Thursday, 13 June 2019

Common Knowledge in Great Torrington. A Curate Caught Off Guard!!

We love a good tale and a bit of a gossip in North Devon so it was great to hear from the Author, Tom Hughes, an American "Victorianist" with a peculiar interest in Victorian clerical scandals, of which, lucky for him, there were quite a few.

In 2008, Halsgrove Publishing (Somerset) published two books, collections of his stories from Devon and Norfolk (Halsgrove Press), "Blame it on the Devon Vicar2 is the book from which the Torrington story was taken. Below is a brief extract from his blog post entitled "Victorian Clerical Errors"  now read on....

"The North Devon town of Great Torrington is “pleasantly seated on a bold eminence.” From Castle Hill, the eye can follow the winding wooded banks of the river Torridge. Just below the hill, you will find the celebrated Great Torrington Common.

On a summer Monday in 1879, the Rev. Herbert Oldfield Francis was out walking on that common. He had been curate at the parish church of St. Michael's since 1876. Mr. Francis was the son of a prosperous London industrialist. He was 40, married and the father of three. On his ramble that day, he happened to meet Miss Lucy Jones. He knew Lucy well; her father was a physician who worked with the curate at the town's workhouse. It also happened that Rev. Francis's wife was also a doctor's daughter and she and Lucy were great friends.

Torrington common covered, and covers still, over 365 acres of rolling terrain. This meeting between Mr. Francis and Miss Jones took place in an area later described as “a hollow or a gully.”

They were there for some little while...and, they were being watched"

.....want to find out more about this scandal then tap here to read all about it in Tom Hughes blog Victorian Clerical Errors

Torrington Commons 2018 - Photo copyright Pat Adams (All Rights Resrved)
Torrington Commons 2018 - Photo copyright Pat Adams
Torrington Commons 2018 - Photo copyright Pat Adams (All Rights Resrved)
Torrington Commons 2018 - Photo copyright Pat Adams
About Torrington Commons Towards the end of the 12th century, a 'large waste called The Common' was given to the people of Torrington. In 1889, the rights to this land were transferred by an act of parliament to an elected Committee of Conservators. The common is freely accessible to all, and visitors can walk the twenty miles of footpaths, ranging from the golf course in the north, ancient wood and wild flower meadow in the west, and dropping down to the beautiful river Torridge valley to the south of the town. Torrington's South Street and Sydney House car parks give direct access to the Commons, and there is a car park and a public toilet block at the Old Bowling Green. (This is Torrington)

Monday, 10 June 2019

Celebrate the Summer Solstice Cruise on the MS Oldenburg with Northam Care Trust and the Smokey Mountain Boys.

The Northam Care Trust (formerly Northam Lodge) are celebrating the Summer Solstice by hosting a fundraiser on the MS Oldenburg on Friday 21st June 2019 from 7.45pm. We will leave Bideford Quay for a two hour sailing around the Taw Torridge estuary.
We have a brand new sound this year from The Smokey Mountain Boys who will be playing the toe-tapping Sounds of Bluegrass, and you are welcome to bring a picnic to enjoy alongside a fully licensed bar.

Summer Solstice Cruise in aid of the Northam Care Trust on the MS Oldenburg Friday 21st June
 Summer Solstice Cruise in aid of the Northam Care Trust on the MS Oldenburg Friday 21st June 2019 Tickets cost £16 (adult)/£8 (child) and can be purchased directly from their website at
The Northam Care Trust is a charity formed as Northam Lodge in 1978 and our mission is to support people with learning and physical disabilities in having choice and control in achieving the best possible quality of life, evidenced by real quality outcomes and supported by our passion for excellence. They are based in Northam and Bideford in North Devon and have developed person centred support for people with profound and multiple learning and other disabilities and complex needs in residential and day activities. Excellent communication, respect, dignity, engagement, support for carers and a set of values and behaviours underpin our work and add value with personalisation at the core. They are the only organisation in North Devon and North Cornwall providing this high care specialist service and are a vital resource for families and carers whose relatives live in our accommodation or use our community support facilities including the range of day activities we offer at Rose Hill. Tap here to find out more about the Northam Care Trust Past and Present
The Northam Care Trust

Friday, 31 May 2019

Going 'wild' is secret for happiness. Thousands take up challenge to go wild every day in June

The Wildlife Trusts' annual challenge – 30 Days Wild – calling on everyone to go wild every day in June starts this weekend. This year looks set to be bigger and wilder than ever. So far 50,000 people across the UK including nearly 2,000 in Devon have signed up to participate. The numbers are made up of individuals, families, schools, businesses and care home communities.
30 Days Wild encourages everyone to enjoy nature locally through daily Random Acts of Wildness: listening to bird song, gazing at butterflies, growing borage for bees and making the most of our parks, gardens and school grounds. Evidence shows that taking part can also make us happier and healthier.
The impact of taking part in 30 Days Wild has been tracked by academics at the University of Derby. Their study found that people who did something 'wild' each day for a month, felt happier, healthier and more connected to nature, with added benefits for the natural world too.*
Miles Richardson from the University of Derby said; "Our research looked at the impact of 30 Days Wild on 1,000 people, two months after completing the challenge. All those taking part benefitted, feeling 30% healthier than when they started on average. People who reported a disconnect from nature and who spend less time outdoors, showed the greatest improvement in happiness and pro-conservation behaviours."
"At a time when poor mental health is on the rise and the decline of our wildlife show no sign of slowing down, 30 Days Wild demonstrates what a much-needed new relationship with nature might look like, for everyone, throughout the year."
Supporting the 30 Days Wild challenge this year are:
Ellie Harrison, presenter of Countryfile and President of the Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust, said: "Being outside in nature makes us all well. The smallest moments connecting - the surprise of a beetle revealing its wings; the fleeting secrets of bats at dusk; or the puff of valuable pollen from flowers we saw as weeds - all bring us wonder and enchantment. This June we're challenging you to a Random Act of Wildness every single day of the month. What will you be delighted by?"
James McVey of rock band The Vamps said, "30 Days Wild is a fantastic challenge and everyone can take part - whether it's building a den, listening to the dawn chorus or visiting a favourite wild place, enjoying our wonderful wildlife can help us to feel happier and healthier, I'll be joining in this June!"
Dr Amir Khan from Channel 5's GPs behind closed doors said; "Spending time outdoors, enjoying wildlife on our doorstep and in our communities is free and can benefit our mental and physical health in so many ways. Spend a few moments every day in June taking part in random acts of wildness – notice something new in nature, climb a tree or create space for nature in your neighbourhood - The Wildlife Trusts has lots of ideas and inspiration to help you make the most of the 30 Days Wild challenge. Go Wild!"
Devon Wildlife Trust's Steve Hussey said: "30 Days Wild has become a much-loved challenge and it's set to be an exciting month for everyone taking part. This year in Devon we're staging a special 30 Days Wild celebration at Exeter's Mincinglake Valley Park on Sunday 16 June from 10.30am. It's free and gives everybody an opportunity to join us in discovering Exeter's wild secrets and to be inspired by nature."

People wanting to sign up to this year's 30 Days can do so at the Devon Wildlife Trust website Signing up is FREE!