Highampton Local History Group

2018: January to June

It is with great sadness that we must report the death of our Chairman and founding member of HLHG, Maurice Thomas, who passed away on the 30th December 2017.


Charles invited the Group to hold a minute’s silence out of respect for the passing of our Chairman, Maurice Thomas.

For the first meeting of the New Year, Charles introduced Simon Dell who gave another of his highly informative and entertaining illustrated talks, this time on the Archaeology of Dartmoor National Park.

One of Simon's many roles is as part of a team of guides who take adult groups and school groups on walks across the Moor, searching out various points of interest.  Dartmoor is visited by thousands of people each year who come to enjoy its wilderness, beauty and unique landscape. Few probably realise that the landscape they are admiring has been influenced by man over many, many years – from farming, mining and quarrying to name just a few, all have left their mark on the landscape.

We look forward to Simon's next talk, booked for 2019!!

The evening closed with the usual refreshments.



For our February meeting, Charles introduced Mrs Pat Soby who kindly joined us from Bideford.  Pat lived in this area as a young girl back in the 1960s.  She entertained the group with an intimate and interesting talk of times gone by in Highampton and a glimpse into life in the area from the 1840s to the 1960s; a fascinating oral history about families and life in this rural part of Devon.

The evening closed with the usual refreshments.


There was no meeting in March.  Instead the group enjoyed a meal together in the Half Moon Inn, Sheepwash.  This social evening had been postponed from Christmas following the sad death of our Chairman, Maurice Thomas.


In April, the group’s Annual General Meeting was held in the village hall. The vice chairman, Charles Dumpleton, gave the annual report.  

“We have had a successful and interesting year with a varied selection of speakers.  Talks have been on many topics from the Hatherleigh WW1 project to the Dartmoor Railway.  The only thing that marred the year was the sad death of our founder and chairman, Maurice Thomas, whose knowledge and wonderful personality has driven us since he launched The Highampton History Group.  He will be greatly missed.  We, for the first time, had a group dinner held at the Half Moon which made a very enjoyable end to our year.

I have tried to fill in for Maurice and have tried to arrange interesting and varied speakers and I look forward to our team of officers being completed again so that we can go on providing an interesting programme of events, both talks and visits.

Charles Dumpleton

Vice Chairman”

The Minutes of the 2017 AGM were agreed and signed.

The Profit and Loss Account for 1st April 2017 to 31st March 2018 together with the Balance Sheet for the same period were circulated to the members present.  The group has had a good year and membership has increased from 26 to 29 members. It was agreed that the subscription should remain at £10.00 per annum and was now due.

It was proposed that Charles should be elected Chairman and Bob Luckhurst was proposed as Vice Chairman.  Jane and Mo should be re-elected as Treasurer and Secretary respectively.  All proposals were seconded unanimously by those present.

Following the AGM, Charles introduced Dennis Bater who entertained us with a fascinating film.  This included footage of the damage to Hatherleigh Church caused by the collapse of the spire and part of the tower during the severe storm of 1990 and its subsequent beautiful restoration.  The final section of this part of the film was taken by Dennis himself when he was allowed access to the tower and was able to film the craftsmen restoring the spire in situ and preparing the topmost part for the weathercock.  This was followed by a variety of short sequences ranging from a gymkhana and dog show, a train passing through with trackside signs for Black Torrington and Hole, the building of the Community Centre and very old footage of the market back in the 1960s.  Altogether an interesting and informative evening.

The meeting closed with the usual refreshments.


Instead of a meeting, a small group of members met in Okehampton on 30th May and enjoyed a visit to The Museum of Dartmoor Life in West Street.  The museum is laid out over the three floors of an old granary and covers 5,000 years of the history of Dartmoor.  There are artefacts from the Bronze Age through the centuries to more modern times, nostalgic memorabilia of local life and industry together with a number of set pieces such as a Victorian kitchen and a blacksmith’s forge.  This was an interesting and worthwhile trip and gave a fascinating insight into bygone ages.  At the end of the visit several members enjoyed a refreshing cup of tea in the tea rooms on site.


For our June meeting, Charles introduced Dr Asad Al-Doori who gave a fascinating talk entitled “The Crescent and the Cross”, a comparison between the history and teachings of Islam and Christianity.

After this insightful and thought-provoking talk, there followed a question and answer session.  The evening closed with the usual refreshments.

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