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.