Local History Group archive

Local history lecture

What’s the connection between Clayhidon man John Wood, Napoleon Bonaparte and the Duke of Wellington? 
All three are the subject of an illustrated talk by Major Peter Fisher to Clayhidon Local History Group at 7.30pm on Thursday 15 October 2015  in the Church Room.

A year in the life of Clayhidon Local History Group

Pam Reynolds reports on a busy 2014:
anuary was our annual dinner which was held at the Merry Harriers.
February was the AGM. We thanked Lyn for her services as treasurer for several years and welcomed Brenda who agreed to take her place.
In March, Peter Fisher and Penny Lawrence spoke about the book that they have been helping to produce with the Hemyock group. It is about WWI. Peter told us of the names on the Clayhidon War Memorial which he has researched. >Read more.

Applehayes creative tradition lives on 

JUNE 2012: A hundred years ago, three artists from the Camden Group, Bevan, Spencer-Gore and 
Ginner, came to stay  at Applehayes, Clayhidon. Their creativity and ability was evident in the beautiful paintings that they produced of landscapes and buildings in this area.Today, that creativity is continued in the work of Philip and Claire Simmonds who have a wonderful venue for designing and making pottery of a very distinctive style which they exhibit at Chelsea Flower Show.
The Clayhidon Local History Group visited them in their
splendid surroundings on June 21 and listened with fascination while Philip talked to them about his work and  its development.
They watched with great interest as he demonstrated the growth of one of the pots he is producing. It was a most enjoyable evening.

- Report and pictures by Pam Reynolds

Visit to former Chancellor's home

APRIL 2012: This month’s speaker was Andrea, from Knightshayes Court, Tiverton. She told us the history of the house and of the Heathcoat-Amory family who lived there. (Sir Derick was Chancellor of the Exchequer many years ago.) 

She showed us many very interesting photographs of the building which was designed by Burges and Crace. Her talk was much enjoyed.
Next month’s speaker will be local historian, Brian Clist.

P. Reynolds

Who knows about this Finch family group?

MARCH 2012: The year started with our annual dinner when many members were present. 
In February we had our AGM in the Church Room where we hold our regular meetings.
Our secretary has been Sarana Cogswell for three years, a position which she has fulfilled so efficiently. We say our very grateful thanks to her for all her hard work. The position has now been taken by Bridget Drummy. In the second part of the meeting, members showed items of historical interest which they had brought along and which contributed much interest and amusement.
In March, our speaker was the very interesting David Hawkings who on this occasion enlightened and amused us with stories about ‘Criminals’. David spends a great deal of his life doing historical research and writing books about his particular interests. Often he can relate them to his ancestors but since his research is not limited to the West Country, he can speak about people from other regions of England.
We have speakers arranged for the meetings in April and May including local Brian Clist then we have outside visits organized for June and July.
There are two more local speakers for September and October meetings and our calendar of events should prove very interesting. If you would like to join us on the third Thursday of the month you will be very welcome at Clayhidon Church Room, 7.30.
Our email address is: lhgclayhidonex15@waitrose.com
Recently we were sent a photograph of a father with his four sons standing outside a church. The photograph says FINCH, Clayhidon. We have two more photographs in our collection, each of a man and his wife, again saying FINCH Clayhidon. The people are photographed about 100 years ago. We would be delighted if anyone can enlighten us.
We wait in anticipation! 

 P. Reynolds

Farmhouse with an unusual museum

June 2011: We visited Lower Ebear, near Westleigh. This is a farm with a delightful garden to walk round but also several outbuildings which house a most unusual museum. 

One shed is given over to ‘Tools’, mainly agricultural, some of which we may remember using in the past. Another building is devoted to motorbikes and their accessories which interested many members. 

A third is called ‘The Forge’ with a blacksmith’s environment. The largest building could only have a small amount of its contents looked at as there were so many items both downstairs and above of interesting memorabilia. They included toys, clothes, cameras and newspapers.

Haunted house
June 2011: We visited Chilliswood House, near Trull, a Grade 2 Listed house with two asterisks for special features. A tablet over the main entrance is inscribed 1594.

We were taken round the outside to start and a variety of architectural points were observed and signs of past changes remarked upon.

When we went inside we admired the oak  plank-and-muntin screens and much fine oak and elm flooring, before gathering in one of the many rooms to hear some of the history of the farm and its more recent occupants.

There is so much to see in the house with its fascinating doors and staircase and bedroom that has a ghost. After lovely refreshments we sat in another charming room to hear the remainder of the story then looked at the photographs and most interesting documents which have been recorded for posterity.

First man killed after D Day landings
March 2011: Margaret Brotheridge chose the title for her talk as “Chasing History”.  This was because she had not been given any information about her father who had died a fortnight before she was born. Her mother had married again when Margaret was four and talk about her father had been discouraged.


In fact, when she began to find out about him, he had been someone not only to admire but to be extremely proud of. He was the first person who was killed after the D Day landings began as he led his platoon into France to capture the Pegasus Bridge.


Margaret’s talk was accompanied by photographs she has researched and extracts from books about ‘Pegasus’ and we heard about some of the journeys she has made as a result of being the only surviving relative of Den Brotheridge.

Dusty revelation

'When only a small part of the ceiling was gone, we could see what hadn't been seen for hundreds of years. We shone a torch upwards into the hole. It wasn't quite a Howard Hughes Tutankhamun revelation. It was nevertheless a moment to savour.'

Mike Reynolds describes the restoration of Hidon Mill. 

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