The scope of the St Petrock’s History Group covers Timberscombe and the surrounding area of Exmoor. We aim to arrange interesting talks over the coming months which will represent the wide diversity of interests of our members. Suggestions are always welcome! Details of our talks can be found in the events section of this website
I hope that this finds you, your family and friends all in good health.
It has been some time since we were able to meet at St Petrock’s Church for our History Group due to the impact coronavirus has had on our way of living. Part of the reason for setting up the History Group was to encourage social interaction and learning opportunities in a beautiful Listed building which is now equipped with modern facilities after a great deal of hard work and fundraising by our community. This has now been completed and is ready for use but we are currently constrained from using St Petrock’s for more than services of worship.
After the latest announcements on Wednesday 9th we have to be realistic that we are still some time away from being able to resume our meetings.
During this period, and even before lockdown started in March, our archivist, Tom Sperling, has been working extraordinarily hard to sift through a large volume of material accessible or acquired from local donations, the school, the church and other external sources. This is in order to create a fantastic unique online resource of village history and heritage in our area which in due course will be openly available. I can honestly say that the website will contain an amazing body of work which will benefit researchers of local history and is of interest to anyone with a passion for social history as much as those who simply wish to enquire into their own heritage.
Tom has proposed that we could issue to History Group members a monthly bulletin which will focus on one particular aspect – whether a person or place of local historical importance – drawn from this resource whilst it is in formation, and I am sure you will agree that this is an excellent idea. It was very hard to decide what to feature first but we agreed that the 250th Anniversary of the foundation of Timberscombe School was a good choice, and this bulletin follows on below.
We hope that you enjoy reading this as an example of the work being undertaken, and we are keen to emphasise that this is a dynamic project. You may have material to add to that given in which case we would be delighted to be made aware of it, or you may have corrections which are also welcome! If you can identify anyone not identified that is also helpful. Of course if you have any other photographs of Timberscombe’ s past, that could be part of this ongoing project, we are keen to see them. Tom or I can quickly scan it, if that helps, and return your original to you.
Our intention is that when the next monthly bulletin is issued, the previous featured piece will be made generally available on the History Group section of the Timberscombe website, and so on.
On a financial note, I would like to add that for existing members the 2020 membership contributions made will also cover membership for 2021.
If you have any comments or suggestions, they will of course be most welcome.
With all good wishes
POSTPONED – with regret owing to coronavirus concerns.
THIS LECTURE WILL BE REARRANGED WHEN CIRCUMSTANCES PERMIT
On 8th November the St Petrock’ s History Group hosted a mesmerising event when Patrick Hoyte, assisted by two readers – one of them was his wife, who stepped in at the last minute – gave us an account of one ordinary man’s experience of the Second World War. That was not all, though, as Mr Hoyte skilfully wove into his narrative, tellingly illustrated with correspondence read by his fellow presenters, the account of how he had pieced together the story. What we were presented was as full of shocks, surprise turns and dramas as an episode of “Who Do You Think You Are?” all delivered with a pace and energy which earned a well-deserved round of applause from the audience after the surprise ending.
I shall say no more as I do not want to be accused of leaking a spoiler, given that the whole story is published as a book, copies of which Mr Hoyte made available at the meeting. Allan Sutton
Stuart R. Blaylock, B.A., Ph.D., F.S.A., Independent Scholar and Archaeologist from Cullompton, Devon, came to Timberscombe on the 10th of June 2019. He spent two hours in the afternoon discussing specifics of St. Petrock’s Church and in the evening gave a presentation on the art and science of how to “read” and explore the history of a West Country building.
In 1955, when the Tudor south doorway of St. Petrock’s was uncovered, a medieval wall painting of King David playing his harp (seen above to the right) was rediscovered along with accompanying fragments of English text-that have not been able to be deciphered. The climax of Mr. Blaylock’s talk was his belief that there were two texts here. He proposes that the lower text, from the Book Of Common Prayer read “Take the psalm, bring hither thetabret (a tambourine), the merry harp with the lute” and more chillingly, the upper text states (from Ps 112 v 10) “The wicked shall see it, and be grieved, he shall gnash with his teeth, and melt away, thedesire of the wicked shall perish“.
Photographs by Richard Jeffrey
TIMBERSCOMBE HILL FORT
Rob Wilson-North, Head of Conservation & Access for ENPA was the History Group’s third speaker on the 19th of November 2018, with a talk about Timberscombe’s local iron age fort, first reported as an archaeological site in 1992. On the 5th of June 2019, Mr. Wilson-North returned for a walk to the site, entitled “AN EXPLORATION OF THE TIMBERSCOMBE HILL FORT”.
Sir Antony Acland, the President of the Exmoor Society, was educated at Eton and earned his BA in Philosophy , Politics and Economics at Christ Church, Oxford. Entering the Foreign Office, he has served as Her Majesty’s Ambassador to Luxembourg, Spain and the USA. The Acland family has been associated with Exmoor since 1155. In 1745, Sir Thomas Acland, the 7th Baronet, married Elizabeth Dyke, altering his family name and gaining control of the Holnicote Estate. In 1944, Sir Richard Thomas Dyke Acland , the 15th Baronet, presented the estate to the National Trust.
Sir Antony, accompanied by his wife, Jennifer, spoke to the History Group about his life, his family and his Exmoor.
June 4th meeting agreed that Marion Jeffrey would co-ordinate the History Group for the first year, Carl Farmer would be Treasurer, Tom Sperling would be Photo Archivist and Paul Sheldon would assist with Archiving of objects and images. Gabrielle Horrobin would provide creative input to the production of posters to advertise the meetings, and take photographs of the meetings, along with Richard Jeffrey, to add to the archive. Meetings would be held in St Petrock’s Church on the the third Monday of alternate months and annual membership should be £10, with £1 additional per meeting and £4 per visitor to encourage membership. In view of the support extended by other villages it was decided to name the group Local History Group for Timberscombe, Wootton Courtenay and Neighbours.
Mary Siraut, County Editor of Somerset Victoria County History, kindly gave a Lecture titled Timberscombe and its Neighbours in June 2017 at the invitation of the St Petrock’s Timberscombe Parochial Church Council (PCC), as part of a weekend of celebration of the patronal feast which historically has been celebrated at the beginning of June.
Packed attendance at her Lecture in the Village Hall clearly demonstrated the level of interest in matters historical and so in July 2018 a new local group was formed : St Petrock’s History Group for Timberscombe and its Neighbours.
There are a number of interesting websites and history societies which cover our area of Exmoor and some of them are listed here: