One hundred years ago – November 1916.

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Several farms are advertised this month under the “To be let by Tender” columns. Lot 1, South Hill Farm, Little Torrington comprising 157 acres and all the usual farmhouse buildings and two workers’ cottages; Lot 2, Higher Cross Lawn, 11½ acres; Lot 3, Lower Cross Lawn, 32 acres; Lot 4, Broad Parks ,28 acres. All currently in the occupation of Mr D Howard.

Also to be let – Sudden Farm, Newton St Petrock, comprising 162 acres that are stocked with sheep. The taker will be required to keep the oil engine running together with the barn machinery. Farm labour is a worry with all able bodies conscripted to the War and several farms are unable to continue in these circumstances.

Mr S. J. Williams of ‘Rothsay’, Abbotsham Road, Bideford has been “Called to the Colours” and is selling his beloved Rover 3½ hp motor cycle and coach built side-car, together with lots of household furniture.

A correspondent to the paper signing himself as “Rouge et Noir” was answering queries about the number of grist mills in the area and he states that in 1866 there were 14 operating. Of these Upcott, Edge, Littleham, Halsbury, Goldworthy and Tithecott Mills have been discontinued. The only mill still working full time is Orleigh Mill, where the Sanders family continue to flourish.

Farleigh’s Stores are now stocking “Nu-Way” Egg Flour. One packet makes a big cake 2lb in weight, needs no eggs, yeast or baking powder. Each packet costs 3½d and the thrifty can buy 2 packets for 6½d.

A strange Public Notice appears in several weeks during November headed “To men now serving in the Army who were employed on roadwork”. It goes on to say that if these men or their relatives will send a considerable amount of personal information including their regimental number to R. A. Stone, County Surveyor at Barnstaple, they will “hear something to their advantage”. (Has anyone heard of this? Was this genuine, or a very early and callous scam?)

After a wet month the reservoir at Melbury is overflowing and millions of gallons of water are going to waste. The rainfall during October was over 9 inches.

We reported last month on a great storm which affected the area. Bideford Workhouse Guardians were told of considerable damage to Meddon Street premises. Slates were torn from the main roof; a piece of lead weighing 1 cwt was lifted from the SE corner of the boardroom and carried to within a few feet of the gates, 30 feet of guttering was knocked down and destroyed and a number of the Infirmary roof lights were blown in. No injuries were recorded. It seems this area escaped the heavy and early snowfall that accompanied the gale.

Under the auspices of Bideford Farmers Union, in the cattle market and in support of the British Farmers Red Cross Fund, a guess-the-weight of a bullock, sheep and a pig is to be held. Prizes consist of silver jug, tea pot and sugar basin and if one person wins all three J. M. Metherell, President, will give the Winner £5.

These and many more items of local interest are available to read at the Bideford & District Community Archive at the Council Offices, Windmill Lane, Northam. Tel: 01237 471714. Open Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday mornings. You can also follow us on our Facebook page, Bideford & District Community Archive.

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