Highampton Local History Group

2011: July to December


The July meeting of the HLHG was held in the village hall on Wednesday, 27th July and once again was very ably chaired by the Vice Chairman, Charles Dumpleton.  The group welcomed the return of the Chairman, Maurice Thomas, who was still recuperating following recent surgery but had felt well enough to come along to enjoy the “mystery talk” to be given by Mr Geoffrey Cleverdon.

The normal monthly business of the Group was discussed.

The members were then entertained by Geoffrey who gave an informative talk on Hatherleigh from the time of the Doomsday Book through the period of the English Civil War to the present day.  He also talked of well known characters in Hatherleigh’s history and landmarks and places of interest in and around the town.  Geoffrey’s family have lived in Hatherleigh since the early 1900s and he is the third generation to live on the farm that his grandfather purchased at that time.  He has an abiding interest in the history of the town and surrounding area.


The August meeting of the HLHG was held in the village hall on Wednesday, 24th August and once again was very ably chaired by the Vice Chairman, Charles Dumpleton.

Members were entertained to an interesting and amusing evening by Mr Philip Jenkinson.  The evening began with a quiz, several tables were laid out with various items both farming and domestic related, and some of unknown origins.  The Group members had to identify as many as possible and there was a prize for the winner.  Congratulations to Becky Rose for having the highest score.

Philip continued his talk, identifying and explaining a large array of old, strange and in some cases weird devices and implements he has collected over many years.  A highly entertaining evening was had by all.


At the September meeting the members were treated to a most informative and amusing talk by local vet, Brian Wonnacott, on his experiences as a Veterinary Surgeon working in the West Country.

His talk touched on times past and was illustrated with a fine collection of old instruments once used in veterinary practice in the area, which he kindly put on display.


Unfortunately, due to unforeseen circumstances, our speaker, Mr Peter Walters, was unable to be at the meeting held in October but fortunately Maurice Thomas saved the day by presenting a fascinating illustrated talk on Dunsland House, Bradford, which was destroyed by fire on the night of November 18th, 1967.


The speaker at the November meeting was local author, Liz Shakespeare, who gave a most informative talk about starting an oral history project.  Liz read several passages from her book; The Memory Be Green, which gave a great boost to members wishing to record the memories of our own elderly population living within the parish.  The author brought along two of her other titles that she has had published: Fever: A Story from a Devon Churchyard and The Turning of the Tide. Liz was on hand at the end of the meeting to sign copies for members wanting to buy.  All her titles have received good reviews and continue to sell well, with her latest, The Turning of the Tide, reaching sales of almost 1500 copies to date. To find out more, please visit her website at www.lizshakespeare.co.uk


The planned December Christmas Social Evening had to be rescheduled and it is now hoped that a “Spring into Spring” evening can be arranged.

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