Showing posts from January, 2013

The horrid history of a Budleigh salt-worker. Or just a fishy story?

Above: This cheerful-looking garden feature can be admired at The Salty Monk restaurant at Sidford, not far from Budleigh. It reminds guests that the building was reputedly a salt house used by the Benedictine monks of Norman times who traded salt at Exeter Cathedral.
The scholar A.C. Heavison, in a scarce pamphlet on the Budleigh salt-mines, tells a story from the 11th or 12th centuries involving the notoriously short-tempered Prior of Otterton.
It was thirst-making work in the salt-mines and Hugo, one of the Prior's serfs was in the habit of taking a flagon of cider with him on his shift. Quenching his thirst with too much strong cider on one occasion meant that Hugo ended up drunk at the bottom of the ladder, a section of which he had pulled down.
All work at the salt-mine stopped. The Prior was informed and stood at the top of the shaft, shouting angrily at his senseless serf. All was in vain. It was decided to leave the drunken man to come to his sen…

The Marine Treasures of Lyme Bay

Could this really be the Year of the Sponge?

My crazy fantasy at about a Budleigh Sponge Day may not have been so crazy after all.

I've just read Simon Barnes' piece entitled Unexplored wilderness at the end of the pier in The Times at reflecting on the wonderful hidden world of the Cromer Shoal Chalk Reef off the coast of NE Norfolk. Among other strange and beautiful secrets the Reef has yielded "a species of purple sponge new to science."

That "new to science" phrase struck a chord, still reeling as I am from having written 70,000 words about Victorian spongiologist Henry Carter FRS (1813-95) as part of my own exploration of 19th century science, a world previously foreign to me.

"New to science" was the excited and triumphant clarion-call favoured by Victorian botanists, zoologists, geologists …

Twins, Sisters, Cousins...? Does it really matter?

What a pleasant surprise to receive the first of many responses to the first-ever bulletin of The Budleigh Chronicle on 20 January.Especially as it had come from thousands of miles away in cyberspace.

Well actually it had come in a short hop from Cape Cod on the other side of the Pond, so not really that far at all in this age of instant communication - when the internet works of course.

Pioneering transatlantic communication: the stained glass window in All Saints' Church, East Budleigh, commemorating former Budleigh resident George William Preedy Admiral Preedy, the brave captain of HMS Agamemnon who played such an important part in laying that first successful telegraph cable across the Atlantic Ocean, and who came to live in retirement at Park House in Knowle on the outskirts ofBudleigh, would have been thrilled.
I was certainly pleased. The friendship link between Budleigh Salterton and Brewster, MA has not exactly been a roaring success and was never formalised as a twinning …

Brewster shines in the spotlight of ecotourism

A Brewster view: Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Kyle Hinkle's article is below

Last winter, the Candleberry Inn, pictured below, was one of three Brewster inns to become a verified Cape and Islands Green business (the others are Old Manse Inn and CaptainFreemanInn).  Owners Charlotte and Stu Fyfe took steps to improve energy efficiency at the Inn and increased how and what they recycled. They make their own organic cleaning products, grow their own vegetables and herbs, and even have honey bees. They shop locally for things like cornmeal (at Stony Brook Gristmill of course!) and organic chocolates, and they encourage their guests to use eco-friendly efforts too.

The Candleberry Inn, in exchange for the Fyfes' hard work, is now one of the Cape and Islands Green businesses enjoying the combined marketing efforts of the Cape Light Compact, Cape Cod Self Reliance and the Community Development Partnership who promote and manage the certification program that businesses must g…

A Scott drama with Budleigh links

Actress Jenny Coverack inside Scott's Hut, dressed as Kathleen Scott
Photograph copyright © 2006 Marketa Jirouskova

We were awestruck by the courage and suffering of former Budleigh resident Murray Levick and his companions displayed in last year's Fairlynch exhibition 'Survival', and moved by actress Jenny Coverack's performance as Kathleen Scott in Budleigh Salterton's Public Hall.

Meredith Hooper, during a visit to Fairlynch Museum's 'Survival!' exhibition in July 2011 Now comes the final stage of the centenary commemoration of Captain Scott's tragic Terra Nova expedition with a BBC Radio 4 drama to be broadcast on Tuesday 5 February, from 2.15 to 3.00 pm, with Sam West as Scott and Emilia Fox as Kathleen.
'Kathleen and Con' by author and Antarctic expert Meredith Hooper is based on the two volumes of extraordinarily interesting letters written by Robert Falcon Scott and Kathleen Bruce. The drama begins with their first love letters in N…

The East gets a taste of Fairlynch

Fairlynch Museum prides itself on growing global links. Our Local History Group regularly receives enquiries from people on the other side of the world asking if we can provide information about their Devon ancestors.

Singapore city skyline at dusk   Image credit: Chensiyuan

We've just had an email from the USA offering us original Budleigh lace work and tools.
And my research into the life and work of Henry John Carter for the forthcoming Sea, Salt and Sponges exhibition has led me to contact people in places ranging from the Netherlands to Japan, from India to California.
After all, HJC as I'll call Budleigh's most distinguished scientist did spend over 20 years of his life exploring the deserts and coasts of Arabia before settling in India where he made a name for himself as a geologist and highly respected microscopist. And then, back in quiet little old Budleigh, was sent sponges from all over the world for the next twenty years by institutions like London's Natu…

Pub quizzes Fairlynch

New faces at Knowle's local: Kate Knight with daughter Aisha and landlord Major Jeff White
Buying a house? Involved in commerce? It can often be fascinating to discover the former occupants of your new home or how a venture started. The new landlord of Knowle village's local is the latest business in the area seeking to find out more about the history of the building and its previous tenants. 
Going back to its original name is all part of Jeff White's keenness to explore the archives of this country pub and restaurant that for many years was known as The Dog and Donkey. “The pub started off as The Britannia back in Victorian times so we thought it was only right to respect its heritage and discover a bit more of its past,” says Jeff, pictured above with partner Kate Knight and her daughter Aisha who prepare quality food in the kitchen.
And that's where Fairlynch Museum comes in with its excellent local history records. The museum is always ready to help people interest…

Ten years' service acknowledged

Changes are afoot at Budleigh Salterton's Fairlynch Museum with the news that two of its Trustees are standing down.
After over 10 years as Fairlynch Trustees Margaret Brett and Iris Cooper will be relinquishing their roles at the Museum's AGM in May.
"They cannot be praised too highly for their outstanding commitment, dedication and hard work," said Fairlynch Chairman Roger Sherriff. "The two years they served as joint Chair of the Trustees is worthy of particular praise, filling the vacuum left following the departure of the previous Chair. Fortunately they will both continue to be involved with Museum life."
Friends of Fairlynch Membership Secretary Alexis Zane is also standing down to pursue other interests. "Our grateful thanks are due to her for the professionalism she has brought to this position and the efficient manner in which she has performed this role," said Roger Sherriff.
The Museum is advertising for a new Membership Secretary in ad…

Francis Kelly (1927-2012)

Francis Kelly's depiction of Hayes Barton, described as “a delightful countryside etching" by the Brook Gallery which sells his work. See for details.

Francis Kelly (1927-2012) is one of twoimportant figures from the Arts world with strong connections to the Budleigh area who passed away last year.
Artist, authorand athlete, Francis Kelly, known as Bob, was born in Minnesota. He served with the U.S. Navy until 1948 when he entered the Art Centre School in Los Angeles, studying in Paris in 1951/52, and then the Universities of Hawaii and California. With a Fulbright grant,he came in 1955 to the Central School in London where he decided to live. 
He had strong links with the Budleigh area, visiting whenever possible: our gentle countryside has greatly inspired much of his work. 

Field Gate

Exhibitions of his work have been held at 24 British galleries. He was called on by the Italian Art and Archives Fund to restore flood damaged art in Florence and ha…

Sir Richard Rodney Bennett (1936-2012)

Sir Richard Rodney Bennett (1936-2012) is one of twoimportant figures from the Arts world with strong connections to the Budleigh area who passed away last year.

As President of the Budleigh Jazz Festival Sir Richard was well known to many local  residents. He lived at various houses in Budleigh for more than 20 years until the family settled in Boucher Road in 1945. A photo of the young Richard, right, with his family in the garden of Lace Acre, in Budleigh Salterton's Boucher Road

His father was a writer and his mother a fine musician and pianist, organising local recitals and madrigal groups in which the teenage Richard and his friends would take part. His childhood was not especially happy according to Anthony Meredith’s much praised magistral biography, and moving to London as a student at the Royal Academy of Music was a refreshing change. However he retained his affection for Budleigh, which, as he said in later life “I still love and won’t have a word said against.”

 As a m…

‘Tales of the Sixth Sense’

Friends of Fairlynch Museum Winter Talks 2012-13 ‘Tales of the Sixth Sense’  Where: Peter Hall, next to the parish church, Budleigh Salterton When: Monday 21 January 20132.30 pm Who:Jenny Pride

Have you ever had the puzzling feeling known as déjà vu of being in a place that you seem inexplicably to have previously been to? Or of meeting a person whom somehow, oddly, you've met in the past? Friend of Fairlynch Jenny Pride has a background in Economics, but has had a variety of personal experiences that have convinced her that human existence embraces a world beyond ordinary science, more mysterious even than economic forecasting. Her talk will deal with intriguing subjects such as psychic phenomena, premonition, ESPand strange intuition.

Sea, Salt and Sponges

Fairlynch Museum’s 2013 exhibition has a maritime theme: the history of local fishing and salt-making, marine conservation, paintings by local artists inspired by the area’s beautiful coastal scenery… but especially the life of Henry Carter FRS (1813-95), born 200 years ago in Budleigh Salterton.  The exhibition opens on Friday 29 March at 2.00 pm and runs until the end of September 2013. Admission is free.Here are some facts about Henry Carter:
•Described as one of her “scientific heroes”by Clare Valentine, Head of Collections in the Department of Zoology, NaturalHistoryMuseum, London

•The first to describe themicroscopic aquatic creatureCollodictyon triciliatum,declared by scientists recently to be one of the world's oldest living organisms and man's remotest relative…
Image credit: Robert Clinton Rhodes
•Admired for his “wonderful” description of the sex-life of algae by Charles Darwin

•“No obscure scientist could hope for a more constant friend or more courteous corresponden…