Redvers Buller was born on 7th December 1839 at Downes, Crediton, the son of James Wentworth Buller, MP. One could say he was born with a silver spoon in his mouth, and once he had completed his schooling at Eton in 1858, he was commissioned into the King's Royal Rifle Corps, 60th Rifles.

The battles and wars he served in are far too numerous to mention here but the main ones were the Zulu War of 1879, for which he was awarded the Victoria Cross for bravery under fire, and following his involvement with the First Boer War of 1881 and as Head of Intelligence in the Egypt Campaign in 1882 he was knighted. That year he married Audrey, daughter of the f4th Marquess Townshend and later in the year was sent to the Sudan as Commander of an infantry brigade. In 1885, having commanded a successful expedition to relieve General Gordon, he was promoted to Major General.

In 1899 he w-as sent as Commander of the Natal Field Force on the outbreak of the Second Boer War. Following several defeats and concerns about his performance, in 1900 Lord Roberts replaced him as overall Commander in South Africa.


General Buller was very popular amongst the public in England and upon his return from South Africa was given a triumphal reception and many public celebrations. Sadly, in October 1901 he was asked to resign but refused and was dismissed on half pay. On 27th July 1904, General Buller gave a speech at the Inauguration Ceremony of Ilfracombe's new water supply when several other dignitaries were present, including Lord Ebrington, Lord Clifford, local MP E.J. Soares, and Council Chairman J.C. Clarke.

Throughout the West Country there were public expressions of sympathy for him. Indeed, in 1905, by public subscription, a notable statue of General Buller astride his horse was erected in Exeter, on the road leading out to Crediton.

Despite being offered a parliamentary seat when the Liberals returned to power in 1905, he turned it down in favour of peaceful retirement at his

family seat Downes House, Downes, Crediton, where on the 2nd June 1908 he died. He was buried at the Holy Cross Churchyard, Crediton and his funeral must have been one of the largest ever held in Devon, as is shown by the many postcards published at the time.

Tom Bartlett



Many of the photographic postcards that I've used to illustrate my 'Old Berrynarbor' articles were the work of John William Garratt.

He was born on 6th July 1865 in Chariot Street, West Leeds, and died at the age of 81 on the 31st October 1946 in Bristol. His father, William Leonard Garratt, was a County Court clerk and his mother, Jane, was formerly Booth.

We can assume that Garratt lived with his parents, probably in Leeds, until he was 21 years old. At the age of 26, he married Mary Jane Eccles, who was 27, at the Parish Church of All Saints, Heaton Norris, Lancaster, in the Registration District of Stockport.

John and Mary Jane moved to 'Stepleton View', 9 Station Road, Ashley Down, Bristol, in 1899, and according to the Bristol Trade & Residents Director, the occupiers of 9 Station Road were:

1898 Alfred Gregory
1899-1902 John William Garratt
1903-1904 John William Garratt, Artist
1905-1947* John William Garratt, Photographer

* As already stated, Garratt died in October 1946, so the entry was not amended!

Their daughter, Alice Mary, was born on the 23rd September 1908, at home, and she was still living with her parents at 9 Station Road in 1939, when she would have been 31 years old.

John William Garratt was an accomplished photographer and all of his real photographic [RP's] postcards are sought after by collectors all over the UK. He would carry his large tripod and glass plate cameras in his motorcycle's wicker-work sidecar as shown in this picture of him with his daughter Alice outside Horfield Barracks, Bristol.

Garratt has left a permanent photographic record and is known to have taken and published approximately:

1800 postcards of the Bristol area
130 postcards of Cliff College, Calver, Sheffield
180 postcards of Berrynarbor, Devon
50 postcards of Bath
12 postcards of Saltash
6 postcards of Ilfracombe and 6 postcards of Woolacombe


In my collection I have a single six-view postcard of Bedruthan Steps, Cornwall, which is numbered 29, and a single view postcard of Murhill North East Somerset/Bath also numbered 29!

Garratt was a master at composing his photographs always attempting to include children and adults. We should remember that in those early days, he had to get participants to stand absolutely still for up to two minutes whilst he took the photograph on large, glass plates - no rolls of film or digital cameras in those days!

I must thank the late Alan Richardson for obtaining copies of various Birth, Marriage and Death Certificates for John William Garratt.

The following two Garratt postcards show :



Station Road, Ashley Down, Bristol and Clifton Park, Bristol

Tom Bartlett, Tower Cottage



Many of us would imagine that the first holiday camp would be one of those opened by Billy Butlin, who was later knighted by the Queen to become Sir Billy Butlin, but they would be mistaken.

In truth, Joseph Cunningham, a successful flour dealer and baker from Liverpool and his wife, Elizabeth, moved to the Isle of Man in the 1890's. They opened summer camps in 1892 and 1893 in Laxey, but in 1894 they opened an all-male, tented summer camp in Howstrake, I.O.M. for up to 600 men per week. The success of these holiday camps was largely down to the organisational ability of Mrs. Cunningham that led them in 1904 to acquire five acres of agricultural land at Victoria Road, near Falcon Cliff. Here 1500 tents and a 100 foot dining pavilion were erected for the March to October season. Shortly after the First World War commenced, internees were given the job of replacing many of the original wooden huts for chalets. In September 1914, the camp was cleared of its campers and staff and requisitioned as an internment camp for enemy aliens.

I found this information as a result of purchasing, through e-Bay, a quantity of Isle of Man postcards, which included three of 'The Cunningham Camp, Douglas, Isle of Man'.

Tom Bartlett - September 2009


What the Papers Said 150 Years Ago

Combe Martin Petty Sessions Monday Feb 7th 1859:

Betsy Ley, farmer's wife of Berrynarbor, was charged by her servant, Prudence Perin, with assaulting her. The charge was admitted, but circumstances of provocation were pleaded. Fined 2s 6d, with 6s, costs.

24th February 1859. Ilfracombe.

Drunkenness and Disorder: Richard Snow and John Slee, two married labourers, of Berrynarbor, were brought before N. Vye, Esq., on Saturday, charged by P. C. Hodge, with being drunk and creating a disturbance in the street on the previous night. The defendants had been locked up all night in the 'Stone Lodge', a small cell under the town clock. Before hearing the charge, the magistrate told the policeman that he would not have any whom he might find it necessary to take into custody, kept in that small, cold, close place, all night; especially during the winter. It was not a place fit for a human being to be confined in the whole of a cold winter's night: in summer it might do, but even then not for two persons. The cell might serve for the confinement of a prisoner for a few hours in the day, but if they were required to be kept all night, it must be a private house: when the new station was built, the difficulty now felt by the police with a prisoner in charge would be done away. On the charge being laid against the prisoners above named they denied being drunk - they only had 'two pints o'drink' each. P.C. Hodge found them in Portland Street about half-past ten o'clock followed by a mob of noisy fellows, using the most horrible language. Slee having his coat off and offering battle to any one that would fight him. As defendants refused to leave or give any satisfactory accounts of themselves, Hodge found it necessary to stop the outrage by

taking him into custody. Much scuffling ensued in getting him to the cell, his fellow tippler demanding him as his 'property' and on reaching the Lodge, Snow assaulted the officer, and attempting a rescue, was himself seized and first placed behind lock and key. By this time his 'property' had walked off, who had to be pursued and re-captured, which was soon affected and the pair left to their reflections in the rogue's roost. - Mr. Sommers, watchmaker, described the conduct of the men as outrageous and profane, but that the row was greatly heightened, perhaps, would not have occurred if they had not been maddened by the hounding of a knot of lawless youngsters in the street. Mr. Henry Harding, postman, gave evidence to the same facts. The magistrate said there could be no doubt about the defendants being drunk, and that a very disgraceful outrage had been committed. Until recently, all a magistrate could do in such cases, however disorderly parties might have been, was to fine them 5s, and the expenses, but he would take the opportunity of saying that by a late act, persons guilty of disorderly conduct might be fined 40s, or sent 7 days to prison, at the discretion of the Bench. Those whom it concerned would see that conduct of this description would be followed by far more serious consequences than had been the custom, and which would certainly be inflicted. In the present instance, he would not inflict the severer penalty, as they had already been punished by being locked up all night, and he understood the police constable intended in bringing a charge against them at the petty sessions for assaulting him in the execution of his duties. Fined 5s each, with 2s 6d each expenses.

Tom Bartlett


What the Papers Said 150 Years Ago

28th October 1858:

A CHILD MORTALLY BURNT - On Friday, an inquest was held at Berrydown Cross, before R. Bremridge, Esq., county coroner, on the body of Emily Jewell, a girl between seven and eight years of age, the daughter of James Jewell, a labourer, residing in the hamlet. It appeared that on Wednesday morning, the father and mother left the house, the former to go to his work and the latter to the mill to get her grist ground, leaving the deceased and a younger child to take care of themselves as best they could. After the mother was gone, the children fastened the door by pushing something over the latch to prevent other children entering the house. In the course of the morning the neighbours perceived the smell of fire, and soon ascertained that it proceeded from Jewell's house. As the door was fastened they had to force it open; and, on doing so, found the elder girl burnt in a miserable manner. Mr. Stoneham, surgeon, of this town, was sent for, and on his arrival, pronounced the case to be hopeless. The poor child lingered until the next morning, when death put a period to her sufferings. The verdict of the Jury was in accordance with the facts, but the coroner thought it his duty to address the parents in strong terms of censure for their carelessness in leaving children so young in the house by themselves. It appeared that about eight years ago they had a child, of the same age, burnt to death under similar circumstances, and a third had since suffered from a like casualty, though the injuries had not proved mortal.

4th November 1858 County Courts [Before John Tyrrell, Esq., Judge.]

Tuesday, November 2nd -THE GAME LAWS -Quick v. Beer - Plaintiff is a farm servant, lately in the employment of Mr. Ley, of Crosshill, in the parish of Berrynarbor; and the defendant, gamekeeper to Arthur Davie Bassett, Esq., of Watermouth. The action was brought to recover £1.15s, the value of a gun and a quantity of powder and shot, the property of Quick, which Beer had illegally seized and taken possession of on the 20th of Sept., last. Mr. Incledon Bencraft appeared for the plaintiff; Mr. Hooper Law for the defendant. The plaintiff and James Ley [brother of his late master] were recently summoned before the Bench of Magistrates at Combmartin, for trespassing in quest of game, and convicted and fined for the offence; although the defence set up was, that they were upon ground where they had a right to be, and employed in farm operations - that the farmer had the right to kill rabbits, etc. It appeared that on the day named the two young men went to the field to work, taking with them a gun, intending to kill a rabbit if one should chance to start up - that Ley fired off the gun, which had been loaded several days, throwing up a stone as a mark at which to aim - that immediately after the gamekeeper and the Rev. Arthur Crawford Bassett entered the field and demanded who had fired the gun to which the plaintiff returned an evasive answer. Beer then searched in the hedgerow and found the gun hid under Quick's coat, of which he took possession, together with a quantity of powder and shot in the pockets of the coat. Evidence was given pro and con., the plaintiff and

his witness denied that either beat or searched for game, and Beer deposed that he saw Quick fire, and both beating the covers, though he confessed he was at a great distance at the time and several hedges intercepted the view. His Honour reviewed the evidence, and said he did not consider that adduced by the plaintiff worthy to be trusted, as much as that of the game-keeper. Judgement for the defendant - Mr. Law declined to ask for costs.

Tom Bartlett November 2008



1st July 1858 ILFRACOMBE

RARE VISITOR IN THE CHANNEL- On Saturday some attention was excited by the appearance in the offing of a ship of unusual stateliness and size, accompanied by a smaller craft as odd as the other was majestic. The Coast Guard were able to give the information that the large ship was the Russel, one of Her Majesty's steam frigates, carrying 60 guns. The accompanying vessel with leg-of-mutton sail fore and aft, and funnel between, was a gun-boat. The frigate was a gallant object with all her canvas spread, going up with a fair wind, the sun shining upon her and everything looking so beautiful. The spy glass revealed her two tiers of guns - she did not appear to have her steam up. It was said she was cruising round this part of the island for the purpose of inspecting and promoting the means of defence along the coast. It is an extremely rare thing to see a ship of war in the Bristol Channel; men accustomed to traverse it do not recollect seeing one for years, hence the anxious inquiry, to what cause is it we owe the unexpected visit?

26th August 1858

PAINFUL ACCIDENT - Yesterday [Wednesday], as the Rev. Thomas Hulme, Wesleyan minister, of this place, and the Rev. Joseph Chapman, with some friends were making an exploratory visit to the rocks and caves at Watermouth, the first named gentleman had the misfortune to slip his foot on the smooth surface of rock, when he fell and broke his right arm between the elbow and the shoulder. To make the matter worse, the bone is fractured in an oblique direction, rendering it more difficult to set and particularly difficult to keep in its place. The case is in the skilful hands of Mr. Foquet.

Tom Bartlett,

Tower Cottage July 2008




NDJ July 15th 1858 BERRY REVEL. - On Wednesday, last week, Henry Webber, carpenter, (an ex-policeman of the Bristol Force.) of the parish of Berrynarbor, was brought in custody of Police Constable Hodge, before N. Vye, Esq., and the Rev. S.T. Slade-Gully, at the rectory in that village charged with having brutally assaulted, Jane Berry, wife of a labourer on the 6th instant. Berry Revel begins on the Saturday, and lasts several days including the Sunday. On the night in question this young wife had, very indiscreetly gone to the dancing-room of the "Globe" Inn, where between 10 and 11 o'clock, she was met by the defendant who is a single man. Being it is understood, old acquaintances. And complainant not being accompanied by her "natural protector," defendant proceeded to take unbecoming liberties with her, which she resented by giving him a push or a blow, telling him "to keep his hands off." He, brute as he was, flew into a rage and made a furious attack by her with his fists, struck her about the face and eyes, and when she was leaving the house he knocked her down and otherwise maltreated her, swearing in the most horrible manner that he would be "the death of her." The complainant carried the evidence of her ill-usage in her face, she had a dreadful pair of black eyes and other marks of foul treatment. The charge being proved, the magistrates fined him £3 with 11s 6d, expenses, with the alternative of a month in Prison. the money was paid.

22nd July 1858 A Fearful Fall. - Early on Monday morning a terrible accident happened at Berrynarbor to a young man, about 18 years of age, named Philip Lancey, as he was going down to Watermouth in search of crabs. The youth and his step-brothers, William Hicks, are the sons of a poor widow in the village, named Margaret Lancey, who render her by their attachment and labour, important comfort and assistance in the up-hill struggles of life. On the morning mentioned, a relation who had been paying them a visit being about to leave, the brothers went down to the shore to get some crabs or lobsters to gratify their departing friend. Many of the pots for trapping these crustances, are fastened to staples secured in the rocks, as the unfortunate youth was descending Ditch Cliff, opposite to Watermouth Castle, he fell a height of some fourteen feet on a ledge of rocks below, and from thence he rolled into the sea. His step-brother saved him from a watery grave, but it was found that a terrible wound had been inflicted on his head. The Surgeon was immediately sent for from Ilfracombe, who discovered an extensive laceration of the scalp and fracture of the skull. It does not appear to have affected his mental faculties, but serious apprehensions are entertained of a fatal result. The case is in the able hands of Messrs. Stoneham and Foquet.

Tom Bartlett

NB Please note that these extracts from the papers are reprinted exactly as published.



Tom Bartlett

COMBE MARTIN PETTY SESSIONS Monday Jan. 4th 1858. [Present - The Rev. S.T. Slade-Gully and J.C. Roe, Esq.]

ASSAULTS - Ann Williams, of Berrynarbor, was charged by Maria Huxtable, of the same place, with assaulting her on the 23rd ult. Some disagreement arising between the two parties in this case, about their boys, who had been playing outside their dwellings, when the defendant gave the complainant a slap in the face and several other blows, and then threw a pitcher of water over her by way of finish. Fined 5s, with 11s.6d. costs.

TRESPASS - William Adams was charged by A.D. Bassett, Esq., with trespassing on his coach road, at Berrynarbor, it being private property, on the 1st instant. Robert Lovering saw defendant on the road with a horse and cart, and told him not to go on, but he persisted in passing over it. Sentenced to pay 6d damages and 8s costs.

Marriages 7th inst., [January 1858] at Berrynarbor, by the Rev. S.T. Slade-Gully, Charles Henry, son of William Williams, Esq., Tregullow, Cornwall to Harriet Mary, eldest daughter of Arthur Davie Bassett, Esq., Watermouth, Devon.


In the Papers 150 Years Ago

North Devon Journal, August 1857


To the Editor of the "North Devon Journal"

SIR - Having just returned from your excellent North Devon watering place - Ilfracombe - and its delightful neighbourhood,

I cannot refrain from calling the attention of the authorities to the frightfully dangerous state of a short portion of the path to Watermouth. The earth and rock have broken away on the left-hand side of the originally narrow path, leaving barely room to pass, and exposing the unsuspecting traveller to a precipice of such fearful depth that falling from it must be instantly fatal.

It is a shame that a peril so easily to be guarded against should exist amidst such beautiful and attractive scenery, and I trust a regard to the public safety will induce the responsible party at once to prevent the sacrifice of life which, if the path be neglected, I expect to hear has arisen. Hoping the insertion of this notice may be useful. I am Sir, yours &c.

Leicester, Aug. 1857



Monday Dec. 7th [Extract]

GAME LAWS - James Tucker, was charged by farmer Dermaid of Hele, near Ilfracombe, with trespassing in search of rabbits in a field of his in the parish of Berrynarbor, on the 10th September. Complainant heard the report of a gun and going in the direction of the sound, he found the defendant in his field with a gun with which he shot a rabbit. - Richard Gammon, a witness called by the defendant, said that on the day in question, he invited him [defendant] to come and shoot some rabbits with him on his land. They went to Mr. Watt's where they had leave to shoot, and acknowledged having passed over one of Dermaid's fields, but denied having fired a gun there. The Bench considered the charge proved, and fined defendant 10s with 8s 6d costs.

Tom Bartlett, Tower Cottage, November 2007




North Devon Journal, 2nd July 1857:


"Welcome Home! On Saturday last this village was the scene of great rejoicing on the occasion of the return to his paternal home of Lieut. Francis Gully of the 31st Regiment, son of the Rev. Thomas Slade-Gully rector of the parish, after eleven years service in the East Indies. The gallant officer was greeted with bell ringing and the discharge of artillery, and the villagers generally testified their joy at his return and their regard for their worthy rector and his much-respected family. Our correspondent writes: 'Such rejoicing was not witnessed in Berry before.'"

North Devon Journal, September 1857:

"Stealing by a Servant - Mary Ann Moon, a girl belonging to Berrynarbor, was taken before N. Vye Esq. on Wednesday last week, charged with stealing a handkerchief, and other articles, the property of a lady lodging at Mrs. Lammas's, Montpelier Terrace. She was remanded to the Petty Sessions at Combe Martin on Monday, when she was convicted and sentenced to three months' imprisonment."

Tom Bartlett




The daughter of Charles Mackay, a Scottish poet and song writer, the novelist Mary spent her youth in Mickleham, Surrey, before moving to London in 1882. She was a talented pianist, using the name Marie Corelli for performances, but turned to writing romantic fiction using the same pseudonym. Her first novel was published in 1886.

Her romantic melodramas, written with exuberant imagination and far-fetched theories, enthralled her readers and she achieved outstanding success at the turn of the century, with Queen Victoria, Gladstone and Wilde among her admirers, but her popularity turned to ridicule long before her death in 1924.

The Mighty Atom, published in 1896, was written and set in North Devon, with the character Reuben Dale being based on James Norman, the Sexton of the Parish Church in Combe Martin.

James Norman's birth place
High Street, Combe Martin

Reuben Dale [James Norman] at the Belfry Door of Combe Martin Church

Marie Corelli's Home Mason Croft, at Stratford-on-Avon

Her over-the-top characterisations made even the weakest plots come alive and although her work lack literary quality, her greatest achievement is that with over 20 novels to her credit, she still commands a place in the study of women's literature.

Finally, can I appeal for pictures, preferably postcard based, of Berrynarbor up to the 1980's as it is becoming increasingly difficult to come up with something about which I have not already written.

Tom Bartlett, Tower Cottage,
May 2007




My thanks to Jenny Taylor whose e-mail from her home in France gave clues sufficient to set me on the path to finding out the facts behind the small cross memorial on the coastal footpath near Widmouth House. My thanks also to Sylvia and Cecil Hancock, and to Marie Chugg.

Marie lived at Widmouth for 27 years and the cross is in memory of her mother, Mrs. Madeline Leng, and her uncle Mr. Leonard Elderfield, both of whom spent happy times at Widmouth. Marie, who has very happy memories of times they all spent there, regularly places flowers under the tree. Marie's son, Paul, still lives in Ilfracombe.

Once again my thanks to all concerned for solving the mystery.

Tom Bartlett - January 2006



This photograph was taken on the short but strenuous footpath walk from Watermouth Cove to the Coast Guard Houses. We have often

walked this particular path and noticed fresh flowers placed near the cross, which is just after the footpath style near Widemouth House. I wonder if anyone can inform me why, when and in whose memory the cross was placed there.

On our walk with Colin and Doreen on Sunday, 20th November, Inge was the first to spot a seal surfacing and feeding off the headland at the entrance to Watermouth Harbour. My thanks to Colin for taking the photograph at my request when my camera stopped working due to a low battery!

I do hope someone can throw some light on the memorial.

Tom Bartlett



The following extracts from a local newspaper from the early 1900' s have been sent in by Vera Lewis [Ley] from Epsom, whose family lived both at Goosewell and later at Orchard House.

'To augment the prize fund of K Company of the 4th V.B.D.R. a concert was given in the Temperance Hall, which had been decorated by Sgt. Major Instructor Dennis and Colr.Sgt. Pugsley. Among the items deserving of notice was the splendid rendition of 'Eileen A!annah' by Mrs. Manning and Miss Copner's 'When Jack and I were Children'. Miss Bray gained much applause for 'Mary was a Housemaid', as also did Miss Saunders for 'Turham Toll'. The novelties of the entertainment were a skirt dance and a hornpipe by Miss G. Chalacombe, and a whistling solo by Captain Cooke. Mr. Brown received well merited applause for his recitation in the Devonshire dialect, and so did Mr. Bray for his piccolo solo. Mrs. Page, Corpl. Goss and Pte. Goss each sang a pleasing song. Mr. Page as a nigger caused roars of laughter by his songs and topical allusions. Much of the success of the entertainment was due to Mrs. Gubb as the accompanist. The company's band under Bandmaster S. Pearse, played selections. The funds of the company benefited by about £4.10s.'

'A highly successful entertainment, in aid of the Church choir fund, was given at the Temperance Hall on Wednesday evening. The various items were well carried out, the choir rending plantation songs in a very creditable manner, reflecting great credit on the organist Miss Bray. The play entitled 'A Rise in Life' under the management of Mr. Alfred Brown, provoked roars of laughter and was very cleverly acted by the various performers. '

Taking part were Vera's father and uncle, George and Tom Ley [Jnr.]. The Reverend Churchill's contribution was 'In Memory of our Queen', and since Queen Victoria died in January 1901, the event must have been shortly after her death. Queen Victoria died in the 64th year of her reign the end of an era. She had reigned three years longer and was three days older at the time of her death than George 111. She was survived by 6 children, 40 grandchildren, 37 great grandchildren, including four future monarchs Edward VEX, George V, Edward VIII and George VI.



Ilfracombe Chronicle, Saturday, 14th April, 1906:
Non-attendance at School

Edwin Coaker, Berrynarbor, was summoned for a similar offence in respect of his child Annie, and pleaded guilty. Mr. Sing said the child ought to attend the Berrynarbor School, which was the worst attended in the County. Last year the attendance was only 50% and the Ratepayers lost 1d each on about 10, 000 attendances not made. William Draper, Berrynarbor, also pleaded guilty in respect of his child Florence, aged 13 years.

Tom Bartlett


From the Ilfracombe Chronicle, Saturday February 1st 1896, Page 8

PRESENTATION On Monday last a deputation, consisting of the Rev. R. Churchill [Rector of Berrynarbor], C.H. Basset, Esq., Watermouth Castle [Chairman of the School Committee], Mr. Councillor Jones and Messrs. Lewis and Lancey, waited on Mr. Clift, until recently the Headmaster of the National School at Berrynarbor, to present him, on behalf of the parishioners, with a purse of gold, as token of esteem and respect, and of their appreciation of the manner in which he has discharged the duties of the school in the eleven years during which he has presided over it. Each member of the deputation bore testimony to the high state of efficiency to which Mr. Clift, working under the usual difficulties in rural districts, had brought to the school. Mr. Lewis and Mr. Lancey, as representing the parents of the scholars, said that the training given by Mr. Clift to the children had been such as to create the greatest satisfaction in the minds of all. The whole neighbourhood deeply regretted his removal, and wished him, in a new sphere, all success and happiness. Mr. Clift made a suitable reply, thanking the donors for their generous gift, and the parents for their support and sympathy so freely given during his long term of work amongst them. He had never had the slightest friction with any of the parents, but had been able to work happily and pleasantly within the School and outside it.

Tom Bartlett - Tower Cottage,
Jan. 1996,

With thanks to Ilfracombe Museum



With Remembrance Sunday just past, I though the two cards I have just added to my Berrynarbor Collection might be of interest. The first [below], which shows our War Memorial in the Churchyard with wreaths and a laurel-leaf crown, must have been taken around 1919-23, or shortly after its placing there.


The inscription reads:

St. John XV.13

Beyond the memorial can be seen part of the roof of Dormer House, now Miss Muffet's. The only difference in the second card, is that the letters M. M. [Military Medal] have been added after Arthur Snell's name.

We can be proud that, unlike Combe Martin, after the last War, the following inscription was placed on the north facing plinth:


Perhaps someone out there could inform us where, when and how these last six parishioners, including a lady, lost their lives so tragically. How thankful we can all be that such wars are a thing of the past - and hopefully, long will they remain so!

Tom Bartlett - November 1994




I hope you like these cuttings from the Ilfracombe Gazette, 12th November, 1892.

[The Primrose League were members of the Conservative Party]

From the Ilfracombe Chronicle, November 1892.

Tom Bartlett
November 1992



Hannah, better known as Annie, Leworthy was born on 20th June, 1897, at Manor House, Berrynarbor [in the room now known as the Men's Institute - it was much later, in 1913, that the Manor Hall was built], daughter of Alfie and Hannah [nee Rooke] Leworthy, who had been married on 2nd April 1887, when he was just 21 and she 22. Alfie's parents were John, a blacksmith of Berrynarbor, and Betsy [nee Willis] who probably came from Combe Martin. Hannah was the daughter of John and Ellen Rooke.

In the early 1900's, when Annie was still quite young, Manor House became so dilapidated that Squire Bassett offered her father and grandfather the use of Manor Cottage, which up to that time had been used as an additional residence by the Bassetts. Annie attended the village school until the 30th June, 1911, when at 14 she was allowed to leave, having obtained the necessary "Certificate of Leaving" signed by the Divisional Superintendent and the School Attendance Officer, Mr. Litten. [A copy of the Certificate is printed below]

Annie first went to work for Mrs. Bassett at Watermouth Castle until at some time during the First World War her mother was taken sick and she returned to Manor Cottage to care for her and the rest of the family. Her mother died on 5th March 1923, aged 56; and Annie continued looking after her father and brother, Alfie, until he married and moved to Hagginton Hill.

Annie had two brothers, Bill, older than herself, and Alfie, younger. Bill was a gardener at Watermouth Castle but during the War joined the Royal Marine Light Infantry. On his return, he married and moved to Combe Martin. According to Lewis Smith, Alfie went to work for Devon County Council in 1916, at the age of 14, and helped with the building of the new road from Saw Mills to Sandy Cove in 1919-20. This had become necessary due to the landslide in January 1919 above Golden Cove taking the Old Coast Road and hundreds of tons of shale and limestone into the sea, 250 feet below. Alfie was well known as he drove one of the DCC large steam rollers all over North Devon; right up to County Gate, and was particularly proud of the fact that he had helped to roll the large runways and aprons at Chivenor Aerodrome. During the Second World War, he helped with the PLUTO project, at Watermouth and Berrynarbor, and rolled a large area of land to the side of Rose Cottage to enable the fuel tankers to turn round!

Annie was a regular attender at Church Services and was, for many years, a member of the Choir. She never married and thanks largely to her constant care, her father who worked most of his life as a gardener at Watermouth Castle - lived to the ripe old age of 87, dying on the 6th June, 1953.

It was about this time that 6 year old Jennifer Stuckey [Annie's great-niece] came to live with her at Manor Cottage, after Jennifer's mother, Lillian; had tragically died of leukaemia in 1952. Jennifer began school in the village and went on in the early '60's to Ilfracombe Grammar School; where she was Head Girl. She won a scholarship to Liverpool University and obtained a degree in Physical Education and English Literature. Following this she began teaching at Battle in Sussex, where she still lives today.

Annie had taken in one or two visitors to supplement their limited income and during the War had taken evacuees from London. When Jennifer left, Annie remained alone, except for her cat, at Manor Cottage. She would be one of the first customers at the butcher [then run by Reg and Betty Davis] and would always have her 'shillingsworth' of meat, including some liver for the cat. She never did get the hang of decimalisation and continued asking for her 'shillingsworth' right up until 1982, when through age and ill-health, she moved into Belmont Grange Old People's Home, where she remained until June 1989 when she transferred to Wilderbrook Nursing Home. She died on the 22nd September, 1989, at the age of 92.

Annie and her Family Outside Manor Cottage, c1907

Left to Right: ANNIE, Hannah [Annie] - Mother, Alfie - Father, Florrie - Sister [mother of Lillian], Alfie - Brother, Bill - Brother, Effie - Sister and Not known - probably a friend of Bill.

For a great deal of help with this article and the loan of pictures, my thanks to Annie's great- nephew, John Tossle, and his wife Hilary, who live at Manor Cottage with their daughter, Lara; also to Reg and Betty Davis and to Alf Stuckey of Ilfracombe. Once again, my apologies for any inaccuracies in this profile.

Tom Bartlett



"Uncle Jack", as he was known throughout the Village, was born during Queen Victoria's reign on 8th December, 1886, to John and Selina Draper [nee Richards] of Combe Martin. He died on the 21st February 1985, at the ripe old age of 98 in the Tyrell Hospital, Ilfracombe, his second visit - the first at the age of 5 when he lost the last 3 fingers on his left hand in a "chaffe Cutter".

"Stalagmites" of Berrynarbor.
L to R: Jock the Barber, Uncle Jack and Corny Burgess who had been deep into the caves above Broad Sands.

Jack attended school in Combe Martin, but at the age of 10, on the death of his father, he was put out to work at Girt Farm as a general labourer. He later became well known as a stone mason, general labourer and water diviner! On the 28th September, 1914, he married his first cousin, Florence May Draper, who was 21 and the daughter of William Draper of Berrynarbor. She had been in "service" at Beech Lee and their honeymoon lasted but one day, as Uncle Jack was drafted off to India with the 6th Devons, as a member of the Regimental Band playing the bombardon, and he spent the next 6 years out there.

On his return from India, he and Florrie lived in higher Combe Martin, but within a year or so, with Florrie suffering from asthma, they were advised to move and came to Berrynarbor first to Croft Lee and then "Ferndale, 94B" on 15th May, 1924. His first Driving Licence, No. D5890 [Motor Car Act 1903] was issued by D.C.C and lasted one year at a cost of 5/-! During the '20's and '30's he was a jobbing mason and also swept chimneys, taking his brushes with him in the sidecar of his belt-driven motorcycle! He was a keen member of the Church Bell Ringers and would travel with them all over the County to competitions.

During the Second World War he was in the Home Guard, and in addition to his normal work was employed as the Church Sexton, responsible for the digging and caring of the graves and maintenance of the Church, Rectory and paths. During this period, he also held a licence No. 72 from Devon Constabulary allowing him to store and use quantities of gelignite and detonators for blasting! Known locally as "Powder Monkey" he would be employed in blasting large rocks. He worked on the installation of the gas main to and in Combe Martin, built walls in Ilfracombe, and even worked on the installation of the railway engine turntable at Ilfracombe Station.

In 1955, at 65, Uncle Jack retired, giving his tools to one of his nephews. Moping at home and fed up with nothing to do, Florrie told him he should buy new tools and get back to work! He did, and continued to do so until he was 84 years young. Florrie died in 1955, shortly after his 'first' retirement. Uncle Jack smoked a pipe of 'baccy' until at the age of 84, he fell asleep with it lit and nearly set himself on fire - he hung his pipe up on the wall and never touched it again!

Uncle Jack was a very popular figure in the Village, well-liked by villagers and visitors alike. He was particularly proud of his continued maintenance of the church steps and cobbles and could often be seen making small repairs and talking to children, for whom he always had great affection.

To Jack's nephew, Ken Draper and his wife, my grateful thanks for their help with the information for this article and also for the loan of their photographs. Again I apologise for any inaccuracies. Can anyone help me with information or pictures of Miss Leaworthy?

Tom Bartlett



Born and brought up in Greenwich, 'Dave' enlisted on the 2nd August 1932 with the Royal Engineering Corps at the Duke of York's Military School at Dover, having left school at the age of 15. He had an impeccable service record, remaining with the Engineers until his retirement, 25 years later, in July 1957, with the rank of Staff Sergeant.

Dave's first involvement with Berrynarbor came during the War when he came to Watermouth with the PLUTO project - Pipe Line Under the Ocean. The pipeline was laid across the Bristol Channel, from Wales to Watermouth Harbour, and finally up towards Mill Park, where the fuel lines ended and fuel oil originating in Wales was drawn off into road tankers for distribution. It was during this time that Dave met and married Vi Toms in St. Peter's Church. Based on the success of the Pluto project, a pipeline was laid across the English Channel to France, which assisted our troops after D Day, when Dave and his battalion were torpedoed and he and just a few comrades became the only survivors. His only son, Terry, was born in 1949 and attended our local school before going to Combe Martin. Following in his father's footsteps, Terry studied engineering and worked in Kuwait, but now lives locally with his wife and three children and has a very successful business in Barnstaple.

Upon leaving the Engineers, Dave spent some time at Liberty's in Regent Street, before returning to Berrynarbor in 1960. He then spent probably four of his happiest years teaching children to swim at the Ilfracombe Swimming Baths, which at that time were behind the Holiday Inn [llfracombe Hotel] both buildings having now been demolished. Leaving this job in 1964, he commenced employment with Mr. Norman in building and doing odd jobs around the village, but in the early '70's, he joined EDL Engineering, Where he remained until his retirement in 1984.

Dave Goodman served the Berrynarbor community unstintingly as a Parish Councillor from about 1970 until his sad death on the 3rd April, 1987. He must have been the Chairman of the Footpaths Committee for the majority of the time he spent on the Council, and his highlight was receiving an official invitation to the Buckingham Palace Garden Party during his year as Chairman of the Parish Council. Dave was a keen member of the local British Legion, and Remembrance Sunday was a very special day for him, when he would act as Standard Bearer - displaying his War medals - and more often than not, presented the Legion's wreath of poppies at the War Memorial just inside the church lych gate. An act he performed with great pride.

Dave often gave his time and energy to assist the youngsters of the village in sports, etc., and often acted as an informal "special constable".

He was always interested in gardening and originally tilled and grew flowers and vegetables on the plot of land beside the Manor Hall, and when it was converted into a children's playpark, he took over the large plot of land behind the Chapel, where he grew prize flowers and vegetables. His gardening gave him great pleasure.

Sadly, shortly after his retirement, illness struck Dave and for the next three years his health was very 'up and down' often with him having to fight for his breath.

Dave will always be remembered by the many visitors for his cheerfulness and willingness to help and speak to them, and he was sadly missed from the village centre.

Note : I again apologise for any inaccuracies in the above article, and would welcome any further information. I am now looking for information and any pictures/ photographs of "Uncle" Jack Draper, for a similar profile in the Christmas issue. Thanks .

Tom Bartlett



Lewis Smith was born on the 9th October, 1916 at Berry Mills [now known as Mill Park Camping Site - see picture], where his parents, Ernest and Edith Smith moved in 1904 when they were married. His father came from Braunton, but his mother was a Berrynarbor lass, and from the day they moved in, they used the large water mill to grind corn for local farmers and also sold corn and meal. The mill wheel was fed with water brought via a mill leat taken off the stream some distance beyond North Lee Farm, where his grandfather lived.

Lewis had an older brother, Park and a sister, Evelyn, and in October 1919 they all moved to the larger West Hagginton Farm. Lewis began to attend the village school when he was only six, but the long walk was too great for his then frail frame, so he left, restarting two years later.

At the age of twelve, he left the village school and spent the next four years at Braunton's Chaloner's School, boarding there from Sunday evening until Friday, when after school he would travel to West Hagginton Farm for the weekend at home. Leaving Chaloner's school in 1932, he worked with his father and brother at West Hagginton Farm until they sold up and moved back into the village in 1938.

On his 21st birthday, Lewis went up to Glasgow to visit Miss Ansley Sinden, his first sweetheart whom he had met several years earlier when she moved with her family to the new coastguard houses between Ilfracombe and Berrynarbor. He helped his father and the Combe Martin builder, Squires, knock down the old cottage they had bought and then to build their new house. He must have shown good promise as a builder, as he remained working for Squires of Combe Martin for the next twenty plus years, including the war years.

He met his wife, Vida, shortly after moving back into the village, when she was living in Berry Mills with her mother and step-father and their wedding took place at the Christian Brethren Assembly Hall, the High Street, Ilfracombe. Sadly, the marriage was not blessed with children. They lived together in Lee View right up until Vida's death in 1982. A few years later, finding Lee View too large, he sold up and after a brief stay at The Lodge, moved into Forge Cottage, just three doors up the road.

Lewis had taken an ever-increasing interest in St. Peter's Church and joined Len Bowden as a Church Warden around 1965, a position he retained until his death on Friday, 2nd June, 1989. He had been an active participant in the recent changes of the South Transept and its conversion into a Lady Chapel.

A note of particular sadness for him was that sometime after becoming a widower, he had found out that Ansley's husband had recently died and he wrote to her at Christmas inviting her down to visit him. Such is fate that just after Christmas he received a note from Ansley's sister-in-law to say that Ansley had had a stroke just before Christmas which had resulted in her death.

At mid-day on the bright and sunny Saturday, 10th June, the Church was almost filled to overflowing in honour of and respect for Lewis Smith.

Berrynarbor School c. 1924

1. Jack Hockridge
2. Gladys Seldon
3. Alfie Nicholls
4. Annie Coates
5. Lilly Huxtable
6. Phyllis Burgess
7. Les Irwin
8. Ivy Dinnecombe

9. Vera Dummett
10. Honor Irwin
11. Frank Huxtable
12. George Irwin
13. Lewis Smith
14. Edie Adams
15. Mrs. Earl

Note: For any inaccuracies in this Obituary, I offer my sincere apologies and would welcome any further information.

Tom Bartlett, Tower Cottage. July 1989