Abstracts of papers published in Transactions since 1999
Volume 131, 1999
Fortescue, The Lady Margaret.
Presidential Address: ‘Recollections of the Fortescue Family’
Volume 131, 1999, pp. 1–10
A review of the Fortescue Family from the mid-eleventh century to the mid-twentieth century
‘Rediscovering Thomas Fowler (1777–1843): Mathematician and Inventor’
Volume 131, 1999, pp. 11–26
The Transactions of the Devonshire Association for 1875 contain a biographical notice on Thomas Fowler in which his son, Hugh Fowler, describes how, from humble beginnings as a fellmonger’s assistant, his father became ‘a man of high attainments, especially in mathematics and natural science’. Hugh Fowler describes three of his father’s inventions: the Patent Thermosiphon, a unique set of binary and ternary tables to facilitate easier calculation, and a mechanical calculating machine. The first two are described in full but there is very little detail on the latter despite Hugh Fowler’s comment that, ‘Mr Fowler’s belief, I know, was that his fame would mainly rest on his calculating machine’. This paper describes the ongoing research into Thomas Fowler’s unique calculating machine.
Hart, M. B.
‘The Cornubian Island’
Volume 131, 1999, pp. 27–48
The Cornubian Island was a palaeogeographical feature of South-West England during the Jurassic and Cretaceous Periods. As a result of major global fluctuations in sea level, the Cornubian Massif, which largely comprises the counties of Devon and Cornwall, became separated from the remainder of the UK during the earliest Jurassic and was only reconnected when sea level fell during the latest Jurassic. In the mid-Cretaceous rising sea levels again separated the area from the UK ‘mainland’ although, in this case, sea level continued to rise and the island was submerged in the mid- to late Cretaceous. As sea levels fell during the very latest Cretaceous the area may have, temporarily, regained its island status. Little is known of the terrestrial vegetation and fauna of these islands as there is no sedimentary record remaining in which fossils could have been preserved.
‘Boveycombehedd, Chagford, Devon: An Archaeological Investigation of a Diachronic Landscape’
Volume 131, 1999, pp. 49–70
The results of a detailed survey on a Dartmoor river valley are presented, and current themes in landscape archaeology are explored. The prehistoric landscape is discussed as are the medieval and early post-medieval agricultural earthworks, and the relationship of the siting of the latter with respect to the former is considered. The tinworking remains within the valley are covered, with a particular emphasis on the pre-nineteenth-century remains. The relationship between early tinworking and agricultural practices in the medieval and post-medieval periods is also discussed and contrasted to other south-western case studies; the traditional historical relationship between the two activities is also briefly reconsidered.
Greeves, T. and Rowe, A.
‘Four Deserted Medieval Settlements on Buckland Down, West Devon’
Volume 131, 1999, pp. 71–80
The unexcavated field remains of four recently-discovered deserted medieval settlements on common land in the parish of Buckland Monachorum are described, with plans. Each site contains a probably longhouse, plus ancillary structures. At one site (Downlane Plantation NE) a probably corn-drying barn with kiln/ovens has been identified. A brief discussion is included.
James, J. M.
‘The Norman Benedictine Alien Priory of St George, Modbury, AD c. 1135–1480’
Volume 131, 1999, pp. 81–104
Three French monks came to Modbury from Normandy in the early part of the twelfth century to take over the local church an establish a new priory in England. At first they prospered with local help. In 1189 they appointed a parish chaplain/vicar. When King John lost Normandy in 1204 the monks became aliens. In the second half of the thirteenth century the vicar’s stipend and clerical taxation were increased. Priory income was reduced and the cost of living was rising. In 1294, King Edward I declared war on France and the monks became potential spies sending money to the enemy. Thenceforth they had to cope with increasing local and national hostility, crippling financial burdens and the division of the Catholic Church schism. Nevertheless, the priory survived.
‘The Descent and Dispersion of the Manor of Ilsington’
Volume 131, 1999, pp. 105–122
The manor of Ilsington, like many others in Devon, has nearly 1,000 years of recorded history. It lacks, unfortunately, known manorial court rolls for much of this time. Any attempt to trace the descent of lordship of the manor and the related dispersion of the manorial estate has to rely on other data often unpublished, or published but in a different context. This paper makes such an attempt from the earliest times when the lord had major estates and the right of gallows to the present day when the title in one of courtesy only and divorced from associated land-ownership.
‘Rackenford goes to Chancery: an Outbreak of Litigation in an Elizabethan Rural Parish’
Volume 131, 1999, pp. 123–138
The disputes pursued in the Court of Chancery under Sir Nicholas Bacon (1558–79) surprisingly include no less than ten about property in the thinly populated parish of Rackenford. The protagonists were mainly resident in the parish, and of largely middle class status; they included three women. The pleadings and depositions which have survived give apicture of preoccupations in a Devon village in the years around 1570. They illustrate the problems of a society half-way to a free market in land and to modern documentation, and the unchanging attraction of litigation to certain individuals.
‘A History of Dartmoor Theatre Part Two: 1661–1999’
Volume 131, 1999, pp. 139–164
After a gap of two centuries for which no records of theatre connected with Dartmoor have yet come to light, William Crossing, Eden Phillpotts, and John Galsworthy ushered in the modern era in which theatrical activity once more has become widespread on the Moor.
‘Limeburning in Exeter and Exe Estuary Parishes: A Documentary Study’
Volume 131, 1999, pp. 165–198
Unlike those in some other parts of Devon, the limekilns of Exeter and the parishes bordering on the Exe estuary have received relatively little attention. By pooling information from many sources, the majority unpublished, it has been possible to identify a number of limekiln operators based in the lower reaches of the Exe. Despite this being a major centre of limeburning, many kiln owners met with limited success and some became bankrupt. Although general climatic and economic factors may have played a part in this, it appears more likely that the major determinant was an inability to counter the ambitions of the Davy family of Topsham.
‘Households in Torquay Headed by Women in 1851’
Volume 131, 1999, pp. 199–220
This paper explores the situation of women in Torquay in 1851. It is based on data elicited from a 10% sample of addresses in the Enumerators’ Books for the 1851 Census. This sample, representing 10.5% of the population, shows that one quarter of the households were headed by women; they were of all ages, single, married and widowed, and of all social classes. They are linked with information from, for example, the Poor Rate Books, the local newspaper and some wills. Some families, together with something of their accommodation and occupations, can be reconstructed from these sources.
Luscombe, E. W.
‘Electricity in Plymouth: Its Origins and Development’
Volume 131, 1999, pp. 221–252
The nineteenth-century pioneers of electricity made it possible for the setting up of electric lighting systems by the 1880s. On 22 September 1899 such a system was inaugurated in the borough of Plymouth, and on the same day the first trams were put into service. The inability of the three towns, Plymouth, Devonport and Stonehouse, to agree on a common system in 1889 was certainly a major factor in them being several years behind comparable towns such as Bristol and Exeter. Devonport and Stonehouse together set up their own system, incompatible with that of Plymouth, in 1901. The amalgamation of the Three Towns in 1914 could not result in an integrated system for many years. But the enlarged Plymouth Corporation Electricity Undertaking was a successful and profitable enterprise, until it ended with the nationalisation of the electricity supply industry in 1948.
‘A Form of Love: The Traditional Healing of Donald Hannaford, Devon Farmer’
Volume 131, 1999, pp. 253–258
Donald Hannaford (1918–1992) farmed at Longdown, Devon, for most of his life. He practised traditional healing by laying on of hands, absent healing and curing animals and people with a variety of ailments. A seventh son, his methods of healing were very similar to those attributed to seventh sons for hundreds of years in Britain. Possibly, he was the last truly traditional healer in Devon. This article outlines his life and healing work.
Newton, J. E. and Moulton, C.
‘A Hedge Survey in Exeter, 1998′</h9–25>
Volume 131, 1999, pp. 259–266
Twelve hedges were surveyed in Exeter in 1998. The approximate ages of these hedges was estimated from the number of species counted per 30m stretch. Hedge age ranged from 200 to 820 years old (Hedge 8, Bridleway 51, Pinhoe). The most commonly found species were elm, dog rose and hawthorn. A total of 29 species was found in the twelve hedges, with one hedge (Hedge 3, Belvidere Raod) containing sixteen different species
‘The Office at 7 Cathedral Close, Exeter’
Volume 131, 1999, pp. 267–274
A review is presented of the Devonshire Association’s time at its office in Cathedral Close between 1954 and its removal to Bowhill in November 1997. Before 1950, the Association had no headquarters but, in that year, the Council began to meet regularly in Exeter City Library and, from about 1952, a small office was provided there for the use of the secretary. From 1954, along with the large office rented by the Association at the rear of the Devon and Exeter Institution premises at 7 Cathedral Close, Council meetings could be held in the Institution’s Library. The first of these took place on 16 March 1955. The article briefly recounts forty-five years of running the Association from its Cathedral Close office.
Volume 132, 2000
Hawkins, The Rt Revd Richard
Presidential Address: ‘Church and Community in Devon’
Volume 132, 2000, pp. 1–14
The address outlines elements in the traditional picture of the relationship between church and community in the parochial context, particularly the roles of the parish church and the parson. It then identifies factors in the nature of communities in contemporary Devon and the structures of the Church which call this picture into question. It then suggests ways in which the Church is currently seeking to be of service in local areas and on a wider basis, and notes that there still seems to be a place for its symbolic role alongside involvement in community projects.
Russell, K. and Stebbing, T.
‘The Impact of Climate Change in Devon’
Volume 132, 2000, pp. 15–36
The global climate is changing. Researchers are confident that most of the warming is due to increasing concentrations of greenhouses gases in the earth’s atmosphere. Concentrations of these gases have risen by some fifty per cent in less than 200 years, largely through the burning of carbon-rich fossil fuels and deforestation. Regional climate scenarios for the South West were produced which showed warmer annual average temperatures, with drier summers and wetter winters. Stronger wind speeds and higher wave heights are also expected, as are sea level rise, increased storminess, and more frequent storm surges. The Climatic Challenge Conference (St Mellion, Cornwall, October 1999) was held to assess the effects of climate change on regional economic development in the South West and to highlight the impacts and business opportunities associated with these changes in climate. A number of key sectors were addressed such as climate change issues related to tourism, leisure, health, demography, agriculture, land use, utilities, infrastructure, business, finance, insurance, and coastal and fishery resources. Consequences for the South West were found to be far-reaching and further research is required to quantify the impacts at a scale appropriate to advise businesses, utilities and planners.
Hawkins, S. J., Southward, A. J., Boalch, G. T., Boot, K. and Hiscock, K.
‘Marine Biology in Devon: Past, Present and Future’
Volume 132, 2000, pp. 37–60
This paper summarises briefly the rich marine life of the waters of Devon, particularly the less formally studied north coast including Lundy. It provides an opportunity to reflect on past work and studies to date, log current activities at the turn of the [new] century, and make predictions of future trends. Two major themes for the future are considered: the application of new techniques and the engagement of the public and interested amateur scientists in the study of marine life.
‘Minerals in Devon: Past, Present and Future’
Volume 132, 2000, pp. 61–74
The mineral deposits of Devon are reviewed using the geological framework to emphasize the important link between the nature of the county as we see it today, and the underlying rocks. A short historical account of mineral workings provides a background for an account of present-day mineral production. Consideration is given to future market trends and the desirability of striking a balance between economic wealth and environmental factors
Turner, M. M.
‘The Agriculture and Forestry Sectors in Devon: Revolution and New Directions?’
Volume 132, 2000, pp. 75–100
Devon’s agricultural and forestry industries have been shaped by government policies for many years. Although remarkably successful over the past sixty years in increasing its productivity, agriculture now faces multiple challenges particularly for environmental and trade policy reasons. The scale of the current farming crisis is certain to increase the pace of adjustment which is currently taking place, as are the challenges posed by biotechnology and the integration of environmental goals with food production. Forestry, too, has adopted broader objectives over recent years and the new South West Forest will bring significant changes to the landscape and economy of north-west Devon. While it is certain that the beginning of the new millennium represents, in a very real sense, a time of major change in both agriculture and forestry, policy implementation may well be more evolutionary than revolutionary.
Studden, M. C. H.
‘Energy and the Future: Can Devon be Self-Sufficient?’
Volume 132, 2000, pp. 101–116
Existing and potential sources of renewable energy in Devon are explored in this paper. The technologies have developed fast and major changes can be expected soon. Wind-power, recycling, arable coppice, waste incineration and fuel cell technology are among multi-faceted options considered.
‘ “Hoping for Entire Completeness”: The Pursuit of Devon’s Past’
Volume 132, 2000, pp. 117–160
Since the Devonshire Association was founded in 1862, historians and archaeologists have made major advances in furthering our understanding of Devon’s past. During the same period, personal and public attitudes towards Devon’s heritage have changed as the pace of modern society has quickened. In this paper, the advances made in archaeological and historical research in the twentieth century will be examined against the background of earlier achievements. Future challenges are also identified in expectation that members of the Devonshire Association will play as key a role in the coming century as they have done in the last one.
‘Devon Literature at the Turn of the Millennium: Some Twentieth-Century Devon Writing in Poetry and Fiction’
Volume 132, 2000, pp. 161–180
Work by Arthur Conan Doyle, Eden Phillpotts, John Trevena, Henry Williamson, Ted Hughes, Sylvia Plath and Tim Pears is compared. The influence of the gothic tales of Edgar Allan Poe, and of the New World, is discussed in the way all these writers treat the natural world. The provincialisation of Devon dating back to the seventeenth century has led to the dominance of a rural myth and the best-known Devon writing in the twentieth century has generally not dealt with its cities and towns, leading to a lack of balance.
‘Devon Music in Time and Place’
Volume 132, 2000, pp. 181–192
The nature of regional and locally distinctive music is discussed. The very concept is challenged, and its historical source is analysed. The importance of creative individuals in pushing the frontiers of music forward is stressed.
‘The Visionary Gleam: Contemporary Artists and the Devon Landscape’
Volume 132, 2000, pp. 193–232
The work of twenty contemporary artists, all practising in Devon, is described, with particular attention being given to the relationship of their art to the surrounding environment, whether human or natural.
Martin, E. W.
‘Rural Society in Devon in the Twentieth Century: The Fate of Rural Tradition’
Volume 132, 2000, pp. 233–248
The nature and changing state of rural tradition are covered in this paper, drawing on a lifetime of experience and enquiry in Devon. Topics such as ‘deference’ to ‘superiors’, rural poverty and the importance of ‘locality’ are explored, using material gathered in conversation with country men and women, as well as the writing of other scholars.
‘Rural Communities and Decision-making: Local Politics in the Twenty-first Century’
Volume 132, 2000, pp. 249–274
This paper investigates the relationship between communities and decision-making processes, with a particular focus on West Devon, at a time when our system of local government is being questioned and reviewed. Agenda 21 in West Devon has demonstrated the advantages of allowing the community the freedom to develop a process that responds to locally important issues.
‘Devon Lost . . . Devon Gained’
Volume 132, 2000, pp. 275–294
It is arguable that Devon looked its handsomest in Edwardian times. The paper considers the effects of industrialisation on the landscape. Prospects for future change in terms of local governance, community, food production, agriculture, energy production, tourism, transport, employment, rural housing, towns and cities and consumerism are commented upon.
Volume 133, 2001
His Grace the Duke of Somerset
Presidential Address: ‘The Lord Protector and the Seymours of Berry Pomeroy’
Volume 133, 2001, pp. 1–16
The address traces the Seymour family from the thirteenth century until the present day. Particular attention is paid to the era of Queen Jane Seymour and Sir Edward Seymour (later Earl of Hertford, then Duke of Somerset and Lord Protector during the reign of Edward VI).
‘Silver and Salvation: A late-Fifteenth Century Confessor’s Itinerary Throughout the Parish of Bere Ferrers, Devon’
Volume 133, 2001, pp. 17–96
The last page of Exeter Dean and Chapter MS 3522 bears a hitherto unrecognised itinerary apparently made by a late-fifteenth century confessor throughout the parish of Bere Ferrers, Devon. When decoded, the itinerary reveals that the confessor visited all the parish’s tenements but for three: the rectory whence he set out, the Great House, and one other, probably church property. The document, apparently without parallel, offers a unique glimpse of penitential pastoral care in a wealthy parish, the itinerary perhaps being explained by the presence of large numbers of itinerant and other mine workers employed in the royal silver mines. If this is so, the confessor may have been a deanery penitencer appointed by the bishop to hear confessions under special circumstances: four such appointed in the period were rectors of this parish. In addition, the document offers evidence, sometimes the earliest known, for the late medieval existence of the forty-eight listed tenements, the sites and names of all but one of which survive to this day. In a very few cases, buildings survive which may have been seen by the confessor. The parish preserves its original layout to such a remarkable degree that thorough archaeological investigation of the area would be worthwhile. The confessor’s route as deducted from the written itinerary is here overlaid on an Ordnance Survey map of the parish, modified by OS to present late-fifteenth century conditions as far as possible. The itinerary also provides early provenance for MS 3522, indicates its use in the fifteenth century, and throws light on the group of Westcountry manuscripts to which 3522 belongs. Finally, the piece is significant as an example of verbal map-making and of medieval mnemonic skills.
‘The Last Medieval Abbot of Buckfast’
Volume 133, 2001, pp. 97–108
Gabriel Dunne, the last medieval abbot of Buckfast (1535–9), has traditionally been regarded as a disreputable figure. He is alleged to have been a tool of Thomas Cromwell, acting as his master’s agent in the betrayal of William Tyndale to the Netherlands authorities, receiving Buckfast as a reward for his treachery and obediently surrendering it to the crown four years later. Modern research disproves most of this characterisation, and establishes Dunne as a more positive and substantial figure, who brought distinction to Buckfast on the eve of its dissolution.
‘The ‘Golden Age’ of Powderham Castle’s Library’
Volume 133, 2001, pp. 109–130
With the exception of Anne Welsford’s two articles in the Transactions (1974 and 1975) on the Newte Library at Tiverton, little has been written on private libraries in Devon. The following work is an introduction to what is largely an unresearched area in the study of private libraries: the eighteenth-century library of Powderham Castle, ancient home of the Courtenay family, earls of Devon. Primary sources, supported by secondary sources, show Powderham Castle library to be typical in its accommodation, formation, organisation and content, yet, at the same time, to possess individual features.
‘Poems for Thomas Fowler’
Volume 133, 2001, pp. 131–138
Presents five new poems marking the life and career of Thomas Fowler (1777–1843) a gifted inventor who was a cooper, a fellmonger and a printer before beginning his inventions, which included a calculating machine and the ‘thermosiphon’.
‘Jesuits and Humbugs – Religious Trumoil in Nineteenth Century Exeter’
Volume 133, 2001, pp. 139–174
This paper was inspired by a series of Exeter political posters printed in 1864 in connection with the election of a Poor Law Guardian. These attacked one of the candidates, a High Church clergyman, and three of his supporters among the Exeter priesthood. All were accused of wishing to extend the influence of the Tractarian movement, and thence the Roman Catholic Church, into English secular affairs. The divisions which affected the Church of England for much of the nineteenth century are described, and reasons given why the reaction in Exeter was particularly violent. The surplice riots of the 1840s are noted; as are the responses to Henry Phillpott’s appointment as Bishop of Exeter, to the ‘Papal Agression’, to the publication of Essays and Reviews and to the appointment of Frederick Temple as Phillpott’s successor. Accounts are given of the lives and works of the four parish priests denounced in 1864. Although the attacks made were within the spirit of the times, they turned out to be misjudged. Sackville Lee, John Galton, Alfred Buckeridge and Henry Bramley can be numbered among those who saved the nineteenth century Church of England from almost certain self-destruction
McLain, R. D.
‘Aristocratic Leadership in the Advancement of Secondary Education During the Mid-Victorian Period: The Earl of Devon, Earl Fortescue and Sir Stafford Northcote’
Volume 133, 2001, pp. 175–190
Much attention has been focused on class divisions inherent in society. This paper, however, examines the symbiosis that existed between three prominent Devonian aristocrats and the middle classes in furthering secondary education not only in Devon but also on a national scale. The mid-Victorian period was a time of increased governmental interest in improving society at large in the interest of national efficiency. Although this goal was almost universally accepted, the means of attaining it were highly disputed. One interesting point that emerges from this study is the struggle between bureaucratic centralisation and the interests of the localities based on the counties.
‘The Devon House of Mercy at Bovey Tracey 1863–1940’
Volume 133, 2001, pp. 191–216
An early outpost of the successful Clewer Sisterhood, based at Windsor, the Devon House of Mercy at Bovey Tracey took in ‘fallen’ women perceived to be at risk from prostitution and other vices. The ‘inmates’ of this Victorian institution were originally known as ‘penitents’. Using documentary records and oral recollection, this paper explores the history of this Anglican reformatory which was also dedicated to education and industrial training.
Burgess, A. N.
‘A 100-Year Record of Rainfall at Teignmouth 1900–1999’
Volume 133, 2001, pp. 217–226
Rainfall statistics, collected over an unusually long period of 100 years, from Teignmouth, are presented. Analysis, especially of Summer (April – September) and Winter (October – March) figures, reveals no obvious effect of global warming.
Mountford, E. P., Backmeroff, C. E., and Peterken, G.
‘Long-term Patterns of Growth, Mortality, Regeneration and Natural Disturbance in Wistman’s Wood, A High-Altitude Oakwood on Dartmoor’
Volume 133, 2001, pp. 227–262
Changes in Wistman’s Wood, a depauperate, high altitude, pedunculate oak (Quercus robur) wood, were recorded in a permanent plot established in 1921 and expanded and recorded again in 1965, 1987 and 1997. The oldest (A-) tree generation comprised sprawling oaks. These appeared to be 200 – 400 years old, probably having originated within a degenerating oakwood, and having survived in scrub form during two centuries of cold climate. A second (B-) generation developed after c. 1900 around the old oaks. It comprised mainly oak with few roawan (Sorbus aucuparia), and occupied marginal, boulder-covered, former grassland. The latest (C-) generation represented marginal seedlings present in or after 1965. In the 76 years since 1921, the number of A-generation oaks declined slowly. Several were damaged by a heavy snowstorm in February 1978. The B-generation developed best in the lee of the old trees and thinned out strongly due to competitive exclusion. The stature and height of both generations increased steadily, but by 1997 the B-gneration oaks had generally grown taller than the older oaks. This trend to a taller and more erect growth form began in the mid-nineteenth century when the climate started to ameliorate. Livestock have long had access to the plot: grazing, browsing and destructive debarking episodes during heavy snowfalls reduced rowan, eliminated holly (Ilex aquifolium), and prevented expansion after 1965 via the C-generation.
Volume 134, 2002
Presidential Address: ‘The Western Morning News and the Present-day Farming Crisis’
Volume 134, 2002, pp. 1–8
Recounts briefly the history of the founding of the Western Morning News and its development until the present. Touches on campaigning local journalism and the difficulties facing agriculture in the Westcountry.
‘The Anglo-Saxon Mint at Lydford’
Volume 134, 2002, pp. 9–32
A mint operated with in the Anglo-Saxon burh at Lydford between the years AD c.973 and AD c.1050. No archaeological trace of it has been found, and all the conclusions which can be drawn about it arise from a study of its surviving coins. About 400 or more such coins are known, principally from finds in Scandinavia, especially Sweden. The mint was highly productive in the reigns of Æthelred II (AD 978–1016), when its output can be estimated to have been in excess of a million coins, but subsequently it declined sharply. The paper considers some of the factors which may have lain behind its fluctuating fortunes, the moneyers’ names and movements between mints; patters in the supply of coin dies, and the impact of the raid on the burh in AD 997.
Fizzard, A. D.
‘ Lay Benefactors of Plympton Priory in the Twelfth Century’
Volume 134, 2002, pp. 33–56
The Priory of Saints Peter and Paul at Plympton was one of the wealthiest religious houses in Devon in the Middle Ages. Founded in 1121 by William Warelwast, Bishop of Exeter, it attracted support from a wide variety of prominent barons of Devon and their tenants. This study examines the identities of these lay benefactors and the nature of the grants they made to Plympton Priory in the first few decades after its foundation. It also discusses patterns in the benefactions as well as difficulties Plympton Priory experienced in holding on to some of the gifts it received.
‘Confession in a Fifteenth-Century Devon Parish’ [Bere Ferrers]
Volume 134, 2002, pp. 57–68
In the previous issue of these Transactions, Professor Avril Henry drew attention to a fifteenth-century text laying down a procedure by which the parishioners of Bere Ferrers, Devon, should make their confessions. She interpreted it to mean that the clergymen of the parish made a journey for this purpose around the nearby settlements and farms, following a prescribed itinerary. The following article affirms the importance of the text, but shows that the medieval English procedure for hearing confessions (other than those of the sick and dying) involved visiting one’s parish church, not being visited by one’s parish priest. The article concludes that the document lays down the order in which the people of the parish were expected to go to church for this purpose.
‘A Reply to Confession in a Fifteenth-Century Devon Parish’ [Bere Ferrers]
Volume 134, 2002, pp. 69–75
In ‘Confession in a Fifteenth-Century Parish’ Professor Nicholas Orme responds to my ‘Silver and Salvation: A Late Fifteenth-Century Confessor’s Itinerary Throughout the Parish of Bere Ferrers, Devon’ (Exeter Dean & Chapter MS 3522 in Transactions, 133. He suggests that the paragraph at the back of MS 3522 records not an itinerary but ‘an arrangement for the inhabitants of the parish to come to the parish church’.
‘A Note on Professor Henry’s Reply’
Volume 134, 2002, p. 75
Deals with differences of opinion about how to reconstruct a document (Exeter Dean & Chapter MS 3522) that is not fully legible.
‘The Owners of Ingsdon, Ilsington’
Volume 134, 2002, pp. 77–88
Ingsdon, in Ilsington parish, is first recorded in the Domesday Book (1086) where it appears as two manors under different lords. There are no known manorial court rolls to help confirm the passage of ownership. Other records, however, many of them unpublished, have enabled this to be done from early times to the present day.
‘The French Prisoner-of-War Hospital at Glasshouse, Countess Wear, Exeter (1746–8)’
Volume 134, 2002, pp. 89–102
It is well known that French prisoners-of-war were held captive in Devon during the Napoleonic Wars. What is little recognised is that prisoners-of-war were housed in the county during earlier Anglo-French conflicts. The paper describes a hitherto unreported facility for treating sick French prisoners-of-war at Glasshouse, Countess Wear, Exeter. It describes also the staff of the hospital and provides early examples of accusations of medical negligence and managerial chicanery.
Newman, J. A. S.
‘The Rent Book (1792–1826) of John Morris of South Molton’
Volume 134, 2002, pp. 103–144
John Morris, 1742–1828, was a builder and contractor in South Molton. In his Rent Book he records the properties he bought or built, the tenants and the rents they paid, from 1792 to 1826. During this time the number of his properties increased from 13 to 28, and annual rental income rose from £48 4s. 0d. to £135 10s. 0d. His properties were mainly in South Street, Cooks Cross and Parsonage Lane. The properties have been tabulated together with their tenants, rent, dates of occupation, major conditions of tenancy and present address where known. Also listed separately are the 140 tenants and 30 non-tenants named in the book.
‘Lundy’s Legal and Parochial Status’
Volume 134, 2002, pp. 145–156
The Island of Lundy long enjoyed exemption from tithes, taxation and rates. This arose from the island’s extra-parochial status and isolation, and was extended by some owners to claim that it was a free island, independent of mainland authorities. The course of Lundy’s exemptions, the claims for special status, and their loss are examined.
Bass, R. C. M.
‘The East Window of Chulmleigh Church – the Hole Family and John Hardman & Co.’
Volume 134, 2002, pp. 157–174
Chulmleigh’s fine church has one unusual and generally unnoticed feature, that all the three east windows are dedicated to the memory of a single person, the Revd George Hole, LLB. Two of the windows were designed by John Powell, Augustus Pugin’s son-in-law and colleague. This article gives some account of the Hole family in Chulmleigh and the tribulations which they suffered in employing the renowned firm of glaziers, John Hardman & Co., of Birmingham, to install these two windows.
Volume 135, 2003
Presidential Address: ‘Keepers of the Kingdom’
Volume, 135, 2003, pp. 1–7
The duties of lords lieutenant and the experiences of holding office are explained and described. Comparison is made with High Sheriffs.
‘Devon’s Earliest Tin Coinage Roll 1302–3’
Volume, 135, 2003, pp. 9–30
A transcript is given of the earliest tin coinage roll for Devon, dating to 1302–3, with a discussion of its significance. More than one hundred persons presented a total of nearly 45 tons of tin metal at Chagford, Ashburton and Tavistock on twenty-one separate coinage days. The roll records many places of residence – in several instances these are the earliest known mentions of specific Dartmoor settlements.
‘Tavistock Abbey in its Late Tenth Century Context’
Volume, 135, 2003, pp. 31–58
This paper draws out from the text of Ethelred us charter of 981 the circumstances around the foundation of Tavistock a few years earlier. It focuses upon the king, Ordulf (the founder) and his family, the Saints to whom the abbey was dedicated, the kind of monks who lived there, the lands and privileges given to them, and the steps taken to protect them in the future. It does not systematically argue the case for the authenticity of the charter, which the author hopes to do elsewhere, but notes some contemporary evidence pointing to its trustworthiness.
‘The Stone Masks at Kilworthy, Tavistock’
Volume, 135, 2003, pp. 59–70
A number of carved keystone masks of human faces are illustrated and described. It is argued that they came originally from the ruin of Tavistock Abbey, and suggestions are made as to how they reached their present location at the estate of Kilworthy, near Tavistock.
Robin J. Burls
‘Medieval ‘Severnside’: Devon and its Overseas Neighbours Before c. 1360′
Volume, 135, 2003, pp. 71–98
The social bonds linking the medieval south-west of England to adjacent communities in the lowlands of south Wales, and south and east Ireland – manifest in patterns of trade and religious patronage, ownership of land and networks of lordship – are an important, yet under-explored, aspect of regional identity. The current paper focuses specifically on Devon, mainly in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, and considers the role of the sea in facilitating the movement of peoples across three different shores. In particular, it examines the intricate web of personal relationships and interests within this transmarine province, forged over centuries, which survived into the later middle ages and which could, on occasion, exhibit considerable potency.
‘The Manor of Bagtor, Ilsington’
Volume, 135, 2003, pp. 99–110
This paper traces the ownership of Bagtor manor in Ilsington parish, and that of its manor house and barton, from early times to the present. Manorial court rolls are mostly lacking and there are consequently gaps in the record which are unlikely ever to be filled. However, other sources, both unpublished, and published but in a different context, have gone some way in helping to create a coherent account.
‘Maristow Estate Farmhouses 1800–1913: A Chronological Development’
Volume, 135, 2003, pp. 111–172
About seventy farmhouses were built or rebuilt during the period 1800 to 1913 upon the Maristow Estate in West Devon. These farmhouses show a clear variety of design and development of styles. Exceptional surviving documentation relating to the estate allows for precise dating and a clearer picture of what influenced the design of these farmhouses: national trends and influences, location, acreage of the holding, leasing, date of the work, influence of stewards, etc. Details are presented of building work on these farmhouses.
‘Druid Mine, Ashburton’
Volume, 135, 2003, pp. 173–218
An historical investigation and archaeological survey is presented for Druid Mine, Ashburton, which operated between 1852 and 1874. A rare abundance of documentation has resulted in a detailed narrative for a small, mid nineteenth-century Devon copper mine, together with valuable insights into the personalities, share dealings, management and methods of prosecuting the underground work. The large-scale archaeological survey has provided a record of the remains surviving on the ground which when analyzed in the light of the historical record has resulted in a detailed understanding of the mine and its story.
‘The Influence of Geography and Geology on the Design of Bridges during 1969–1972 for the A3 8 Expressway from Exeter to Plymouth’
Volume, 135, 2003, pp. 219–234
The A38 Expressway is the main road communication between Plymouth, which is Devon’s largest town, and the north and east of England. The alignment of the road around the south and south-east of Dartmoor is discussed and the need for bridges to separate its traffic from that moving from the coast to Dartmoor and returning is noted. The varying geology along the route is recorded. The influence of geography on river gradients and torrential flow, and the effect of geology on foundation design is described with reference to the design of individual bridges during 1969–1972.
Niall Finneran and Sam Turner
‘An Archaeological History of the Landscape of Little Haldon, Teignmouth, South Devon’
Volume, 135, 2003, pp. 235–260
Using a range of archaeological sources, this paper outlines the history of Little Haldon near Teignmouth from the earliest known human activity to the twentieth century. The paper highlights the wealth of archaeological remains on the heathland plateau and the surrounding hillslopes, which provide evidence for a range of activities during virtually all periods of human history in south Devon from the Neolithic onwards. After a synthesis of the archaeological data relating to the prehistoric and historic periods, the paper concludes by outlining how Little Haldon’s history might be better appreciated in the future, both through improved public presentation and further archaeological research, for which some options are suggested.
J. B. Smith
‘Cross-Gendered Tom-Cats? – Some Peninsular Personal Pronouns Without Tears’
Volume, 135, 2003, pp. 261–282
The personal pronouns of south-western dialects are a source of confusion for outsiders and, judging by a well-known regional saying about tom-cats, of interest and speculation for their neighbours. In this essay, we show that there is nothing particularly exotic about (h)er for Standard ‘he’. We go on to discuss other questions, such as ‘pronoun inversion’ and the frequent omission of subject pronouns. Here and elsewhere a historical approach can prove useful. The signs are that the western pronominal system was once radically different from that of Standard English, the dominance of which can itself be a source of confusion.
Volume 136, 2004
Presidential Address: ‘Past Presidents and the Past’
Volume 136, 2004, pp. 1–12
Aspects of the lives and interests of a select number of past Presidents who were or are historians are considered, with some reference to their [presidential] addresses
‘The Response in South Molton and the Rest of Devon to the End of the Crimean War 1856’
Volume 136, 2004, pp. 13–36
Ratification of the Treaty of Paris, which brought an end to the Crimean War, was followed by the hope that 29 May 1856, Queen Victoria’s official birthday, would be a day of national celebration. Thanks to the survival of an apparently hitherto unrecorded souvenir publication it is possible to describe in detail the festivities in a Devon market town. On the other hand, the enthusiasm shown there was not seen throughout the county. The mixed response of Devonians to the terms of the Treat of Paris is described and possible reasons for this are discussed.
Lepine, D. N.
‘ “Getting and Spending”: the Accumulation and Dispersal of a Thirteenth-Century Clerical Fortune’
Volume 136, 2004, pp. 37–70
By the time of his death in 1302, Andrew Kilkenny, dean of Exeter, had accumulated a substantial fortune, which he had acquired in the course of a successful career in the service of the archbishop of Canterbury and the bishops of Exeter. The chance survival of the accounts of his executors reveal a great deal about his wealth and possessions, including an extensive library, and his lifestyle resident in the deanery at Exeter. They also record in detail how his estate was dispersed after his death, what provisions were made for his soul and the large-scale almsgiving that this entailed.
Baker, A. M.
‘Representations of Sibyls on Rood Screens in Devon’
Volume 136, 2004, pp. 71–98
Representations of sibyls are known on rood screens in four churches in Devon, at Ipplepen (dated c. 1485), Bradninch (1528), Ugborough and Heavitree (both c. 1540). The style of these paintings is compared with earlier depictions of sibyls in art and books. Possible reasons for the inclusion of these female figures in the Devon churches, and rarely elsewhere in England, are discussed. Appendices provide descriptions of the screen paintings.
‘Index of Medical Licentiates, Applicants, Referees and Examiners in the Diocese of Exeter 1568–1783’
Volume 136, 2004, pp. 99–134
The following list is a comprehensive index to known or suspected practitioners of medicine, surgery or midwifery whose names are known from the papers relating to diocesan licensing created by the diocese of Exeter and now held in the Devon Record Office. It provides the names and details which were used in writing an overview of licensing in the diocese, published in the journal Medical History. It is not a comprehensive guide to early medical practitioners in itself, by provides by far the most extensive list of such practitioners working in the period in Devon and Cornwall.
‘Parish Apprentices in Rackenford 1728–1844’
Volume 136, 2004, pp. 135–148
Surviving indentures show that at least 124 children were bound apprentices by the Overseers of the Poor for Rackenford during the last hundred years or so of the parish apprenticeship system. Ages ranged from seven upwards and almost all the children went to farmers. This article uses the Rackenford church registers, the Land Tax records and other poor law information to put the indentures into context. It identifies individual causes of poverty among the children and their parents, looks at the distribution of the apprentices between large and small farmers, and considers what the system actually meant on both sides of the contract.
‘ “Your Dutiful Son” – The Newfoundland Letters of the Revd William Grey’
Volume 136, 2004, pp. 149–164
This article illustrates a phase in the career of the Revd William Grey, when he became Principal of St John’s Theological College in Newfoundland in 1849. The topographical descriptions in his letters home were occasionally accompanied by ink sketches, and these in turn were followed by a volume of sketches published in 1857 in a very limited edition after his return to England. The two together give a colourful picture of life in Newfoundland in the early 1850s and the closeness of the connection with England and, specifically, Devon.
Jackson, A. J.
‘Investigating the Break-up of the Great Landed Estates of Devon: The Use of Commercial Directories 1883–1939’
Volume 136, 2004, pp. 165–174
The transformation of the structure of landownership since the end of the nineteenth century has attracted much attention amongst historians. However, the primary source material available limits the scope of detailed empirical enquiry. This exploration of the fate of the largest landed estates in Devon turns for help to the commercial directories published by Kelly between the years 1883 and 1939. Data from successive directory volumes are employed to produce an overview of change, which sheds light on the rate and extent of landed estate decline in the county. The research also draws attention to the wider potential of commercial directories for the study of characteristics of landownership change from the late nineteenth century to the mid-twentieth century.
Wilkins, G. A.
‘Astronomy in Devon: Past and Present’
Volume 136, 2004, pp. 175–196
It is probable that some of the megaliths on Dartmoor were used to observe the motions of the Sun and Moon, and possibly of some bright stars, for the purposes of establishing a calendar and the prediction of eclipses. The sundials on many churches are reminders that apparent solar time was used to regulate civil life until the middle of the nineteenth century. There are a few recorded examples of the use of telescopes for studying the heavens from the late seventeenth century onwards until the establishment of the Hill Observatory at Salcombe Regis in 1912. This had several telescopes and a small number of professional staff. It became the Norman Lockyer Observatory and is now operated as an educational charity. After the Second World War there was an upsurge of popular interest in astronomy and amateur societies were set up in many towns around the county.
‘Some Changes Affecting ‘Public Houses’ in Exeter in the Twentieth Century’
Volume 136, 2004, pp. 197–224
An analysis is given of certain key trends and events which affected public houses in Exeter in the twentieth century. The outcome of these processes has resulted in an overall decline in the total number of public houses distributed across the city. However, in more recent years this decline in the number if inns and hotels has been arrested and a small increase recorded.
‘ “Much different to what it is today” – A Review of the Dartmoor National Park Authority’s ‘Moor Memories’ Oral History Project’
Volume 136, 2004, pp. 225–242
Since the autumn of 2001 the Dartmoor National Park Authority’s ‘Moor Memories’ oral history project, undertaken by the author, has been recording and archiving the memories of the people of Dartmoor and has proved to be highly successful in capturing, in the spoken word, a record of twentieth-century Dartmoor. These recollections of a way of life which has now largely disappeared have increased our knowledge of some of the more intangible aspects of Dartmoor’s cultural heritage and its dissemination at listening points across the moor has proved to be an extremely evocative way of revealing Dartmoor’s recent past.
Volume 137, 2005
Hart, M. B.
Presidential Address: ‘Conversation with the Earth: A personal view’
Volume 137, 2005, pp. 1–36
When geologists look at the rocks of the Earth’s surface and the processes which shape our landscape, they ‘see’ a range of phenomena that the untrained may, or in some cases will, miss. To the casual observer, the Earth appears an un-changing entity and, within an average life-span, this may certainly appear to be the case. Geologists, however, always seek to understand the time dimension and are trained to be able to detect both minor and major changes to the Earth system. Many of these changes (climate change, sea level rises, exhaustion of natural resources, etc.) impact on the population at large and there is a need for geologists to communicate their knowledge and concerns to a wider, non-specialist audience. What needs to be communicated, and how it is done, is explored in this paper. In S. W. England, we are fortunate to have a geological World Heritage Site and a large number of National Nature Reserves that can be used to assist in this communication process.
Public Lecture: ‘The Early Ports of South-west Britain’
Volume 137, 2005, pp. 37–52
Ports were an integral part of the economy of the ancient world, as they have been ever since. Seaton may appear to be a rather modest port, but its role in sea-borne trade in early Britain, along with trading settlements on the coasts of south-western Britain, specifically in Devon and Dorset, is not to be underestimated. This paper attempts to set Seaton and its analogues in its appropriate context and to suggest, however tentatively, and explanation for the early, mainly Roman, remains which have been recorded at Seaton and in its environs.
‘The Jurassic Coast’
Volume 137, 2005, pp. 53–64
The Dorset and East Devon Coast was designated a World Heritage Site in 2001 because the cliffs and foreshore record one hundred and eighty five million years of the Earth’s geological history in just ninety five miles of coastline. Since the successful designation, Dorset and Devon County Councils and the Dorset Coast Forum have established a wide range of partnerships to promote conservation, education and sustainable tourism. The approach is working. The designation promoted conservation and understanding of the earth sciences and the work has been recognised through awards such as the Tourism for Tomorrow destination category winner for 2005 from the World Travel and Tourism Council.
Gosling, E. S.
‘Seaton: The War Years, 1939–1945’
Volume 137, 2005, pp. 65–76
Although not in the ‘front line’ of the Second World War, Seaton had its share of privation. It was home to many evacuees, some of whom stayed in the area after the war, and the town was the site of an internment camp, and also home to soldiers from many lands, some of whom were killed fighting for the British cause. Seaton families also lost sons to the war, many of them in heroic circumstances. It was a time when the community came together in a way which had not been seen before or since.
Boalch, G. T.
‘Some Observations on the Fishing Industry at Beer’
Volume 137, 2005, pp. 77–88
Following a short history of the village of Beer, an account is given of the various forms of fishing used from the days of the sailing trawlers to more modern times. Details are also given of the marketing of the fish. Local names used for some of the fish caught are included.
‘Charters, Place-Names and Anglo-Saxon Settlement in South Devon’
Volume 137, 2005, pp. 89–138
The boundary clauses of two Anglo-Saxon charters granting land in South Devon are re-evaluated and linked to the distribution of selected place-name elements. Using data from Domesday Book, the pattern of pre-Conquest estates is outlined and examined. A basis is proposed for the development of settlement in the area between the ninth and eleventh centuries, and the establishment of fortified places at Kingsbridge, Halwell and Totnes is considered.
Burls, R. J.
‘The Courtenays and the Re-Establishment of the Earldom of Devon in the Fourteenth Century’
Volume 137, 2005, pp. 139–170
The rising fortunes of the Courtenay family and its efforts to establish and maintain itself amongst the upper echelons of the English peerage, are the themes of this paper. They are of interest not only for the light they shed on the fluctuating and often turbulent relationships between Plantagenet kings and their subjects, but also for what they reveal of the functioning of power and authority in the localities and in particular of the characteristics of territorial lordship in this remote part of the late-medieval realm. A contemporary example with notable similarities, concerning the Pomeroy barons of Berry Pomeroy, is drawn upon for comparison. Reference is made also to the material conditions of magnate lordship and the problems likely to have been faced by a ‘self-made’ earl trying to establish a dynasty in a period of acute economic stress.
‘Why Don’t Devon Churches face East?’
Volume 137, 2005, pp. 171–192
English medieval churches were built with their nave-chancel axis on a wide range of compass bearings. No explanation of the often considerable deviation from true east has so far been generally accepted. The author reviews some of the ideas published in previous surveys before discussing the implications of his survey of 252 Devon churches. He suggests that the ‘patronal sunrise’ theory, which claims that churches were aligned on the sunrise on the day of their patronal festival, has not been properly addressed by most previous research, despite the fact that it can successfully explain some puzzling features of church alignments.
Ternstrom, M. S.
‘Granite: A failed enterprise on Lundy, 1864–1868’
Volume 137, 2005, pp. 193–220
The Lundy Granite Company Ltd was set up in 1863 and operated quarry workings on Lundy between 1863 and 1868, when it went into liquidation. This paper examines the causes of the company’s failure, and its effect on the island.
‘Newspapers in Devon in 1879: The structure and size of the industry’
Volume 137, 2005, pp. 221–244
This paper brings together, for the first time, a complete listing of all the newspapers published in Devon for the year 1879, by which time the industry in the county was approaching its peak. The newspapers of Devon had benefited from the advent of the railways, which had facilitated the supply of news, particularly foreign intelligence, and the lapse of Stamp Duty had allowed the industry to benefit from an increased circulation. This paper is thus important as a unique reference tool for researches of the nineteenth-century provincial press. By examining the ownership of the Devon papers, both dailies and weeklies, it is established that the Devon industry was extremely diverse, yet the majority of newspapers were sole-ownership, and the paper illustrates the number of different occupations that some of the Devon proprietors held in order to make a living. This is, of course, in complete contrast to the situation prevailing today with ownership restricted largely to corporations, external to the county. Finally, this paper is important in that it gives reasonably accurate distribution/sales figures for the Devon papers in 1879 and thus, once again, it is a unique reference tool.
Luscombe, E. W.
‘The Devonport Royal Dockyard School: Apprentice education, 1844–1971’
Volume 137, 2005, pp. 245–270
The Devonport Royal Dockyard School was a remarkable institution. Created originally in 1844 to give a rudimentary education to the dockyard apprentices, it soon developed into a first class technical college and offered a wonderful opportunity for a young boy. He could enter the Yard as an apprentice at age 15 and, after attending the Dockyard School for four years, he might be selected for the School of Naval Architecture with the dream of becoming a Master Shipwright. And this was what made the School so special throughout its existence. A boy, whatever his background, could, by sheer ability and hard work, reach the pinnacle of his chosen career. And so it continued into the first half of the twentieth century: many bright apprentices from working-class backgrounds were enabled to realise their potential, and go on to university and/or careers leading to the highest posts in the Admiralty, in Industry, in the Civil Service, or in Academia. The School survived until 1971, by which time changes in UK tertiary education had made it unviable. Its development and achievements are here recorded.
‘The Central Administration of the Devonshire Association’
Volume 137, 2005, pp. 271–282
Following a major change in the governance of the Association under the revised Rules that came into force in 2004, the Council that had been the Association’s governing body since its inception has been replaced by a smaller Executive Committee. This therefore seemed an appropriate time to provide a listing of all those who have occupied posts at the centre of the Association’s administration since its formation, although no attempt is made to list all those who have served upon the Council throughout its existence.
‘The Research Activities of the Devonshire Association’s Entomology Sections and its Members
Volume 137, 2005, pp. 283–288
The Entomology Section was founded in 1948, primarily to study the insects of the county, and to record their distribution and changing fortunes. These are still the principal Section activities, with conservation an increasingly important addition. Alongside the Devon-based section activities, several members, some with international reputations, are actively conducting independent research on broader aspects of insect biology.
Volume 138, 2006
Presidential Address: ‘An ill wind … The impact of the 2001 Foot and Mouth Disease outbreak in Devon’
Volume 138, 2006, pp. 1–24
The 2001 outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease was a cataclysm for the county of Devon: a convulsion in the normal pattern of rural life that shook the community to its foundations. But what has been its lasting impact? How has the county’s political and economic landscape changed, for better or worse? Although for many individuals and businesses, the damage inflicted was irreparable, was this perhaps an ‘ill wind’that blew some good? This address examines the ways in which the crisis stripped away layers of preconceptions, assumptions and prejudices that had come to overlie the reality of what was happening in the Devon countryside. It laid bare the workings of agriculture and the rural economy, enabling us to appreciate and cherish what was good and right, and to identify and address what was bad and wrong. It has left us with an infinitely deeper understanding of what makes farming and the countryside tick; and this represents the surest possible foundation on which to build for the future.
Public Lecture: ‘Sea-level rise and coastal subsidence in Southwest England’
Volume 138, 2006, pp. 25–42
The United Kingdom Climate Impacts Programme (UKCIP) has recently published data that suggest that the coastline of Southwest England is sinking at a rate of 1 mm per year faster than other coasts in Britain. This paper reviews the data on which this estimate is based. It is shown that the rate of 1 mm per year represents relative (not absolute) land motion and is subjected to several assumptions which, if incorrect, all lead to over-estimations of the supposed subsidence rate. Furthermore, the rate is based on questionable geological data. Geophysical models predict a rate of absolute vertical land motion of only ~0.5 mm per year. This difference is important for coastal planning as it would significantly lengthen the return period of extreme water levels. New geological data are needed to produce more accurate predictions of relative sea-level and land-level movements in Southwest England and to test and validate geophysical model predictions of crustal movements.
‘Conservation Management of the Salcombe-Kingsbridge estuary: A personal view’
Volume 138, 2006, pp. 43–62
Our estuaries boast similar biomass productivity levels to tropical rainforests but are often, at best, valued only for their bird-life or as safe anchorage for boats. Unfortunately for some of these estuaries, their true worth is hidden from view and grossly misunderstood; in most cases, their riches are microscopically small and, in the Salcombe-Kingsbridge estuary, too deep under the water to be easily seen. To conserve our estuary we must value it but, to value our estuary, we really need to understand something of its ecology and dynamics. This paper argues that since most of the major issues affecting the Salcombe-Kingsbridge estuary are the accumulated results of the majority of the community having (individually quite tiny, but together very significant) impacts upon it, it is very important that we engage with members of the local community in conserving the estuary through a greater understanding of it.
‘Literary links with Salcombe’
Volume 138, 2006, pp. 63–92
Although no literary celebrities were born or spent long periods in Salcombe, and not many (apart from historians) have written about, or taken inspiration from, the place, two great poets did make its acquaintance and their visits produced memorable work. They are Alfred Lord Tennyson and John Masefield. In 1889, after a long and serious illness, and after convalescing at home, Tennyson travelled westwards along the south coast in a friend’s yacht, Sunbeam. On his return voyage, he visited his friend, the historian James Anthony Froude, then residing at The Moult, the Salcombe mansion belonging to Lord Courtenay. Masefield’s link with Salcombe and the South Hams was through his friend, Jack Butler Yeats, who owned Snail’s Castle, a cottage located high above the valley of the Gara River, which winds through woodland towards Slapton Ley and the sea. The associations between Salcombe, Tennyson and Masefield are explored in this paper and the work that was influenced by the local landscape is discussed.
‘Devon Livestock Breeds: A Geographical Perspective’
Volume 138, 2006, pp. 93–130
Different breeds of livestock make important but often neglected contributions to farming, landscape character and local identity. This paper focuses on the breeds of livestock associated with Devon and plots their current distributions. Seven of the eleven breeds discussed in this paper are now classed as rare. Moreover, it emerges that although some Devon cattle and sheep breeds have become widely dispersed across the rest of the country and even abroad, others have remained remarkably confined within the Westcountry. It is argued that the geographical patterns of Devon livestock breeds revealed in this paper reflect differences in climate, landscape, farming practice, economic change and local culture. Our distinctive local breeds are increasingly recognised and cherished both within the county and elsewhere as important symbols of the county’s farming history and heritage.
‘Caring for the County’
Volume 138, 2006, pp. 131–150
As pressures upon Devon’s countryside intensify, and with certain controversial developments posing threats to the valued established natural scene, the work of two of the county’s leading conservation bodies is of increasing importance. Some aspects of this work, and its relevance to that of the Devonshire Association, are here considered.
Upham, Malcolm R.
Volume 138, 2006, pp. 151–164
In 1136, under the patronage of Richard fitz Baldwin de Brionne, Sheriff of Devon, Cistercian monks from Waverley Abbey in Surrey established a monastery at Brightley, 1½ miles north of Okehampton. After only five years, probably due to the physical constraints of the location, the community moved their monastery to Forde in Dorset. After briefly discussing the foundation of Brightley and the circumstances of its removal, this paper examines the evidence of its remains in the wooded valley of the river Okement. Brightley today is a private property, not accessible to tourists or visitors, but its special significance and history should not be overlooked.
‘Cecil Day-Lewis: His Devon years’
Volume 138, 2006, pp. 165–184
The poet Cecil Day-Lewis (1904–1972) found his true voice during the crucial decade when he lived in Devon. So argues his biographer and eldest son, Sean Day-Lewis, in this paper adapted from a 2005 talk to the Devonshire Association Literature Section. The future Poet Laureate brought his family to Devon, and the Axe Valley village of Musbury, in 1938. As C Day Lewis he had previously made his fashionable name with left-leaning political and intellectual verse. In Devon he was turned by his place, its people and the approach of war, to the accessible and lyrical tradition of Thomas Hardy which he served with distinction for the rest of his life.
Barr, M. W. C.
‘Building with stone in East Devon and adjacent parts of Dorset and Somerset’
Volume 138, 2006, pp. 185–224
A database of the rock-types used for houses and other buildings in East Devon and adjacent parts of Somerset and Dorset is described. Approximately 6500 records of buildings of which the great majority have a stone-built element are included in the database and about 1000 stone pits and quarries mainly taken from the Ordnance Survey First Edition Six Inch maps have been located. The database complements previous studies of building stone in the area by providing details of a large sample of buildings and in some cases relating the building stones used to their source quarries. The variety of rock-types underlines the importance of building stone in giving local character to the regions where each occurs. Preliminary results are presented including brief descriptions of the main local building stones of the area and their broad distribution. The descriptions include the characteristics that help to distinguish each kind of stone from similar rock-types and are intended to help the interested visitor identify each. The ways in which the database might be used are illustrated by examples. These include an analysis of the kinds of building in which Beer Stone is used externally and their distribution; a geographical comparison of buildings incorporating Blue Lias limestone and the quarries from which it was extracted; lithological variations in Upper Greensand sandstone; and a comparison of the numbers of different kinds of stone used for each class of building surveyed. The analyses show that stone, as well as being used near the site of extraction, could be transported tens of kilometres within the area of study, depending on its quality in comparison with the local stone of the destination. There is a continuum of uses of local stone from the lowest quality, chert, used entirely locally to the highest, Beer Stone and Ham Stone, which were transported throughout the area and beyond.
‘The role of Plymouth in foreign news reporting – The Anglo-Zulu war: A case study’
Volume 138, 2006, pp. 225–240
This paper examines the mechanisms by which foreign news was reported to the London and provincial press during the nineteenth century. To this end a brief description is given of the importance of the Reuters news agency for the supply of foreign news. Furthermore the use of telegraphic technology, and the cost of news transmission via this medium, is highlighted. However, the main importance of the paper is that it illustrates the role and significance of the port of Plymouth during the nineteenth century for the receipt of foreign news items from across the Empire. Particular emphasis is given to the receipt of news into Plymouth from the conflict zone of the Anglo-Zulu war in 1879. This conflict was to be the last major foreign news event that the newspapermen of this west Devon port were to cover. Finally, the paper places Plymouth into the global imperial communications network which existed in the 1870s and which was to change as a direct result of the Zulu conflict with the introduction of a direct telegraphic link between South Africa and London.
‘Exeter, New Hampshire: A Brief History of her Early Days and a Comparison with Exeter, Devon during the Middle Years of the Nineteenth Century’
Volume 138, 2006, pp. 241–270
A number of North American communities share their name with Devon’s capital city. The one of greatest historical importance is Exeter, New Hampshire (NH), once the state capital and for many years the county town of Rockingham County. The paper presents a summary of her early history, based on published sources not readily accessible in the United Kingdom, and compares the two communities. The latter is carried out with particular emphasis on the middle years of the nineteenth century, and draws in part on a collection of forty-one issues, dating from 1857 to 1869, of a newspaper, the Exeter News-Letter, published weekly in Exeter NH. Using content analysis, the subject matter of the News-Letter is compared with that of nearest-date editions of Devon’s Exeter Flying Post. A number of statistically significant differences are demonstrated regarding the space devoted to various type of article. Overall, however, both communities appear more interested in general material rather than in reports of local, national and international events. Differences in the opinions expressed are particularly marked during the American Civil War. The News-Letter felt that the British government was doing too little to assist the Unionist cause, the Flying Post that it was doing too much. The war marked the end of the cosy conservative ways of Exeter NH, and coincided with Devon’s capital having to come finally to terms not only with her glory days being long over, but also with the social, educational and political aspirations of Victorian England. The 1860s were a time of great change for both communities, although for different reasons.
Hodgson, R. M. H.
‘A History of the Botany Section of The Devonshire Association’
Volume 138, 2006, pp. 271–286
This paper reviews the work on botany carried out by members of The Devonshire Association since the 1860s. The kinds of topics studied and the importance of the work carried out in the field of botany are described. A Botanical Committee was established in 1909. Miss Clara Ethelinda Larter was the Chairman and W. P. Hiern served as Secretary. This committee was the forerunner of the Botany Section, formed in 1930. Almost immediately, the task of producing a new Flora for Devon was commenced (the existing work was by then a century old). The new Flora was published in 1939. Further volumes and up-dates followed. In 1965, a prominent Section member, the Revd W. Keble-Martin published his internationally acclaimed Concise British Flora in Colour. The Atlas of the Devon Flora by Brian Ivimey-Cook was published in 1984. Together with a very large number of papers published in the Transactions and elsewhere, these major works are a testament both to the vitality and to the significant contribution of Devonshire Association Botanists in a period spanning almost 150 years.
Volume 139, 2007
Presidential Address: ‘The History of the BBC in Devon and Local Broadcasting as Part of the BBC’s Worldwide Role’
Volume 139, 2007, pp. 1–16
Founded in 1922, the BBC is one of the UK’s greatest institutions. Its history, evolution and current challenges are set within a Devon context. The Corporation has been broadcasting in Devon since ‘Station 5PY’ opened in Plymouth’s Athenaeum Chambers on 28 March 1924, thereby beginning ten memorable years of local output that included news programmes, music recitals, and programmes for women and for children. Though contributing to national BBC output from 1934, local programming ceased until the 1960s. In fact, regular local radio programmes did not return to Devon until 1970 with the introduction of Midday Parade, followed in 1973 by Morning Sou’ West. The Second World War Blitz forced the BBC from Athenaeum Chambers to newly purchased premises in Seymour Road, where it has been ever since, but plans are now being made to relocate. Spotlight owes its origins to a ten-minute bulletin known as News from the South West, read for the first time in 1961 by Tom Salmon. Doubling in length within a year and renamed South West at Six, it became Spotlight in 1963. Many of Britain’s most popular broadcasters began at BBC South West: Hugh Scully, Angela Rippon, Sue Lawley, Fern Britton and Jill Dando. BBC Radio Devon was launched on 17 January 1983 and now attracts a weekly audience of 285,000. Its format provides a means for debating issues and staying in close touch with the audience. BBC broadcasting of some of the most memorable major local news stories of recent years, such as the 2001 Foot and Mouth crisis, the 2004 Boscastle flood disaster, and the grounding off Branscombe of the container ship the Napoli in 2007, is recounted. Public participation in broadcasting is reviewed and plans to make material more accessible on-line are considered. The notion that the BBC’s archive is the nation’s museum and gallery of the airwaves is asserted. Issues such as the license fee and new forms of communications media are considered and prospects for the future of the BBC are reviewed.
Public Lecture: ‘The Development of Ilfracombe as a Seaside Resort’
Volume 139, 2007, pp. 17–40
Impressions of seventeenth and early eighteenth century Ilfracombe are conveyed through the comments of Risdon, Swete and Defoe, but the lengthy visit by Fanny Burney in 1817 provides a particularly rich account of the place before commercial development as a resort commenced in earnest. It was, however, during the 1820s and 1830s that Ilfracombe began to build on a significant scale to accommodate visitors, and it did this in the form of elegant terraces, clearly imitating those of places like Bath and Cheltenham and, though not on their grand scale, they commanded superb prospects of the coast and the sea. Work on the famous Tunnels Beaches began in the 1830s. When Charles Kingsley visited in 1849, he noted that Ilfracombe had ‘white terraces’ rambling up the hills, the Capstone sea walk, and the finest marine parade in all England. Both fashionable and select, by then Ilfracombe had all the features of a spa town and resort: glorious scenery, refined accommodation and all that was needed for health and recreation. In 1860 the Ilfracombe Joint Stock Land and Investment Company began to lay out Torrs Park. Major development of this estate occurred in the 1870s and 1880s but already the era of the large hotels had begun. Steamships, turnpike roads and especially the coming of the railway to north Devon were crucial in stimulating the prosperity of the town. The first train steamed into the station on 20 July 1874 and banners proclaimed: ‘Waterloo to Ilfracombe’. But, despite massive protests, the Ilfracombe line was closed in 1970. The rich architectural heritage of the town and its recent fortunes as a seaside resort in times of changing fashion and demand are discussed.
‘The De Marisco Family of Lundy’
Volume 139, 2007, pp. 41–68
The history of the De Marisco family, as owners of Lundy, is traced from the twelfth century to 1334. Written records of Lundy in medieval times are scarce, and mainly concern the course of ownership and title to the island. They tell us only a little about the state of the island and even less about the people who had their living there; neither is there an entry for Lundy in the Domesday Book. Archaeological remains suggest that the island was well-populated in medieval times.
Fry, H. P.
‘Jews in North Devon during World War II’
Volume 139, 2007, pp. 69–90
This paper explores the extraordinary story of how over 3,000 Jews came to be in North Devon during the Second World War. They were refugees from Germany and Austria who had fled Nazi persecution and volunteered for the British Forces. Amongst them were also non-Jewish political refugees (Communists and Socialists) and the so-called ‘degenerate artists’. They were sent in their thousands to train in Westward Ho! and Ilfracombe in the only unit of the British Army open to them at that time: the non-combatant Pioneer Corps. Amongst their ranks were the intellectuals of German and Austrian society; lawyers, musicians, dentists, surgeons, architects and artists. Amongst them was the journalist and author Arthur Koestler; Viennese lawyer Martin Freud, the eldest son of Sigmund Freud; Coco the Clown (Nicholai Poliakoff) and the actor Peter Ustinov. Around 90–100 other younger refugees were housed in Bydown House, near Swimbridge, approximately five miles from Barnstaple. There they set up a self-sufficient community and worked the land in readiness for eventual emigration to Palestine. The refugees were not the only Jewish presence in North Devon during the war. Evacuees from London settled in the area, some of whom brought their businesses. Highgate School was evacuated to Westward Ho! and Hartland Abbey; and Dagenham School to Ilfracombe. The Hollywood actress Joan Collins and her sister Jackie were evacuated to Ilfracombe, as was the comedian and actor Peter Sellers. For the duration of the war, local Jewish families held religious services in Barnstaple and Ilfracombe where numbers of worshippers swelled to over a thousand during High Holy Days. For a short period, Ilfracombe had its own temporary synagogue in a converted room in the Capstone Hotel. This rich, diverse history is explored in some detail in this paper.
‘The Reverend Jerome Clapp in Appledore, 1840–1855’
Volume 139, 2007, pp. 91–116
The father of Jerome K. Jerome was the non-conformist minister, Jerome Clapp, who resided in Appledore between 1840 and 1855. Advantageously married to the daughter of a Swansea solicitor, Clapp acquired property locally, yet espoused political causes that supported the plight of the less well-off. Prominent in the anti-Corn Law League, he also opposed the 1847 Education Act. In 1848 and 1849, he travelled to Brussels and Paris to attend peace conferences that followed the ‘year of revolutions’ in Europe. He was involved in the temperance movement and played an exceptionally prominent role in the community for almost fifteen years. Suddenly, however, following a series of troubles involving the finances of the United Reform Church, he left Appledore and went to Walsall. His departure in 1855 appears to have been the result of scandal and a ‘dark cloud’. This paper draws on an array of documentary evidence to reconstruct Clapp’s time in Appledore, highlighting his espousal of local, national and international concerns. The circumstances that led to Clapp’s disgrace are also explored.
‘Samuel Palmer in Devon: Assessing the importance of the artist’s visits to the county, 1832–1859’
Volume 139, 2007, pp. 117–132
Well known as an acolyte of William Blake and a member of a group of artists that gathered in Shoreham, in Kent, Samuel Palmer (1805–1881) produced interpretive and idealised landscape paintings in the pastoral tradition. John Linnell was his father-in-law. Samuel Palmer drew inspiration from a lengthy visit with his wife, Hannah, to Italy where he studied the old masters and the techniques adopted by British landscape painters who had worked in Rome during the eighteenth century. Visits to Wales also influenced his work. However, as this paper shows, following an initial visit to North Devon in 1832, he returned to the county frequently during the course of the next 27 years to experience the scenery that he had come to love. He was particularly attracted to the dramatic coastal landscapes of the north and to the grandeur of Dartmoor. Several important works that depict places in these localities are described. However, Palmer did not aim to paint exact representations of a particular landscape. Instead his pictures evoke his own response to scenery and sometimes blend elements of other places that had inspired him. Touched by tragedy when his daughter and his eldest son died, Palmer spent his final years at Redhill in Surrey where he continued to work and take solace from his recollections of his tours in Devon and the splendours of the county’s natural beauty.
Cleevely, R. J.
‘Discovery of the Barnstaple Zeolite: A minor Geological Controversy in the early 1800s’
Volume 139, 2007, pp. 133–167
An account of the discovery and determination of the ‘Barnstaple Zeolite’, in the early nineteenth century, together with similar specimens from the Stenna Gwinn mine in Cornwall, that were first all named as Hydrargillite, but subsequently identified as wavellite, fluellite and variscite. This paper draws on the correspondence and publications of the significant British mineralogists, chemists and collectors who were involved in its study and identification and illustrates the value of such archives as a means of recovering the story of scientific research.
‘Mobility and Persistence of Families in Cheriton Bishop’
Volume 139, 2007, pp. 169–197
This paper uses the names on the 1332 and 1525 Lay Subsidy lists, 1641 Protestation Returns, 1660 Poll-tax list and 1821 census (for which, unusually, full returns have survived) to make deductions on the mobility and persistence of families in a smallish mid-Devon village. It also attempts to differentiate trends on the basis of social status. A high degree of turnover is indicated for the period between 1525 and 1821, in particular during the period 1641–1660. The 1660–1825 period showed more stability, with a quarter of the 1660 names still represented in 1825. There is only a fairly slight propensity for lesser mobility among those of higher social status. The article also briefly discusses the origin of the names and the gradual diminution in the proportion of locative names.
‘Status and Display in early Tudor Devon’, [Lifton and Kelly churches]
Volume 139, 2007, pp. 199–237
The display visible at Lifton and Kelly churches in West Devon during the late fifteenth century is established from unregarded or unused manuscript sources and from glass left in storage by Victorian restorers. Heraldic information assists with dating and identifies donors, benefactors, and family interrelatedness. An attempt is made to analyse and compare status and economic significance in national as well as local contexts. The status of different types of parish church is also compared. Particular attention is given to Patrick Haliburton, a hitherto unrecorded Scottish Archdeacon of Totnes, promoted by the refugee Earl of Douglas in his exercise, by right of his heiress wife, of ecclesiastical patronage of the dukes of Exeter; to relating an early Tudor mayor of London to the iconography of the new regime; and to clarifying the hitherto unrecognised arms of the merchant family of Bonaventure.
‘The Gould monuments at Lewtrenchard’
Volume 139, 2007, pp. 239–277
The collection of monuments to the Gould family at the parish church of Lewtrenchard, Devon, is largely the work of Sabine Baring-Gould, squire from 1872 and rector from 1881. Some of them came from Staverton, Devon, where another branch of the family had been settled; they were transferred in 1877–8. The legitimacy of the transfers was questioned by John Betjeman in 1957, and there has been controversy about this since then. Baring-Gould’s methods have made it difficult in some cases to determine whether a monument is original or a copy. This paper attempts to sort out the problems, and to shed light on Baring-Gould’s motives.
‘The Painful Birth of the Torrington Cemetery’
Volume 139, 2007, pp. 279–292
Demonstrating the growing problem confronting many mid-Victorian towns of finding sufficient space for burials, the controversies and disputes regarding shared cemeteries that developed between the authorities of the Church of England and the civil body responsible for urban cemeteries, and the extraordinary record provided by local newspaper evidence of how such issues played out in the local context, this paper focuses on the intriguing case of Torrington. By quarrying the exceptionally detailed reports published in the North Devon Journal, it is revealed that, in 1854, the town council was instructed by government to discontinue the use not only of the graveyard adjacent to the Anglican church, but also the burial grounds of the Wesleyans, and the Independents. So began a five-year quest to establish a new cemetery on the commons opposite the workhouse. Torrington’s people were stubbornly opposed by the Bishop of Exeter in their plan for a burial ground with no physical division of the space allocated to different denominations. The tangled dispute drew in not only the home secretary, but also Lord Palmerston (the prime minister), and the archbishop of Canterbury, and was only finally resolved in 1859.
‘Ancient Forests of the South Devon Coast: 8,000 years of changing vegetation determined by pollen analysis’
Volume 139, 2007, pp. 293–331
Along the South Hams coast, peat remains are the only trace of the formerly abundant woodland. Close to, and on the coastal shelf, sediments have been eroded, re-created and exposed many times during the Quaternary, but most have not been recorded. This paper focuses on lowland peat formed during the last 8,000 years within the coastal lithology of several near-shore south Devon valleys now impounded by coastal barriers. As the outcome of a research project that spanned twelve years, the paper reports findings from nine sites located in Tor Bay, Start Bay, Lannacombe Bay, the Salcombe estuary, Bigbury Bay, and Wembury Bay. In all, some 44 sediment cores were taken and subjected to pollen and macrofossil analysis. Fifteen radiocarbon dates were obtained, thereby establishing a woodland chronology for the region. The previously unrecorded Holocene valley sediments focused upon in this study reveal the changing woodland species communities that existed in settings close to the English Channel in the past. Moreover, it has been possible to identify responses in the woodland communities to environmental changes such as episodes of flooding and the increasing interference in the landscape by early human settlers such as tree clearance and farming. The findings for the South Hams are related to those published by other authors for sites elsewhere in southern England.
Volume 140, 2008
Presidential Address: ‘Farming Over the Years’
Volume 140, 2008, pp. 1–14
In a wide-ranging address, the central role of the Dartmoor hill farmer in the management of the landscape is reviewed. Far from being ‘the last wilderness’, Dartmoor is in fact an area managed by humans for the benefit of all. However, in some places, the moor is becoming inaccessible due to the intrusion of rowan, blackthorn, hawthorn, brambles and bracken (to us moorland folk: brimbles and vearns) and, as a result, a wilderness could develop. So much has altered in recent years. In the President’s opinion, it is important that the power of management of this glorious area of Devon should be returned to those with the knowledge and expertise to do the job; we must let commonsense dictate. Generations of knowledge must not be lost to the whims of politicians! An ounce of commonsense is worth a pound of brains any day! The social and economic history of moorland farms is considered: the significance of the quarter days (especially Lady Day and Michaelmas), the production of crops, the rearing of stock, the markets and fairs. The President comments on the impacts of new challenges such as climate change, recycling imperatives, fossil fuel depletion and bio-fuel pressures, food miles and food shortages. He stresses the importance of Devon’s heritage and traditions and the inspiring beliefs and values of those who founded The Devonshire Association in 1862.
Public Lecture: ‘Tinners and Tinworks of the Bovey Tracy area’
Volume 140, 2008, pp. 15–43
Drawing on the archæological record, surviving field evidence, documentary and historical sources, photographic and oral memory, this paper examines the question of how old and how extensive has been tinworking in the Bovey Tracey area. It is revealed that the legacy of tinworking in this part of Devon is in fact one of the most important in the long history of the industry in the county. The tantalisingly elusive evidence of prehistoric tinworking is discussed. Documentary records are analysed that leave no doubt that the immediate vicinity of Bovey Tracey was busy with tinworking activity from the fourteenth century to the early seventeenth century, including streamworking and the operation of tin mills for crushing and smelting tin ore. One of the most interesting links between Bovey Tracey and the tin industry in the early 1600s is provided by Nicholas Eveleigh who was resident at Parke. His fine memorial may be seen today in the chancel of Bovey Tracey parish church. Though mainstream tinworking in the immediate vicinity of Bovey Tracey ended in the mid-seventeenth century, it is suggested that there may have been a modest revival in the 1690s and some activity continued during the 1700s. However, the only significant tin mine working in the Bovey area in the late-nineteenth and early twentieth century was Atlas Tin Mine, near Ilsington, (otherwise known as Smallacombe or Albion tin mine), which also operated a well-preserved burning house for roasting ores. Finally, it is revealed that the last episode of tinworking in Devon was by the Kester Brook in Bickington parish where, in the late 1960s and early 1970s, prompted by the rising price of tin, Western Alluvials Ltd was set up to exploit the reserves. Tin was also extracted and processed near Newton Abbot. For a brief period, therefore, the tin deposits of the Bovey Basin were being reworked after an interval of probably nearly 300 years.
‘The Landscape around Chulmleigh in 1711: A Reconstructed Map’
Volume 140, 2008, pp. 45–89
The manor of Chulmleigh was surveyed for the Duke of Beaufort in 1711. The surviving documents contain maps for only a small part of the manor, but information about a much larger area is recorded in written form and this information is detailed enough to allow a more complete map to be reconstructed. This paper presents such a map and explains the method of its reconstruction in detail. The map shows that Chulmleigh had a mainly enclosed landscape in 1711, but about a third of the surveyed area still consisted of large open tracts of rough pasture. Comparison of the reconstructed map with the tithe map of 1841 and the Ordnance Survey six-inch map of 1887, together with the use of other documentary sources, gives insights into the enclosure of rough pasture in north Devon in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The study demonstrates the potential of combining archival research with computer-aided cartography to reveal historical landscapes.
Ravenhill, M. R., and Rowe, M. M.
‘One of the most profitable and genteel professions’: the lives and work of three eighteenth-century Devon Surveyors, William Hole, Robert Ballment and Alexander Law
Volume 140, 2008, pp. 91–110
Recent research has revealed that there were approximately 200 map-makers and surveyors working in Devon in the period up to 1825. For the most part details of the lives of these men are scanty but for three of them more documentation exists. Their careers were at times closely connected one with the other, at others they diverged, but taken together the lives of these three men reflect the development of the profession of surveyor, with its attendant duties of Steward, Agent, Valuer and Map-maker in the eighteenth- and early-nineteenth centuries.
‘The Campaign in Devon for Women’s Suffrage, 1866–1908’
Volume 140, 2008, pp. 111–151
From at least 1866, a campaign for women’s suffrage existed in Devon. An account is given of the arguments used for and against women’s suffrage, of the many petitions, where they were from and their frequency, and of the locations of meetings. The role of women activists and of Devon MPs is discussed, and the differing policies of suffragists and suffragettes are noted. The excitements of the Mid-Devon by-election 1907–1908 are described.
Tisdall, W. W.
‘Doddiscombsleigh: An unusual ‘Green Man”
Volume 140, 2008, pp. 153–156
The carving of the capitals surmounting the pillars that separate the north and central aisles of St Michael’s Church in Doddiscombsleigh is exceptionally good and clean … and rather unusual. At the east end, the capital bears a conventional ‘green man’ with a spray of vine foliage coming from his mouth. Other capitals bear a variety of foliage. The last capital, at the east end, bears a man’s head with foliage coming from his mouth, but he also has little pointed ears and a hare lip. Though the author has seen many dozens of ‘green men’, and photographed most of them, this is the only one he has encountered so far with a hare lip.
Smith, J. B.
‘From Granfer-Grig to Tiddly-Tope: A Look at Names for Representatives of the Natural World in the Laver Corpus’
Volume 140, 2008, pp. 157–184
The Laver Corpus consists of lists of Devonshire dialect words collected by Dr Murray Laver and published with commentaries in these Transactions in 1989. While Laver was mainly concerned with the geographical distribution and possible patterning of expressions within the county, this paper seeks to understand the origins of names for living things that feature in the Corpus. It will be shown that behind an abundance of names there are in fact often relatively few basic concepts. Thus, for example, behind numerous names for the woodlouse there are fewer than half-a-dozen basic ideas. Past work has tended to look separately at folklore and dialect, thereby missing the important connections that exist between the two, which can often help to explain the origin of a folk name or expression. Thus, for example, the paper will show that, like their foreign counterparts, some English names for the foxglove are inspired by a children’s game. The study highlights the importance of an interdisciplinary and comparative approach in shedding light on linguistic developments in the county.
Rich, T. C. G., and Cann, D. C. G.
‘A survey of Sorbus species at Watersmeet, North Devon, September 2007’
Volume 140, 2008, pp. 185–198
A survey of endemic Sorbus species, Whitebeams, was carried out in the woodlands of Watersmeet, North Devon. 478 Whitebeams were recorded, of which there were 28 S. vexans, 3 S. porrigentiformis, 270 S. subcuneata, 108 ‘No Parking Whitebeams’ (an undescribed species), and 69 undetermined trees. The woodlands have exceptionally good populations of Whitebeams, supporting 98 per cent of the world population of the ‘No Parking Whitebeam’, about 82 per cent of the world population of S. subcuneata, and about 30 per cent of the world population of S. vexans.
‘Some Rescued Devon Documents: a Peninsular War Veteran and Property Entrepreneur, a Harassed Solicitor and a Famed Attorney General’
Volume 140, 2008, pp. 199–225
This paper draws on a private collection of Devon-related documents. The material presented concerns a hitherto unrecognised property-developer and decorated veteran of the Peninsular War, a lawyer who may have been driven to an early death, and the efforts required to secure and sustain the political success of a better-known colleague. The paper provides examples of documents available from the market place and discusses their value, or otherwise, to the histiographer.
‘Tamar View, The Horn of Plenty and the Devonshire Great Consolidated Copper Mining Company’
Volume 140, 2008, pp. 227–244
The connection between fortunes made by those involved in the metalliferous mining industry of West Devon and Cornwall in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and the building of some fine country houses with spectacular gardens around them is well known. Less familiar is the fact that the mine companies also occasionally used the money from mining profits to build gracious houses such as Tamar View, now The Horn of Plenty, for individuals of particular significance to the enterprise. An examination of the history of the house, its place in the operation of the mine and its time, can reveal much about the shifting currents within society in an era when power and money surged through the area as the mining industry grew to have a great significance in the region, followed by an epic struggle with decline.
Volume 141, 2009
Presidential Address: ‘Widening the Horizons: the future for National Parks’
Volume 141, 2009, pp. 1–20
Casting her expert eye across the heart-achingly beautiful landscapes of Exmoor National Park, our President, Rachel Thomas notes that the waste known as the ‘Forest of Exmore’ was claimed by the Crown as one England’s 67 medieval royal forests and its boundaries were fixed as early as 1204. Exmoor today is spread over the two counties of Devon and Somerset. As late as 1894 an attempt was made to transfer the whole parish of Exmoor to Devon for administrative purposes but, opposed by Somerset County Council, the attempt met defeat. In the 1950s, the National Parks Commission regarded Exmoor ‘with its lovely and majestic scenery, its renown, its romance, its extent and fascinating wild landscape as entirely falling in with the idea and forms prescribed by Parliament for National Parks’, an endorsement that persuaded the government to sign its designation order on 19 October 1954. Exmoor National Park thus came into being with an area of 176,000 acres and a population of fewer than 10,000. The Exmoor Society was formed in 1958 as a branch of the Devon Council for the Protection of Rural England (CPRE). The Society fought a campaign against losses of moorland through ploughing, fencing and large-scale forestry proposals. It has played an exceptionally influential role in drawing attention to the importance of moorland and National Park status. After reviewing the wider concept of National Parks and the variety of landscape designations that exist in the UK, the President describes the special qualities of Exmoor: its scenic beauty, the richness of its wildlife, its remarkable history, and the opportunities that it affords for enjoyment and learning. Challenges are identified including climate change, the decline of hill farming, and the fierce competition for land within the Park. The functions and powers of the National Park Authority are considered and the address concludes with a robust and persuasive defence of such bodies which, at their best, are the standard bearers of a more integrated approach to rural development that recognises the natural capital of landscape (including natural beauty) and how this is linked to human wellbeing.
Public Lecture: ‘Farming Southern Exmoor’
Volume 141, 2009, pp. 21–38
The lecture considers changes in farming from the Anglo-Saxon period to the present day in the Exmoor parishes south of the former forest. It is based on the Victoria County History’s England’s Past for Everyone Exmoor project and was drawn from material published in: Exmoor: the making of an English Upland, by Mary Siraut (Phillimore, 2009 © The University of London).
Adams, H., and Fyfe, R.
‘Sustainable conservation and management of the historic environment record in upland peat: a view from Exmoor’
Volume 141, 2009, pp. 39–60
An important part of the archaeological resource of UK uplands is the peatland-based palaeoenvironmental archive: the record of changing landscapes, climate and society-environment interactions over the last 10,000 years. This paper outlines the state of ongoing research on the value and condition of the valley and spring mires drawing on data from Exmoor and the wider region, and recognises a number of threats to the survival of this resource. Water table draw-down can be shown to relate strongly to direct precipitation, and it is possible that changes in the hydrological status of mires as a result of climatic changes, such as increased seasonality and drier summer conditions, will result in the deterioration of organic remains within these systems. Sensitive management of the peatland archive is required, implemented through a program of dialogue between stakeholder groups with an interest in upland conservation (land managers, conservation groups, archaeologists, local communities).
Hunwick, Revd J. W.
‘That Precious and Exceeding Subtle Jewel’
Volume 141, 2009, pp. 61–76
Jean de Grandisson, consecrated Bishop of Exeter in 1327, proved to be one of the Cathedral’s great builders, patrons of the arts and benefactors. Among the many gifts listed in his will of 1368, one particular piece of church plate is itemised. Described as ‘that precious and exceeding subtle vessel or jewel of the value of two hundred florins’, it was a ‘monstrance’ (Latin: ostensorium), used to display the Host – the living Body of Christ – especially on the festival of Corpus Christi, in which devotion is focused upon the sacrament. This paper shows that processions of the Host using such a vessel represent a revolution in devotion which was spreading from the papal city of Avignon. It is argued that Grandisson provided not one, but two such vessels. Thus, soon after his arrival in Exeter, he made a gift of a ‘crystal vessel, well decorated with silver gilded’ and this was bequeathed in his will to the church of Ottery St Mary. The second, more magnificent, monstrance may have been for Grandisson’s personal use, but his will stipulated that, after his death, it was to be bestowed upon the Cathedral. It is described in an inventory of 1506 and there can be no doubt regarding the considerable opulence of the second vessel. The paper suggests that Grandisson’s early career as a member of the inner circle of Pope John XXII, and his origins as a Burgundian nobleman, shaped his attitudes as a bishop: his effortless sense of his own superiority; his pleasure in ordering books, vestments, ivories and ‘jewels’; in compiling his Ordinale, in which he incorporated the Mass and Office for Corpus Christi; and in enforcing the new standards of devotion in Devon and Cornwall. It is not clear what happened to Grandisson’s ‘Subtle Jewel’ and other treasures bequeathed to the Cathedral. Nearly all were missing when Miles Coverdale listed the contents of the treasury in the early 1550s. Perhaps, when it became clear, in the reign of Edward VI, that the churches were to be stripped of their remaining wealth, the monstrance and other precious items of plate were either looted or sold.
‘Honeysuckle and Red Sandstone: Some Characteristics of Romanesque Stonecarving in South Devon’
Volume 141, 2009, pp. 77–92
The Romanesque stonecarving of South Devon is distinguished by a particular use of foliate motif (the ‘honeysuckle’ or palmette) and material (the Permian New Red Sandstone from the Torbay area). Other repeating motifs typical of architectural work are also used alongside these designs, such as the saltire cross and cable moulding. The bulk of the material consists of fonts but other fragments in this distinctive style can be identified. The success of the design repertoire and material suggests the presence of a group of stonemasons operating in the region during the mid- to later twelfth-century, as well as patrons keen to purchase their work.
‘Anne Edgcumbe/Dowriche and The French Historie (2 parts)’
Volume 141, 2009, pp. 93–152
This paper, divided into two parts, presents the life and introduces the long narrative poem — The French Historie — the work of the sixteenth-century Devonian woman-writer, Anne Dowriche. Part One places the author in a Devon context and summarises recent research and interest in her life, thus establishing a national significance which reassesses Dowriche in light of the recent re-valuation of forgotten female writers. Part Two introduces and discusses the poem with regard to the complex religious debates of the period; it also re-assesses the importance of the poem within the context of the lost literary history of Devon’s women writers.
Stanes, R. G. F.
‘The husbandry of Devon and Cornwall’
Volume 141, 2009, pp. 153–180
Oliver Cromwell is known to have been in the Southwest for several months in 1645 and 1646. A decade later, Cromwell asserted that Devon’s husbandry was the best of any English county. This paper explains the husbandry that Cromwell may have seen when he came to Devon. Attention is focused on what was different about Devonshire husbandry that would perhaps have been strange to Cromwell’s eyes. The abundance of small fields enclosed by high hedgebanks may well have struck him as unusual. He might have seen evidence of the practice of ‘Devonshiring’ or beat burning; the use of the ley as part of the rotation of crops; the absence of fallow; the cultivation of steep hillsides; the use of catch-work channels to create meadows on steep hillsides; and the application of calcareous sea-sand to sweeten the acid soils. A century and a half after Cromwell’s day, William Marshall made a study of agriculture in the Southwest which convinced him that the region’s husbandry was different from that practised elsewhere. Writing in 1796, Marshall described in detail the customs and ways of working the land that Cromwell almost certainly encountered. Drawing on Marshall’s work, as well as works of earlier writers, the paper explores how and why the husbandry of Devon and Cornwall was so strikingly distinctive.
‘A History of Sandridge Park: ‘An house more worthy of the situation”
Volume 141, 2009, pp. 181–217
Sandridge Park is a small estate near Stoke Gabriel on the eastern bank of the River Dart. On an ancient estate acquired by John Dunning from the Gilbert family, a new house was built for Dunning’s widow, Lady Ashburton, née Baring, by John Nash in the early nineteenth century. It was one of only two country houses executed by Nash in the villa rustica style. In the absence of a direct family succession, the estate passed through the stewardship of individuals connected with a variety of Devon families. The estate was largely broken up in 1935 when the house was sold for development but it was reprieved and returned to private ownership after wartime requisition. Despite the house’s architectural distinction, the history of the estate has not attracted the attention which perhaps it merits and this article, which focuses on its nineteenth-century inhabitants, attempts to redress the balance.
‘Tanning in Devon in the Nineteenth Century’
Volume 141, 2009, pp. 219–236
Over 100 tanneries were active in the county during the Napoleonic wars. This was a major industry which for the most part has gone unrecorded. Macpherson, in Annals of Commerce (1805), has stated that the value of leather produced in England in the late-eighteenth century was only exceeded by that of woollen cloth. In the mid-nineteenth century, the three leading counties for leather production were Devon, Lancashire and Surrey, in ascending order. This paper provides a brief outline history of Devon’s nineteenth century tanners and their tanneries – their development and decline – and draws on a number of sources including contemporary notices of auctions and other reports in local newspapers. A more detailed survey is provided in the author’s book: Devon Leather, published in 2008.
‘Raddis Lane: Politics and Landscape’ (2 parts)
Volume 141, 2009, pp. 237–268
The paper is presented in two parts, both based on sketch maps and documents relating to the arbitration of a dispute about highway repairs in 1728 between the East Devon parishes of Colyton, Branscombe and Salcombe Regis. Part 1 examines this dispute as an issue in local government typical of a time when pressures on the road system and the enclosure of commons were both accelerating. The arbitration process and its results are explained, and the genesis of the Lyme Regis-Exeter turnpike is discussed. Part 2 extracts from the same documents evidence of unrecorded wayside stones of archaeological interest, and of the roadside burial of a suicide. Implications for the landscape history of the area are discussed, both for the Early Bronze Age, paying attention to trackways and cemeteries, and with reference to the liminal significance of parish boundaries in the early modern period.
‘The Taunton Stop Line: A Survey of Second World War Pillboxes in the Axe Valley’
Volume 141, 2009, pp. 269–286
In 2005, the Recorders of the Devonshire Association’s Building Section began work on a detailed examination of Second World War stop line defences in the valley of the River Axe, between Colyford and the sea. While much has been written about the so-called Taunton stop line, no other study has produced measured drawings of the remains of the pillboxes. The paper describes seven structures that have been measured in detail and a further seventeen which have been explored and photographed. Second World War stop lines are an important defence relic; the elements of the system are small and easily overlooked but, as time goes by, their significance has been increasingly recognised. The structures embody not just the clinical, practical planning of civil defence, but also the spirit of defiance and resistance that characterised the wartime generation.
‘The Lichen Habitat of some Clay Tips in Devon and Cornwall’
Volume 141, 2009, pp. 287–304
This study was undertaken after discovering china clay tips of various ages in Cornwall were the habitat for a diverse terricolous lichen flora which contains some nationally important species. The perimeters of several Devon tips were visited subsequently to investigate similarities and differences between the areas and between ball and china clay as environments for lichens. It became apparent that there are two main substrata, fine-grained clay and well-drained quartz sand tips. With the recent moves to landscape, fertilise and reseed mine spoil, it was considered important to discover, before alterations to the present surface quality are undertaken, if clay waste has conservation value for lichens. It has already been acknowledged that some areas of clay waste are the habitat for Red Data mosses but prior to a study carried out at St Dennis, there appeared to be no lichen records. Although many of the lichens are visually insignificant, they form the first soil-binding growth. Only a preliminary study was possible for such a vast area of clay spoil. This investigation focuses on two china clay areas in Cornwall and one in Devon; and two ball clay areas in Devon.
Volume 142, 2010
Presidential Address: ‘Devon’s Edwardian Churchscape: its making and unmaking’
Volume 142, 2010, pp. 1–28
The president draws on his expert knowledge to surveys the churches and chapels built during the reign of Edward VII in the Holsworthy area, Torquay and Devonport, and their history thereafter.
Public Lecture: ‘Farmers, Farmers and Farming in the Holsworthy District in the 1950s’
Volume 142, 2010, pp. 29–48
The paper presents a vivid account of farming in the Holsworthy district in the years immediately after the Second World War until 1956. It begins by recalling a career which began with a rigorous practical and theoretical training that led to a National Diploma in Dairying (NDD), and appointment in 1948 as a Milk Production Officer with the National Agricultural Advisory Service (NAAS), covering South Molton, Barnstaple, Bideford and Holsworthy. In those early days, dairy farmers faced problems concerning the keeping quality of milk in hot weather. Rejected milk was returned with prominent red labels attached. Farmers then sought the advice of the Milk Production Officer. The typically small herd sizes meant that hand-milking was common, but some of the available milking and milk-cooling equipment is described. Changes introduced under the new 1949 Milk & Dairies Regulations, and concerning Tuberculin Tested (TT) milk are discussed. At that time, the Ministry of Agriculture’s Holsworthy District comprised 33 parishes in which there were 1,100 milk producing farms. Today the number is around 150–160. Lying within the area of the Culm Measures at an altitude 400–600 feet (140–180m), the land presented considerable farming challenges. Heavy and acidic, with an annual rainfall of about 50 inches, it is conducive to the growth of rushes and, in winter, easily becomes waterlogged. Improvements could be made, and advice was given by the author’s husband, who was the Holsworthy District Agricultural Adviser, on land drainage, tackling rush infestation, ploughing, fertilising, and reseeding with grasses and clover. Government grants, including 50 per cent of the cost of approved drainage work, were available. A rich picture is presented of the life that faced newcomers to the Holsworthy district seeking a living from farming. Land was cheap and small farms were often on the market at prices of around £200 per acre or less. In return for such an outlay, a farm of perhaps 30 rush-infested acres might be secured, comprising a house badly in need of repairs, probably without electricity, unimproved farm buildings, a water supply dependent on a well, and a rough track giving access to the nearest road. By the early 1950s, however, milk producers were being systematically advised on essential improvements. Advisory demonstrations and farm walks were means by which good practices were disseminated. These years, before farm amalgamations, the establishment of much larger, high-yielding herds, increased contract farming, and income diversification radically altered the rural economy, are looked back upon with affection as an extraordinary time on the cusp of change.
‘The Medieval Church in North Devon’
Volume 142, 2010, pp. 49–72
Christianity in north Devon is often thought to have come from Wales, but there is little evidence for this view. The first church in the region is documented in the mid ninth century, after which there are records of a few minsters and, later, of four monasteries. Most religious activity was centred in the 117 parish churches, of which more is known including evidence about economic, social, and devotional topics. The conclusion is reached that despite the relative remoteness of north Devon, its religious culture and institutions were linked with those of the rest of Southwest England and worked in similar ways.
‘Charters of the Redvers Family and the Earldom of Devon, 1090–1217: an addendum’
Volume 142, 2010, pp. 73–96
In 1994, the Devon and Cornwall Record Society published an edition of charters issued between the years 1090 and 1217 by members of the Redvers family, created earls of Devon in 1141. Since then, seven other such instruments have come to light. The texts of six of these are given in the Appendix below: the seventh is now available in a modern printed edition and is therefore calendared only. Evidence for the existence of a four further acta, now lost, is also cited, together with the text of two charters which contain important references to the family’s activities. A third in this latter category, to be published elsewhere in 2010, is given in calendar form only.
‘Violence in North Devon – Responses to the Introduction of the 1834 New Poor Law’
Volume 142, 2010, pp. 97–126
The introduction of the New Poor Law in the 1830s was widely resented by the poor themselves and nowhere more than in Devon. It was a time of widespread closures of local industries due to a severe economic depression. The labouring classes were suspicious of the reasons for introducing the new unions of parishes as administrative units within which relief could be sought. Poorer people were aware that financial savings that would benefit the ratepayers were expected but they saw little prospect of any benefits for paupers. The responses of the poor were arson attacks and riots. Arson was common, especially in isolated farms, but fires were a frequent hazard and suspected perpetrators were rarely apprehended. Riots broke out across north Devon and in nearby districts. The authorities responded in various ways: the yeomanry was called out; detachments of the regular army were despatched from Plymouth, and London policemen were stationed across the county. Suspected ringleaders were arrested and sent for trial at the assizes, the yeomanry sometimes escorted them because of fears of their being ‘rescued’.
‘John Harper – A North Devon White Witch’
Volume 142, 2010, pp. 127–134
This paper examines the personal story of one of those ‘hidden’ members of Devon populations in the past – the so-called ‘white witch’. The account has been put together from a variety of sources and not only relates how a ‘white witch’ practised in the community, but also reveals how they were perceived by different groups in the nineteenth century, a time during which belief in their ‘powers’ was rapidly diminishing.
Truscott, R. P.
Volume 142, 2010, pp. 135–152
Before the construction of the Launceston By-pass in 1976, Polson Bridge carried the A30 Trunk Road and was considered for many centuries as the gateway from Devon into Cornwall. Today, the bridge carries the A388 over the River Tamar, which is the county boundary. Recorded in documents dating to the fourteenth century, mentioned in the itineraries of William of Worcester and John Leland, and the target of the Royalists in 1644, who destroyed it as a means of attempting to deny passage to Cromwell’s army, the historical significance of Polson Bridge is without question. This paper traces the history of the repair and rebuilding of the bridge since the granting by the Bishop of Exeter of indulgences to those who contributed to the task in 1447. Drawing primarily on the information contained in the minutes of both the Cornwall and Devon quarter sessions, together with references to work at Polson reported in the local press, the paper reconstructs not only the history of the bridge, but also recovers details of the surveyors and engineers engaged in the works carried out upon it. Most notable amongst the latter, in the early nineteenth century, were James Green, appointed by the Devon magistrates as their county surveyor, and James Chapple, who was the bridge surveyor for the Eastern Division of Cornwall. Co-operation between the two counties was required to secure agreement on repairs and, in dues course, the design of a replacement bridge, eventually completed in 1833 to the designs of James Green, but under Chapple’s direction as clerk of works. By the 1880s, the weight of vehicular traffic using Polson Bridge was a cause for concern but it was not until 1934 that counties’ highways committees, the two county councils and the Ministry of Transport co-operated in a scheme to partially reconstruct and strengthen the central span of the 1833 bridge. The bridge today, embodying the works of 1833 and 1934, stands as a symbol of co-operation between Devon and Cornwall in maintaining the arteries of communication within the Southwest.
Darlow, S. and Hunt, R.
‘The Re-development of Cotehele Quay Museum’
Volume 142, 2010, pp. 153–174
Cotehele occupies a 1300-acre estate, on the Cornwall side of the River Tamar and comprises an historic house, formal and informal gardens, woodlands and orchards, a mill and a river quay. Owned by the Edgcumbe family since 1353, it was transferred to the National Trust in 1947. The original Quay Museum, operated in partnership with the National Maritime Museum, was first opened in 1982 in an old building known as ‘Cap’n Bill’s Storehouse’. However, visitor numbers had slumped and, in 2007, a project called Cotehele Quay ‘By the River’ was devised to re-invent the museum and increase its appeal. The East Cornwall Regeneration Project, supported by the EU’s Objective 1, contributed £65,000 of funding, and another £10,000 was provided by the National Trust. The National Maritime Museum offered 300 hours of expert curatorial time. The aim was to redevelop the museum to tell the story of the thriving community and industrial economy of the Victorian era, and to explain the importance of the River Tamar through the ages. Considerable local participation by the local community and a range of other stakeholders in devising the new museum was encouraged and the renamed Discovery Centre was finally completed in May 2008. Within the context of the socio-cultural sustainability of heritage, this paper describes both the Discovery Centre project and an evaluation exercise to gauge its success that was carried out by the authors following the museum’s re-launch. Although further monitoring will be needed in future to test whether the Discovery Centre maintains its appeal, it is argued that the re-making and reinvention of the Cotehele Quay Museum, with its prominent emphasis on consultation and inclusiveness, is an important example of a new approach in the sustainable management of heritage.
‘A survey of Ash-Houses’
Volume 142, 2010, pp. 175–208
Two centuries ago small buildings known as ash-houses were a feature of farms across a number of upland districts in the Westcountry. Their purpose was to provide a safe and dry place for the storage of wood and peat ash, cleaned out daily from the hearths of the farmstead, ready for use as a fertilizer on the land. Fifty or more of these buildings survive, the majority along the eastern side of Dartmoor, with others in Somerset and Cornwall. Drawing on national, regional and personal records, details are given of the construction of ash-houses, their distribution, and reasons for their decline. Now put to very different uses, they yet provide an interesting sidelight on life and farming practices in a largely forgotten age.
‘The Victorian Carte de Visite Photograph: a neglected source of Devon’s topographical history’
Volume 142, 2010, pp. 209–236
The Victorian carte de visite photograph was the first to be mass produced and readily affordable. Millions were sold between the late 1850s and the early years of the twentieth century, and were collected avidly during the 1860s and 1870s. Although the most popular subject was a personal portrait, some depict buildings and landscapes. The paper presents Devon examples of these and discusses how they may be dated and thus placed at an advantage over other contemporary photographs.
‘A Devon By-Election: South Molton, 1891’
Volume 142, 2010, pp. 237–260
This paper uses mainly contemporaneous press reports to describe a particularly hard-fought by-election in Devon in 1891 between an official Liberal Home Rule candidate and a Unionist Liberal candidate supported by the Conservatives. It covers the varied social, economic, political and religious issues which aroused the electorate and also the campaigning techniques.
Selley, W. O
‘The Devon and Exeter Dental Hospital, 1880–1936’
Volume 142, 2010, pp. 261–280
The Devon and Exeter Dental Hospital was one of the earliest institutions in England to be recognised by the Royal College of Surgeons for training pupils to enable them to sit its Licentiate in Dental Surgery examination. The Hospital performed two major purposes – the relief of dental pain for poor people and the training of dental surgeons This history is set within the background of the legalisation of the dental profession during the turn of the last century and reports its various locations in Exeter, its financing by a relatively small group of benevolent people and the voluntary professional staffing.
Volume 143, 2011
Presidential Address: ‘Christianity in Devon before 1086’
Volume 143, 2011, pp. 1–39
The earliest evidence for Christianity in Devon as an organised religion with churches comes from Exeter in the period around or after 400 AD. The author considers the restricted evidence for its survival during the next 250 years, and examines the more substantial records that follow the Anglo-Saxon conquest of Devon in the mid to late seventh century. Minster churches were founded from about 670, a diocesan organisation was in place by the early 700s, and smaller churches existed by the tenth century. The article outlines the history of the diocese and analyses the minsters and smaller churches in terms of their numbers, locations, properties, incomes, and personnel. It concludes with an account of what is known about popular religion, and provides a gazetteer of all the known and likely churches in Devon up to the date of the Domesday Book in 1086.
‘Soils: A Key Part of Devon’s Geodiversity’
Volume 143, 2011, pp. 41–60
Both geodiversity and biodiversity have received institutional recognition in recent years. However, as an aspect of geodiversity meriting understanding in their own right, soils are largely overlooked. This is despite soils having a presence in both geodiversity and biodiversity, not to mention their key role in bridging the two. The examples in this paper demonstrate how soil patterns link geology, hydrology, landscape, ecology and human activity, offering an expanded understanding of geodiversity, both within Devon and beyond.
‘The Hudson Transparencies A Set of Remarkable Visual Aids by a Distinguished Victorian Microscopist’
Volume 143, 2011, pp. 61–90
A series of unique nineteenth-century visual teaching aids in the possession of the University of Exeter are described, figured and catalogued for the first time. Designed to be lit from behind, they depict microscopic animals and plants and were created by Charles Thomas Hudson MA, LLD, FRS, a Bristol headmaster, distinguished microscopist and expert on the Rotifera, to illustrate his lectures. Hudson lived in Dawlish from 1891 to 1899. A brief biography is given, and his publications are listed.
[A complementary page showing all 58 of the illustrations is here.]
‘The Lich Way: A Path for all Seasons’
Volume 143, 2011, pp. 91–104
In the Middle Ages, the winter route of the Lich Way between Lydford and Dartmoor’s ‘ancient tenements’ was seven miles longer than the summer route. It is argued here that it crossed the West Dart near Dunnabridge and proceeded via Whiteworks and Older Bridge to join other roads, reaching Lydford via Huckworthy Bridge, Plaster Down and Harford Bridge. Probably the loss of the putative bridge at Dunnabridge roughly coincided with the establishment of the ‘saltire’ pattern of ‘tinners’ roads’ across Dartmoor in the fourteenth century, and a possible shift of site for the tinners’ Great Courts from Broken Borrow to Crockern Tor. Later in the same century Cistercian monks may have tried to regenerate the old but now less frequented cross-moor route between Ashburton and Tavistock.
‘The Descent of the Manor of Throwleigh: The Feudal Period, 1066–1428’
Volume 143, 2011, pp. 105–136
This new research has corrected some of the ideas of earlier writers and filled the twelfth century lacuna for the lordship of Throwleigh. New information about the families and origins of the lords of this small Dartmoor parish is presented in the context of the development of Norman and Angevin society and governance in England. During much of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries Throwleigh passed through female lines, and the means by which estates were passed to the right heirs despite second marriages is illustrated by the example of the Prouz—Daumarle relationships.
‘Evidence for a Twelfth-Century Community of Benefactors in a North Devon Charter’
Volume 143, 2011, pp. 137–44
Monastic cartularies are an excellent source of information for family history but the entries are often succinct and formulaic. Occasionally, however, a document contains enough interesting detail that it becomes worthy of research in its own right. One such document, relating to a donation of land to the newly founded Minchin Buckland Priory in the late twelfth century, emerged in research for material for a study of the Ruffus/Rous family in Devonshire. It provides a snapshot of the relationships between families in North Devon in the 1180s and highlights the participation of an unusually large group of women in the grant.
‘Matilda Peverel, c.1080-c.1140, wife of Robert fitz Martin’
Volume 143, 2011, pp. 145–168
This paper sheds light on the eleventh-century history of the Peverel family by discussing three contemporary documents about Matilda Peverel of Ermington in Devon: a reference to her father, Ranulph; to her brother, William; and to her nephew, Hugh. Previous research on the Norman family of Peverel has always centred on William Peverel of Nottingham and it has generally been assumed that Matilda was his daughter. However, this paper shows that Matilida’s family held what was known as the Honour of London or, later, the Honour of Hatfield Peverel. Matilda’s religious donations are briefly considered and her support of the established Benedictine Order of Cluny is compared to that of her husband, Robert fitz Martin, and his grant to the more independent Order of Tiron.
Pilkington, J. B. and Pilkington, M. C.
‘West Prawle Wood and Blundell’s School, 1603–1905’
Volume 143, 2011, pp. 169–200
West Prawle Wood was part of the West Prawle estate, owned by Peter Blundell and bequeathed in 1603 to found Blundell’s School, which held the property until 1905. The estate was leased for farming, but the trustees reserved management of the wood to themselves, and details are recorded in school documents over this 302 year period. The records retained by the school reveal a change from underwood to timber production at the end of the eighteenth century. During the nineteenth century the profits were adversely affected by increased management costs and changes in taxation. Later owners seem primarily to have regarded the wood as an amenity.
‘The Growth of Elementary Education in Devon, 1744–1821: The Evidence of the Bishops’ Visitation Returns’
Volume 143, 2011, pp. 201–230
The growth of elementary education in the three Devonshire archdeaconries of Totnes, Exeter and Barnstaple is examined for the period 1744–1821. Evidence is derived from the visitation returns of the bishops of Exeter for 1744/5, 1764/5, 1779, 1798 and 1821. Analysis of the returns demonstrates the gathering momentum in education during the period, while raw statistics are further illuminated by comments of individual incumbents. It is clear that the Established Church was in the forefront with its provision of charity schools, Sunday Schools and latterly of National Schools, and also in the catechetical work of the clergy. But note is taken of the many small school and individual endeavours. Collectively the evidence provides important new insights into the Georgian period.
‘Protest, Poison Pen Letters and Protestantism in Mid-Nineteenth Century East Devon: The Tractarian Crisis at Sidmouth, 1859–1865’
Volume 143, 2011, pp. 231–282
In the autumn of 1858, Sidmouth’s new vicar, the Reverend Hans Frederick Hamilton, convinced parishioners that the town’s expanding population and its continuing popularity as a holiday destination required the enlargement of the parish church. However, the proposal to expand the church triggered an unprecedented outburst of religious dispute, political intrigue, personal animosity and social protest. Critics of the design for the enlarged parish church alleged it had ‘semi-popish’ features. There was a fierce debate in the pages of rival local newspapers. Queen Victoria was unwittingly drawn into the parish quarrel. These events, meticulously chronicled by both the local antiquary, Peter Orlando Hutchinson, and the parish curate, the Reverend Henry Clements, unfolded against the background of the religious turmoil regarding the Anglo-Catholic Oxford Movement, or Tractarianism. As a result, Sidmouth witnessed ill-tempered public meetings, private lobbying, the publication of often inflammatory placards and pamphlets and an intermittent poison-pen campaign. The conflict split the parish Vestry, prompted an investigation by the bishop and led to the resignation of two vicars. Sidmouth’s upsurge in ‘popular Protestantism’ connected East Devon to a national political discourse about ‘Englishness’ in which religion mobilised political identities across class divides. The confrontation over Tractarianism in Sidmouth therefore offers important insights on society and politics in East Devon during the critical period of transformation immediately before the second reform act of 1867.
‘The Victoria County History in Devon, 1899–1910’
Volume 143, 2011, pp. 283–310
This paper was researched and written in conjunction with a project to move existing Victoria County History [VCH] materials relating to Devon from the archive in London to the Westcountry Studies Library in Exeter, where they are now available to the public for study. Against the background of an outline of the origins of the VCH, the work carried out on the first volume for Devon, which was published in 1906, is described. The county’s Lord Lieutenant was persuaded to chair the local 61-strong committee for Devon. The paper explores the role played by many of Devon’s most notable scholars and reveals the important links between the VCH project and The Devonshire Association. Arrangements made for research to be carried out on Devon are described and the paper shows that difficulties experienced in finding a local editor led to the project being managed centrally by the VCH in London. It emerges, however, that between 1906 and 1908, a series of essays were commissioned for the second volume and large sections of the text were written, but it was not published. Plans were also formulated for the parish narratives that were to occupy the third, fourth and fifth volumes. However, the Devon project was a victim of the financial crisis which engulfed the VCH in 1908 and it was never subsequently revived.
Wilkins, G. A.
‘The Lockyer Familty in Sidmouth’
Volume 143, 2011, pp. 311–334
Sir Norman Lockyer’s second wife, Mary, and her sister, Annie Leigh Browne, had many links with Sidmouth. Norman and Mary built a retirement home on land that Mary had inherited. This led to the establishment of an astronomical observatory on Salcombe Hill, but this paper is primarily concerned with the many other activities of Mary and Annie and of Norman’s children, James and Winifred, who also moved to Sidmouth. Brief notes on the early lives of Norman and of the relevant members of his family are also given.
Volume 144, 2012
Presidential Address: ‘The Inspiration of Devon: landscape, seascape and townscape’
Volume 144, 2012, pp. 1–14
In a personal homage to his adopted county of Devon, the President explores some of the most important influences from his experience of the later twentieth century and early twenty-first century that have inspired him and informed his thinking. He then presents examples of the creative role that various aspects of our history and tradition have played in shaping our present and future. His discussion ranges across the inspirational landscape; the delights of seascape; the inspiration of tradition (cob, thatch and corrugated iron); and the creativity of historic context.
‘William Pengelly, The Devonshire Association, and 150 Years of Scholarship’
Volume 144, 2012, pp. 15–42
After an introduction to William Pengelly and the foundation and early years of the Devonshire Association, this paper reviews, subject area by subject area, the contribution that the Association has made to the knowledge and understanding of Devon through its publications and the research of its members. It concludes with a discussion of the wider impact of this research, and how this may in future be enhanced.
Hart, M. B.
‘The Geodiversity of Torbay’
Volume 144, 2012, pp. 43–86
On 6 January 1912, Alfred Wegener presented his new ideas on the ‘origins of continents and oceans’ at the Senckenberg in Frankfurt-am-Main. A century later, his views on continental drift have been overtaken by our understanding of global Earth processes and plate tectonics, but there is no doubt that his views were the inspiration behind our modern science. We now accept that Torbay’s geological history is, therefore, a function of the migration of the area over the surface of the planet from 10°S of the Equator to the present position at 52°N. Superimposed on this northward migration are the global changes in climate over the last 400 million years of Earth history from ice-house to green-house and back to our present ice-house conditions. The coral-rich limestones, red-coloured continental pebble beds and other geodiversity features of Torbay all document this fascinating history, leading to the eventual colonisation of the area by the early hominins. The geological history of Torbay often appears disjointed, with many gaps in the record. Geologists can, however, read these ‘gaps’ as well as the rock record, piecing together a story of shallow-water tropical seas, volcanic eruptions, uplift of mountains and their near-complete erosion, a warm continental desert interlude and the regular appearance and disappearance of the ‘Cornubian Island’. Throughout this history the climate, both locally and globally, has been in constant change and understanding this process is vital if we are to predict our future.
‘William Pengelly’s Torquay — The Photographic Record c.1860-c.1875’
Volume 144, 2012, pp. 87–118
This paper explores, through contemporary photographic images of the 1860s and 1870s, the townscape of Torquay, and the immediate environs, that would have been familiar to William Pengelly and his fellow founders of the Devonshire Association. Drawing on examples of commercially produced stereoviews, the author describes the work of nationally known early photographers such as Francis Bedford, as well as that of local practitioners such as Way & Sons of Torquay, and William Spreat of Exeter. The images are informative about the development of mid-Victorian Torquay when already well-established as a premier seaside resort, and include much of architectural, historic, photographic and social interest.
‘The Medieval Bishops’ Palace of Paignton’
Volume 144, 2012, pp. 119–188
Paignton was one of the 12 medieval manors held by the Bishops of Exeter in Devon. The Palace was a major episcopal residence, by the mid-thirteenth century at the latest. The site has been of interest to the Devonshire Association for over 100 years; its curtain walls and unique fourteenth-century tower now enclose the Vicarage garden. Documentary sources have been re-examined and the archaeological history since the nineteenth century has been reviewed; and in particular the work undertaken to modern standards during 2001–2012. The ruinous walls of a building surviving within the parish churchyard have been variously interpreted as a gatehouse, a chapel and, after excavation in 2003, a lodging block. The whole site has been re-interpreted and the building recognised as a quite different structure, an early hall or chamber block, unique in Devon. Reconstructions of the Palace precinct are conjectured and the various elements of the complex re-dated.
‘Artists and Torbay’
Volume 144, 2012, pp. 189–218
This paper examines the history of artistic representation of Torbay, principally from the nineteenth century to the Second World War. Two main categories of image will be considered. Firstly, using material from collections such as Etched on Devon’s Memory in the Westcountry Studies Library (WSL), the lithographic print will be seen as the dominant medium up to the 1870s. A representative selection of these works will be shown, including a number produced by local engravers and publishers. The style and content of these prints may be related to the public image of Torbay disseminated as part of the cultivation of ‘refined’ tourism in the area. Secondly, later representations in oil and watercolour painting will be examined, along with some examples in other media.
‘The Singer Family and Oldway Mansion: Isaac Singer and the Wigwam’
Volume 144, 2012, pp. 219–238
This paper examines the reasons why Isaac Singer (1811–1875), the inventor of the Singer sewing machine, and his family came to reside permanently in Paignton, Devon, in 1872. It considers the origin, design and construction of Isaac Singer’s ‘Wigwam’ on the Oldway Estate, later to become known as Oldway Mansion and Gardens. The reception and appraisal of Singer and his house by contemporaries is analysed and assessed against commonly held views from more recent histories.
‘Torquay and the Changing Fortunes of Tourism’
Volume 144, 2012, pp. 239–272
Tourism has been integral to the origin and growth of Torbay over the last two centuries. Within a historical chronology, the aim of this paper is to analyse the main phases in Torbay’s resort lifecycle: as a health resort for the gentry (1792–1900); as a resort for the middle and working classes (1900–1980); and as a resort struggling to re-invent itself (1980-to date). An evaluation is made of the attempts by the public sector to promote, protect, diversify and regenerate the resort’s appeal and product over these lifecycles. Tourism as a key component of the resort’s character has evolved and re-invented itself a number of times, and often required brave and bold decisions.
‘Regenerating Torbay — Contemporary Issues, Past and Present’
Volume 144, 2012, pp. 273–296
In reviewing the challenges involved in the physical, economic and social regeneration of Torbay, this paper not only places the policy considerations of today in an historical context, but also reflects on the heritage resources bequeathed by the past and their value as assets for the future. The ways in which Torbay is building on all its assets are explained, and the opportunities that are available to expand tourism and the creative sectors in the economy are described and evaluated. Projects that aim to diversify activities in Torbay are discussed and the approaches that are needed to create the right environment for inward investment, to improve transport, to enhance the skills base and to capitalise and improve upon the local environment are identified.
Gould, J. and Melcalfe, D.
‘A Guide to Twentieth Century Architecture in Torbay’
Volume 144, 2012, pp. 297–335
The Guide attempts to explain and illustrate the history of the twentieth century architecture of Torbay (Torquay, Paignton and Brixham) through 45 exemplary buildings (or building groups) of all types which are visible and sometimes accessible to the public. As far as possible, these are spread evenly across the decades, allowing for the interruptions of two World Wars and economic recessions. An introductory essay places the buildings and their architects in the wider context of architectural, social and economic developments in Britain and Europe through the century.
Volume 145, 2013
Presidential Address: ‘My Wild Life — A Tribute to Devon’
Volume 145, 2013, pp. 1–6
It is indeed a privilege, and somewhat humbling, to be invited to follow in the footsteps of so many eminent presidents of this historic association. For much of my working life I travelled worldwide with a veritable zoo in my luggage. Flocks of screaming sea birds, fearsome predators and entire fields of colourful wild flowers. All were encased in the dark, sealed in metal cans and securely held on film, now in digits. Often with over 200kg of camera equipment, travelling light seemed like a distant dream.
‘The Site of the Battle of Cynuit 878’
Volume 145, 2013, pp. 7–30
In January 878 the Vikings almost conquered the Kingdom of Wessex. A surprise attack on Chippenham drove King Alfred into hiding and within a few weeks a second Viking army landed in Devon. Arguably the defeat of this second force at a place named arx Cynuit rallied support for Alfred and made possible his victory at Edington in May. Although toponymic analysis appears to identify Wind Hill Fort near Countisbury as arx Cynuit, the historical topography and subsequent military and tenurial history of the Torridge Valley suggest that Castle Hill near Beaford is a more convincing location for the battle.
‘Outsiders’ Impressions of the Devon Port Town of Topsham, 1542—2013′
Volume 145, 2013, pp. 31–58
Topsham, once one of England’s most active ports, is now a suburb of its old commercial rival, Exeter. Although currently regarded as a desirable place to live, this has not always been the case. This paper explores the outsiders’ changing impressions of Topsham, from the sixteenth century to current times, and draws mainly on published itineraries, gazetteers and a large sample of guidebooks. Despite reservations over the reliability of these sources, a pattern emerged. Early admiration of Topsham’s commercial success gave way to bemoaning the impoverished state of the town during the closing decades of the nineteenth century and the early years of the twentieth. Although the landscape vistas it provides over the river Exe have been admired since the eighteenth century, it is only relatively recently that the town’s streets and buildings received comparable praise. Unlike many Devon estuary or marine communities which developed into tourist resorts, Topsham made little effort to accommodate the wishes of the visitor. Furthermore, the town never experienced large-scale redevelopment due to devastating fires, enemy action or over-zealous modernisation. It is suggested that the varying perceptions of Topsham reflect vicissitudes in popular cultural taste rather than stem from changes within the town itself.
Cole, J. R.
‘The Poetry of Anne Born: an Appreciation’
Volume 145, 2013, pp. 59–70
A full account of Anne Born’s life, paying tribute to her achievements as historian, translator and poet — and her committed membership of the Devonshire Association for nearly thirty years — has already been admirably made in the obituary by Robin and Pamela Wootton in the Report and Transactions of The Devonshire Association for the Advancement of Science, Literature and the Arts,
Volume 144. The main intention of this appreciation is to celebrate the enjoyment that anyone without that prior knowledge can obtain from her poems.
Fleming, M. A.
‘The Secondary Occupation of Ryder’s Rings’
Volume 145, 2013, pp. 71–92
It is argued that Ryder’s Rings, the large bipartite Bronze Age enclosure in the upper Avon valley (south-east Dartmoor) saw a major episode of post-prehistoric occupation, involving the construction of thick-walled ‘pens’ (previously thought to be prehistoric). One wall of the enclosure was retained largely for shelter, and the circuit was breached at regular intervals, to provide for ingress and egress, and probably also to protect livestock from injury. The prehistoric wall has been quarried (and demolished in two stretches) for stone; small structures such as caches have been constructed along it. Most of the pens seem to have been arranged in sets of three. They are probably late medieval. It is possible that this was once ‘Writers’ Rings’, denoting pens used by graziers from down country whose stock was recorded in writing; they used Brent Moor, as opposed to Buckfast Moor. The pens may have been coeval with, and related to, the ‘monastic homestead’ excavated on nearby Dean Moor. The ‘pens’ with thin walls, here and elsewhere, are probably prehistoric.
‘William the Conqueror’s Siege of Exeter in 1068’
Volume 145, 2013, pp. 93–132
The causes, course and consequences of the siege of Exeter (early in 1068) by William the Conqueror are examined. Causes of Exeter’s refusal to swear allegiance to the new king, late in 1067, are examined against the background of national events since the battle of Hastings, a year earlier. Possible origins of, and contributions to, Exeter’s attitude are considered. These include national English sentiment, grievance over royal taxation, support for the Godwin family and fear of having traditional obligations to kings replaced by heavier burdens. The course of the siege is described, as far as available sources allow, and the nature of Exeter’s defences are discussed from both historical and archaeological data. The consequences of the city’s surrender — or of its settlement with the king — are outlined in political, administrative and topographical terms. Elements of change are contrasted with other elements of continuity.
Mather, J. D.
‘The History and Hydrogeology of Laywell, a Celebrated Ebb and Flow Spring at Brixham, Devon’
Volume 145, 2013, pp. 133–154 – available here.
Following a letter in the Royal Society’s Philosophical Transactions of 1693, the ebb and flow spring at Brixham was a famous landmark for the next 150 years. The spring, known as Laywell, rose at the junction of Middle Devonian limestones and mudstones about 36 m above mean sea level. The spring flowed continuously with cycles of ebb and flow superimposed on this background discharge. Numbers of cycles ranged from 9 to 20 per hour and were interrupted by periods of varying length and at irregular times when intermittent flow did not occur. The ebb and flow cycles can be explained by the action of a syphon operating within the cavernous limestones, but some aspects of the spring’s behaviour remain a mystery. Intermittent flows ceased around 1840 either following attempts to improve the performance of the spring, local road works or through mining and quarrying of the limestone. Once used for public supply, water now runs through the town to the sea, the spring’s former fame long forgotten.
‘Medieval Holy Wells in Devon’
Volume 145, 2013, pp. 155–180
From at least late Anglo-Saxon times, Devon possessed wells with Christian associations which were visited for worship or healing. Little survives about them in terms of material or documentary evidence until the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and most of what are now called ‘holy wells’ were recorded only in that period. The present article collects and examines the medieval and post-medieval evidence that points to the existence of wells up to the end of the Reformation in about 1559. It reveals at least 60 certain, probable, or possible wells, and analyses their locations and functions. The article concludes by listing the wells with the relevant sources, dates, and map references.
‘Devon Great Consols and William Morris’
Volume 145, 2013, pp. 181–198
The family fortune of the nineteenth century poet and designer William Morris came mostly from the Devon Great Consols mine, and he used part of his share capital to establish Morris & Co. As a socialist, Morris has been accused of ‘hypocrisy’ over his directorship of the mine, and his use of arsenical pigments in wallpapers. But Morris relinquished all interest in Devon Great Consols seven years before becoming a socialist, while poisoning of anyone by arsenical wallpapers has recently been labelled an ‘urban myth’. More positively, Morris’s connection to Devon Great Consols clearly influenced some of his environmental ideas.
‘The Westcountry Malherbes: the Settlement and Integration of an Extended Norman Family during the 12th to 16th Centuries’
Volume 145, 2013, pp. 199–232
Members of the Malherbe family colonised the Westcountry soon after the Norman Conquest forming major clusters of settlement around Ottery St Mary and in the Mendips. They held the manor of Feniton in Devon over twelve generations for almost 400 years whereas the manors of Cheddar and Shipham in Somerset remained in their hands for about 300 years. This paper describes their origins in Normandy; the etymology of the Malherbe name; the heraldic relationship between the Devon and Somerset branches, and some of the difficulties that they faced as they sought to perpetuate their name through a male line of inheritance, and compete among the rural gentry of the day.
‘George Montagu (1753—1815): His Kingsbridge Garden and ‘Duckery’ ‘
Volume 145, 2013, pp. 233–252
There have been different opinions as to where George Montagu and Eliza Dorville lived. The Nineteenth Century maps of Kingsbridge included here, make it clear that they lived in Knowle Cottage, and owned the considerable ‘pleasure grounds’ surrounding it. Prospect House, as it is now called, is either a modification or rebuild of Knowle Cottage. The plaque to Montagu put up by the Devon Bird Watching and Preservation Society in 1956 was by the entrance to the then Knowle House, shown as owned by Sir N. Sandys on the 1841 map. The plaque put up in 2013 on the property to the south, now named Knowle House, was shown as owned by John Luscombe. It is hoped that this paper will resolve this confusion and remind readers of a remarkable scientific and human partnership at Knowle Cottage, Kingsbridge.
‘Rosemary Sutcliff and Roman Exeter’
Volume 145, 2013, pp. 253–268
The first fifty pages of Rosemary Sutcliff’s classic adventure story The Eagle of the Ninth, published in 1954, are set at Isca Dumnoniorum, Roman Exeter. This article investigates (a) the probable influence of the author’s own childhood experiences in Exeter, and (b) the likely sources of her very specific understanding of what a Romano-British town looked like in the 120s AD, with particular reference to the excavations undertaken by Lady (Aileen) Fox in the war-damaged centre of the city in 1945.
Volume 146, 2014
Presidential Address: ‘Oil and Gas Exploration in and offshore Devon’
Volume 146, 2014, pp. 1–32
The county of Devon arguably lead the world in researching petroleum production from the Bovey coals in the 18th and 19th Centuries. Modern geology and exploration is reviewed for both the onshore outcrops and the offshore basins. This demonstrates that Devonshire has the component parts of a number of Petroleum Systems – world class oil and gas source rocks and excellent porous reservoirs, together with a diversity of structures and good sealing horizons. However, these components are spread over the county and occur at different stratigraphic levels, with the result being a total lack of commercial oil or gas reserves (so far!). In addition, geological timing is an issue, with early generation and late structuring meaning that the oil and gas were migrating (moving) before the traps formed. Looking to the future, there appears to be little potential for obtaining ‘unconventional’ oil and gas by horizontal drilling and fracking.
‘The Defeat of the sons of Harold in 1069’
Volume 146, 2014, pp. 33–56
In June 1069 two sons of the slain King Harold raided Devon with a fleet of at least sixty-four ships. The raid ended in complete defeat. In the course of two battles fought in a single day, the raiders lost most of their army. Conflicting locations for these events offered by the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle and Orderic Vitalis have hampered any reconstruction of the raid or an appreciation of its significance. However, close study of the sources and the estuary of the Taw and Torridge suggest that Northam in north Devon was the most likely battlefield.
‘Some thoughts on Dartmoor Powdermills’
Volume 146, 2014, pp. 57–82
This paper presents a reassessment of the Dartmoor Powdermills plant both as a business and as an historic industrial site. In Devon, gunpowder was only used for quarrying and mining, so only blasting powder was made. The design and process technology for the plant probably came from the Fox and Perran Foundry in Cornwall and would have been of a typically Cornish design. It is proposed that sodium nitrate (from Peru), rather than potassium nitrate, was used in the gunpowder made at Powdermills. Arguments to support this theory are presented. The manufacturing process that would have been used is described and individual operations assigned to the different buildings.
‘The Management of Water in the Historic Borough of Bovey Tracey’
Volume 146, 2014, pp. 83–102
Water management in the historic borough of Bovey Tracey is described from early times, then concentrating on developments in the nineteenth century. Unpublished documents, minutes from Vestry meetings, and newspaper reports, are explored. Local officials experienced difficulty, and were confused about their responsibilities, in improving the water supply in the age of political reform and national cholera outbreaks. As in other places, such as Exeter, there was a reluctance to spend money on sanitary improvement. Interesting links have been found between national figures and prominent people in Bovey Tracey at the time.
Brown, T. W.
‘The records of an old Devonshire custom, and its revival’
Volume 146, 2014, pp. 103–120
The calendar custom known as The Hunting of the Earl of Rone, which took place in the village of Combe Martin, lapsed after 1837. Following a reconstruction in 1970, a modern form of the custom was adopted by the community and the custom is now firmly re-established in its ‘native’ village. This paper traces the contemporary and more recent records of the custom, and to a lesser extent the history of what must be regarded as a revival. It demonstrates the significant role of information published by The Devonshire Association in the reconstruction of the custom.
Campbell, W. H.
‘The Canons Resident of Exeter Cathedral, 1506–1561’
Volume 146, 2014, pp. 121–144
Throughout their history, the chapters of English cathedrals have included many of the most distinguished clergy of their day. Of these, only some were ordinarily resident at the cathedral itself. In the first half of the sixteenth century, it is possible at some cathedrals to trace which members of the chapter were residentiaries. This article discusses what was significant about the residentiary canons of Exeter and catalogues the residentiaries from 1506 to 1541 as a supplement to the series Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae. The article also traces the changing number of the canons resident from 1506 to 1560, and explains the internal and external forces that led to the reduction in the residentiary body over that period.
‘ “We bain’t going till we be fetched” – Military Tribunals in North Devon during the First World War’
Volume 146, 2014, pp. 145–172
The outbreak of the First World War saw a massive wave of patriotism sweeping across the country with hundreds of thousands of men enlisting to fight the enemy. As casualty lists lengthened so the number of volunteers declined and by 1916 conscription had to be introduced. In order to mitigate opposition the government set up local Military Tribunals to hear individual cases from those claiming exemption along with an Appeals panel to adjudicate on contested cases. This paper examines both the lead in to conscription and the work of the Tribunals in North Devon concentrating on the Barnstaple example.
‘ “How the money rolls in”: The Great Social Evil in late-Victorian North Devon’
Volume 146, 2014, pp. 173–194
In Victorian Britain prostitution was thought of as a vice which was both omni-present and blatant and this was also true in North Devon. The middle classes regarded prostitutes as sources of crime who were also neither orderly nor respectable. Some of the public houses were used openly as brothels, and prostitutes, clients, and the police knew precisely where they were. The inadequate local police forces were too small deal with both social problems and crimes. Prostitutes were active in local fairs as these were regarded as potentially lucrative venues. In Exeter evangelical clergymen opened small corrective institutions which were for ‘saving’ girls from the whole county and they were supported in North Devon.
‘Two artists and a marriage made in Exmouth’
Volume 146, 2014, pp. 195–214
From the late eighteenth century onwards a considerable number of artists were attracted to Exmouth with its fine coast and estuary; William Evelyn Osborn and Dorothy Worden were two such artists. They were part of the St Ives art colony for about 10 years from 1891 and it is likely that they met there. They subsequently married in Withycombe Church Exmouth on 20 April 1896 and spent time in Exmouth, on and off, for the next 10 years. The work of W E Osborn which is held in public collections is at Tate Britain and Falmouth Art Gallery.
‘The Early History of Tiverton Church’
Volume 146, 2014, pp. 215–230
The ancient church of Tiverton, SS Peter and Paul, can be reckoned to have existed by at least the eleventh century as a minster church served by a body of clergy, chaired by a dean. The income of the church was divided among them in prebends, of which there were seven. In about 1141 Baldwin de Redvers, earl of Devon, granted the church to his newly created priory of St James, Exeter, but his son Earl Richard retracted the grant and reduced the priory’s share to half of the church. During the following hundred years the priory struggled to keep even half, and was cut down to a quarter. This paper explains why these developments took place, and shows how the church came to consist of four portions held by three clergy and St James (later King’s College, Cambridge), which remained the basis of its constitution until the 1880s. Peeke, B. R. The Devonshire Association and Bowhill,
Volume 146, pp. 231–252 The Devonshire Association became involved with the historic building, known as Bowhill, between 1996 and 2004. This paper attempts to record how the Devonshire association took on the lease of the property, occupied it for a number of years and, eventually, withdrew from the obligation in order to conserve its finances.
‘On the History of Lime-Burning in East Devon’
Volume 146, 2014, pp. 253–284
The article tells the story of lime-burning in East Devon. Since the publication in 1974 of Michael Havinden’s history of the use of lime in agriculture in Devon, studies have indicated that the lime industry developed differently in different parts of the county. In East Devon, variation depended not only on geological and economic factors, such as presence or absence of chalk, limestone or coal, and relative cost of transport by land or sea, but also on urbanisation and demand for lime for building. The only chalk area in Devon is in the extreme south-east, and once lime began to be used to improve crops in the seventeenth century, lime-burning developed in this coastal chalk district for an agricultural market inland. The Exe Estuary and the western part of East Devon, lacking chalk, depended on limestone shipped to kilns built on the shore, and here urban growth was a major stimulus. The article traces the decline of lime-burning in the late nineteenth century and its brief revival in the mid-twentieth century at Beer, and ends by illustrating changing aesthetic attitudes to lime-burning landscapes.
Volume 147, 2015
Presidential Address: ‘Dartmoor and the Displacement of Culture: Analysis and Remedy’
Volume 147, 2015, pp. 1–44
Drawing on half a century of observation and research, National Park status for Dartmoor since 1951 is critically assessed. Through the concept of ‘disfigurements’ and disregard for recent culture, many important buildings of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries have been lost, especially in and around Princetown. The moorland comprises one of the finest cultural landscapes in the world establishment environmental thinking needs radical reassessment. Natural England’s impact on grazing and hill-farming culture is scrutinised, and the Dartmoor Mires Project of 2010–2015 is cited as an example of pseudo-scientific activity. Suggested remedies include replacing current conservation designations on moorland, and the creation of a fully elected Dartmoor Convocation.
‘Extreme meteorological and tidal events as recorded in the personal journal of William Nation, a merchant of Georgian Exeter’
Volume 147, 2015, pp. 45–72
The paper presents accounts of extreme meteorological and oceanographical occurrences extracted from the personal journal of a prominent merchant of Georgian Exeter, William Nation. The extracts date from 1797 to 1830, the year before Nation’s death, and are compared with reports in the local and national press and with local daily weather records kept by private individuals and the Devon and Exeter Institution. The results suggest that Nation’s accounts were accurate. Where discrepancies exist, some support the view that Nation did not merely repeat what he had read, but added observations of his own. Although of limited scientific interest, Nation’s accounts give substance to the bare statistical details provided by his contemporaries. In particular, his descriptions illustrate the effect that the weather could have on the lives and livelihoods of the less privileged citizens of Georgian Exeter during a particularly cold phase of the Little Ice Age.
Essex, S. & Ford, P.
‘Coastal Urban Regeneration: Thirty Years of Change on Plymouth’s Waterfront’
Volume 147, 2015, pp. 73–102
Waterfront revitalisation has become one of the main areas of concentration and activity in urban regeneration as former port, military and resort sites seek new and appropriate uses. Various regeneration approaches have been implemented over the years, with most involving central-government funding, but with different levels of partnership with the private sector and/or the local community. This paper explores in detail the transformation of the waterfront in the English city of Plymouth from its former functions as a naval port and dockyard, with both military and commercial port activities, to its predominantly post-industrial focus on residential, leisure, tourism, and heritage uses. It is a process that has gained momentum over the last thirty years and is now central to the city’s vision of its future.
‘The Beardown Rock Inscriptions and their Spiritual Significance’
Volume 147, 2015, pp. 103–116
The 200-year-old poetic rock inscriptions by Edward Bray at Beardown, Two Bridges, have been the subject of two previous research papers. However, both of these contain significant omissions, including the precise locations of the inscriptions as well as other mythical features named by Bray. Many of these are in danger of being obscured by flora and lost for ever. The current author has made an exhaustive record of the location of all these features and corrected errors in the previous literature. Reverend Bray was also a poet of nature and one of the nineteenth-century pioneers of Dartmoor archaeology, to which he looked to the Druids for an explanation. In the rest of this paper the author suggests a significance for Bray’s activities at Beardown within his wider spiritual interest in nature and the Druids, and considers how these might be reconciled with his Christian beliefs.
‘ “They Would Yield to no Persuasions […] but most Manfully did Abide the Fight”: A Military Assessment of the Western Rebellion’
Volume 147, 2015, pp. 117–154
The bloody suppression of the 1549 Western Rebellion in Devon and Cornwall has frequently been dismissed as a one-sided massacre of poorly armed peasants by government soldiers and foreign mercenaries. This article will contest such views by considering the revolt’s confrontations as military actions, emphasising the insurgents’ level of resistance, and exploring their use of weapons and tactics similar to those employed by English armies. By analysing these events in more detail, the article will draw out their implications for the study of English warfare in the mid-sixteenth century, a key period of transition about which relatively little is known.
‘The Bradford Tinwork Leat and Its route through enclosed ground’
Volume 147, 2015, pp. 155–184
The Bradford Tinwork Leat was constructed in the sixteenth century to bring water from Dartmoor on a nineteen kilometre route to the tinwork at Bradford Pool, close to Chagford, at that time a centre of the Devon tin industry. This leat is the longest yet known to have been constructed by Devon tinners. The initial route on open moorland can be traced with care but little is known of its subsequent route through enclosed ground. Field work and desk research have been utilised to re-create the route of the leat, to describe its extant remains, and to address the technical challenges presented by the terrain to be crossed. In so doing, this study furthers an appreciation of the significance of water power to the Devon tin industry and of the technical achievements of the leat builders who provided it.
Volume 147, 2015, pp. 185–212
Polsloe Priory near Exeter was the earliest house of nuns to be founded in the diocese of Exeter, in about 1160. It belonged to the Benedictine Order. Since the eighteenth century, the foundation has been ascribed to the magnate William Brewer (died 1226), but this can be disproved on chronological and other grounds, and the credit is to be given to a group of people of moderate wealth, led by the contemporary bishops of Exeter. The article goes on to enumerate the priory’s endowments, which consisted of a scattering of lands and churches in Devon and Somerset, and to trace its internal history down to the Reformation. Archaeological research has revealed the priory’s location and plan, together with the nature it its surviving remains, while the daily life of the nuns can be glimpsed from injunctions delivered to the house by Bishop Stapledon in 1320. Polsloe became liable for dissolution in 1536 but paid a large fine to be spared, in spite of which it shared the fate of the remaining monasteries in Devon in February 1539.
Pulsford, A. & Freeman, M.
‘John Taylor (1779–1863) and the Tavistock Canal’
Volume 147, 2015, pp. 213–242
John Taylor FRS (1779—1863) was a pioneer of technical progress in mining. He encouraged research and its practical application, which transformed mining into a rigorous scientific discipline. He was also an excellent businessman with financial and pastoral management skills. His notable work in Devon included management of the mines at Mary Tavy, construction of the Tavistock Canal and co-founding the Tavistock Subscription Library.
‘Two abortive attempts to establish a Cistercian abbey at South Tawton in Devon’
Volume 147, 2015, pp. 243–252
During the early thirteenth century there appears to have been two separate, abortive attempts by members of the de Tosny family to establish a Cistercian monastery at South Tawton in Devon. It was initially proposed to settle a colony of monks from Bruern Abbey, Oxfordshire, and then almost twenty-five years later a second attempt involved a colony from Cwmhir Abbey, Radnorshire (now in Powys). This paper discusses the previously un-appreciated evidence for these attempts, and the possible sequence of events.
‘Finding Northford: Dartington’s Lost Manor’
Volume 147, 2015, pp. 253–272
Northford was a medieval manor lying predominantly in the parish of Dartington. It was most probably created in the thirteenth century and enjoyed two or three centuries of local significance. Ultimately its demise is connected to the expansionism of Totnes and a lack of attention from the manorial lords.
Volume 148, 2016
Presidential Address: ‘Appropriate History’.
Volume 148, 2016, pp. 1–28
In 1862 our first president called for the study of Devon’s history. Since then considerable research has been undertaken and we have learned much about the county’s past. Over these 154 years there have been great changes in access to original sources and the methods of conducting research. Moreover, other specialist societies have been formed. Nevertheless, as in 1862, historical inquiry remains the preserve of the lone scholar. The research subjects that have been chosen are a reflection of the evolving interests of society; what interested the Victorians is not so much in vogue today. But which areas are appropriate today? Nostalgia is a dominate theme across Devon, and has a place in historical writing, but scholarship must also explore the uncomfortable areas of the past which have left deep impressions upon modern society. In this we must be vigilant in challenging inaccurate history which is politically-motivated and confront censorship in all of its forms.
Barr, M. W. C.
‘Selected highlights of a building stone survey of Devon’
Volume 148, 2016, pp. 29–62
A survey of the building stone of Devon, initiated in 2003, is now nearing completion. Approximately 27,500 observations of churches, houses, outbuildings, walls, embankments and other built structures are stored in an Access database linked to a geographic information system that allows the observations to be displayed on a map. Attention is focussed on stone that has received relatively little attention in the past, including the Pickwell Downs Sandstones, Devonian volcanic rocks, aspects of the southwest England granites and associated microgranites, the lamprophyres widely used in mid-Devon in areas where the country rocks are poorly suited to building and the Permian red sandstone used in the south of the county. The distribution of cob that gives the built environment of the Devonshire countryside much of its distinctive character is also described and discussed.
‘The Lords of the historic Manor of Bovey Tracey’
Volume 148, 2016, pp. 63–88
The Lords of the Manor of Bovey Tracey are traced from Saxon times. The manor has had over sixty lords including the Crown. The family name Tracey was added to the manor in medieval times. During the Wars of the Roses the reigning monarch granted the manor to various of his supporters in quick succession. Tudor and early Stuart monarchs first leased out then sold the manor. Lords then included lawyers and public officials. The lordship was inherited by the Courtenays, then purchased by the Bentincks and finally by Bovey Tracey Town Council in 1984. The manor flourished despite frequent changes of lordship.
‘Trojans at Totnes and Giants on the Hoe: Geoffrey of Monmouth, historical fiction and geographical reality’
Volume 148, 2016, pp. 89–130
Geoffrey of Monmouth’s largely fictional History of the Kings of Britain, written in the 1130s, set the landing place of his legendary Trojan colonists of Britain with their leader Brutus on ‘the coast of Totnes’ — or rather, on ‘the Totnesian coast’. This paper considers, in the context of Geoffrey’s own time and the local topography, what he meant by this phrase, which may reflect the authority the Norman lords of Totnes held over the River Dart or more widely in the south of Devon. We speculate about the location of ‘Goemagot’s Leap’, the place where Brutus’s comrade Corineus hurled the giant Goemagot or Gogmagog to his death, and consider the giant figure ‘Gogmagog’ carved in the turf of Plymouth Hoe, the discovery of ‘giants’ bones’ in the seventeenth century, and the possible significance of Salcombe’s red-stained rocks.
Hart, M. B.
‘Devon’s landscape and seascape: one of Britain’s most designated counties’
Volume 148, 2016, pp. 131–164
Devon contains a varied geology extending back through over 400 million years of Earth’s history. The rocks record both the northward migration of the Continental Crust of South-West England from ~10°S of the Equator to a present position ~52°N of the Equator and the global record of climatic and sea level changes. This great variety of rock type and structure has created a foundation for a wide range of formal and informal designations in support of the geology, landscape and wildlife. Some of these designations have been in response to international policies and treaties, as well as a range of UK legislation. Most of Devon’s population are, therefore, very close to a designated location, though in some cases this may not be known and some may even be a surprise to some residents and visitors.
‘Edward Divett, MP for Exeter, and the Bystock Estate, Exmouth’
Volume 148, 2016, pp. 165–190
Edward Divett served as an MP for Exeter for 32 years continuously, from 1832 until his death in 1864. His brother, John Divett, was a founder member of the Devonshire Association and set up the Bovey Tracey Pottery Company in 1843. The Divett family owned the Bystock Estate, Exmouth from 1801 until 1872. This paper charts the development of Bystock during that time and examines the lives of individual members, through three generations, over that period.
‘Bronze Age geometry: the layout of the ceremonial site at Merrivale’
Volume 148, 2016, pp. 191–206
The astronomical alignments of the rows and other features at Merrivale are explained. The upper end of each row forms a right angle with one of the tors on the horizon. Similarly, the long axis of the cist (C7) points at a tor while the short axis is aligned to mid-summer sunrise. Of the eleven stones in the circle, nine are aligned with tors on the horizon. The other two are aligned with mid-summer sunrise and mid-winter sunset. Other right angles drawn within the site are found to be in the ratio 3–4-5. The unit of measurement (the ‘Merrivale Stride’) used in the construction of the site (including the separation of the double rows) is found to be close to 87cm. Many of the distances are multiples of ten Strides.
‘The ousting of Tomkins: a struggle for power in a Victorian village’
Volume 148, 2016, pp. 207–226
The Rev’d H. G. Tomkins became vicar of Branscombe, East Devon in 1868. At the same time Henry Ford, head of the richest family in the village, bought the freehold and lordship of the manor from the Ecclesiastical Commission. United at first in efforts to found a village school to comply with the 1870 Education Act, a serious rupture soon occurred between Tomkins and the Ford family, each side considering itself provoked by the other. Tomkins’ challenges to the Fords’ entrenched dominance of the Vestry and church music, and Henry Ford’s resistance and reprisals, gave rise to a running quarrel exacerbated by conflicts of personality and outlook. The dispute emptied the church, caused the vicar to be burned in effigy, provoked actions in the magistrates’ and archdeacon’s courts, and mobilised social and denominational divisions in the village. Henry Ford finally wrested control of the Vestry from Tomkins, who resigned the living in 1872, and devoted himself to scholarly work on the historicity of the Old Testament.
‘Water power in the Lower Culm Valley’
Volume 148, 2016, pp. 227–254
Based on the writer’s public lecture presented to the Devonshire Association’s 154th Annual Conference, which was held in Cullompton, this article considers the use of water power in part of the lower Culm valley in mid Devon, between Uffculme and Columbjohn, over a period of about 1000 years. The first record of mills in the region is contained in Domesday Book and the identification of some early sites is discussed. In the medieval period water power was used to drive grist (corn) and fulling mills and subsequently several of the mill sites were adapted for the production of textiles, paper and finishing leather. Nineteenth century developments in water power technology are also outlined and finally, brief histories of the three mill sites on the town of Cullompton are presented.
Wilson, H. M.
‘The architect Edmund H. Sedding and his Devon churches’
Volume 148, 2016, pp. 255–292
The architect Edmund H. Sedding (1863–1921) was instrumental in the establishment of the Pinwill sisters as successful woodcarvers and created many inspired designs that they translated into beautiful pieces of church furniture. As well as establishing a reputation for sensitive church restorations, he also designed chapels, churches and schools, mainly in Cornwall, although his crowning achievement was Dunedin Cathedral in New Zealand. In Devon, Sedding designed only two new churches — St Peter’s at Shaldon (1895–1902) and St Mary’s at Abbotsbury, Newton Abbot (1904–6). These were furnished in contrasting materials: St Peter’s in stone and metal and St Mary’s in wood carved by Violet Pinwill and her company. This paper examines the life and motivations of the man behind these designs, as well as focussing on these two local churches.
‘A stone ‘richly embossed with volutes’: the Romanesque tympanum from East Teignmouth’
Volume 148, 2016, pp. 293–310
Until recently, a significant piece of Devon’s Romanesque stone sculpture could be found in Dawlish above a garden door. Now missing, this tympanum, originally from the church at East Teignmouth, was moved here in 1822 following restoration work. Carved with palmette and saltire cross or ‘star’ cross motifs it denotes on stylistic grounds to the mid twelfth century and belongs to a wider group of red sandstone and a limited range of designs. The East Teignmouth sculpture is the only tympanum to have survived from this this workshop making it unique in the county, and accordingly, of regional as well as natural importance.
‘Pixy-led in Devon and the South-West’
Volume 148, 2016, pp. 311–336
In Devon and south-western tradition more generally the pixies were believed to mislead or ‘pixy-lead’ their human neighbours, making them stray, for example, on a moor at night. In this article, which is based on four centuries of written sources, the story-forms for pixy-leading in Cornwall and Somerset and, above all, Devon are examined, as are traditional charms against pixy-leading, for example, turned pockets. Finally, the question of when pixy-leading died out as a belief in the south-west and possible physiological examination for fairy disorientation are addressed.
David Fursdon MA, FRICS, FRAgS
Presidential Address: ‘Heads below the parapet – still the best way to preserve a country estate?’
Volume 149, 2017, pp. 1–14
The history of the Fursdon Family is traced from their arrival at Cadbury in 1259, through the vagaries of history to the Great War. At times the family members kept a low profile, while at other times joined in The Hundred Years War or the Second Cornish Uprising of 1497. Despite these more ‘risky’ ventures the Family have maintained their continued presence in mid-Devon.
Sue Andrew MA, PhD
‘The Master Carver and the Monks: Harry Hems and the Rebuilding of Buckfast Abbey’
Volume 149, 2017, pp. 15–36
Harry Hems (1842–1916) established the internationally-renowned, and highly prolific, Ecclesiastical Art Works in Exeter in the late nineteenth century. Yet Hems’s connection with the rebuilding of Buckfast Abbey, from 1883 until 1907, is largely forgotten, and some examples of his work at the abbey appear to have been lost. This paper describes Hems’s work at Buckfast and considers, in particular, his association with two monks, Father Adam Hamilton and Prior Maurus Massé, and with the architect responsible for the abbey’s rebuilding, F.A. Walters.
‘Further Thoughts on Dartmoor Powdermills’
Volume 149, 2017, pp. 37–46
Evidence has come to light that the charcoal used in the manufacture of gunpowder at Powdermills was not made on-site as previously thought, but at Plympton St Mary. It was supplied by the man who took over the company from the original owner. The allocation of manufacturing operations to the different buildings at Powdermills therefore needs correction. The building previously assigned to charcoal production is now believed to have been used for converting raw sodium nitrate into fine crystals suitable for blending directly with the other ingredients. This allows the charcoal and sulphur to have the exclusive use of two mills that form part of a second building. Other buildings and operations on the site are unaffected. An early photograph of the stoving house at Powdermills is included in this paper.
‘Thomas Gill and the Industrial Development of Plymouth in the Nineteenth Century’
Volume 149, 2017, pp. 47–66
Thomas Gill was an industrialist, entrepreneur and politician who was active in Plymouth in the nineteenth century. He came from a wealthy family in Tavistock that had interests in banking, engineering, food retailing and transport. In 1816 he settled in Plymouth and shortly afterwards set about quarrying limestone from the cliffs at West Hoe for supply to the family business. His involvement in soap-making also started around that time. In 1835 he transferred his soap works to Southdown, near Millbrook in Cornwall, where it carried on business while a new factory was being built at Millbay. This new factory became the dominant supplier of soap in the south-west of England. The Southdown site continued as a chemical plant, making sulphuric acid, soda ash and fertiliser. Thomas Gill was also involved in politics, as Mayor of Plymouth and then as its MP. He was the vice-president of the Plymouth Company of New Zealand, which dispatched settlers from the Westcountry to Taranaki in New Zealand. Many of his other activities were associated, in one way or another, with the development of Millbay. He built the Millbay Pier and was then involved in the construction of the Great Western Docks and the South Devon Railway. All of this required organisation. In most cases Thomas Gill was at the head of the bodies controlling these ventures. It was a political role but one in which he excelled.
‘Caleb Hedgeland’s 1811 model of Exeter Cathedral: A description and comparison with other contemporary depictions.’
Volume 149, 2017, pp. 67–88
The Exeter builder Caleb Hedgeland (1760-1839) is best known for his model of the Georgian city, finished in 1824 and now a popular exhibit at Exeter’s Royal Albert Memorial Museum. The paper concerns his lesser known earlier model of Exeter Cathedral. Although it received national acclaim following its completion in 1811 and led to Hedgeland being awarded a silver medal by the Society of Arts, few are now aware of its existence. Following a brief account of its history, the model is described and compared with other contemporary depictions of the Cathedral. Apart from relatively minor matters of detail, the model appears to be an accurate representation of the early nineteenth-century Exeter Cathedral; and as regards some features embodies the only known visual record.
Frances Billinge BSc, MSc, PhD.
‘Customs of the Manor and Borough of Bovey Tracey from the Seventeenth Century’
Volume 149, 2017, pp. 89–116
Customs of the manor and borough of Bovey Tracey are described from the seventeenth century using unpublished survey, court and rent rolls and property deeds. Some customs fell into disuse and others changed, but they mainly showed continuity during the centuries, and were overseen by officers of the ‘middling sort’ whose commitment to this public duty is why the borough continued until the end of the nineteenth century. Many customs and associated officers were similar to those of other manors but Bovey Tracey borough was unusual in that it accepted incomers as tenants because of the needs of its expanding pottery industry.
Peter Christie BA (Hons), MPhil.
‘The Salvation Army comes to North Devon’
Volume 149, 2017, pp. 117–152
The arrival of the militantly teetotal Salvation Army in North Devon in 1881 saw widespread enthusiasm for their message and a subsequent apparent decline in drunkenness locally. Another consequence was the rise of a group opposed to the Salvation Army who became known as the Skeleton Army they apparently being supported by local publicans, brewers and some politicians. This paper examines the sometimes violent history of the clash of these two groups in the towns and villages of North Devon.
Barry C. Gaulton, Ph.D
‘Exploring Devon–Newfoundland Connections through 25 Years of Archaeology at Ferryland’
Volume 149, 2017, pp. 153–178
Historical records demonstrate an enduring connection between several port towns in Devon and the small fishing community of Ferryland, Newfoundland. Settled in 1621 by Sir George Calvert, Ferryland owed its prosperity to the cod fishery and many of its early residents – both seasonal and permanent – originated from Devon. For 25 years archaeologists have been uncovering the physical manifestations of these connections, and exploring the many roles that Devonians and their products played in the daily life of this seventeenth-century fishing village. Structural remains, ceramic vessels, and other objects speak to aspects of cultural continuity as well as hybridity and change within a New World context.
Olaf U. Janzen, MA, PhD, FRHistS
‘Devonshire, Iberia, and the logic of the trade in Newfoundland saltfish’
Volume 149, 2017, pp. 179–190
This paper will explore the logic behind the English commitment in the Newfoundland fishery and trade to the production of saltcod. A persistent belief in the historical literature maintains that the English fishery at Newfoundland specialized in (indeed, some say invented) the cure that produced lightly salted dry fish because they were forced to do so by a shortage of salt. Yet there is abundant evidence to suggest that the English preference for saltfish was in fact dictated by the demands and logistical challenges of the Iberian market. I shall demonstrate this argument through an examination of Devonshire’s commercial relations with Iberia during the sixteenth century.
E. H. Timothy Whitten DSc, CG
‘Widecombe-in-the-Moor – topography and drainage: a story from early maps’
Volume 149, 2017, pp. 191–212
Landmark early nineteenth-century Ordnance Survey maps of Dartmoor are examined in light of contemporary occupation and mapped knowledge of the Widecombe-in-the-Moor area, Devon. Very detailed and accurate late seventeenth-century data from Lord Ashburton’s estate maps in his unpublished Spitchwick Atlas are compared with the first printed Ordnance Survey maps, based on detailed 1:31,680 plane-table surveying, to satisfy military logistical needs stemming from threats of French military invasion. Surprising topographical errors in the first printed Ordnance Survey maps of 1809 remained uncorrected for 90 years and illustrate the care needed when abstracting historical data from early authoritative maps.
John D.A. Widdowson MA, PhD
‘Some West Country Lexical Elements in Newfoundland and Labrador English’
Volume 149, 2017, pp. 213–232
This paper explores a selection of lexical items from West Country England which have become established in Newfoundland English. Drawing on the Dictionary of Newfoundland English (DNE) and field recordings deposited in the Memorial University of Newfoundland Folklore and Language Archive (MUNFLA), the paper will seek to identify fields of vocabulary in which transfer from the conservative West Country dialects can be seen to have played a significant role in Newfoundland and Labrador speech from the time of the early settlements up to the present day. The vocabulary of the fishing industry as a whole is of particular interest, not least in view of the catastrophic decline of the inshore fishing industry in recent years. The referents and meanings of numerous West Country terms transplanted to the Province have developed in different ways in their new environment, often reflecting physical and cultural situations and conditions indigenous to the region. Inevitably, many items of conservative dialect lexis have suffered erosion in the course of time, but perhaps the most important characteristic of current vocabulary is the remarkable, if not unique, survival of many words and expressions which have been lost or are obsolescent in West Country England today.
Volume 150, 2018
Dame Suzi Leather
Presidential Address: ‘Exploring Devon’s social landscape’.
Volume 150, 2018
The concept of the social landscape of Devon is introduced and discussed in the context of previous, current and future changes within society. The changing attitudes and responsibilities of the ‘state’ are explained and the role of the voluntary sector analysed. Data on current and future inequalities within society are presented and solutions suggested. The Devonshire Association, and its role within Devon society, is assessed and explained in the context of it being a voluntary, associational body which acts as a powerful space for the common good.
Sue Andrew (with John Philip Goldsmith, Malcolm Lennon Goldsmith, and Henry Mills Goldsmith)
‘A Matter of Conscience: a Devon Family and the Great War’
Volume 150, 2018
This paper documents the history of a Devon family from 1880 until 1955, focusing on the period of the Great War. Through the writings of John Philip Goldsmith, a solicitor and civic leader, and his sons, Malcolm Lennon Goldsmith, an officer in the Royal Navy, and Henry Mills Goldsmith, an officer in the 3rd Devon Regiment, different perspectives are given on the course of the war and its outcomes for the family. Most of the source material for the paper is held in private collections and has never before been published.
S. D. Beavan*, K. N. A. Alexander, C. R. Bristow, S. Carroll, A. Colston, C. M. Drake, R. J. Heckford, M. L. Luff, M. Prince and D. Smallshire
‘The History of Entomological Recording in Devon’
Volume 150, 2018
Entomological recording in Devon has a long and distinguished heritage and the Transactions of the Devonshire Association have been an important repository of much of the information gathered. This article details some of the important personages and species involved as part of a celebration of 150 volumes of the Transactions.
‘Kitty Jay, Nature and the Improvers’
Volume 150, 2018
The development of the myth of Kitty Jay around the end of the nineteenth century and the start of the twentieth century points to a growing concern with Dartmoor’s human inhabitants. This is seen as a counterbalance for an over-reaction to the excesses of the Dartmoor improvers such as can be found in the writing of W.F. Collier, who advocated the preservation of a Dartmoor empty of everything except Nature. The improvers – particularly Thomas Tyrwhitt who established Princetown in the early nineteenth century – at first received the approbation of literary figures in Devon, but later their activities were disapproved of by Samuel Rowe because of the impact on antiquarian relics. Rowe and Collier mainly leave out the contemporary human inhabitants in their ideas of how Dartmoor should be. John Trevena suggests a more political angle on the authorities’ treatment of Dartmoor’s inhabitants.
Jennifer A. Bennett and John D. Mather
‘Geological Highlights and Controversies Recorded in Early Volumes of the Transactions’
Volume 150, 2018
The desire for a forum within which to discuss science, and particularly geology, provided the impetus for the formation of the Devonshire Association in 1862, with William Pengelly as the driving force. In its early years, up to 1914, members were particularly active in geological fieldwork, particularly in the southern part of the County. Along with Pengelly a group of dedicated amateurs, including Arthur Hunt, Alexander Somervail and Richard Nicolls Worth, addressed most of the geological problems of the time. They argued about the age and origin of the schistose rocks of the Start Peninsula, worked out the age of the Dartmoor Granite, speculated on the depositional environment of the Red Sandstones, debated whether Devon had been glaciated and tried to understand the significance of the raised beaches and drowned forests along the coast. They came into conflict with the elite geologists, who ran the national learned societies and the British Association, who accepted Pengelly but regarded the others as amateurs whose field observations were of value but whose opinions were of little merit. This particularly irritated Hunt who, through the pages of the Devonshire Association’s Transactions, attacked the influential professors for being obstructive and treating his work with contempt. The exchanges are evidence of the tensions which existed between those who regarded themselves as professionals and those with private means for whom geology was a passion rather than a profession.
Stephen Essex and Mark Brayshay
‘Devon Tourism: The Story of the County’s Economic Leviathan’
Volume 150, 2018
Over the past 149 volumes of these Transactions, fewer than half a dozen papers have focused directly on tourism in Devon. Given its key role in shaping the county’s history, landscape and infrastructure, and its contemporary social and economic character, such a dearth of studies is striking and contrasts with the burgeoning body of scholarly work on Devon tourism aired elsewhere. The aim of this paper is to offer a broad, benchmark review of the origins, historical growth and changing character, as well as the contemporary state and future prospects, of tourism in the county. The analysis demonstrates how the ‘tourist footprint’ has shifted from being scarcely detectable before the eighteenth century, to possessing many of the recognisably ‘modern’ components of the sector by the end of the nineteenth century, and then developing on an unprecedented scale after 1945. A constant theme throughout the discussion is the ability of the sector to adapt, transform and restructure in response to changing conditions. Tourism’s hidden and ‘lightweight’ image belies its contemporary economic, social, cultural and environmental significance in the county. The challenges facing tourism in Devon at the start of the twenty-first century, such as the UK’s changing relationship with Europe and the implications of technological and climate change, suggest that the form and character of tourism in Devon will continue to evolve and transform over the next one hundred and fifty years.
‘William Spreat (1816-1897): Photography of the Devon Landscape 1857-1866’
Volume 150, 2018
William Spreat (1816–1897) was a first-rate lithographer who embraced the new techniques of photography in the 1850s to become the foremost publisher of photographs of much of the county of Devon (and parts of Cornwall) for some ten years 1857–1866. This paper explores his commercial journey and presents, for the first time, a provisional catalogue of his stereoscopic images.
Jane Harrold and Richard Porter
‘The Cradle of the Royal Navy: Officer Training at Dartmouth since 1863’
Since HMS Britannia sailed into Dartmouth in September 1863 Dartmouth has been synonymous with Royal Navy officer training. This relationship was cemented by the opening of Britannia Royal Naval College (BRNC) in 1905. Until 1955 boys started their Naval education at the age of 13, considered a suitable age to prepare for a life at sea. For over 150 years the College and town have had to survive turbulent times, including two world wars. BRNC has also welcomed cadets from across the globe but can also count amongst its alumni kings and princes. Consequently, the town of Dartmouth has become woven into the history of the British Royal Family. The arrival of a major national institution in Dartmouth has had a major influence on the town. An enduring relationship has developed, which benefits both town and college.
Malcolm B. Hart and Kevin N. Page
‘The National Character Areas of the Devon landscape’
Volume 150, 2018
Devon contains a varied geology extending back over 400 million years of Earth’s history. This great variety of rock type, structure and geodiversity has created a foundation for a wide range of landscape, soils, vegetation and wildlife. National Character Areas were identified by Natural England in order to recognise both the physical and social attributes that make each of these areas distinctive. This was done to stress the importance of landscape-scale conservation rather than the previous reliance on site-based conservation.
‘Devon’s shores and shallow seas: ecology and conservation of seabed habitats and species’
Volume 150, 2018
Accounts of the marine life around Devon can be traced back to the nineteenth century. However, it was from the end of the nineteenth century that studying marine life included understanding the sorts of seabed habitats that species lived in and the assemblages of species that characterised those habitats. A great deal of leading work was carried out from the Marine Biological Association Laboratory in Plymouth to describe what was where. When scuba diving became possible from the 1950s, Devon again provided the ‘springboard’ for describing the rocky habitats of our shallow seas. Over the past 45 years, marine conservation imperatives have triggered a great many descriptive surveys of seabed habitats and several marine protected areas have been established around Devon since the designation of Lundy as Britain’s first marine nature reserve in 1973, reflecting the great variety of seashore and seabed habitats around our coast and the presence of many special features.
Jenny Pery BA MA
‘Contour and Curve: the Art of Devon Painters – Focus on Benjamin Robert Haydon’
Volume 150, 2018
An exploration of the life and art of Devon-born painter and writer Benjamin Robert Haydon (1786–1846), his campaign to save the Elgin Marbles for the nation, and his crusade to promote the patronage of High Art in England.
‘The National Trust and coastal conservation in Devon’
Volume 150, 2018
Brief consideration of coastal characteristics precedes a review of the growth of the Trust’s holdings since the early twentieth century. This growth is shown to have been highly cyclical, the most fruitful periods being the 1930s and, based on the national Neptune funding campaign, 1965–1995. The ways in which properties came into Trust hands are analysed and shown to have become more complex with time. Coastal comparisons identify differences with respect to the pace and manner of growth. Slow growth since the mid-1990s signals a policy shift towards environmental management rather than acquisition. This phase is explored via a range of case studies.
Christopher J. Proctor
‘The Caves of eastern South Devon; from Pengelly to the Present Day’
Volume 150, 2018
The importance of the South Devon caves has been recognised since the early nineteenth century. Investigation of their archaeology and palaeontology was placed on a scientific footing by William Pengelly (1812–1894). He developed sophisticated recording techniques at his excavations in Brixham Cavern and Kent’s Cavern, notably the adoption of a three dimensional grid system of recording. His publications covered not only his own excavations, but the work of others in the region. Continued excavations to the present day have shown that Quaternary deposits spanning at least the last 500,000 years exist in the region’s caves. Long sediment records extending well back into the Middle Pleistocene preserve evidence of regional climate change at Kent’s Cavern and sea level change at Berry Head. Fauna and archaeology dating from the late Cromerian is preserved at Kent’s Cavern, and from the Aveley Interglacial at Tornewton Cave and Cow Cave. A rich Ipswichian Interglacial fauna is present at Joint Mitnor Cave, and Tornewton Cave has faunas dating from the late last interglacial complex. Kent’s Cavern preserves an outstanding record of Middle Devensian to Holocene fauna and archaeology, and important Late Glacial to Holocene archaeology also occurs in the Torbryan and Chudleigh caves.