The President’s Jewel

Each year a person of standing in the county is invited to be Honorary President of The Devonshire Association.

A president’s year of office commences at the Annual General Meeting (held as part of the Annual DA Conference). The outgoing President chairs the AGM and invests the incoming President with the silver-and-enamel ‘President’s Jewel’, given to the Association in 1935 by Lady Radford. The new President then gives a talk on a Devon subject of his or her choosing, which is normally published as a keynote address in the forthcoming Transactions.

The President also conceives and organises the President’s one-day symposium assisted by the Executive Committee.

Current President 2021-22

Dr Robin Wootton BSc, PhD, FLS, Hon FRES.

Robin Wootton taught biological sciences at Exeter University for four decades and is still an Honorary Research Fellow. A zoologist, entomologist, biomechanicist and occasional palaeontologist, he is an international authority on the mechanics and evolution of insect flight, now a hot topic in the development of insect-sized micro air vehicles. He is an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Entomological Society, having been its West Region Secretary, a Council member and a Vice President. He has also been President of the Amateur Entomologists Society. Locally, he has been a member the Board of Management of the St Loyes Foundation, and has long been active in the Devon and Exeter Institution, serving on the Executive and as a library volunteer.

Robin joined the Devonshire Association in the mid 1960s, encouraged by his Head of Department, who had co-founded the Entomology Section two decades earlier. He has served as the Section’s chairman and its secretary and also as chairman of the Literature and Art Section. He was the Association’s chairman from 2008 to 2013, in that time founding the Music Section and facilitating the foundation of the Industrial Archaeology Section. He has organised DA exhibitions on insect photography and Devon artists, and initiated the 2017 celebrations of historical and cultural links between Devon and Newfoundland. He has a keen amateur interest in the history of biology, and particularly in how Devonians, including prominent early DA members, reacted to the heretical scientific discoveries of the 19th century.

He is married to Pamela, equally active in the DA over many years and recently appointed as an Honorary Life Member. They have a son, a daughter and five grandchildren.

Coming President 2022–23

Professor John Mather PhD, DSc, FGS, CGeol

Born and raised in Lincolnshire, where he attended the local Grammar School, John Mather read geology at Liverpool University before joining the Geological Survey in 1966. Following assignments overseas, exploring for groundwater on small islands in the West Indies and Pacific, he became involved in waste management, eventually leading major government-funded research programmes on the disposal of hazardous and radioactive wastes. In 1990 he left his position as an assistant director in the Survey to become Lyell Professor at Royal Holloway University of London, teaching and running a research group investigating groundwater pollution. Awards have included the Whitaker Medal and Distinguished Service Award of the Geological Society, where he has served as a council member and vice-president. Research in Romania has led to his appointment as a Fellow and Honorary Professor at the University of Bucharest. He has been chairman of the British Chapter of the International Association of Hydrogeologists, an advisor to the House of Commons Environment Committee and consultant to a number of national and international agencies on aspects of waste management.

Retirement in 2002 as Emeritus Professor, brought a move to Devon, where he quickly joined The Devonshire Association, becoming chairman of the Geology Section, before joining the Executive Committee, where he served as vice-chairman and also chaired the organising committee of the 2017 celebrations of the historical links between Devon and Newfoundland. He is totally committed to his adopted county and is a member of the Devon Archaeological Society, the Devon and Exeter Institution, Devon Artists’ Network and the Westcountry Potters’ Association.

He lives on the northern edge of Dartmoor with his wife Dr Jenny Bennett who is also an active DA member. He has two sons, the youngest of whom has recently moved with his family to live in Devon. He continues to write articles on the history of hydrogeology and the geology of Devon and its geologists and, in any spare time, throws functional stoneware pottery in a shed in his back garden!

Former Presidents

Some details of our most recent presidents are here.

List of all our Presidents

Including the locations of the AGMs at which they were inaugurated.

2021[AGM held online]Robin Wootton BSc, PhD, FLS, Hon FRES
2020[AGM held online]Clare Broom DL
2019LauncestonJohn Allan, BA, MPhil, FSA
2018DartmouthDame Suzi Leather
2017BuckfastDavid Fursdon, MA, FRICS, FRAgS, (H.M. Lord Lieutenant of Devon)
2016CullomptonTodd Gray, MBE, BA, PhD, FRHistS
2015TavistockTom Greeves, MA, PhD
2014BarnstapleChristopher Cornford, BA, MSc, PhD, CertEd, FGS
2013KingsbridgeAndrew Cooper, BSc, Esq.
2012TorquayThe Revd Peter Beacham, OBE
2011AxminsterCanon Professor Nicholas Orme, MA, DPhil, DLitt, FSA, FRHistS
2010HolsworthyMr Roger F. S. Thorne, JP, CEng, MICE, FSA
2009DulvertonRachel Thomas, CBE, DL, BA, DrSc.h.c., FRGS
2008Bovey TraceyAnthony Beard, Esq.
2007IlfracombeJustin Leigh, Esq.
2006SalcombeAnthony Gibson, Esq., OBE, MA, Hon. MSc, ARAgS
2005SeatonProf. Malcolm Hart, BSc, PhD, DSc, ARCS, DIC, FGS, CGeol, CSci
2004South MoltonProf. Ivan Roots, MA, FSA, FRHistS
2003ChagfordHM Lord Lieutenant of Devon (Eric Dancer, CBE, KStJ, JP)
2002PlymouthBarrie Williams, Esq.
2001TotnesHis Grace the Duke of Somerset
2000ExeterThe Rt Revd Richard Hawkins (Bishop of Crediton)
1999Great TorringtonThe Lady Margaret Fortescue
1998ExmouthJ. Bosanko, Esq., BA, FSA
1997CreditonSir Hugh Stucley, Bt
1996TavistockG. T. Boalch, BSc, PhD, CBiol, FIBiol, FLS
1995BidefordThe Rt Hon. the Lord Clinton
1994TorquayR. C. Scrivener, Esq., BSc, PhD
1993SidmouthSir Jack Boles, MBE, DL
1992OkehamptonSir John Quicke, CBE, DL, Hon. DSc
1991DartmouthMiss M. E. Lorenz, BA
1990TivertonF. J. M. Laver, Esq., CBE, Hon. DSc
1989BarnstapleProf. Joyce A. Youings, BA, PhD, FRHistS
1988PlymouthLt-Col. the Rt Hon. the Earl of Morley, JP
1987ExeterBrendan Moore, Esq., MD, BSc, FRCPath
1986BuckfastleighThe Rt Rev. Leo Smith, PhD
1985Ottery St MaryThe Rev. Amos 5. Cresswell, MA
1984HatherleighDr Basil Greenhill, CB, CMG, PhD, FSA, FRHistS (afterwards Hon. DLitt)
1983TeignmouthR. Crispin Gill, Esq., OBE, FRGS (afterwards Hon. MA, FSA)
1982MoretonhampsteadIan Mercer, Esq., BA (afterwards Prof., CBE, Hon. LLD, DSc, FLI)
1981IlfracombeProf. Frank Barlow, MA, DPhil, Hon. DLitt, FBA, FRSL (afterwards CBE)
1980ExmouthSir Eric Smith, CBE, FRS, ScD
1979SalcombeG. M. Spooner, Esq., MBE, MA, FRES
1978TavistockProf. W. G. Hoskins, CBE, FBA, MA, Hon. DLitt, FRIBA
1977AshburtonCol. The Rt Hon. the Lord Clifford, OBE, DL
1976BidefordSir Denis Stucley. Bt, JP, DL
1975SidmouthSir Charles Cave, Bt
1974TivertonSir Richard Acland, Bt
1973PlymouthThe Rt Hon. the Lord Foot
1972DartmouthHon. Margaret Lambert, CMG, PhD
1971BarnstapleProf. G. Wilson Knight, CBE, Dlit
1970HonitonA. Stuart Hibberd, Esq., MBE, MA
1969DawlishProf. J. Caldwell, DSC, PhD (afterwards OBE)
1968PaigntonA. P. G. Michelmore, Esq., MA (afterwards MBE)
1967Great TorringtonThe Bishop of Crediton (The Rt Revd W. A. E. Westall)
1966OkehamptonH. G. Hurrell, Esq., JP, MA (afterwards MBE)
1965TotnesNorman Capener, Esq., FRCS (afterwards CBE)
1964CullomptonThe Rt Hon. the Viscount Amory, GCMG
1963BudleighDom. J. Stéphan, OSB, FRHistS, FAMS (afterwards FSA)
1962ExeterThe Lord Bishop of Exeter (the Rt Rev. R. C. Mortimer, DD)
1961IlfracombeJ. W. (afterwards Sir James) Cook, Esq., DSC, ScD, PhD, FRIC, FRS
1960South MoltonThe Rt Hon. the Earl of Halsbury, FRIC, FInstP
1959AshburtonL. K. Elmhirst, Esq., MA, Hon. DrPolSci
1958KingsbridgeMiss Mary Coate, MA, FSA, FRHistS
1957ExeterThe Revd S. C. Carpenter, DD
1956LyntonThe Rt Hon. the Earl Fortescue, KG, CB, OBE, MC
1955CreditonMiss Ursula Radford, FSA
1954SeatonSt John Ervine, Esq.
1953PlymouthF. S. (afterwards Sir Frederick) Russell, Esq., DSC, DFS, CBE, LLD, FRS
1952TivertonMrs M. C. S. Cruwys, FSA
1951BrixhamComdr (S.) A. W. B. Messenger, LRIBA, FSA, RN
1950SidmouthE. Emery Adams, Esq., DCM
1949TavistockB. W. Oliver, Esq., FRIBA
1948BidefordThe Rt Hon. L. S. Amery, PC, CH
1947ChagfordC. A. Ralegh Radford, Esq., MA, FRHistS, FSA (afterwards Hon. DLitt, FBA)
1946Newton AbbotR. Waterfield, Esq., BA
1945ExeterP. Morris, Esq., FRIBA, FSA
1944ExeterThe Ven. A. H. Thompson, MA
1943ExeterCol. Ransom Pickard, CB, CMG, MD, FRCS
1942No MeetingMrs F. Rose—Troup, FRHistS
1941ExeterHugh Lloyd Parry, Esq., OBE, BA, BSc, LLB
1940ExeterC. W Bracken, Esq., BA, FRES
1939HonitonG. M. Doe, Esq., JP
1938BarnstapleG. T. Harris, Esq.
1937TavistockProf. W. J. Harte, MA
1936TorquayThe Rt Hon. the Lord Mamhead, DL, JP
1935SidmouthProf. Sir John Satterly, ARCSc, MA, DSc, FRS (CAN)
1934PlymouthSir John C. Squire, MA, Hon. FRIBA
1933IlfracombeProf. Sir Westcott Stile Abell, KBE, MEng, MINA, MICE
1932PaigntonJ. J. Alexander, Esq., MA, FRHistS, JP
1931ExeterThe Lord Bishop of Plymouth (Dr J. H. B. Masterman)
1930PrincetownR. Hansford Worth, Esq., MICE, FCS, FRMS
1929DartmouthG. P. Bidder, Esq., ScD, FZS
1928LyntonLady Radford, FRHistS, JP
1927ExmouthW. C. Dampier-Whetham, Esq., MA, FRS (afterwards Sir William C. Dampier, ScD, FRS)
1926BidefordR. Pearse Chope, Esq., BA, JP
1925OkehamptonThe Revd Prebendary (afterwards Treasurer) J. F. Chanter, MA, FSA
1924AshburtonJ. S. Amery, Esq., JP
1923SalcombeA. E. H. Tutton, Esq., DSC, FRS
1922CreditonThe Rt Hon. Sir Henry Duke, KC (afterwards Lord Merrivale)
1921Lyme RegisSir Oswyn A. R. Murray, KCB (afterwards GCB)
1920TotnesEdward Windeatt, Esq., JP
1919TivertonThe Very Revd H. R. Gamble, DD (Dean of Exeter)
1918TorquayH. R. Watkin, Esq.
1917BarnstapleW P. Hiern, Esq.
1916PlymouthE. J. Allen, Esq., DSC, FRS (afterwards CBE)
1915ExeterA. W. Clayden, Esq., MA, FGS
1914TavistockProf. A. M. Worthington, CB, FRS
1913BuckfastleighAshley A. Froude, Esq., CMG, MA, JP
1912ExeterThe Rt Hon. the Viscount StCyres, MA, JP
1911DartmouthRobert Burnard, Esq., FSA, JP
1910CullomptonJohn D. Enys, Esq., FGS, JP
1909LauncestonThe Lord Bishop of Truro (Dr C. W. Stubbs)
1908Newton AbbotThe Rt Hon. the Lord Monkswell, DL, LLB, JP
1907AxminsterThe Lord Bishop of Exeter (Dr A. Robertson)
1906LyntonF. T. Elworthy, Esq., FSA
1905PrincetownBasil H. Thompson, Esq. (afterwards Sir Basil H. Thompson, KCB)
1904TeignmouthSir Alfred W. Croft, KCIE, MA
1903SidmouthSir Edgar Vincent, KCMG, MP (afterwards Viscount D’Abernon, PC, GCB, GCMG)
1902BidefordThe Revd W. Harpley, MA, FCPS
1901ExeterSir Roger Lethbridge, KCIE, MA, DL, JP
1900TotnesThe Rt Hon. the Lord Clifford, MA, JP
1899TorringtonThe Revd Canon W. J. Edmonds, BD
1898HonitonThe Rt Hon. the Lord Coleridge, MA, QC (afterwards Justice of the King’s Bench)
1897KingsbridgeJ. Hine, Esq., FRIBA
1896AshburtonThe Revd S. Baring—Gould, MA
1895OkehamptonThe Rt Hon. the Lord Halsbury, DCL (afterwards Earl of Halsbury)
1894South MoltonSir Frederick Pollock, Bt, MA
1893TorquayT. N. Brushfield, Esq., MD (afterwards FSA)
1892PlymouthA. H. A. Hamilton, Esq., MA, JP, CC
1891TivertonR. N. Worth, Esq., FGS
1890BarnstapleThe Rt Hon. the Lord Clinton, MA
1889TavistockH. W. Hudleston, Esq., MA, FGS, FLS, FCS, FRS
1888ExeterThe Very Revd B. Cowie, DD (Dean of Exeter)
1887PlymptonThe Revd W. H. Dallinger, LLD, FLS, FRS
1886St MarychurchSir John B. Phear, MA, FGS, JP
1885SeatonR. F. Weymouth, Esq., Dlit
1884Newton AbbotThe Revd T. R. R. Stebbing, MA (afterwards FLS, FRS)
1883ExmouthThe Very Revd C. Merrivale, DD, DCL
1882CreditonJ. Brooking Rowe, Esq., FSA, FLS
1881DawlishThe Revd Prof. C. Chapman, LLD
1880TotnesH. W. Dyke Acland, Esq., MD, LLD, FRGS, FRS (afterwards Sir Henry Acland, Bt, KCB)
1879IlfracombeThe Rt Hon. Sir R. P. Collier, MA (afterwards Lord Monkswell)
1878PaigntonSir Samuel White Baker, MA, FRGS, FRS
1877KingsbridgeThe Ven. H. Earle, MA (afterwards Bishop of Marlborough)
1876AshburtonThe Revd Treasurer J. M. Hawker, MA
1875TorringtonR. J. King, MA
1874TeignmouthThe Rt Hon. the Earl of Devon
1873SidmouthThe Rt Hon. S. Cave, MA, MP (afterwards Sir Stephen Cave)
1872ExeterThe Lord Bishop of Exeter (Dr F. Temple) (afterwards Archbishop of Canterbury)
1871BidefordThe Revd Canon C. Kingsley, MA, FIS, FGS
1870DevonportJ. A. Froude, Esq., MA
1869DartmouthG. P. Bidder, Esq.
1868HonitonJ. D. Coleridge, Esq., QC, MA, MP (afterwards the Rt Hon. Lord Coleridge, FRS, Lord Chief Justice)
1867BarnstapleW. Pengelly, Esq., FGS, FRS
1866TavistockThe Rt Hon. the Earl Russell, KG, KGC, FRS
1865TivertonC. G. D. Daubeny, Esq., MD, LLD, FRS
1864TorquayE. Vivian, Esq., MA
1863PlymouthC. Spence Bate, Esq., FLS, FRS
1862ExeterSir John Bowring, LLD, FRS