rose towards the Station so that the slope to Rutts was passable too.  They built the wall along the length of the Glebe Lands so as to keep the field up instead of buying more land to make a slope.
When I was on the Parish Council, Devon County wrote to ask who owned that wall as it was in bad condition.  I was able to give them the above details and to assure them that they owned it themselves!  To my knowledge, no repair work has ever been carried out by them since that date!!    Jo Chown 

Thank you Jo.

 Our work on the display for the Patteson Event  was very well received, thank you, the credit goes to all who helped.  Jackie went on the walk  to Alfington and a wonderful spread was lovely put on by Alfington Church.
Geoff explained there are still van loads of documents, including letters to Santa!!,   to be indexed and sorted in the Devon Heritage Centre, a work in progress.
Brenda asked us for photos suitable for the Parish Magazine cover, must have good definition to reproduce in black and white.

Memories of the snow in 1963 were discussed.  

Our earlier discussions on the coach Bishop Patteson would have taken to the train at Cullompton led Brenda to spot a print in an auction sale at Ottery of Russell's Flying Wagons.
 This link is very interesting:

Brenda also found out that Russell bought farms along the route to rest the horses, one being at Redloft Farm Offwell, no longer there now.

The railways, of course changed all this.  Brenda's great grandfather worked on the construction and was killed in a fall while working on a tunnel at Fowey in 1874.

Bill reported he is working with David to carve oak name plaques to place on the pews with coats  of arms on so that the families are identified to visitors. He has also kindly offered to make one for the History Group to place by our displays, following Brenda saying we should have put our name up on the boards to say we had done the work on the boards. Thank you Bill.

Our next event is the talk with Chris Wakefield from Ottery Heritage on Boundaries in the Church on 30th April. To be followed by the Rogation and Beating the Bounds walk on 10th May.

The Friends of St. Andrew's are holding a Wedding Dress display in the Church weekend of the 16th May. Brenda is writing up the history of wedding dresses to accompany the dresses.  

Our next meeting will be on Thurs. 7th May in the Nog Inn.

To close we must pass on our Congratulations to David and Sheila on the celebration of their Golden Wedding Anniversary.  

Talk on Boundaries

Feniton History Group invite
you to a Talk on Boundaries
in St. Andrew's Church Feniton
on Thursday 30th April at 7 :30 pm.
 Chris Wakefield of Ottery Heritage Society will be the speaker.
Admission £3.00 to include Coffee and Biscuits.

Feniton History Group held the 57 th meeting

We had a jolly good natter covering a wide range of topics.

The detail of the Patteson Display was sorted. I hope you can come to the farm on  Thursday 19th at 2:30 pm. We put the display up  on the Mon 23rd 2:30 in the church.

There is a talk on the 25th and a walk from Feniton to Alfington with a bring & share picnic on the Sunday. Katie Drew of the Melanesian Mission is the organiser. .25th Mar  160 years ago Patteson left the village for Melanesia. I have to thank Chris Saunders for his wonderful Patteson file we can use to choose from to enhance the display. I have not used his original documents, but scanned in and printed them.

The other outstanding project is the boundary stone, since the meeting we have been offered  a grant of £50.00 from Feniton Parish Council and I understand that another £50.00 has been offered by Ottery Heritage. On Thursday we can discuss the actual site for the stone.

Chris Wakefield is kindly leading a talk on the Boundary in the church on Thursday 30th Apr. 7:30 pm. The Beating of the bounds is on 10th May.

Jo Chown and  Jill Walker have been advised on how to repair the Church Cope .It would seem to date from the late 19th century. Rev.  William Hart in post 1899 to 1918  or  George Barons Northcote 1869 to 1899,  could have left it in the Church.

.Alice Eveleigh was born 1881 in Ottery St. Mary, dau. of Richard and Elizabeth Eveleigh, I have not found her death.  Her memorial label remains a mystery.

 Sadly we have not had a good response on Old house names in the village. Val's house was Mylea, Myreen, 1926  or so. The other properties in the same road all ended in "lea". Appletrees  was once Bricklands,  Skinners Cottage. The field behind Nog Inn was also  called Bricklands, sadly the deeds for this property are lost.

Movement of families, work skills and Devon's step valleys!  Also William Morris fabrics.

Next meeting in the Nog Inn is booked for 2nd April at 8 pm.

Update: The placing of the boundary stone has been confirmed by the land owner, and the order has been placed with the stonemason. Many thanks to the organisations involved for making this possible.

Feniton History Group held the 56th Meeting

We had some good discussion until about 9.30pm 
We decided not to spend any time researching the Baker's monument as it is in Whimple parish and probably the Whimple Heritage Group have information on it. (I have contacted Whimple, awaiting a reply)
We are going to try and find out a bit about Alice Eveleigh - date of death etc as David still has had no feedback from anyone regarding the plaque in the Church.
No-one replied to a request for old house names but Bill suggested we try to find the oldest houses in Feniton through the magazine - does anyone know how old their house is? I have spoken to the owner of Apple Trees, sadly he has no idea about the age of the house, he does not have any deeds.
Brenda is going to write a piece for the magazine on 'Where did John Patteson catch the coach when he left for Melanesia? - based mainly on David's notes - as the Church will be marking the 160th anniversary in March.
David asked for help needed for the Patteson display. perhaps we could chat about this and involve Geoff.  It was confirmed and welcomed that the History Group can put on a Patteson display and Katie Drew will try and get some other items
We discussed the state of roads and transport at that time. Alan said the road from Ottery to Fairmile was poor and that a coach from Sidmouth to Cullompton would have used the Gosford route.
 Brenda and David.
Many thanks to the Group for carrying on in my absence.
I will arrange a meeting at the farm to sort out the Bishop Patterson display towards the end of the month.
Next meeting 5 March in the Nog Inn.

Feniton History Group held the 55th Meeting

"Rattle the trough the pigs appear" was the tongue in cheek comment from one of our group. It was in response to so many folk joining us for our Christmas Supper of nibbles, and not a mince pie in sight!! Thank you to everyone who brought such a wide selection of food.
Lovely to  see you all and welcome to Hugh and Sharon. As usual a lively discussion took place.   
Jo and David asked as to look out for an item in the archives that might shed some light on the wonderful cope kept in the church. Sadly it is in need of repair, we don't know how it came to be in the church or what age it is. It has no labels. It was suggested that Wippells of Exeter would be the best place to take it for an expert opinion.   We must check through old parish magazines to see if it noted. 

Miss Eveleigh ? Alice's plaque in the church, perhaps it was for the  Clock once on the tower?
John Clifford her nephew is still living  and he is a friend of a family in the village, so David will ask if they can help.
Roger has found a Quarter sessions record for  Joanna Crocker: We wonder who she was. 
Joanna Crocker of Viniton London Gazette - Issue 7731 published on the 26 August 1738
The undermentioned Person being a Fugitive for Debt, and beyond the Seas on the first Day of January 1736, and having surrendred herself to the Keeper of the Sheriff's Ward or Prison of and for the county of Devon, gives Notice, that she intends to take the Benefit of the late Act of Parliament for Relief of Insolvent Debtors, at the next General or Quarter Sessions of the Peace to be held in and for the said County of Devon, or at the Adjournment thereof, next after thirty days from the Publication hereof, viz.
Joanna Crocker, late of Viniton in the county of Devon, Shopkeeper. 
 The spelling of Feniton in the above article brought up a discussion on  spelling variations one being the village of Fenton  in South Devon, this was home to the Gibb family who made their fortune trading guano and built the house called  Tyntesfield
Venton or Fenton is a hamlet to Dartington, South Devon. 
George brought along the pages he has been constructing using the publishing site "Lulu", the results are ideal for our purpose.
The next subject was paper sizes, the one in question being quarto, i.e. a quarter of a page, regardless of it's size. 
On 7 June 1917 the British Second Army detonated 19 enormous mines under the Messines Ridge (in an explosion that was reputedly heard in London and Dublin), killing 10,000 German troops in the front line and destroying the village of Messines.  Over the years many explosions have occurred from unexploded munitions.  
In about 1956 the water board condemned wells  in the village in an attempt to get the village onto mains water. The well at Myrtle Cottage  was 15ft deep and found to have a Mills bomb in it!! 
Gas supply came in the 1980s, about75% of houses to have gas, but  at a cost of  £2,000 old village,  did not enough takers. Farmway has it and  Green Lane too, Brenda has it. The main comes in across Higher Gosford Farm with the connection housed in the green building by the  public footpath to the old A30. 
 Brenda will ask  about house names found in the villages in magazine. Jo suggested this project to see how the names have changed over the years, Moor Cottage, Myrtle Cottage, Kester Castle. The pub lost its name, The Railway Hotel when the brewery changed it to the Nog Inn, Mr and Mrs Spence wanted to give it a hunting style name.
Chequers  an old railway shed lived in by Sid Salter, Nobknocket was the Elms, Christow, Brooklyn, Rats Castle. Appletrees was Gould Cott, Pecks, Peeks, Tenement, Parr Cottage & The Parr Rooms. 
Sport history in Feniton, is a subject untouched by the Group, love to hear anyone with an interest in this. 
This just leaves me to Wish you all A very Happy Christmas and New Year. 
We meet in The Nog Inn on Thurs. 5th Feb at 8 pm.