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.