Notices (updated 15 April 2024)

This is the place for notices and short news items that will be of interest to members of the DA. You may also wish to look at the Events news page where new events and changes to existing ones are reported.

This page will be updated as news comes in – the latest items will always appear at the top. Some of the items are re-posts of content that was originally published in DA News.

If you have a news item that you think would be of interest to the DA’s membership, please send it to the Executive Secretary: you can use the message form on the Contact page, if you wish. Subject to approval, we will publish it here.

15 April 2024

DA News published

The Spring 2024 issue of DA News has been published.

In this issue that marks the 100th anniversary of the death of Sabine Baring-Gould, the contents include an interview with noted Devon folk-singer Jim Causey, who refers to the role that Baring-Gould played in the recording of Devon folk songs. Also, in addition to the regular reports from our Branches and Sections, we have articles on Aylwyn Bowen’s posters that enliven Exeter’s city centre, a re-appraisal of the oil sketches that J. M. W. Turner made in Devon, a collection of book reviews of recent Devon-based publications, and much more.

All members should have received their copy. Earlier issues of the magazine can be read online or downloaded from here.


1 March 2024

Our Registrar is now our Executive Secretary

As approved at Conference last September, Dr Bridget Gillard, our former Registrar, has taken on a new expanded role as Executive Secretary. She has a new email address:, but the old address: will continue to work for the foreseeable future.

1 November 2023

DA News published

The Autumn 2023 issue of DA News has been published.

Contents include an interview with Camilla Hampshire, the woman who led the transformation of Exeter’s Royal Albert Memorial Museum into the award-winning iconic attraction that it is today; reports on the events that each of our six lively Branches have put on in the previous six months; an investigation into the rare Narrow-headed ant; a report on the creation of our new Music and Folklore Section; and much more.

All members should have received their copy. Earlier issues of the magazine can be read online or downloaded from here.


10 April 2023

DA News published

The Spring 2023 issue of DA News has been published.

Contents include an interview with the noted artist and art historian, Jenny Pery, who will be our President for a year from this September; reports on the distinctiveness of Exeter from each of our interest-based Sections; news updates from our Branches; an investigation into Devon’s headstone angels; several book reviews; and much more.

All members should have received their copy. Earlier issues of the magazine can be read online or downloaded from here.


26 February 2023

Gold Award for DA member

At the AGM of the British Entomological and Natural History Society on 25 February, the President, Ray Barnett, announced that there were two recipients of the Gold Award this year, one of whom being our own Stella Beavan, a member of the Executive Committee and Hon. Secretary of our Entomology Section.

This Award is in the gift of the President. Ray said that it is in recognition of the huge contribution Stella has made to entomology and especially in the study of the microlepidoptera, let alone her role in creating the current lepidoptera checklist.

The formal presentation will be made at the Society’s meeting at Oxford on 25 March.

20 October 2022

DA News published

The Autumn 2022 issue of DA News has been published.

Contents include an interview with the eminent naturalist, broadcaster and cameraman, Andrew Cooper; reports on the recent seminar on Exe Island and Robin Wootton’s Symposium “Devon in 2050”; a notice of the recent online publication of the new Devonshire Dialect Dictionary; news updates from our Branches; and much more.

All members should have received their copy.


19 August 2022

Appeal from The Museum of Barnstaple & North Devon Development Trust

The Museum of Barnstaple & North Devon Development Trust has launched an appeal to support the publication of Barnstaple, 1640–1670 , a collection of 23 essays by 20 specialists who introduce this ‘unknown’ map and explain the town it depicts. The book is edited by Todd Gray and accompanies the exhibition running from 12 November 2022 to 18 February 2023. The deadline for any donations to the appeal is 30 September 2022. For more information, see this pdf file.

20 July 2022

Unscheduled downtime

For anyone who wonders why our website was unavailable yesterday and today, it was down for about 18 hours to noon on 20 July because of a heat-related problem at the data centre in London where it is hosted.

28 April 2022

Bideford & North Devon Branch

At their AGM held on 9 April 2022, the Bideford Branch formally renamed itself as “Bideford and North Devon Branch”, to emphasise the area that it covers.

20 April 2022

DA News published

The spring 2022 issue of DA News has been published.

Contents include an interview with the celebrated historian Ian Mortimer; a report about the revival of folklore collecting in the DA by our new folklore recorder Mark Norman; a celebration of the work of noted calligrapher David Harris; an update on restoration work at the Rolle Canal in North Devon; news updates from all our Branches and insights into the work of all our Sections; and much more packed into its 64 pages, including a Devon-based crossword.

All members should have received their copy.


14 October 2021

Devon’s Last Slave-Owners

In Black History Month, Todd Gray tells us that his latest book Devon’s Last Slave-Owners has been published. In a recent article in Devon Life magazine he talks about how the book came about and reveals a few details from the book, such as the fact that the 34 slave-owners living in Devon in 1834 owned nearly 5,000 slaves and on their emancipation in that year their former owners received compensation payouts totalling the equivalent of £9 million in today’s money.

30 September 2021

DA News published

The autumn 2021 issue of DA News has been published.

Contents include an interview with Nick Powe, the owner and custodian of Kents Cavern in Torquay; news updates from all our Branches; a personal report on the controlled explosion of the WWII bomb in Exeter earlier this year; a survey of the flora of Orley Common near Ipplepen; an introduction to the Hidden Cities Project; and much more.

All members should have received their copy.


2 April 2021

DA News published

The spring 2021 issue of DA News has been published.

Contents include an interview with Justine Colton, who farms at Tor Royal on Dartmoor; articles from each of our Sections on the distinctiveness of Devon; news from our Branches; a report on last autumn’s President’s Symposium on the important topic of “Valuing and Restoring Nature” (which is available online); a report on the opening of The Box in Plymouth; several book reviews and much more packed into its 56 pages.

All members should have received their copy.


1 January 2021

DCRS Facebook posts

The Devon & Cornwall Record Society is running another series of daily posts on Facebook. This series is on the use of documents in the two counties and much further afield. Specialists will discuss how one document has altered our understanding of an aspect of history.

The series started today and the posts will be on the society’s Facebook page at – open to all to view.


5 September 2020

DA News published

The autumn 2020 issue of DA News has been published.

Contents include an interview with Susie Hewitt on the subject of her father W. G. Hoskins; details of our forthcoming AGM and President’s Symposium, both of which will be held online; a celebration of the legacy of Robert Burnard who died 100 years ago; a piece on the distinctive music of Bideford; a number of book reviews and much more.

All members should have received their copy.


6 June 2020

DCRS on Facebook

Todd Gray tells us that the Devon and Cornwall Record Society (DCRS) is running a series of daily posts on their Facebook page from leading historians, archivists, librarians, writers and curators of Devon and Cornwall – every day through June and July – on life in the quarantine and how that has changed their views of the past. Read what they say at

10 April 2020

DA News published

The spring 2020 issue of DA News has been published.

Contents include an interview with Maggie Curtis who is primarily known for her architectural ceramics; a report on our 2019 Symposium hosted by President John Allan; an introduction to Dr Ian Varndell, our new Honorary Secretary; reports on the recent activities of our Branches; a number of book reviews and much more.

All members should have received their copy.


26 February 2020

DCRS 2020 Publication

The Devon and Cornwall Record Society announces its 2020 publication, The Exeter cloth dispatch book, 1763-5. Edited by Todd Gray.

A newly discovered manuscript detailing the exports of Claude Passavant, a Swiss émigré merchant, comprises the most extensive surviving collection of Devon cloth. These 2,475 samples, dyed in many colours and some figured, will be reproduced in a volume in which thirteen specialists analyse the local and wider contexts in sixteen chapters. Exeter was internationally renowned for the manufacture and trade in woollen cloth, the mainstay of the economy of the city and its hinterland. Until now the quality, range and vibrancy of its cloth were unknown.

The volume is included in membership of the Society for 2020. It will be published in the autumn and is available with membership at £16.50, or after publication at £30. To join and receive this volume on publication, please complete the application form linked below and send with a cheque made payable for £16.50 to the Devon & Cornwall Record Society by 1 October 2020 to DCRS, Devon Heritage Centre, Great Moor House, Bittern Rd, Sowton, Exeter EX2 7NL

You can download a pdf copy of the full flyer (includes a list of contributors and the application form), here.

15 December 2019

2019 Report and Transactions published

Volume 151 of our annual Report and Transactions has just been published. Abstracts for its eleven papers can be read here.

10 November 2019

Symposium report

We have just posted a report, with photographs, of our 2019 Symposium on Exeter Cathedral that was held in Tiverton on 5 October. See it here.

1 November 2019

DA News published

The autumn 2019 issue of DA News has been published. Contents include an interview with the noted mosaic artist Elaine M. Goodwin; an introduction from our new Chair, Dr Susan Andrew; summaries of the recent activities of each of our Branches; an impassioned plea from Dr Robin Wootton for us all to pay more interest to the fascination and beauty of insects; an enquiry into the provenance of the Rembrandt painting at Knightshayes Court; nine book reviews (now online here), and much more packed into its 48 pages.

All members should have received their copy.

The “mystery photo”

27 October 2019

Mystery photo – solved!

As reported in the Autumn 2019 issue of DA News, the mystery of the unknown group photo has been solved. See here for the details.

Although this puzzle has been solved, any clues to the identity of the people in the photo would still be very welcome.

Also, if you have any pre-digital photos of DA activities that you would be willing to share with the DA Photographic Archive, please contact Dr Helen Wilson – details here.

22 October 2019

Desert Island Documents

As part of Exeter Literary Festival, Dr Todd Gray MBE will be in conversation with Professor Mark Stoyle at Exeter Guildhall at 2pm on Thursday 7 November.

For full details including booking, click on the poster to see a full-size version.

1 October 2019

Break In At Wren Music

Wren Music is closely associated with our Music Section.

You may have heard, if not you need to know that Wren Music was broken into over the weekend Saturday 31st Aug – Sunday 1st Sept. Loads of easily movable things stolen – computers, screens, data projector, two video cameras, audio interfaces, minidisk recorders …

Thieves also ripped the safe from its moorings and took that, all the van keys and several cash boxes too. A pretty thorough, professional job. We are already taking steps to re-build and replace but it’s very distressing nevertheless.

We would ask all friends and colleagues to please keep an eye open for any of the above items being offered for cash locally, if the source does not seem genuine.

Thanks and best wishes,

Paul Wilson
E –
M – 07855 882 319

Dr Bridget Gillard, Registrar of the Devonshire Association

Dr Gillard,
DA’s Registrar

29 August 2019

Revised office times

From September 2019, our Registrar’s office will be open on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 08:30 to 4:30, but may be unattended at times.

See the Contact us page for full details.

25 July 2019

Appeal to save Sir Charles Lyell’s scientific notebooks

The DA and particularly its Geology section is keen to support this appeal from the University of Edinburgh. See here for details.

2 June 2019

Membership renewal dates

The resolution regarding membership renewal dates for new members of the Association was approved at our AGM on 1 June. See here for details.

10 April 2019

DA News published

The spring 2019 issue of our magazine DA News has just been published.

Contents include an interview with the photographer Chris Chapman, reports on the distinctiveness of Launceston (the location of this year’s conference) written by each of our Sections, a history of the song ‘Widecombe Fair’, and much more.

All members should have received their copy.



Elizabeth Brain

Elizabeth Brain retired in 2013 after thirty-six years as Bideford Branch Honorary Secretary, but she remained on the committee and continued as Membership Secretary until her sudden death on January 18th, 2019. She was also an active, dedicated member of Bideford United Reformed Church. We shall all miss her knowledge, her reliable service and her compassion. Our thoughts are with her family who, like me, have lost a special friend.

Margaret Young, Chairman, Bideford Branch


D. J. B. ‘Jim’ Coulter, BSc.

From 1993 Jim Coulter was the Chairman, and from time to time also acted as the Hon Secretary, of the North Devon Branch and he continued in the Chair until the Branch closed in 2002. From 1997 Jim was a member of the Committee of the History Section and he served as its Hon Secretary from 1999 until 2001.

Jim was elected to serve as Vice-Chairman of the Association’s Council, as it then was, between 1999 and 2000 and again between 2001 and 2002, on both occasions under the Chairmanship of Bruce Peeke, at the time when the problems over Bowhill and its unsuitability as our Head Quarters became apparent and were at their height. He will be best remembered for taking the lead at the time in the negotiations with English Heritage which lead eventually to the Association successfully surrendering the residue its Lease and enabling a move to smaller and more suitable office premises in Longbrook Street in 2004.

As a lasting testimony to Jim Coulter’s sterling and longstanding efforts in achieving a successful outcome to these negotiations the Report of Council to the Annual Meeting in 2002 read:

Council is pleased to report that since the last Annual Meeting agreement has been reached with the Regional Office of English Heritage on the terms to be recommended to the Secretary of State in order for the Association to be released from its lease of Bowhill. A major part in reaching this agreement over a prolonged period was played by Mr Jim Coulter and Council is most appreciative of all the time and work he has put into this.

Bob Letcher

31 January 2019

DCRS 2019 Publication

The Devon and Cornwall Record Society announces its 2019 publication, Sir Francis Henry Drake (1723–1794): Letters from the Country, Letters from the City. To be published in December, it is the culmination of a collaborative project that was launched by our History Section.

Available to members of the DCRS as part of the annual subscription of £16.50. After 15 December 2019 the volume will retail for £30.

Click on the image to the right to see the flyer and application form that can be printed out.

27 January 2019

Industrial Archaeology Newsletter No 4

Our Industrial Archaeology Section has just published its fourth newsletter. Items packed into its 20 pages include a report on last years AIA conference in Nottingham, a report on the Section’s visit to Hayle (including Wheal Bassett), and reports on talks given to the Section about the laying of the early Atlantic telegraph cables and the work of a stonemason (Beer Quarry to Exeter Cathedral). There are also articles on the water-powered sawmill at Simonsbath and the resurrection of a stationary engine. You can read the newsletter here.

21 January 2019

Place-Names Project update

Last year, our History Section and the Devon History Society jointly founded a project to encourage new investigations into Devon’s place-names. A short update can be read on the project’s webpage, here. If you are interested in contributing, contact details are on the project page.

16 December 2018

Front cover of The Devonshire Association's 150th volume of Transactions, 2018.2018 Transactions is in the post!

Full members of the Association should receive their copy of this year’s Transactions shortly. Those not lucky enough to be able to read the publication can see an overview of its contents here. If you would like to ensure that you receive next year’s volume, you can join us by following the instructions on the membership page.

1 November 2018

Abstracts for 2018 Transactions available

The abstracts for the papers in our 150th volume of Transactions are now available, see here. The volume is due to be published before the end the year, and we have a special membership offer to celebrate this event – see the item below.

1 October 2018

Special membership offer

From now to the end of the year* we are running a special membership offer to celebrate the publication of the 150th volume of our Report and Transactions. See the offer page for full details.

* Or until all available applications are filled.

29 September 2018

DA News published

The autumn 2018 issue of our magazine DA News has just been published.

It has been thoroughly revised by a team led by chief editor Dr Bridget Gillard, our Registrar, and it is the first issue to be produced in full colour. All members should have received their copy.

Recent website updates

26 August 2018

After a bit of a summer break, we have started to add content to this website again. Under Devon there are transcriptions of two old but still interesting papers: Some Devonshire Field-Names (1913) and On some boulders of pseudo-jasper found near Newton Abbot (1910). We’ve also added a 1920 biography of DA’s first president Sir John Bowring, written by William Pengelly’s daughter.

Our website is now secure

18 June 2018

To follow current internet best practice, we have today made this entire website only accessible over the secure HTTPS protocol. There are several advantages in doing this and, as far as we are aware, no significant downsides.

Our 2019 Conference

12 June 2018

Our 2019 Conference will be held in Launceston, one of the rare occasions when we hold it outside our home county, and exactly 110 years since we last met there. The opening day will be Friday 31 May, the AGM will be held on Saturday 1 June, and Sunday will be set aside for excursions as usual. The president-elect is Mr John Allan, BA, MPhil, FSA.

DA News update, and the DA Publicity Officer

25 April (from DA News, Spring 2018)

[The Spring 2018 edition of DA News was] the last under Brendan Hurley’s able editorship. We are hugely grateful to him for all he has done to curate and improve DA News over the last few years as it has continued to evolve to become ever more attractive and an indispensable vehicle for communication about the Association. In view of the increasing importance of digital communication and the success of our new DA website developed by our webmaster John Maltby, the Executive Committee (ExCo) has created an editorial board to ensure smooth interaction between the website and DA News. Alongside John, the board’s membership is Sue Andrew our vice chair, Tony Buller our Publicity Officer, and Bridget Gillard our Registrar. The Executive has further agreed to appoint Bridget as editor in chief of DA News because the Registrar is at the centre of our communications network; this is another enhancement of the Registrar’s role and we look forward to the further development of DA News under her editorship.

At the same time, the Committee has also agreed to Tony Buller continuing as our Publicity Officer after his term as an elected member of ExCo ends at the forthcoming AGM [Dartmouth 2018]. He will continue to attend the Executive Committee and play a full role in our affairs. We are most grateful to him for agreeing to do this – his indefatigable energy and commitment to the Association are invaluable assets which we have come to appreciate and rely on.

Peter Beacham

Website improvement

22 April 2018

For easier access to each Branch’s and Section’s list of forthcoming events we have added shortcuts to the Events page.

If you have any ideas for improvement of this website, please contact the webmaster at


20 March 2018

The Association regrets to hear of the sudden death of Susan Hateley, long time member of our Bideford Branch and the Branch Committee until 2016. Her work and enthusiasm for the DA was greatly appreciated and will be sadly missed. Susan graduated in Botany and Plant Biology at Hull University and followed a teaching career at the former Edgehill College, Bideford until retirement. She was also a former member and competitor with Devon Orienteering.


6 March 2018

The Association is very sorry to hear of the recent death of Alasdair Barclay – he was a DA member since 1995 and the Vice Chair of the Bideford Branch. He had also been an active and committed member of Torridge District Council. We send our condolences to his family.

Book reviews

14 Jan 2018

We have just added new reviews written by our Chairman, Peter Beacham OBE, of two recent books on James Ravilious. One book contains high quality reproductions of 75 of his photographs, the other is an insightful biography by his widow. Read the reviews here.

Cover of Buckfast Abbey book, published 2017. Edited by Peter Beacham, DA ChairmanBuckfast Abbey book

Buckfast Abbey celebrates its millennium in 2018 and our chairman, Peter Beacham OBE, is the editor of a new book, ‘Buckfast Abbey, History, Art and Architecture’. A conference to launch the new book was held on 7 October 2017 at which contributors to the publication spoke on their particular subject area. The book is now available in bookshops, price £60.

On Twitter

13 Dec 2017

From today the @devonassoc Twitter account will be used in conjunction with this website to provide updates on what the DA is doing. We recommend that all Twitter users should subscribe as another way of staying up-to-date with events in the DA. An icon that links to this feed appears in the green footer at the bottom of every page.

Our Registrar has a Twitter account @DA_Registrar on which she posts and retweets a daily eclectic mix of Devon-related items including details of selected upcoming events.

We have a few other Twitter feeds too: @DABotany, @DABuildings and @DaGeology which are mainly for members of those Sections (though anyone can subscribe, of course).


Dr Chris Cornford, President of the Devonshire Association in 2014-15, died peacefully in the early hours of Saturday 4th November at his home in North Devon. Over the past two years he had fought cancer with courage and dignity, remaining positive until the end.

Following some years working as a petroleum geochemist, in 1983, he set up Integrated Geochemical Interpretation Ltd and a Field Centre at Hallsannery, near Bideford. His company, which provided services to the oil and gas industry with an emphasis on integrating geochemistry, geology and basin modelling, was internationally recognised as a leader in its field. He was a strong supporter of the Devonshire Association and, together with his wife Sally, was active in many other societies and organisations in Bideford, Devon and South-West England.

A service of celebration will be held at 1.40 pm on Monday 20th November at Barnstaple Crematorium and afterwards at Hallsannery.

A full obituary of Chris will be published in next year’s Transactions.

DA Conference 2018

The 156th DA Conference will be held over three days, commencing Friday 1 June 2018, at The Royal Castle Hotel in Dartmouth. The lectures and AGM will be held at the nearby Flavel Centre. Further details will be published as soon as they are available.

Branch Reports

29 Oct 2017

Two Branch reports of this year’s events have recently been added: East Devon’s includes talks on rood screens and life in medieval Exeter, and a visit to Forde Abbey in Dorset; while Exeter’s covers talks on General Mercer and Harry Hems, and visits to a Freemason’s Hall, the estate of Hall, and Northernhay Gardens.

Feedback from the consultation on the format of Transactions

Comments were requested in the Spring issue of DA News about the future format of the Report and Transactions. Following an analysis of the 55 responses received from the membership, it has been agreed that, from Volume 150 (2018), the Report and Transactions of the Devonshire Association will continue in almost the present format (though with redesigned cover).

There was a clear view that we concentrate on original papers/articles and retain the reports (though with revised guidance provided for those compiling the contents). Issues where members’ guidance was mixed, and which require decisions to be taken by the Executive Committee, are the presence of financial data, book reviews and obituaries. There are quite compelling reasons for both leaving in, or taking out, and we still have to assess the merits of some things appearing on the website or in DA News.

Malcolm Hart
Honorary Editor Transactions

Award for President

Our President, David Fursdon, recently received a Lifetime Achievement Award, which was presented to him on the eve of the Devon County Show, in recognition of his major contribution to the agricultural industry.

Email addresses

from DA News Autumn 2017

In the foreseeable future the Association will be making greater use of email to communicate with our members. We encourage those who have not yet provided Bridget Gillard, our Registrar with an email address to do so.

Also if you have changed your email address or any other contact details, please let Bridget know.

South Devon Branch report

14 August 2017

South Devon Branch has posted its latest Branch report, including details of talks on church houses, the Royal Clarence Hotel fire, Devon place-names, and walks around Ashburton and Dawlish.


11 May 2017

The Association is very sorry to hear of the death of Jeanne Edyvean, our Registrar from 1971 to 1989 and sends condolences to her family.

Portable Sound System

from DA News Autumn 2016

Having had difficulty with acoustics in some village hall venues, the Industrial Archaeology Section has recently purchased a small portable sound system. The unit is powered by a rechargeable battery and is provided with a lapel microphone and a headset microphone. Both of these operate wirelessly so there are no trailing wires.

The Section has agreed to make the unit available to others in the DA. It will be kept at the DA office and bookings should be made via the Registrar.

Recent bequests

from DA News Autumn 2016

The Association has recently received two bequests, one for £5,000, the second for £1,000. The Association is most grateful for these generous donations which will be used to further improve our services to members.

Andrew Festing Face Value

from DA News Spring 2016

Art historian and DA Executive member Jenny Pery is the author of a recent book dealing with the portrait painter Andrew Festing. The book, Andrew Festing Face Value is published by Millennium Publishing.

A New Devon Bird Atlas

from DA News Spring 2016

Stella Beavan, the Entomology Section’s Secretary, has done it again. She last appeared in DA News in 2014 as author with Robert Heckford and others of the nationally important Checklist of the Lepidoptera of the British Isles. Now, less than two years later, she has co-authored with Mike Lock the 500 page Devon Bird Atlas 2007–2013 showing the distribution of breeding birds, and for the first time also of overwintering birds in Devon, based on six years of field work. With fully coloured distribution maps and photographs of 220 species and accounts of many more this book looks splendid, and is likely to be widely appreciated and used by the many bird enthusiasts in the county. There are sections on geology and habitat distribution, and a foreword by Prince Charles. All this for £40 plus £6.99 p&p, available from

Robin Wootton