Book Buzz.

Events in Bideford Library.

For Kids:

Summer Reading Challenge – The Big Friendly Read.

bfr src logo

Lots of fun in the library this summer with the Big Friendly Read.

Visit your library three times for your very own set of exclusive Roald Dahl collector cards. Everyone finishing the challenge will get a medal and certificate and be entered into a prize draw.

Treasure Hunt.

Find the Roald Dahl characters hidden around the library. A chocolate for everyone who enters and great prizes to be won.

Crafty Times.

Each Tuesday 10 am – 12 noon.

Drop in for a free craft session with a booky theme.

Tuesday 23rd August. The Twits

George’s Marvellous Medicine with Sciencedipity

Tuesday August 30th

Fantastic science fun inspired by George’s Marvellous Medicine, including slime to take home with you!

Suitable for children 5-11. Parents welcome to join in.

Tickets – £2.50

Limited spaces so book early at Bideford Library.

For Adults:


Board Games Afternoon

Every Friday 2 – 5pm

If you enjoy games like chess, scrabble, backgammon.


Bideford Library Readers’ Group.

‘Evil under the sun’, by Agatha Christie.

Discussed by Bideford Library Readers’ Group.

This was the book chosen for our discussion at the July book group ; suffice it to say it was not a long discussion!

The main consensus was that it ‘ was very much a book of its time’, describing the rich and privileged on holiday in a beach hotel on the Devon coast . We all felt the plot was unnecessarily complicated, a bit like trying to guess the murderer in a game of Cluedo by a process of elimination. The motive turned out to be quite obscure. Hardly any of us could quite remember what it was. Conveniently however Hercule Poirot was there to solve the crime.

It was nice to make the link between the location of the book and the actual Burgh Island off the Devon coast at Bigbury on Sea. This island inspired the settings for both And Then There Were None and Evil Under the Sun

Did we want to read or re read Agatha Christie ? An emphatic No. (RA)

Next meeting.

Wednesday August 3rd 2.00 pm.

Discussing ‘The Stranger ‘, by Harlen Coben.


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Bideford AFC – August home fixtures.



Mon 29th August, 7.45pm

Barnstaple Town.


All matches at Bideford AFC Football Ground,  Robin’s Nest, The Strand, Bideford.


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Northam Burrows ; summer events.


The Northam Burrows Rangers are busy planning a summer of free family events!

These run every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon from 2pm to 4pm throughout the summer holidays.This year’s events include the ever popular Rockpool Ramble plus other old favourites like Dinosaur Day, Pirate Day and The Burrows Bug Hunt! There will be new events such as Take Care of Your Beach, which will look at the problems of marine litter, and an Outer Space Day to explore the final frontier.

Alongside the Tuesday and Thursday events the Burrows will also be running a plant walk on the first Sunday of each the month from 10am-12pm throughout the summer. These are a wonderful way to take a look at the rare plants found in the park and find out about the conservation work that is carried out to protect them.

While all events are free of charge, vehicles entering the park will be subject to the normal charges for entry. We would also advise that children must be supervised by a responsible adult at all times. Please wear sensible footwear and suitable clothing, especially for seashore activities. Rangers will be at the designated meeting place whatever the weather!

For full details of the summer events please contact the visitors’ centre on 01237 479708 or visit



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Bideford Film Society – August.


Friday 26 at 7.30pm and Saturday 27 August at 5.00pm & 7.30pm at Kingsley School: Ghostbusters (12A), 115 min.


Please check weekly press or our web site to avoid disappointment.



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August diary.



Monday 22nd

10am-12pm Appledore Community Art Group at Appledore Community Hall.

7pm Tai Chi at Bideford High Street Methodist Church Hall. 472532

7pm Appledore Band Concert – training band followed by senior band at 7.45 on Appledore Quay. (St Mary’s Ch. if wet).

7.15pm Appledore Singers rehearse at Appledore Baptist Church. 420652

Tuesday 23rd

10am-1pm Lavington Church coffee and lunches.

10.30am Walking for Health. 421528

11.45am-12.45pm Tai Chi at Northam Community Hall.

2-3.30pm Salvation Army ‘Fun & Fellowship’ Club meets at Baptist Hall.

2.30pm ‘Lift Off’ for ladies at Westward Ho! Baptist Church. 425471

2-4pm ‘Go Wild’ events on Northam Burrows. 479708

6.30pm Bideford Band Beginner’s Group at Band Room. 475653

7.30pm Lions Club meet at Royal Hotel .

7.30-9pm Samba Baia Rehearsal at Community Arts Network,13 Rope Walk.

Palladium Club – Jam Night.

Wednesday 24th

9.30am-2.30pm Free Social Club for ages 19+ at Happy Café, W. Ho!

10am-12pm Bideford Healing Group at Sea Cadets Bldg in Victoria Park.

10.15am Probus Club at Royal Hotel.

10.30am-12pm ‘Feel Better with a Book’ at Bideford Library.

10.30am Walking for Health in Victoria Park. Meet at Cafe du Parc. 421528

2pm Tea with Friends at St Mary’s Church.

2-3.30pm ‘Bideford Friends’ at Burton Art Gallery. 01805 622666

4-6pm ‘Sew Together’ at Northam Library.

5-7.30pm Way of the Wharves ‘Share your views’ project at Royal Hotel + guided walks.

7.30pm Two Rivers Wind Ensemble Rehearsal at Bideford Band Room.

8pm Torridge Male Voice Choir meets at Woolsery Village Hall. 441601

Thursday 25th

10.30am Walking for Health along Tarka Trail. Clarence Wharf Car Park. 421528

10.30-11.30am Tai Chi, Marlborough Ct.

2-3pm Seated Exercise for over 60s at W. Ho! Baptist Hall. 01805 622666

2-4pm ‘Go Wild’ events on Northam Burrows. 479708

2-4pm Holy Trinity Church, W.Ho! Open

7pm Hartland Aikido Club for over 18s at Bucks Cross Village Hall.

7.30pm Bideford Band Concert on W.Ho! Green (weather permitting).

7.30pm Scottish Country Dancing at Westleigh Village Hall. 473801

7.30pm N. Devon British Bike Club at Robin’s Nest.

8pm Bideford Folk Club at Joiners Arms.

Friday 26th

10am-12pm Community Coffee Morning at Kingsley Hall, W. Ho! 421274

10am-1pm Lundy Art Group at Blue Lights Hall, Appledore.

7.45pm Modern Sequence Dancing, Kingsley Hall, W. Ho! 01769 540309

8pm Ceilidh Club at Northam Hall.

Saturday 27th

9am-6pm Food & Craft Fair at Atlantic Village.

Sunday 28th

10am-4pm Food & Craft Fair at Atlantic Village.

3.30 & 7.30pm Bideford Keyboard Organ Club Summer Spectacular at Devon Hall, Bideford College.

6pm Appledore Band ‘Last Night of the Proms’ on Appledore Quay (St Mary’s church if wet).

Monday 29th – Bank Holiday

10.30am Grand Table Top Sale at W. Ho! Green for Help for Rwanda.

Tuesday 30th

10am-1pm Lavington Church coffee and lunches.

10.30am Walking for Health. 421528

11.45am-12.45pm Tai Chi at Northam Community Hall.

2-3.30pm Salvation Army ‘Fun & Fellowship’ Club meets at Baptist Hall.

2.30pm ‘Lift Off’ for ladies at Westward Ho! Baptist Church. 425471

2-4pm ‘Go Wild’ events on Northam Burrows. 479708

6.30pm Bideford Band Beginner’s Group at Band Room. 475653

7.30-9pm Samba Baia Community Arts Network,13 Rope Walk.

Wednesday 31st

9.30am-2.30pm Free Social Club for ages 19+ at Happy Café, W. Ho!

10am-12pm Bideford Healing Group at Sea Cadets Bldg in Victoria Park.

10.30am-12pm ‘Feel Better with a Book’ at Bideford Library.

10.30am Walking for Health in Victoria Park. Meet at Cafe du Parc. 421528

4-6pm ‘Sew Together’ at Northam Library.

7.30pm Two Rivers Wind Ensemble Rehearsal at Bideford Band Room.

7.45pm Bideford Phoenix Morris at Royal Exchange, Torrington.

8pm Torridge Male Voice Choir meets at Woolsery Village Hall. 441601



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Shipping notes No. 137 (June/ July 2016).

Bideford Quay, Yelland Quay.

No cargoes since last issue.

The Balmoral, a small cruise ship, is due Bideford on 16th August approx 16.45 for about 1 hr, then returning to Ilfracombe.

The former Admiralty water tender Freshspring is due to berth at Victoria Park about the 28th August after drydocking at Sharpness, where she arrived on 6th July after 20 years in Newnam. It is hoped that she will be open to organised parties during 2017. She is the last vessel of her kind and has a steam propulsion plant of historical interest.



On Sunday 3rd July at 05.10 the Irish Navy patrol vessel LE William Butler Yeats sailed from Appledore on her first builders’ sea trials. She returned to Appledore at 06.30 on the 5th July. She is due to sail on the 19th for final acceptance trials.

3rd Irish Fisheries frigate leaves Appledore

Good news for Appledore – it was announced on 17th that the shipyard at Appledore has received a further order from the Irish Navy for a patrol vessel of the same design as the LE William Butler Yates. The first steel is due to be cut in August.

Bristol Channel Observations.

21.6 at 18.15 chemical tanker Lemonia, 15,160 tons d.w., owners Lemonia Schiffahtrs Germany, inward bound for Cardiff.

22.6 at 20.15 bulk carrier Sofia R, 36,093 tons d.w., owners Fairsea Navigation Corp Greece, inward bound for Avonmouth.

25.6 at 05.40 vehicle carrier Hoegh Xiamen, 12,250 tons d.w., owners Hoegh Autoliners Shipping AS Norway, outward bound from Portbury, having sailed at 0015. At 17.08 vehicle carrier Glovis Cardinal, 22,342 tons d.w, owners Hyunandai Glovis & Co Ltd South Korea, outward bound from Portbury having sailed at 12.25 hrs.

1.7 at 12.40 cargo vessel Monica Mueller, 3,723 tons d.w, owners Otto A Muller Schiffahts GMBH Germany, outward bound from Sharpness having sailed at 03.32. 2031, vehicle carrier Grande Colonia, 12,292 tons d.w., Owners Grimaldi Line of Italy; and at the same time heavy lift vessal BBC Bahrain, 7,967 tons d.w, owners Briese Schiffahtrs GMBH Germany, outward bound from Swansea having sailed at 15.50. At 2035 container vessel DS Blue Ocean ,8,200 tons d.w., owners Dr Peter GMBH & Co KG Germany, outward bound from Portbury having sailed at 13.43.

2.7 at 16.48 cargo vessel Flinterbright, 3,480 tons d.w, owners Flinter Group BV Netherland, outward bound from Portbury having sailed at 2036 20.6.16 (and had previously been anchored in Bridgwater Bay awaiting orders).

3.7 at 0945 vehicle carrier Victory Leader, 13,368 tons d.w, owners Nippon Yusen Kaisha of Japan, inward bound for Portbury (spotted by my nephew).

5.7 at 08.53 cargo vessel Reggedijk, 4,890 tons d.w, owners Naviga Shipmanagement BV Netherlands ,inward bound for Sharpness.

7.7 at 11.50 cargo vessel Naos, 4,258 tons d.w, owners Rumb Ltd Estonia, inward bound for Sharpness. At 11.50 tanker Bomar Quest, 8,501 tons d.w, owners Bomar Stx LLC South Korea, inward bound for Barry.

10.7 at 13.50 vehicle carrier Emerald Leader, 10,819 tons d.w., owners Nippon Yusen Kaisha of Japan, inward bound for Portbury. (Seen again on 12.7 at 16.30, outward bound from Portbury having sailed at10.52).

12.7 at 11.45 cargo vessel Fri Posgrunn, 3,792 tons d.w, owners Veolus AS Norway, inward bound for Birdport.

13.7 at 05.40 cargo vessel Nordic, 3,000 tons d.w, owners unknown, inward bound for Avonmouth. At 05.46 cargo vessel Nikas G, 6,050 tons d.w, owners unknown, outward bound from Avonmouth having sailed at 22.38. At 06.45 vehicle carrier Grande Togo, 26,650 tons d.w, owners Grimaldi Line of Italy, inward bound for Portbury. (Seen again outward bound 14.7 at 05.53, having sailed at 00.43). At 19.45 cargo vessel Mirjan, 3,005 tons d.w, owners unknown, outward bound from Newport having sailed at 12.36.

14.7 at 05.40 cargo vessel Trent Navigation, 8,096 tons d.w, owners Trent Navigator BV Netherlands, inward bound for Avonmouth.




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Two Bideford-built schooners of the Nineteenth Century.

Buzz” was contacted in June by Roger Banfield of Scilly seeking information on the schooner “Vivid”, built in Bideford in 1851 (see Shipping Notes 136, July edition). Mr. Banfield undertakes maritime history research for his own interest, and also in support of the Isles of Scilly Museum.

He has now concluded his research on “Vivid”, and has sent us full details. In addition, he has provided details of another schooner, “Waterlily”, also built in Bideford, in 1841. “Buzz” is very grateful, particularly for his kind permission to publish his work in full.

These two monographs contain a wealth of detail on the ships, their histories, owners, voyages, crew, and also the history and background of their builders. They provide a fascinating snapshot of Bideford’s maritime past in the mid-nineteenth century.

Incidentally, Mr. Banfield has offered to help anyone researching the history of Scilly-built vessels. Any such enquiries (or comments on the article) can be sent via and will be forwarded to him, or else leave a comment on this post.

Vivid” – Schooner

Details of Ship:-

Built: 1851

Type: Schooner.

Dimensions: Length: 81.0 ft. Beam: 20.1 ft. Depth of Hold: 13.1 ft.

Tonnage: 131 tons (12years A1) (tonnage varied between 117 tons to 131 tons)

Builder: Thomas Waters, Cross Park, Bideford, Devon (In business from 1845 – 1873, see details below)

Owners: 1852 – 1860, Lebrey & Co. (Possibly Ann Banfield)

1861 – 1869, Possibly W. Nicholson

1867, William Burnyeat of Whitehaven

1880 – 1881, J. Graham, registered at Whitehaven.

Captains: 1851 – 1853, Lakey (possibly Edmund Lakey b. 1821) (Interestingly, there was a vessel called the “Vivid” built in Scilly in 1843, which was abandoned on 1st April 1851, and lost. The same captain then took over the “Vivid” that was built in Bideford).

1852 – 1860, E. Lebrey.

1861 – 1869, Possibly N. Beck

1863, Britton

1864 – 1865, Capt. Clegg

1880, Capt. J. Mayes.

Trade: Coastal & Foreign: Bideford, Mediterranean, Scilly, New York, Palermo, Bristol, Cardiff, Falmouth, Hamburg, Antwerp, Marseilles, Smyrna, Jamaica, London, Holyhead, Whitehaven, Dublin, Pomaron, Gloucester, Belfast, Liverpool, Messina, Pomaron.

Cargo: 1852, Coffee

1863, Oil.

1864, 1879, Iron ore.

1870, Bricks.

Port of Registry: 1852 – 1860, Scilly

1861 – 1869, Whitehaven

1880, Whitehaven.

Port of Survey: 1852 – 1860, Bideford

1861 – 1869, Whitehaven.

Signal: K.G.S.B.

Official No.: 9301

Demise: Wreck reported in the Times newspaper, Saturday, 5th March, 1881, page 12: ‘A small schooner was wrecked yesterday morning on Longness, Isle of Man, all hands drowned. A piece of a vessel marked “Vivid”, schooner, of Whitehaven, 117 tons register, has been picked up’.

1851, Seamen’s Crewlists for Cornwall:-

Browne Edward

Current Ship: VIVID of Scilly,  Trade: Foreign

Age: 21

Born: Kingstown           Ticket No: 241218


Date Joined: 11 Aug 1851         Place Joined: Bideford

Ellis James

Current Ship: VIVID of Scilly,  Trade: Foreign


Ticket No: 194996


Date Joined: 11 Aug 1851        Place Joined: Indentured at Bideford

Lakey Charles

Current Ship: VIVID of Scilly Trade: Foreign

Age: 22

Born: Scilly Ticket No: 157377


Date Joined: 11 Aug 1851      Place Joined: Bideford

Penrose William P

Current Ship: VIVID of Scilly Trade: Foreign

Age: 20

Ticket No: 490017


Date Joined: 10 Sep 1851        Place Joined: Cardiff


Source: “Ship Building in North Devon” by Grahame Farr. Maritime monographs and reports No. 22 – 1976.

The next building site, as we follow the river Torridge bank, is Cross Park, the downstream part of East-the-Water facing the town of Bideford. Several builders are described as of Cross Park and dates indicate the presence of at least two yards. Before dealing with the yards in the Port of Bideford, however, it must be explained that with a number of builders the precise location of their yards is unknown. They could have been anywhere in the Port. Others are known to have been at Appledore but the information necessary to pinpoint their yards has not been discovered.

CROSS PARK. Known builders at Cross Park begin with William Heard, who built the 15-ton sloop “Ville de Paris”, in 1793. This is an unexpected name when one considers the French declared war on Britain on 1 February in that year, beginning the First French Revolutionary War.

William Taylor was a prolific builder between 1802-30 and at least 37 vessels of his can be named.

William Brook built at another East-the-Water yard from about 1824 to 1843. An old map in Bideford Museum, dated 1842, shows it to have been the northernmost property save one below Bideford Bridge. The property beyond was Lake’s Limekiln, which can still be seen. The earliest vessel traced to Brook is the brigantine “Apollo”, 179 tons, of 1824, a Mediterranean trader. A total of seventeen can be listed and his last was the largest – the barque “Alice Maud”, 464 tons. In 1839 Brook had a contretemps with Thomas Corey, a Bristol shipowner, who alleged the barque “Milford”, 325 tons, was six months late on delivery. In fact Corey brought a tug from Bristol to fetch the vessel, but later denied he had taken her by force. The press reports are interesting in that they quote the contract price for the vessel – £2,752 7s. Such figures are difficult to ascertain in the absence of surviving company books.

William Brook fell ill in 1843 and died three years later, aged 51. In 1844 his yard was taken over by Thomas Waters – probably the same who was building ships at Clovelly from about 1827 to 1840. His first vessel at Cross Park was the sloop “Ebenezer”, 22 tons, in 1845. Other small craft followed, but in 1854 he built on speculation a barque which bore the temporary name of “Chieftain”, apparently his only venture above the 200 tons category. Soon after her launch she was bought by Thomas Evans, a local shipowner (probably in fact the former shipbuilder at Cleave House) who registered her as “Ellen Sophia”, but sold her on the very next day to Edward Fernandez, of Instow.

During 1857-9 William Waters signed three builder’s certificates, for the “Fairy”, Leader” and “St. Germans”, which probably indicates he was the son of Thomas. William seems to have branched out on his own in 1860 and built two schooners at the Sea Locks yard ‘above bridge.’ Thomas continued at Cross Park until 1873 and died two years later. Twenty-four vessels can be identified with his yard.

CLOVELLY. The only place in North Devon, west of the Torridge, where shipbuilding has been practiced on a commercial scale is Clovelly. There are several builders listed from 1801 to 1818.

We next find Richard Mill and Thomas Waters building the fishing smack “Ranger”, 30 tons. Vernon Boyle quoted the Exeter Gazette, October 1827, reporting the launch:-

Nearly the whole of the population ws on the beach and quay and all the fishing boats were tastefully decorated, not with colours flying, but with herrings and other fish suspended from poles and waving gracefully in the air, which was rent with the shouts of the multitudes when the “Ranger” glided gracefully into briny deep.’

Thomas Waters later built several sloops and smacks at Clovelly, and in 1840 the schooner “Providence” was attributed to John Waters, but this might be a mistake. The “Providence”, almost 60 ft long and of 76 tons register must have been difficult to launch down this exposed beach. By 1845 Thomas Waters was building ships at Cross Park, Bideford, as we have already seen.


Waterlily ” – Schooner

Details of Ship:-

Built: 1841.

Type: Schooner.

Tonnage: 84 tons (Lloyd’s Register of 1850)

Builder: Robert Johnson, East-the-Water, Bideford, Devon.

12 yrs. A1.

(see below for full details on Robert Johnson)

Measurement: Length: 59.4 ft. Beam: 16.2 ft.

Owners: 1842 – 1849, Williams.

1850 – 1852, Bastian & Co., Scilly. Harry Weymouth & S. Davies.

Captains: 1842 – 1843, C. Burtt.

1843 – 1849, T. Major.

1850, Francis Bastion

1851 – 1852, J. Bastion

Trade: Foreign. 1842, Bideford, Swansea, London.

1843, London to Bideford.

1850 – 1852, Liverpool to Mediterranean.

St. John’s, Newfoundland, Oporto, Boston, Falmouth, Scilly.

Registered: 1843 – 1849, Bideford.

1850 – 1852, Scilly.


Official No.:

Demise: 17.4.1852, Source: Daily News.:-


CASUALTIES. “Waterlily”, Bastian, sailed from St. John’s, Newfoundland, Dec. 17, for Zante, and has not since been heard of.

1851, Crew List:-

Ashford James

Current Ship: WATERLILY of Scilly Trade: Foreign

Age: 30

Born: St Martins Scilly Ticket No: 68417


Date Joined: 06 May 1851         Place Joined: Liverpool

Previous Ship: EXPRESS of Scilly

BT 98/: 2703

Bastian Francis

Current Ship: WATERLILY of Scilly         Trade: Foreign

Age: 33

Ticket No: 50704


Date Joined: 06 May 1851         Place Joined: Liverpool

Previous Ship: WATERLILY of Scilly

BT 98/: 2703

Clarke James

Current Ship: WATERLILY of Scilly Trade: Foreign

Age: 17

 Ticket No: 500495

Cook & Seaman

Date Joined: 06 May 1851         Place Joined: Liverpool

Date Left: 22 Jul 1851        Place Left: London

Previous Ship: SLANEY of Belfast

BT 98/: 2703

Ellis Edwin C

Current Ship: WATERLILY of Scilly

Age: 23

Born: Scilly        Ticket No: 71603


Date Joined: 05 Sep 1851        Place Joined: Scilly

Previous Ship: MINERVA of Scilly

Comments: MT 70089

BT 98/: 2703

Ellis Samuel

Current Ship: WATERLILY of Scilly

Age: 27

Born: Scilly        Ticket No: 247188


Date Joined: 12 May 1851         Place Joined: Scilly

Date Left: 22 Jul 1851       Place Left: London        Why Left: Discharged

Previous Ship: VESPER of Scilly

Comments: MT 58817

BT 98/: 2703

Hocking William

Current Ship: WATERLILY of Scilly, Trade: Foreign

Age: 27

Born: Falmouth            Ticket No: 296319


Date Joined: 06 May 1851          Place Joined: Liverpool

Date Left: 22 Jul 1851           Place Left: London Discharged

Previous Ship: CORK PACKET of Fowey

BT 98/: 2703

Parrott Thomas

Current Ship: WATERLILY of Scilly,  Trade: Foreign

Age: 20

Born: Llanelly           Ticket No: 480108


Date Joined: 05 Sep 1851           Place Joined: Scilly

Previous Ship: ANN of Southampton


BT 98/: 2703

Watts William James

Current Ship: WATERLILY of Scilly ,Trade: Foreign

Age: 15

Born: Scilly           Ticket No: 419567


Date Joined: 05 Sep 1851           Place Joined: Scilly

Previous Ship: First vessel

BT 98/: 2703

1851, Previous Crew Member:-

Leopold Charles

Current Ship: TELL TALE of Penzance,  Trade: Foreign

Age: 28

Ticket No: 483460


Date Joined: 20 May 1850           Place Joined: Liverpool

Date Left: 28 Aug 1850         Place Left: Labrador         Why Left: Deserted

Previous Ship: WATERLILY

Comments: aka Lepold

BT 98/: 2676


Source: “Ship Building in North Devon” by Grahame Farr. Maritime monographs and reports No. 22 – 1976.

EAST-THE-WATER. Close to the bridge, on the river Torridge, was the Johnson yard. It was old established, but who was there before Robert Johnson took over – about 1839 – is uncertain. Through two generations the output there was prolific, at least 78 vessels being attributable, the last in 1877. Robert Johnson died in 1855, aged 61, and his wife Ann took an active part for the following four years or so, even signing builder’s certificates. The son, John, carried on from 1858, at first using the title Robert Johnson and Son.

The Johnsons produced all manner of craft from smacks to barques. Their first was the schooner “Isabel”, 109 tons, of which the principal owner was Captain John Swinsdale, of Appledore. Other owners were of Liverpool, and in a short life of two years she shuttled between Liverpool and Egypt, bringing cotton on the homeward passage. One of Johnson’s smallest, the smack “Surprise”, 49 tons, built for Captain James Braund of Bucksh, was sailed out to New Zealand. The yard also built a number of vessels for Brixham and Dartmouth owners in the Newfoundland trade, for Plymouth and Bideford owners in the Mediterranean trade, and for Salcombe owners in the soft fruit trade. A few were run by the family themselves before being sold, and frequently they retained an eighth share. Their first vessel over 200 tons was the brigantine “Georgiana”, 231 tons, in 1853, for the local shipowner George Braginton, and in the next year the same owner had the brigantine “Clara Louisa”, 181 tons. Johnson’s first barque was the “Hugo”, 369 tons, in 1862 for London owners, and the largest they built in this rig was the “Florence Danver”, 498 tons, of 1865, which, with the “Beatrice”, 455 tons, in the same year, went to Swansea owners for the ore trade. On the other end of the scale John Johnson built the only two vessels of the short-lived Bideford Deep Sea Fishing Company, the “Dolphin”, 40 tons, in 1860, and the “Morning Star”, 49 tons, in 1867. An unusual job was the rebuilding of the Austrian bark “Pace”.

John Johnson built his last vessel in 1877, the schooner “Mary Walter”, which it so happens was wrecked on the Newfoundland coast in the following year.

Details of Voyages:-

12.7.1844, Source: Royal Cornwall Gazette.:-




THURSDAY – Sailed, the “Waterlily”, Major, for Liverpool.

11.4.1851, Source: Liverpool Mercury.:-



Waterlily”, Bastian, 72, Oporto – Cotesworth, Wynne, and Co.

23.5.1851, Source: Cornish Telegraph, Arrived at Scilly:-

Arrived: May 12. “Waterlily”, Boston, from Liverpool.

Sailed: May 13. “Waterlily”, Boston for Oporto

17.4.1852, Source: Daily News.:-



Waterlily”, Bastian, sailed from St. John’s, Newfoundland, Dec. 17, for Zante, and has not since been heard of.


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Felicity’s sustainable fish cookery – July.


Here is my simple version of Seafood Tagliatelli.


Ingredients. (Serves 4, takes 20 mins).

350g/12oz Tagliatelli / Spaghetti.

2tbsb olive oil.

3 garlic cloves, finely chopped.

400g can of chopped tomatoes.

200g jar of cockles in vinegar, drained and washed.

150g skinless fillet of Pollock, fresh or smoked.

Pinch of dried chilli flakes.

2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley or tarragon.

100g Mussel meat – optional.



Cook the pasta in a pan of salted boiling water for 10-12 mins, until al dente. Test by tasting or cutting easily.

1. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a frying pan then fry the garlic for 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes and cook for 2-3 minutes.

2. Dice the skinned Pollock fillet and add and cook for 5 mins, while draining and washing the cockles and chilli flakes, season and stir through. Leave to rest in the frying pan.

  1. Drain the pasta and return to the pan. Stir in the pasta sauce and serve sprinkled with chopped parsley or torn tarragon.


Next month, I will be looking for a skate dish to sample.

From Thursday 18th to Monday 22nd August we will be running events for Appledore Sharks Tales Events. On Friday 19th Aug. there will be a Skate, Ray and Huss cookery demonstration and lunch – and we will be shucking scallops too! Everyone welcome. See appledoresustainablfish facebook page.


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One hundred years ago – July 1916.


Hay and Straw Harvest.                           The 1916 crop is to be held for Army purposes. Under Defence of the Realm Regulations all hay, oat and wheat straw on the 1916 crop of England and Wales now standing in the field in bulk or as and when it is harvested will be bought by the Government. At this stage there are no instructions to farmers as to how they may secure their own supplies.

In the Bideford Borough Tribunal the Recruiting Sergeant has complained that Sidney Smith, aged 39, a motor driver in the employment of H. Hopkins, was to be allowed exemption to undertake driving duties for Mr Metherell who is required to go and buy hay and straw for the Government up to October this autumn.

The August Bank Holiday this year will be suspended. The Government, said Prime Minister Mr Asquith, has decided that it is essential in the national interest that there shall be no holidays, general or local and a Proclamation would be made to this effect.

Schoolboys both in Old Town Boys School and in the Grammar School have volunteered to help with the harvest. No extension to the set dates will be allowed despite several pleas from Councillors.

Bideford Town Council was anxious to secure a larger supply of water for the growing urban area. Late last year they had visited a possible site between Upcott and West Ashridge farms where a new reservoir might be built by throwing a dam across the Jennetts stream. In February this year an engineer had visited the site and measured water flows, and calculated that a reservoir of 27 million gallons could be built. It was envisaged the Gammaton Reservoir would continue to supply the summer requirements and the new lake will help with the winter demand.

These and many more items of local interest are available to read at the Bideford Community Archive at the Council Offices, Windmill Lane, Northam. Tel: 01237 471714. Open Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday mornings.


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Hartland Farmers’ Market.

Held on the first Sunday of every month from April to September from 10am -1pm, and with one at Christmas, in the Village Hall in Hartland.

We have a range of locally produced food, including sausages, bacon, venison and game (in season); organically grown vegetables, vegetable plants, and flower plants; fresh fish and seafood; pies, scones and pasties and award winning artisan bread. Fairtrade coffee, locally produced honey, spices and sauces are also available. In addition we have a medical herbalist who brings her own made ointments and plants and books.

We also have locally hand made glass jewellery and felted slippers and hats. A local author is often with us and will sign her books for you. Second hand books are available from another stall.

Finally we have a cafe which serves hot drinks, breakfast and cakes. It is a friendly market with a great atmosphere.

For more information please contact Paul on email

or 07774 157162.

You can follow us on Facebook at


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Felicity’s sustainable fish cookery : June.

fish ad

This dish, developed in New Orleans in 1899, was named after the richest man in America – John D. Rockefeller – as it has a very rich taste!

Oysters Rockefeller.

Ingredients-for 24 Oysters to share

I garlic clove.

Half a bag of fresh spinach.

I bunch of watercress, stems trimmed and bunch of chopped spring onions.

Unsalted butter.

Half a cup of breadcrumbs.

1 tablespoon Pernod.

Half a tsp Tabasco.

24 fresh Oysters, shucked, reserved in their shells.

Parmesan cheese ,grated.


  1. Heat the oven to a high setting.
  2. Chop garlic in small food processor adding spinach, watercress and spring onions.
  3. Process until mixture is finely chopped.
  4. Place in a bowl then combine butter, breadcrumbs, Pernod, fennel and tabasco sauce in processor. Process until well blended
  5. Return spinach mixture to processor. Process briefly until mixtures are blended. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. At this point sprinkle rock-salt over a large baking sheet -half an inch deep and arrange oysters in rounded half shells on top. This keeps the shells upright and ensures they retain their juices.
  7. Top each oyster with 1Tbsp. of green vegetable mix. Sprinkle with cheese.
  8. Bake until cheese browns on top -about 8mins.

Serve hot with a refreshing drink.

Oyster Dressings-

Mother’s Ruin – Gin, lime red chilli.

Retro – Pernod, shallots, white wine vinegar.

The Wurzels – Apple, ginger, cider vinegar.

Turning Japanese – Wasabi, pickled ginger, rice wine vinegar.

Buck the Trend – Sea buckthorn, cider vinegar, Vodka, sugar.

The Frenchay – Shallots, red wine vinegar.

– or just Plain with a squeeze of lemon.


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One hundred years ago – June 1916.


War-time appeals continue.

The Royal Navy appeal to the Bideford men with sea experience to join up for the Yacht Patrol Division in the Royal Navy. Seamen and firemen can be guaranteed £1-10s per week with 10 shillings food allowance when not victualled. Assistant cooks and stewards will be paid £1-5s per week and 3rd Engineers £2-8-0d. They are also seeking carpenters who will be paid £1-15s per week.

The waste paper collection system set up and described in last month’s edition is now fully operational. The depot at the Fish Market is open Monday, Wednesday and Friday between 9 -1 o’clock. The patriotism encouraged by saving paper is further reinforced at the foot of the advertisement with the exultation “God Save the King”.

Appeals against call up are heard in all the local towns and in Bideford 27 were heard during the second week of June 1916. Albert Henry Prance, 28 of Mill Street, a fish and chip shop proprietor, applied for a second time for an additional period of exemption. His appeal was refused as it was felt that this work could be done by a woman. W C Friendship, a baker of Market Place, applied for exemption on behalf of Alexander Penhorwood, 28 and married. Another of his employees named Darch had been granted exemption on the ground that the bakery would not be able to function without them. Both were exempted until 1st October and Friendship was required to seek replacement staff as soon as possible. Miss Turner of Abbotsham appealed for extra time for Sidney Slee, 29, saying that Slee and a 14 year old boy were all that she had to look after the farm which included 73 bullocks and 87 sheep. This appeal was denied.

R.Blackmore and Sons, auctioneers, have been instructed to sell the following vehicles:

A 4-wheel dog cart.

Two-wheel Battlesden car. (Our research has found that this was a light 4 seater trap which is pulled by a pony)

A La Buire 5 seater Touring car 18 HP and leather upholstery

A Siddeley Wolseley 5 seat 12 HP tourer.

All these vehicles have been in private ownership and have been well looked after.”

R. D. Blackmore are advertising for auction at their Bideford Quay premises a considerable part of the estate of the late H.G.Heaven, Vicar of Lundy. Included are cut glass Bohemian vases, large Oriental jars, Dresden, Spode and Wedgwood china and many silver items weighing in total 750 ounces. The extensive sale catalogue concludes with a roasting jack!

These and many more items of local interest are available to read at the Bideford Community Archive at the Council Offices, Windmill Lane, Northam. Tel: 01237 471714. Open Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday mornings.


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Lundy’s wartime farming problems.


In May 1940, Martin Coles Harman, the owner of Lundy, made the surprising decision to lease the island for a period of ten years to a Mr. Herbert A. Van Os. His reasons have never been fully understood, but the difficulties of reaching the island during the war, provisioning the island, and the shortage of staff may all have contributed to this decision. It is known that Mr. Felix William Gade, agent and administrator of Lundy from 1925 to 1971, was totally against this leasing arrangement. In his memoirs entitled “My Life on Lundy”, published in 1978, and in chapter 10, Mr. Gade tells us exactly what he thought of Mr. Van Os and his abilities as a farmer.

Van Os had a small farming business in Middlesex and persuaded Martin Coles Harman that he could run the farm on Lundy to a profit. He brought a couple of men with him, who turned out to have had no farming experience whatsoever, and a lady to run the hotel and shop. Mr. Gade and his wife Rene moved into Millcombe House, the home of the owners, with the remit of simply keeping a watchful eye on the farm activities.

In fact Gade still had to perform many of the farm tasks, such as sheep shearing, ploughing and repairing and maintaining of machinery, as Van Os and his men were quite incapable of performing these tasks. The sheep were uncared for and most lambs died, the crops were not harvested in time and rotted in the fields and the deer were shot in large numbers, including the last of the fallow deer. The shippons were not cleared of dung and the cows not milked on time. One of the only two work horses on the island was allowed to die of a chill. The whole farming structure of the island was virtually wrecked and left in ruins when Van Os finally departed.

Probably at Gade’s suggestion, Martin Coles Harman came down, alone, to Lundy for Christmas 1941 and after discussions with Van Os which were likely to have been very heated (although Gade in his memoirs does not specifically say so), in February 1942 Van Os and his employees departed Lundy.

The Gades soldiered on for the rest of the war, restoring and running the farm, keeping the island supplied and dealing with the few visitors that were able to get there. There was a small Royal Navy Contingent of men billeted at the Old Light and the Light House keepers to provide occasional volunteer work, plus one or two other workers that remained. The island had no ship of its own during the war and all ships and visitors to the island, including even the owners, had to obtain permits from Admiral H. G. Franklin, the commandant of the Appledore and estuary area, who handed them out grudgingly.

Documents with the signature of Herbert Van Os from the period he was on Lundy are very rare but a single item, a postcard, is in the collection of the writer of these notes. It is dated Nov. 1941, and indicates that at least some farming activity was carried on during that unfortunate time. Typically, no postage stamps were placed on the card, which bears postage due stamps for 4d.


Addressed to Messrs G. T. Andrews & Sons Ltd., Town Mills, Barnstaple, the text ran as follows:- “We have today shipped to you the undermentioned:-

46 lbs Locks.

7 lbs Fleece.

The above will be laying at Royal Navy Stores, The Quay, Appedore. Hope that you can collect when in district. Have you sent off poultry grain and have I coupons for a sack of middlings? (Signed) Herbert Van Os.”


This short text actually says quite a lot. It shows that sheep were being shorn, even though probably by Mr. Gade, and that the wool was being transferred and sold on the mainland. Interestingly the fleeces were being deposited in the Royal Naval Stores at Appledore, under the beady eye of Admiral Franklin no doubt. It is also worthy of note that in war time, farmers still needed ‘coupons’ to purchase some of their supplies, in the same way as ration books were issued to the ordinary citizens. And what are ‘Middlings’ ? *

This story of Herbert Van Os and Lundy during wartime is covered in much greater detail by Mr. Gade in his memoirs, as indeed he covers almost every moment of the last 53 years of his life that he spent on Lundy.

Roger Allen.



29th April.

Dear Editor,

My wife and I thoroughly enjoyed reading the May edition of Bideford Buzz, particularly the articles on ‘War Time Savings’ and ‘Wartime Farming Problems’ on Lundy.

In the latter, Roger Allen queries, “What are Middlings?”

I remembered that they were a form of second quality wheat, but checked for a fuller definition in a post-war book of mine, entitled “The Principles and Practice of Feeding Farm Animals” (1st published – 1940). I attach the entry for Roger’s enlightenment (see below).

Many thanks for your efforts in producing your fine community newsletter.

Yours sincerely,

John Hobbs. (Buckland Brewer)



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Felicity’s sustainable fish cookery; May.

fish ad

Here is a recipe for Saffron Mayo -suitable for an accompaniment for grilled fish and any fish salad.

Saffron Mayo.


150g Mayonnaise

¼ teaspoon Saffron Powder/Ground Saffron

Squeeze of fresh Lemon Juice

150ml Natural Yoghurt.


1. If you can source Saffron Powder, this recipe is easy!

2. To produce the ground saffron – dry fry the strands very briefly for 5 secs in a hot pan until crisp, then grind in a pestle and mortar. This can then be stored for future use.

3. Combine all the ingredients and chill.

4. Makes 300ml of primrose and gold coloured light mayonnaise.


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One hundred years ago – May 1916.


War-time savings continue.

Street lighting.

The Mayor, Mr. F.R. Chope, hopes that in view of the Daylight Saving Bill having been passed by parliament no public lamps should be lit in the town during June, July and August.

Paper saving.

The Bideford UDC have decided to grant the Bideford Chamber of Trade rent free use of a loft at the market for the collection and disposal of waste paper which will be sent away and repulped. This will alleviate the shortage and deficiency created by restricted importation of wood pulp. The action would also considerably lessen the need for horses and manual labour. The store is over the Borough Fish Market and a paper baler will be purchased at a cost of £19:0:0d. Waste paper will be collected 3 times each week and can also be brought in.

Sapper W.H. Westlake, Royal Engineers, of Chanters Road Bideford has received the Silver medal of the Russian Order of St. George, fourth class, in recognition of gallant services at the second Battle of Ypres. Sapper Westlake was formerly in charge of Bideford Telephone Exchange and was a prominent member of the swimming club.

Lance Corporal Fred T. Cole, in acknowledging the receipt of a pair of knitted socks from Bideford, mentioned that they were spoilt when he took them into action in the pocket of his British Warm coat on March 8th. Only one bullet went through them but as the socks were folded it made so many holes that they were useless.

This advertisement appeared on the front page of the paper:

Farleighs Stores Bideford. Telephone 79.

A special offer of sardines for sale –

1000 small tins of Choice Quality @ 2½d.

1000 large tins of Good Quality @ 6½d.

500 large tins of Very Choice Quality @10½d.

500 medium tins of Finest French @ 8½d.

1000 tins of Skipper & Topmast Brand Brisling* in Oil and Tomato @6½d.

*(Brisling were formerly called sardines)

These and many more items of local interest are available to read at the Bideford Community Archive at the Council Offices, Windmill Lane, Northam. Tel: 01237 471714. Open Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday mornings.



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