Feniton History Group held the 84th meeting in The Nog Inn

It is with sadness I mentioned to the Group that Chris Saunders has left our membership, we will miss his expertise and company.

The last two events we have held in the church were wonderful, but due to bad weather the attendance has been poor.

The talk by Jim Woolley and Bob Neal on "Ottery's Sacrifice", the book tells of the men and families affected by WW1, was well received and very poignant, seeing the Commonwealth War Graves in France and Belgium. The book is available from The Curious Otter Book Shop.

Thank  you to Jim and Bob for an informative evening.

David has picked up on the name Lady J. Rickman from the Kelly Directories dated 1893 and 1889 each mention her charity of £25 for Public Use. She is a puzzle, and does not seem to be in any listing on line.  The search is ongoing, so watch this space.
Do have any suggestions? Where did the compilers of the directories get their information?

In a DFHS magazine from 1994 David found in a book shop gave detail of a fire in Ottery St Mary, a messenger went from Ottery to the station at Feniton to telegraph the message to Exeter, the cause was children in a cottage playing with matches in a cottage off Jesu Street  was the cause  article written by Jean Harris.

He also found a volume of the Devonshire Transactions containing notes on the Devon Dialect.

Geoff, who volunteers in the Devon Record Office, is cataloguing papers from the Garret Family of Bishops Court, the papers hold details of their taxes. It was cheaper to hire a coach and horses then to own one, due to the tax. The estate was sold to John Garrett in 1830, he made his fortune from tea.  Of late is was used by W.E. Taylor a paint company

George on one of his walks has visited Redlake China Clay, here are a couple of links to the area:

Alan tells us: You never know what will turn up from the past, boxes containing military orders for King Philip’s Spanish Armada have been found.

Even a “new” type of dinosaur has been found.

Brenda has found an article in the Western Times detailing the first train to come down the rail line, stopping at Feniton. It had 20 carriages and 3 trains. The day was a wet one with fast falling rain  and a solar eclipse at the time. Speeches were made £300  had been spent on the  road to Sidmouth. Sir  John Kennaway went to lunch with  the navies.

Was the Back Drive to Escot put in to aid access to the station for the railway access?
This is disproved by Rev. Swete’s visit to Escot, see below*

Many commentators say how beautiful East Devon is.
John Leland came through in 1542.
Celia Fiennes travelled through in 1698 and remarked what a good road it was from Exeter to Honiton.

In 1795 the Reverend Swete made his "Picturesque Tour of Devon" and describes his visit to Escot. *"Northward of the house I came to some iron gates that opened onto a public road contiguous which was a cottage that had been formerly used as a lodge.”

 Thackeray  was at Larkbeare:
Major Carmichael-Smyth,  step father  to Thackeray,  retired to Larkbeare,  near Ottery St. Mary, in South Devon, which he rented from the local potentate. Sir John Kennaway, setting up as a small country squire or gentleman-farmer. There he reaped his crops, brewed cider, and shot partridges, while his wife drove in her carriage with a footman
on the box, to visit the neighbours. Larkbeare was the Fairoaks, Ottery St. Mary the Clavering St. Mary, and  Exeter the Chatteris of  his novel “Pendennis”.

Jenny has been asked to help with a film covering the Battle of Fenny Bridges, using her research as a basis.

There seems to be “Treacle Mines” in Feniton according to a post on Facebook page Feniton Focus. 

KENNAWAY Sir John Bt. Passed peacefully in Worcester Royal Hospital on October 22nd, 2017, aged 84 years, after a short illness. Published in the Malvern Gazette on 10th November 2017

Feniton History Group held the 83rd Meeting in the Nog Inn

We reviewed the fascinating illustrated talk by Martin Howell, it was sad that due to the very bad weather only 9 people came. This raised £40 for the Church Fabric Fund

Our next event is the WW1 Talk with Jim Woolley from Ottery Heritage on Thursday 30th Nov in the Church at 7:30 pm.

For the culmination of the 100 years since WW1 it was decided to mark this with a Themed WW1 afternoon tea in the Church or village hall, war time cakes and music. Suggested date Saturday 10th November 2018.

George : Has been looking at the horrific events after the Monmouth Rebellion, (1685) the South West was littered the decaying bodies hung in cages from churches and at Cross Roads after being boiled in pitch.  Bitterly Cross was one such place. Between Feniton and Talaton.

This links gives the account of the time:

 We discussed child labour in the mines, mills and small boys working for chimney sweeps, Jenny related the story of a young girl who had stolen a violin case, all driven by poverty, followed by harsh sentencing in the courts.

This tells more:

George  spoke of the American grave yard and the French Prisoners of war

He also told us the Dartmoor Jail Museum was worth a visit.

I related my conversation with my grandson regarding the Devon dialect, he had not heard of regional accents,   the Cornish spoke late Anglo Saxon and had their own language, which is being revived in an effort for it not to be lost.

Bob is enjoying the garden, and told us about the  Indian service  1930/32 medal with 2 bars.  There was a Water Carrier medal. The English detachment did not get involved with the skirmishes, but if a white person involved they would shoot. His father served in India in the 1930s. Sadly, all his father’s effects were lost when his home was cleared after his death.

Jenny  has a relative of the Horsey family  of Clifton May Banks House. Sadly, with the wills destroyed in the second world war the line is not easy to follow.  

 Brenda brought along her Grandfather’s postcards from WW1, he was a Batman to an Officer. The cards are written with a pencil, only the Officers had access to ink! He was in hospital in Birmingham in July 1917, using the dates from the postmarks Brenda has worked out where in the world he was at the time of posting.

While searching the newspaper archives Brenda found some articles relating to Cecil Harris  of Bricklands now Appletrees. behind the Nog Inn.  Samuel, his father lived at Pound House in Payhembury he was a carpenter and wheelwright.  Cecil was a carriage builder. In  1928,  when the building  of council houses was proposed, he criticised the siting of the council houses because he thought it more sensible they should be near the Station where there was a mains sewer that could be used instead of the proposed site in Station Road. He also worried about flooding in front of Bricklands. He went with the nickname  “Crab Apple Face.”   His wife died in  a cycle accident.

Cecil  had the first motor garage in the area , he was offered the Vauxhall dealership, but he thought cars had no future and turned it down. Arthur, Cecil’s son was  put forward for e military medal.

Brenda attended the DFHS conference  and mentioned the Heathcote family who were keen on education and erected a school. At the conference Brenda met the author of a new book about  Thomas Fowler, an inventor from Torrington who invented a calculating machine.

 Geoff told us of a family with 22 children raised  in a bigamist marriage, the father remarried the 1st wife to legitimise the children inc a spell in Canada.

Alan has seen the item on the Spotlight news about Drowners Huts on the River Frome in Dorset, for the men  working on the  water meadows.  He asked if the small derelict shed at Fenny Bridges would have been such a building?

Alan also recalled a boundary change that meant Feniton Parish were responsible for the maintenance of the Bridge.

It was a lively and fascinating evening, thank you all.

Next meeting 8pm in the Nog Inn on 7th December 2017.

WW1 talk to mark the Rememberancetide

Feniton History Group would like to invite you to join with
Jim Wooley and Bob Neal from Ottery Heritage are coming to talk
about Jim’s book on WW1 in Ottery St Mary and surrounding villages
 in Feniton Church on Thursday 30th November 2017 at 7:30 pm

Admission £4.00 including tea /coffee.

Report on Martin Howell's Talk 19th Oct 2017

Sadly due to the stormy weather only eight visitors were able to enjoy Martin's fascinating illustrated talk, here are my rough notes taken on the night. These snippets are wonderful and worth reseraching further on the Internet or in books.

“A miscellany of little known facts about Churches.”

Ogham:  a script used in Celtic times.
 A Viking tomb, 8th C, known as a Hogs Back Tomb.
Various Saxon crosses, the one in Colyton church found after a fire and reconstructed.
The Saxon stone building pattern of Long and short work in a Saxon Crypt.
Romsey Abbey has an example a carving Dextera (Right Hand of God).
Norman font in Clyst St Lawrence Church. Old fonts would often be reused in new churches.
Norman chevrons and beak head carving on Iffley Church, Oxford
The Rose for the Virgin Mary.
The Daisy for the Virgin Mary and virginity.
The Green Man origins are unknow, but many myths surround him, thought to signify rebirth and the Spring.
Bestiality animals carved in various forms and symbols.
Sheela na gig a carved figure of an old hag showing all her nakedness  11th / 12th C.
signifying lust and evil, atropay or fallen.
Mensa table with consecration crosses.
There 2 tombs  in the UK with original saint bones, these have holes to place your head to pray or place a withered limb.
Masons and Carpenter marks. Used to show work done for their pay or aligning joints.
The Church house used as village hall and brew house for ale revels, Bridal is derived from the Bride Ale.
Sundials, round and linear
Sanctuary ring  or knob on the door, once grasped, you  40 days to arrange  for your defence.
Hunky Punks are a form of carved figure placed on the outside of churches, Hunky means to hunker down and punk is short legged
Pelican shed her blood to feed her young, she dies, but the young survive, as Christ shed his blood to save us.
Gurney stove an early heater for the church
Funeral helmets.

Hatchments hung on house then moved to church, male on the left, wife on the right, black background shows the death.

Feniton History Group held the 82nd Meeting in the Nog Inn

Some of the group are busy rehearsing for the church concert, Jenny mentioned the Battle of Wiggaton, I have found this reference:


There is a suggestion that local history groups will be asked to arrange an event to commemorate the 100 year end of WW1, the group suggested afternoon tea, a weekend event, a coffee morning, this would take place around the 11th Nov 2018.

George has been working on his family tree, and has come across a murder!

Bob nattered about the  L├ęgion d'honneur medal, David spoke of a General 2nd class Iron Cross owned by an acquaintance who served on the Russian Front and held  at prisoner of war  camp in Scotland, and married a local girl.

Brenda showed us her display for the school  project she has been working on with the Devon History Society, the land owners were against the children going to school as they would not keep their station in life and be cheap, or even free labour on the farms, these comments were found in the speeches given at ploughing match dinners! The non-conformist churches wanted children to be able to read the bible and supported education.

Maggie recalled the young children that went to work in the coal mines. Brenda’s research also coverers Buckerell School, one of the rectors, Edwin Coleridge, a cousin of Samuel the poet encouraged school and ran a night class.

I too have a poetical link in my own Oxfordshire family tree, Captain Simon Hatley was the seaman who shot the Albatross in Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s poem “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner”,

David has finished transcribing the diaries written by William Channon and has some words to find the meaning of:

Polling apples, could be this hand pollinating the trees? Brushing the trees is done to stop aphids attaching to the bark.

Tied wood, is a term used for making wooden hurdles or wood sledges, or could be cord wood, a measurement of a stack of thinings from a wood. He could just have tied wood into bundles or faggots for the fire.

Seared hedge, this is term used in hedge laying where the hedge is trimmed out and the long stems cleared of twigs (seared) ready to part cut through and laid.

Furze cutting, is cutting gorse, this would be collected, dried and used on the fire.

Alan gave us his memories on Ottery St. Mary Railway Station.

Pupils going to the King’s School from Honiton would ride eight to a compartment, including a prefect to keep an eye on them. Some village children also went by train.

Alan would call into Townsend’s sweetshop in Mill Street.

Ottery had a cinema, the “Scala”, he would dash to catch the 10:33 train back to Sidmouth Junction after the film.

Alan suffered an accident while shunting wagons for Sidmouth, catching his sleeve between buffers. The goods train guard walked him from the Ottery goods yard to Ottery Hospital, here he met a young nurse and a friendship ensued.

Summer Saturday traffic came down from Waterloo, with through trains to the seaside. Seven coaches went to Exmouth and five to Sidmouth. On the return service two branch line engines would struggle on the gradient up from the Otter Valley, and on occasions a third engine went to the rescue. To remedy this, the station stop at Ottery was discontinued for the Summer trains.

The group has received a query regarding the Manor of Hayes, which seems to be part of Feniton and Talaton. With the help of Roger this is the reply I sent:

There was no “Manor House” until later when the house called Radcliffe was built on the Manor of Aunke, this is on the Clyst Hydon Road out of Talaton at the T junction signed Clyst St Lawrence and Broadclyst.

The English Heritage listing for the more modern house is found here:


There is also Young Hayes and Blue Hayes on the right of the Old A30, as you leave Rockbeare and head towards Clyst Honiton, possibly part of the same Manor.

We spoke of the Northcote family, who lived in Feniton Court, George junior, Civil Engineer was granted patents for “improvements to apparatus for scraping and cleaning boots in 1874 and for a cask measuring apparatus for quantity of liquid held in the cask granted in 1872.

Don’t forget the talk in the church with Martin Howell on Thursday 19th at 7 pm to set up,

Thank you all for a fascinating evening, we meet next on the 2nd Nov in the Nog Inn 8 pm

WW1 Centenary, 9th Oct 1917 James Ross

James ROSS 

He was in the ASC (T/21423) before joining the West Yorkshire Regt. He was a Territorial so I assume was in the ASC then. The 1st/7th Battalion WYR has the same history after 1916 as the 1st/5th Battalion.

Son of Hugh Ross, of Christow, Sidmouth Junction, Devon. He was a Rifleman in the 1st/7th Bn. West Yorkshire Regiment (Prince of Wales's Own). Died on the 9th October   1917 age 28  and his name appears on the Tyne Cote memorial Zonnebeke, Belgium. James was declared 'missing presumed dead'. His father Hugh said he would never move again in case 'Jim' came home.

In Memory of 

54510, 1st/7th Bn., West Yorkshire Regiment (Prince of Wales's Own)
who died
 age 28
on 09 October 1917
Son of Hugh Ross, of Christow, Sidmouth Junction, Devon.
Remembered with honour

A Talk: A Miscellany about Churches

On the 19th of October at 7.30 pm there will be a talk by
Martin Horrell in
Feniton Church entitled
“A miscellany of little known facts about Churches.”
Come and find out about
Mermaids, Mason Marks, Hunky Punks and many other things that can be seen in local Churches.
Admission to include tea/coffee
Donations will go towards the
Church Fabric Fund.

Village Life Concert

Feniton History Group held the 81st Meeting in the Nog Inn

I was late to the meeting, it was good to see you all in full swing without me!

Jenny was reading an article from the Pulman’s Weekly regarding the father of a baby, I missed the full details.

 Jenny also showed us a coin found in her late relative’s effects, a 350 AD emperor  magnentius after Constantine, to hold something of that age is amazing.

The main part of the meeting was taken up with the plans for an entertainment next month in the church, the Group have been asked to put together some scenes from the village history.

Some of our group are looking at the possibility of re printing Alan’s Booklet of walks around the Village, updating it with some historic additions to three of the walks.

We have the talk with Martin Howell on Thursday 19th October.

I have been told a steam train is coming through on the 23rd September about mid-morning.

David brought up the notes in the Yates file at Honiton Museum giving details of brickmaking at Colesworthy in 1599 and the “Great Wynd” that caused the damage that required the bricks, the nearest in time is the Storm of 1596 that affected the Spanish Armada, if anyone knows of a storm around the time before 1599 we would love to see the notes on it.

The next meeting will be in the Nog Inn on 5th October.  

Facebook Page "How Feniton used to be"

Click on Link : How Feniton used to be

Lots of wonderful photos of the carnivals and the railway.

Dates for your Diaries

The next meeting in the Nog Inn at 8 pm on Thurs. 7th September 2017.

Martin Howell has kindly offered us a new talk called "A miscellany of
little known facts about Churches" on Thursday 19th Oct, 7:30 pm in
the Church.

Jim Wooley and Bob Neal from Ottery Heritage are coming to talk
about Jim’s book on WW1 in Ottery St Mary also in the Church on

Thursday 30th Nov at 7:30 pm 

Feniton History Group held the 80th Meeting in the Nog Inn

We have received a thank you from the Train Group  for whom we did the display for their AGM.

Very pleased to have Margaret from Whimple History Society join us this evening. Margaret has passed an auction sale catalogue of Brig. Acland’s dairy cattle sale to the Group. Also, we have accepted her invitation to visit their Museum and take a guided walk around the village. We will also share our events across the two groups, as we do with Ottery. Thank you, Margaret. http://www.whimple.org

George, Colin and I and our dogs had a lovely afternoon’s walk on Rogation Sunday, we walked the path by Beechwood Farm down to the steps by the new A30 and back through the village to Green Lane. The views from the path are wonderful across Ottery to the hills behind. Thanks to George for sorting out the route.

We hear from David that he has made good progress on transcribing the war time diaries and would like to share them with us in due course.

My Mother in Law mentioned to me that during her school days, Oak Apple Day which was celebrated on 29th May by the wearing of Oak Leaves, this tradition marked the birth of Charles II.

I went  to an event in the Devon Record Office, now called Devon Heritage, this was to mark the establishment of the Devon Manorial Register, which launched on 15th May  via The National Archives at Kew and their Discovery website.
This is the link:

This just a finding aid, you must take note of the references and visit of contact the repository.   You have the following search options: NSearch by manor, parish, county and record office.

 Jackie and Bob went to Cadhay open day and learnt about Samuel Coleridge, he went to school aged 9 by himself on the stage coach to London.
This links gives more detail:

We discussed Blacksmiths in the area,  Huxtable and Heals at Fairmile, the group recalled smithys at Colestocks , Fenny Bridges and Payhembury. This website lists known Devon Smiths: http://blacksmiths.mygenwebs.com/index.php

Bob has bought a couple more medals, one from the 1911 /17 Revolution in Mexico, the battle there was the last time the Stars and Stripes were seen on the battlefield.

Bob also mentioned the Boxer Rebellion:

Bob also told us about this wonderful woman, Flora Sandes, she fought alongside  the Serbian Troops:

Margaret  told us of the Land Army and Lumber Jill's memorial located at the National Memorial Arboretum. The Farm Women's Union  helped to raised funds.

Some of the Land Girls married local men and farmers, there was a Hostel at Whimple, where they lived while doing their basic training on the Whiteways Farm.

Jenny is working with Battle Fields Trust to get the Site of the 1549 Battle at Fenny Bridges   recognised by English Heritage, she is helping design an information board or stand. This would go, perhaps with agreement of parties involved, on the wall by the Village Hall, or free standing in the car park? The Trust would be looking at a cost of £800 for the wall or on legs £1,500. The funds to be funded pound for each pound raised locally.

Jenny is looking for a picture of a likeness of a soldier or Peasant of the time. Bob suggested contacting one of the enactment groups who stage events in the dress of the time.

Alan read us a poem by the Late Nelson Owen on growing old, in the Devon Dialect, it was wonderful here the dialect spoken by a Devon Man.  Nelson was a well known man in Ottery, responsible for setting off the canon on 5th Nov to mark the start of the Carnival and Tar Barrel day.

George has been walking the area where the Battle of Sedgemoor took place. He is surprised that this Battle is more famous than our Fenny Bridges one when so many more died here.

  George has also walked along part of the Pill Box Stop line, a military defence,

We asked Alan if he had ever worked at Whimple Station, he was the last rail employee to work there leading up to it becoming unmanned in October 1970.
 The rail staff would use the Fountain Inn and the management used the other one!

Not sure how this bit of gossip came about, but, Feniton was known as “Sin City” by the users of CB radios, I won’t elaborate further, in case it offends!!!

Bob who once worked as a postman told us about the confusion of similar place names and that Postcodes were often ignored at times!

Well another fascinating evening, many thanks to all.

Please note I have asked that we have out next meeting in September on Thursday 7th.

Hope you have a wonderful summer.

Feniton History Group held the 79th Meeting in the Nog Inn

The evening started off with today’s history!! The local election for Devon County Council. Hugh asked us about the history of wards in East Devon. This link helps a little:

The latest change is the reorganisation of East Devon, Feniton is now with Honiton, after being part of Ottery Rural for many years, the changes being brought about by evening out the number of electorate in each ward. We found it very strange that Whimple is now matched with Blackdown.

Geoff has been a polling office and told us about the legal responsibilities he had, including the power of arrest!

Field names were mentioned and how the names evolve over time, we have a couple of fields, Harvey’s and Peek’s, which are named after the family who lived in the adjacent house. Our neighbours have one named “Hundred Acres”, needless to say it is very small!

Next topic was horses, how the police use them to handle crowds at football matches, in the South West the horses are stabled with the Avon and Somerset Constabulary.

Many of us can remember horses doing the milk and bread deliveries, also the rag and bone man  who used them into the 1970s. Colin’s father was still using a horse in the late 1940s.

Bob went to see a Civil war enactment and was very interested by the whole event depicting the English Civil War.

Skirmishes are not classed as important, we nattered about Jenny’s battle research of Fenny Bridges in 1549.  Our newer members have not seen the PowerPoint of Jenny’s research, so it was suggested we ask Jenny if we can show it one evening in the Nog.

We noted that some famous Battles were designated to the wrong fields, Bosworth and Hastings to mention a couple. Canons were loaded with all sorts of full of shot to wipe out the opposition.

Many battle sites seemed to be devoid of finds in later years, the followers would have cleared the fields of anything of value, even the dead had their teeth removed.

Bill has been reading Graeme Smith’s book, which he can recommend, The Awakening of Abraham Brown. Bill also is interested in finding out more about magnet fishing in canals and rivers. his would bring up anything metal thrown away, old bikes and shopping trollies come to mind!

We nattered about the Thames Mud Larks and their finds on the tide line.

Alan has a flint and would love to find out if it is a worked tool or just split by mature.

Geoff visited Sidbury Manor gardens, a big house with tired walls. It is the family home of the Caves. Open to the public each April for the National Garden’s Scheme.

Bob told us about his recent purchases. We mentioned the collection of medals on the BBC Antiques Roadshow. These covers the service of a man who served in the Boer War, WW1 and WW2. Some soldiers were denied medals, the Duke of Wellington did not approve them. 

Next meeting on Thursday 1st June in the Nog Inn at 8 pm.

Don’t forget the Rogation Walk on Sunday 21st May, 2:30 pm at Beechwood Farm, Green Lane.

Feniton History Group held the 78th Meeting in the Nog Inn

It is amazing, we all turn up at the Nog Inn with nothing prepared, and hey presto we have a wonderful evening full of topics and interests.

The business part:

We will be taking the Railway Photos to the Ottery Heritage AGM meeting Tues 20th Jun 2017. Chris Saunders will keep in touch with the details nearer the date.

           7.30pm: Annual General Meeting
            8.00pm: 'The Train Now Departing' The Historic video of the South West branch lines in the age of steam, plus some personal memories from special guests.

The Map site we looked up has sent an update, not had chance to look at it yet, I will send their email with this report. http://geo.nls.uk/maps/gb1900/

We would like to hold the Rogation Walk  on Sun 21st. May I suggest we meet in Green Lane at 2:30 pm by the path at Beechwood Farm. Then follow the public footpaths to the back of the village hall and return by road to Green Lane. Dogs welcome, but must be kept on a lead in the fields where livestock are.

Then we moved on to our natter over a pint.

 Bob told us how nice the Wesley Chapel is at Fenny Bridges, it closed in 1939  and is now a holiday let. The windows and layout are    very well done. Good to see it is still being used and not left derelict. It was a pig sty before the conversion.

 Hugh is using the British newspapers archive for his football research. Brenda and I love this online resource for local and family history research.  Always amazed at the work the journalists did in taking down so many names and details of the occasions they were reporting, and then the typesetters putting it all together for the presses.

Brenda was so pleased to find an article where her father sang and her mother played the organ at a wedding, she had no idea of this growing up.

Jenny has been approached by the Battle Fields Trust to record and highlight the 1549 battle with information boards situated in the village. This will be put to the Parish Council at the next meeting, Mon 8th May 2017. The thought of our group was that the wall by the village hall would be ideal.

The Battle of Pinhoe was mentioned in a tour of Plymtree Church I attended which may have cause the church there to be damaged and rebuilt? Sounds a long shot to me!!! Also the Battle of Wiggaton was mentioned, but cannot find a reference on Google.

Brenda  told us about the Newfoundland fishing  where cod  fisherman from southwest spent much of the year. Amazing to thing they sailed into the virtual unkown, leaving families at home.

Geoff volunteers in the Southwest Heritage Centre, the old Record office, he tells us that many shipping records are  now on line here:

 In the 1300s winters was warmer, enabling people to  live on Dartmoor and fish around Greenland. Ship ownership was in shares and even the town owned them. A ship is  owned 64 shares, some were sold to the town.  Smoking was good for you and the rum grog neat for the officers!

Devon Colic was caused by Cider, containing  lead found in the materials used to make the cider. 

The evening was rounded of with some of Alan’s Devon  Dialect snippets and a poem
in dialect,  “They all be Gone Now”. Thank you all for a wonderful evening.

Next meeting in the Nog Inn 8pm on 4th May.

“Medieval Rood Screens"

Feniton History Group invite you to
a talk on
 “Medieval Rood Screens - Their Rise and Their Fall...”

Our guest speaker, Martin Horrell, will  explain the historic importance and origins of the Rood Screen, their influence and gradual removal in the 18th Century, Mr Horrell is an expert on the subject as well as in church design and craftsmanship. This talk will be a treat for all those interested in historic Devon churches

This will take place in Feniton Church at 7:30 pm on Thursday 20th April
admission £4 to include tea / coffee and biscuits.

Feniton History Group held the 77th Meeting in the Nog Inn

 Fascinating evening, which I kicked off with my visit to Hampshire, to Old Portsmouth and the SeaCity Museum in Southampton, we discussed the Titanic story and the new evidence of the coal bunker fire which may have cause weakness in the plates.  Googling this brings up so many conspiracy theories, I doubt the truth will ever be found.

David has been in contact with a member of a family in relation to a grave in the churchyard, from this contact David now has some wonderful diaries to transcribe, notes about the farm work and his lady friends, fascinating and a real insight in to rural life of the day.  We look forward to reading David’s transcript. 

 George is still working on Nonconformist Chapels.  I have his latest research to share with you via a Word document. He told us about the acts to stop non-conformist preaching, the     5 mile act which led to persecution and excommunication.

Jenny brought along her family history research, which she had been working on for the last twenty years and is now in book form with pull out pages showing the family trees. A wonderful effort, and with Jenny’s wonderful way with words it is very interesting.

Brenda told us more of her work on the Parr Cottages, Joseph Chown renovated them,  taking the thatch off in 1880. The Rashleigh family were the owners, they had links to Cornwall and Charlestown. The full research is being published in the Parish Magazine.

Alan  kindly brought along the railway photos for display at the Railway AGM in Nog Inn at 10:30 till mid afternoon on Sat 18th March. People are welcome to drop in and see the display.

 We have the talk on Church Screens in the church on Thurs 20th April church  at 7:30 pm

Following on from the Boundary walk we all enjoyed last year, George has kindly offered to find a route for us via Green Lane walking down towards the A30  and back towards the old village. This will be on Rogation Sunday which falls on Sunday 21st May this year.  

Robert Neal of OSM Heritage has  kindly invited the Group to join  them at 8:00 pm Tues 20th June  to mark  the Beeching axe closing the Sidmouth Junction to Sidmouth Line. This will be a showing of the BBC film 'The Train Now Departing'

Next meeting in the Nog Inn 8pm on Thurs 6th April.


On Thursday 9th February, a prominent East Devon landmark was rededicated by two Anglican Bishops who travelled over 10,000 miles to pay their respects. The memorial at Patteson’s Cross was commissioned to remember John Coleridge Patteson from East Devon, who was a missionary and the first Bishop of Melanesia, but martyred in the Solomon Islands in 1871.

The refurbishment project by the Ottery St Mary Heritage Society was completed last September, on time and on budget. It was gratifying to learn that the life of Bishop Patteson and the importance of maintaining such a splendid memorial to his name engendered so much interest, both locally and nationally.

The institutions at which Bishop Patteson received his education – The King’s School at Ottery St Mary, Eton College and the Oxford University Colleges of Balliol and Merton – gave generous donations.  Major institutional grant providers included the Tale Valley Trust, Allchurches Foundation Trust, Devon County Council and Ottery St Mary Town Council.  The Heritage Society has expressed its gratitude to these bodies, as well as to many individuals, for their generosity.
prayer by the Revd. Prebendary Cate Edmonds was followed by readings by David Lanning and pupils from Feniton Primary School.  The ceremony of rededicating the memorial by the Rt Revd Leonard Dawea, Bishop of Temotu and the Rt Revd Ellison Quity, Bishop of Ysabel, both in the Solomon Islands, marked a fitting completion to the refurbishment project.  

The congregation included Lord and Lady Coleridge, Revd. Stephen Weston, Ven. John Rawlings, Cllr Roger Giles, the Melanesian Mission, members of the OSM Heritage Society, the Feniton History Group, pupils from The King‘s School, Payhembury and Tipton St John Primary Schools and members of the public.

After the ceremony, most people moved quickly to Escot Village Hall to socialize, with a welcome cup of hot soup and other refreshments. Robert Neal, chairman of the Heritage Society, gave a short welcoming address, and Bishops Ellison and Leonard expressed their pleasure and thanks for the opportunity to participate in the ceremony, and to meet many local residents.

Chris Saunders

Feniton History Group held the 76th Meeting in the Nog Inn

Another lively evening!! 
 I have been contacted by a gentleman asking if he could do a Talk on Dowsing,
Mr Palmer, was decided to look at this later in the year as we are rather busy over the coming months.

 Our Events: 
Railway Display in the Nog Inn on Sat. 18th March, we can sort  the detail next meeting. There will be 30 to 40 guests. This is for the General Steam Navigation Locomotive Restoration Society AGM.

We have the Church Screen talk on Thurs 20th April we will need to set this up at the March meeting.

Brenda has some excellent articles in the magazine of late, hope you have read them.
Love the one entitled Feniton’s Very Own Dad’s Army, by Brian Carnall.  Alan’s article on 19th Century Travel and the  Feniton Inn,  aka, Parr Cottage history is fascinating too.

Thank you Jenny for helping with the school project on the Battle at Fenny Bridges, we have both received a lovely “Thank You“ cards from the whole class, one pupil told us we will make wonderful teachers when we qualify!! We found the youngsters so polite and interested.

The Feniton Neighbourhood Plan Group are looking at unregistered heritage assets and green spaces, it was thought that most towns have wonderful parks, but not so in the villages.

Will tells us he is starting a Geological job in London so won't be down in Devon for many, many months. He will make contact when job ends but it may be next year.  Very best wishes to all at the History Group.  We will miss his company, take  care Will.

Chris Saunders can report to the meeting that the funding level for the Patteson Cross refurbishment  project has now met the expenditure thanks to a donation from Patteson House at The King's School and a grant from Ottery Town Council. The latter does still have to be ratified by full council sometime soon. The Commutation and rededication took place this month.

Chris attended the Tony Beard Memorial Service in Exeter Cathedral, many memories of a fine Devon man. Sadly, missed by all who knew him, personally and as a presenter on Radio Devon

Geoff  reported on the following finds while volunteering in the Devon Heritage Centre: 
 Records from the Exeter camera club now in DRO, he  gave details of an outing to Powerham Castle  with a heavy plate cameras, they got lost,  left  the camera on  the train, fell over the wall in the deer park,  got off at the wrong station on the way back ! Their trips were always an escapade it seems.

Archaeological papers detail a Neolithic dew pond  and pebble bed road. 

Army recruiting letters and copies and replies in Muster rolls for Devon Napoleonic wars and later.

Caster Castle, the cottage where the gardener for Feniton Court lived, past the Old School on the right on the Curscombe Road.  Alan went there before the war with his father as keen gardeners, the sub gardener lived there. The head gardener lived in Thorn Cottage, Mr Hapgood.   Christopher Flood was a Honiton Banker and had financial interests in mauch of the property in Feniton.

Christopher Flood notes,  he was called “King Caster” one of the Pot Wallop voters. More on this at this link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Potwalloper  Honiton was one of these seats.
His daughter is mentioned in the List of Feniton Rectors.

Henry Erskine HEAD        1828-1860
He was born on 9th January 1797, the seventh son of James Roper Head of Rochester. He married Elizabeth Flood of Honiton, daughter of Christopher Flood, on the 15th December 1823. He was at one time Chaplain to the King of Hanover. He was installed on 4th July 1828 - presented by John Rogers of Honiton, Druggist. During his period in office the church was in a bad state of repair and urgent restoration was carried out in 1836. He either died in Feniton on 16th May 1860 aged 63 or in London on 17h May 1860. (There are two accounts giving different locations and dates!) There is a memorial to him on the North wall of the chancel. Not buried in Feniton. He and his wife had 5 babies die between 1830 and 1836 in Feniton, 4 boys and a girl. Just one child survived, Margaret.
 We nattered about how researching has changed over the years, from looking at the actual documents, and trailing to London,  now it is all on line, back then you had to trawl the actual files.

 Bob’s holiday saw the 1st snow in Spain for 91 years. He told us how important the “right”  language is in  Valencia, it must be the local lingo.

Brenda,  asked if we could advise us of anyone who were  at the Feniton school 50 years  ago when it moved to the new site. Pupils in 1950s  and 1960s may have memories. 
 Alan was asked to find the origins of the The Hardy Wine family, they seem to hail from Stockland, not Gittisham, as thought, but of course they could have lived there  before he emigrated, the enquirer thanked us for our efforts.  

 A point was raised by Jackie as to how the village streets are named? Found this on a government website:
City, borough and district councils allocate postal numbers to houses and buildings in their area. They also name new roads and streets.
The council involves the land developer in the street naming process. They invite suggestions and possible alternative names from the developer. These street names with postal numbers go before council for approval.
But over the years these change due to new developments and war damage etc.
Thanks to all for a fascinating evening.

Next meeting in the Nog Inn on 2nd March 2017.

Feniton History Group held the 75th Meeting in the Nog Inn

Sadly, I missed the meeting due to a heavy cold, thank you to you all for taking the reins, see you do it so well you don’t really need me!

David told us about a talk he went to on Church screens. The speaker has written a book, and would be willing to come and give us a talk. We thought maybe in the Feniton church, later in the spring.
This has now been have provisionally booked the church for 20th Apr 2017.

Hugh brought along the account book of his grandfather’s market garden business and greengrocery round in Plymouth dating back to 1907, with wages listed and prices of items. The business is still being run by a descendant.

We had some more discussion on local place name pronunciations, such as the emphasis of ‘ford’ in Sidford, Colyford etc.

John  Masters explained how his locomotive restoration society are rebuilding a Bulleid Merchant Navy Class, named ‘General Steam Locomotive Co.’ 35011. He brought photos of the engine in its original and present rusty state.  The SW branch are to have their AGM at the Nog Inn on March 18th, about mid-day until 4.00pm. He would like us to put on a display of photos, layout plans etc relating to the 1960s. It was suggested that in the lounge bar would be best, and that we open it to others who may like to come and look.

Chris Saunders has notified us that the fund raising for the restoration of the Pattesons Cross Monument has reached its target. The monument looks very fine now the work is complete.

Alan has met someone who wants to find out something of the family of a Thomas Hardy who emigrated from Gittisham to Australia in 1850. Alan wondered if we can help. This Thomas Hardy started a winery in 1853 which is still running today and is very well known. To prove this, Alan brought along a bottle of Hardy’s finest Australian wine!

I had a rummage on Find My Past and have found a possible baptism for Thomas in Stockland, there is not one in Gittisham. Just ask if you would like the detail of the search. I have sent a copy to Alan and Brenda.
The following dates need to be noted for discussion at the February meeting.

The Train AGM, The Nog Inn.   Sat 18th March.
Talk in Church on Screens.       Thur 20th April
Rogation Walk Rogation walk. Sun 21 May 2017

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.

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?

The next meeting will be on Thursday 2nd Feb. 2017.