Thursday 30 April 2020

Flood Damage At John Heathcoat's Factory in 1960

A short, silent clip from British Pathé showing the damage at Heathcoat's Factory following the flood of 1960.

Flood Damage At John Heathcoat's Factory in 1960

Popularity of Mineral Water in 1895

There were four mineral water manufacturers in Tiverton advertising in 1895. This was a popular period for bottled mineral water which was safer to drink than the public water supply and very fashionable, bolstered by the Temperance Movement.

Thomas Ford & Son
The Old Brewery Tiverton
The Tiverton Mineral Water Company
The Devon Aerated Water Company

Wednesday 29 April 2020

A Twitchy Tiverton in 1659

Here is an interesting article I came across in Devon & Cornwall Notes & Queries from January 1905:
TIVERTON IN 1659. The following account of the state of alarm into which Tiverton was thrown on July 25, 1659, is transcribed from the Mercurius Politicus (published by Order of Parliament) of three days later. It was evidently the work of a Parliamentarian, as shown by its concluding passage. It receives no mention from Dunsford in his History of that town, and for this, apart from other reasons, is well worth being reprinted in the pages of Devon Notes and Queries. It is of much interest for showing the state of unrest which, commencing at the time of Cromwell's death, on Sept. 3, 1658, came to a crisis when the Protectorate was abolished, on the abdication of Richard Cromwell on May 25, 1659. From that period until May 1, 1660, the country was in a condition bordering on anarchy. During the time that Monk was coquetting with the Royalists, wild and alarming rumours, such as those which were spread through Tiverton, were propagated which seemed to have some basis of truth, now that the Fifth Monarchy men, who had caused much trouble to Cromwell in the closing years of his office, were released from his "mailed fist" by his death.
There follows a full transcription of the aforementioned Mercurius Politicus from July 25, 1659:
Mercurius Politicus . . . . Published by Order of Parliament.
No. 580. From Thursday, July 21, to Thursday, July 28, 1659.
Tiverton in Devon, July 25, 1659.

Upon the Nineteenth day of this month, about midnight, the whole Town of Tiverton, as also several Families in the Parish, were raised up out of their Beds by a false Rumor and Alarm; That the Ministers of the Town, and others fearing God, should be all massacreed that night; whereupon the Magistrates, Ministers, and several others, gathered themselves together (many of them being in Arms) consulting in whose hands to put Arms, it being so dangerous a time. Neighbors rouzed up each other out of their Beds, crying pittifully one to another, Take Arms, take Arms, else they would have their Throates cut in their Beds. And when they came forth of their Houses, and asked the reason of this Hurliburlie and feare, the common Replie and general Crie was, that the Anabaptists and Quakers were joyncd together, and intended that night to cut the Throats of the Ministers, and all the Godly people. Whereupon some (being wiser than the rest) returned to their beds, as judging there was no Cause of Feare. But others (being thereto invited) took Arms, and walked through the Town. The Crie for a while increased and grew higher and higher, to wit, That, the Fifth Monarchic Men, Anabaptists and Quakers were joyncd together, not only to cut the Throats of the Godly in that Town, but the Throats of all the Godly in the Nation that Night. They had an intent to have beaten their Drums, and rung the Bells at Midnight, but some persuaded to the contrary, which was a great mercie to a few Anabaptists (so called) living in that Town; for it is probable, had such a thing been done, the rude multitude in their rage, by reason of the false Report, would have pluckt their houses down upon them. But they did only set a Guard about their Houses (which were 10 or 12 Families) as their Neighbors told them the next day.

The occasions of this Commotion, as it appears by inquiry, was from a Letter which a Parish Minister wrote to several of his Bretheren, That there was a designe on foot by the Fifth Monarchic Men, Anabaptists, and Quakers to CUT THROATS THAT NIGHT; whereupon for fear they left their Houses.

It is necessary that a word be added : 1, To undeceive many simple ones in the Nation, that is, to warn all men in their places to take heed of the secret Plotters, and cunning designs now every where on foot, to ensnare poor people. It is well known the Cavaliers in City and County are waiting for an opportunity to rise for Charles Stuart against the Commonwealth, neither care they what the way be, so they may reach their malicious end, against the Government by a Commonwealth, and what way more likelie then this of Tiverton?

But secondly, It is very strange that men professing to fear God, should not make more conscience of Lying, especially to devise such a thing as every one that shall hear of (if he be sober and discreet) will cry out against it as a most absurd and groundless thing. Truly this way will not do it, to bring in Monarchic; God hath hitherto cursed it, and therefore let men know they do but kick against the pricks in seeking to set up a King and House of Lords; it will not be, because the Lord himself is against it.

The Devonian Year Book for the Years 1913 to 1915

Author: R. Pearse Chope (Editor)
Published: 1915
Provider: Internet Archive

The Devonian Year Book for the Year 1913

The Devonian Year Book for the Years 1916 to 1918

Author: R. Pearse Chope (Editor)
Published: 1918
Provider: Internet Archive

The Devonian Year Book for the Year 1916

The London Devonian Year Book for the Years 1910 to 1912

Author: R. Pearse Chope (Editor)
Published: 1912
Provider: Internet Archive

The London Devonian Year Book for the Year 1910

Sunday 26 April 2020

A Podded History of Devon

BBC Radio Devon has a podcast series called "A Podded History of Devon" available to download. This is not a Tiverton specific podcast, but covers interesting stories from Devon history.

Roman Coins

In April 1845, a cache of roman coins was found at Little Gornhay. From Harding, vol. II (1847), on page 129:
In April 1845 while some workmen were sinking a drain on Little Gornhay, in an Orchard immediately behind the Farm house, occupied by Mr William Chapple, they discovered a large jar, about two feet below the surface, containing several hundred Roman coins. They were chiefly copper washed with silver, and a few of them entirely so, all evidently of the third century. The jar was broken to pieces. Several of these coins fortunately fell under the observation of Captain Shortt, who resides at Heavitree, better known perhaps as the author of "Collectanea Curiosa" and of Antiquities of Exeter; and a few are in my own possession. These chiefly were of Antoninus Pius, Severus, Alexander Severus, and Julia Augusta. Several of the washed or plated pieces are Quinarii; and most of the coins are of the debased currency, or Pecunia Majorina, which abounded in the age of Severus and his successors. They were generally in very good preservation.
The Journal of the British Archaeological Association from 1846 contains Captain Shortt's summary:
Captain Shortt, of Heavitree, Exeter, communicated some particulars of the discovery of several hundred denarii, plated and of billon, at Little Gornhay Farm, near Tiverton, most of which were unfortunately dispersed before he received information of the discovery. They were found in an orchard, in rather low ground, not above two feet below the surface, and had been deposited in a jar, which was broken to pieces. Mr W. Chapple, the tenant of the farm, succeeded in preserving specimens, which are of Commodus, Severus, Julia Domna, Caracalla, Elagabalus, Julia Soæmias, and Alexander Severus; among them are several quinarii. Captain Shortt also stated that he is now occupied in watching excavations in various parts of Exeter, and that several interesting discoveries had been made. On the site of a Roman bath in Queen-street, coins of Claudius, Nero, Gallienus, Salonina, Constantine, and Decentius, have been found, together with a large earthen vase, fragments of the red ware termed Samian, with figures of gladiators fighting; a large patera, with potter's impress, VERECVNDI; tiles impressed with concentric semicircles, and, adjoining the bath, an immense quantity of bones of oxen and sheep, and the entire skeleton of an ox. A sketch of a small bronze casket which has also been found, accompanied Captain Shortt's communication. 
The Heritage Gateway has many further sources and references listed.

Tombstone Lane

Tombstone Lane branches off Longdrag Hill towards Frogwell. From Harding, vol. II (1847), on page 127 the following tale is told:
In this neighbourhood is an estate called Loosley Farm to which a tradition is attached that in 1643 John Shapcott, the resident tenant, is supposed to have murdered a pedlar who had sought his hospitality, and was buried in a field on the property, where a stone was afterwards erected 25 feet high and six wide, on which was engraven that portion of the 103rd Psalm from the 6th to the 14th verses, both inclusive. The remains of this stone, which is nearly in the form of a triangle, is leaning against the hedge in a lane called Tombstone-lane; and Richards, in his Apportionment, describes the field adjoining as Tombstone Field. The mound over the grave, which lay between the hedge and lane, at right angles, has been removed within a very few years. On this stone there is the evident appearance of letters, which, in its present state are illegible. An attempt will be made, however, to clean the stone, and ascertain by that means what is engraven thereon; and if successful the result will be given with a few other particulars, at the end of this book¹. The remaining part of this tomb, said by Dunsford to have been broken off in a fit of rage by John Shapcott, (son of John Shapcott, the supposed murderer), about thirty years after, accompanied by some blasphemous expressions, and swearing at the same time the stone was a standing reproach to his family, has been carried away. John Shapcott's hand is said to have become useless from that time, and it gradually withered away; which circumstance obtained for him the name of "Scrammed hand Shapcott". In an old rate of this parish, bearing the date 1723, Loosely is described as late the land of Daniel Shapcott, which may have been a son of John Shapcott; but there appears no probability of gaining any very authentic particulars of this occurrence.
¹ The stone is not mentioned again, so we assume the attempt to clean it was unsuccessful!

Thursday 23 April 2020

Canon Edward Girdlestone (1805–84)

The Halberton History Group has published an excellent booklet about the life of Canon Edward Girdlestone who was the Vicar of St Andrew's in Halberton between 1862 and 1872.

Canon Edward Girdlestone
Canon Edward Girdlestone

He witnessed rural deprivation and became active on behalf of agricultural labourers, proposed an agricultural labourers' trade union and spoke and organised on behalf of this project. He helped 600 agricultural families move from the west of England, where work was scarce and poorly paid, to the north, becoming known as "The Agricultural Labourers' Friend".

Wednesday 8 April 2020

Starkey Knight & Ford

Here are some beer mats from Tiverton brewers Starkey Knight & Ford. You can read a comprehensive history of the company on Boak & Bailey's Beer Blog.

Starkey Knight & Ford - Super Stout Starkey Knight & Ford - Tivvy Home BrewedStarkey Knight & Ford - Guinness's Extra Stout Starkey Knight & Ford - Pale Ale