‘Connections’ – Lady Anne Berry (1919- ).

A local horticulturalist who founded Rosemoor.

Lady Anne Berry came from an aristocratic family, which included Britain’s first Prime Minister, Sir Robert Walpole, the first Earl of Orford. Her father was the fifth Earl. He was already 67 when Anne was born, and had no male heir, so before he died, he made over his family estate in Norfolk to a distant male cousin, then emigrated to Australia, where he died in 1931. In 1923, he had bought a smaller property at Rosemoor, near Torrington, which he used as a fishing lodge, and where Anne and her mother lived when not in New Zealand.

She liked the carefree New Zealand life and found being a debutante and courtier in London somewhat stifling. In 1939, she married Colonel Eric Palmer, and as a young military wife followed her husband from post to post, including a two-and-a-half year stay in Northern Ireland. Anne had two children, John and Eric.

During the War, Rosemoor was lent to the Red Cross.. After the War, her husband bought more land at Rosemoor, where she established a dairy farm, and rode horses.

In 1959, she went to southern Spain to recuperate from a bout of measles, and met Collingwood ‘Cherry’ Ingram, a well-known plantsman, who introduced her to the world of horticulture, and gave her some specimens from his own garden in Kent. With the help of other gardeners, and together with her own collection of plants from her extensive travels abroad, she began to develop her garden at Rosemoor.

In the late sixties, she joined the RHS, and then the International Dendrology Society, of which she was chair for five years from 1983 onwards.

This job took her all over the world, including a trip to New Zealand, and to Hackfalls Arboretum, created by Bob Berry.

In 1979, she started a small nursery at Rosemoor, containing over a thousand items. Then in 1980 her husband Eric died, she found it increasingly difficult to manage the estate, so she offered the garden, the house and the remaining farmland to the RHS. In 1990 Rosemoor was opened to the general public.

In the same year, she made another visit to New Zealand and Hackenfalls Arboretum, where she married Bob Berry. You could say the marriage was rooted in a love of trees. The wedding took place in England, but she then went to live in New Zealand,in Gisbourne.

RHS Garden Rosemoor is now a major attraction in North Devon, with more than 100,000 visitors a year.

Chris Trigger.


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One hundred years ago – September 1915.

When the Bideford Workhouse Guardians held their monthly meeting it was reported there was little change in the numbers seeking help and support. On the 8th September there were 84 people housed indoors at Meddon Street, 9 casuals had been accommodated overnight and 318 people, mostly children, were out relieved. (This means they were placed with families across the town and a small subsistence paid). The cost was £38:16:10d this week. These figures vary for a multitude of reasons. For example the following week casuals increased to 12 whereas those out in the town fell a little. The workhouse was also seeking tenders for the supply of materials that could be made into clothing. Items of drapery sought include Saxony Flannel, Real Welsh Flannel, White Barras, Russian Crash and Blue striped print. Ready-made mens’ hand-knit grey stockings and women’s black-knit stockings were required. Footwear included Boys Cued and Nailed boots for 8 -16 year olds.

The Bideford, Westward Ho! and Appledore Railway track is in need of some urgent repair. A letter from Mr Sowden, the manager, is printed in response to a request from the Bideford Town Council. The repairs to the track curve outside the Art School at the far end of the Quay will take place at the earliest possible moment. There has been difficulty with the wood blocks at the corner, which was caused by the constant shrinkage of the made up ground over the Pill. The repairs were also delayed by the difficulty in getting steel rails in consequence of the war.

Each week the Situations Vacant column saw a constant demand for workers in the town and locality. There were two agencies specialising in domestic and ladies employment – Mrs Shutts Ladies Agency and Miss Birds Select Registry, both to be found in Bridgeland Street. Apprentice carpenters, dispensing chemists, butchers, cabinet makers are some trades that are always advertising. Domestic help, maids, strong boys and gardeners are needed. Trade continues despite the war but replacing the tradesmen is proving difficult.

The Public Rooms are showing, for one night only, the latest musical comedy “The Girl in a Taxi”

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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Felicity’s sustainable fish cookery – September.

The Appledore Fish Summer School activities have been running during the whole of August. Our last event is a Family Fishy Fun Day in St Mary’s Hall from 11.am on Tuesday 1st September with plenty of sessions with a fishy theme…An inter village Crab Dressing Competition at 2.00pm. A talk by Gus Caslake of SEAFISH about Sustainable Fishing at 11am.Delicious Fish Paella will be available from 12 noon and Crab sandwiches from 3.00pm. Drinks will be available all day. Also, Children’s activities will include making “Fisher Folk” Scarecrows and Guess the weight and name of the Crab. There will be stalls and music and we will be raising money for the local RNLI appeal. These are the local people who keep our fishermen and others safe at sea!

Here is a simple Paella recipe that is great to share with a crowd. Reminds me of happy days in the garden with lots of friends.

Paella made with local fish.

The secret of a good paella is to mix and fry gently the ingredients in the favoured oil before you cook the rice. This ensures plenty of flavour.


150 ml olive oil.

350g cleaned squid, sliced into rings, and tentacles chopped.

6 scallops, chopped in half.

2 red peppers.

4 chicken thighs or rabbit meat, diced (or125g piece chorizo sausage,diced)

4 garlic cloves,crushed.

1 onion,chopped.

250g paella rice (available from Marshford Organics)or basmati rice.

450 ml Fish Stock -home made or stock cube

1 teaspoon saffron strands.

100g peas.

300gms mussels in shells, cleaned.

salt and pepper.

lemon wedges, to serve.


1.Heat half the oil in a large frying pan and fry the squid and the scallops stirring for 5 mins. Remove with a slotted spoon, Add the peppers and fry for 5mins in the flavoured oil. Remove and add the chicken,rabbit or chorizo cubes, remaining oil, garlic and onion and fry for 5 mins.

2.Sprinkle in the rice and cook for 1 min. stirring so that the grains become well coated in the spicy oil.

3.Stir in the stock and saffron and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat, cover with a lid or foil and cook gently for about 20 mins or until the rice is cooked through. Stir in the peas, along with the returned squid, scallops and peppers.

4.Push the mussels into the rice so that they are half submerged. Cover and cook for 3-4 minutes or until the mussels have opened. Discard any that remain closed.

5. Season and add lemon wedges to decorate and to squeeze over the dish. Enjoy!


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‘Connections’ – King Aethelstan.

Aethelstan (c895 – 939AD)First Monarch to visit North Devon?

King Aethelstan is one of the forgotten kings of English history. The grandson of Alfred the Great, who had fought off the Danes and consolidated the Saxon territories of south and west Britain, it fell to Aethelstan to rid the northern territories of the Vikings and the Danes, eventually uniting all the different territories to become the first King of All England.

As well as being a good soldier, he was, like his grandfather, very religious and scholarly, and was keen to see his new nation develop into a law-abiding and prosperous country.

To this end, he travelled around the new nation, meeting the local rulers to establish conditions for the growth of towns and cities. He went all over the country, including Exeter and Lifton in south Devon, and , according to the local historian Tristram Risdon he built a royal palace at Umberleigh in north Devon. A church dedicated to the Holy Trinity was built next to it.

The palace and its land were held in desmesne, which means that it was built and maintained expressly for the use of the king, his family and household, and was the property of the king himself. However, over a period of time, the palace and then the church fell into a state of ruin, and all that remains is one wall of the church, now part of a building which houses agricultural implements.

Another way of stabilising the nation was by standardising the coinage, and this was done by granting certain towns the right to mint their own high-grade silver coins. Barnstaple was one such town, Exeter another, and this in turn led to increased prosperity in both. Although some Saxon coins have been found in the vicinity of Barnstaple, none bearing Aethelstan’s head have come to light.

For Devonians, or Dumnonians, as they would have been called then, Aethelstan’s unifying rule came at a price: he favoured Anglo-Saxon settlers, calling the original Celtic inhabitants ‘a filthy race’, some of whom were forced to flee over the border into Cornwall, which itself lost its independence from England during Aethelstan’s reign. The last king of Cornwall, Howel, died at this time.

Apparently Aethelstan was quite impressed by south Devon, but found north Devon ‘wild and barren’.

Much else could be written about Aethelstan: how he later defeated the resurgent Northumbrians in a great battle, how he is said to have cast his brother out to sea in a boat without oars in revenge for an attempt to blind him and render him useless as a king, but that is outside the remit of this article.

He died in 939, after a fourteen- year reign, unmarried, and was succeeded by his half-brother, Edmund.

As far as I am aware, and assuming Tristram Risdon was correct, Aethelstan was the only English monarch to visit north Devon for over a thousand years, until Queen Elizabeth II visited Barnstaple in 1956.

Chris Trigger.


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Hungarians, not Bidefordians.

I was rather surprised to see the photograph (see above) on the first page of the July ‘Buzz’ labelled ‘An early Bideford Town Band’. The gentlemen shown went by the name of the ‘Hungarian Band’. They were a group of itinerant musicians who regularly turned up in Bideford during the Summer tourist season and played for anyone who would pay for them. The earliest reference I have is from May 1892 when the North Devon Journal carried a small mention –

Two months later they were playing at a fete held by St.Peter’s church at Chudleigh Fort and a month after this they provided the music at an outing to Westward Ho! for 70 inmates of the Bideford Workhouse. In September members of the Westleigh Sunday Schools marched through the village headed by the Band.

The next year they played for the Bideford Foresters’ and Oddfellows’ Friendly Societies at their fete held in the grounds of Porthill. Also in 1893 they appeared at the Regatta and also at the Bideford Horse Show though here they ‘augmented’ the Town Band –

This wasn’t one of their happiest events as during their return the carriage they were riding in crashed and both they and the Town Band members were thrown out, though luckily no-one was badly injured.

One notable occasion was when they appear to have been hired to play at the opening of the Bideford-Westward Ho! railway in May 1901 with at least three of their members, attired in military style uniforms being pictured in a photograph of the event –

The band re-appear year after year in the local newspapers though I haven’t seen any mention of them after 1910, which would seem to have been the date at which they either disbanded or removed to a new site.

Peter Christie.


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One hundred years ago ; August 1915.

From August 16th there will be a reduction in Mail deliveries due to a shortage of staff, many men having enlisted. There will be only 3 deliveries per day rather than the usual 5, at 7.00 am, 1.50 pm and 6.00 pm.

Recognising that ladies clothing is becoming more practical the Gazette newspaper publishes a pattern for a skirt with pockets.

The estimated cost of extending the Isolation Hospital is now £8,200, almost double the original projection in 1913.

Three girls from Edgehill College, Beryl Adams, Phyllis Culverwell and Dorothy Randle, have passed the Matriculation examination of the University of London.

The continuing wet weather is badly affecting Bideford farmers as the corn is beginning to grow out.

An appeal is launched to raise £50.00 to buy a sterilizer which will provide 700 front line troops with pure water. The appeal is led by S. R. Chope, the town mayor.

A. E. Tupper of Market Place advertises the sale of double knitting wool in regulation khaki, navy, steel grey and natural for making winter comforts for the Army and Navy.

Bideford Rural District Council has been advised that from the end of August it is compulsory to notify births to the Medical Officer of Health within 36 hours. This rule had previously been waived for rural areas.

On the 15th July the National Registration Act was passed and on the 15th of this month everyone between 15 and 65 years old has to register at their residential location. Enumerators are being recruited in the Bideford area for this task. Once registered, an Identity card will be issued.

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


Bideford & District Community Archive is running a General Knowledge Quiz in Northam Hall, Fore Street, on Friday 4 September 2015 from 7pm. Entry is £5 per person, tables of a maximum of 6 people, food will be provided, BYO drink. Prizes! Contact 07980944146 to register a team.


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‘The Book of Hartland’.

While Bideford Library has marched boldly into the 21st Century with its Wi-Fi and e-book service, we shouldn’t forget the wealth of historical material also kept here. We have a wonderful set of old photographs and also an impressive collection of dusty old books relating to the history of Bideford and Devon more widely. It’s a shame that these aren’t used more, so this is the first in a series of occasional articles drawing your attention to some of the books that we feel deserve greater appreciation.

The bulk of our collection was bequeathed to us by Richard Pearse Chope (1862-1938), a native of Hartland parish. He was a keen local historian and member of the Devonshire Association and regularly wrote articles for them and also the Hartland Chronicle. We have a run of the Chronicle from 1896-1931 and while they are fascinating to read, they are in poor condition so we have to be very careful when producing them. On his death, Chope left a nearly-completed book based on these articles so with some editing and minor additions, The Book of Hartland was published in 1940. The editor, Isobel Thornley from University College London, sadly also died shortly afterwards in an air raid so it was quite a troubled publication. Pictured is the title page and frontispiece showing the author looking very dapper with his neatly trimmed beard.

Despite being a wartime production, the quality of the book is really quite nice. The paper is strong and retains its crispness and it is bound in a dark blue cloth. I haven’t been able to find out how many were printed but it must have been very few, probably numbering in hundreds. An acknowledgment at the front of the book thanks the Devonshire Association and 172 subscribers who financially supported the printing. Despite all this, the book is not really valuable. At the time of writing, there is currently a nice copy listed on ebay for £26!

As the title suggests the book is concerned with the story of Hartland. It’s not a conventional history but a series of chapters, some of them only a few pages long, on a variety of topics from Saxon times until the 1800s. I’ll leave it to you to come and browse through the book, but my favourite chapter is a reproduction of the Borough Accounts from 1612-1807. This is a long list of payments made to travellers, soldiers, the poor and others. So for example in 1613 payments were made to watch Elloner Prust, presumably because there was no jail in Hartland. Also to provide ‘candells’ and bread while she was being detained and then to carry her to Exeter where the Assize Court would have been held. We wonder what Elloner did! There are still Prusts living in the area so maybe her descendants are among us. Elsewhere we read about ‘howses’ being burnt by ‘piratts’ and torn down by papists. In the seventeenth century most of the payments seem to have been made to Irish people. This was a time of famine in Ireland and also population being displaced by English Settlements. It seems that many of the poor Irish turned up in Devon where they received charity from the good people of Hartland.

Please come and look through the book for yourself. It can’t be taken out from the library, but we also have a facsimile edition published in 1995 which can be borrowed.

Matt Chamings, Bideford Library.


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Felicity’s sustainable fish cookery – July.

July is the start of the Summer Holidays for the children. I have been working with many school groups, cooking specially developed recipes for children and parents to cook together. Here is one -a crab risotto that can be made with tinned crab. However, it is better with fresh crab.

If you would like to know about sustainable local crab and how to prepare it, please come along to the free Crab Sessions and Events as part of the Appledore Fish Summer School. This starts in July and carries on throughout August. (Please pick up a brochure or like us on facebook for more information.)

Crab Risotto with Smoked Fish- (recipe from SEAFISH :“fish is the dish”)

Ingredients. (Serves 4).

125g mixed crabmeat.

2 fillets smoked trout or mackerel, flaked.

3 cups of stock – fish, vegetable or chicken.

170g Arborio rice.

1 small onion.

50g frozen peas.

2 spring onions.

1tbsp olive oil.

Zest and juice of 1 lemon.

How to cook.

1. Heat the stock in a pan.

2. Dice the onion into small pieces.

3. Heat the oil in a frying pan, then add the rice, stir and cook very gently for a further 2 minutes.

4. Then add the heated stock a cupful at a time, stirring constantly; wait until the stock is absorbed before adding more.

5. Once all the stock has been absorbed add the crab meat, peas and spring onions along with the lemon juice and zest, continue to cook for 1-2 minutes.

6. Optional: at this point the risotto can be enriched by adding butter and a spoonful of creme fraiche or yoghurt, along with grated Parmesan.

7.To serve, either stir the flaked smoked fish-either trout or mackerel through the risotto or scatter on top along with a little chopped herbs of your choice-Parsley, Dill, or Basil would be very good!

(If there is too much you can make miniature crab cakes with the mixture.)


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One hundred years ago : July 1915.

At East–the-Water school during a recent health test it was found that 7 out of 10 children need to wear glasses. The School managers cannot supply them and if the parents cannot afford to buy them there is serious concern that either the Guardians (from the Workhouse) or the County Council will have to pay. It is also reported that there is an acute shortage of teachers.

Schools have been told not to allow any time off for harvest. 14 days extra had been suggested but farmers’ sons may stay at home to help if necessary.

A complaint has been made by Mr Cook, Headmaster of Gunstone School, of a woman coming there and making a disturbance because her son had been punished. It has happened several times and she has been warned that if this continues she will be prosecuted.

Properties for sale in Bideford include the following:

1, Bull Hill, formerly known as ‘The Cornish Arms’, comprising of a 60 foot frontage, large garden and considered suitable for a builder or painter;

2, Bull Hill, which has recently been re-drained.

22, Meddon Street, a ground floor shop and bakery complete with ovens and with 4 bedroom accommodation upstairs.

Following the auction, 22 Meddon Street was withdrawn at £300. The reserve had been set at £320 and the property was subsequently sold privately at an enhanced figure. The Cornish Arms was withdrawn at £145 and 2 Bull Hill at £50.

According to the Taw & Torridge Fisheries, substantial catches of salmon have been made during May and June. Some boats had 12 fish at a cast and often 5 or 6 were netted, the largest recorded being 32lbs. Little rod and line fishing was being done.

A severe storm swept across North Devon causing serious damage. Hailstones “as big as champagne corks” were collected and glass in conservatories was smashed. 84 chickens were killed and 3 cottages near Crediton were burned out by lightning. Locally the damage was less severe but crops, potatoes and soft fruit were destroyed.

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


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‘Connections’ – Annie Coughlan (1872-1936).

This is the intriguing story of a Mrs. Annie Coughlan, who survived the ‘Titanic’ disaster and eventually came to live in Bideford, together with her sister, Phoebe.

She was the daughter of Alfred William Woodland (1838- 1899) and Sarah Saunders (1842- ?). The couple were married in Netherbury, Dorset in 1860, where Alfred worked as a butcher. They later moved to Guernsey, where he worked part-time as a butcher, but also ran his own pub, the ‘Half Moon’, in Les Caches Road, St. Martins.

Annie Woodland was born on Guernsey on 17 November 1872, had two older brothers and sister, and two younger brothers and sister. She married a soldier, called William Henry Martin, in Ireland in 1893. The marriage didn’t last, but she never divorced, and by 1912 was calling herself Mrs Coughlan, having presumably entered into a common-law relationship with a Mr Coughlan but unable to get divorced.. She gave her surname as Martin when registering for work, and is also described as the ‘widow of William Martin’ on her death certificate. Her legal husband died on 19 October 1918 in Wallasey, Cheshire of pneumonia and heart failure.

In the meantime, she had gained employment with the White Star Line as a stewardess on the ‘Olympic’, a sister ship of the ‘Titanic’. The ‘Olympic’ was, in fact, the same size as the ‘Titanic’, but the latter had greater tonnage because of its heavier interior fitments. Whilst employed in this capacity, she was believed to be on board when it collided with HMS ‘Hawke’ in the Solent in 1911. (The ‘Olympic’, unlike the ‘Titanic’, and its other sister ship the ‘Britannic’, survived to serve a full working life, and finished its active career in 1934. The ‘Britannic’ was sunk in the Mediterranean in 1915).

In 1912, Annie became a stewardess on the ‘Titanic’, giving her last address as Posbrook Road, Portsmouth, which was also the address of her younger sister, Phoebe. She was paid £3/10/00 a month, and embarked on the ‘Titanic’ on its fateful voyage at Southampton, when she was 39 years old. A few days later, as everyone knows, the ‘Titanic’ was hit by an iceberg, and sank within a few hours, with the loss of more than 1,500 lives.

At first, Mrs Coughlan, as she now liked to call herself, was thought to have perished, and appeared on the official list of the missing. She did, however, manage to get a place on one of the lifeboats (Boat 11), was picked up by the ‘Carpathia’, and disembarked in New York City on 12 April 1912.

Nothing is known of her whereabouts immediately after this. However, in the mid-to-late ’20s, she was known to have worked at The Royal Hotel in Bideford. It was also known that one of her sisters lived in Northam. This is assumed to be Phoebe Humby, her younger sister, with whom she was very close. After she left the Royal, she appears to have moved to Combe Martin, where she lived a quiet life, and where she died in 1936. A local newspaper at the time reported her death, mentioning that her husband (presumably Mr Coughlan), had drowned with the ‘Titanic’, adding that she had lived in Bideford, before moving to Combe Martin, and had a sister who still lived in Northam. Her sister moved to Barnstaple after this date, and died there in 1951.

If anything, the story of Phoebe is even more interesting. When she was a young girl of 14, she was convicted of attempting to murder her father. Her father, as mentioned above, brought up his family in Guernsey, where he worked as a butcher and a publican. At this time, he was separated from his wife, and he would often leave Phoebe alone at the bar, which she hated. Eventually, she struck up a relationship with a soldier, and they both decided to run away. However, her father found out about this before they had the opportunity to do so, and gave Phoebe a serious thrashing. In retaliation, Phoebe attempted to murder her father by poisoning his tea with oxalic acid. William felt nauseous after sipping it, and decided not to drink it. Apparently, there was enough oxalic acid in the tea to kill three or four people. Phoebe was sentenced to two years’ hard labour for her crime, and was widely reported in the national press at the time.

Phoebe died in Barnstaple in 1951.


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‘Connections’ – Lt.-Col. John Mervin Cutcliffe, C.B. (1778- 1822).

The Cutcliffes were a well-to-do North Devon family, probably descended from the fifteenth century Thomas Cutliff of Hartland. They acquired the estate of Damage Barton, near Ilfracombe in about 1505, and later Lee Manor at Lee Bay, and, amongst other properties, eventually acquired Weach Barton in Westleigh, near Bideford.

Two of John’s ancestors were of note: his grandfather, Charles Cutcliffe, was one of the first pupils of Bideford Grammar School, under the tutelage of Rev. Zachariah Mudge, and went on to become a solicitor in Bideford, but, after his father’s death, decided to take up the life of a country squire; and Charles Newall Cutcliffe, who was also a Bideford solicitor and one of the founding partners of North Devon’s first bank, which opened in 1791, under the name of ‘Cutcliffe, Roche, Gribble and Co’, but more commonly known as ‘The Old Bank’.

John, however, chose the Army for his career. He was born at Alverdiscott, near Bideford, in 1778, but resided in his early years at the family estate at Westleigh.

He had a distinguished military career.

He entered the Army in 1800, as a Cornet in the 23rd Light Dragoons. In 1801, he was made a Lieutenant, and in the same year took part in the Egyptian Campaign, which successfully cut off Napoleon’s troops in Egypt. In 1804, he was made a Captain, and from 1809 onwards, he served in Portugal and Spain in the Peninsular War, and was present at the Battle of Talevera, near Madrid. This battle was both bloody and inconclusive. The 23rd suffered serious casualties: 207 killed, wounded and missing, and 105 captured, giving them a 70% casualty rate. He was promoted to Major in 1813, and he accompanied his regiment in the campaign on the eastern coast of Spain, before taking part in the operations in the Netherlands.

Here, he was present at the Battle of Quatre Bras on the 16 June 1815, the action at Genappe on the 17 June, and then on the 18 June, he commanded the 23rd Light Dragoons at the Battle of Waterloo.

According to one source, he was seriously wounded early on in the day, and on the recommendation of the Duke of Wellington, was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel. A few days later, he was awarded the Turkish Order of the Crescent for his services in Egypt, and on the 22 June was made a Companion of the Order of the Bath.

The most interesting aspect of his story, however, is how he came to be in command of his regiment, the 23rd, at the Battle of Waterloo.

This was originally the post of the Earl of Portarlington. However, he decided to go into nearby Brussels on the eve of the battle for some entertainment, but on his way back, found himself caught up in the traffic of troops and supplies moving towards the battlefield, on the one hand, and civilians evacuating the scene to avoid the fighting, on the other. Heavy rain fell that night, only compounding the situation, and the whole area became a quagmire.

The Earl made it back in time to take part in the battle, joining the 18th Hussars, with whom he fought valiantly, but he was unable to rejoin his own regiment, so his second-in command, John Cutcliffe, had to take his place.

The Earl was ashamed of what had happened, but in spite of a letter of support and encouragement  and the gift of a snuff box from John Cutcliffe and his fellow officers in the 23rd, the Earl drank and drugged himself to an early death soon afterwards, having been reduced to living in a hovel in London.

At the end of the war, regiments were either reduced in size or disbanded, and the 23rd Light Dragoons was one of the first to be disbanded, perhaps because of the stigma attached to this incident.

In the meantime, John had married, in April 1808, the Honorable Charlotte Talbot, daughter of Baroness Talbot de Malahide, but died without issue in 1822 at Westleigh, where he is now buried.

The Battle of Waterloo ensured that no single power would dominate continental Europe militarily for many years to come, and led to a century of relative peace in Europe. This month ,of course, marks the bicentenary of the Battle of Waterloo, one of the most significant in British history.


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One hundred years ago : June 1915.

The Gazette was proud to announce that 2nd class Air Mechanic J E Prance of the Royal Flying Corps has been awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal for gallant conduct and valuable service. He assisted in repairing an aeroplane, which had been forced to descend near the firing line whilst being heavily shelled. The repair was successful and the plane flew again the following morning. Newly promoted 1st class Air Mechanic Prance is the eldest of the four sons of Mr S. Prance, the Bideford Harbourmaster.

Following the death of Henry Ascott JP,the licensee of the New Inn, his executors have instructed J. J. Braddick to sell by auction a unique and extensive collection of carriages and stable paraphernalia from the ‘New Inn’ stables. Among the vehicles advertised are 6 varnished Brakes, two of them with detachable hoods, and the two largest able to carry over 20 passengers each. There are also 2 Landaus, 2 Victorias, a waggonette, 2 dog-carts, a colt-brake and various luggage carts, as well as an extensive range of harness and tack. Mr. Ascott had been the licensee from 1878 until 1914 when it was transferred to Richard G. Court. The manageress in 1915 was Miss Light.

Including the New Inn there are 5 Bideford hotels which continue to advertise in the Gazette each week –

The Royal Hotel is under new management. The manageress is Miss Constable and the telephone number is Bideford 5. A charge of 6d per person is made to visitors wishing to view the famous Kingsley Suite with its panelled rooms and unique ceilings. The charge does not apply to hotel residents and those taking meals in the hotel.

The Hillgarden Hotel was situated in Mill Street. The proprietor, Mr W G Pearce, advertises a photographic dark-room for the use of guests and boasts that it is the only hotel in Bideford with a Bowling Green attached.

The Proprietor of the Kingsley Hotel on the Quay was Mr George Radford, but no proprietor is given for Tanton’s Hotel.

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


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One hundred years ago : May 1915.

At the Annual meeting of the Bideford Workhouse Guardians it was announced that 26 meetings were held during the year and only 4 of the elected Guardians had attended all meetings. Some had only been present at 10 meetings and one person had only made one attendance. The War has had an effect on the number of tramps calling overnight, falling from 80 the previous year to 37 and the numbers of men fully employed or going off to fight has caused the casual numbers to fall from 2220 to 1548.

Over the Whitsun holidays, May 22/23rd, traffic has fallen by a half. No railway excursions were run and with over 3,000 men from North Devon off to war families stayed at home.

George Boyle, Motor Cycle and Bicycle agent of Allhalland Street and Queen Street, warns of a “dearth of bicycles” due to the scarcity of raw materials and shortages of manpower.

Recruiting at Bideford is quoted as being similar to or better than other towns. 540 men have enlisted and have gone to the Devonshire Territorials who are now garrisoned in India, or to the Devon Yeomanry who are defending the east coast against possible invasion. A recruiting march was organised around North Devon which stopped overnight in Bideford. 130 men were recruited into the 6th Battalion Devonshire Regiment but more are needed. Currently there are 370 men between the ages of 18 and 38, fit or unfit, in the town. There is reluctance to volunteer, many saying that they will “Go if conscripted but not voluntarily”. Tattersill’s, the grocers in the town, had the advertisement (as shown) during May which seemed to reflect this growing unease generated by the war.

In other news:

For Sale at Pines Lane Bideford, 16 acres of luxuriant grass and farming implements together with one Guernsey cow in full milk. Offered by the Executors of the late H Arscott JP.

The town water supply is giving concern again. Supply is dwindling and Bideford Urban District councillors are debating whether to turn off the supply overnight.

Farleigh’s Stores in High Street are selling “tempting little breakfast hams” at 7d a pound. Miss A Littlejohns of York Cottage will give lessons in the new method of “Touch” typing.

Bideford & District Community Archive, Windmill Lane, Northam. Tel: 01237 471714


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Time capsules and the Port Memorial.

Saturday April 11th saw an interesting event on the Quay when the restored Port Memorial and Ornamental Gardens were re- opened by the Mayor following refurbishment.

Councillor David Howell had also organised a ceremony with the Sea Scouts to bury a time capsule containing items from local groups and organisations within the town, (including 4 years worth of Bideford Buzz on a memory stick.) The plan is that the capsule will be excavated in 30 years time and will give a snapshot of life in Bideford in 2015.

Councillor Peter Christie described the history of the Port Memorial, which commemorates how Bideford regained its port status in 1925 after losing it in 1882. This was echoed in an historical description by the Town Crier.

A rather wonderful terracotta mural has been designed and built by ceramicist Maggie Curtis, and this now forms part of the memorial. Maggie writes ;-

‘Being asked to make commemorative plaques for a public memorial is an honour, but daunting, especially when my knowledge of the history of Bideford Port was sketchy at best. However the research was fascinating; I found out why Harry Juniper called Peter’s Marland clay “pipe clay”, why, when on holiday in Portugal in 1967 at the Cascois’ Fiesta, the prize for the Greasy pole was a salt cod, and why there are so many Americans visiting the North Devon Maritime Museum in Appledore.

I decided to show Bideford’s mercantile shipping history by depicting two illustrated trade maps. Bideford’s shipbuilding industry played a crucial part in enabling Bideford’s merchants to trade, so I researched and found named Bideford-built ships throughout the history of both Tobacco and Salt Cod  and used them to represent the development of each trade and their subsidiary cargos.’

Interestingly Bideford has two other time capsules in place. Just at the entrance to Victoria Park is the Millennium Time Capsule, buried there in 2000. Another little book, ‘Secrets of Bideford’ (available at Bideford Library) describes the burying of art works in the fabric of the Quay when the flood defence scheme was completed.

Future generations of Bidefordians will have plenty of archive material to peruse!



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Felicity’s sustainable fish cookery : May.

There are two Bank Holidays in May and lots of opportunity to eat local sustainable fish and shellfish. The long days enable the fishermen to start catching more regularly and the shellfish pots are all out now, enabling a wide variety of fish to be be available.Here is a simple fish curry that is quick to make and you can eat in a bowl outside or feed a a crowd if you have visitors for the holidays.

Thai Fish Curry


2-3 tbsp red Thai curry paste.

2.5 cm piece fresh root ginger, peeled and finely chopped.

50g cashew nuts.

400ml can coconut milk.

3 carrots cut in batons.

1 broccoli head, cut into florets.

20g fresh coriander, roughly chopped.

2 handfuls of spinach leaves and /or ransons (wild garlic), chopped.

250g White fish skinned and cubed –Hake or Pollack is a good local choice.


1. Put curry paste into a large pan, add the ginger and nuts and stir fry over a medium heat for 2-3mins.

2. Add coconut milk, cover and bring to the boil. Stir in the carrots, then reduce the heat and simmer for 5mins. Add the broccoli florets and simmer for a further 5 mins.

3. Cut the fillets of fish into cubes, add and simmer gently until the vegetables are tender-no more than 10 mins.

4.Take off heat and stir in the coriander and lime zest into the pan with the spinach or wild garlic.Squeeze the lime juice over and serve with boiled rice and garnishwith coriander leaves -Simple!!

There are more Summer Festivals with a Fish/Water theme. The Appledore Fish Summer School group has a stall at the Northam May Fair and the Bradworthy Arts Festival. Please come and find out about the Events and buy some fish for tea!

Felicity Sylvester.


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