Showing posts from November, 2013

Fairlynch Friends lead the way

Two Friends of Fairlynch will shortly be leading walks organised by the Otter Valley Association but open to all.

On Saturday 30 November David Daniel will be the walk leader on what is described as a short and sociable three-mile walk on the commons to relieve those growing pre-Christmas pressures. The start is at 10.00 am at Wheathill Plantation car park (map ref SY041847).  

A trek along Hawkerland valley  Image credit Rob Purvis
On Saturday 7 December Brian Turnbull will lead a five-mile moderate walk starting at 10.00 am at ColatonRaleighChurch (map ref SY082872), going down green lanes and over the commons, visiting Dotton, Hawkerland and Knapps land.  There is an optional lunch at the Otter Inn. For more detailscontact Brian on 01395 567339.

The Otter Inn, Colaton Raleigh To help you decide, click on Dalditch Common, with a sea view   Then on Thursday 26 December David Daniel will lead a four-mile gentle Boxing Day walk across the commons, starting from Ea…

People from the Past 9: Frances Van Meter (1909-1994)

A corner of the Carter Library at Fairlynch Museum

At the tenth Annual General Meeting of the Friends of Fairlynch on 22 March 1979, Priscilla Hull, as Chairman of the Management Committee of the Museum, reported that the Library, under the care of Mrs Van Meter, was “now available on certain days each week, or by special appointment.”

A young Frances Van Meter. She is described as the second wife of a Eugene Van Meter at

Frances Van Meter (1909-94) born in Bardwell, CarlisleCounty, in Kentucky USA, was one of the founding members of what became the ManchesterCenter in Lexington’s Irishtown, Kentucky. How, after an eventful life of such high achievement, she came to settle in the tranquil surroundings of Budleigh Salterton as Librarian of the local museum is one of the many curiosities and unanswered questions that I’ve met at Fairlynch. If any of my US readers has the answer I’d love to hear from you.

The Manch…

Not all museums are from the same mould

The Victoria and AlbertMuseum, London Image credit: Andreas Praefcke

Visiting one of our national institutions like the BritishMuseum or the V&A brings home to you the big difference between them and little outfits like Fairlynch. It’s money of course. Volunteer-run museums such as Budleigh Salterton’s operate on a relative shoestring, frequently running at a loss because of the cost of maintenance both of the building and of the environmental conditions needed to conserve artefacts.

Amanita muscaria (fly agaric)   
Image credit: Michael Maggs

More on Fairlynch and the Delderfields

Many people admired the excellent exhibition to mark R.F. Delderfield’s centenary last year, staged by Fairlynch volunteer Margaret Brett with much valuable material contributed by the author's biographer Marion Lindsey-Noble. They may like to know that both Delderfield brothers had dealings with Fairlynchduring their lifetime as recently discovered in the Museum's archives.  

Pictured above is one of the many books by Eric Delderfield (1909-95). Brought up in Exmouth like his brother Ronald, he published a range of works about the West Country with a focus on local history.

Following an approach by the Friends of Fairlynch Secretary Marjorie Evison in April 1971he gave a talk six months later to the Friends of Fairlynch in the Church Institute next to The Green in Budleigh Salterton. Entitled ‘Historic Houses of the West’ it was based on his book West Country Historic Houses and their Families, the second volume of which had been published in the previous year.