Tagged with Devon history

Widdecombe Fair

I recently made a wonderful purchase from an antiques store – this fine pottery mug, of indeterminate age, which came from a dealer in Burton on the Water, Gloucestershire. But the fair it refers to is on wildest Dartmoor, about half way between Buckfastleigh and Moretonhampstead, and now found in atlases as Widecombe in the … Continue reading

Agricultural Labourers

IN traditional English agriculture, much of the land and labour was shared, and the poet John Clare claimed there was no poverty – all were cared for. But populations were low and a lot of land was wasted. With the much condemned enclosures acts, more land became productive, but the money went to those who … Continue reading

Misbehaving Parsons

This is a real gem from Cecil Torr’s Small Talk at Wreyland. I have no idea what he is talking about: “My grandfather did not always approve of everything his neighbours did, but he kept his comments for his letters to my father. Thus, on 13 august 1843, he writes: “There was a party of … Continue reading

Popish Crosses

Another snippet from Cecil Torr’s Small Talk at Wreyland: “my grandfather writes to my brother, 16 January 1862:- “I enclose a piece of poetry, which was sent to me, on the old Cross Tree at Moreton. the stone cross erected there with a bason [basin] on the top to contain holy water, you are aware … Continue reading

Dangers of Magistrates

This is from Small Talk at Wreyland by Cecil Torr, a letter from his grandfather 24 May 1852: “A greater nuisance there cannot be than a magistrate in a little rural district… We never before had a magistrate nearer than *** and if any little paltry squabble happened between parties, their courage invariably called down … Continue reading

Devon Church Bells

Here’s some more from Cecil Torr’s Small Talk at Wreyland: “My grandfather told me that this was what they said; and he writes to my father on 10 June 1849: “When I was a little boy, they told me the Lustleigh bells said Crock, Kettle and Pan” There are more bells now, and they says … Continue reading

Tea Versus Cider Drinking

This is some more from Cecil Torr’s Small Talk at Wreyland: “cider used always to be made from apples, but I fear that it is very often made of other things now. However, the name does not imply that it is made of apples, but only means that it is strong. and in that sense … Continue reading

An Early Self Publisher

This is from Cecil Torr’s Small Talk from Wreyland: Parson Davy was born in 1743 and spent most of his life in his home region of Devon. “In his sermons at Drewsteignton, “he denounced the vices of his congregation in such terms that the people fled from the church and complained to the bishop.” Btu … Continue reading

Extincting Cocks

This is from Cecil Torr’s Small Talk from Wreyland. a letter from his grandfather 7 October 1852: “The old barn-door or dung-hill cock appears to be extinct, being crossed with China, Minorca, etc. I well remember when a boy you could not go out, particularly up the vale of Lustleigh, but you heard them all … Continue reading

Helpful Gypsies

This is from November 1831, The Bristol Mercury “DIABOLICAL ASSULT AND HIGHWAY ROBBERY” On Friday evening last, as Mr Wm Bryant shopkeeper and maltster, of Bishop’s Hull, was returning home alone in his gig, from Wimple, where he had been to receive some money, the proceeds of his hop-plantation, as he approached the 6 mile … Continue reading