Highampton Local History Group



Bob introduced Liz Shakespeare to the group.

The group were entertained and informed by Liz, introducing brother and sister, Thomas and Mary Phillips and telling their story, from the workhouse to working on a farm in Buckland Brewer as Parish Apprentices, how they absconded, were caught and given one month’s hard labour!  Parish Apprentices were treated like slave labour.

Liz talked of the amount of research she does for all her books of which there are seven, all based in North Devon.  A thought provoking talk, looking back on how hard life was back in the 1800's for children, farmers and labourers.

The group were reminded that the April meeting, to be held on the 24th April, will also include the Annual General Meeting and members were requested to consider volunteering to be one of the Officers for the coming year.

The meeting closed with the usual refreshments.

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Bob introduced Peter and Margaret Southcott who gave the group a talk entitled “Saving Castle Drogo”.

Many volunteers work at the castle and Peter and Margaret have worked there for many years.  The castle was built by Julius Drew whose fortune was made by a chain of shops called Home & Colonial.  An ancestor of Julius bought 100 acres of land in Devon and this is where he chose to build the castle.  He employed the services of the architect, Edwin Lutyens, to design the building. Building commenced in 1911. There were several design changes during the build, eventually creating the 82 rooms that are there today.

Julius and his wife had three sons and two daughters.  All three sons fought in the 1st World War.  Sadly, his eldest son, Adrian, was killed at the Battle of Ypres in 1917.

All building work stopped during the war and the castle was eventually completed in 1931. The castle was built using Dartmoor Granite.  The design meant that the castle was not water tight.

In 1973, the National Trust took over the castle and between 2007 and 2016 extensive works were carried out to prevent water entering the building.

 AOB:  A proposed visit to Torview Vineyard in place of an HLHG meeting in May.

The meeting closed with the usual refreshments.