Posts from 2018-05-07

John Weighell’s observations (October 11th 2017)
The great Hall built in the original house is one room, open to the roof which was slated when first built, an indication of it being a high-status house. Originally the Hall was one room with a central fireplace with no chimney, smoke from the fire rising and then percolating through the roof, it’s hard to imagine what it was like living in a house with the constant reek of wood smoke and quite a leap of imagination is needed to envision a family and servants sharing one space with no privacy

A chimney was added to the room probably in the 17th century and at this time as the smoke no longer rose centrally in the room part of the room had a floor added to create a chamber over with privacy for the master and mistress.

The original joinery work is of a high standard with lovely detailing, all done without power tools and using blacksmith made tools that would require a lot of skill to use and time to sharpen and maintain. Whoever did the work certainly was a “good hand”, the rafters, purlins, door frames and doors are all a delight to see and we must remember all done, as we say in these parts “by t’rack o’th’eye".   J.W.
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Diane Soall, Secretary (October 11th 2017)
This month found the History Group members and a few extra non-members travelling in convoy down to Yeolmbridge in Launceston to visit Cullacott Farmhouse.   We were given a thorough and interesting tour of the farmhouse by owners John and Mary Cole whose extensive knowledge about this wonderful building kept us all enthralled.  John and Mary Cole have been running their holiday cottages on their beautiful farm in North Cornwall since 1997.

Cullacott Farmhouse is a Grade 1 listed Medieval Hall House built in the style of a Devon Longhouse with a great number of its original features still surviving.  It is located close to the Devon and Cornwall borders in the parish of Werrington, and is surrounded by outstanding views. It has been in the family for over 100 years. Five generations of their family have lived at Cullacott. John and Mary Mann, the first generation, arrived from West Cornwall in 1910.

Records date from the 14th Century when it was originally part of the huge swathes of land owned by Tavistock Abbey. In 1538, during the Dissolution of the Monasteries, it was given, with other properties, to John Russell who became the 1st Duke of Bedford. Many properties including Cullacott, were sold on and by 1620 the Werrington lands were owned by Sir Francis Drake, nephew of the famous Elizabethan sailor of the same name.

The "modern extension" was built in 1579 at the time of the great Elizabethan re-build, providing grander accommodation for the evolving needs of the family of the day. It provided a retiring parlour, bed chambers and the ultimate in sanitation at the time - a garderobe. The property has evolved through the centuries with little alteration leaving an almost complete medieval house.                       

Richard, Mary and John’s son, and his wife Tanya run an outside events and catering business providing marquees for weddings and other functions such as hog roasts, barbecues and outside mobile bars. Cullacott itself can be used as a wedding or party reception venue using Richard and Tanya's expertise.

At the end of our tour we were treated to a most welcome “Cream Tea” with Devon splits, lemon drizzle cake and fruit buns being just a few of the goodies all home-cooked by Mary and her daughter.

I know all our members and non-members really enjoyed this visit and it is one to be fully recommended.
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John McDougall (20th June 2017)
Members and friends of the group recently visited Dartington Crystal factory in Torrington. It is the only working handmade crystal factory remaining in the UK. In the visitor centre there are display cases showing the timeline of nearly 50 years of Dartington Glass, from its start in Dartington up to date.  There is also a very informative short video of the beginnings of crystal making up to the move to Torrington.  On the start of the 'go - as - you - please'  tour of the factory there is an engraver to watch.  We saw him setting up to engrave a horse's head using a very light touch of the stylus.  The display of engraved glass is impressive.  Then we went on to the factory floor where we saw the molten glass drawn from the furnace, blown into moulds, teased out to form a stem and finally a fresh blob of molten glass added to form the foot of the drinking glass.  Each one took less than two minutes, I reckon.  Each person has their own task in the production we saw and they change every two hours to another number.  Various styles of glass were being made at the same time by different teams.  A lot of the staff have spent most of their working lives in this industry.  The furnaces to make the glass are on all the time 24/7.  After the glass has been annealing - allowing it to cool slowly - it is checked.  Flawed glass goes back in to the furnace.  Perfect specimens get  'named' by sand blasting - even 'M & S' was one of the names available.  Then packed up for storage and delivery or for sale in the shop.  Dartington Crystal also own Royal Brierley Crystal and Caithness Glass.  All of these brands are available in the shop, at discounted prices.  It was a wonderful tour.
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Diane Soall, Secretary (17th May 2017)

Diane Soall, Secretary

2017-05-17 17:13:00

A short account of Father Chris Penn's talk "Before the Cloth".

Rev. Fr. Christopher Penn. Priest in Charge of

St. Peter and St. Paul, Holsworthy

St. Petroc, Hollacombe

St. Swithun, Pyworthy

St. Pancras, Pancrasweek

St. Bridget, Bridgerule


The History Group had a really interesting and amusing talk by Father Chris this month about his life before he became a Priest.  He had many amusing tales to tell about his extensive time spent in the farming industry and his intention is to write a book about his life.   I can assure you this will be worth waiting for.   Father Chris will be leaving Holsworthy Benefice in January, to take up a position as Rector of two parishes in the diocese of Hereford.

This month’s event was once again held in The Molesworth Arms, so thank you Kit and Monique for allowing us to use the dining room and for the very tasty nibbles at the end of our meeting.

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John Burnard, Our Chairman (17th May 2017)
For our April meeting we welcomed Mr Terry Faull from North Petherwin. He gave a slide show and talk at the Molesworth Arms entitled The History of The Forgotten Garden and The Holy Well of Lewtrenchard.

He told us that the earliest information of a Holy Well at Lewtrenchard is an entry made in the parish register for 1830 by the then curate Caddy Thomas.

He wrote that the Holy Well behind the church has been re-erected and formerly its water was used for baptisms at the font.

In 1872 Sabine Barring-Gould inherited the Lew estate. He then came back to Lewtrenchard and took on the living as rector. Soon after the well was knocked over during tree felling and buried.

In early 2006 Terry Faull gave a talk to the local history society, Lewdown Past, which included how he had attempted to find the Holy Well but to no avail.

He and a few others struggled though the undergrowth of the Glen behind the church to try and trace the well, they did not find it but did find traces of an old garden and various water features such as ponds and waterfalls.

It is understood that The Glen came about as a result of quarrying the stone to build the former rectory, now the Lewtrenchard Hotel.

Sabine was a complicated man, he was credited with writing the Hymn Onward Christian Soldiers but he had no time for the Methodists who were a strong force at the time. How he would have felt today when this hymn is being sung by Methodists and others all over the world I shudder to think.

He also wrote over one hundred books ranging from novels to two biographies.

He planted the garden in 1913 and rebuilt the well, as a record in his Family Bible stated, “Built Holy Well in The Glen”.  This would tie in with the Garden being created at the same time.

Sabine made the garden so that his wife Grace, who suffered from arthritis could take more exercise to try and help her condition.

Many of the employees went to serve in the first world war and the garden became neglected.

So it was that it continued to go back to nature over the next ten decades until The Friends of Lewtrenchard became involved and the garden was restored and the Holy Well also.

The garden is situated opposite The Lewtrenchard Hotel, by the Church. Admission is free and the total site covers some five acres including woodland. There are gravel paths around the garden and a car park. Also the newly rebuilt Holy Well.

If you want a treat go and have a look for yourselves; I am sure you will not be disappointed.

Our thanks to the Molesworth Arms for hosting us and to Terry Faull for his interesting evening.
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Jackie Parrish (17th May 2017)
Tuesday 14th. February saw each member of the History Group undertaking a 'walk' around Holsworthy from the comfort of a chair in the Molesworth Arms with glass in hand!
Shawn Dymond took us on a virtual tour of the town in the 1800's by giving us a very clever presentation which involved comparing old photographs with modern ones taken at the same locations. He started at the Church showing us photos taken from the top of the tower looking in opposite directions and proceeded to North Road, Victoria Square, the Market Square, Under Street (now Fore Street), Bodmin Street and Chapel Street. Drawing on his extensive knowledge as a local historian Shawn showed us and talked in depth about specific landmarks in the town such as The Church, Park Villa, Bodmeyrick, The Workhouse (Dawfield), The Labyrinth, The Stanhope Hotel (Barclays Bank), The Wesleyan School and The Great Tree.
He was also able to tell us about some local dignitaries including Benedictus Marwood Kelly, a Holsworthy man who left money for the building of Kelly College in Tavistock, and also Governor Lachlan Mcquarie who married a Holsworthy woman before moving to Australia and giving the name of Holsworthy to a suburb of Sydney famous for its barracks.
Everyone enjoyed listening to Shawn's informative talk, and even those of us who have lived all our lives in the area learned a lot from his considerable knowledge and passion for the history of the town.
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