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A North Devon Chronology
By Peter Christie
The Heritage Album: 175 years in North Devon
Reproduced courtesy of the North Devon Journal
- A meeting is held in Barnstaple by the British Gas Light
Company to discuss lighting the town with gas.
- A new lace factory is begun at South Molton by Maunder &
Son following a pattern set two years earlier in Barnstaple when
lace manufacturers from the Midlands, fleeing an outbreak of
machine-breaking by mobs fearful of losing their jobs, came to the
more peaceful North Devon.
- Lord Rolle lays the foundation stone at Beam House for an
aqueduct designed to carry his new canal from Bideford to
- A dog-fight at Bradiford, just outside Barnstaple attracts
nearly 200 people to view this barbaric 'sport'.
- 'The Circus of Mr Powel and the Amphitheatre of Mr Samuel'
appear at Barnstaple Fair.
- A new Baptist chapel is opened in Boutport Street.
- Lee's Company of Comedians play in the Corn Market in
- At South Molton a Public Reading Society is founded 'the design
of which was to procure a collection of Books of acknowledged
merit, and on general subjects, by the subscription of one penny
per week from each of the members.' This appears to have been the
first public library in North Devon.
- The foundation stone of the North Devon Infirmary, the first
public hospital in the area, is laid on a site opposite what later
became Rock Park.
- The spinning factory of Mr Reed, at Red Bridge is completely
destroyed by fire.
- At Bideford an area of marshland that was later to become
Victoria Park is embanked.
- The Journal recounts how a 'strata of bones, of a
dimension much larger than those of any animal at present
inhabiting this country', had been found at Baggy Point near
- In Bideford 300 men and horses of the 14th Regiment of Dragoons
board their transport ships en route to Ireland.
- A subscription list is started to build a new chapel at Newport
- A 'Grand Match of Cock-fighting' was held at Atherington.
- Tenders were invited for the rebuilding of South Molton
- At Bideford the pannier market is roofed over for the first
time 'which will afford great accommodation to the public.'
- Also at Bideford a new road is to be constructed between
Orchard Hill and the building that until recently was the
- Torrington is visited by a migration agent seeing how many
glovemakers might be 'induced to accompany him to the South America
settlement of Rio de La Plata, where a most extensive trade in the
glove business is in contemplation, in consequence of the great
number of cattle with which that region abounds.'
- A field in Barnstaple near the new Derby lace factory of about
an acre is sold to a speculative builder 'at the astonishing price
of £2,000.' This later became Union Street.
- Clovelly pier is washed away thus throwing the future of the
village's thriving herring fishery into doubt.
- The Bideford Bridge Trust erect lights along the Quay.
- Sir John Williams of Clovelly announces he is to rebuild the
pier 'to the great joy of the inhabitants of that place.'
- An odd folk belief is exposed when a man is committed to gaol
in Barnstaple 'for begging pence, under pretence of having
epileptic fits, for which a ring purchased with money so obtained,
is held by some superstitious people as an infallible cure.'
- The foundation stone of the new enlarged South Molton church is
- John King of Welcombe is fined the immense sum of £150
for smuggling brandy and gin.
- Lord Rolle is pushing ahead with his new canal from Bideford to
Torrington ordering that '500 trees that are in the line are to be
taken down, and two lime kilns, for the service of the farmers, are
to be built.'
- In opening a family grave at Frithelstock to inter a new body a
skeleton is found in its coffin 'but with its face downwards'
suggesting that the unfortunate person had been buried alive. The
reporter commented very oddly 'Happily for those who assisted at
the obsequies... length of time removed them from the possibility
of any painful reflection.'
- The new Barnstaple Guildhall is 'opened for business'.
- Whilst a steam ship was under construction to run a regular
service between Bristol and Bideford, it is noted that many seamen
at Appledore were 'left in a destitute state' owing to the decline
of sailing craft.
- A call goes up in Barnstaple for street lighting 'for the
prevention of vice and immorality.'
- Grace Bowden of Tawstock has her third illegitimate child - and
is gaoled for six months as 'a loose and disorderly woman'.
- The Exeter-Bideford coach crashes at Huntshaw and one man is
- Bray Mills at Chittlehampton are burnt down by an unknown
- A woman called Maddix comes to Bideford Market from Lundy and
gives birth to twins at Hoops Inn on her way home.
- Six new bells cast by Mr Taylor of Buckland Brewer are
installed at Combe Martin church.
- Public notice is given that boys playing with a bat and ball in
Barnstaple's streets will in future be put in the stocks.
- A cricket match is held between the North Devon Club and the
'Gentlemen of Teignbridge' - which the latter wins.
- Richard Pugsley a worker at the Rawleigh Lace Mill in
Barnstaple is sentenced to one month on the treadmill as an example
'in order to repress the spirit of insubordination, which is so
dangerously prevalent among the junior classes.'
- Hot and cold seawater baths are built in Bideford where the
Town Hall now stands.
- At Combe Martin a marriage between 64-year-old John Irwin and
18-year-old Elizabeth Gubb attracts a huge crowd with some people
wearing 'huge ram's horns, the tips whereof were glittering with
- It is decided to build a new market hall at Appledore.
- A baby is abandoned in Barnstaple and christened with the name
- The new market at Appledore is opened.
- Smallpox is spreading in Torrington after being brought in by
the child of a blind beggar. In Barnstaple the same disease is
killing many children.
- The body of a Mr Parr is exhumed at Winkleigh to prove that his
widow had not sold it to a surgeon for dissection.
- The 'Rout Beggar' of Barnstaple - whose job it was to move
vagrants on - is dismissed for inefficiency.
- The foundation stone of a new prison costing £1,000 is
laid by Mayor at South Molton whilst the town band plays during the
- A ship moored alongside Bideford Quay tilts over and its mast
smashes the roof of Mr Wickham a sail maker.
- Bideford parish officials are to stop poor relief payments to
any recipients found in a pub.
- At Torrington the dead body of a man is dug up and taken to
prison to pressurise his family into paying some debts the deceased
never paid. The Journal article is headed 'Caution to
- Maunder's Wool and Lace factory at South Molton is completely
destroyed by a huge fire which could be seen 20 miles away.
- The North Devon Infirmary announces the construction of a ward
for 'infectious or offensive patients.'
- John Gibbon marries Maria Couch at Braunton - after he had been
arrested and brought forcibly to the church in order to save the
expense of looking after her illegitimate child.
- A passenger boat travelling from Appledore to Barnstaple sinks
and William Oatway and four others drown.
- A Coroner's inquest hears how two boys, Conebier and Ward, were
burnt to death in a lime kiln at Chittlehampton.
- A Welshman attends the committee meeting of the North Devon
Infirmary claiming to be a bodysnatcher and offering bodies for
surgeons to dissect.
- Prixford Methodist Chapel is opened as is another in
- Mr Giddings begins building the new Braunton to Barnstaple road
and at Beaford Lord Rolle's new road is opened.
- The annual inspection of the Barnstaple fire brigade finds it
to be decrepit and with no buckets. The 17 fire fighters are paid
£1 a year but do very little.
- At the annual licensing court the magistrates 'took occasion to
animadvert in strong terms on a demoralising system which prevails
in almost every village in this neighbourhood, namely of holding a
Revel annually on Sunday, and expressed their determination to
withhold the certificates of those landlords, who, in future,
promote or encourage such scenes of disgrace, riot and
- At Roborough George Cudmore and his lover Sarah Dunn are
arrested for murdering George's wife Grace with poison.
- Watermouth House in Berrynarbor is offered for letting.
- The shop window of Mr Launbridge of Torrington is smashed and
watches stolen by unknown thieves.
- The first estate agency is established in North Devon when J.
Ormond opens his office in High Street, Barnstaple. He had 14 sets
of lodgings and 10 houses on offer.
- Two rustlers are apprehended at Mariansleigh, one of whom is
dressed in women's clothes in an effort to avoid suspicion.
- New iron gates are erected at the entrance to St Peter's
churchyard in Barnstaple.
- The new Braunton-Barnstaple road is opened.
- The old workhouse in Bideford (today's Royal Hotel) is put up
- George Tucker the warrener of Braunton Burrows charges Francis
Drake with poaching.
- All the wheeled vehicles in Bideford are used to carry electors
to Exeter to vote - including a hearse.
- The newly built church spire at Torrington is completed and one
of the builders, Squire, does a handstand on top of it.
- Tenders are invited to build a bridge over the River Yeo at
- Lord Rolle is to build a sea wall alongside his land at
- An arson attack at Pilton stokes fears of rioting over wages
spreading from the Midlands. In Barnstaple 120 special constables
are sworn in whilst the Rawleigh lace factory workers go on strike.
Riots occur in various parts of North Devon.
- George Goff and Thomas Roughcliffe of Swimbridge are sent to
Exeter prison for leading the local riots.
- Many new beer shops and pubs are opened in North Devon
following the relaxation of the licensing laws.
- A Mr Bussell dies whilst in the North Devon Infirmary but after
anonymous letters are circulated his grave is opened and shown to
be empty. His body is found being dissected in the hospital
- Mr Slooman's farmhouse at Ruge in Tawstock collapses during a
storm and two occupants are killed.
- Two ships carrying 202 emigrants to North America set off from
Bideford to the cheers of 5,000 people lining the Quay.
- A parliamentary election is held in North Devon but the
electorate is still extremely small.
- The Barnstaple postmaster Mr Jones complains of the
inconvenience from houses not being regularly numbered. The
Corporation order that numbering is to be done from the East end of
- The North Devon Races are established at Youlston Old Park and
F Hodgson MP gives a silver plate worth £50 as a prize.
- A series of well-attended meetings in favour of the reform of
Parliament is held in South Molton, Torrington, Ilfracombe and
Barnstaple and resolutions and petitions sent to the King. The
first Reform Bill presented to Parliament is defeated.
- Cholera breaks out in Britain and at a public meeting in
Barnstaple a Board of Health is formed whose first job is to clean
up the streets of the town.
- A smuggler's boat is captured at Ilfracombe after a local man
gives information to the Customs Officers. His neighbours make an
effigy of him and publicly burn it
- A duel takes place in Barnstaple when two solicitors, Charles
Roberts and Mr Clay meet at Pottington Marsh and fire pistols at
each other. Clay is wounded in the knee. This is the last duel in
- George Furze is put in the stocks for six hours at South Molton
for 'disorderly conduct' on Christmas Day.
- A packed meeting in Northam protests about the attempt by
Augustus Willett, Lord of the Manor, to take over Northam Burrows.
At Torrington another meeting is held to raise funds to defend men
accused of cutting wood on Torrington Common which Lord Rolle
claimed as his - the case is dismissed.
- Three men from Appledore are transported to Australia for seven
years for burglary which is said to be very common in the village
owing to the want of Christian education and a resident
- The Reform Act is passed giving the vote to a lot of new (male)
voters and celebrations are held across North Devon - except in
South Molton where a public meeting censures the corporation for
their refusal to provide any money for the rejoicings.
- A new church is opened at Stoke Rivers replacing the old one
which has been demolished.
- An American timber ship arrives at Barnstaple with 'striking
masts' which lower as it goes under the Bridge - the first time
this has ever been seen in the town.
- The first election with the new enlarged electorate approaches
and 'Householders of the Labouring Class' in Barnstaple allegedly
promise not to patronise any Tory shopkeepers
- A meeting is held at Winkleigh to discuss the plans for a
- New Wesleyan chapels are opened at Torrington and
- A new Baptist chapel erected by John Miller of the Derby lace
factory is opened in Boutport Street near Pilton Bridge.
- Gas pipes are laid throughout Barnstaple.
- The Surprise of Chepstow is wrecked at Lynmouth and
looters are driven off by armed Customs Officers.
- The new Barnstaple-Bideford coastal road through Instow is
- The warehouse, barns and stables of Mr Hitchcock, a woollen
manufacturer of East Street, South Molton, are destroyed in a
possible arson attack - a second fire breaks out there a week
- The Eclipse steamer arrives at Lynton and is said to be
the first such vessel to do so.
- After a robbery in Barnstaple the thief James Knill is trailed
to Littleham where he is arrested at his wedding breakfast.
- Mr Graham an aeronaut fails in his attempt to take to the skies
in his balloon at Barnstaple. He claims that the town gas works
could not provide enough gas for his needs.
- Tenders are invited for the building of a new theatre in
- Also in the town four vagrants are gaoled 'from those filthy
haunts, the lodging houses of Green Lane.'
- The Derby lace workers go on strike complaining about their
10¾-hour day (for a six-day week); they return after several
weeks after having formed North Devon's first trade union.
- Street lamps are erected in South Molton by order of the
- The Elizabeth of Liverpool, an East India Company ship,
is wrecked on Northam Burrows and its cargo is protected by Customs
Officers backed by local Yeomanry Cavalry. The crew are rescued by
the Appledore lifeboat.
- William Jenkins of Marwood dies and his wife is widowed for the
third time in six years yet she is still only 26.
- The herring fishery of Clovelly fails so the Rev Kingsley
(father of Charles) declines to take any tithe payments from the
- Christopher Lock, a stonemason from Marwood, attempts to sell
his wife in Barnstaple Market. He is gaoled and his wife is thrown
out of the town.
- The tailors of Barnstaple strike for more money as the new
fashions demand more work and their pay hasn't risen in line with
- The foundation stone of a new Independent chapel is laid at
- The Torridge steamer is launched at Appledore.
- A man called Tyte stands up in St Peter's church in Barnstaple
during a service and announces he is the messiah - which causes
many women to faint.
- Bickington revel features a 'greasy maypole' with a joint of
mutton at the top; in trying to climb it a man falls off and is
- New school rooms costing £900 are opened at South
- The new theatre opens in Barnstaple during Fair Week with a
production of Speed the Plough.
- A labourer at Witheridge drinks 144 pints of cider over six
days whilst mowing grass.
- Martha Burnard a widowed businesswoman at Bideford goes
bankrupt owing £15,000.
- The foundation stone of a 'British School' is laid at
- It is noted that 'the fashionable boroughs of Pilton and
Newport' both now have post-offices - as does Swimbridge.
- Mr Huet, a dancing teacher of Barnstaple married a Miss
Collier. Her parents object to the marriage and hold her captive
after the wedding but her new husband rescues her with the help of
two constables and a solicitor.
- A daily penny post is established between Ilfracombe and Combe
- A shop burglary in Barnstaple gives rise to the comment 'This
event has revived the often agitated question of the establishment
of a nightly police in this town, a protection which its enlarged
population imperiously demands.'
- Large areas of Arlington and Loxhore are flooded during heavy
- A young woman of South Molton offers herself as a wet nurse -
she has a 'good Breast of Milk.'
- A new 'British and Foreign' School is opened at
- A large fire in the 'Beehive' in the Square, South Molton kills
- Lectures are held in Barnstaple on phrenology (reading a
person's character from the bumps on their head).
- Two men sinking a new well at the Fortescue Arms Hotel in
Barnstaple blow themselves up with their own gunpowder.
- John Parkin applies to open a wineshop in Braunton but is
turned down as the parish already has eight pubs plus 'an immense
number of beer-shops'.
- The Combe Martin and North Devon Mining Company is to erect a
new steam engine at their mine.
- November 5th is celebrated in Barnstaple by rolling lighted tar
barrels down the High Street.
- The setting up of allotments in Combe Martin has been very
successful with 96 families now working them.
- Tenders are invited to build a new workhouse in Barnstaple to
hold 300 paupers.
- Barnstaple Town Council decide to employ three men as 'general
police officers' (watchmen in all but name) and to set up a police
station in one of the shops under the Guildhall.
- A riot takes place at Sheepwash over the workings of the new
Poor Law following which five ringleaders are taken to Exeter gaol
under a guard provided by the North Devon Yeomanry Cavalry. They
are each gaoled for three months. Riots also occur in other
- Bideford is lighted with gas lamps and Torrington votes to do
- The Bideford Mendicity Society is established to help
distressed travellers and 'unmask impostors'.
- The child of a local vicar falls ill and two doctors fail to
cure it so the father calls in a 'seventh son' to use white
- A Barnstaple Town Council committee reports on the possibility
of building a new riverside road - Taw Vale Parade.
- The foundation stone of a new Church of England chapel at
Appledore is laid.
- An early tourist to the area, Miss Mary Webster, topples off
the donkey she is riding near Watersmeet at Lynmouth and after
hanging over a 60ft drop for some time falls to her death in the
- Roe and Facey's steam mills at Westeombe, Bideford are put up
- At Berrynarbor the local clergy lock the churchyard gates to
prevent wrestling and bowling taking place there - the locals are
- South Molton Town Council cuts the wages of its officers in
order to save money.
- Barnstaple Town Council apply to Parliament for an Act to cut a
canal from the Long Bridge to Fremington Pill - and to build a
railway along the same route.
- The first Registrars of Births, Marriages and Deaths are
appointed in North Devon.
- George Thorne - aged 9 years - is transported to Australia for
the theft of just under £2. The judge in sentencing him said
it was for his own good as he would 'be led on to further crimes,
till he came to an ignominious end.'
- A pauper woman in Pilton, Ann Lock, dies of starvation; the
inquest jury blames the Poor Law officers for their
- The authorities in Barnstaple print a list of paupers receiving
'parish relief' and put it on the church doors for all to see.
- All three lace factories in Barnstaple are closed owing to a
lack of orders - 'It is painful to see so many industrious
mechanics strolling about the streets unemployed.'
- Seventeen-year-old Fanny Acland of Torrington attempts suicide
after being rescued by her mother from a brothel in
- The Journal is published with black borders to
mark the death of William IV. The accession of Victoria is marked
by local councils handing out free drinks - which leads to
drunkenness at Appledore and South Molton.
- The Ilfracombe Hot and Cold Baths (with their own tunnels to
the sea) are offered for letting.
- Thomas Welsford, a lunatic, murders 4-year-old Thomas Ray at
- A coroner hearing a case of suicide at Atherington orders the
body to be buried between the hours of 9 and 12 at night.
- The Ilfracombe mail coach is involved in an accident near
Blatchford Mill owing to the drunkenness of the driver.
- The Mayor of South Molton refuses to let the Barnstaple Theatre
Company perform in his town. The Journal reports 'It
would be well for the cause of public morals if this conduct of the
chief magistrate of South Molton were more generally adopted.'
- An inaugural meeting for a Total Abstinence Society is held in
Barnstaple - 40 people turn up. Within a month it has 123 members
and a branch in Appledore. A shop underneath Barnstaple Guildhall
is let to the Society as a coffee shop.
- A teetotallers' meeting held in Derby, Barnstaple, is broken up
- The Shakespeare Tavern in Barnstaple is sold along with its
'commodious Racket Court'.
- Horse racing on Northam Burrows is advertised in the
- James Oakew of Shebbear is arrested in Bideford with two live
ducks and five chickens hidden in his trouser pockets.
- Tenders are invited by the Combe Martin Turnpike Trust to run
- Queen Victoria is crowned and celebrations are held throughout
- Edward Davie, Secretary of the North Devon Infirmary and North
Devon Friendly Institution hangs himself in his office just before
his 'irregular' accounting methods are exposed.
- The new Appledore Church of England chapel is consecrated.
- The Barnstaple cattle market occupies the whole of Boutpart
Street and extends half way up High Street.
- The 'calculating prodigy' son of Mr Hogg, a druggist of
Bideford, goes to school in Manchester.
- Two hundred men attend the inaugural meeting of the South
Molton Working Men's Association.
- A new Wesleyan chapel is opened at Instow taking the place of
one at Worlington.
- Mr Scott 'the celebrated American diver' dives off the top mast
of ships in Barnstaple harbour and thrills the crowds who
- Ilfracombe is lit by gas and gas lamps replace the feeble light
at Ilfracombe lighthouse.
- Four hundred teetotallers parade through Barnstaple accompanied
by their own brass band. The report notes that 'as they paraded the
streets it was gratifying to make out among them many whose decent
and healthful appearance contrasted strongly with the wretchedness
and want which were betrayed in their circumstances but a few
months ago, while they all were under the influence of intemperate
habits.' A similar march in Ilfracombe is booed.
- Barnstaple Town Council send in a letter of support for Rowland
Hill's idea of a penny postal system.
- The seamen of Appledore go on strike for higher wages.
- At Bideford a fight in the Market Place over politics leads to
the death of one man.
- Devon cattle are exported from Appledore to the USA.
- The Rev Henry Luxmoore, vicar of Barnstaple, is charged in a
breach of promise case. He had courted Elizabeth Irwin for 13 years
and then married another. She wins damages of £400.
- A special meeting of Barnstaple Town Council hears that their
police force is inefficient and that proportionately the town has
more prostitutes than London.
- A poor man in Barnstaple asks the Overseers of the Poor for
£20 to emigrate to Australia with his wife and six children -
the Overseers give him £25 as they are so keen to lower
- William Prust of Westleigh is awarded a prize for bringing up
12 chilidren without any parish relief money.
- A letter from the USA arrives in Barnstaple after just 16 days
- a new record.
- A school for children of non-conformists is established in
- The new Cross Street Chapel in Barnstaple is opened.
- The Ilfracombe gaslighter fails to light the town lamps as he
- Two surgeons Francis Ridd of Barnstaple and James Lister of
South Molton are bound over in sureties of £100 not to
settle' a point of medical etiquette' by a duel.
- At Bideford 'young fellows' lift all the paving stones in
Grenville Street and pile them up in the middle of the road.
- Eight houses are burnt down in an arson attack at South Molton
but no-one is arrested.
- Supt Steele of Barnstaple charges John Ellis of the Bull Inn
with allowing 'the worst scene of vice he had ever witnessed in the
town.' Ellis is fined £3.
- A fire on Codden Hill threatens Bishops Tawton but is stopped
just in time.
- A new market house is to be erected at Hatherleigh.
- Anonymous threatening letters are sent round Chulmleigh and 'a
watch' is to be instituted to catch the writer.
- Some 172 members of the Bratton Fleming Sick Club march through
the village on their way to the Bratton Down 'sporting
- At a wrestling match at Ilfracombe, Collings throws Jewell
'with so much violence to the ground that his neck was
- The Journal reports on a riot in Barnstaple when
a 1,000-strong mob of women threaten to destroy a merchant's house
unless he sells his stock of potatoes to them cheaply. The Mayor
buys all the vegetables and sells them to the women at cost
- Joseph Hodge of South Molton dies after his illness is treated
by 'an irregular practitioner' (a white witch).
- A new North Devon Cricket Club is formed at Instow.
- Lundy Island is sold for 9,400 guineas and is said to be famous
for its butter.
- A vein of quicksilver is discovered under Torrington Square and
a local man 'silvers' a mirror with it.
- Copper and gold are discovered at North Molton.
- Gangs of knife wielding boys are said to be infesting
- A vagrant crawls into the limekiln in Barnstaple Square for
warmth - his roasted body is found the next moming.
- In a period of high seasonal unemployment labourers are
employed on repairing the walls and riverbanks in Barnstaple to
give them money for food.
- Roger Leach, Governor of the South Molton Workhouse, is sacked
after he impregnates one of the inmates, Elizabeth Holmes.' Rumour
attributes to him several other similar cases of disgusting
- The Postmaster of Barnstaple John Harding is declared
- Moses Roper, an escaped American slave, talks about his
experiences in a crowded meeting at Cross Street chapel in
- Jane Willis, a thief, escapes from Bideford prison with help
from her family. She is re-arrested at her father's house in
Yarnscombe and transported to Australia.
- The foundations of Bishops Tawton school are laid in a corner
of the churchyard.
- Watersmeet Cottage at Lynmouth is offered for sale.
- A letter to the Journal suggests Lundy would make
an ideal prison.
- William Gabriel, one of the Barnstaple beadles, is fined five
shillings (25p) for being so drunk he had to be taken to the police
station in a wheelbarrow.
- Thomas Chanter builds his 50ft high 'signal tower' at
- William Litson, William Morris and Elizabeth Leverton of
Barnstaple are charged with blackmailing a 'respectable inhabitant'
with charges of being a homosexual. The two men are transported to
Australia for 20 years and the woman for 15.
- The foundation stone of Torrington's Pannier Market is
- The Ilfracombe Vestry meeting ends in uproar after an attempt
to stop payments for the lighting of the town is defeated.
- A meeting of the Braunton Teetotallers' Society ends in a fight
between pro and anti drinkers.
- Jane Miller, wife of the owner of the Derby lace factory in
Barnstaple, dies aged 40 giving birth to her ninth child.
- South Molton hire their first policeman, Supt Fowler, direct
from the Metropolitan Police.
- Tenders are invited to build a new three-arch bridge South of
- The National Working Men's Association in Barnstaple circulate
a petition demanding votes for all 1,400 signatures are
- At Torrington 'A vast number of families in this town and
neighbourhood are making preparations to emigrate to America.'
- Supt Steele of Barnstaple investigates the theft of the church
plate at Tawstock.
- A traveller from Ilfracombe manages to arrive in London in just
- In Barnstaple the North Gate is to be demolished and the Blue
Coat School housed there given new premises.
- A plate weighing 5lbs made of Combe Martin silver is displayed
to prove the mines are flourishing.
- The Mayor and council of Barnstaple go on an 'Aquatic
Excursion' down the Taw and have a picnic - the leftovers are given
to the poor.
- The new iron gates to Torrington Market are made by Richard
Baker, a blacksmith in the town.
- Barnstaple Town Council write to the Queen pledging their
loyalty after an unsuccessful assassination attempt.
- A new bridge is being built over the River Mole and the South
Molton to Tiverton road to replace a damaged one.
- A service at the Wesleyan chapel in Barnstaple is disrupted
when a 'trickster' lets a black cat loose.
- A subscription is opened at Ilfracombe to build a promenade
around Capstone Hill.
- Torrington Town Council decide to establish a police
- Scarlet fever sweeps Holsworthy and many children die.
- A photographer is at work in Barnstaple, he offers coloured
portraits if required.
- Clay pits at Petrockstow are re-opened, the clay being taken to
- Agnes Priscott does 'penance' by standing in a white sheet
during church service at Heanton Punchardon for slandering
Elizabeth Martin of Heanton Court.
- George Puddington, a 16-year-old worker in the Rawleigh lace
factory has his arm ripped-off in an accident with a machine - he
runs home carrying his severed limb.
- At Ilfracombe prizes are given to the maid servants who had
stayed the longest with the same master and never attended any
place of nonconformist worship.
- At Torrington there is uproar over an allegedly 'Roman
Catholic' stone cross erected on St Michael's church.
- Henry Phillips, a 22-year-old wrestler from Bratton Fleming,
dies after a match at Landkey revel.
- The children of non-conformist parents are expelled from
Taddiport Charity School.
- Queen Victoria sends £5 to James Vernon, a poet of South
Molton, to help pay for an operation on his spine.
- The women who unload the limestone boats at Appledore go on
strike for more money - and win.
- John Pearce the sexton of Broadwoodkelly tries to commit
suicide by leaping off the church tower, he lives but later cuts
- A diving bell is used to raise a wreck off Northam Bar.
- A new chapel is opened in Bear Street, Barnstaple to house a
breakaway group from the Baptists.
- A new Baptist chapel is opened at South Molton.
- Another storey is added to the South Molton Workhouse to
provide a sick ward.
- Sarah Rew prostitute is fined five shillings (25p) for being
drunk and disorderly at North Molton but being unable to pay is put
in the stocks for six hours.
- James Slader, the 15-year-old apprentice of Isaac Start of
Collacott, Fremington, dies of neglect.
- William Bouchier sues the Landkey Friendly Society for 14
shillings (70p) 'sick money' but they refuse, reckoning him to be a
- Amongst the payments listed in the annual report of the North
Devon Hospital are 'leech bills'.
- At Torrington a new road to Plymouth with a bridge over the
River Torridge is opened.
- A display of hypnotism is given in Barnstaple Theatre by Mr
Davey. He repeats it at Appledore Bethel but the Rev Clapp decries
it all as 'nonsense'.
- Henry Drake, Town Clerk of Barnstaple, is declared
- A patient in Barnstaple has a tooth removed whilst
- A man is gored to death by a bull in Barnstaple Cattle
- A boy is gaoled for two weeks in Barnstaple for picking a
flower from a local garden.
- At Ilfracombe Mayday is celebrated with the blowing of rams'
- A mob carry an effigy through Derby, Barnstaple - it is meant
to represent and shame an adulterous woman living there.
- The Rawleigh lace factory closes and the machinery is taken to
- Local coach drivers in North Devon are accused of exceeding the
speed limit of 4mph.
- At Barnstaple Fair 'The Devonshire Dwarf' is on show. Just 36
inches high and 35 years old, he comes from Buckland Brewer.
- Customs Officers from Appledore and Ilfracombe discover 103
'tubs' of brandy sunk at sea and awaiting collection.
- A talk on the 'modern author' Charles Dickens is given at the
Barnstaple Debating Club.
- A Literary and Scientific Institution is established in a house
in Barnstaple Square (it later becomes the North Devon
- Jamin Bartlett, a 14-year-old Barnstaple boy, is cited by
Thomazin Shortridge as the father of her second illegitimate
- At Chittlehampton a 29-year-old woman becomes a grandmother
when her daughter. whom she had aged 14, has a child when aged
- The prospectus for the Barnstaple and Taw Vale Railway is
issued. The North Devon Railway Company issues 31,000 shares but
applications total 220,000.
- A massive landslip occurs at Ilfracombe by the harbour.
- A letter writer points to the need for a roof over South Molton
market to protect the female stallholders.
- A new road to South Molton is to be constructed alongside the
- Isambard Kingdom Brunel visits North Devon to survey the route
of the new railway.
- Seventeen houses are destroyed by fire at South Molton.
- Holy Trinity Church. Barnstaple is consecrated.
- A boy called Marshall is accidentally shot on Lundy.
- In Barnstaple the local Oddfellows process through the town and
then hear a sermon in a non-conformist chapel as the local Church
of England clergymen refuse to allow them in.
- Celebrations mark the opening of a new Quay at Appledore.
- The Mayor comments on 'the misconduct of many of the
apprentices in Barnstaple' before locking John Pugsley up for six
weeks for absconding from his master.
- The roof of St Mary Magdalene's church in Barnstaple is made of
Combe Martin lead.
- The house of Mr Mills, an ironmonger in the Square, Barnstaple,
is destroyed and his son killed when his stock of gunpowder
- At South Molton only a single voter bothers to turn up for the
elections to the Town Council.
- Tenders are invited to build a road from Muddlebridge to
- The first turf is dug on the line of the Taw Vale Railway.
- The Rev Morrice of Clovelly denounces two of his congregation
who marry in the Bideford Registry Office and not in his
- The influx of rail navvies into North Devon threatens to
overwhelm Barnstaple's three-man police force so two extra
'specials' are hired.
- At Abbotsham John Bissett tries to murder Mary Brend. He denies
all knowledge of the attack but is sentenced to transportation 'to
a penal settlement for the term of his natural life.'
- At Ilfracombe smugglers manage to land their cargo of brandy on
the beach after decoying Customs Officers to another site. Tobacco
weighing 1,550lbs and thought to be part of this cargo is seized on
the road from Parracombe to South Molton.
- Mary Parkin of Bratton Fleming is made pregnant by John Britten
who then marries her 18-year-old daughter.
- The Secretary and House Surgeon of the North Devon Infirmary
J.Knox commits suicide with prussic acid on the day his accounts
are to be examined. He is buried at Landkey as the vicar of
Barnstaple refuses to bury him in consecrated land.
- The Bideford policeman resigns and leaves town; it is later
discovered that he has taken £24 of the rates money with
- Barnstaple Town Council try to block the consecration and use
of a new graveyard next to St Mary Magdalene's as it is surrounded
by the houses of workers in the Derby lace factory - they
- James Williams of Tawstock is killed whilst working on the new
railway cutting at Fremington on the same day his wife Ann gives
birth to twins to add to her other six children.
- Winkleigh Steeple Chase is advertised with a list of
- The Playford paper mills at Pilton are burnt to the
- Mr Borlase, a dentist of Barbican Terrace in Barnstaple carries
out the first extraction using anaesthetic in North Devon.
- The Matron of the North Devon Infirmary resigns after she is
caught stealing the hospital's money.
- At Bideford a coach crashes over the Quay and eight passengers
drown. In the same month Bideford's new fire engine crashes into a
coach on its way to the town.
- A second postman is to be employed in Barnstaple.
- At Yarnscombe a large public meeting votes to erect a school in
this 'neglected parish.'
- A barge carrying 144 barrels of Guinness sinks in the River
Taw, 40 barrels disappear and are thought to be secreted in the
- Sam Harbour and two other young men are fined 5s.6d
(27½p) for playing football on Good Friday in
- John Leech, a shoemaker of Barnstaple, sues his
ex-fiancée Ann Veney for the return of £3.10s.0d
worth of gifts he had given her - and wins.
- Rioting over the price of food breaks out in Barnstaple. At
Bideford, South Molton, Northam, Torrington and Ilfracombe special
purchases of flour defuse the situation.
- A Mrs Chappell of Honeywell, Marwood gives birth in a quarry on
her way home - it is her 18th child.
- A bailiff, Lewis Pinkham of Barnstaple, is charged with horse
whipping his wife. She drops the charge when he agrees to pay her
2s.6d per week maintenance.
- The Barnstaple fire engine takes only 17 minutes to arrive at a
fire at Collacott, Fremington - only to find no water available so
the house burns down.
- Councillor Arter of Barnstaple Town Council, who is being
charged with non-payment of rates, moves a motion to do away with
all borough rates.
- At Brendon 87-year-old Thomas Bale has his leg amputated in
three minutes whilst anaesthetised with chloroform. The same drug
is used during a childbirth at Bideford.
- A 'mutual protection' society is formed at Landkey by farmers
anxious to tackle cattle thieves.
- A human skull and coffin boards are found in Gaydon Street,
Barnstaple on the same site as earlier similar discoveries - they
are thought to be plague victims.
- Queen Victoria purchases items made of Combe Martin
- The tradition of 'Lent Shards' (throwing broken pottery at
front doors) leads to fines for seven young men of St Giles and
three from Atherington.
- Braunton appoints its first policeman. John Ockford, who comes
from the Exeter city force.
- Mary Ann Cutcliffe, aged 11, is transported to Australia for
seven years after being found guilty of stealing money in
- Queen Anne's statue in Barnstaple is vandalised.
- News about the French Revolution is pasted up on the walls of
Barnstaple. The Rev Mules of Woolsery suggests the Revolution
should serve as a warning to greedy local landlords.
- Owing to a spate of arson attacks in Chittlehampton the parish
decide to hire a policeman.
- The culm mines at Bideford are reopened under John
- A Poor Law Commissioner arrives in Barnstaple to discuss the
forced emigration of girls aged 13+ from the Workhouse to
- A Mormon 'prophet' appears in Ilfracombe and is accused of
- In Torrington an effigy dressed as a 'papist priest' is found
suspended from a cross on the church roof in an anti-Catholic
- Two cases of 'negative equity' are reported in Fremington - a
problem said to be 'fearful' in North Devon.
- Amongst the Barnstaple beadle's jobs is the locking of the gate
to Butchers' Row at 11 pm every night.
- The removal of babies and infants from mothers in North Devon
Workhouses is suggested so that the women can be put to 'useful and
- The newly rebuilt 'Market Place' in Chulmleigh is opened.
- Mrs Isaac's house near Huntshaw Cross is burgled and her
servant visits the 'White Witch' at Chulmleigh to see if she can
locate the stolen property.
- At Ilfracombe May Day sees all the girls in the town parading
with dolls 'frizzed out in the best style' whilst the boys play
'cow's horns and tin trumpets' all day.
- The repeal of a law which guaranteed jobs for British merchant
seamen is greeted in Appledore by the public burning of an effigy
of the Prime Minister.
- The Ilfracombe Revel with its 'accustomed orgies' is held. A
little later chaos and drunkenness reign during a day trip of 400
tourists from South Wales.
- Torrington celebrates the abandonment of attempts to enclose
- At Braunton Peter Coats strips off and begins preaching in the
street - he is removed to Exminster Lunatic Asylum.
- A Barnstaple councillor suggests that 'aged paupers' from the
Workhouse could sweep the streets thus saving money for the
- The widening of Bideford Bridge is thought necessary owing to
the many omnibuses crashing on it.
- At Braunton the sexton in digging a new grave exposes some
human bones - an old lady takes a tooth from a jawbone believing it
will protect her from toothache.
- An Inquiry into the 'Public Health' of Barnstaple opens, the
evidence it hears is horrifying.
- A writer suggests that there are so many 'Old Maids' in
Ilfracombe that some should be sent to the USA to look for
- A miner named Williams falls 130ft down the shaft of the
Bideford culm mine but survives as he falls into 7ft of water at
- A brothel in Queen Street, Barnstaple, run by Elizabeth
Williams is closed by the police after she annoys the neighbours
- John Lillycrap, a servant at Fremington House (now a nursing
home), shoots his fellow servant Robert Symons and then commits
- A Mr Hanham forms a congregation of the Mormons in South
Molton. The Journal reports on their 'orgies... and
their filthy and obscene conversation' which 'must not be
represented on paper'.
- William Yeo a ratcatcher of Yolland, Swimbridge is accidentally
shot by his blind nine-year-old son.
- The first plate-glass shop windows appear in Bideford.
- Pilton decides to culvert over the open sewer that runs down
the middle of the main street.
- The foundation stone for Bideford's new Town Hall is laid.
- The seven-year-old son of William Denbow of the Castle Inn,
Allhalland Street. Bideford, is said to be a 'calculating
- The old stocks kept in Barnstaple churchyard are so decayed
that someone burns them as useless lumber.
- A 70-ton sloop is launched from Mr Geen's yard at Pottington -
it is the last boat to be built there.
- The present school at Abbotsham is built on the site of the old
- Dennis Kingdon, a lawyer of Torrington, appears at the County
Assizes charged with bigamy having married both Anne Stock and Anne
Shear. He is fined one shilling (5p) after evidence is heard that
his first wife had been blackmailing him for some time.
- A Mrs Franklin gives a public lecture in Bideford on the need
for reform in women's dress - specifically promoting the wearing of
- A woman dies of complications following childbirth in Braunton,
The only help her friends called in came from self-proclaimed
'white wizard' John Harper.
- A public meeting votes to lay sewers from Lake to Ladywell and
- A group of local farmers around Barnstaple club together to buy
two bloodhounds to track down cattle rustlers.
- High Bickington beats Bishops Tawton at skittles - 20 ruts to
- Barnstaple Town Council spend £9.18s on building a hand
cranked treadmill in the borough gaol.
- A fire which burns for 24 hours guts the sail lofts and rope
manufactory of Thomas Evans at Chircombe near Bideford.
- A massive hailstorm hits North Devon on the first day of July
leaving a 3ft deep deposit of hailstones at South Molton.
- Matilda Boswell, who claimed to be the daughter of the 'King of
the Gypsies' dies in a tent by the roadside at Lilford in
Abbotsharn. She is apparently buried on the site. George Boswell,
who claimed to be the 'King', dies and is buried in Swimbridge
- The first paid policeman is appointed at Appledore. He is
sacked two years later after defrauding a local miller.
- The first sod of the North and South Devon Railway is cut at
- A subscription is collected to widen Sandy Lane in Ilfracombe
from Montpelier Terrace to Worth.
- A 50ft long yacht is built in a field at Ilfracombe
three-quarters of a mile from the sea. It is taken to be launched
on a set of wheels.
- Georgeham holds a special church service for the dedication of
'a new musical instrument, called the harmonium.'
- A 6ft long sturgeon is caught in Fremington Weir and is
presented to the Duke of Wellington.
- A new Baptist chapel is opened at Abbotsham. It is said to be
'free of debt'.
- A serious landslip occurs at Lynmouth on the road leading to
- The death of 'the last witch in Bideford' is reported when
Martha Lee dies aged 105 in the town's workhouse.
- A meeting of the Bideford Mutual Improvement Society discusses
the question 'Ought Government to educate the people?'
- Sixty people are about to emigrate to the USA from
- Siamese twins are born at Bishops Nympton, they are joined at
- The basement of the clock tower in Ilfracombe High Street is
converted into a lock-up. The first prisoners to be placed in it
are two drunken sailors.
- The North Devon Railway bridge over the Taw at Bishops Tawton
- The first ceremonial sod is cut of the railway extension to
Bideford from Barnstaple. The work is expected to take nine
- A beaked whale some 23 feet long is beached on Saunton
- James Leach, the 87-year-old beadle of Torrington, attends his
65th Mayor choosing ceremony in his official capacity.
- The two successful candidates in the recent Parliamentary
election for Barnstaple are unseated on charges of bribing the
- A 'sportsman' on Northam Burrows brings down 34 plovers with
- Cholera appears in Barnstaple.
- A young glovemaker from Langtree called Mary Richards is
murdered at Cross Hill, Taddiport, by Llewellyn Harvey a chimney
sweep from Buckland Brewer. He is hung in public in front of Exeter
gaol where 10,000 people turn up to see his execution.
- Charles Kingsley comes to live in Bideford. He hires the house
that later becomes the Stella Maris Convent School.
- A new and much more powerful steam engine is erected at the
Derby lace works in Barnstaple and a celebration dinner is held for
- Eastacott farmhouse at Knowstone is burnt down and some
£300 in banknotes destroyed.
- In Ilfracombe Sandy Lane 'the ancient way by which our
grandfathers approached the town' is renamed Highfield Road.
- The first telegraph message to reach North Devon is sent in
- In April a National Day of Humiliation and Prayer is held
throughout North Devon as the nation embarks on the Crimean
- Messrs Amoll and Hodge open a new factory in Barnstaple to
produce fancy biscuits.
- A lecture at the Strand in Bideford by an American temperance
speaker attracts 3,000 people.
- The North Devon Railway, which links Barnstaple to Fremington,
opens on July 12th.
- The Parliamentary election held following the bribery case sees
R. Guinness of the famous brewing family returned as MP for
- Cholera spreads throughout North Devon and kills many.
- Benjamin Disraeli visits Moreton near Bideford as a guest of
Lewis Buck MP.
- In October the first Roman Catholic church in Barnstaple since
the Reformation is opened - 'The town was immediately placarded by
some zealous Protestants' attacking both the idea of Catholicism
and the ceremonies associated with the opening.
- Charles Kingsley, then living in Bideford, publishes
Westward Ho! The book is a huge best-seller and generates a
tourist rush to Bideford and North Devon to see the places
mentioned in the text (which is very anti-Catholic).
- The Pannier Market and the 24 shops of Butcher's Row in
Barnstaple are opened. The architect is R.D. Gould. The idea to
build a new market was first put forward 40 years previously.
- Edward Lancey, a 45-year-old lunatic of Bratton Fleming, is
found locked away on his brother-in-law's farm where he has been
held in a tiny room for 18 years.
- James Smith of Green Lane, Barnstaple is gaoled for one month
after exhibiting an obscene image at Barnstaple Fair.
- The first telegraph message is sent from Bideford to Exeter. It
asks 'Is there anything new from the Crimea?' The answer comes
- The railway reaches Bideford and usage soon outstrips even the
most optimistic estimates.
- The Bideford Gazette is started under the name Devon
and East Cornwall Gazette and Commercial Advertiser by Thomas
Honey who dies less than a year later. His widow Eliza keeps it
- A fire at Brannam's pottery in North Walk, Barnstaple nearly
wipes out the young potter who hadn't kept up his insurance
- A reporter in the Journal reckons that there are
300 prostitutes in Barnstaple - out of the 4,800 females then
living in the town.
- Owing to a very harsh winter a soup kitchen is set up in
Barnstaple and is used sporadically for the next 85 years,
eventually even feeding evacuees in the Second World War.
- Dr Britton dies in Barnstaple after 25 years as physician at
the North Devon Infirmary. He was at Trafalgar and caught Nelson in
his arms after he was shot.
- The Prince of Wales, later Edward VII, visits North Devon
incognito. He eats at the London Inn in Parracombe and stays at the
Castle Hotel, Lynton and the Britannia Hotel in Ilfracombe.
- A meeting at Instow decides to buy 'a powerful steam tug' to
serve Bideford, Appledore, Braunton and Barnstaple.
- The Howe Congregational chapel is begun at Torrington. A public
tea for 300 in the new market follows.
- A large meeting in Barnstaple decides to petition the
Government to do away with income tax. Speakers reckon the tax 'had
been productive of great hardship, inequality and injustice' and
- Caroline Clevland of Tapeley House, Westleigh marries E. Beach
MP. The whole village is decorated and £20 is distributed
amongst the poor whilst tea is served 'to the ancient women of the
- The foundation stone of a new Baptist chapel is laid at
Ilfracombe opposite the Clarence Hotel.
- The church of St Phillip and St James in Ilfracombe is
consecrated by the Bishop of Exeter. Its cost was £6,000 and
it had taken six years to build.
- Thomas Mortimer of Franklin Cottage, Braunton erects a 30ft
high tower surmounted by battlements to 'mark the triumph of Free
- At Bideford £300 is subscribed to widen the river bank
along what is now the river frontage of Victoria Park. Trees are to
be planted and seats provided.
- PC Sweet of Braunton is the subject of 'a murderous attack' by
four men. It is later shown that he faked the assault and had,
indeed, soon afterwards absconded with a young school teacher who
was not his wife.
- A branch of the YMCA is formed in Barnstaple.
- The Gospel Hall is built in North Road, Bideford on the site of
old pottery kilns.
- T.L. Pridham, surgeon of Bideford, is presented with a silver
fruit basket by 200 poor people 'in recognition of his services' to
them during a fever epidemic.
- John Barwick is sentenced to death for the murder of his
sweetheart Maria Blackmore at Lynton. His sentence is commuted to
- Two cannon are recovered from Bideford Bar. They are 7ft long
and are thought to be from HMS Weazel which sunk some 60
years before. Another five guns are seen but not recovered.
- The North Devon Building and Investment Society of Bideford is
wound up after 12 years 'all the objectives which it had
contemplated having been accomplished.'
- A new Bible Christian chapel is opened at
- The new market at Holsworthy is opened with 'great
- The Bideford Bridge Trust employ Mr Page, who designed Chelsea
and Westminster Bridges, to draw up plans for widening their
- The Rev Joseph Lloyd Brereton of West Buckland is about to open
his 'Farm and Country School' for middle-class pupils in his
- William Burgess, a miner on Exmoor, murders his six-year-old
daughter Hannah and throws her body down a disused mineshaft. At
his trial he admits 'I murdered my child for the purpose of saving
2s.6d (12½p) per week that I might be enabled thereby to
indulge myself in more drink.' He is hanged.
- Water pipes are laid throughout Barnstaple starting at the
- The Bath and West Show is held in Barnstaple and attracts a
then record attendance of 30,399 people and makes a huge
- John Seldon erects a factory in Alexandra Road, Barnstaple to
produce long-stemmed clay pipes known as 'churchwardens'.
- The first letter boxes are erected in Bideford. In Barnstaple
the four letter carriers are given uniforms of a red coat and 'a
hat with a cockade.'
- The Challacombe policeman is denounced as inefficient by the
local parishioners but is supported by the County Police
- A Congregational Church school is opened in Cross Street in
- Barnstaple Town Council decide to rebuild Queen Anne's Walk.
The work will include some public baths and wash-houses behind the
- Volunteer Rifle Corps are raised at Ilfracombe, Barnstaple and
- The Lavington Independent Chapel is opened in Bridgeland
Street, Bideford. The cost is £1,610.
- Flooding occurs at Lynmouth 'owing to heavy rain and the
melting of snow on the moor.' The Lyndale Hotel is flooded to a
depth of four feet.
- Many ships are wrecked along the North Devon coast during a
huge storm. In the aftermath many unknown sailors are buried
including nine in one grave at Northam.
- Dornat's Mineral Water Works is established in Barnstaple.
- The Bideford Rifle Corps expands. Its Sergeant Instructor is
William Rogers, father of Inkerman Rogers later a prominent
historian of North Devon.
- Weare Giffard School (now the Village Hall) is erected at a
cost of £400.
- A Bible Christian chapel is opened at Dyke, Clovelly.
- A police station is built in Steppa Lane, South Molton. It is
to have two cells and accommodation for a policeman.
- The baths and wash-houses erected behind Queen Anne's Walk are
opened. There are six 'private baths for ladies and gentlemen' and
a 'wash house for the poor.'
- Bideford Post Office moves to the building now housing the New
- In Ilfracombe the 'opening of a wider road at the Millhead from
Fore-street has given convenient access to the Parade for the first
time for wheeled chairs.'
- A Volunteer Rifle Corps is established at Lynton.
- A new infant school is opened at South Molton at a total cost
- The foundation stones of new Wesleyan chapels are laid at
Fremington and Westdown.
- The first section of the recreation area later to be known as
Rock Park is opened to the public at Barnstaple. At this date it is
known as Chanter's Green.
- A greatly expanded Baptist chapel is opened in Boutport Street,
Bamstaple on the site of an earlier one.
- Another meeting is held in Barnstaple to protest against income
tax. It is denounced as an 'abominable and inequitable tax'.
- A public meeting is called at Lynton to protest against the
erection of a gate and the charging of an entrance fee to the
valley leading to Watersmeet. It is decided to take the case to
- A scheme is started to build a floating dock at Instow.
- A new Bible Christian chapel is brought into use at Yarnscombe,
It is 'a wooden structure built on six wheels' designed 'to prevent
it becoming the property of the owner of the soil, on the
expiration of the lease on which it was granted to the
- The Inspector of Constabulary refuses to certify that the
Barnstaple police force was 'efficient' and suggests that they
amalgamate with the Devon County force.
- Following the death of Prince Albert the fountain and clock
tower in the Square at Barnstaple is erected as a memorial. It
- The Hope lifeboat is presented to Appledore and is soon
in action rescuing sailors in the Bay.
- The foundation stone of a new Town Hall is laid at Ilfracombe.
The chairman of the Local Board (council) announces 'We have no
selfish or sinister ends to answer in this great undertaking.'
- Bideford parish church is completely rebuilt with only the
tower being left from the original building. Various graves and
wall plaques are also retained.
- Messrs Arnoll and Hodge of the West of England Biscuit Co on
the Strand in Barnstaple start selling the first machine-made bread
in North Devon.
- Ilfracombe's new market is used for the first time on July
- Eliza and Ellen Lee, aged 10 and 2, are found dead from
exposure in West Wood, Clovelly - although there is a suspicion the
'babes in the wood' were murdered.
- Floods in Bideford leave a live fish in the White Hart Inn in
Queen Street. It is mounted and displayed in the pub.
- At the AGM of the South Molton Royal Albert Temperance
Association it is reported that 450 locals had 'taken the
- A new Wesleyan chapel is built at Eastleigh after Mrs Clevland
of Tapeley Park gives the land.
- John May Miller, co-owner of the Derby lace factory in
Barnstaple is elected Mayor of the town.
- A small earthquake shakes the area.
- The foundation stone of a new Market at South Molton is laid by
- The Ilfracombe Railway Bill is thrown out by Parliament. Two
locals who helped stop it are threatened by a mob and the Riot Act
has to be read.
- Messrs Heard construct a new quay at East-the-Water in
- Mary Jane Yates of Peppercorn dies aged 45 - 'this lady, whilst
very warm, put her feet into the sea waters to cool them, became
paralysed, and never spoke afterwards.'
- New walks on Castle Hill, Torrington, are opened 'amid general
- A 'Working-men's Club' is opened at Bideford after 49
'gentlemen offer to pay £1 a year for three years to get it
going. It lasts two years.
- Barnstaple Pannier Market is extended.
- Westward Ho! is developed as a speculative venture. It is named
in a ceremony where the Countess of Portsmouth lays the foundation
stone of a hotel.
- A club is founded at Westward Ho! to play 'the fine Scotch game
golf' thus making it the oldest golf club in England. The first
match is on November 10th.
- Granite is quarried in large quantities on Lundy for use in
building the Victoria Embankment in London.
- Work begins on Bideford Bridge to widen it to 24ft. It takes
two years to complete and several of the original timber uprights
are salvaged during operations.
- The new market at South Molton is opened. The total cost is
£10,140. Its use removes the old market stalls from the
streets and Square.
- Barnstaple's parish church is to be refurbished. The architect
is the famous Gilbert Scott who remarks on the steeple, 'Though
making great pretensions to elegance, it is a most interesting and
remarkable structure and gives much character and quaint antiquity
to the aspect of the Church'. It is saved for later generations to
- Eleven thatched cottages behind the school in South Molton burn
to the ground.
- A man is discovered smoking during a church service at
Fremington. He pays a 25p fine to the local hospital.
- Two Barumites die fighting in the Federal Army in the
- A diver walks the length of Ilfracombe harbour underwater.
@ It is reported from Bideford that 14-year-old Susan Mock who has
not eaten for six months is still alive - though in a state
- Landcross church is re-opened after extensive
- During heavy fog the 800-ton barque Eclipse of Salcombe
hits rocks at Hartland Quay and is wrecked. The ship's cook is the
- At Barnstaple Town Council a resolution is passed 'expressing
sorrow and indignation' at the assassination of US President
- At Westward Ho! T. Pynsent erects 'a beautiful Chinese Villa'
along with 'a refreshment house with 12 rooms for lodging'.
- Some 500 'pot wallopers and socksmen' of Northam and Appledore
turn out to throw pebbles back on to the pebble ridge at Westward
- North Devon Horse Races are held in conjunction with Bideford
Regatta, the races take place on 'the sands above the Bridge'.
- The first engine to be used on the Devon and Somerset railway
arrives at Barnstaple. It is named Fortescue and its first
trip is on April 16th.
- Alverdiscott parish church is enlarged.
- A bailiff travels to Lundy to attempt to claim payment of a
debt but is stoned off the island by irate inhabitants.
- The first trawler is built for the Bideford Deep Sea Fishery
Company at Mr Johnson's yard at East-the-Water.
- William Huxtable, a silversmith of South Molton, offers to
place a clock in the new Market there. His offer is accepted.
- The sailors of Appledore who work on the limestone ships
between South Wales and North Devon go on strike for an extra 10p
per voyage on top of their usual 50p. They win the increase.
- The 'memorial stone' of a new Bible Christian chapel is laid in
South Street, Torrington.
- After complaints about the stink from the mud, the 'small quay'
in Barnstaple is filled in. (The site later houses the Strand bus
- Grace Gorwill dies at Torrington aged 86 after spending 78
years as a servant to the Friendship family.
- Edward, Prince of Wales, joins the Golf Club at Westward
- A 'mock mayor' is elected at East-the-Water, Bideford.
- The 210 room Ilfracornbe Hotel is opened in May. It is
considered to be one of the finest such establishments in the
- George and John Cox of Cleavehouses shipyard at Northam go
bankrupt for £16,000 and some 150 men are thrown out of
- Fremington church is rebuilt to the designs of Gilbert Scott
the leading church architect of the period. The cost is
- A letter writer to the Journal describes the
women of Appledore as being 'fierce and cruel, as starved
tigresses; tearing of hair and scooping of eyes being their usual
- A group of fishermen, out in their boat off Ilfracombe, see an
'unidentified flying object' enter the water near them.
- A mob of 3,000 people rampage through the streets of Barnstaple
during a riot over food prices. The local Volunteer Rifles and 200
special constables bring the town back to order.
- 400 special constables are sworn in at Barnstaple to help
protect the town from 'Fenians' (the forerunners of the IRA)
thought liable to infiltrate the area from South Wales.
- The foundation stone of eight almshouses is laid in Meddon
Street, Bideford. They are being financed by James Haycroft of
London who was born in Bideford.
- A new turnpike road is opened between Combe Martin and
Ilfracombe and a celebration dinner is held to mark the
- On July 17 a new waterworks at Lynton is opened to supply the
village with constant clean water.
- The foundation stone of a new church at Westward Ho! is laid.
The total cost is estimated to be £2,000.
- A fatal accident on the Instow ferry sees Edward Fishley aged
11 being shot.
- The North Devon Musical Festival is held at Torrington. The
singing of a 'processional hymn' is described as a 'highly
- The vicar of Woolsery begins a school for 'young gentlemen' at
his rectory. He draws on his experience as chaplain to both
Dartmoor and Portland prisons.
- A new Wesleyan chapel is opened at Landkey designed by A.
Lauder of Barnstaple. The same sect's chapel in Boutport Street in
Barnstaple is reopened after a complete rebuilding.
- Richard Hobbs dies at Bideford aged 81. He had been
press-ganged into the Navy from Bideford Quay aged 17 and served at
- Barnstaple Town council vote to build a new prison on a site in
- The east wing of the Raleigh cabinet factory in Barnstaple is
completely destroyed by fire. Damage amounts to £7,000 and is
said to be the largest conflagration in 20 years.
- On June 17th a new set of Public Rooms are begun in Bridgeland
Street, Bideford. They later become a theatre and later still a
- A pier and harbour are opened at Countisbury on June 19th to
serve some limekilns built there three years previously.
- The foundation stone of a new Independent chapel is laid at
- A W Hearson of Barnstaple uses a 'velocipede' (an early form of
bicycle) to travel to Exeter at a speed of 7 to 8 mph 'without
- In Chulmleigh 25 houses including two shops and the London Inn
are destroyed by fire.
- South Molton is completely covered by a type of cotton-like
- The 'North Devon Savages', a bizarre family living at Nymet
Rowland, are mentioned in national newspapers after some years of
notoriety in the area.
- The Northam Burrows and Landing Pier Company is established to
build a pier at Westward Ho! It isn't finished until 1873 and only
lasts seven years.
- Arrangements are made for starting the construction of the
railway from Bideford to Torrington.
- The new church at Westward Ho! is opened and the Bishop of
Exeter preaches the first sermon.
- C Dornat and W Hazell move their soda water factory from
Holland Street to a building known as Maunder's Factory in Tuly
- The new Cottage Hospital at Ilfracombe is opened on April
- After heated discussions Torrington Town Council decide not to
amalgamate their police force with the Devon County force.
- The erection of 'villa residences' is begun in what is
described as the 'little hamlet' of Orchard Hill, Northam.
- It is decided to build a new lighthouse at Hartland Point.
- At South Molton fire destroys 17 houses in South Street.
- During a gale in October, 50 feet of the Quay wall at Appledore
- A start is made on the Bideford-Westward Ho! railway. It isn't
actually finished for another 30 years.
- In July 82-year-old Anthony Clements of Parkham is murdered.
Izet Williams a local prostitute is arrested but released as
evidence is lacking.
- The Barnstaple Ragged Free School is opened in Trinity Street
under Frank Hammond.
- A new lifeboat is provided for Mortehoe, it is named
- A decision is taken at Chulmleigh to erect a Cottage
- Anne Prevost funds the erection of a drinking fountain at the
corner of Montpelier Terrace and Portland Street in Ilfracombe -
for the use of both 'man and beast'.
- A new schoolroom costing £800 is opened at Beaford.
- Barnstaple Bridge Trust decide to build 'Chambers' at the town
end of the Long Bridge.
- Mrs Mary May retires aged 83 as Mistress of Barnstaple Blue
Coat Girls' School. She has worked there 37 years and is given
£10.50 by the governors.
- The first sod of the Ilfracombe-Barnstaple railway is cut
amidst great celebrations.
- In Bideford a factory is set up to make shirt collars - the
industry later becomes extremely important to the town.
- The railway in North Devon is extended both to Ilfracombe and
to Torrington. The building of the new 'Junction' station in
Barnstaple destroys the old harbour area that used to exist in
front of Queen Anne's Walk - new quays are built at Castle Quay to
- A new school in Halsdon Road, Torrington is erected.
- Barnstaple blacksmiths, carpenters and plumbers go on strike
for a 54-hour week. The strike crumbles after a few weeks with no
movement on the part of the employers.
- Local schoolmasters meet to form the North Devon Elementary
- John Cann of Bradworthy reaches the age of 100. He fought under
Wellington both in Spain and at Waterloo.
- The first record of any sort of football match in North Devon
occurs in February when South Molton plays a team from the Devon
County School (West Buckland). The latter loses.
- A petition is organised at Ilfracombe to stop further
excavations at Lantern Hill as it is danger of complete
- The still-surviving railway station at Bideford is opened on
- The brick field in Barnstaple behind Trinity Street is laid out
as an estate for 75 houses.
- The promenade pier at Ilfracombe is completed and opened to the
public. It cost £10,000.
- John Lock, schoolmaster of Parracombe and the local Registrar
of Births, Marriages and Deaths, freezes to death in a country lane
during a snowstorm.
- Miss Elizabeth Hutchings, described as 'a young woman of highly
respectable parentage' from Barnstaple dies after overdosing on
opium and alcohol.
- A visitor to Exmoor finds local labourers are earning just 35p
- A Female Rescue Association is operating in North Devon saving
'fallen women' from the streets and sending them to a home in
Exeter for training as servants.
- The vicar of South Molton introduces a new hymn book called
Hymns Ancient and Modern which 'occasioned a violent
- A vein of lead is discovered in Buckland Wood, Braunton and
plans are drawn up to mine it.
- A Lynmouth correspondent writes of the 'spiritual destitution'
of the place.
- 91-year-old Thomas Mouse of Hartland reaps three-quarters of an
acre of wheat with a sickle hook in just one day.
- Kingsley Terrace, Westward Ho! is to be converted into a school
to be called the United Services College. Rudyard Kipling is its
most famous pupil.
- The first hospital in Bideford is opened. It has six beds plus
one for emergencies.
- The first Catholic Mission to Ilfracombe begins.
- A new wing is added to the Derby lace works in Barnstaple. Soil
from the foundations is used to build the base of the new railway
station in town. A damaging strike hits the factory and creates
much bad feeling.
- The railway line to Ilfracombe from Barnstaple is finally
completed after many difficulties.
- The lighthouse at Hartland Point is opened by Mrs Stucley of
- The Torridge Vale butter factory is established at Torrington
by Robert Sandford; it later becomes the milk factory.
- For their annual 'wayzgoose' 120 workers from the Derby lace
factory in Barnstaple go by train for the day to Exmouth.
- There are said to be more widows in Appledore than any other
settlement of its size in England.
- Only 12 people bother to turn out to vote in Torrington's Town
- Lynton's District Cottage Hospital is opened on May 18th.
- A new police station is opened in Fore Street, Ilfracombe.
- The annual Lady Day or 'Gigglet' market is held at South
Molton. It acts as a labour exchange as many young people turn up
to obtain jobs for the coming year.
- John Gould offers emigrants to the USA an all-found journey for
- A noisy meeting is held in Torrington to discuss rights-of-way
on the Commons. At the end people refuse to sing the National
Anthem but give three cheers for the Mayor, T. Jackson.
- A petition bearing 500 names is presented to the MP for
Barnstaple asking that all pubs be closed on Sundays.
- The North Molton Inn in Bear Street, Barnstaple is purchased by
the Bible Christians as a site for the Thorne Memorial Chapel.
- A new gas works is opened at West Appledore. To celebrate, the
vicar provides a public tea.
- A Volunteer Artillery Corps is formed at Ilfracombe.
- Barnstaple Town Council decide to officially change the name of
Back Lane to Queen Street.
- At Swimbridge 40 children march past the Rev Jack Russell's
house carrying banners reading 'Many Happy Returns of the Day'
worked in holly berries.
- Foot and mouth disease breaks out in North Devon. Barnstaple
cattle market is disinfected.
- In Bideford the Library and Art School is established in
Bridgeland Street in what is now the Masonic Hall.
- A new golf course is opened at Croyde.
- The Fremington Annual Ploughing Match attracts 22 horse
- A new company is set up to work the Combe Martin silver mines,
shares are priced at £2 each 'so that is within reach of the
- In Barnstaple 'midnight marauders' are destroying ornamental
shrubs and seats.
- Much of the pebble ridge at Westward Ho! is washed away.
Hundreds of golfers turn up 'because they feel it is the last time
they will be able to play there, in consequence of the certain
destruction of the links during the coming Winter.'
- Several houses in Adelaide Terrace, Ilfracombe are destroyed by
- Boys using catapults smash many windows in South Molton
- An old woman in Barnstaple fills a bottle with pins and needles
- to prick the heart of whoever it is who has bewitched her.
- South Molton Council decide to use money left to them by Hugh
Squiers to build a fountain 'of considerable size and height.'
- A dinner is held in the Music Hall in Barnstaple to celebrate
the election of the town's MP, Sir Stafford Northcote, to be Leader
of the House of Commons.
- 'Dr' John Harper, a white wizard then living in West Down is
charged over the death of one of his patients - Mrs Sanders of
Bishops Nympton. The charge is dismissed.
- The foundation stone of a new church at Parracombe is laid.
Total cost of the new building is put at £3,000.
- The Bethel Chapel at East-the-Water in Bideford is opened.
- A 190-ton clipper schooner is launched from Westacott's
shipyard in Barnstaple. It is named the Marion.
- The first school is built at Littleham.
- West Buckland School directors announce a dividend of 5% to
- A serious outbreak of rabies occurs in North Devon, dogs being
shot on sight if they are not on a lead.
- Parracombe Cricket Club is formed, one of its rules reads that
the Captain has to 'admonish any member who may use improper or
profane language' on the field.
- The SS Ethel of Newcastle is wrecked on Lundy and 19 of
her 20 man crew are drowned. The mate survives by clinging to
wreckage 'until he was dashed ashore.'
- Hampton House Boarding School, Holsworthy closes after a widely
reported civil action concerning its premises being infested with
vermin and other allegations about cleanliness.
- Chulmleigh is struck by a disastrous fire which destroys 25
houses and leads to damage costing £4,000. Some 60 hens and a
- In Bideford 24-year-old Mary Perry accidentally poisons herself
after using too much arsenic-based spot remover on her face and
also spreading some on bread and eating it.
- 'General' Tom Thumb the world famous midget visits North
- Prospect College, Shebbear is built. The architect is a Mr
- A portion of the embankment near the Quay Station in Barnstaple
collapses and the Ilfracombe train is derailed but no-one is
- A referendum in Torrington is held to close public houses on
Sundays: 505 vote for closure, eight against and 22 stay
- The pebble ridge at Westward Ho! is breached and 100 acres of
the Burrows are inundated. The piles recently put in at a cost of
£600 'were torn up like so many pipes.'
- The Government order that Barnstaple Gaol is to be discontinued
- A fund is set up in Barnstaple for 'the relief of those
shareholders in the West of England Bank who have been ruined by
- The completion of the Okehampton-Holsworthy railway is 'quite
an important event for Holsworthy.'
- Barnstaple reduces its rates from 70p to 55p in the pound.
- Northam Gas Company agree to light Appledore and Northam for
- The Department of Education order the Braunton School Board to
be dissolved 'In consequence of the notoriety gained' by it.
- A new church clock is provided by public subscription at
- A new lighthouse is erected at Bull Point at a cost of
£7,000. It will 'exhibit a powerful white triple-flashing
half minute light.'
- A new Wesleyan chapel is opened at Mortehoe.
- A new poultry, butter and vegetable market is opened at
- W F Rock formally hands over Rock Park to Barnstaple Town
council and asks the Mayor not to make any special testimonial for
- The Ilfracombe Hotel Baths are opened in August being the
largest indoor seawater baths in the whole of SW England.
- The Rev Churchward raises enough money to build a Men's Club in
the village of Northam. It still stands today, opposite the
- The Seamen's Mission is established at Appledore.
- In order to stop sand blowing across the road at Instow 100
yards of posts 'entwined with brushwood and furze' are erected
along the sand-hills.
- W F Rock purchases the large house in the Square in Barnstaple
as a home for the Literary and Scientific Institution. It now
houses a museum.
- A 'coffee tavern' is started at Torrington under the auspices
of the local temperance movement.
- A meeting in support of 'Female Suffrage' is held at Ilfracombe
- it is run by three men.
- A Reformed Episcopal Church is erected in Summerland Street,
- A roller skating rink is built at the Nunnery in Bideford - on
the site now occupied by the police station.
- Tollgates throughout North Devon are sold off now that the old
toll road system has been done away with.
- A fight between villagers from Romansleigh and Kings Nympton
leads to the death of Richard Buckingham of the former place. His
killer John Hulland is sentenced to a year's imprisonment with hard
- The Torrington and Marland Light Railway is completed in just
- The pebble ridge at Westward Ho! is breached and some houses in
Westbourne Terrace are said to be 'untenantable' due to the
- Anchor Lane in Barnstaple is renamed Market Street after
residents petition the council.
- In Barnstaple a 70-year-old publican Richard Forrest is cited
by his 18-year-old servant girl Jane Fry as the father of her newly
born son. He is ordered to pay 20p a week to her for the child's
- A poltergeist case occurs at Buckland Brewer when Lewis
Withecombe's farmhouse is stoned by unseen hands. The case centres
on his 16-year-old servant girl Sarah Ann Budd.
- Old Town Almshouses in Bideford are empty, one has collapsed
and the others are in a very dangerous state.
- Bideford Town Council purchase the title of Lord of Manor from
John Clevland of Tapeley Park. The Manor Court which goes with the
title is still held today.
- The Bideford Bridge Trust open the Bridge Buildings at the end
of the Long Bridge, now used by Torridge District Council. The cost
of £4,500 virtually bankrupts the Trust.
- A temperance meeting in the Music Hall, Barnstaple is disrupted
'by an organised band of roughs' who keep up an 'almost continuous
stamping and shouting.'
- The Kingsley Memorial College at Westward Ho! is formally
opened by The Earl of Portsmouth.
- The Ilfracombe Histrionic Club puts on two plays at Oxford
- The Bideford Amateur Rowing Club is formed.
- Joseph Simmons announces that he will cross the Bristol Channel
in a balloon. Setting out from Ilfracombe he only gets as far as
Hacketts Farm, Swimbridge - 16 miles away.
- Riflemen attempt to shoot four porpoises that are seen
'frolicking' under Bideford Bridge.
- The memorial stone of the new Wesleyan chapel is laid at South
Molton. It is a 'handsome Gothic building' which replaces 'ugly and
almost useless cottages.'
- The first electricity works are opened in Ilfracombe at
- In June North Devon experiences an earthquake severe enough to
be noticeable, indeed at Holsworthy 'houses shook to their
foundations'. The shock is later tied in with the explosion of
Krakatoa in the Dutch East Indies.
- Bideford Town Council start building a new Pannier Market which
is not opened for another year. The market is moved to the bottom
of Meddon Street in the meantime.
- A fireworks factory is operating in Weare Giffard.
- Local clergyman Parson Jack Russell, breeder of the dogs named
after him dies and special rains are laid on to bring numerous
mourners to his funeral.
- A packed public meeting is held at Torrington to mobilise
opposition to the Hon Mark Rolle who is trying to extinguish
commoners' rights on the Commons.
- The YMCA is established in Ilfracombe and 300 attend the
- Lionel Bencraft, Town Clerk of Barnstaple, retires after 39
years in office.
- A 'novelty in the district' is announced when the first
telephone is set up in North Devon. It runs between two tanning
businesses owned by the Smyth family at Swimbridge and Barnstaple.
The 'distance of six whole miles was made as nothing by this form
- Plans are drawn up for a new post office in Bideford's High
Street. The site is owned by the Bridge Trust and now houses the
- The Lundy Island Cable Company successfully lay a telegraphic
cable between the island and the mainland.
- A huge gale hits Clovelly and sweeps away part of the
breakwater whilst many boats are sunk.
- A reward of £1 is offered in a bid to catch the person
destroying the inscriptions on the gravestones in Braunton
- South Molton Town Council petition Parliament to 'allow
marriage with a deceased wife's sister.'
- A special train is laid on to carry 300 members of the
Fremington Wesleyan Sunday Schools on a day trip to
- At Torrington the Salvation Army is charged with obstruction
after parading the town and stopping at various points to
- C H Brannam wins royal approval and sales for his pottery and
renames his product Royal Barum Ware.
- At a dinner for his tenants Sir T Acland announces a cut in
rents of 10% owing to hardship amongst agriculturists.
- General Booth, founder of the Salvation Army, visits Ilfracombe
and delivers 'an inspiring address' there.
- At Clovelly the breakwater still in use today is built.
- Thomas Western of Prixford dies and leaves eight of his
children out of his will as he considers they bewitched him with a
bad case of eczema. The will is challenged in court and a
- Stowford House. Chittlehampton, home of Colonel Chichester
- Apps Brewery at Littleham and Horwood Parsonage burn down in
the same week which prompts moves to start a Volunteer Fire Brigade
- The Bishop of Exeter dedicates the new church on Lundy that has
been built by the Rev Heaven.
- The pottery firm of Brannam in Litchdon Street, Barnstaple open
their small but ornate showroom which fronts their new works.
- The Lynton Local Board build a new Esplanade and sea wall
costing some £1,195. The report adds 'There is also to be a
lift which will work between Lynmouth and Lynton.'
- A temporary 'iron church' is erected at Combe Martin by its
- The first telephone in Bideford is inaugurated in
- Sunflower Road is built in Barnstaple and Fort Street and
Sunnybank are also being constructed. The Vicarage Lawn estate 'has
fallen into the builders' hands' and is to be developed with 90
- WF Rock presents a sports ground to the town. It is an
extension to the existing Rock Park.
- At Torrington the Rolle Arms Hotel in South Street is gutted by
- Rumours of financial irregularities in the Ilfracombe Local
Board (the council) 'enraged a section of the ratepayers' who
demand that all meetings are open to the public.
- A new Post Office is opened in High Street, Bideford.
- South Molton purchase a new fire engine from Merryweather &
- Queen Victoria's Jubilee is celebrated throughout North Devon
with bonfires and 'monster processions'.
- Westacott's shipbuilding yard at the Sticklepath end of
Barnstaple Bridge is closed following the launch of the ketch
- A new Volunteer Fire Brigade is set up in Bideford. Its 10 men
are to be paid £I a year plus an extra fee for attending
fires. The captain is paid £3.
- A new hospital is opened in Meddon Street, Bideford; it later
becomes a maternity unit and is now a nursing home.
- In Barnstaple a diphtheria epidemic leads the Medical Officer
of Health produce a report which 'condemned many of the old
- The first electric light is installed in Barnstaple. George
Sloman, a baker and confectioner, lights his shop on the comer of
Joy Street and Green Lane. A large crowd collects to view this
- The Monarch, a 10-ton pleasure yacht, sinks near Tunnels
Beach at Ilfracombe, and 14 drown. Licensing and stringent checking
of such boats is introduced.
- In Appledore battles between Roman Catholics and Protestants
- In Barnstaple, church services are boycotted as being too
'papist' for the Protestant congregation.
- A coffee tavern and reading room is opened at Combe
- The Salvation Amy 'invades' South Molton and builds a new
- WF Rock pays for a convalescent home to be built at
- Barnstaple Town Council lay out the embankment gardens lining
the river along Taw Vale Parade and erect the dolphin-based lamp
- Shapland and Petter's Raleigh Cabinet Works in Barnstaple is
destroyed by fire, damage totals £35,000 and 250 are thrown
out of work. Within nine months a new factory has been built at the
end of Barnstaple Bridge.
- The Victoria Pavilion, made of glass and wrought iron, is
opened at Ilfracombe to commemorate the Queen's Golden Jubilee the
- Charles Murch, the Recorder or chief judge of Barnstaple and
Bideford, is asked to resign by the former's Town Council following
his drunkenness in the streets and at church on various
- The North Devon Athenaeum is opened in its building in the
- Victoria Chambers is opened in the High Street, Barnstaple as a
Temperance Hotel (it now houses Fosters' Menswear shop).
- On the 300th anniversary Barnstaple and Bideford both claim to
have sent more ships than the other to join the fight against the
Armada. Bideford has the strongest claim.
- W.Vaughan, owner of a Torrington glove factory, builds 'the
finest and pleasantest building in the town' in South Street.
- A new golf clubhouse is built at the Westward Ho! links.
- A new shopping arcade and an adjacent Masonic Hall are built in
- South Molton Town Council changes market day from Saturday to
Thursday. Local people ignore them and the Saturday market
- The old market house in South Molton Square is converted to a
- The first elections for the new Devon County Council are held
- Herbert Harris of Buckland Brewer batters his wife in a drunken
rage. Five of his fellow villagers then tie him up, put a placard
reading 'Mayor Of Buckland Brewer' on him and parade him around the
lanes to general ridicule.
- Charles Sweet Willshire of Barnstaple dies after being a
councillor for 30 years and twice Mayor. A memorial bust is erected
in the Square which is still there today.
- The rail line between Ilfracombe and Barnstaple is being
'double tracked' owing to the amount of business.
- Shapland and Petter's new factory is lit by electricity.
- It is noted that there are no empty shops at all in Bideford.
Messrs Tardrews in the High Street (now the New Look store) is the
first place in town to use electricity.
- At Ilfracombe new 'villas' are erected at Tors Park.
- The Great Torrington Commons Act is passed which safeguards the
land for the town.
- Bideford police force is amalgamated with the Devon County
- A branch of the Devon and Cornwall Bank opens in East Street,
- In Bideford the new Higher Cemetery is opened at Handy
- John Pine-Coffin a local landowner and magistrate for Bideford
dies. His portrait bust is later erected at the end of the Long
Bridge where it still survives.
- The Lynton Cliff Railway is inaugurated.
- James Tossel is stabbed by James Heale at Bratton Fleming but
the offender is only gaoled for four months.
- Charges of cowardice levelled against the Appledore lifeboat
crew 'were clearly refuted in open Court'.
- The widening of Bideford Quay goes greatly over its estimated
- The South Molton Shirt and Collar Co. is formed.
- August was 'the busiest month ever known' for tourists in
- Torrington Town Council decides to stop the cattle market being
held in the streets and to provide a proper fixed site for it.
- Free Reading and Recreation Rooms are opened in Halsdon
- St Peter's church at East-the-Water in Bideford is
- An inquiry into the state of the water supply to Braunton
reveals that over a third of the houses in the village have no
supply at all.
- A massive blizzard hits the area, closing the railway and
blocking many roads for weeks.
- The Shebbear Bible Christian school celebrates its
- Pilton Park is opened to the public.
- There is a large muster of the Volunteers at Westward Ho! and
the Royal North Devon Hussars visit Bideford.
- Torrington Pannier Market is roofed over at the expense of the
Hon Mark Rolle.
- The census reveals that Ilfracombe' s population has grown by a
third since 1881.
- Two banks open in Lynton and electricity is brought to the
- A North Devon Footpath Society is established to stop farmers
illegally closing paths crossing their land.
- The North Devon Photographic Society undertakes a photographic
survey of Barnstaple.
- The vicar of Pilton flees the area after a warrant for his
arrest is issued over allegations about child sex.
- A temporary 'iron church' is opened at Woolacombe to provide a
place of worship for both locals and tourists.
- North Devon farmers say their 'position is desperate and that
it is imperative that some assistance should be rendered them if
the greatest national industry is not to mean ruin to all engaged
- All the coastguard stations in North Devon are linked by
- An epidemic of flu hits South Molton and Torrington, many
- A fire at the South Molton Workhouse kills three women and
causes £100 worth of damage.
- A vegetarian restaurant is opened in Ilfracombe being the first
in North Devon.
- The Roman Catholic church in North Road, Bideford is opened,
This year also sees the erection of the 'Nonconformist Cathedral of
North Devon' when the Wesleyan Methodists open their new chapel in
Bridge Street, Bideford.
- Frank Barrington a railway worker of Braunton is fined 25p for
assaulting his 90-year-old neighbour Mary Helson after accusing her
of being a witch.
- A heavy plaster ceiling and the gas lamps it supported
collapses onto a class of infants at the Bideford Board School in
Gunstone. Incredibly, no-one is hurt.
- At Lynton the local council purchase the water works to ensure
a good supply.
- Mrs Roget of London presents Clovelly with a new lifeboat
costing £700. It is named after her daughter Elinor
- In Torrington the cattle market moves from the Pannier Market
to a new site in School Lane.
- To celebrate the marriage of the Duke of York to Princess Mary
the Mayor of Bideford presents 1,500 local children with medals
specially struck for the occasion.
- John Pratt, a builder's labourer of South Molton, bets he can
drink four pints of beer in 10 minutes. He wins his bet but chokes
to death on his own vomit.
- The Benita coach carrying 18 passengers crashes on Direction
Hill, Lynton. Three fall into the Lyn ravine and two including the
guard, 20-year-old Alfred Sollis, die.
- The first meeting of the Barnstaple Radical Association, which
can be seen as the forerunner of the Labour Party, is held.
- A Ratepayers' Association is formed in Barnstaple to fight
elections on behalf of the 'ordinary man'.
- In Barnstaple Petter's collar factory is taken over by Symons,
Sanders and Huxtable. It employs 500 girls to produce the stiff
stand-up collars that are currently high-fashion.
- A brothel in Fry's Court, Silver Street, Barnstaple is closed
by the police and Ellen Leaher and Lena Shaddick are gaoled.
- A fire at the North Road pottery in Bideford destroys the last
link between this area and a centuries old industry.
- The Journal publishes Rudyard Kipling's
reminiscences about his schooldays at Westward Ho!
- Edward Capern the 'postman Poet' of North Devon dies aged 75.
He is buried at Heanton Punchardon.
- The famous zig-zag paths on Capstone Hill at Ilfracombe are
laid out, whilst on the Promenade a large and very ornate bandstand
- JH Taylor of Westward Ho! wins the first of five British Open
Golf Championships. It is announced that a 130 bed 'Golfifarium'
Hotel is to be built at Westward Ho!
- Some 3½ins of rain falls in three days in North Devon
and flooding is widespread. Caen Street in Braunton is under 3ft of
water and a local boy called Corney is swept to his death.
- The Sticklepath estate is laid out next to Shapland and
Petter's factory in Barnstaple.
- A factory to produce butter from locally produced milk is
opened at Witheridge.
- The first elections to the newly formed parish councils are
- Barnstaple wins the Devon County Football Championship.
- The SS Devonia begins operating from Bideford.
- A new bank is built in East Street, South Molton.
- A bowling club is opened at Oxford Park Gardens in
- A new Drill Hall is provided for the Braunton Volunteers.
- Leading agriculturists declare 'that the year has positively
been the worst they have ever experienced.'
- Very severe weather occurs at the start of the year and skating
takes place on the River Taw at Barnstaple. In Bideford ice skating
takes place on the marshes adjoining the river.
- Various buildings in Ilfracombe including the Golden Lion pub
are demolished to widen the entrance to the pier.
- A new gun battery is built at Appledore. One hundred local
Royal Navy Reservists march to its opening carrying rifles,
cutlasses and flags under their officer Mr Martin.
- An epidemic of scarlet fever breaks out in North Devon and 17
die. Houses are fumigated 'by means of buroing sulphur' but 'this
causes such an intolerable smell on the clothing, bedding etc.,
which remains for many months, that the majority prefer to go
without being disinfected rather than subject themselves to such an
- Lower Litchardon Farm in Fremington is completely destroyed by
fire but prompt work by the Barnstaple Bridge Wharf fire brigade
saves Higher Litchardon.
- The Ilfracombe Fire Brigade resign en bloc after a bitter
dispute cannot be resolved peacefully.
- The Belvoir Mission Rooms are opened in Bideford in what is now
- An Ilfracombe man invents a machine for producing fried eggs to
order in shops.
- Two lighthouses are under construction on Lundy.
- A new pier is built at Wooda Bay by a local resident.
- A new art school is opened on Bideford quay. It bears a very
large terracotta plaque recording its building although far greater
prominence is given to the Mayor of the day than the
- St Helena's church on Lundy is built.
- Thomas Cory Burrow starts the Hartland and West Country
Chronicle newspaper which he prints by hand. It runs for 44
years and is labelled the 'World's Strangest Newspaper' owing to
its rather eccentric style of production and contents.
- A major fire in July destroys 34 houses and shops in and around
Portland Street in Ilfracombe. Damage is estimated at
- An earthquake hits North Devon on December 17th.
- A new gasholder is erected at Barnstaple Gas Works to meet
rapidly increasing demand.
- A children's ward is built at the North Devon Infirmary in
- The Mayor and council 'beat the bounds' of South Molton for the
first time in 40 years.
- A new police station is built at Parracombe.
- The Rev Edward Reynolds of Appledore dies after 53 years in the
- The cairn at Bone Hill, Northam is erected to commemorate Queen
Victoria's Diamond Jubilee.
- The foundation stone of a new Methodist chapel is laid at
- A huge storm hits North Devon blowing down various buildings
and the pinnacle of Holy Trinity church in Barnstaple.
- In October the first telephone exchange in the area is opened
in Barnstaple - it has just 12 subscribers.
- In Bideford the Pill, an arm of the estuary, is culverted.
- At Torrington the Town Council buy out the private owners of
the town's Water Company.
- An attack of vandalism at Braunton churchyard is traced to a
- Sir George Newnes offers a town hall, a mechanics' institute
and a library to Lynton - 'Sir George's princely offer was heartily
accepted' by local people.
- Barnstaple Town Station is built, replacing an earlier one near
Queen Anne's Walk. Construction of the rail link to Lynton sees the
in-filling of a formal pleasure ground laid out on what is now the
site of the Civic Centre.
- At Bideford the present police station is built on a site that
overlooks the river whilst a new Cattle Market is opened in
- Torrington uses money raised to celebrate Queen Victoria's
Diamond Jubilee to fit out a house in New Street as the town's
first Cottage Hospital.
- In Barnstaple two fields between Gloucester Road and Victoria
Street are bought by house builders whilst C. Youings buys Litchdon
House and begins enlarging it to form the Imperial Hotel.
- The Lynton and Barnstaple railway is opened and all
schoolchildren in the latter place receive a specially struck medal
to mark the occasion.
- At Challacombe a small bog breaks away and slides half a
- A new 'mission church' is opened at the bottom of Calf Street,
- A newly rebuilt Arcade is opened in Ilfracombe, it is said to
be 'far superior to the original one.'
- Saunton receives its first post office.
- At Lynton a new Volunteer Corps is established and 40 men
- Stanbury and Son open their steam-powered Victoria Flour Mills
on Rolle Quay. They can produce 100 sacks of flour in just 24
- The new Masonic Temple at Ilfracombe, with its strong Egyptian
influence, is opened in December.
- A new steamer is specially built to serve the
- At Lynmouth Trinity House officials are constructing a new
lighthouse at a cost of £10,000.
- Bideford Town Council complete the culverting of the Pill.
- Sticklepath officially becomes part of Barnstaple.
- A polo club is started in North Devon in August.
- Castle Hill, Torrington is planted with trees 'and as they grow
up they will afford considerable shelter.'
- In South Molton the Cottage Hospital closes but a Local Nursing
Association takes its place.
- The Boer War breaks out and Ilfracombe raises over £500
for the 'victims' of it.
- The Tome Stone is set up in its present position in Queen
Anne's Walk in Barnstaple.
- The old pottery kilns in North Walk, Barnstaple where the firm
of Brannam's first started are demolished.
- Work begins on construction of the Market Hall in Market Street
and Avenue Road, Ilfracombe, Building takes a year and the cost is
- A massive storm hits North Devon, the church tower at Braunton
is stripped of lead and timber and two large boats are beached at
- The new parish of Queensnympton is established.
- The Devon County Show is held at Pottington but visitors are
fewer than anticipated - probably due to the Boer War.
- Lynton's new town hall, which cost £20,000, is
- A 'Steam Laundry, equipped in the most modern fashion' is
opened at Rawleigh, Barnstaple.
- Robert Chapman is the oldest preacher in North Devon - he is
- A new tennis and croquet club is opened in Chanters Road,
- South Molton church is restored at a cost of £2,000.
- The first public telephone in North Devon is opened in the Post
Office in Cross Street, Barnstaple. A local call costs 1p for 3
minutes which rises to 5p up to 100 miles plus 2p for every 40
miles over that.
- The Miller Institute is opened in Barnstaple. Designed for the
recreation of the workers in the Derby lace factory it now houses
Yeo Vale School.
- Members of the North Devon Yeomanry who fought in the Boer War
are presented with medals in Barnstaple Guildhall.
- Barnstaple Town Council decide to spend £27,000 lighting
the town with electricity.
- Ilfracombe is linked to Barnstaple by telephone in August.
- Benjamin Lake JP and owner of Wooda Bay is gaoled for 12 years
for the theft of trust money.
- A new waterworks is opened at Torrington to serve the whole
- At the proclamation of King Edward VII a ceremonial gun
explodes killing Thomas Lee, Barnstaple's Foreman of Works.
- A 600-seat Kursaal or theatre is opened on Ilfracombe pier in
March to cater for the thousands of tourists arriving annually in
the town. It is removed only four years later.
- Bonfires are lit across the area to celebrate King Edward's
coronation - unfortunately it is not held as he is taken ill.
- The first 22 houses of the Yeo Vale Estate in Barnstaple are
- Peace Day, to mark the end of the Boer War, is held at
Ilfracombe. Medals are given to the schoolchildren 'as a permanent
memorial of the happy event.'
- A new post office is built and opened in Cross Street,
- North Devon is linked into the national telephone system via
- A French sailor is murdered by a compatriot on board their ship
- A new Conservative Club is opened in Broad Street, South
- It is decided after long debate to completely resewer
Ilfracombe at a cost of £31,200.
- October is the wettest month ever known with over 10ins of rain
falling. The whole Taw valley is under water.
- The telephone service in North Devon becomes a 24 hour
- Smallpox breaks out in Braunton; John Basset aged 31 dies.
- The memorial stone of a new Bible Christian chapel is laid at
- The Lynton and Barnstaple railway is opened and all
schoolchildren in the latter place receive a specially struck medal
to mark the occasion.
- At Challacombe a small bog breaks away and slides half a
- A new 'mission church' is opened at the bottom of Calf Street,
- Much of the sea wall at Instow is washed away in a huge storm
- The still imposing building at the corner of Gammon Lane and
Tuly Street in Barnstaple is opened by Glidden and Squire as an
agricultural implement workshop.
- The Barnstaple Electricity Company opens its generating
buildings in the Strand. The building with its imposing plaque is
still in place today. By the end of the year it has 158 customers.
Electricity is also brought to Ilfracombe in May.
- General Sir Redvers Buller unveils a memorial in Barnstaple
Guildhall to those who served in South Africa.
- Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show visits the area.
- The clock on South Molton Town Hall is illuminated at a cost of
- Ilfracombe decides to begin advertising itself as a tourist
- Westleigh is hit by a diphtheria epidemic, 26 cases are
recorded and two die.
- A section of the Royal Naval Volunteers is begun at
- The iron foundry at the bottom of Newport is closed after 80
years and 30-40 men are made unemployed.
- The US philanthropist Carnegie offers Ilfracombe £3,000
towards the cost of a new library, the local council, however,
cannot decide on a site.
- A community of Ursuline nuns travels from France and settles in
Bideford where they open what later becomes the Stella Maris
- The United Services College leaves Westward Ho! for
- The use of cars has spread: two Barnstaple doctors and a vet
are now using them.
- The Liberals take over the old post office in Cross Street for
- General Booth of the Salvation Army visits Bideford and South
- The Ilfracombe Chronicle is 'bought out' by its foreman
J. Moore who enlarges and considerably improves the paper.
- The foundation stone of a new Rechabite (teetotallers) Hall is
laid at Ilfracombe. The building is completed in July.
- Mixed bathing is allowed for the first time at the Tunnels
Beach in Ilfracombe.
- A sale of the Portsmouth Estate in North Devon sees 43,000
acres change hands.
- A new secondary school is built in Ashleigh Road,
- Princess Christian, sister of King Edward VII visits the area
staying at the Imperial Hotel in Barnstaple.
- As income does not match expenditure a special meeting of the
Board of the North Devon Infirmary decides to cut the number of
- The Master of the Cheriton Otter hounds and his servant were
heavily fined for torturing cats in Barnstaple whilst 'training'
- A new gas works said to be 'one of the most up-to-date in the
country' is built at Hele near Ilfracombe.
- The statue of Charles Kingsley on Bideford Quay, that has been
paid for by public subscription, is unveiled by Lord Clinton.
- The Carnegie Free Library, named after the American
philanthropist who paid for it, is opened in Bideford.
- Lundy is offered for sale at £19,250.
- The De Forrest Wireless Telegraphy Syndicate set up a station
on Hartland Point.
- Prideaux & Son, coachmakers of Bear Street, Barnstaple add
a 'motor department' to their works.
- In December Henry Ash of Sticklepath murders his lover Lydia
Brown, stabs a man who tries to stop him and then throws himself in
front of a train at Barnstaple station.
- The Mayor of Bideford plus the council all attired in their
robes go to the Pannier Market to check the weights being used by
- HMS Montague, a new battleship, runs aground on
- An earthquake hits Ilfracombe on June 27th.
- Lynton is linked to Ilfracombe by telephone.
- A vein of silver is discovered at Harford in Landkey by a local
water diviner J. Gabriel. Further excavations peter out.
- Trinity House agree to place a 'light' at the entrance to
- A new Wesleyan chapel is opened at Bucks Mills. The 'moveable'
chapel at Yarnscombe is replaced by a permanent structure.
- The Ebenezer Baptist chapel in Vicarage Street, Barnstaple is
demolished and replaced with three cottages.
- In November an Ambulance Corps was started in Barnstaple - the
first in North Devon.
- The Devon County Agricultural Show is held at Moreton near
- Glovemaking, the chief industry of Torrington, has a profitable
- Ilfracombe Town Council examine the viability of buying a
'destructor' or a 'manipulator' to help get rid of their rubbish.
They decide to buy the Pier and Harbour for £43,750.
- The residents of Orchard Hill and Raleigh in Northam ask to
join Bideford; Northam Town Council fights this strenuously.
- Joseph Becklake of Woolsery dies after living for 23 years in
the fireplace of a large chimney which was all that had remained
after his farmhouse was burnt down around 1885.
- Parracombe church tower is struck by lightning and tremendous
- The Castle Flour Mills at Landkey are completely destroyed by
- A new road giving acccss to Lynmouth from Minehead is opened to
- The first detachment of 'Baden-Powell Boy Scouts' is set up in
Barnstaple. Troops soon follow in Swimbridge and Braunton.
- The foundation stone of a new Cottage Hospital is laid at
- The Territorial Army is set up in place of the Volunteers. The
Barnstaple Volunteers march through the town at midnight and sign
up to the new force en bloc thus becoming the first Territorial
unit in the British Army.
- The Bideford-Westward Ho! railway is extended to Appledore at a
cost of £10,000. A return fare to Bideford costs 3½p
though a special workman's early morning fare costs just 2p.
- A 'large and unsightly gap directly opposite the entrance to
the town from the Railway Station' in South Molton is filled with
- The first ever old-age pensions - worth 25p a week - are paid
out in North Devon. Those recipients at Clovelly are so grateful
they club together to send a telegram of thanks to the local
- During a storm in December the steamship Thistlemor
sinks in Bideford Bay and 21 of its 31 strong crew are
- The foundation stone of Barnstaple's Public Secondary School is
laid. The school later becomes Park School.
- A mysterious fast-moving airship bearing a searchlight is
spotted over Ilfracombe by a local policeman - at a time when no
such machines existed.
- The first council-built school is erected at Appledore.
- Bideford is visited by 'a band of militant Suffragettes'
seeking 'an interview with Mr Asquith, the Prime Minister' who was
staying at Clovelly Court.
- An international polo match between England and Wales is held
at the Hotel Baths in Ilfracombe.
- The telephone continues to spread in Ilfracombe and has 25
subscribers by the end of the year.
- A new bridge over the River Mole links South Molton and
- Torrington Town Band are revived after the original one faded
- St Anne's chapel in St Peter's churchyard in Barnstaple is
finally closed after serving as the town's Grammar School for many
- A gale in February upsets the Instow ferry boat and three men
- At Ilfracombe Copp' s Coaches become one of the first companies
in North Devon to change from horses to motor charabancs.
- A massive gale hits Ilfracombe and causes extensive damage. A
'tidal wave' hits the pier destroying much of it. Westward Ho!
pebble ridge is pushed 9 yards back and is lowered in height by 4
- The Braunton Electric Lighting and Power Company is set up to
light the village.
- Miss Chichester of Arlington Court presents 50 acre of Morte
Point to the National Trust in memory of he parents.
- Albert Kingdom is charged with speeding in his car doing 24mph
going through Fremington - he is fined 50p.
- Sir George Newnes, founder of Tit-Bits and the $trand
Magazine and great benefactor to Lynton dies in the
- The first labour exchange is set up in North Devon when an
office is opened for one day a week in the shop under Barnstaple
- In Bideford a noisy political meeting is dispersed by a charge
of mounted police, 'Men and women were roughly knocked down and
nervous people who had taken shelter in doorways were roughly
- Nine people die in an outbreak of typhoid fever in Barnstaple.
The local Medical Officer of Health cannot identify the cause as
there are so many to choose from in the insanitary town at this
- The South Molton Show hires Captain Clayton and his aircraft to
thrill the record crowd of 4,298 people. He is forced to land after
only 400 yards of flight and then crashes and destroys his aircraft
in a hedge. A 'flying man' also visits Combe Martin fete but does
not take off.
- Coronation celebrations for George V take place all over North
Devon. In Barnstaple a triumphal arch near the Square collapses, a
woman is killed and dozens injured. In South Molton 1,500
schoolchildren are presented with a 'large souvenir box of
- Ilfracombe prints 6,000 copies of its publicity brochure.
- Two new coastguard 'huts' are erected at Clovelly and Westward
- At Torrington the 'skin factory' of Chapple Bros, is operating
on short time and the town is going through a 'period of
- The motor car and horse carriage works of Prideaux and Son in
Bear Street, Barnstaple are burnt down and 11 cars and 25 carriages
- Bideford is infested with tramps attracted by 'the softness of
the stones given to them to crack' and the fact that they can spend
36 hours in bed over the weekend in the Workhouse.
- The Devon Farmers Union discuss the desirability of employing
12-year-olds for one day a week on their farms - the day to count
as school attendance.
- A gale and high tides lead to severe flooding in many areas of
North Devon in March. Ilfracombe Quay and Broad Street are under
- A new lifeboat, the Robert & Catherine is launched
at Bideford prior to it being housed at Appledore.
- A fatal car crash is recorded at Lynton when Charles Marshall's
car runs out of control on Beggar's Roost Hill.
- In Bideford the High Street Methodist church is built to
resemble a castle.
- Victoria Park is opened in Bideford with some 'handsome
- The mounted Town Crier of Ilfracombe Robert Martin is fined
£1 after being arrested for 'being drunk while in charge of a
horse on the highway.'
- Two men are killed in an accident on the Lynton-Barnstaple
- A new Wesleyan chapel is opened at Shebbear at a cost of
- The Church Institute and Grenville Memorial are built in Lower
Meddon Street, Bideford.
- 200 building workers strike in Barnstaple - they win an extra
penny per hour.
- A suspicious fire at Lynton is blamed on actions by the
Suffragettes campaigning for votes for women.
- A meeting is held of the Barnstaple Women's Suffrage
- In Ilfracombe the Suffragettes open a shop in Church Street
'arousing considerable interest and some amusement.'
- In Torrington the council demolish the Old Plough Inn and the
Vernon Inn Cottages - both are condemned properties.
- South Molton replaces the cobbles in the Square with
- The Barnstaple Co-operative Society is wound up after 46 years
of business. It has 250 'working-class' shareholders.
- In April Lieut Gould of the Royal Flying Corps lands at
Barnstaple and then gives 'brilliant displays of airmanship'.
- At Torrington the new Drill Hall is opened in Fore Street.
- South Molton opens a new cattle market thus removing cattle
from the streets.
- The declaration of war on August 4 sees the rapid mobilisation
of North Devon's reservists after Boy Scouts are used to spread the
news to the area's isolated farms. At Ilfracombe, Lynton and
Westward Ho! 14 German and Austrian waiters and musicians are
arrested as enemy aliens.
- The first local casualties are reported when Captain Thomas
Wickham a Bideford Territorial serving with the Manchester Regiment
is killed in the first week of September. Pvt. Collins from
Barnstaple is killed at the battle of Mons in August.
- The Strand bowling club pavilion in Bideford is burnt down,
rurnours claim that this was an arson attack connected to the
- In February a recruiting drive through the villages of North
Devon produces just 13 volunteers over two days. One youth is
quoted as saying 'We bain't going till we be fetched.'
- A Belgian refugee who was being treated in hospital at
Ilfracombe dies and her funeral is attended by huge crowds.
- Engineering factories in Barnstaple switch to munitions
- Local woodworkers and bakers go on strike for better wages -
both groups win.
- In Bideford 980 men join the forces - there are 'comparatively
few eligibles who have not come forward.'
- Twelve men from Torrington have already been killed in
- Water is rationed to four hours a day in Bideford in the autumn
due to shortages in the town's reservoir.
- The South Molton Agricultural Show is cancelled because so many
farm horses have been commandeered by the Army.
- The SS Bengrove of Liverpool is torpedoed and sunk by a
German submarine 5 miles north of Combe Martin. The crew of 33 are
saved and landed at Ilfracombe pier.
- The last traditional pottery in Bideford, at East-the-Water,
closes due to lack of demand for its products.
- At branches of banks in South Molton 'part of the clerical work
was performed - with great efficiency - by lady clerks.' In
addition 'Postwomen patriotically took the places of '. men called
to the colours; young men left their bread, carts in the hands of
girls, and a few women workers, though not many because of a low
rate of wages, appeared on the land.'
- The Mayor of Ilfracombe presents to the town 10 large frames
each containing 55 photographs of local men then in the
- British Summer Time is introduced which 'proved a great boon
for all holiday-makers' in the area.
- The old age pension was proving insufficient for wartime
conditions so the Mayor of Bideford sets up a special fund to help
- In December Barnstaple bakers go on strike, they win their case
- and bread rises in price a halfpenny.
- Moves are made to restart the Barnstaple Co-operative
- The Government establishes a War Loan Fund and Barnstaple
- A Miss Croft of Minehead is appointed the first health visitor
for Barnstaple under the new Child Welfare Scheme. She sets up the
first School Clinic.
- John Bale of Littleham is elected churchwarden for the 60th
- In August A L Christie of Tapeley Park, Instow purchases
- Ilfracombe council uses one of its empty shops in the High
Street as a Food Control Office to ensure fair distribution of
- Edgehill College in Bideford buys an adjoining house called
Kiltrasna 'to accommodate the rapidly increasing number of
- The National Egg Collection in Ilfracombe gathers 21,321 eggs
to send to injured troops.
- The Bideford-Westward Ho!-Appledore railway is taken up to be
used in France as an ammunition train.
- No excursion steamers are running to or from Ilfracombe and the
tourist industry has virtually disappeared.
- A bizarre experiment in building concrete ships occurs on the
site now housing the concrete works in Barnstaple. They are not a
- The Mayor of Barnstaple F A Jewell is elected for a record
seventh successive term.
- In Bideford 'a particularly sad drowning' raises the need for a
swimming pool following the war. 'A site is being prepared.'
- Ilfracombe council supports the idea of building a secondary
school as 'the benefits to the town will be considerable in every
way if the suggestion materialises.'
- At the declaration of peace huge celebrations break out all
over North Devon.
- An epidemic of influenza begins and kills many.
- The old Bible Christian chapel in Silver Street, Bideford
becomes a glove factory - but only provides jobs for women.
- 'Speedy replacement' of the Bideford- Westward Ho!-Appledore
railway 'would be much appreciated.'
- A 'large part of Hillsboro' field' at Ilfracombe is given over
to allotments and planted with potatoes.
- The Hansen Shipbuilding and Ship-repairing Company is
established at Cleavehouses near Bideford.
- Bideford Town Council purchase the prominent site of the
English Civil War Fort at Chudleigh as a war memorial.
- The only conscientious objector from Bideford, Harry Guard, is
forced out of his teaching job after protests by the Comrades of
the Great War group and the parents of his pupils.
- The first Peace Day is held. A free dinner for 900 demobilised
servicemen is held in Bideford Pannier Market, a sports tournament
in Rock Park, Barnstaple is attended by 8,000 - and the local
Christy Minstrels parade through Bratton Fleming at 5.30am 'with
bugle, mouth organs and various other instruments.'
- A garage is opened in Lynmouth by Mr Watts, this and other
improvements 'have changed the decadent appearance of that part of
- Saunton golf links undergo great alterations and
- A new Village Institute is opened in Heanton Punchardon as a
very practical war memorial. Its cost of £200 is raised by
- Barnstaple Rotary Club publish a shocking report on the state
of housing in the town. In one case four children and two adults,
one of whom had TB, were living in just one room.
- Hugh Strong, an ex-editor of the Journal, dies
- On September 16th a disastrous fire breaks out at the Royal and
Fortescue Hotel in Barnstaple, damage totals £10,000.
- Fire also completely destroys Edgehill College in Bideford. All
140 scholars are saved.
- Excursion steamers begin to operate to and from Ilfracombe
again much to the delight of the tourism industry.
- Bideford town council decide to 'proceed with all speed' on the
Jennet Stream Scheme designed to create a new reservoir for the
- Many new 'road motor services' are provided in North
Devon.'Increased railway fares helped the development of these
- Potters in Barnstaple go on strike for higher wages and, after
a month, win their case.
- A new road 1,100 yards in length between Ilfracombe and Combe
Martin replaces that section destroyed in a 'serious landslip' in
- The first steel ship built in Bideford, the SS
Hubbastone, is launched from Hansen's yard.
- The whole of Britain is plunged into 'extreme depression' with
short time working and unemployment common. North Devon does not
escape the effects. Derby lace factory in Barnstaple is closed for
- Unemployment in Bideford, Appledore and Northam reaches
- In October the Barnstaple borough police force of 14 men is
merged with the Devon County force.
- A strike in the building trade in Bideford is soon settled but
there is a shortage of skilled labour in many trades.
- A drought 'protracted to phenomenal length' hits the area but
the crops do not suffer unduly.
- Combe Martin's war memorial to its 35 dead is unyeiled by the
Bishop of Exeter. Torrington's memorial to its 83 dead is unveiled
by Colonel Radcliffe.
- Some 23 redundant steamers, mainly from South Wales, are moored
in the River Torridge as there are no cargoes for them.
- A fire breaks out in the motor works of Goodenough & Co
behind the North Devon Infirmary in Barnstaple. Damage is put at
- In an effort to tackle massive unemployment in the town,
Barnstaple undertakes the Strand Improvement Scheme which widens
the road and generally enhances the area.
- A strike of printers means the Journal is not
published on August 3rd - the first ever 'break' since it began in
- The Torrington-Halwill railway link is opened. Its construction
'has done and is still doing much to lessen the volume of
unemployment' in the area.
- Wilfred Hewitt of Combe Martin aged 11months is killed when his
four-year-old brother throws a poker at him.
- Edgehill College is rebuilt and opened after its disastrous
fire in 1920.
- In July Lord Fortescue unveils a memorial tablet to the 6th
Devon Regiment in Barnstaple Guildhall.
- The collar factory on the Strand in Bideford closes throwing
many women out of work.
- The Rev H H Lane is appointed Rector of Lundy - the first one
in 300 years.
- Lord Portsmouth opens Chaloner's Road in Braunton that links
the central crossroads to the Ilfracombe road. It has been built by
unemployed ex-servicemen hired specifically for the job and
relieves traffic from Church Street.
- Bideford Long Bridge is reconstructed and widened.
- Edmund Davie, landlord of the White Hotel, Ilfracombe dies
after falling through the deck of the pier onto the rocks
- North Devon teachers hold a mass meeting to protest about a
proposed cut in salaries being brought in the County Council.
- The Vicar of Braunton demands the key to the Parish Room where
the parish council meets. The council refuse but six councillors
resign in protest.
- Fremington's war memorial is unveiled on Armistice Day by Major
- The first ever three-cornered fight in North Devon between
Liberals, Conservatives and the Labour party occurs at the general
election this year.
- The first annual dinner of the Barnstaple and North Devon Bank
Officers Guild is held.
- Jennett's waterworks is opened in Bideford at a cost of
- At Ilfracombe H Macey, headmaster of the Church Boys School
retires after 44 years of service.
- Hansen's shipyard in Bideford closes after launching eight
- The centuries old May Fair is revived in Torrington.
- A public inquiry is held into plans by Ilfracombe to extend its
boundaries to include Mortehoe, Combe Martin and Berrynarbor.
- On July 3rd the Journal celebrates its
- The Revenge one of the 'old wooden walls of England' is brought
to Appledore to be broken up for scrap.
- Braunton's first parade of ex-servicemen since the war leads to
the formation of a well-supported club.
- The new path to Hangman's Hill at Combe Martin is opened on
- The foundation stone of a new hospital is laid on the Abbotsham
Road site in Bideford.
- Bideford Amateur Athletic Club open their new clubhouse.
- The Victoria Pavilion at Ilfracombe has its central glass
portion removed and replaced with a new concert hall to seat 750 at
a cost of £8,000.
- In Bideford a heavily laden petrol lorry rolls backwards down
High Street and crashes into Boyles' shop on the comer of
- The new Mayor of Barnstaple, Dr John Dixey, revives the Mayoral
- Inkennan Rogers reconstructs Pilton church clock.
- Barnstaple Parochial Church Council embark on building a new
parish hall which is 'not to cost more than £2,500.'
- Workers at the Derby lace factory in Barnstaple go on strike
over shortening of their hours and a consequent reduction in
- Martin Harman buys Lundy Island for £16,000.
- Bideford Rotary Club is founded.
- Extensive works are carried to widen Bideford Bridge to 30
feet. Whilst work is going on a lorry crashes over the parapet but
luckily no-one is killed.
- Bideford's Old Town Boys School is gutted by fire and damage is
put at £4,000. The site now houses Bideford's fire
- Barnstaple Manufacturers stage a large Exhibition of their
products at Castle House. Amongst the goods on display are those of
the Lorna Doane Rustic Works who produced seats and tables using
disabled ex-servicemen for their labour force.
- Basil Peto MP for North Devon sues the ex-MP J Tudor Rees for
libel but the case is withdrawn following an apology.
- Barnstaple Town Council purchase the Castle and the large house
in its grounds for £4,500.
- The top floors of the Grand Hotel in Wilder Road, Ilfracombe
are gutted by fire. Bus loads of people travel from Barnstaple to
view the spectacle.
- The General Strike hits Britain, the Journal does
not appear and emergency services are provided by volunteers. The
railwaymen stay out so long that the tourist industry in Ilfracombe
is badly affected.
- Some 748 people are unemployed in North Devon and their weekly
benefits total £1,620.
- Newly-built council houses at Handy Cross in Bideford are to be
let at 40p a week.
- Bideford takes delivery of its first motorised fire engine in
June. It is named Grenville and costs £1,700.
- Martin Hannan, owner of Lundy, lays out a 50-acre golf course
on the island to increase tourism. It only lasts 18 months.
- A new scheme for a secure water supply system for Combe Martin
is made possible 'by the generosity of Michael Snell'.
- Ifracombe decides to press the Government for incorporation so
that they officially become a town.
- On January 28th Braunton's new parish hall is opened.'It is
proving a boon to the town.'
- Some £27,000 is spent on building 'Parracombe' s new
- Powerful opposition was expressed at Lynton over plans to
'utilise the Recreation Ground in the Valley of the Rocks for a
- A total eclipse of the sun in June 'aroused great interest' but
'was not visible in the neighbourhood.'
- A new bye-law in Barnstaple means all abattoirs have to use a
- Bideford stages a huge Historical Pageant on the same day that
the new Kingsley Road is opened.
- A mother and daughter are arrested in Combe Martin after
'riotous and violent behaviour' in the local church. This follows a
seance at which the daughter received instructions from the vicar's
late wife to marry her widowed husband - who rejects her.
- Newbridge Causeway is opened in May. The 600-foot long
construction crosses the Taw valley in Bishops Tawton and is still
in use today.
- H Pearce retires as foreman of the print room of the
Journal after 58 years working on the paper.
- Braunton Silver Band are involved in a bad road accident and
suffer many injuries.
- St Anne's Museum is opened in St Peter's churchyard in
- The first stone of the new Westward Ho! sea defence wall is
- A major fire breaks out in the Motor Works and Dance Hall in
the Square at Barnstaple. Both buildings are gutted.
- The Town Crier of Torrington becomes the Champion of the United
Kingdom in a national competition.
- The firm of Small and Tidmas of Nottinghamshire purchase the
Derby lace works in Barnstaple.
- The French Ursuline nuns running the Convent school in Bideford
are replaced by the Sisters of Charity.
- Sir Alan Cobham lands an aeroplane at the old airfield on
Northam Burrows to show that Bideford could have its own
- Sam Parker, aged 76, goes to the bar of the Crown Hotel in
Ilfracombe, orders a drink, writes some letters and then shoots
- A speech on unemployment by Lloyd George in Devonport is
transmitted to Bideford Pannier Market where 4,000 listen to it via
'Marconi phone speakers.'
- The Mayor of Biddeford, Maine, USA visits Bideford and opens a
new 'parking ground' near the Kingsley statue.
- Saunton Golf Club opens a new clubhouse.
- Henry Williamson apologises to the vicar of Georgeham for
vandalising the village sign, saying it was just a joke.
- F Brokenshire head of Ashleigh Road Junior School in Barnstaple
retires after 50 years as a teacher.
- The Ilfracombe Anglers' Association decide to give free fish to
- Barnstaple celebrates its Millenary and is 'besieged' with
- Magistrates order the closure of the Gallery in the Theatre
Royal in Barnstaple. The theatre, which is also the town's only
cinema, closes almost immediately.
- A new company, the Savoy Theatre (Barnstaple) Ltd is set up to
build 'a first class and well appointed Theatre and Picture House'
in the town.
- A local councillor suggests Fremington should be developed as a
port to rival Avonmouth - and that Bideford and Barnstaple ports
should be closed.
- Two timber mills - Bradiford and Lion near Barnstaple, are
gutted by fire within weeks of each other.
- North Devon's first 'night bank' is installed at the Midland
bank in Barnstaple. :
- The R100 airship flies over North Devon on its test flights. It
is described as 'a huge sea leviathan in the sky.'
- Reports carried in the Journal of a contentious
council meeting at Lynton are described as 'grossly unfair' by
councillors - but the minutes support the paper.
The Knowle Engineering Works are burnt to the ground and much alarm
is caused in the nearby village, but the blaze is contained.
- A councillor puts a motion to construct a 'floating dock' at
Fremington. It is described as 'Fantastic', 'Mad' and 'Ridiculous'
but is only narrowly defeated.
- Lynton council decide to construct a car park near Watersmeet
to relieve local unemployment.
- During construction of new municipal offices at the Ilfracombe
Hotel a balcony collapses and three men are killed.
- Fish caught in the Torridge near the outfall of the Bideford
Mineral Carbon Black Company are stained black by pollution.
- A new X-ray machine costing £800 is installed at the
Tyrrell Cottage Hospital in Ilfracombe.
- Lady Rosamund Christie contests her late husband's will and
succeeds in holding on to Tapeley Park at Instow.
- Visitors to Ilfracombe out of season 'found the shops closed
- The collecting boxes in Combe Martin church are broken into and
the thieves escape in a stolen van.
- Moves to establish the first Birth Control Clinic in Barnstaple
are attacked by the church, but the council allows the scheme to go
- Braunton Council purchase Braunton Quay for £50 from
Messrs Isaac & Son.
- Unemployment payments in North Devon in December are
£11,379 a week - £200 up on the previous ycar.
- Ilfracombe Town council vote not to build a car park in the
middle of town as they have enough parking provision already.
- Bideford sets council house rents at 25p a week for 'small'
houses and 30p for 'rather larger' ones.
- University students who support pacifism are denounced by North
Devonian Colonel Oerton as 'effete, effeminate, side whiskered, no
good to God nor man.'
- Frederick Pow of Barnstaple shoots and kills John Small, a
gypsy in Derby, Barnstaple, after an argument over a £1 debt.
He is gaoled for eight years.
- Sir Alan Cobham brings his 'Great Air Display' to Heanton, the
Journal offers 12 free flights to whoever guesses the
correct height of a plane that is to fly over Barnstaple trailing
- Members of the British Union of Fascists turn up in Buckland
Brewer to help a local farmer fight the 'tithe war.'
- Blackmore & Sons establish a shipbuilding yard at Ford in
- Castle Hill at Filleigh, the seat of the Fonescue family, is
badly damaged by fire. Two people are killed: a 49-year-old
housekeeper and a 17-year-old servant. The Journal
carries an aerial photograph of the scene.
- Harold Youings opens his new shop at the corner of Boutport and
High Street in Barnstaple. His first customer William Copp was the
firm's first customer when the business began 50 years before.
- The BBC at Bristol broadcast the first ever programme
specifically for farmers. Tom Dunn of Heanton Court appears to
represent farming interests.
- Miss Halliday, the owner of Watersmeet, offers to sell it to
the Lynton Association for Preservation of Local Natural Beauties
for £6,000. The Journal organises a
subscription and the money is raised.
- The Barnstaple and North Devon Aerodrome is opened at Heanton.
It is described as 'The Perfect Aerodrome.'
- Harold Macmillan MP talks in North Devon on the need to tackle
- Dornat & Co completely re-equip their mineral water factory
in Barnstaple. The whole operation is now automated.
- Amongst the attractions at Barnstaple Fair is 'The Freak Pit'
where various human freaks are exhibited including Titania the Fat
Girl and Colourado 'the human fresco'.
- The new Bideford Grammar School is opened in Abbotsham Road at
a cost of £18,000.
- The Recommended System at the Noth Devon Infirmary is
abolished. This was where rich donors to the hospital could
'recommend' deserving poor people for treatment.
- The Lynton to Barnstaple Railway is closed as 'traffic receipts
did not justify the expenditure in keeping up the line.'
- A 'Peace Ballot' is held in North Devon; 15,779 vote for 'All
round reduction in armaments'; 519 vote against.
- The Journal publishes a special Royal Silver
Jubilee edition using royal blue printing ink.
- During the rebuilding at Castle Hill, Filleigh, a workman is
killed by the collapse of an arch.
- The Old Cross Tree in the centre of Braunton is removed 'owing
to the inexorable demands of modern traffic regulations.'
- It is proposed to build a 'water grid' in the area to overcome
supply problems during droughts.
- George V dies and Edward VIII is proclaimed King in all the
towns of North Devon.
- A Combe Martin councillor, S Gubb resigns on the grounds that
the council is 'squandering the ratepayers' money.'
- The North Devon Tithepayers' Association decide to redouble
their effons to get tithes abolished.
- The Mayors of Bideford and Barnstaple meet to discuss a
Regional Planning Scheme for the future development of the
- Cdr R Marston RN meets with the local authorities in the area
'for the purpose of considering air raid precautions.'
- An application to build a cinema in Boutport Street,
Barnstaple, is rejected four times during the year by the local
- The oldest British ketch still operating, the Ceres
sinks off Baggy Point.
- The Barnstaple Electricity Company's works in the Strand are
extended into the adjacent building.
- Braunton parish council decide to look into the possibility of
becoming an urban area.
- Schools are closed throughout the area owing to an influenza
- The local Conservative Association nominate the first ever
woman Parliamentary candidate for North Devon - Miss Marjorie
- Barnstaple Guildhall is the headquarters for a worldwide
organisation of young people called The Three Fold Cord.
- Lynton council introduce an egg-timer to ensure members'
speeches are not too long.
- A new cinema called The Regal is opened in Barnstaple.
- The Hon David Fortescue is injured in a plane crash at
- Barnstaple Town council decide to grant free parking for one
hour in North Walk to encourage shopping in the town.
- An inquiry is held into 'Ribbon Development' of housing along
the roads of North Devon. Plans are made to stop this type of
- H Cope is appointed the North Devon Air Raid Precautions
- A new motor ambulance is introduced into Bideford.
- A scheme for a new RAF base at Chivenor is hotly debated. At a
public meeting in Braunton one audience member asks 'Which do you
think is best, Hitler or an aerodrome?'
- Appledore's new lifeboat, the Violet Armstrong, is
- In Swimbridge a new Jubilee Hall is opened.
- Haile Selassie, the exiled Emperor of Ethiopia, opens a church
fete at Hartland.
- The Pilton by-pass which cost £28,000 is opened.
- The first ever woman councillor is elected to Braunton parish
council- Miss C Huxtable.
- The luxurious new Strand cinema is opened in Bideford at a cost
- Kipling Tors at Westward Ho! are taken over by the National
Trust as a memorial to Rudyard Kipling who went to school in the
- Lord Fortescue opens the new BBC West Region transmitters at
Clevedon and Start Point.
- A new daily service by Western Airways links Swansea,
Barnstaple, Newquay and Penzance.
- Barnstaple St John's nurses win the All-England cup in a
competition in London.
- A Lynton councillor wants the Town Hall to be closed at 8pm on
weekdays and all day on Sundays in case the IRA try to blow up the
- Barnstaple's Rhythm Boys Dance Band are Champions of the West
of England after winning a Melody Maker competition at
- A concert is put on in Barnstaple by Spanish children who are
refugees from the Spanish Civil War.
- War is declared on September 3rd. Bideford is allocated 2800
children and teachers as evacuces whilst the first Barnstaple air
raid shelter is opened in disused wine and spirit vaults under the
Queen's Hotel in Boutport Street.
- On the outbreak of war all schools in North Devon are closed
'Owing to the National Emergency' - but re-open a few days
- Sixty European Jewish refugees are being trained at Swimbridge
to serve as pioneers for the Zionist state in Palestine.
- At Braunton school instructions are issued as to what to do in
case of an air raid: 'Infants to go to the lavatories and
caretaker's house and the rest to lie down in the lane adjoining
the school field.'
- In Bideford 1,800 men answer the Prime Minister's call for
Local Defence Volunteers, later renamed the Home Guard. Their first
weapons are rifles borrowed from a school that had been evacuated
to Westward Ho!
- In Barnstaple the Mayor opens a fund to purchase an annoured
car for the Home Guard.
- Invasion scares electrify North Devon on the nights of June
19/20 and September 7/8 this year.
- The Air Ministry invite tenders to build a new, enlarged
airfield at Chivenor.
- A factory is opened at Raleigh in Barnstaple to make clothing
for troops. The girls are putting romantic messages in the bundles
- several romances are reported.
- Boys of Barnstaple Grammar School dig trenches in the school
grounds and cultivate allotments.
- At the request of the War Office the Journal
publishes silhouettes of German troop-carrying aircraft. Citizens
are to report any sightings to the police.
- Bombs are dropped on Instow and Barnstaple.
- A dog-fight over South Molton sees a German plane crash. One
flier is killed and the other three are captured by farmworkers and
handed over to the Home Guard.
- Eleven 'public shelters' are constructed in Bideford whilst
those shops which have a bombproof basement are identified by
notices in their windows.
- Joan and Jackie Collins are pupils at Hereford House School in
- Britain's only official mounted postman, who works at
- The local paddle steamer Lorna Doane has been
commissioned as a minesweeper and during an attack by seven German
aircraft manages to shoot down three of them.
- The Barnstaple YMCA mobile canteen is destroyed by a bomb
during the Plymouth blitz. Its all woman crew is rescued from a
nearby hotel that was also hit.
- Schoolchildren in Barnstable, Massachusetts stage a concert and
raise £13 to buy sweets for their counterparts in
- The Albert Hall in Barnstaple is completely gutted by
- A German bomber crashes on Lundy. The crew surrender to
islanders and are brought to Appledore on their way to PoW
- Lilian Shaddick, aged 18, saves a 5-year-old child who falls
into the Taw at Rock Park. She also saves an airman who gets into
difficulties trying to save the child.
- A football match between the RAF and Bristol City is held in
Barnstaple to raise funds for the North Devon Infirmary. City win
- A 'British Restaurant' providing cheap food is established in
Bideford Pannier Market.
- Bishops Tawton organises a huge tea and entertainment for all
the evacuated children living in the village.
- A memorial tablet is dedicated in Holy Trinity Church, Westward
Ho! commemorating the 141 Old Boys of the United Services College
who gave their lives in the First World War.
- Several local residents and Army personnel are convicted of
stealing Army stores from an unnamed North Devon depot.
- Sir Richard Acland, MP for North Devon, resigns from the
Liberal Party. He immediately becomes vice-chairman of the new
Common Wealth Party.
- A Bideford man, serving with the US Marines, becomes the
Champion Shot of America. His score is only two short of the
alltime record for the Marine Corps.
- Lieut Thomas Platt DSO, commander of the motor launch flotilla
at the St Nazaire raid, marries a North Devon Wren at
- In Bideford, Frank Bright alleges that the local Workers'
Educational Association is spreading 'anti-Soviet propaganda' via
its evening classes. This is denied.
- Sydney House near Torrington which is being run as a school for
'delicate children' catches fire and five children perish.
- Police issue an appeal not to shoot carrier pigeons after a
local farmer shoots a bird carrying a vital message. Police
recovered and forwarded the message.
- Sir Richard Acland presents his estates at Killerton and
Holnicote to the National Trust.
- The BBC broadcast Workers Playtime from Barnstaple.
Jeanne de Casalis and Jack Warner are the stars of the show.
- In Ilfracombe a man found feeding his sandwiches to seagulls is
charged with wasting food. The magistrate dismisses the case.
- A North Devon railway depot is making reinforced concrete goods
such as sleepers and cable ducts. Forty of the 100 workers are
- NAAFI offer full training for women to serve as cooks and
canteen manageresses. Free board and lodging and a uniform is
offered along with a wage of £1.12 a week for cooks and
£1.35 for manageresses.
- Miss Mary Miles, a professional singer from Barnstaple, tours
Malta and is dubbed the 'Forces Favourite' by servicemen on the
- George Lambert, MP for South Molton, suggests that the Minister
of Agriculture should institute measures to find husbands for Land
Girls as good farmers' wives would always be needed.
- Some £2,500 is raised by a sports day in Rock Park,
Barnstaple between US and British service teams organised by nurses
from the North Devon Infirmary.
- Three landing boats containing American troops in training for
the D-Day landings capsize off of Baggy Point and 24 die.
- The United States Army stage a party for evacuee children in
- Lance Corporal J P Harman, Royal West Kent Regiment, whose home
was on Lundy, is posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross for an
action at Kohima.
- Barnstaple YMCA collect enough money to purchase a mobile
canteen to serve with the forces in Normandy.
- A team from the J Arthur Rank Company film George Bernard
Shaw's Caesar and Cleopatra at Saunton.
- Southern National Bus Company are employing six female bus
drivers in North Devon.
- Cpl Johnson of the US Army rescues a young woman from the sea
at Croyde. A woman looking after his watch makes off with it.
People are so disgusted they quickly subscribe to buy him a
£40 gold watch plus a cheque for £42 towards his
college fees when he returns to America.
- The Appledore lifeboat coxswain is awarded the RNLI bronze
medal for the rescue of seven men off Ilfracombe. The men were on a
phoenix, a caisson from the Mulberry Harbour, being towed to
- American enlisted men give and plant a tree in Braunton
- On the last day of the year the various Home Guard units in
North Devon are 'stood down' from active service. Parades mark the
occasion in the towns and villages.
- Winter is very severe with 28 degrees of frost recorded. Roads
are blocked with 12-foot drifts and the Army is called in to
deliver bread to outlying villages.
- The Lynmouth lifeboast, one of the last 'pulling boats' in the
RNLI leaves and the station is closed.
- VE (Victory in Europe) Day is celebrated with street parties in
every town and village in North Devon.
- Colonel J Trump Dunn, a former Mayor of Barnstaple and J Dixey,
a medical student volunteer from Barnstaple, describe the horrors
they had seen at Dachau and Belsen concentration camps.
- The Journal reports how the Second Battalion of
the Devonshire Regiment march into Berlin.
- Southern Railways carries out trials of a new class of powerful
West Country class locomotives between Exeter and Ilfracombe.
- Frogmen of the Royal Navy and Royal Marines are continuing to
be trained at Appledore by a local man who is an ex-bosun in the
- RAF Chivenor holds the first post-war Open Day.
- A visitor to Combe Martin, fishing with a conger line, hauls in
a tope measuring five and half feet long.
- Two thousand people watch a rugby match betwcen Barnstaple and
a New Zealand Services XV. The latter win 22-5.
- A 'colony of tramps' is found living in a wood in Fremington,
Their 'shacks', built out of waste dumped by the US Army, are burnt
down on council orders.
- Moves to close eight village schools in the South Molton area
are strenuously fought as their disappearance is seen as a threat
to village life.
- Barnstaple Rural District Council apply for German PoWs to
complete the Westdown water supply scheme.
- It is alleged that prefabricated houses being erected in the
area to help tackle the housing shortage are 'neither windproof nor
- The 999 telephone system is inaugurated in North Devon.
- Combe Martin changes from gas to electric street lighting but
progress is slow owing to a shortage of materials.
- Arlington Court is presented to the National Trust by Rosalie
- Two US Army deserters are captured after living rough in
Spreacombe Wood, Georgeham, for two years.
- Three new rail engines are named Barnstaple,
Bideford and Ilfracombe.
- The speaker at the opening of Braunton Young Farmers Club says
'In spite of atomic energy the horse still retains its place in the
life of the community and I hope it will be a long day before it is
superseded by anything else.
- Typhoid hits Woolacombe and 22 people are ill. The cause is
- A German PoW on a walk near Annery discovers the corpse of a
- Food parcels arrive in North Devon from Australia and the
- North Devon is 'Snowed Under' by a huge blizzard which sees ice
packed against Barnstaple and Bideford's bridges and a snow plough
lost under 10 feet of snow at Lynton, Two Barnstaple doctors travel
to a woman in labour at Challacombe by horse and skis.
- A vote in Ilfracombe on the Sunday opening of cinemas sees
2,219 vote in favour and 1,679 against.
- Braunton council denounce the centralisation of power to
Exeter. A member reckons 'It is the beginning of
- The dance hall of the NALGO Holiday Camp burns down on its
opening night following closure during the war.
- A Martinet aircraft from RAF Chivenor crashes into the River
Taw near Fremington and the pilot is killed.
- A disastrous fire hits New Quay Dock at Appledore owned by P K
Harris. Many men lose irreplaceable tools.
- An escaped prisoner from Dartmoor prison is recaptured 'after a
struggle' at Challacombe on his way to South Wales via
- BBC radio reception in North Devon is said to consist of
'Squeaks and Noises' but there is no prospect of improvement.
- Two demobbed soldiers build their own houses at Raleigh in
Barnstaple to help beat the housing shortage.
- At Ilfracombe the Sanitary Inspector, talking about the
shortage of houses, says 'A frequent source of trouble is the
situation created when a young couple are obliged to live with
- Two planes from Chivenor, including a Spitfire, crash near
Eastleigh, three pilots die.
- Mine clearing operations at Saunton are being undertaken by
Polish troops and German PoWs - amongst whom there are several
- Bideford Chamber of Trade press for doubling of the Exeter
Bideford rail track but are warned it 'might come about by
- A councillor from Stoke Rivers bemoans rural depopulation
reckoning 'Children are being enticed to Barnstaple and elsewhere
- North Devon Infirmary is taken over by the National Health
Service on July 5th.
- Swimbridge Sunday Film and Cultural Club has eighty members. It
exists to 'bring the best type of films to the small villages
without the background of commercialism.'
- The Candar Hotel, Ilfracombe, is fined £60 for having
4,492 eggs 'most of which bore no official stamp.' Officially they
had only been allocated 140.
- Barnstaple British Legion ask their HQ if 'membership of the
Communist Party was compatible with membership of the Legion?'
- Mrs Andrew of the Post Office at Combe Martin erects a stained
glass window in the local church as a memorial to herself. The
inscribed tablet below is to be unveiled after her death.
- Mortehoe council house tenants complain about having no
electricity - 'and it did not seem as if they were going to get
- The housing shortage in Combe Martin means young people are
putting off getting married according to one local
- Bideford Town Council introduce a charge of 6d (2½p) for
parking on the Pill - it is 'to help the ratepayers.'
- Sweet rationing ends in April. The variety most in demand is
said to be chewing gum - 'a habit copied from American troops
stationed here during the war.'
- Nonconformists in Bideford demand 'that all racing news be
obliterated in the newspapers used in the public library - so as
not to encourage gambling.
- Torrington council co-opt two housewives on to its Housing
Committee 'to assist in the planning of houses.'
- The Victoria Pavilion in Ilfracombe is destroyed by fire, only
the two glass wings survive.
- There is a massive effort to eradicate rats from Lundy using
- The National Amateur Rowing Association championship fours are
staged on the River Torridge at Bideford.
- The Methodist minister at Lynton reckons young people are tired
of 'hot', 'swing' and 'rebop' music and really want waltzes and
- Electric street lighting replaces gas lamps in Bideford.
- The North Devon Water Board plan 'the virtual disappearance of
that ancient country institution, the village pump.' Pumps at
Tawstock and Fremington 'mysteriously disappear overnight.'
- Civil Defence personnel train in preparation for nuclear war.
Evacuation centres in North Devon have already been selected.
- Wistlandpound reservoir is begun on Exmoor.
- A new cemetery at Northam is consecrated.
- Extensive foundations for the new Yelland power station are
- Ilfracombe Pier has a range of new extensions built on to
- Mrs Gregory of Combe Martin wins the prize for the best kept
garden in the parish: she is 90 years old.
- Richard Dimbleby visits Brannam's Pottery in Litchdon Street,
Barnstaple to record Down Your Way for the BBC. He also goes
to Bideford and Ilfracombe.
- A new secondary school is constructed at South Molton.
- In Bideford the new Burton Art Gallery is under construction,
it will house a collection of paintings given to the town.
- The first event celebrating the Festival of Britain in North
Devon is a 'Trade Exhibition' at Bideford organised by the Chamber
of Trade. It attracts 12,000 paying customers.
- At Torrington a torchlight procession is held while Taddiport
holds a 'tub race' down the Torridge
- Barnstaple Town makes it through to the First Round of the FA
- At AppIedore the Gaiety Cinema is closed as new safety measures
could not be met. It re-opens in 1953.
- A. McTaggart Short presents Bideford Town Council with a set of
robes for its members to wear on ceremonial occasions.
- The Albert Hall in Barnstaple is under reconstruction after
being burnt down in 1941.
- Sticklepath Primary School is being built in Barnstaple to
provide education for the large number of children on nearby
- Barnstaple Fire Brigade take delivery of a new, more powerful,
- Triplets are born to Mr and Mrs Waring of Barton Tors,
Bideford. They are the first such in the area for 21 years.
- Chanter's Folly overlooking the River Torridge is finally
demolished as being unsafe, some 111 years after it was erected as
a 'lookout' for a rich local merchant.
- A new sewage works is opened at Torrington at a total cost of
- Bideford has its first ever woman Mayor when Mrs E M Cox is
elected by her fellow councillors.
- A Vampire jet from RAF Chivenor crashes at Woolacombe and the
pilot is killed.
- A new traffic island is erected in Barnstaple Square to help
the flow of cars and lorries.
- Rollerskaters are banned from using the pavement along the
- George VI dies and Elizabeth II is proclaimed to the sound of
trumpets in Barnstaple Guildhall. At Bideford the proclamation is
made from the Town Hall balcony and 'Art students looking on from
windows of an adjoining building made sketches of the scene.'
- The Albert Hall in Barnstaple is renamed the Queen's Hall and
the manager is paid £700 a year.
- The Lynmouth flood disaster occurs: 29 are killed and four are
missing. The dead range in age from three months to 80 years.
- Barnstaple Town council vote to use the Pannier Market for
car-parking on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday.
- Ronald Duncan organises the Taw and Torridge Festival held over
a week in July. Benjamin Britten, Humphrey Lyttelton and the Harlem
Rhythm Stars are among the performers.
- The first two generators at Yelland power station are
commissioned, whilst later in the year the first cargo of coal is
unloaded at Yelland Quay.
- Women are enrolled as jurors for the first time at the Bideford
- The Coach and Horses pub in Swimbridge experiences a damaging
- Street parties and other celebrations are held throughout North
Devon to celebrate the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.
- The first 'Belisha beacon' in North Devon is set up in
Ilfracombe to allow pedestrians to cross the road more easily.
- A 'Waitress Race' is held at Ilfracombe - competition is
- Post is still being delivered by a mounted postman in the area
around North Molton.
- Bideford and Barnstaple Trades Councils condemn modern films as
'pretty horrible' and 'degrading' saying that they encourage
'brutality and violence'.
- The new traffic islands in Barnstaple Square are reckoned to be
like a 'Chinese puzzle' by a local councillor. The removal of the
Alben Clock Tower is suggested to help the traffic flow.
- The Rivers Taw and Torridge freeze over in February.
- A serious decline in the bird life on Lundy is blamed on rats
and oil pollution.
- Dr Soper (later Lord Soper), President of the Methodist
Conference, visits Bideford and announces his view that compulsory
military service 'makes more hooligans'.
- The Government rejects moves to build a new secondary school at
- Meat is taken off ration and this becomes the subject of
various floats in the Chulmleigh Fair Children's Carnival.
- Torrington Secondary Modern School sends a party of 26 students
to Paris even though the school does not teach French.
- A proposal to allow Sunday opening of shops in Lynton for the
benefit of holiday-makers is turned down on religious grounds.
- A new Methodist chapel is opened at Sticklepath.
- A four-bedroom, detached bungalow at Newport, Barnstaple, is
for sale at £2,600. It boasts a 'TV aerial'.
- Six hundred houses in Barnstaple are identified for demolition
as slums. A spokesman says 'Barnstaple is a black spot so far as
overcrowding and sub-standard houses are concerned.'
- Bideford Town Council discuss the purchase of land in Kingsley
Road for use as a 'Helicopter Drome'.
- Ilfracombe replaces its gas street lights with electricity at a
cost of £9,282.
- The smithy at Mortehoe is closed after 80 years of continuous
- Death watch beetle is discovered at Instow church, repairs are
to cost £800.
- A woman who called a Westward Ho! holiday camp a 'slum' is
taken to court and settles after paying £200 in costs.
- The proprietor of Ilfracombe Zoo, C Trevisick, is attacked by a
lion when he goes to clean out its cage.
- For the first time since first being published in 1824 the
Journal carries news rather than advertisements on
its front page.
- The foundation stone of St Paul's church at Sticklepath is
laid. The building costs £14,000.
- The only woman on Torrington Town council, Florence Lake, is
elected the first ever female Mayor of the town.
- A mink farm is opened at Northam Burrows by two local men.
- Special police patrols are out in North Devon after a warning
that the IRA is targeting local military bases.
- 'Nude shows' and striptease are banned from Barnstaple Carnival
after complaints the year before.
- Yelland Power Station is opened on 21st April, its final cost
is £11 million.
- Bideford Trades Council request that 'Elocution' be made a
compulsory subject in local schools as 'workers speak so
- The Queen visits Barnstaple. The streets are awash with flags
with some people having turned up at 4am to ensure a good vantage
- A Barnstaple councillor asks that the council 'should oppose
any move to prevent courting couples from walking along the
footpath from Bickington to Anchor Wood.'
- A plan is announced to build a 'miniature pocket railway' along
the old line of the Bideford-Westward Ho! railway.
- The Journal announces that 'Coloured Nurses' from
Barbados will be training in Barnstaple Hospital.
- A factory, set up in 1943 in South Molton by Small & Tidmas
to mend mosquito nets and lace, closes with the loss of 12
- A new supply boat is bought for Lundy the old one
(Lerina) having been sold as a derelict for just
- Some 1,700 'obscene' and 'suggestive' postcards are seized by
the police in Ilfracombe and ordered to be destroyed.
- An official police denial is issued that 'a well organised
call-girl racket' had been built up in Bideford using an 'ingenious
- A freak storm destroys fishing boats at Combe Martin. A special
hardship fund is set up to help them re-equip themselves.
- At Swimbridge a 10-waggon goods train is derailed and 100 yards
of track ripped up. No-one is hurt.
- The showmen who run Barnstaple Fair ban rock and roll music
saying: 'We do not believe in the rubbish.'
- Skiffle groups are all the rage in North Devon though few are
- A new, more efficient and handier bus station is proposed for
- The North Devon Journal moves into its specially
constructed new buildings in the High Street which replace some far
older offices on the site.
- M Blackmore & Sons build a new shipyard at Southcott just
below Bideford Bridge.
- People in Barnstaple, Ilfracombe and Combe Martin spot the
newly launched Russian 'Sputnik' satellite with their naked
- Ray Ellington appears at Queen's Hall with his 'glamorous
singing star Marion Ryan.'
- A protest against the H-bomb at South Molton attracts 200
- A 'flying saucer' is seen over Ilfracombe. It is described by
four witnesses as a 'long cigar shaped golden object.'
- Plans are announced to turn Watermouth Castle into a major
- Bideford Town Council clears slums in Hart Street, Vinegar Hill
and Bull Hill.
- The manager of the Ilfracombe Holiday Inn warns 'teddy boys'
and 'youthful spivs' that they would be banned from local
- A knife throwing craze breaks out amongst youths in South
Molton. Headmasters and Scoutmasters are to be asked to help stamp
- Foot and mouth disease is found at Lynton. Destruction orders
for affected cattle are applied to the whole of Exmoor.
- Asian flu affects hundreds of schoolchildren across North
- During repairs to the pavement in Barnstaple Street, South
Molton an 18-foot deep well is discovered which opens out into a
30-foot square cavern.
- An effigy of a local staghunter is hurled into the sea at
Ilfracombe Pier as a protest against hunting. It follows a
challenge to a duel using riding crops.
- The head of the North Devon Teachers Association attacks
'modern teaching methods' because 'the habit of obedience is lost
and from lack of routine a feeling of insecurity arises.'
- Lynmouth's Memorial Hall is opened.
- The abattoir and cattle market in Honestone Street, Bideford is
sold by the council to the North Devon Meat Marketing Society for
- The derelict iron mines at North Molton are tested to discover
if workable deposits of uranium exist in them.
- Mark Bonham-Carter wins a Parliamentary by-election for the
Torrington constituency - the first such victory for the Liberals
in 29 years.
- Ten more villages are connected to the National Grid including
Landkey, Tawstock and Burrington.
- The Queen Mother visits Lundy: the island's first ever Royal
- Appledore's Gaiety cinema is up for sale owing to competition
- Bingo is introduced at the Plaza Cinema in Braunton in an
effort to boost income but the police close it down.
- Cary Grant pays a secret visit to a pantomime at the Regal
Theatre in Barnstaple.
- Ilfracombe Town Council is to be investigated following an
overspend of £9,500. Its financial records are said to be
- The Post Office in Bideford moves to its new building on the
Quay. Its old premises are offered to Marks & Spencer by the
- The County Industrial Development Officer admits he finds
'considerable difficulty in attracting new industries to North
- A new relief road is built in Barnstaple to connect Queen and
Boutport Street. Half of the Horse and Groom Inn at the road
junction is demolished.
- A move to build a new secondary school at Hartland is defeated
as there are said to be too few children in the area.
- Swimwear firm Jantzen and engineers Hobart both open new
factories on the Braunton Road in Barnstaple creating 250
- Smells from the Torrington sewerage works are 'wafting over the
town' and are said to be very objectionable.
- The Braunton-Barnstaple road is made into a dual carriageway at
a cost of £50,000. This is done to provide work 'for the
- The Post Office purchase Nos. 9 and 10 East Street in South
Molton as the site for a new office.
- The Barnstaple Electricity Station in the Strand is closed and
the machinery sold for scrap as its role has now been taken over by
- Victoria Road Station in Barnstaple is closed and all passenger
traffic diverted to the Sticklepath station.
- A 'radar speed meter' is used for the first time in the area
when police set up one on Sticklepath Hill, Barnstaple.
- A fowl pest outbreak at Holsworthy spreads to Milton Damerel
and Pyworthy. Large numbers of birds are destroyed.
- Barnstaple Football Club 'slash' their staffs wages by 50% to
keep the club going. The total weekly wage is now £28.10s.0d
- Two amphibious tanks sink at Westward Ho! during training.
Three soldiers die.
- The Queen Anne statue in Barnstaple is festooned in white cloth
as part of the local Grammar School's Rag Day.
- The rector of Bideford denounces 'juke box teenagers' and says
that 'Godlessness is rampant in the Little White Town.'
- A Brigitte Bardot film is banned in Barnstaple on Good Friday
as being 'not appropriate entertainment.'
- A car on the Lynton Cliff Railway leaves the track and its 20
passengers are shaken. It is the first accident in 70 years of
- Huge floods hit North Devon. Emergency kitchens are established
to feed those who have been flooded out of their houses.
- A woman from Combe Martin claims to have been carried into
space on board a Martian space ship.
- A new Isetta three-wheeled 'bubble car' is on sale in Bideford
for £299.19s.6d (£299.97½p).
- Ilfracombe sends tourist brochures to North Country
hairdressers attempting to target 'women who spend long hours in
- Lightning hits Yelland power station and most of North Devon is
- Foot and mouth disease breaks out at Chulmleigh. All animal
markets in a 10 mile radius are closed.
- Construction of the Moreton Park estate in Bideford starts. It
is the biggest new development in the town since the war.
- Woolworth's demolish two shops in Barnstaple High Street to
make way for their new store.
- A 13-year-old boy drowns in Bideford's Jennett's reservoir.
Some 16 million gallons are drained off and the town experiences
- Complaints are made about 'rowdy teenagers' who gather under
the arches of Torrington Town Hall. They indulge in 'shouting,
swearing and singing.'
- The area's first supermarket, Burtons, opens in the High
Street, Barnstaple. The 400 women queuing for the opening are told
how 'Shoppers collect a mesh basket when they arrive, walk around
the store collecting their goods, and pay at four cash desks as
- The County Education Chief is burned in effigy at Hartland in
protests over the failure to provide a secondary school for the
- The new cattle market at South Molton is opened. It covers six
acres and costs £32,000.
- Windows are smashed in Braunton when a 7-foot long wartime land
mine is exploded on Saunton Sands.
- The bailey bridge that crossed the pebble ridge at Westward Ho!
is removed by the army.
- The Aetherius Society, whose members believe they can contact
extra-terrestrials, stages a major ceremony to 'charge' a hill on
Exmoor with spiritual energy.
- Building work begins on the new North Devon Technical College
at Sticklepath, Barnstaple.
- Planners decide there is to be no more building on the river
side of the main Fremington-Instow road.
- Barnstaple Town Council suggest demolishing the Pannier Market
and replacing it with new office accommodation.
- A farming family of Black Dog, Witheridge, construct an H-bomb
shelter underneath their property.
- An English teacher from Edgehill College becomes a comedian at
the Windmill Theatre in Soho; his act appears between the
- The Palace cinema in Bideford closes owing to competition from
- Ilfracombe Town Council rejects a suggested cable car between
Capstone and Hillsborough.
- Plans are announced for a modern arcade of shops opposite the
war memorial in Fremington.
- Chulmleigh Secondary School teachers and pupils build a new
swimming pool in under nine months.
- The Fleet Auxiliary ship Green Ranger is wrecked at
Hartland. Seven crew members are rescued after a rocket line is
fired to the stricken ship.
- The 'Bitterest Snow-up in Memory' hits the area. Hamlets are
isolated for days at a time and six helicopters are brought in to
distribute food. Three crocodiles freeze to death at Ilfracombe
- A furniture shop in Well Street, Torrington is gutted by
- South Molton Chamber of Commerce vote to oppose 'trading
stamps' in the town.
- Extreme low tides between Woolacombe and Putsborough reveal
three-quarters of a mile of underwater anti-submarine
- Appledore Shipyard is closed and 350 men are made redundant.
Only a minute's notice is given. The yard later revives after a
local consortium buy it out.
- Ilfracombe asks that one of Britain's new universities be sited
in the town. It is reckoned that local guesthouses could become
- Barnstaple Bridge is widened by building a new concrete bridge
faced with local stone on the upstream side of the old one.
- Blackmore's shipyard just above Bideford Bridge closes but
later re-opens after being purchased by a London company.
- Passenger services are withdrawn from the Barnstaple-Taunton
line after the route loses £94,000 in one year.
- Holsworthy decides to have two market days: Wednesday and
- Rolle Quay in Barnstaple is closed - the last remnant of the
town's once important port function.
- A new Catholic church is opened in Torrington - 34 years after
the first Mass was said in the town. In the same year a new
Catholic chapel is opened at Hartland.
- Beatle-style haircuts are banned at Barnstaple Grammar School -
a writer reckons that 'Now that girls wear jeans it is difficult to
differentiate the female sex from the male when they have full
- The Beatles travel to South Molton railway station to do some
filming for their new film. Only Ringo gets out of the rail
- Through-trains from North Devon to London are stopped; all
passengers have to change at Exeter.
- Braunton Burrows is set up as a Nature Reserve by the Nature
- South Molton Town council asks Woolworth's to open a shop in
the town's Square but they refuse.
- Ilfracombe' s last private school, Adelaide College, closes and
the site is given planning permission for flats.
- A new Baptist church is opened in Bideford's Mill Street at a
cost of £27,000.
- A plan to turn Pilton Park into a car park is rejected by
Barnstaple Town Council.
- The first 'topless' dress to be sold in North Devon is
purchased from a Bideford shop; two elderly ladies on seeing it
displayed said 'they did not know what the world was coming
- The mystery of a black beast seen in North Devon is said to be
solved when it is 'identified' as a two-year-old, 100lb Great
- The last steam train to cross the River Taw at Barnstaple makes
its way over the line in April. Passenger traffic from Halwill to
Torrington is also stopped.
- A new 'shopping crescent' is built at West Cross in Braunton on
what was a temporary car park.
- Torrington Council take over the running of the May Fair from
the Chamber of Commerce who have organised it since 1924.
- A huge fire destroys four factories at Taw Wharf. Barnstaple is
'rocked by an explosion like a bomb.'
- Appledore Shipbuilders are taken over by Court Line.
- Dartington Hall Trustees announce they are to open a glass
factory at Winkleigh Aerodrome.
- Copps Close sheltered housing scheme is opened in Bideford at a
cost of £75,000.
- A 'beat service' in St Peter's church in Barnstaple attracts
500 people - a greater number than turned up for Churchill's
- The Beatles are awarded the MBE and 67-year-old Fred Crow of
Croyde returns his war medals to the Queen in protest.
- Near Chudleigh Fort in Bideford a huge hole opens up in a house
garden, it is thought to be a remnant from the days of culm
- A wrestling match held in the South Molton Assembly Rooms
features women wrestlers for the first time in North Devon.
- Barnstaple is nominated as the site to receive up to 50,000
Londoners as 'overspill'. The plan is defeated after a referendum
is held in the town.
- Henry Williamson, author of Tarka the Otter, writes to
the Journal saying 'if I had my way I would disband
all pop groups and send them down the mines to work.'
- The first plans are put forward for a North Devon Sixth Form
College that is later to become North Devon College.
- Coutant Electronics opens a factory in Ilfracombe. Initially
they employ 20-30 men plus some 'unskilled female labour'.
- Twenty housewives wash down derelict buildings in Ilfracombe's
Portland Street as a protest against inaction by Devon County
Council over clearing the site.
- Permission is given to cinema owners in Barnstaple and Bideford
to show X-rated films on a Sunday.
- Two massive grain warehouses are burnt down on Rolle Quay,
Barnstaple. Six fire brigades fight the blaze unsuccessfully.
- A zoo is opened at Bideford by Mrs Kathleen Tottenham.
- A 40-foot high waterspout is spotted off of Lynmouth.
- A plan for a 'New Town' at Winkleigh is put forward by planners
in an effort to provide both housing and industry for the
- Prisoners from Dartmoor are used to clear wartime equipment
abandoned on Braunton Burrows by the US Army.
- Jeremy Thorpe becomes the leader of the Liberal Party.
- Boys at Barnstaple Secondary School build an 8-foot long
- A new cross for the churches of Warkleigh and Satterleigh is
made out of scrap material from local farms.
- South Molton's first discotheque opens at the Goose and Gander
Hotel. It is organised by the local Young Conservatives and 240
- The sea wall at Appledore is smashed by mountainous waves. A
25-foot gap is opened up and three gardens disappear into the
- Parishioners at Pilton complain about a sermon on 'Sex and
Morality' saying it is 'not suitable' for a Sunday.
- A new abattoir at Torrington built for the North Devon Meat
Marketing Society is badly damaged by fire.
- The first 'political' candidates stand in local elections at
Bideford when two men declare they are Liberals.
- The Instow Post Office is held up at knife point. The three
robbers escape with £361 but are captured at Umberleigh after
their getaway car crashes.
- Sir Francis Chichester returns to Barnstaple after his
single-handed voyage around the world. He is given the Freedom of
- Twenty five Swedish master glassblowers arrive in Torrington to
get the Dartington Glass factory running.
- A £25 million plan to build a hydro-electric power
station between Bucks Mills and Clovelly is abandoned.
- The Kathleen and May is brought to Appledore for
refitting after being found derelict in Southampton Water.
- Barnstaple Fair moves to its new site on Seven Brethren Bank
after centuries on North Walk.
- A new TV mast is erected at Huntshaw for the ITA.
- Work is underway on construction of the Civic Centre in
Barnstaple. It takes two years to complete and is described by a
noted architectural historian as 'an alien imposition' and a
- The two arches of Bideford Bridge nearest to the Town Hall give
way and the interruption of traffic brings chaos to a large area. A
crane driver working on its repair is killed when his crane topples
- An amphibious car is purchased by Jim Venus of Appledore
Shipyard to help him cross the River Torridge whilst repairs are
done to Bideford Bridge.
- The top half of the Ring o'Bells in Winkleigh is destroyed by
fire. Villagers form a human chain to save cases of beer and
- A Sea Vixen jet from Chivenor crashes on Braunton Burrows and
its two naval pilots are killed.
- The Combe Martin Carnival is cancelled through lack of
- Ratepayers in Ilfracombe demand action to tackle the problem of
empty shops in the town's High Street.
- Braunton council pays £15,500 to provide a free car park
in the centre of the village.
- The replica 16th century ship the Nonsuch, built to mark
the 300th anniversary of the Hudson Bay Company, is launched from
Hinks' boatyard at Appledore.
- New pylons reaching 165ft in height are erected in North Devon
as part of the National Grid.
- The Prime Minister Edward Heath visits North Devon and travels
to Bideford to view repairs to the bridge.
- S & J Engineering open the first factory on the new
industrial estate at Pottington in Barnstaple.
- Plans are announced by Sussman's to open a shirt and pyjama
making factory at Pottington to employ 300 women and girls.
- North Devon industrialists fear a massive shortage of labour as
so many new factories are moving into the area.
- Plans to build a Sixth Form College next to the Technical
College in Barnstaple lead to five departmental heads at Barnstaple
Grammar School resigning in protest.
- Christopher Utting, the Public Health Inspector for Northam,
gets planning permission to construct a nuclear shelter in his
garden at Westward Ho!
- The Royal Hotel at Bideford is offered to the Bideford Theatre
Arts Club for £10,000 as a 'cultural centre'. Within weeks
the Brend Hotels buy it.
- Rumours that the new Civic Centre in Barnstaple is sinking are
strongly denied by a council spokesman.
- Appledore Shipyard announces it intends building a massive new
slipway which will be completely enclosed.
- Some 70 feet of the main cliff road on Lundy subsides and
tourists can no longer be landed.
- A French trawler, the Goliath, is wrecked at Hartland
and two fishermen drown.
- The appointment of a traffic warden at Holsworthy on £800
a year is called 'an irresponsible use of public money' by a local
- Torrington Town Council sponsor a mini-skirt competition in the
town. It is run by a local vicar's wife who says 'We must keep up
with the times you know.'
- Lundy is put up for sale. Various people including 'casino
tycoons', 'holiday camp barons' and the Scientologists all express
an interest. It is finally bought by the National Trust with the
help of a massive gift from 'Union' Jack Haywood.
- The Palace cinema in Bideford is to become the biggest
supermarket in the West Country with the area's first
- Work begins in Braunton on a new drugs and toiletries factory
at Wrafton for the International Chemical Company. Some 400 jobs
- Protests are made at Ilfracombe against 'long haired beatniks'
who 'sit about on pavements, piers and the seafront' in the town.
Many are said 'to have no work.'
- Caroline Thorpe dies in a car accident just days after her
husband Jeremy retains his North Devon seat in the General
- A new chipboard factory is set to come to South Molton. Ulster
Chipboard Company Ltd say there will be at least 100 new jobs for
- Barnstaple's Derby lace factory ceases production of lace and
begins manufacturing knitted textiles.
- The owners of the Pilton glove factory announce its closure
with the loss of 11 jobs.
- Students at the Bideford Art School protest that the
authorities at the North Devon Technical College are 'snooping into
their private lives.'
- The rail link between Ilfracombe and Barnstaple is closed in
October even though massive protests are organised.
- The Bridge Street Methodist chapel in Bideford, known as the
'Nonconformist Cathedral of North Devon' is put up for sale.
- There is opposition to the siting of new factories at
Dartington Fields in Torrington.
- The 11+ exam is scrapped in North Devon after many years of
campaigning against its unfairness.
- The long awaited Northam by-pass is given the go-ahead.
- Following a raid on a Barnstaple Post Office, Tom Gent the
postmaster is praised for his bravery. The thief is caught and
- The first pub in Weare Giffard for 150 years, the Cider Press,
is opened by John and Beryl Yates.
- The Ulster Chipboard Company open their new factory at South
- Welders at Appledore shipyard go on strike for two weeks - and
win an extra 7p an hour.
- 'Militant action' and a bomb scare at Yelland power station see
power cuts across North Devon.
- The International Chemical Company open their new factory at
- The Derby lace factory in Barnstaple produces its first rolls
of nylon netting. A good future is assured say the directors.
- The keel of the 16th century replica ship The Golden
Hinde is laid in September at Hinks' shipyard in
- The Derby lace factory in Barnstaple is severely damaged by
fire in September of this year.
- The local secretary of the National Union of Agricultural
Workers condemns the Education Minister, Mrs Thatcher, for stopping
free milk for school children.
- A 68-year-old Chittlehampton woman commits suicide by firing a
shotgun into her head three times.
- A move to close the Exeter-Barnstaple rail line is averted by a
Government subsidy of £350,000 over two years.
- Electricity cuts hit North Devon as a result of a miners'
- The Bluecoat School on Barnstaple's North Walk is
- Plans are put forward to build a barrage across the
Taw-Torridge mouth to provide a new bridge.
- The North Devon Yacht Club moves into Instow's old railway
- Ilfracombe Football Club's grandstand at Marlborough Park burns
- 120 Hell's Angels invade Westward Ho! at Easter and damage the
golf club greens for the third time in four years.
- The raising of the school leaving age to 16 is forecast to
create labour shortages in local factories.
- Ilfracombe Town council support moves to build 'an Alpine style
cable car' from Marine Drive to Hillsborough at a cost of
- There is a warning that village life is being changed forever
as more and more rural houses become second homes.
- North Devon's' alternative newspaper' The Snail is saved
after an editorial board takeover. Its office on Silver Street,
Barnstaple, becomes the area's first 'alternative information
- A 14-acre fishing lake is built at Stafford Moor by Col Hugh
- Bideford Town Council apply for planning permission to build a
five-storey multi-storey carpark in Bridge Street.
- Dave Allen, an 'aspiring television entertainer' opens Landkey
Horticultural Society Show.
- One man is killed and two are seriously injured in an explosion
at Appledore Shipyard.
- A party of sixth-formers from Ilfracombe School visit Red
- South Molton stops trying to attract new factories to the town
as too many have come and the council wishes to consolidate their
- St John's chapel in Hartland Square is up for sale. The vicar
suggests it would make a good striptease club as it 'has such a
- In April the replica wooden sailing ship The Golden
Hinde is launched at Appledore under her captain Adrian Small.
She is to sail to San Francisco.
- Pedestrianisation is introduced in High Street and Joy Street
- Colour transmission occurs for the first time from Huntshaw TV
- Barnstaple Rural District council follows the lead of
Torrington Rural District Council and votes not to add fluoride to
the water supply.
- Great Hangman at Combe Martin, consisting of 275 acres of moor
and cliff, is presented to the National Trust.
- Yeo Vale House in Alwington is destroyed by fire some 40 years
after its last owner left.
- A new primary school is opened at Winkleigh.
- Plans for a new multi-storey carpark at Bideford's Bridge
Street are produced.
- Alenco Industrial Components open a new factory on the
- The fire damaged Atlantic Hotel at Westward Ho! is to be
demolished and the site redeveloped for a pub, restaurant and 20
- Dr Joyce Youings of Barnstaple becomes the first ever woman
professor at Exeter University.
- An 'Earth Fair' is held at Trentishoe and covers 50 acres.
- Two brothers, Desmond and Peter Cox, row a salmon boat from
Lundy to Appledore in 6 hours 20 minutes.
- A protest meeting is held in Instow against plans to demolish
the Marine Hotel on the seafront and replace it with modern
- An oil rig is positioned off Hartland Point to carry out
exploration in the area.
- Divers recover cannon from the wreck of HMS Weazel which
sank off Baggy Point in 1799.
- Ilfracombe Zoo closes after 25 years of operation.
- Devon County Council announce a million pound scheme to
transform Bideford Grammar School into a comprehensive.
- The Torrington Cavaliers build a model of the Nazi battleship
Bismarck for their bonfire this year.
- Work begins on building St Mary's school in Chanters Road,
Bideford, to replace the old Church Infants School at the top of
- An EEC proposal to bring in milk quotas is strongly condemned
by local farmers and the Milk Marketing Board.
- The two new district councils come into being in North
- During renovation works at 55 High Street, Barnstaple, parts of
the old town wall are exposed.
- A report on the state of Ilfracombe Pier shocks the new
District councillors, it is suggested that it is replaced by a new
- RAF Chivenor's Hunter jets fly out for the last time and the
station is mothballed. It is estimated that the area is losing
£2 million a year in income.
- The Holiday Inn at Ilfracombe which houses the local council
offices is evacuated as it is considered dangerous. Repairs are put
at £1 million.
- It is said that the ordinary person can't afford accommodation
costs on Lundy - only the 'gin and tonic' set can.
- A 20-foot long whale, weighing 5 tons, is washed up on Saunton
Beach. Its burial, on Braunton Burrows takes two days.
- Plans for development in the area up to the year 2001 are
filling some councillors 'with deep concern'. They warn that such
growth 'could destroy our area'.
- Barnstaple Rotary Club present a Peace Garden to the town to
celebrate their Jubilee. The two-acre garden lies below Pilton
House off the Lynton Road.
- Forty pebble filled steel cages are used to rebuild the damaged
Westward Ho! pebble ridge.
- Exploratory drilling is carried out on the fringes of Exmoor to
try to locate seams of copper ore worth mining.
- The summer is said to be the 'wettest in living memory' and the
local tourist industry is badly hit.
- The US Pentagon buys Torridge beef to feed American troops in
- Local farm workers demand a wage rise to £35 a week.
- A three-storey building in Bideford's High Street is gutted by
fire. It is later rebuilt for the Halifax.
- A reproduction Viking longboat is built at Hinks' Yard in
Appledore for display at the Thorpe Water Park in Surrey.
- The new Leisure Centre in Barnstaple is opened.
- Two men and a dog are rescued by helicopter when their
Appledore-based trawler the Concord founders off WestWard
- The Drill Hall in Torrington is furbished as a multi-purpose
centre, and renamed The Plough. In April Dame Edith Evans appears
there to read her favourite poetry.
- Devon Library Services cclebrate 50 years of activity in
- Cornish developers announce plans to build 190 houses at
Burwood in Torrington. In Woolsery designs are revealed for a
£1 million new showpiece village.
- Following destruction of the old light by a landslide, a new
lighthouse is built at Bull Point, Mortehoe.
- Construction begins of the Gorwell estate site of 38 acres in
- North Devon takes part in the national referendum on whether to
join the EEC or not.
- Martin Richards opens his new supermarket in Fremington.
- Bideford Shipyard open new yards and berths at Bank End and
hope to double the number of employees.
- Starkey, Knight and Fords' Brewery adjoining the Taw Vale
Tavern in Barnstaple is demolished to make way for
- A cable car running from Lynmouth to Summerhouse Hill and
costing £475,000 is suggested as a solution to the village's
- The Emanuel Church in Summerland Street, Barnstaple is sold for
£20,000 to a local builder who intends erecting a block of
flats on the site.
- The new Barnstaple Health Centre in Vicarage Street is
- A £25 million scheme to turn the old Chivenor base into a
'marine playground' and holiday complex with jobs for 700 is put
- The Ilfracombe Hotel, opened in 1867, is finally demolished
after being used for council offices and as a public house.
- A massive and long lasting drought hits the whole of North
Devon and stand pipes are introduced in order to save dwindling
reserves, Winkleigh parish pump amongst many others is re-opened
after many years closure.
- A power cut at the Unigate milk factory in Taddiport leads to
the blanketing of the area with powdered milk.
- Mrs Elizabeth Fern becomes the first ever woman Mayor of
- A 2,000-year-old Egyptian child's mummy in Ilfracombe Museum
develops white mould and is cremated.
- Sunday lunchtime striptease shows at the Alexandra Theatre in
Ilfracombe are banned following protests.
- Lynton TV viewers are told they will have to put up with
receiving Welsh language programmes 'at least until the mid
- Braunton parish council establish there is a right of way along
the American Road on Braunton Burrows - after it is illegally
closed by the Nature Conservancy.
- Alan Ayckbourne produces his new play Just Between
Ourselves at the Plough Theatre in Torrington prior to it going
to London's West End.
- The church trustees apply to demolish Lavington Church in
Bideford and replace it with shops on the ground floor and a church
above - but are rejected.
- Norman Scott appears in court to allege he had a sexual
relationship with Jeremy Thorpe MP.
- A flu epidemic sees more than 2,000 pupils absent from local
schools. A third of Barnstaple's Park School pupils are ill.
- Discos are banned in West Buckland after windows in the parish
hall are broken.
- Dartington Glass in Torrington embark on a £400,000
expansion scheme to increase the size of their factory by
- Lynton Primary school is remodelled and updated at a cost of
- It is announced that the Sex Pistols are to play at Chequers in
Barnstaple - but it is cancelled at the last moment.
- A public appeal is launched in Torrington to restore the clock
tower and fountain in the Square.
- Exmoor National Park faces the enclosure of 1,000 acres to
ensure the future of local farmers. Lord Porchester's report on the
future of Exmoor is published.
- A public inquiry is held into the future of grazing rights on
- Enoch Powell speaks in South Molton on 'Safeguarding
- Objectors to the proposed North Devon Link Road speak of it as
'link-up to disaster.'
- The newly constructed reservoir at Wimbleball is starting to
- The old 19th century police cells in Castle Street, Barnstaple,
- Group Captain Leonard Cheshire attends at the opening of a new
Cheshire Home in Braunton.
- The Royal Silver Jubilee is celebrated throughout North Devon
and the Journal prints a special Souvenir
- Celebrations are held to mark the 350th anniversary of
Penrose's Almshouses in Barnstaple.
- The Queen visits Lundy but stays very briefly.
- The author of Tarka the Otter and many other books,
Henry Williamson dies.
- Dutch Elm disease takes hold in the area and many trees have to
- The curving railway bridge over the River Taw at Barnstaple is
- Beech House in South Molton is bought by a company who intend
setting up a museum dedicated to the history and culture of
- During a strike by local firemen, Royal Navy fire crews are
deployed in the area.
- A huge snowstorm in February sees seven motorists trapped in
the Post Office Radio Station at Mullacott Cross for 48 hours.
- The old railway station site at Ilfracombe is purchased and
redeveloped by Pall Europe Ltd.
- A half-million pound leisure complex for 'millionaires and high
powered industrialists' is planned for Milton Damerel by the owner
of the Woodford Bridge Hotel.
- Pay and display parking is introduced in South Molton - at 20p
for a day.
- The first Neighbourhood Watch schemes are introduced in North
- Eight early 18th century Portuguese gold coins are found at
Rapparee Beach near Ilfracombe.
- The Consumer Association reckon that Westward Ho! is a 'dreary
sprawl' and 'decrepit' whilst Braunton has 'outgrown itself and
lost any charm it had.'
- Chulmleigh residents petition the Queen to keep their mobile
library in preference to seeing a new fixed one open at the local
- Devon County Council begin developing a 26-acre industrial site
at Clovelly Road in Bideford at a cost of £400,000.
- Combe Martin beach is sold to a private owner for £28,500
after being offered to the local ratepayers who reject it!
- An Ilfracombe councillor blames the decline of the resort on 'a
dramatic drop in the standard of holiday makers.'
- The old folk revel based around the 'Hunting of the Earl of
Rone' is revived at Combe Martin.
- A Woolacombe couple see a black UFO travel towards Lundy at
600mph. They take cine film of it.
- Buttons and Mac Fisheries both pull out of Barnstaple High
Street within weeks of each other.
- An Action Group is formed in Torrington to fight the
'disgusting' smell from a local meat factory.
- Permission is given to the Church Commissioners to demolish St
Mary Magdalene's church in Barnstaple which is 'structurally
- A wave of strikes sweeps across the area. Local hospitals are
put in crisis as staff strike for a 50% increase in their weekly
wages of £40. Striking lorry drivers cause shortages of
sugar, tea and flour in local shops. DHSS employees picket their
own building in Barnstaple.
- Cox's Pharmaceuticals begin production at their new Barnstaple
factory which has created 160 jobs.
- New sea defence walls are constructed at Ilfracombe at a cost
- Holsworthy holds the British record for the number of weddings
being held in churches - 80% of all couples choose such a
- A five-acre industrial site with housing for the workers is
started at Bradworthy.
- An experimental Park and Ride scheme is introduced in
Barnstaple. The scheme, which siphons off cars from the Braunton
direction, is said to be a success.
- The General Election sees eight candidates opposing Jeremy
Thorpe. Auberon Waugh stands for the Dog Lovers' Party in an
attempt to embarrass Thorpe. Conservative Tony Speller wins with a
majority of 8,000, Thorpe, who does not give evidence at his trial,
is found not guilty of conspiracy to murder Norman Scott.
- Brannam's Pottery is purchased by Candy Tiles of Newton
- Salmon catches on the Taw and Torridge are at their lowest ever
owing to pollution and over-netting.
- The Old Corn House in Church Street, Braunton, is destroyed by
fire but the museum next door is saved.
- The last churns are used at Torrington's milk factory. All
deliveries in future are by bulk-tanker.
- Huge floods hit Bideford and Torrington and whole streets are
- Torridge Council start the Kenwith Valley scheme after 30 years
- Sudbury's Glove Factory in Torrington closes with the loss of
- RAF Chivenor is brought back into operational use with two
squadrons of Hawk fighters and 1,000 servicemen being based
- International Ball Screws Ltd open a £350,000 factory at
Whiddon Valley which employs 114.
- The 15th century Rothern Bridge at Torrington loses a 7 by 3
metre section during floods.
- The CEGB announce that Yelland power station will never go
nuclear - even though it was listed as a possible nuclear site in
one of their documents.
- Work begins in Barnstaple on the first stage of the Inner
- Following the death of Henry Williamson, his papers go to the
State in lieu of tax.
- The Mother's Pride Bakery in Braunton Road, Barnstaple, closes
and 110 jobs go.
- Braunton School demands extra funding to meet increased demands
associated with children from RAF Chivenor.
- An experimental Park and Ride scheme based on Seven Brethren
Bank is introduced in Barnstaple.
- Fremington House is sold by the Army and becomes a nursing
- A huge fire breaks out at Kirkham's tyre depot on Bideford Pill
- it is the second fire there within six weeks.
- Tarka Radio begins operations at the North Devon District
- Residents on Lundy receive their first ever rate demand when
Torridge bills them.
- The area between Summerland Street and the Square in Barnstaple
is cleared as part of the Road Relief works.
- Shebbear College agrees to admit girls for the first time in
the school's 140-year history.
- The route of the North Devon Link Road is announced. The fact
that it is a single rather than a dual carriageway angers
- The old established draper's shop of Boyles in Bideford
- The derelict Dornat's mineral water factory in Tuly Street,
Barnstaple, is being redeveloped as an 'entertainment centre.'
- Manchester City play a 'friendly' with Bideford Town Football
Club to mark the opening of a new clubhouse. Some 5,000 people turn
- Regular helicopter flights are started between Lundy and
Hartland by Castle Air Charters.
- The first Torridgeside council house is sold to tenants under
the 'Right to Buy' scheme.
- Brian Ford begins conversion of the old Olivers textile factory
into a new supermarket on Seven Brethren Bank in Barnstaple.
- Dartington Glass produce and sell £180,000 worth of
souvenir pieces to mark the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady
- The Catholic church in Barnstaple apply to demolish their
church and construct a new one.
- A branch of the Social & Democratic Party is formed in
- Bill Bass, the 69-year-old Mayor of Holsworthy, dies on the
dance floor at his own Mayoral Ball.
- A major fire at Tanton's Hotel in Bideford, which causes
£50,000 worth of damage, is investigated by the police as a
possible case of arson.
- A 15-acre industrial site at Roundswell near Bamstaple is given
the go-ahead even though local councillors predict traffic
- The Rockham Bay Hotel at Mortehoe is gutted by fire despite the
efforts of 10 fire engines and their crews.
- The Barnstaple Women's Group picket the Astor cinema in the
town when it shows Michael Caine's Dressed to Kill which
features violence against women.
- Eleven small factory units are to be built at Mullacott to help
- A private dustbin service is started in Ilfracombe after
complaints by local hoteliers about the expense of the council-run
- The idea of a new library at Barnstaple with a multi-storey
carpark on top is put forward by Devon County Council.
- The largest indoor show-jumping arena in Devon is opened at
- Torrington's Commons Conservators ask for a new by-law whereby
glue sniffers can be fined up to £200.
- Hartland residents complain about being woken regularly at 4am
by a local cockerel.
- A 500-metre long tunnel is dug under Newport in Barnstaple as
part of the Coney Gut flood defence scheme.
- In a protest against the new law on wearing helmets 150
motorcyclists drive through North Devon's towns without one. Fifty
are charged by police.
- The final passenger train from Torrington carries 843 train
- Lundy is given permission to erect a £100,000 wind
turbine to help generate power for the island.
- Ilfracombe residents call for seasonal workers to be 'deported'
at the end of the holiday season when it is said they become
'window smashing louts.
- The very last train to run between Barnstaple and Bideford
makes the journey in January.
- The Johanna, a Panamanian coaster is wrecked at
Hartland. Looters descend on her and strip everything worth
stealing although much is later returned to Customs Officers
(see page 34).
- Work begins in South Molton to repave the Square and provide
trees and seats.
- Huge seas break a 15-foot gap in the 70-year-old sea wall at
- The Strand cinema in Barnstaple is re-opened as a snooker club
by Mike Deakin.
- The go-ahead is given for the new high-level bridge across the
Torridge, against much public disquiet.
- Armed marines are brought in to hunt for 'a mystery big cat'
that is killing lambs around South Molton. It is later christened
the Exmoor Beast.
- The Journal publishes a 'Special Fire Edition' to
record the burning of the Arcade and Candar Hotel in Ilfracombe.
One man dies in the huge fire, eight firefighters are injured and
200 people are evacuated.
- A Consistory Court is held at Torrington to inquire into the
placing of a Black Madonna icon in St Michael's church. It is
ordered to be removed.
- In the General Election a candidate highlights his personal
grievance by standing as a 'Stop Edgehill College Expelling Sara
- Final year pupils celebrate at Braunton School by going on an
orgy of vandalism and causing damage put at £1,000.
- The Royal North Devon Golf Club loses £16,000 worth of
silver trophies to a thief 'with the nerve of the devil'.
- Swimbridge Brewery closes after only two years. It specialised
in 'real ales'.
- Two RAF fighters from Chivenor collide in mid-air near
Holsworthy. All four pilots parachute to safety.
- A Boy George lookalike with a white clown face, false eyelashes
and dark pencilled eyebrows mugs a woman in Ilfracombe. Police
reckon finding him will be difficult.
- The Lundy supply boat the Polar Bear begins using
- Parents carrying placards stage angry protests outside
Barnstaple's Civic Centre against cuts in teacher numbers in the
- The N W Devon Railway Preservation Company is given 10 months
to raise the £313,000 to purchase the Barnstaple-Bideford
- The Ilfracombe Harbour Development Group calls for 'positive
action' on the 'proposed multi-million pound harbour scheme.'
- The Prince of Wales visits North Devon and does a 'walkabout'
on Bideford Bridge after the crowd chants 'We want Charlie'.
- The owners of Woolacoombe's three discos agree a voluntary code
to tackle the problem of 'late night street rowdies'.
- A scheme to cull all the wild white goats in Lynton is met with
- The Co-op propose building 200 luxury chalets, 3 swimming
pools, a theatre and six squash courts at Top Camp, Westward
- The 'Milky Way' at Clovelly is established by a local farmer
hit by the new EEC milk quotas.
- Michael Caine and Billy Connolly film Water at Hartland
whilst Glenda Jackson and Ben Kingsley film Turtle Summer in
- Sixteen children are receiving treatment for TB in Holsworthy
after a carrier is identified in the town.
- The Exmoor Beast is said to be back in North Devon following a
series of lamb killings and sightings.
- A large block of new flats is opened at Castle Quay in
- A huge fire at Ilfracombe destroys the Beacon Castle Hotel in
May despite the best efforts of 11 fire crews.
- Bideford's new Mayor, Peter Christie, becomes the first ever
Green Party Mayor in Britain.
- Measures to ensure the safety of Ilfracombe Pier are costed at
£200,000 over the next 20 years.
- Forty hunt saboteurs cause havoc at Borne Farm, Chulmleigh, and
a police helicopter is brought in to maintain order.
- Young 'break dancers' in Barnstaple High Street are moved on by
- NDDC votes to allow the building of a new Tesco superstore at
- Summerland Street Post Office in Barnstaple closes after being
in the Gent family for 90 years.
- Council houses built at Clovelly in the late 1940s are found to
be suffering from 'concrete cancer' and will have to be
- Devil worship is said to be common in North Devon with a coven
said to be meeting in Ilfracombe churchyard. This follows local
showings of the film The Omen.
- A plaque is erected at Bucks Mills by the Braund Society to
record the family's links with the village.
- Eight protesters are arrested at the launch of a nuclear waste
carrying ship at Appledore.
- Barnstaple shopkeepers set up a 'Night Security Patrol' to
combat an 'epidemic of vandalism and burglary.'
- Chandler's Way housing estate is opened at Ilfracombe by
Prebendary Arthur Chandler. The 30 units cost
£¾million to build.
- The CEGB get permission to bury 700 tons of asbestos at Yelland
power station following its demolition. The news is given by the
CEGB spokesman Terry Pratchett (who has since become one of
Britain's topselling authors).
- A plan to site an explosives factory at Knowstone is turned
down amid fears it could become an IRA target.
- Guardian Royal Exchange unveil their plans for a 'Crystal
Palace' style shopping arcade on the Green Lane site.
- Lipton's old supermarket in Ilfracombe is reopened as a Presto
- Appledore shipyard workers strike for a day and 50 of them go
to Parliament to put the case for the ailing UK shipbuilding
- The new NDDC District Plan earmarks Roundswell as the next
large development site for Barnstaple. Plans include a new primary
- Unemployment is running high. In Bideford it is 19.6%,
Torrington 16.7%, 14.9% in Barnstaple/Ilfracombe and 11.8% in South
- The BBC's Antiques Roadshow visits North Devon - and a
Fremington couple discover they have a painting by Richard Dadd
said to be worth more than £100,000.
- An entrepreneur is given permission to begin greyhound racing
at the Bideford Sports Ground.
- The owner of Trago Mills is looking seriously at the Yelland
power station site as a possible development area for a new
- Following the successful installation of a wind turbine at
Ilfracombe orders worth $5 million are placed for similar
- Beluga, the Greenpeace ship, arrives in Bideford and the
crew declare themselves shocked at the level of sewage pollution in
- The Journal goes tabloid and celebrates with its
first ever colour supplement.
- Devon County Council approve recommendations to build a
downstream bridge at Barnstaple. The cost is put at some £11
- NDDC planners give the go-ahead for a new shopping centre at
Barnstaple Junction goods yard. It will house a DIY store and a
- A new £1 million underground reservoir to serve Bideford,
Northam and Appledore is built at Littleham.
- Operation Cobra by local police leads to 50 arrests for drug
possession in Barnstaple, Torrington and Ilfracombe.
- Moves begin to have the seabed around Lundy declared as
Britain's first marine nature reserve.
- A blizzard hits the area and temperatures of -7¡C are
recorded. Hundreds suffer burst pipes in the thaw afterwards.
- Brian Ford opens a new shop at the comer of Boutport and Silver
Street in Barnstaple.
- Wild Soay sheep are introduced on to Braunton Burrows to keep
scrub in check and allow rare plants and animals to flourish.
- Tons of tarmac are removed from St Michael's churchyard in
Torrington and replaced with cobbles. Lime trees are planted on the
'Giant's Grave' mound.
- A huge fire at Skent's in Cross Street, Barnstaple guts the
building and brides-to-be lose their wedding dresses. Fire also
destroys a carpet warehouse at East-the-Water in Bideford.
- Following closure of Hatherleigh' s Gateway supermarket locals
discuss establishing a local co-operative store.
- A Saxon village is erected in Pilton Park as part of a Medieval
Fair. Three processions are made through the area over Easter.
- The new Torridge Bridge at Bideford is declared open. A
celebration - New Bridge Day, held about 10 days before the
official opening - exceeded all expectations by attracting more
than 25,000 people and raising thousands of pounds for charities
(see page 35).
- Prince Edward visits Torrington as part of the town's Day for
Youth celebration based around the Duke of Edinburgh scheme.
- Emma Nicholson is returned as the first ever female MP for
Torridge and West Devon.
- After the Devon and Somerset Hunt corner a stag in Barbrook the
villagers call for the hunt to be banned saying they are 'appalled
and sickened' by it.
- NDDC win a Crown Court case to prevent the opening of gaming
arcade in the old W H Smith's shop in Barnstaple High Street.
- Plans are announced to build two supermarkets and a garden
centre on the Bideford Sports Ground. The Football Club says it
will rip the heart out of the town.
- A new library and record office is opened in Barnstaple on a
site once occupied by the town's workhouse which itself later
became Domat's soft drinks factory.
- Maclin's Quarry in Station Road, South Molton, is taken over by
South Molton Recycling as their new base.
- Two young men drown in the Torridge after attending a party in
- Plans 10 site a filling station and restaurant next to the
North Devon Crematorium are turned down as being 'most
- A Barnstaple policeman dozing at home during the day arrests an
intruder after chasing him for 200 yards in the nude.
- The parish of Meeth is given £10,000 anonymously to
restore the church bells.
- A house in Eastbourne Terrace, Westward Ho! loses its new roof
in a gale.
- Five AIDS sufferers are living in North Devon and 15 people a
week are being tested for the disease.
- Nigel Brierley of South Molton builds a special trap to try to
capture the Exmoor Beast.
- Plans are announced by Braddicks of Westward Ho! to build a
200-bed hotel costing £6 million in the resort.
- The Fortescue Estate plans a new 15-acre cattle market at Aller
Cross, near South Molton to serve the whole of North Devon.
- Tragedy as a 20-year-old woman becomes the first suicide from
the Torridge Bridge.
- Clovelly loses its RNLI lifeboat and discusses establishing a
privately funded replacement.
- British Rail warn that the completion of the link road 'could
prove the death knell' for the Barnstaple-Exeter line.
- The Government states that Lundy is not being examined as a
possible site for the dumping of nuclear waste following rumours
spreading around the area.
- Both North Devon and Torridge District Councils have to invest
in expensive new computer systems to cope with the introduction of
the 'Poll Tax'.
- Devon County Council announce the abandonment of plans to build
a downstream bridge in Barnstaple owing to budget cuts. Drivers are
urged to 'honk their horns' during rush hour as a protest.
- Hartland Coastguard station is closed and the work taken over
by one coastguard and 87 auxiliaries.
- Plans to move the rescue helicopters from Chivenor are defeated
after vociferous local protests.
- Plans to build a Formula One race track at Johnstone Moor near
South Molton are rejected by planners as being 'out of keeping'
with the area.
- The Duchess of York makes a private visit to RAF Chivenor.
- The Barnstaple Inner Relief Road between Mermaid Cross and the
Territorial Army Centre is opened.
- A 22-year-old man loses his hand in an accident at a workshop
for the handicapped in Barnstaple. It is successfully sewn back on
- Charlton Heston and Oliver Reed film Treasure Island in
Clovelly with some locals drafted in as extras.
- A new landing jetty is constructed on Lundy at a cost of
- Torridge District Council hold talks with R&C Marketing
over privatising Bideford's Pannier Market.
- Westward Ho! is totally disrupted by extensive sewer pipe
laying by South West Water.
- The new Gammon Lane shopping mall is opened in Barnstaple.
- A convoy of 40 'hippies' with 20 dogs camps on Northam Burrows.
Local traders fear the sight of 'black-clothed, untidily dressed
men and women' will drive holiday-makers away.
- A Clovelly farmer tries to get planning permission to build a
'tourist village' of 250 'traditional whitewashed Devon cottages'
- The first fatal crash occurs on the link road. It is followed
by calls to make the road a dual carriageway but MP Tony Speller
says the road 'is the safest in North Devon.'
- Two part-time firemen from Combe Martin are arrested for
starting eight fires around the village for 'money and a
- A feasibility study is drawn up to make South Molton Britain's
first 'resource and energy saving town'. It studies the
reintroduction of three hydro-electric power generators that were
working at Mole Bridge up until 1946.
- A sewage incinerator is built at Yelland by SWW against massive
- Sainsbury's annouince they are to build a new store at
- An appeal launched in memory of Roy Evans raises £148,000
to buy a new cancer treatment suite at NDDH.
- An Ilfracombe woman gives birth to quads - three boys and one
- The Lynmouth sea wall is battered by huge seas, damage totals
- Parking fees in Seven Brethren car park in Barnstaple are
lowered following huge protests.
- Putsborough beach and seawater are officially listed as the
cleanest in Britain.
- Bogus social workers try to gain access to young children in
the area - part of a nationwide pattem.
- An Ancient Murrelet bird lands on Lundy from Alaska and
precipitates a massive influx of birdwatchers from all over the
- A developer is given permission to build a hotel, 228 houses
and 108 flats on land at Knapp House, Northam.
- The Link Road is said to be turning into a fast escape route
for burglars from the Midlands.
- Reservoirs at South Molton, Torrington and Bideford are closed
due to the presence of blue-green algae.
- An application by The Small School at Hartland for government
funding is rejected.
- Marina Litson of Lynton becomes the first retained firewoman in
- Isley Marsh on the Taw estuary is set up as a 97-acre bird
reserve by the RSPB.
- Keith Apps announces plans for up to 50 wind turbines at
Fullabrook Farm, West Down but planners reject his
- Some 40 war evacuees return to Clovelly out of the 145 who were
- Thirty armed police descend on the Lee Bay Hotel near
Ilfracombe and arrest three men and a 16-year-old girl under the
Prevention of Terrorism Act.
- Investigations into 'potentially deadly radon gas' are begun in
- Edgehill College in Bideford consider moving to the Portledge
Hotel site at Fairy Cross.
- Barnstaple sees a march by 3,000 protesters against the Poll
Tax. They are praised by the police for 'the peaceful way in which
they conducted themselves.'
- Diana Princess of Wales visits North Devon to see a friend who
has given birth to twins in NDDH.
- Local farmers call for investigations into the link between
sheep dip and illness amongst humans.
- Corn circles appear in a 145-acre cornfield at Cleave, Newton
- Eight of North Devon's 11 main beaches fail to reach European
Union bathing water standards.
- Local health staff threaten to go to court to fight plans to
set up an NHS Trust in North Devon.
- Bideford Town Council take over the Pannier Market from
- A noise pollution notice is served on the Canine Defence League
kennels at West Down near Ilfracombe after locals complain about
the noise of barking dogs.
- North Devon soldiers return from the Gulf War to street parties
and civic receptions.
- When Conservatives hold a major conference at the North Devon
Leisure Centre and two ministers attend, armed police are posted on
the roof to protect them.
- Animal rights activists daub blood-red paint on the gravestone
of Sir Dennis Stucley at Hartland in a protest against game
shooting on the Stucley estates.
- A North Devon clergyman is fined £450 after being
arrested for kerb-crawling in Manchester. The Bishop of Exeter
stands by his disgraced colleague.
- North Devon's biggest ever Arts Festival is held to celebrate
the Beaford Centre's 25th anniversary.
- Merton holds its first parish council election in 40 years
after nine people stand for the eight seats.
- Thirty trees are cut down along Bideford's river bank and a
huge outcry occurs with more than 1,000 people lining the Quay in
- SWW promise that North Devon will not suffer any more hosepipe
bans following a link-up to Roadford reservoir.
- Six houses at Weare Giffard are jacked up 1.5 metres to take
them above flood level.
- Whitehall Laboratories at Wrafton announce they are to close
with the loss of 460 jobs.
- The pony herd on Lundy is saved from extinction by a last
minute breeding programme.
- South Molton residents stage a protest at moves by NDDC to
close the town's swimming pool.
- The new North Devon NHS Trust investigate the possibility of
building a private hospital in the grounds of the NDDH.
- Following a fight, 200 people become involved in a 'mob riot'
at Ilfracombe, 17 are arrested.
- The Landmark Trust offer a guaranteed 'election-free break' on
- The General Election sees a narrow Liberal win in North Devon
by 794 votes on an 84% turnout.
- Recession strikes hard in the area with half of the staff of
Clarks shoes in Barnstaple laid off along with a fifth of Appledore
- Woolaway and Sons go into receivership after 180 years of
operation as the area's main building company.
- Boots announce they are to move into the old Woolworth's store
on Barnstaple High Street.
- The first unit is finally let in the Candar shopping complex at
- Court hearings are held over complaints about the noise made by
Corky the cockerel at Hartland.
- Charles and Diana, Prince and Princess of Wales, visit
Ilfracombe to see the regeneration work being carried out by the
town's Civic Trust.
- Plans are put forward by NDDC to demolish the Victoria Pavilion
in Ilfracombe and build a new theatre there.
- A couple are given permission to transform an underground water
reservoir at Braunton into a three-bedroomed house.
- Conti Products of South Molton embark on a £9 million
- Bideford councillor Peter Bullock organises the collection of
clothes and electrical goods for shipment to the 'hard pressed
- The Milk Race stops in Bideford where huge grandstands are
erected on the Quay for the thousands of spectators who turn
- A new £¼-million fruit press is installed at
Inch's cider factory in Winkleigh.
- Twelve fire appliances fight a huge fire at Torrington's Dairy
Crest milk factory whilst Padfield's furniture store at Pilton
Causeway is destroyed in an apparent arson attack.
- SWW's plans to site a sewage treatment works on Northam Burrows
are met with massive protests from local people.
- A threat to close Shebbear College is defeated by a parents'
group led by Mike Saltmarsh.
- Nine cars are destroyed by fire in one night in Barnstaple from
Congrams Close to Victoria Road.
- The trawler My Josephine suffers extensive damage after
entering Ilfracombe Harbour which is said to be full of derelict
metalwork and other obstacles.
- The closure of RAF Chivenor is announced. A 'Fighting Fund' is
established to retain it amid fears that the area will become an
'economic wasteland' if it goes.
- A Bosnian refugee family arrives in Torrington to escape the
fighting in the Balkans.
- North Devon and Torridge District Councils battle over whether
the whole of North Devon should be run by one Unitary
- A travellers' camp at Fremington Quay is raided by 40 police
officers with shields and protective clothing. Graffiti on site
reads' Fremington Free State'.
- A family of four die at Milltown near Barnstaple from carbon
monoxide fumes which build up due to the chimney being blocked by
- A bye-law is passed in Barnstaple to stop 'open air tipping'
following numerous complaints and incidents.
- A speed camera is set up on Sticklepath Hill on the approach to
- A colony of 'semi-wild cats' is 'runnin amok' in Croyde.
- A governor of Holsworthy Community College drags a model of the
substandard huts used for teaching to an Education Committee
meeting at Exeter to highlight the need for new accommodation.
- NDDC comes 402nd out of 414 local councils in Britain following
a survey on courtesy, efficiency and customer care.
- Timothy Harris of Ilfracombe is gaoled for life for the knife
murder of a 17-year-old girl in the town. He blames jealousy.
- Homes in the Kenwith Valley, Bideford are flooded just months
after a new flood prevention scheme is put in place.
- Lundy acquires a new fire fighting vehicle when a 600-gallon
tank trailer is adapted for use on the island.
- An Asian market trader at Bideford's Open Air Market is
arrested for the murder of a fellow trader there. Both come from
- NDDC sell the Albert Clock in Barnstaple to the Town Council
- A £175,000 plan is drawn up for the refurbishment of
Holsworthy's Market Hall and Manor Offices.
- Eleven men are arrested on Bideford Quay for drug smuggling -
they include local fishermen who were using their trawlers to bring
the drugs in to North Devon.
- Police crack down on male nudists on Braunton Burrows who are
'frightening children and elderly walkers.'
- Kwik Save, MFI, Currys and SWEB are to open stores at
Roundswell. The latter two are to close their shops in Barnstaple's
- The old Moose Hall is Bideford is redeveloped as flats by the
town's Bridge Trust.
- Bill Norman retires after 46 years as parish clerk of
- The Royal Marines are to take over Chivenor after a cross-party
delegation goes to London to lobby the Ministry of Defence. They
eventually arrive in 1995.
- Welcombe Mouth beach is said to be the cleanest in Britain -
but Saunton is amongst the 12 dirtiest.
- The newly updated Burton Art Gallery in Bideford is re-opened
by Rolf Harris.
- A massive campaign is launched to save Winsford Hospital at
- Plans for a new gas-fired power station at Yelland are
- Buckleigh Laundry at Westward Ho! is gutted by fire.
- A new fish landing quay is built at Appledore, it is to be run
by a fishermen's co-operative.
- A LETS group is formed in Torrington whose members barter goods
and services between themselves.
- Following her arrest for multiple murders it is revealed that
Rosemary West spent her childhood in Castle Street, Northam.
- A Barnstaple mother gives birth to a baby weighing just 1lb 8
- Torridge District Council begin development of the Caddsdown
industrial estate in Bideford.
- B&S Screw Machines opens a new factory at Holsworthy which
brings 80 jobs.
- Extensive traffic calming schemes are introduced at Newport in
- Highampton open a new village hall costing £115,00 after
nine years of fundraising.
- Parracombe and Lynton residents defeat moves to change their
spring water supply to water from the mains.
- Parking along the edge of Bideford Quay is banned following a
serious accident suffered by a foreign tourist when helping her
- Eighty-year-old Jack Warren of Combe Martin is arrested after
blocking the road outside his house in protest at dog-fouling in
- Suggestions that Torrington Football Club should move to an
out-of-town site are quickly thrown out.
- The four largest schools in the area close due to a teachers'
- Una Widgery of Combe Martin leaves £10,000 in her will to
construct a 10-foot high gibbet at the bottom of Hangman Hill - but
the village decide not to accept the gift.
- Keith Huxtable is stabbed to death in Barnstaple by a 17
- Two dozen 'Lesbian Avengers' besiege the Winkleigh home of Emma
Nicholson MP in a protest at her refusal to support the lowering of
the age of homosexual consent.
- The building of a new primary school at Landkey begins - 32
years after the site was first purchased.
- A huge police operation prevents animal rights activists
protesting at a Hatherleigh farm involved in the export of live
sheep to Europe.
- The Mayor of Shamwickshire (Bideford East-the-Water) is elected
as a spoof on the real Mayor.
- Cox's Pharmaceuticals in Barnstaple embark on a £1.7
million expansion scheme.
- The Mayor of Ilfracombe pays migrant dole claimants in the town
to return home - as they are damaging the reputation of the
- A public meeting at Torrington over plans to refurbish the
Pannier Market ends in fiasco as 100 traders and residents express
their 'vehement opposition.'
- Two 'superstores' apply to build shops at the end of the
Torridge Bridge in Northam - their applications are later turned
down following a public inquiry.
- Helena Howard, a Barnstaple prostitute, is murdered by her
lover at Whiddon Valley in Barnstaple. He is gaoled for life.
- Plans are announced to inaugurate a catamaran ferry between
Ilfracombe and Swansea to carry both passengers and freight.
- A neighbour dispute at WestWard Ho! sees the 'winning' couple
spend their entire life savings of £28,000 on legal
- A sex scandal on Lundy leads to the resignation of the agent.
The Lundy shepherd is also sacked for swearing at his sheep.
- Anne Adam is murdered by her boyfriend and her body hidden in a
space underneath the Castle Mound in Barnstaple.
- A huge gorse fire threatens the Saunton Sands Hotel but is
brought under control by 12 fire engines.
- NDDC council leader Malcolm Prowse says Barnstaple is in danger
of losing its identity due to the excessive growth of Roundswell
and Whiddon Valley estates.
- Sewerage works at Lynmouth disrupt the resort and lead to
widespread protests from traders and residents.
- Emma Nicholson, Tory MP for Torridge, defects to the Liberal
Democrats. She promises to resign if enough voters demand it -
hundreds do but she doesn't go.
- Work begins on a new £2.1 million flood defence scheme at
- Ilfracombe announces that its £18 million marina should
be completed by the end of 1999.
- A Barnstaple man deliberately misses the boat back from Lundy
and is put up in St Helena's church - which he vandalises. Police
in full riot gear are flown to the island to arrest him.
- The Sea Empress oil tanker is holed off Milford Haven
and North Devon is put on alert against a massive oil slick in the
- The Lynton and Barnstaple Railway Association announce they are
to rebuild 400 yards of the line at Woody Bay.
- Sussman's factory at Pottington is sold to a London merchant
bank for £5 million, All 250 jobs are said to be 'absolutely
- Fear of BSE hits North Devon cattle farmers badly. South Molton
market tells farmers not to bother bringing cattle to them and at
Holsworthy no cattle are sold and the workers are sent home.
- North Devon Foods of Barnstaple, who sell red meat, close with
the loss of 160 jobs due to the BSE scare and downturn in
- Mortehoe and Woolacombe Football Club appear in a 40-second
Carlsberg advert on TV during the Cup Final.
- Torrington Community Development Trust obtain major grants to
address the problems of the town.
- It is announced that work will begin on Bideford's £2.4
million Quay flood defence scheme in November 1997 - it
- Barnstaple Chamber of Commerce express fears that the town
centre could be an IRA target.
- South West Water's plans to drain the Lower Tamar Lake are
scrapped after massive protests.
- 'Boy racers' are using Barnstaple town centre for races - 40
are caught speeding in Hollowtree Road in one week.
- Following the Dunblane tragedy, a gun amnesty in North Devon
sees many guns handed in including a rare First World War German
- A Victorian-style carousel on Ilfracombe seafront attracts many
complaints from local residents driven to distraction by its
- A plan to build a 'farm shopping village' at Abbotsham is
rejected by villagers and local planners.
- Animal rights protesters picket Chipperfield's Circus when it
comes to Bideford.
- In October work begins on Ilfracombe's new Pavilion and
- The remains of a Caribbean hurricane hit North Devon and the
torrential rain leads to massive flooding at Appledore, Combe
Martin, Ilfracombe and Bideford. The Environment Agency is blamed
for lack of warnings.
- Woolacombe beach is voted seventh best in the world - three
places ahead of Venice Beach, California.
- New Year's Eve revellers carpet the end of Barnstaple Bridge
with broken glass.
- Ilfracombe town council attempt to crack down on the use of
local hotels as DSS hostels saying they are lowering the tone of
- North Devon District Hospital employs a firm of 'clampers' to
patrol their carparks.
- SWW spend £2 million to tackle odour problems at their
Ashford sewage plant
- Murray Kivell, a 69-year-old worker at Holsworthy Market, is
trampled by cows and dies of his injuries.
- The BBC label the Pendle Stairway cinema in Ilfracombe as 'one
of the worst in Britain.'
- South Molton teacher Janice Crompton is murdered at Knowstone
and her suspected killer Clifford Harris flees to Austtalia and
commits suicide there.
- A quarter of the workforce of NT Shapland and Petter are sacked
due to a decline in orders.
- A storm uncovers human bones in Rapparree Cove near Ilfracombe.
They are claimed to be from shipwrecked black slaves. Bernie Grant
MP comes to the site.
- The first 'league tables' for primary schools put Berrynarbor
at eighth in the UK.
- The Bideford Salvation Army ban yoga lessons from their hall
after labelling it a 'cult' practice.
- Two Ilfracombe grandmothers apply to open a sex shop in the
town. There is a massive uproar but neighbouring businesses think
it could be a good idea.
- The Croydex joinery factory at Roundswell is gutted by fire and
damage to stock is said to run into millions of pounds.
- A Bideford couple win £2.7 million on the Lottery after
being advised of the winning numbers by a local 'mystic'.
- The North Devon Show is cancelled following torrential
- The death of Princess Diana sees 'mountains' of flowers left at
the gates of Victoria Park in Bideford and outside the cemetery in
Bear Street in Barnstaple.
- The CD-ROM to accompany Steven Spielberg's latest film
Amistad is produced by a Bideford firm.
- Lynton town council hire a marksman to shoot half the herd of
wild goats living in the Valley of the Rocks.
- The BBC drama The Passion is filmed in Bishops Nympton
and uses many villagers and other North Devon people as
- A planning application to build chalets on part of Croyde
Burrows is rejected by planners for the fourth time.
- Bulmers announce the closure of Inch's Cider works at Winkleigh
with the loss of 47 jobs.
- An audit of Ilfracombe Town Council's accounts reveals an
overspend of £150,000. There are calls for the councillors to
resign as being 'discredited'.
- Barnstaple tries to introduce a Park and Ride scheme from Park
School to the town centre but it is rejected by the public and the
council then say they do not have enough money.
- Owing to an increase in beggars in Barnstaple a plan is put
forward to clear them from the streets and channel money to them
via a central 'collecting pot'.
- The last chemist's shop in Chulmleigh closes down after no-one
comes forward to keep it going.
- Following the discovery of termites in two bungalows at Saunton
the Government announces it will spend £190,000 over 12 years
to wipe them out.
- A huge storm hits North Devon and town centres in Barnstaple,
Woolacombe and Ilfracombe are closed due to the danger of flying
glass and debris.
- Women are allowed to join the Strand Bowling Club in Bideford
for the first time in 108 years.
- An application to build a superstore at Larkstone beauty spot
in Ilfracombe is turned down.
- Helen Macintosh, the 75-year-old Mayor of South Molton, abseils
60 feet down the local church tower to raise funds for
- Sussman's clothing factory on Pottington industrial estate
closes with the loss of 140 jobs; foreign competition is
- Some 400 Iranian families hire the Woolacombe Bay Holiday Park
to celebrate the Islamic New Year.
- A public appeal raises £30,000 to provide a new home for
the RSPCA in North Devon.
- Protest meetings are held in South Molton and Barnstaple
against the perceived 'U-turn on Europe' by North Devon MP Nick
- 'High profile policing' is brought in at South Molton to stop
under-age drinking - some youths as young as 12 have been found
- A referendum in Ilfracombe votes overwhelmingly to demolish
part of the pier and replace it with a £3.1 million
- The first ever female district councillor is elected at South
- The Landmark Theatre in Ilfracombe makes a loss of
£176,000 in its first year.
- The go-ahead is given for the building of a biogas plant using
cattle dung to produce electricity at Holsworthy.
- A new bus station is being built in Barnstaple next to the
Inner Relief road - 42 years after it was first put forward.
- Closed Circuit TV in Barnstaple is said to be responsible for
33 arrests. Town centre crime has dropped from 282 to 270 owing to
- South Molton police use CS spray during a disturbance at a
- Woolsery is to get a new sports and community hall after
winning a Lottery grant of £740,000.
- Torrington Cavaliers erect a model of the Black Horse pub in
the town for their annual bonfire display.
- The six bells of St Mary's church in Lynton are rehung after
refurbishment - at a cost of £30,000.
- Plans to introduce a Park and Ride scheme in Lynton to ease
traffic congestion are abandoned as being inappropriate and too
Last updated 26 Jun 2006 - Brian Randell.
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