Feniton History Group held the 74th meeting in the Nog Inn

I am very pleased to report that Feniton Parish Council have kindly re-erected the boundary stone with cement.

We thoroughly enjoyed chatting with Roger about his family and the history of Ottery. Roger has his family bible with the list of births, dates and death, they have very deep roots in the area. Roger asked about the Battle of Fenny Bridges, where were all the bodies buried after the battle?  Approximately 300 men died from each side. Perhaps in Ottery?

Alan mentioned he has been reading the book “Ottery St Mary” by John Whitman,  an interesting book, I have a copy here and will bring it to the next meeting.

Jenny has been working on the History of the cottage known as “Prince James’ Lodge”. It is a delightful mixture of facts and local history woven in with some conjecture. Will the truth ever be found? if so Jenny will work it out!!!

Jenny brought some fascinating articles for us to peruse, a “Finger Bible” very small and neat, perhaps to fit in a glove to take to church on Sunday? Also a silver coin engraved with the name Isabella Lawes dated 1813 and  a deed dated 1628, a charter for land at Fenny Bridges. It is stiff and folded, some of the names are readable, Sir John Symes of Somerset, he married into the Horner family, related to the nursey rhyme, “Little Jack Horner”.  Sir Nicholas Symes of Exeter, who married one of Jenny’s ancestors, Dorothy Horsey.  

George has been studying the 39 Articles of Faith and dissenters and non-conformists who believe there should be only one head of the church, not Bishops. 

George love long walks at told us about the Bridgwater and Tiverton Canal to Star Cross, and mentioned the Two Counties Way.

Alan is continuing his quest to find the route Bishop Patteson took when he departed Feniton. Due to time constraint, I have not yet written this up, so when it is done I will share it with you and on the blog. Sorry Alan.

Looking ahead to next year, it has been suggested that we invite the following people to share their interests with the Group: Jim Woodley, WW1 in Ottery, David on the Church Graffiti, Graeme on his local finds.

We also would like to have a Rogation walk.  This takes place on the 21 May 2017, the Fifth Sunday after Easter. Suggestions of a suitable route would be welcome.

The Parish Council are applying for grants to restore and renovate the Lych Gate. So, 2018 might be a good year to mark this and perhaps have a History Weekend in the Village?

I want to take this opportunity to wish you  all a Very Happy Christmas and all the Very Best for 2017. Looking forward to the next meeting Thurs 5th Jan 2017 in the Nog Inn. I also pass these wishes to Mike and Rosemary at the Nog for making us so welcome each month.

Chris Gibbins.

Feniton History Group held the 73rd meeting in the Nog Inn

During the afternoon meeting to look at the map website in relation to Feniton, we found it rather sparse on detail and hard to locate a format for data entry, so we have decided to see how it develops and look at it again next year.

Geoff is busy with his volunteer role at the Devon Heritage Centre, this time cataloguing railway documents, one item was staff movement books, he looked for staff local to Feniton, but none found.

The Topsham branch line was mentioned more can be found at this link:

It is suggested that we have a summer outing and walk using the train.

We spoke of the fire at the Royal Clarence and Bob explained how the roof and wall voids allowed the heat and fire to spread from the gallery across to the hotel.

The next discussion was very timely it being Remembrance Tide. Many of our armed forces were awarded medals for their service, though many deserving soldiers missed out due to being on duties not recognised as deserving an award.

In WW1 medals were only given for overseas service. The Battle of Britain flyers also went without while based in the UK, Churchill said that giving medals to all would devalue the status.  More information from this link:

Medals are still being awarded for WW2. The Women’s Land Army have only recently been recognised and the French government has been awarding the Légion d’honneur to D-Day veterans from many different countries for several years, as a way of honouring and thanking those who fought and risked their lives to secure France’s liberation during the Second World War. The Arctic Star is a military campaign medal which was instituted by the United Kingdom on 19 December 2012 for award to subjects of the British Commonwealth for service in the Second World War, specifically those who served on the Arctic Convoys north of the Arctic Circle

Next meeting will be in the Nog Inn 8pm on Thursday 1st December.

Feniton History Group held the 72nd meeting in the Nog Inn

Well what can I say? Another wide ranging and interesting evening. Thank you all.

Sadly Jim is unable to join us with his Ottery WW1 book in November, so we will try to book him sometime next year.

Below are the links to the mapping project, I think it will be interesting to take part and with the local knowledge we have with Alan, Brenda, David and Jo, it will be worthwhile to take part.

Jenny related her fascinating work on “The Mystery of Prince James Lodge”, copies for sale in the Church. I can’t imagine what it would have been like to have all the troops descend on the village  in  1640 and require food for the horses and 2000 men!

Geoff who volunteers in the Record Office has been helping with three van loads of material, the contents of a loft from a business premises in Exeter. Details relating to Shell Mex Garages etc.

Geoff also mentioned maps on parchment / linen for the Red Cross parcel system in Scotland. Also the sinking of the HMS Royal Oak, WW2, there is an Iron Cross medal 2nd class in Honiton Museum.

David is studying Church Graffiti relating to St. Andrew’s here.  Some marks are mason’s working marks, others are witches marks to ward off evil. Feniton has a sun dial scratched into the stone. Names are found, James Russel 1673 or 5, Charles and Minnie in the Belfry! Graffiti was the only way the poor had of making their marl, etched with the point of their shears, sometimes used to sharpen arrows.

Jackie has been to a talk on making of mosaic and found it very interesting, and still done today as a craft or hobby.

Brenda came in with a grin from ear to ear after making a wonderful breakthrough in her family tree research, her five times grandmother from North Devon is related to the family whose descendants were the founders of the Union Castle Line, ship owners. She has found wills and inventories.

George, along with Jenny have been looking at the Quaker Meeting in Uffculm and the 39 Articles of Faith. This links to the Cadbury and Fy families, of chocolate fame!

Bill who has been digging drains in his neighbour’s back garden has found large pieces of shoddy brick work, that must have been rejected by the builders in the 1970s when the bungalows were built.

Will came over to show us an amazing ring from the 2nd or 3rd century a Edward the 6th Shilling and a touch coin from the 1400s. He told us about his visit to Dorset where a hoard of Roman coins found in a pot 6 inches across.

Alan rounded the evening off for us with more of his Devon dialect and local sayings, much to our amusement.  The use of nicknames. The direction of travel, over to, down to, up to.

WW1 Soldiers who died in September 1916 "We will remember them"


Born, 1894 in Broadhembury,  son of Henry and Mary Elizabeth Lovering of Kercombe, Gittisham. ?Curscombe Feniton?

He served in the 4th Battalion Devonshire Regiment and died on the 16th September 1916 age 22 and buried in the Baghdad North Gate war cemetery.

Soldiers Died in the Great War 1914-1919
Broadhembury, Devon
Cullompton, Devon
Regiment, Corps etc.:
Devonshire Regiment
Battalion etc.:
2/4th Battalion (Territorials).

Formed at Exeter 16.9.14. Oct. 2/Devon & Cornwall Bde. 2/Wessex Div. 12.12.14 embarked at Southampton for India arriving early Jan. 1915. 15.10.17 sailed from Bombay for Egypt. 25.10.17 landed at Suez. 13.12.17 to 234th Bde. 75th Div. July 1918 left 75th Div. and disbanded in Egypt on 17.8.18.
Date died:
16 September 1916
How died:
Theatre of war:

He enlisted at Cullompton into 2/4th (Territorial) Battalion,  Devonshire Regiment (NOT the 4th Battalion). The Battalion was formed at Exeter on 16th Sept 1914 and was attached to the Devon & Cornwall Brigade of the 2nd Wessex Division on 2 Oct 1914. They embarked at Southampton for India on 12 Dec 1914 arriving there in early Jan 1915 when they moved to Wellington in the Madras area. The Battalion saw no action for 1916 and most of 1917.H he died of an illness and was not killed or wounded in battle. But if he did die of an illness when serving in India why is he buried in Baghdad? I can only think that as the CWGC site has him in the 4th Battalion, Devon’s on death that he had been sent from his own battalion to make up the strength of the 4th which was serving in Mesopotamia. (Although the Devonshire Regimental history lists him as dying in service with the 2/4th Battalion)  According to the Regimental History the 4th and 6th Battalions in Mesopotamia were very badly affected by illness during the period May to August 1916 at times having half of the strength in hospital. 

Patteson's Cross Refurbishment

Feniton History Group held the 71st meeting in the Nog Inn

Chuffed to report on another very lively evening!

We debated the wanton vandalism to the Boundary Stone, which is safe in my garage. The meeting decided that we would arrange for it to be set in concrete. Thank you Brenda for the hard hitting article in the September parish magazine.

I hope to arrange for Jim Wooley from Ottery Heritage to join us in November for a talk on his book  ‘Ottery Sacrifice 1914-1921’. This has been a huge undertaking embracing years of research and months of preparation. Jim has been helped along the way by his Heritage Society Committee. Supported by a HLF grant under their ‘First World War: Then and Now’ scheme, the Ottery Heritage Society’s ‘Great War Project’ includes plans to publish a series of books recording the activities of all Ottregians who served in the First World War, both those who died and those who survived.

David updated us on the progress so far in getting Patteson’s Cross monument refurbished.
Work will start shortly. It would be useful to see if we can find out about its recent history, the date of the one or two road accidents that damaged it and when it was moved. There is to be a fund raising event in the church to make up the shortfall for the costs.

How this next conversation came about I not sure, but we seem to have a Radio Devon Star living the village, her chats with David Fitzgerald as part of his “Crossword” section each day are legendary. Gloria even has her own fan club!

Alan then had us all in stitches with his wonderful Devon Dialect sayings, “where be her to” and the like. We discussed how there are differences in the various areas of the county. Plymouth born folk use the accent “Janner” according Hugh. Fascinating.

Sadly, I had to leave at this point, but no doubt you all carried on long into the night!

Next meeting in the Nog Inn, thanks to our hosts, Mike and Rosemarie, on Thurs. 6th Oct.

Feniton History Group held the 70th meeting in the Nog Inn

Very sadly I have to report that since our meeting the Boundary Stone has  been uprooted, and is now back in my garage. We will have to discuss what we do about this at the next meeting. The ownership of the stone was also muted.

We had our usual lively and varied discussion, hope I have remembered it all!

2017 will see the 50th anniversary of the closure of the Railway Station. Brenda and Alan remembered the village was promised better transport links by bus, which, never came about!

 Geoff tells The Devon Record Office (Southwest Heritage) has set up a new database of its holdings.  http://devon-cat.swheritage.org.uk/

 Brenda has found some wonderful maps of Feniton Court in the DRO.

The Feniton Carnival was remembered, it was set up to raise funds for the Youth Centre, the last one was held in the late 1980s. The village groups borrowed tractors and trailers from the local farmers. The WI did a float relating to “Boy George” and also one “Ascot” where the ladies became rather tipsy on all the wine! Another float was “Citizen Smith”.

Chris reported all is in hand for the restoration of the Patteson Cross Obelisk, and a fund raising event is taking place in Feniton Church 23rd September. We have been asked to put up one of our display boards, we have the material from the event held previously. 

Alan spoke about place name pronunciation, how people from away say the names wrong. It all has to do with dialect and localisms!!  This led onto how the lack of road signs after the war lead to confusion in the Devon Lanes.

Brenda is still gleaning wonderful snippets regarding Parr Cottage and its history as the village Inn, reading rooms and men’s club. She has found an inventory which contained things like spittoons, a lot of the expenses went on lamp oil, coal and daily newspapers.

The education act of 1870 upset the farmers who had to let their farm lads go to school! It was thought the working classes did not need education.

Bill has been busy with the Carving Group and it is now a very popular craft for villagers.

Feniton History Group held the 69th meeting

Thanks to Brenda and David for running the meeting due to my absence!

Jenny is working on St James Cottage , later named Wimsheet. She outlined where the cottage was which was on the Curscombe road near the sharp bend and after the stream bridge. She had rules out most options of it being linked to Prince James. Can Geoff  check if it is marked on any old maps

Brenda is still working on the Parr cottages, Alan reported on stories associated with Long Linney and Rutts lane. George  is interested in Article 39 of the C of E. Bob offered help with any project work

David reported on the nature of Church graffiti and how it was the only record  of the poor in our churches, all other memorials were of and for the wealthy.

Will has being doing some more detecting at Windmill Hill, sadly no major finds.

The Group all seem happy to have a meeting in August, so I have booked the Nog Inn for Thursday 4th August at 8 pm.

Chris Saunders is leading a project to get the Patteson’s Cross Memorial repaired, there will be a fund raising event in Feniton Church on Friday 23rd Sept at 7:00 pm

Feniton History Group held the 68th meeting in The Nog Inn

I hope you won’t be bored with me repeating this, but again we had a jolly and far reaching natter on various topics!

We are thinking about marking the 50 years after the station closed on 3 Jan 1967, which would be next year.

David and I have been looking at emails from a researcher looking into the Pring family of East Devon. One Martin Pring born here in 1580 turns out to be a noted explorer. A Google search brings up various reports of his life as a sea captain and explorer. He was baptised in the church on 23 Apr. 1580 -  bur; 1627 St. Stephen’s Bristol. He was son of John Pring of Thorne.

There are two meetings planned, the first from Ottery Heritage by Jim on his book commemorating WW1 in the area and Jenny and George have kindly said they will show the Western Uprising PowerPoint which is nowing be updated to include new research.

Chris from Ottery Heritage has been working hard on the project to repair the Patterson Cross Monument and has received consent to organise its repair. Hoping to start in Sept, all being well.  There will a Social Evening to raise funds. The stone masons will require a welfare station on site adding to the costs.

Geoff, while volunteering at the Devon Records Office has been indexing  planning  documents for Honiton dated 1920s  / 1930s , this detailed the  Reads garage pump on arm reaching on to the High Street, and its necessary  fuel tank , the Turks Head Café and planning for the houses in Honiton Bottom. Plans for Pubs and Inns in Honiton, Tavern Beer houses. The  act of 1830 tried to put an end to too much Gin!,  but anyone could sale beer,  but not spirits. The old water board site in Kings Road was an aircraft factory war time, permissions for toilets in the pubs. In 1932 the houses were to be built with bathrooms and a washroom/ scullery.  This is a wonderful resource for the social history of the town. There is also a plan of Cullompton after the fire.

Brenda has been working on the history of the Parr Cottages, they have a long and varied past, as an Inn or Cider House,  as far back as 1649 when the “ale wife” served the church workmen, the village meeting rooms. The property was part of the Feniton Court Estate and the name Parr may have come from the village Par in Cornwall where the Rashleigh’s who owned the Court had their main family home. 

Jenny  and George took the Western Uprising talk  to the U3A meeting where it was well received, but they had trouble with the  Beehive hall equipment  which did not match their own computer so did the whole talk by the seat of their pants!! Jenny has copyrighted the talk to Feniton History Group to protect it. 

 Jenny tells us she may have links to her own family with the Frys, Quakers from Spicelands, Uffculm leading to a link with Cadbury family and chocolate.

Alan told us about the legend of the cottage near Buckerell Cross called  “Prince James Lodge”  this may be the  son of  King Charles 1st.  Since the meeting Jenny has been doing some research on this and found three men named Prince James, the most promising candidate would be the Duke of Monmouth who was in East Devon after landing at Lyme Regis. So an interesting task is in hand here!

The then evolved into a chat about long distance footpaths used by fleeing Kings, the Monarch’s Way and the Liberty Way

The route of the Liberty Trail route is based on information recorded by six rebels from various villages in Somerset and Dorset. Villagers from the two counties made their way to join the Protestant Monmouth Rebellion in 1685.The rebels wore green sprigs tucked into their hats to declare their support for Monmouth. Weapons that they carried included farm scythes and other suitable agricultural tools.

Roy  has been out and about and found some 13C / 14C finds  including a pommel hilt in the Membury area.

George told us computer problems have stopped him progressing with the Nonconformist research. He related the 1860s  law requiring a licence to use  private buildings as a church.  He mentioned the Five Miles act.

I have had a query from a lady researching the Wreck of the Berar off Rousdon in 1896. The was said to be an oak bucket at the Railway Hotel saod to have come from the wreck, the only link I could find was the landlord Fred, G Greenham who married Elizabeth Loveridge of Axmouth in 1889. They were at the pub from about 1910 to 1928.

Many thanks to all, so many interesting snippets.

The next meeting be in the Nog Inn 8 pm on 7th July.

Feniton History Group held the 67th meeting in the Nog Inn

 We had another evening consisting of a good natter about various topics,   the old chapel at Sidmouth Junction, sad that we could not have made use of it for the village as an arts centre and café. Being an old building the upkeep would have been a problem.

 Something I omitted from last month was the amount of £66.00 raised by Jim Rider’s talk. This has been passed to the Church. I have received a note from Jo Chown thanking us and hoping we will continue to make use of the building in this way.

Brenda bought along an interesting article about Sidmouth junction Station shown in the form of a model in a railway magazine, very well made, though  Alan says the train on the branch line is wrong it would have been a tank engine suitable to run the line without being turned around.

The conversation then moved on to Moles, Badgers and hedgehogs and the plans to re-wild rural areas.

The Boundary Stone unveiling and walk was a great success, the Group hope to make this an annual event on Rogation Sunday.  

Brenda is researching the cottages now known as Parr Cottages. This building has a long and varied history, being the local inn or cider house, a room was used by the Men’s Club. Brenda now has the minute books which from 1924 onwards. The club was started by the Rev. Watson to give men something to do. John Virgin was running it when it closed.

The rooms there were used like a village hall, the parish council held their meetings there, it was also used for the large ploughing match lunches, wonderful write ups in the newspapers of the day. The men were asked to use the facilities rather than the garden!  The rooms played a big part in the social life of the village.

We talked about how Post Cards were delivered same day compared to modern day communications, how many of us during our school days found the teaching of history uninspiring.

Hugh  told us about his interests in the history of Plymouth Argyle football  team. The whole town had a half day closing for the match days and the dockyard also let their employees off.  Seeing the local sports news Hugh must be very chuffed to see his team off to Wembley! My brother who lives in Hampshire tells the Portsmouth followers are devastated!!

Jenny and George are taking the Western Uprising PowerPoint to Honiton this week. Jenny has kindly honoured us with the copyright to safeguard it.

Thank you all for a jolly evening. Shout if I have left anything out.

 Our next meeting is on 2nd June, when we look forward to having Graeme with his metal detecting and field walking find.

1061 Boundary between Ottery St Mary and Feniton

On Rogation Sunday 1st May 2016 The History Group and guests attended while Rev. Cate unveiled a Boundary Stone to mark this ancient boundary. We followed this with a walk along a part of the boundary.

Susie Bond has kindly written about the process that led us to the event:

Feniton History Group held the 66th meeting

We finalised the details of the talk by Jim Rider in the church on 21st April Jim has his own projector. £3 on the door with tea, coffee and biscuits, meet at the church 7 pm to set up.

George asked if there was any interest on holding a  railway event in  March 2017 to mark the 50 years since the Sidmouth Line closed. It looks like we may do something, so watch this space.

The placing of the Boundary Stone is all in place for Sun 1st May at 2:30 pm and invites have gone out by email. Rev. Cate has kindly offered to do the unveiling.

Graeme Smith has confirmed he will be able to join us for the 2nd  June meeting, when he will update us on his finds in the area. Roy while  metal detecting  found a railway badge

Geoff who volunteers at the Devon Heritage Centre has seen a voter  list dated 1759 / 60 list for Exeter Parliamentary elections. Dan Defoe passed through Honiton in the 1720s and mentions the parliamentary situation of some of the towns in the Southwest.

He has been given the task of identifying photos  of early railways including some of the Brunel broad gauge line in South Devon and the Pumping Station at time of the change from broad gauge to standard gauge.

Brenda has been looking up things in the old newspapers and we discussed the prize for the farm labourer with most children given at Ploughing Matches, the more children, the more free labour for the boss, but, it must have been so hard in the old damp and near derelict cottages found on some farms.

We nattered about research the other conflicts and if out menfolk from the village would have been on the Boer war and Crimea war. Sadly, the many army lists only mention the officers.

 David has an Advowson relating the village, it shows who had the right to present the Rector to Feniton Church. It lists many names, some we know about as part of the Manor of Feniton, others no known, so another jigsaw to collate.

The title of Yeoman was discussed. This link helps define it:

Alan  bought along a map showing how the roads in the old village  had changed over  time from 1700 to 1900, he used notes from Victor Chown’s book and Donns map 1765.

 The oldest route in Broadhill,  was a  sand quarry which was  worked out in the 1700s, then used as the cutting for Sandy Knapp/ Green lane  about 1765 ish.

Rutts Lane from Cheriton Hill used to run through Beechwood copse  to Sandy Knapp in a straight line.  Broad Hill was put in about 1830. Rutts Lane  was  too high and was lowered to meet Broad Hill, closing the lane through Beechwood.

In 1840 Sir John Patteson who lived in the court, closed Church Lane which, at the time was the through road to Curscombe. The top of Sand Knapp was  too steep for wagons. The council lowered it, the sides are still visible in the sand bank. The sand was used for building, Westlades was built  using material from the quarry. Thank you Alan.

Brenda raised a query about the land and garden around Sherwood Villa, seems to be an old wall running across towards Appletrees. Does anyone when the Villa was built?

David told us of his visit to Beer Quarry Caves and suggested it would be somewhere for a FHG group outing.

Brenda's progress on her projects, we all love her excitement at what she has discovered! Her current quest is the Feniton Inn situated where Parr Cottage is now. It was run by Henry Darke, he married in  1823 to a  farmers daughter, Ann Burton.

The old newspapers reveal it was the venue for the annual dinners held after the ploughing matches.  They describe a big room with a huge roof and tent sides.

 In the Railway Hotel the beer was dearer in the lounge bar.

 We spoke about the age of the new estate.  Memories of the houses being built and even a playground which never came too!! That rings a bell with the current new housing development. Ely Close was built about 1972.

Looking through the Vestry books in the Heritage Centre Brenda found that  in 1873 St Anne’s chapel  was  sold, the money to benefit the school but the Honiton Union said no. The  Population at the time was 306.

Also found was reference to  Branscombe Mill at Fenny Bridges, this is something we have not heard before.  In the back of the Church wardens book  is a 1806  description of walking the boundary.

This concluded another wonderful evening, thank you all.

'Mayday in July', the last flight of a Viscount.

This was a fascinating talk, adding a human element to the accident, which some of the audience remembered. If you get chance to hear Jim's talk don't miss it.

Thank you Jim for a very informative evening.

This took place in Feniton Church 7:30 pm on Thursday 21st April on behalf of Feniton History Group.

Jim Rider's new book  'Mayday in July' has been published by the Ottery St Mary Heritage Society and is now available from the Curious Otter Bookshop in Ottery St Mary (price £7.95).  It is also available on line from Amazon.  The book tells the story of the last flight of a Viscount airliner, G-ARBY, which landed in a farmer's field south of Ottery St Mary in July 1980.  All sixty two people on board walked away and there were no injuries.  It is a remarkable local story and has never been fully told before.

For more details on 'Mayday in July' talks please contact Jim Rider.

01404 549471

Feniton History Group held the 65th meeting

The business part of the meeting confirmed the change of date for Jim Rider.
Here are his notes on the talk:

“The book tells the story of the last flight of a Viscount airliner, G-ARBY, which landed in a farmer's field south of Ottery St Mary in July 1980.  All sixty-two people on board walked away and there were no injuries.  It is a remarkable local story and has never been fully told before. I will be presenting an illustrated talk on the event in Feniton Parish Church at 7.30 pm on Thursday 21st April 2016.  Everyone welcome.“ 

I have spoken to Graeme Smith and he will be joining us for the June meeting (2nd June) in the Nog Inn.

Friends of Feniton Church asks if we can do a display or our choosing for the plant sale on 14/15 May, the Group felt they had nothing new to offer at the moment.

I have seen various Conflict Commemorations and thought we should check if we have and service folk from later conflicts who lived in Feniton.  Geoff suggested we might look at the Boer War and the Crimea.

 We had a good natter about the wonderful photos taken by James Ravilious, son of the painter Eric. This link tells more: http://tinyurl.com/hhrtq8h

Geoff told us about the maps he is working on as part of a conservation volunteer project in the Devon Record Office. He had come across a map showing Vicarage Cottages at Fairmile, these would have been demolished when the A30 was widened. A photo of the cottages is shown on page 95 of “Around Ottery St Mary” by Gerald Gosling and Peter Harris. Published 1994.

George is looking at non-conformist chapels in the area for his current research.

Jenny is pleased to say she has completed her major research on the Western Rebellion She tells us one of the Malherbe family was held to ransom in 1483 a  ransom was  paid   He  was wounded by a musket shot. So perhaps this is the “wound” in the shoulder of the tomb in Feniton Church? She has also finished her work on early immunisation and Benjamin Jesty.

Will tells us he has a colleague, Glen Ford, who is to x-ray the arrow heads from Windmill Hill to  confirm the evidence relating to the period of the Western Rebellion.

Brenda explained how well the  School Project is progressing, and now has some Church of England  notes on Feniton.  The current school was opened in 1967  on its current site so it will be its 50th year in 2017.

In 1863 the first school opened with 30 children, but, it seems like they made the list up from the  church baptism  register instead of using the actual children.  Some were too old to be in school, so a false document if ever there was one!  

We welcomed Roy, a new member, he is a  Metal detectorist  studying the Vikings of Exeter and Crediton.

 George sold us about a  Cist burial  on Dartmoor 3500 years  ago,  it held beads , a wicker pot  and even bear pelt.

I have resigned from the WW1 farming project, sadly due to time pressure, I just can’t get to the sessions in Exeter and incomplete data for the village.

Thank you all for yet another fascinating evening.

Next meeting in the Nog Inn on 7th April 8 pm.

Feniton History Group held the 64th meeting in the Nog Inn

The talk by Jim Rider: the new date is Thursday 21st April at 7:30 pm.

We quickly discussed our current research, Food & Farming in WW1, Brenda’s school project, both with the Devon History Society. David has more on the dispute between the Rev. Head and the Bishop! George is looking at Nonconformists in the area. Geoff, through his volunteer work in the Devon Heritage Centre is working on maps from our local land agents, Whitton and Laing and a new deposit in from the Estate Agents Force, who were also Undertakers.

Maps were mentioned and Stanfords were mentioned as suppliers:

A good online source for  UK maps is at http://maps.nls.uk/

For the new season of history events in Devon I suggest you keep an eye on the link:

Thank you to Jenny and George for arranging the visit of Will Churcher to the meeting. It was the best evening we have had in a long time!  Fuelled by Landlord Mike’s ale!

Will was accompanied by his friend Chris, who joined in our conversations with a mind of an engineer.

So interesting and just amazing to hold the musket shot and bodkins found by Will with his metal detector.

The finds relate to the time of the Prayer Book Rebellion, 1549.  Will is working on a  Civil War project for a  hands on history collection to be put together for the Royal Albert Museum in Exeter.

Will urged everyone to be honest and responsible in their metal detecting and take finds to the museum for verification.

I was so enthralled by the artefacts, my notes taken on the night may be lacking! 

Sadly, nothing has ever been found in the fields where the Battle at Fenny Bridges took place, apart from an arrow head in a tree.

Clyst St Mary saw one of the important battles in the  Rebellion. After the battle at Woodbury Common on 4 August 1549, the rebels under the control of Humphrey Arundell had re-grouped with the main contingent of 6,000 at Clyst St Mary, but on 5 August were attacked by a central force led by Sir William Francis, under the control of John Russell, 1st Earl of Bedford. After a ferocious battle Russell's troops gained the advantage leaving a thousand Cornish and Devonians dead and many more taken prisoner, 900 of whom were massacred later that day at Clyst Heath. Many of the soldiers and villagers were drowned in the river.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clyst_St_Mary#Battle_of_Clyst_St_Mary

In the marshes at Clyst St. Mary finds include musket balls, and a Baldrick which is a  sword belt. The Bridge there is meant to be the oldest in Devon. A Gunner held the bridge with a canon by John Hammond. The area may have been flooded, so  they would have crossed at Bishops Clyst.

Tudor Bodkins arrow heads probably Devon made and could  pierce armour, they wore helmets,  and possibly  chain mail.   

 George modelling a “Lobster Pot Helmet”

Windmill Hill, Greendale, no musket balls found, but a  very early screw thread bolt was found . We chatted about the history of nuts and bolts

Will showed us a Culverin ball shot, size of a golf ball, from this sort of weapon, David pointed out this could well be that depicted in the wound carved into the cadaver in the church.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Culverin

German and Italian mercenaries fought in the rebellion:

Feeding an army in 1549 must have been difficult, but the land owner would have feared for his safety had he not provided supplies.

Siege of Exeter was also part of this cruel era.

Will showed us two amulets relating to the time,  one marked Prides Rump Purge

We talked about other sieges, one being  of   Newark in  1645.

Will was asked whose side he would be on, the Rebels was Will’s reply!!!

Many thanks Will and Chris.

Next meeting in the Nog Inn 8:00 pm on Thursday 3rd March.