Duke of York in Feniton November 1927 meeting WW1 Veterans

Feniton History Group 48th Meeting

The WW1 project:

Geoff kindly passed around copies of the WW1 booklet, which we all agreed was an ideal way to document the men.

We talked about how the men were called up at various times, Kitchener's Volunteers in 1915, the Territorial's signed on for 3 years service. It was also noted that the railwaymen were enlisted in their peacetime roles as platelayers to lay tracks in France. Some 7,000 steam locomotives and crews were shipped to France. In the Thames estuary the trains were placed ready to be shipped out.

This was followed by a lively and varied discussion on various topics.

I have been researching the Marks family, who lived in the village for many years and ran the Post Office. Edward Marks was postmaster and parish clerk for some 42 years. This led to us debating the whereabouts of the Post Office, at onetime it was opposite the current shop in Parr Cottages. This block of 3 cottages also once contained the village Cider House or Inn and the reading rooms. Sid Marks lived in Knapp Cottage at the top of the village where Green Lane goes off to the left and the hill up to the "new" estate. Here he had a small grocer's shop and he was the village barber.

Sadly his wife Hilda died in childbirth in 1938, so his late wife's sister went to care for Sid, this was frowned up by many as they could not wed, due to the law made in 1560, saying you cannot marry your dead wife's sister!

This law was repealed in part in the 1907 Marriage Act which  removed from the forbidden list  the Wife's sister and Husband's brother, provided the first spouse in each case was deceased. Further changes followed in 1921, 1931 and 1949. So the disgust of the villagers was well founded as they could have wed it seems!

I hope to make a list of all the postmasters and mistress for the village.

Alan told us a sorry tale of one of the village' returning soldier's, Sid Salter, he was a platelayer, living in the little bungalow known as "Chequers", by the Spar Shop. Sid was married, but his wife was rather taken by the American GIs of WW2 and she left Sid, sadly he was a broken man and could stand it no more, he took his own life in 1952 under an Oak Tree along the Talaton Road.

Alan recalled that during the last war, pig food was in short supply, so "Porky" Pyle sent the boys of the village out with sacks to collect acorns, for which he paid them 3d per sack, after a while the acorns were hard to find, so a stone was dropped into one of the sacks, but, as it was weighed on the scales, the stone made a clunking sound and the ruse was found out.

"Porky" Pyle retired to Jubilee House,  his nephew Ted taking on at Long Park. The other houses behind the farmhouse at Long Park must have been workers cottages. Some say that Jubilee House was built by Queen Victoria's Housekeeper? The name must come from her Diamond Jubilee in 1897.  The other Victorian houses around Sidmouth Junc. were built because of the railway, Sherwood Villa being one.

Thank you everyone for such an interesting evening. Also thank you to Brenda and Geoff for the help with the WW1 research.

Nest Meeting Thurs 5th June in the Nog at 8pm.

Feniton History Group 47th Meeting

David asked us to help in some way with a fund raising event in aid of Melanesia, this was agreed, the format for this to be decided in due course.

We had a good natter about WW1.

Geoff kindly offered to look at a more useful format taken from the spreadsheet template of notes I have made so then we can printout a booklet for the church or to sell. Brenda took on the task of checking the 1911 census for men who may have been called up for service.

Geoff suggested we need to check the wartime copies of the Pulman's newspaper, held in the Somerset Heritage collection for more on the volunteers and snippets of news from our area at that time. Another thing we need to check is the absent voters list, compiled for the 1916 election.

The Deanery Magazine of the time would have carried some useful paragraphs, but sadly the copies in Honiton Museum are later. 

Alan mentioned his father Walter Powell served during the war, and I have been able to find his war service on the internet.

It was sad and thoughtful evening, talking about the loss and suffering, also the animals used, went through the same trauma.