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Friday, 16 December 2016

Origin of the Starcross name

Could Starcross be derived from the Norse word stoth, which meant a landing stage for loading and unloading cargo? OED definition for staithe
The word staithe - for a pier -  was Old English, used in the North and East of England

Monday, 12 December 2016

Starcross Stationmasters

Please can anyone fill in the gaps?

Francis Kain

Hello Devon History Group,
I would like to know if one Francis Kain is known to you in any capacity. He lived in Starcross, as Staplake Mount, for only about three years, possibly, up until 1833 when he died there.
I am also interested in the Staplake Mount premises which I can find no images of on the internet except as a modern veterinary institute, I think. Can you offer information or leads on that?
Thank you very much in anticipation,

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Unearth meeting Thurs, 8th December in St Paul's Church 7:30pm

The * Villages in Action * Project Unearth*
Anyone interested in the history of our village is invited to join our enthusiastic volunteers; to share and discuss research about Starcross.
Lottery funding has been achieved by Villages in Action to: publish, online, the research from each of 8 Devon communities AND hire professionals to create and perform a multi-media production for each community.

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Unearth meeting with Villages in Action

A dozen history enthusiasts met in St Paul's Church, tonight. Kate Green from Villages in Action chaired the discussion, and charted the areas of interest which included: the railway, the hospital,  commerce and the growth of the community.

Jon Nichol took us through his paper:

Eight simple steps that ‘Doing History’ involves

1. Find a topic that interests you sufficiently to want to find out about it, something that will stimulate, engage, entertain, enrich and give pleasure while you work as a History Detective.

2. Ask an initial question or questions about the topic – question[s] trigger off your local history investigation. Without a question[s] there is no history!

3. Search for and find sources that might contain clues, evidence, to answer your initial [and subsequent] question[s].  Sources can include among others:
  • oral testament/ memory
  • physical – buildings: remains:
  • artefacts
  • place names
  • pictorial/visual
  • written/printed from the time your are finding out about
  • later books / journals /articles about your locality, i.e. histories

4. Where shall I look for my sources?
In your locality + the Internet + your local record office/archive + books/journals etc.

5.  Work on the sources:
  • Extract evidence, clues from your sources to answer the questions you asked
  • Record / Sort / Organise / Cross reference / Analyse – work upon, think about the evidence [clues]using a full range of your mental faculties, i.e.:
  • Imagine – Deduce - Connect – Fantasise - Think Logically & Laterally: Build Up Ideas – Hypothesise – Speculate – Argue/discuss - Test – Reach Conclusions based on evidence.
  • And, think of new questions, point 6, to deepen the enquiry.

6. Ask new questions  - repeat the investigative/enquiry process from point 3 to 5

7. Reach conclusions:  think historically
Draw on your historical knowledge to create your story /narrative / account / explanation in the form you think best

8. Form – decide on the ‘form’ you want to present your findings – for example

cartoon: documentary
display - poster - public
museum exhibition, with explanatory notice
newsletter article [e.g. for Starcross newsletter]
short written story
story to tell - verbal

+ Justification: Be able to explain upon what you based the ‘history’ you have created, i.e. its know that knowledge. Justification depends upon your know how knowledge, i.e.  I know how to prove that my history [interpretation] is probably true, based upon the evidence I drew from reliable, valid historical sources.’


Books, the internet, photographs and documents stimulated the discussion.
Visits to the South West Film and TV Archives, the South West Heritage Trust on Sowton, and the Royal Albert Memorial Museum in Exeter are planned.
  • Invitations will be sent for a daytime session, in January, to record Starcross stories. A title for this activity is needed. ummm... Memories of Starcross. Starcross Memories. Remembering Starcross. Starcross Reminiscences. Back to the Future.  Starcross Stories. Share your Starcross Stories. 
project manager Kate Green 01363 773660 or 07976 712849

The Rattery group and the Starcross group have already set up pages on their websites for the Unearth project.
Link to the Rattery Unearth page
Link to the Starcross Unearth Page

A Facebook page: Unearth Heritage Project has representatives from each community as editors.
The next meeting to Unearth Starcross's history will be on Thursday, 8th December at 7:30pm in St Paul's Church. Everyone is invited. Whether you have a Starcross story to tell, or if you are just interested in the history of Starcross, please come along.

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Courtenay Arms. Exeter Flying Post. 15th October, 1846

A new, elegant, and spacious Inn will shortly be erected by the South Devon Railway Company, at Starcross; the present site of the Courtenay Arms being required to give more space for the Railway. The situation chosen for the new Inn is quite as eligible, where "mine host," the present worthy landlord, it is hoped, will entertain his numerous friends for many years to come in his usual excellent way.
The foundation for the new Pier at this place are proceeding very fast, which, when completed, will afford much accommodation.
The steamer to ply between Starcross and Exmouth in connection with the South Devon Railway is soon expected to arrive to be put on its trips. Visiters and all others from Exmouth and its neighbourhood will by this be greatly benefited.

Exeter Flying Post 15th October, 1846

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

PLEASE HELP the Campaign for free access to the British Newspaper Archive

Devon doesn't yet have free access to its newspaper archives, so please fire off a few polite emails to change this. 
Now is the time for budgeting, so it's a good time to flag the British Newspaper Archive to Devon library authority.

The archives of every British newspaper are online, which means that anyone can do historical research. This is particularly exciting for the Villages in Action project Unearth; which aims to discover the histories of 8 Devon communities; including Starcross.
But Devon County libraries authority have not yet subscribed to this amazing resource. When they do, everyone in a library with a Devon library card will have free access.
The British NewspaperArchive is a partnership between the British Library and findmypast to digitise up to 40 million newspaper pages from the British Library's vast collection over the next 10 years. Access to the archive is free across 61 areas of the UK because 61 library authorities have paid a subscription. - anyone in those areas, who has a local authority library card, has free, unlimited access whenever they visit their local authority library.
The subscriptions are managed by JCS online resources 
 Offering online access to millions of pages of British and Irish newspapers from 1708-1956, the British Newspaper Archive is a fantastic resource for everyone interested in history, and for family and local historians in particular.
Every single word of every issue has been made searchable, and thousands of extra pages are added every week.
"I’m actually addicted to The British Newspaper Archive. I wake up in the middle of the night wondering… did the Victorians ever roller skate? What did people think about Nelson’s column when it was first unveiled? Has anyone ever attempted a tightrope walk over the Thames?
A quick search, and I get my answers. Except then I can’t possibly go back to sleep because one search leads to another. If you’re curious about the past, then The British Newspaper Archive is your best friend for life.” Matt Brown, Editor-at-Large of Londonist

Monday, 14 November 2016

Unearth the history of Starcross

Everyone's invited to another meet in St Paul's Church about the Villages in Action Project Unearth. Kate Green from Villages in Action will lead the discussion. What are our favourite bits of Starcross's History? Will it be our Victorians: George Pycroft, Rear Admiral Francis Godolphin Bond, Brunel  or Captain George Peacock? Or will it be aspects of the railway history, such as the Atmospheric Railway, or sending violets to Covent Garden? Will wartime tales be preferred; such as The SS South Coaster and the Home Guard? Could Roman times enthuse everyone? Romans used the River Exe to get to and from Isca (Exeter). What evidence do we have about the Romans in Starcross? Will the history of the River Exe be a focus? Or will it be something else?
Please do come along if you'd like to be involved with this exciting Lottery funded project. The meeting is at 7:30pm on Wednesday 23rd November, in St Paul's.
Captain George Peacock

George Peacock's grave in St Paul's church

The late Jim Shapter's Roman amphora from the mouth of the Exe

Mr Isambard Kingdom Brunel (Dave Grylls)at a Starcross History meet

book: Brunel's Atmospheric Railway illus. William Dawson

Unearth - the Villages in Action project to unearth our history

Starcross home Guard

Pennyfarthing stamp for Pennyfarthing Cottage on our 2016 history trail

double header of steam at Cockwood

Saturday, 12 November 2016

November meet. Wednesday 9th in St Paul's Church 7:30pm

On Wednesday, 9th November 2016, members were asked if they would think about helping with the search for the lost Stairs Cross. If it was destroyed by Henry VIIIth's men during the Dissolution of the Monasteries, it could have been knocked into the river and could have lain there ever since. It may have then been removed to build a wall. Or, as some locals believe,  there might never have been a stone cross to mark the Pratteshide (Exmouth) ferry crossing at Woolcomb's Island and so that is not the origin of the name Starcross.
Geophys technology would not work in the waterlogged estuary, so the only way to ascertain whether or not there is a Stairs Cross in the estuary in the vicinity of the ferry crossing, is to DIG.  A grid would be made of the likely area, and lots of folk with spades and wellies could splash about at low tide and explore each square of the grid. This will be a summertime project.
Ashes Quay is thought to be the location of the Stairs Cross. Here a picture of Starcross Fishing and Cruising Club's new pontoon next to Ashes Quay 

Members pointed out the necessity of getting permission from Natural England before any excavation can take place in the Exe Estuary which is a RAMSAR and an SSSI

The railway camping carriages  at Dawlish Warren have been sold with the site for £261,000. It is believed that the new owner would like to continue the railway camping carriage tradition on this site.
Plymouth Herald report
Herald Express report
The Sun report
BBC report
Discussion on Rail UK forums
Facebook Group "Save the Dawlish Warren Railway Camping Carriages"

Kate Green from Villages in Action introduced Project Unearth in which Starcross will take part. Kate will chair another meeting about this on Wednesday 23rd November in St Paul's Church at 7:30pm. She hopes that a core group of enthusiasts will take this project on.

Friday, 4 November 2016

The Royal Clarence Fire: the Historical Loss & Survival

The Royal Clarence Fire: the Historical Loss & Survival

Saturday, 5 November

Barnfield Theatre

11.30 doors open for 12.30 to 3.00 pm

Admission is free and is on a first come, first served basis.

The Royal Clarence Fire has been the most destructive in the recent history of Exeter.  This event is an opportunity to learn what has been lost of historical significance but also to discuss what has been miraculously saved.  Dr Todd Gray will outline the destruction of the Royal Clarence itself.  Three leading building specialists of Exeter (John Allan, Richard Parker & John Thorp) will then outline the significance of the surrounding buildings. These form an island of largely unappreciated medieval and later structures in the heart of the city. A panel discussion will follow.

Sunday, 30 October 2016

Thankyou for your help at the Jumble Sale

Jumble Sales are great fun!
The race for bargains. Two customers in a hurry scoot down the red-carpeted aisle on toy scooters
The race for bargains. Two customers in a hurry scoot down the aisle
It took 4 hours to set up and 1 hour to clear up... not counting the clean up after that.
Christmas decorations

boules and vases
pewsful of clothes
Teapots and glassware
indoor rabbit cage. Hamster cages. Toys

pewsful of clothes
Toddler toys
pewsful of clothes and books


pewsful of clothes

pewsful of clothes

pewsful of clothes

pewsful of clothes

toastrack. camping stoves.

cycling helmet. purple boots

toddler toys

toddler toys
suitcase trolley and kitchenalia
Ski trainer

What sumptuous refreshments the ladies of St Paul's Church laid on as usual.
Home-made jam £1.50p. Chocolate Cake. Walnut and coffee cake
Fruit Cake. Flapjack. Apple cake. Bread pudding
Banana loaf. Chocolate cupcakes. Madeleines. Savoury quiches.

Nativity bomboniere

Many thanks to Ann who gave us one of her fabulous bomboniere pieces; decorated with pumpkins and containing Halloween sweets and toys. Here's another of Ann's creations which she has on sale.
Ann also donated a Halloween Lucky Dip. This was a spookily-lit, tub which contained packets of sweets and Halloween toys. The children had to rummage about in the cobwebs underneath a big black spider, to find the prizes.

Christmas cards were on sale, and tickets for the Villages in Action Cosgrave & Banks concert on Friday 11th November, and tickets for the fashion show on Saturday 12th. To enquire about tickets please phone Alison on 890957

There were a few more events on, so we didn't get the usual Starcross crowd, but, thanks to Facebook, we had quite a few folk who had traveled miles. Thankyou to all our customers. We won't have to worry too much about room hire costs, and we've added to our savings for projects such as the Stairs Cross

Many thanks for all the wonderful raffle prizes.

We shared the takings with St Paul's, who generously gave us the lion's share even though it was the people from the Church who did most of the work.
Thankyou to everybody.

£89.40 deposited into our bank account

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

UNEARTH - a project from Villages in Action

What buried treasure is there in Starcross? Villages in Action will UNEARTH the histories of 8 Devon communities, including Starcross. A film about each village will be compiled from archives. Each film will be shown in its village's hall. AND there will be a professional, multi-media production about each place.

Kate Green from Villages in Action, will present the first stage of this Heritage Lottery funded project to the November meet of Starcross History.

Discovering the Hidden Histories of Devon’s Rural Communities
Kate will explain how the Villages in Action project will progress through the year and describe the various elements.  Printouts will summarise.

·       Brentor, Buckfastleigh, Chagford, Colyford&Colyton, Crediton, Rattery, Starcross and Whimple will research and explore their stories, customs and traditions, with a particular focus on their village hall.

·                 The research will be supported by the South West TV and Film Archive and the South West Heritage Trust. There will be a special film night in each village.
·                 Performers and artists will be commissioned to create original multi-media performance pieces to be performed in each hall.