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

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

The business part:

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

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

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

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

Then we moved on to our natter over a pint.

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

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

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

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

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


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


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


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

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

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


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

“Medieval Rood Screens"


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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

BISHOP PATTESONS’S MEMORIAL RE-DEDICATION CEREMONY 9TH FEB 2017



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

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

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

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

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


Chris Saunders

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It has been suggested that we invite the following people to share their interests with the Group: Jim Woodley, WW1 in Ottery, David on the Church Graffiti, Graeme on his local finds.

The Parish Council are applying for grants to restore and renovate the Lych Gate. So, 2018 might be a good year to mark this and perhaps have a History Weekend in the Village?

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



Feniton History Group held the 74th meeting in the Nog Inn

I am very pleased to report that Feniton Parish Council have kindly re-erected the boundary stone with cement.

We thoroughly enjoyed chatting with Roger about his family and the history of Ottery. Roger has his family bible with the list of births, dates and death, they have very deep roots in the area. Roger asked about the Battle of Fenny Bridges, where were all the bodies buried after the battle?  Approximately 300 men died from each side. Perhaps in Ottery?

Alan mentioned he has been reading the book “Ottery St Mary” by John Whitman,  an interesting book, I have a copy here and will bring it to the next meeting.

Jenny has been working on the History of the cottage known as “Prince James’ Lodge”. It is a delightful mixture of facts and local history woven in with some conjecture. Will the truth ever be found? if so Jenny will work it out!!!

Jenny brought some fascinating articles for us to peruse, a “Finger Bible” very small and neat, perhaps to fit in a glove to take to church on Sunday? Also a silver coin engraved with the name Isabella Lawes dated 1813 and  a deed dated 1628, a charter for land at Fenny Bridges. It is stiff and folded, some of the names are readable, Sir John Symes of Somerset, he married into the Horner family, related to the nursey rhyme, “Little Jack Horner”.  Sir Nicholas Symes of Exeter, who married one of Jenny’s ancestors, Dorothy Horsey.  

George has been studying the 39 Articles of Faith and dissenters and non-conformists who believe there should be only one head of the church, not Bishops. 

George love long walks at told us about the Bridgwater and Tiverton Canal to Star Cross, and mentioned the Two Counties Way.

Alan is continuing his quest to find the route Bishop Patteson took when he departed Feniton. Due to time constraint, I have not yet written this up, so when it is done I will share it with you and on the blog. Sorry Alan.

Looking ahead to next year, it has been suggested that we invite the following people to share their interests with the Group: Jim Woodley, WW1 in Ottery, David on the Church Graffiti, Graeme on his local finds.

We also would like to have a Rogation walk.  This takes place on the 21 May 2017, the Fifth Sunday after Easter. Suggestions of a suitable route would be welcome.

The Parish Council are applying for grants to restore and renovate the Lych Gate. So, 2018 might be a good year to mark this and perhaps have a History Weekend in the Village?

I want to take this opportunity to wish you  all a Very Happy Christmas and all the Very Best for 2017. Looking forward to the next meeting Thurs 5th Jan 2017 in the Nog Inn. I also pass these wishes to Mike and Rosemary at the Nog for making us so welcome each month.


Chris Gibbins.