This is where you'll see the latest news from the Teign Valley History Group, and the previous news stories archived below

13/09/2021 - Teign Valley Tales Two

In 2015 I published Teign Valley Tales, a collection of memories of folk who had lived in the Valley for a long time. It has proved very successful, and I have copies if anyone is interested.

About half of those people have now died which shows how vital it is to seize the moment and collect memories like this before they are lost for ever. I now propose to collect memories for Teign Valley Tales Two. This will be published by Teign Valley Books, and all proceeds will help finance the work of Teign Valley History Centre, whose archive is freely available to all.

I am looking for volunteers at least one from each of the smaller parishes and two from the larger ones in the Valley. There are seven parishes involved and so there should be 2 interviews to do from the smaller parishes and four from the larger ones. Speech recorders will be available, and training given.

If you would like to be involved, please let me know. As an incentive each recordist will be given a copy of the book in thanks. Once I have gained enough volunteers I will apply for funding towards costs.

Graham Thompson, grahamt@tvhistorycentre.org or 01647 253145

31/03/2021 - COVID Restrictions easing

We hope all Covid restrictions will be lifted by July so we can return to physical meetings to allow a return to social contact. Meanwhile Zoom meetings will continue. Contact the Chair for further information

01/03/2021 - Ideas for Speakers?

If anyone has a brilliant idea for a guest speaker for next season, beginning in July, please contact Graham Thompson.

30/06/2020 - Resumption of Meetings.

Making the decision as to when and how meetings should resume is one the committee would like you all to share in. If meetings resume but are poorly attended they will become a financial liability and fail to be seen by many of our members who would like to hear the presentation. We have an excellent programme of local topics ready for you which is visible here. Starting physical meetings, perhaps from September, will no doubt be fine for some members but there could be others who feel uncomfortable with attending a meeting with many people in a confined space and may perceive this as a health risk. There is of course the possibility of using an online or virtual meeting format until the risk has passed. Many of us have now become familiar with communicating with friends and family with these systems and something very similar could be used to enable our meeting to resume. Please let us know via email which of the options you prefer for our next meeting in September.

A Physical meeting at the hall.
B Virtual online meeting via your electronic device.

We look forward to your responses.

30/06/2020 - Subscription Update, David Taylor Treasurer

The rate of flow for attendees into the hall at our meeting has long been an issue for some. The changing status of physical money as a vector for Covid-19 combined with the very widespread use of electronic means of payment make beneficial changes very achievable. Your committee has made the decision to request that as many people as possible pay their subscription directly to the Group’s bank account. There are many advantages for us all in making this change, quicker entry to the hall, reduced infection risk from cash and we will all have a written record of the payments made in our bank accounts.

There could be some members who for what ever reason do not wish to make payments by this method and of course they can continue to pay by cash, cheque or maybe would prefer a standing order. It would help our management greatly if you could inform us now if you prefer not to make BACS (Bankers' Automated Clearing System) payments but prefer to pay by another method.

You will be aware that currently your subscription entitles you to one year of meetings from the time of your payment. This system has been more complex to manage and the committee has decided to make all subscriptions due on June 1st each year and expire on May 31st. The loss of meetings over the recent period has meant that annual subscriptions will need to be extended or adjusted to ensure you all receive the opportunity to attend a year of meetings. When we are sure of the date of our next meeting the treasurer will email you with payment details.

26/06/2020 - Dartmoor Tourism in 1920's, Peter F. Mason

Dartmoor Local History Days are normally held at Parke in May every year. Unfortunately because of Covid19 this year’s event had to be cancelled.

One of the items that was on the agenda this year was the launch of a research project looking at Tourism on Dartmoor in the 1920s, a research project that is part of a wider project which is being organised by the Devon History Society. The DHS is co-ordinating a Devon in the 1920s project with a variety of themes including Legacy of the First World War; Growing-up; Progress and Technology; Rural Society; and Holidays and Leisure.

I have agreed to lead a project looking at Tourism on Dartmoor in the 1920s. I was due to give a presentation both at the DHS launch of the project in March and at the Dartmoor Local History Day in May. Despite these events being postponed work is continuing on the development of projects and I have begun to research Tourism on Dartmoor in the 1920s.

The purpose of this note is to seek researchers from around Dartmoor to assist with this research. I can then give further information and share a list of themes and a summary of work done to date.

Peter can be contacted direct at:
Uplands, Rectory Lane
Newton Abbot
Devon, TQ13 9TE

T: 01647 277498
M: 07816 833496
E: peter@moormasons.plus.com

15/06/2020 - Teign Valley Museum and Archive Trust

You may be aware that Christow Parish Council refused our request to lease land in front of the Bowden Room at the Community Hall.

The Trust board have decided that our priority now should be to make sure our existing archive is neither lost or damaged.

To that end we are looking for office space of the order of 10 sq metres (approx 110 sq feet) where we can catalogue and digitise our collection. If you have any to offer or know where we can get some please can you let me know? We have tried Gidley Meadow but nothing suitable is available. Graham.

15/06/2020 - Dunsford School

One of the aims of Teign Valley Museum & Archive Trust is to increase knowledge of the Teign Valley amongst its residents.

We are particularly keen to teach our children about the wonderful heritage they enjoy so we are in contact with several schools to see how we can help. At the moment I am collecting information for Dunsford School to help with their local history projects for next spring. However the subject is huge and I could do with some help.

Are any of you willing to give a hand in this, please?

I am looking at trade and how it developed in Dunsford but the subjects below are also possibles.
* Why Dunsford grew up in this spot in the first place - when it became a settlement
* Where the market was for sheep etc pre and post the railway
* Teignmouth - I don't know anything about trade from here to Teignmouth then on to Newfoundland
* The impact of the railway on Dunsford
* WW2 - schools evacuated here and the numbers of evacuees etc, any stories (eg we could see Exeter on fire during the raids there)
* Any primary sources of evidence eg photos, registers, letters, films...
* Local early settlements eg iron age

Please let me know if you could do this. I am on hand to advise on how to do this if needed. Graham

12/03/2020 - Message From Graham, updated 21/05/2020

The talk on Vikings in the West scheduled for 10th March was cancelled. It was a difficult decision but the risk of Coronavirus infection is rapidly rising. There is a case less than 10 miles away, most of our members are over 70 years, some of us care for people with a compromised immune system and it is clear that commercial firms are already cancelling non-essential group meetings. If someone were to attend the meeting and then develop infection the community would soon be overwhelmed.

I am looking to start again with our AGM and talk on the reservoirs by Sue Knox on 14th July but watch out for confirmation of this nearer the date.

I am pleased to say that Derek Gore's talk has been rescheduled for Tuesday, 12th January 2021.

21/05/2020 - Devon Archaeological Society

From the Devon Archaeological Society newsletter - a short item (by Todd Gray) about a rediscovered volume by William Chapple, with information of interest to local historians in our area. Photo attached.


10/03/2020 - Exeter: A Place in Time - conference 25th April 2020

The Exeter: A Place in Time project is exploring the archaeology of the Roman legionary fortress, civitas capital, and medieval city of Exeter through writing up some of the major excavations carried out there in the 1970s, and re-examining collections held in Exeter’s Royal Albert Memorial Museum using cutting-edge scientific analysis.

The aim of the project is to explore the development of Exeter from a Roman fortress and city, through to its emergence as a major medieval trading centre. See more here(external link).

The project will be presenting its results at a major conference on Saturday 25th April 2020, at the University of Exeter's main Streatham campus. The speakers will include:
• Stephen Rippon (the landscape context of Exeter)
• Paul Bidwell (the Roman legionary fortress)
• Neil Holbrook (the Roman town)
• John Allan (the medieval town, and ceramics trade)
• Mark Maltby (animal bones from Exeter – an overview)
• Malene Lauritsen (animal bones from Friernhay Street, Paul Street, Queen Street and other sites)
• Gundula Müldner (isotopic analysis of animal bones)
• Michael Fulford (the significance of Roman Exeter)
• Bob Higham (the significance of early medieval Exeter)
• Chris Dyer (the significance of later medieval Exeter)

Doors open at 9.30am for a 10.00am start, and the conference finishes at 5pm. The conference costs £10 (including tea/coffee, but lunch is not provided). Click here to book a place.

For any enquiries please contact Stephen Rippon

10/03/2020 - Devon on the 1920's

Have you got an iconic image that expresses the essence of the county in the 1920s?

The 'Devon in the 1920s’ project is looking for iconic images to use in publicity for the project for the next four years. Have you got in your archives any reproducible photographs or illustrations that really encapsulate the atmosphere of the 1920s?

If so, and you would be willing to permit their use by ‘Devon in the 1920s’ in project publicity, please send them to project manager Julia Neville by April 30 2020.

The top three images will each win a £30 prize for the organisation from which they come.

06/01/2020 - Happy New Year, and Update from Graham

Happy New Year!

We had another addition to our archive this week. Penny and Tony Clapham, who live in the old Methodist chapel in Christow were clearing out a below floor storage area when, in a dark corner at the back, they discovered the earliest records of the Rechabites in Christow, starting in 1890. This is a fascinating collection of papers which give, inter alia, an insight into how Victorians insured against sickness before the welfare state, and the pledges they made to remain teetotal. It gives names of a number of villagers as well.

This is an example of how many artefacts reside in hidden places in houses which will be lost if not recovered and preserved. We are always willing to have a look at artifacts and store them and, when the History Centre is opened, to allow access to any interested people.

We are particularly short of photos of days gone by, which I could copy if you don't want to relinquish them.

28/08/2019 - Write Now Totnes

On Saturday 21st September The Totnes Library Writers Group will be holding a writing festival “Write Now Totnes", in The Mansion in Totnes. We will be holding a series of workshops for established and aspiring writers.

One of these workshops will be on “Researching and Writing Local History” by the local historian Peter Wade. Peter is a member of AbbPast, Abbotskerswell’s history group, and the author of seven publications on the village’s history. These can be read on the group’s website

The session will give practical advice on research techniques, look at typical sources that are available for local historians, and ways of producing local material in print. We will then have a go at writing a local study using the resource material.

The workshop will be held in The Mansion, Fore Street, Totnes, TQ9 5RP, starting at 10.00 and finishing at 11.30am. Tickets are £5.00 (Concessions £3.00) and available from Write Now Totnes: Researching and Writing Local History

If places are available tickets will be sold on the day. However, places are limited, and booking is advised.

21/08/2019 - Devon History Society Annual Conference: 12/10/2019

The Conference Programme can be seen here

Booking website is here

21/08/2019 - Digitising Your Archives: 04/11/2019

The Seminar Programme can be seen here

Booking website is here

18/08/2019 - Update from Graham

We have now come to the end of all the Valley summer shows. We attended 5 this year and attracted a good response and several new people to our contact list.

I would like to give warm thanks to all our volunteers who helped with erecting and dismantling the gazebo and displays as well as talking to all the visitors to our stand.

For sometime I have thought the displays needed improving so we are inviting people to put forward suggestions as to how we can do this. We are fortunate in having an influx of members who have the expertise to do this. Philippa Cook has offered to advise us on making the presentation child friendly. We are also aiming at making it more attractive to people who don't have local history as a primary interest.

Saul Ackroyd has already given added input to committee affairs and Philippa May, who knows a lot about Ashton history, has agreed to join our committee. We welcome them. We still have one vacancy so if you feel you can commit to our functioning please contact me.

Don't forget we have a new house history group which you can join to explore history of all houses in the valley including yours. You don't need to have done this before as we offer advice at every stage. Julia Kirkland made an excellent study of Huxbear House, Trusham recently, getting back to 1187!

You will have noticed that with our growing membership the Bowden Room has been rather cramped for our meetings so we will now meet in the large hall using the better amplification system that the film club use. Our next meeting is on Tuesday, 10th September on 'Body Snatching in Devon' by Dr Peter Selley, so please let all your friends know.

We will be 10 years old next spring and are discussing how we can best celebrate this. Watch this space.


09/08/2019 - History Centre

I had a call from someone wanting to donate her family collection to the History Centre. Thanks go to Tracey Combes, a member, who put her in touch. This collection includes a medal awarded to Wilf Aggett for good behaviour by the Teign Valley 'Tent' of the Rechabites, a temperance organisation, and his medal for long service as a Special Constable together with lots of family old photos of family in the Valley. There is also a Bible published by the SPCK, but undated, in which the family tree has been recorded from some time ago but recording back to the birth of William Aggett born 1836 and his wife, Mary Ann born 1838. The handwriting changes after 1877 so presumably the entry was made at about that date. It carries on till 1959 and records several families.There are several other items. The donor has strong Wills connections. It has been said that in the last century if you stood in Village Road and called for Mrs Wills 7 women would appear.

These are just the sorts of artefact we are hoping to accumulate so if you have anything related to the Teign Valley then do let me know. If you want them recorded but want to hang on to them please let me come and photograph or scan them.


06/08/2019 - Research papers added

Research from Maggie Bonnell and Shane Edgar has been added. It can be found here

06/06/2019 - Village Shows, volunteers needed, let Graham know if you can help

The History Group have arranged to be at the shows this summer.
This is a lot more than in the past and we are asking for volunteers to help at the stall. It doesn't require local knowledge as there is always someone there to ask.

It is good practice to keep our group in the front of everyone's minds. We have representatives from a lot of the villages but we could do with better representation from villages outside Christow.
The shows are:
Doddiscombsleigh Saturday 29th June 12.30 to 4pm
Dunsford Saturday 6th July 12 to 5pm
Bridford Saturday 13th July 2 to 5pm
Hennock Sunday 11th August 10 to 5pm
Christow Saturday 17th August 10 to 5pm

We would also like volunteers to help erect the Gazebo and the exhibition.

The sessions need only be 1 or 2 hours so I do hope you can help out. You can also spend the rest of the day enjoying a good look around the stalls and the produce in the Hall! Please can we have lots of volunteers to reduce the load on our usual stalwarts.

03/05/2019 - Help please

In his book 'As We Were (Christow Then and Now)' Stafford Clark quotes from 'Methodism in the Exeter Circuit'. He doesn't give a reference and I am unable to find a mention in the press or at The Devon Heritage Centre. Does anyone have knowledge of this book/article. If so I would love to have a look. Thank you, Graham

03/11/2018 - History of Christow

Research paper added. Also Listed buildings in Christow. Written and collated by Graham Thompson. They can both be found here

23/10/2018 - House History

I am increasingly receiving requests to carry out local research usually into house history. This takes me several hours. I ask for a donation to the history group. Most house research I've done in the past has taken me about 8 hours not including travel time. The advantage for us is that we get to store the information in our archive. We would not necessarily do this research unless asked because there are so many other things to look at. The committee are looking at a scale of charges for this sort of activity and will report back soon. If anyone else would like to assist in my research please let me know. I can offer advice as you proceed. (GT)

20/10/2018 - Where is this house?


Thanks to everyone who helped with trying to discover where the house was. Sam Archer identified it as Woodacre at the top of Wood Lane and I have confirmed this after a visit there. Alden Rodwell's mother, an expert in costume history, has confirmed that the costumes worn by the family (on the left) dates it as around 1905 whilst the servant on the right is wearing hand-me-downs from the 1870s. The house is shown in the 1840 Tithe apportionments (when tithes were converted to a cash payment) as the Cornish Arms, a short lived public house, no doubt run for ex-patriot Cornish miners. The house was occupied by the Binnenden family from South Africa. I believe there used to be a place called Binnenden or similar in Bridford. Is it still there? This is the sort of house information we would like to collect for our Museum archive. I now have a portable scanner so can scan documents without their leaving your house so if anyone has an interesting photo or house deed then I would love to have a look at it. (GT)

18/10/2018 - World War I Photographs

A reporter from the Moorlander has approached me wanting photos of 1st World War soldiers that are your ancestors/relatives for a forthcoming edition. If you have one can you send a copy to me so I can forward it to him? If you can send a photo of you holding the photo that would make his day!

Update: Hennock village are holding a WW1 history evening on Thursday, 25th October at 7:30 in Hennock Village Hall . Anyone welcome to come to the meeting.

11/09/2018 - Museum and Archive Update

Just before the meeting of the History Group Jeston Brightmore-Armour handed over his late mother's collection of Teign Valley Players artwork and some historical notes on Christow. Our grateful thanks go to the family. The artwork is stunning. If any one has archive material they would like to donate or loan please let me know. The museum project is now proceeding well and we hope to arrange details of a lease by the end of the year.

03/09/2018 - The Bridford Album

Graham has received an enquiry from an old Bridfordian as to whether he can track down a copy of 'The Bridford Album'. This was published at the time of the Millennium celebrations by the Bridford Photo Group when the chair was Jane Baker. Does it still exist? My correspondent tells me there was a photo of his uncle in it & he would like a copy. Does anyone know where he can get one?

(c) Teign Valley History Group 2022