Archive Activity

News from the Archives – Winter 2015

Over the last few months, we have been given several very interesting items to add to our collection. Prior to their very sad departure from the village, Bob and Jeannie White were clearing out their books on Dartmoor. They gave us several guide books, all featuring walks around or information on Lustleigh including a copy of William Crossing’s “A Hundred Years on Dartmoor” published in 1902 which has mentions of the village and Lustleigh Cleave. This is a lovely old book to have and we are very grateful to them for donating it to us.

Tim Harrod has spent the last ten years on a “labour of love” analysing the soil types on Dartmoor’s northeastern edge. He generously donated a free copy to the archive (and delivered it in person too). Tim would like the opportunity to come to the village and explain the map to us, either at a society meeting or another suitable event.

Still on the subject of maps, our 1837 Tithe Map is to undergo some restoration, funded via Parishcapes. After this, we plan to put it on display once more for those of you who couldn’t make it to our event last October. In general, the map is in very good condition, which is good to know, as it is one of the oldest items that we have in the collection. Because of this, I’m afraid we have to keep it “under wraps” so it is rare that it gets an outing. We do have a digital version of the map, plus transcripts of all the fields drawn on it. If you want to find out what the land looked like in 1837, or what field your house was built on and who owned it or farmed it, please pay us a visit.

Over the past three years or so, a group of our volunteers have been painstakingly reading every copy of our collection of Parish Magazines in order to compile an index. There is so much information in this publication, however, unless you know when it happened you would be hard pressed to find it. The index is now complete, bar a few checks. Sarah Brewer started the task of typing up alphabetical index and since she went onto “pastures new,” Clive Pearson has taken over the job. Thank you to both of them. Clive tells me he has found the info in the magazines so interesting he has spent far more time reading them than typing up the index! Here are two short examples from the June 1892 edition:

“A very wonderful work has been carried on, the conversion of the Broad to Narrow gauge. 5,000 men were employed and in some 32 working hours, this great feat was accomplished, we were very sorry that Maunder the ganger of the Lustleigh men was prevented by an accident from taking part in the completion of a work for which he had been preparing. On Sunday night a service was held on the railway line by Caseley Woods, for the sixty men who had worked on this part of the Moreton line….”

“The behaviour of some people at a recent political meeting at Lustleigh has been, we are sorry to say, commented on in various newspapers. We hope that for the future fair play will be given to any political party which engages the room, Bovey people are said to have been the chief offenders”

So, if you are reading this and preserving our village history interests you, do you want to volunteer to help in the archives? If so, I would be thrilled to hear from you. The work is very interesting and rewarding and you will learn an awful lot about the village in the process!

In the latest edition of Dartmoor News (Sept/Oct), there is an article on Wing Commander R. F. Hancock, the uncle of Hugh and Meg Gould. We ran this article a year or so back in the Parish Magazine together with a small exhibition in the window of the Old Post Office. Richard Hancock was killed when his plane crashed after taking off from Roborough Airport, his gravestone being pictured in a previous issue of the magazine in a feature on wartime air crashes on Dartmoor. We approached the publisher to see if they would like to print the story behind it, which they did and reproduced the article in full with a photo of “Uncle Dick” supplied by the family.

Finally, our aim to produce a book from the research that the archives volunteers carried out on Lustleigh and World War I is about to come to fruition. As I write, the book is undergoing the final edits at the design stage and once we are happy with it will then be sent off for printing. All being well, we hope we will have the finished product available for sale in approximately six to eight weeks’ time.

Karen Stevenson – Archivist