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Monday, 26 September 2016

Constable or Wainwright or Wainewright?

update on the post of July 7th 2015 about the painting wrongly  attributed  to John Constable

The Art Detectives have discovered that this painting is of Starcross - but, it looks like Powderham Church 

The painting is by Thomas Francis Wainewright -  was withdrawn from the 1873 Royal Academy exhibition when Wainewright spotted it being exhibited as a Constable. He stated that he painted the picture in 1853 and the view is near Starcross, Devon.

See attached from The Saturday Review, Feb 8th 1873

Power to the People: Community Rights workshop

Starcross History has been offered a special rate of £22 to attend the Teignbridge Voluntary and Community Service's course in Buckfastleigh on October 20th.

Power to the People: Community Rights workshop

Here's all about it -


We are delighted to invite you to the Power to the People: Community Rights workshop run by Teignbridge CVS.

Many communities face the challenge of losing a much loved building or space to disposal or neglect, and feel powerless to do anything. There are ways of protecting community assets, for future generations by using the power of Community Rights.

This workshop will explain what community rights are, and most importantly how to put them into action, including:
• Community Asset Transfer
• Community Right to Reclaim Land
• Right to Bid
• Community Shares
• Neighbourhood Planning
This course is open to all.  We have sourced external funding to subsidise learners from voluntary and community groups in Teignbridge.  For these groups the subsidised cost for this course is £22.00.  For all others (e.g. the statutory sector) the course cost is £38.00.

If you are not sure if you are entitled to the subsidised lower rate, please contact Katie on 01626 326125 or

Please be sure you purchase the correct ticket type. Teignbridge CVS reserves the right to invoice the difference for tickets bought at the subsidised rate when the organisation is not entitled to the subsidies. Please note that all payments must be completed prior to the start of the course.
Please ensure you complete your booking to reserve your place as space is limited.

Booking Conditions
Generally a maximum of TWO people only from a single organisation will be accepted onto any one training course. If you would like other places to be put on a waiting list please let us know at the time of booking and if spaces become available close to the date of the course, we will contact you.

All FREE courses are only available to Voluntary and Community groups.

Cancellation Terms

If you are unable to attend you may send someone in your place or:
 More than two weeks notice - full refund less £5 administration charge
Less than two weeks notice - full amount payable.

The CVS reserves the right to cancel or postpone courses, in which event a full refund will be offered.  In the event of a course being cancelled, at least 3 days’ notice will be given, unless circumstances beyond our control intervene.

If you have any questions please contact 

Date and Time
Buckfastleigh Town Hall
34 Bossell Road
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Sunday, 18 September 2016

Research Dimension to Starcross History

It would be great if Starcross History had a research dimension. Is there anyone out there who would help? Historian Jon Nichol reckons that to research our history isn't rocket science. Here's his plan for howto:

1 interest on a topic - 
2 questions & questioning
3 Three major avenues for enquiry 
-  Internet 
- external bodies - record offices / libraries / local collections of sources - 
- the locality
4 Research: with firing off of new, supplementary questions related to the investigation of sources / collection of evidence with an ever widening rings of investigation in the pool of the past
5 The pattern of thinking that I outlined - with the reaching of conclusions grounded in evidence, and the form in which you want to present your history.

 A suggestion for our first piece of research is Victorian Starcross. How should we present our research: short articles for the Starcross Newsletter, a booklet, or a CD or all 3? The Dawlish and Teignmouth Area Talking Newspaper have offered us the use of their state-of-the-art studio to record stories from local people. Photographs and documents could be added to a CD.

some of the tekkie equipment in the Hear and Now studio, Dawlish
some of the tekkie equipment in the Hear and Now studio, Dawlish
 Grants are available for community research. Does anyone know of any other bodies who might help?
Heritage Lottery Fund logo
Heritage Lottery Fund logo

Thursday, 15 September 2016

Now write the books!

Eminent historian Jon Nichol had just returned from organising a history conference in Spain ,  -History Education in a Changing World: -The Past as a Tool for the Future when he stepped in at very short notice to talk to Starcross History about the history of Starcross.
In just a couple of days, Jon was able to gather enough material about Starcross's past to fill 6 large tables and a notice board. He had decided to focus on Victorian Starcross, and had asked the question 'Did Queen Victoria ever come to Starcross.' The internet provided the answer; on a page from one of her diaries. It described a journey from Budly Salterton to Powderham, in her yacht HMY Victoria and Albert -

but Jon hadn't included the next page of the diary. Could that have mentioned something of Starcross? 'What did Starcross look like as Queen Victoria sailed past? What would Queen Victoria have thought?'
To find the answers, the history group examined the quantities of photographs, maps and documents, and then reflected on the picture painted of life in Victorian Starcross. Census material from the internet contained familiar  surnames, particularly, Anning. Occupations included railway porter, railway policeman, housekeeper, and blacksmith. There was talk of the Starcross Quay, which was called Ashes Quay; and more conversation about Ashes Field. What did we know about the Ash family of Starcross?
Photographs of Starcross today also asked questions. Why was Brickyard Lane so named? Another photograph was of a local resident who had told Jon all sorts of lovely stories about Starcross, which he had written down for us to read. Some of us already knew those stories, but some of us hadn't heard them before. This made us realise that we must make records of our oral histories.
Jon emphasised that today's biggest resource is the internet. There's information available to everyone, on any topic.
There was enough material on those 6 tables, to enable us to write a book about Victorian Starcross... but perhaps we would like to write about another aspect of Starcross's history?

BTW here's the next page - no thoughts from Victoria about Starcross, and Powderham Castle - (Lord Devon's place) was only seen from a distance. Aaahhh. shame...
but our imaginations worked hard as we thought about what  Victoria's impressions of our village might have been; as she sailed so close on 30th August, 1843

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
For other ships with the same name, see List of ships named HMY Victoria and Albert.
HMY Victoria and Albert
HMY Victoria and Albert, depicted during a royal visit to Le Tréport, France; September 1843
HMY Victoria and Albert, depicted during a royal visit to Le Tréport, France; September 1843.
Namesake: Queen Victoria and Albert, Prince Consort
Builder: Pembroke Dock
Laid down: 1842
Launched: 25 April 1843
Renamed: Osborne, 1855
Fate: Scrapped, 1868
General characteristics
Type: Royal Yacht
Tons burthen: 1034
Installed power: 430 hp (320 kW) steam engine
Propulsion: Twin paddles
Armament: 2 guns
HMY Victoria and Albert was a twin-paddle steamer launched 25 April 1843. It functioned as a royal yacht of the sovereign of the United Kingdom, owned and operated by the Royal Navy. She was laid down in 1842 at Pembroke Dock and was designed by William Symonds. She measured 1,034 tons burthen, carried two guns, and was the first royal yacht to be steam powered, being fitted with a 430 horsepower (320 kW) engine.

Queen Victoria and Abdülaziz of the Ottoman Empire on the Royal yacht during the Sultan's official visit to United Kingdom.
She made twenty voyages. After the launch on 16 January 1855 of HMY Victoria and Albert II, she was renamed Osborne. She was scrapped in 1868.c

The ship's figurehead is preserved above the door of the South Office Block in Portsmouth's Royal Dockyard.[1]



Brunel at the Meet

Dave Grylls aka Mr Isambard Kingdom Brunel at the September meet
Dave Grylls aka Mr Isambard Kingdom Brunel

Isambard Kingdom Brunel appeared in person at the September meet of Starcross History. Resplendent in his brand new stove-pipe hat, Mr Brunel told the meeting about the Newton Abbot Town and Great Western Railway Museum, and handed out leaflets about the museum, and about the Friends of the Museum.

David Grylls, alias Isambard Kingdon Brunel, was delighted to come to our meet, and we were delighted to have such an interesting person to talk to us.

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Meet TONIGHT in St Paul's 7:30

Spitfires over Starcross

TWO WWII Spitfires have been spotted flying along the estuary and over Starcross. Here's the story:

 You can now fly in a real life Spitfire over Exeter - but it won't come cheap

By Rich_Booth  |  Posted: July 20, 2016
Exeter aviation buffs with a few thousand pounds to spend can now fly in a SPITFIRE above the stunning countryside of Devon.
The Boultbee Flight Academy, the world's only Spitfire Flying School, have announced that they will be operating Spitfire passenger flights from Exeter this September. For the first time ever members of the public will have the chance to get behind the controls of the iconic aircraft as it flies over the stunning Devon countryside and coastline.
Exeter Airport will once again hear the roar of the famous Merlin engine as Spitfires take to the skies as they did in WW2 when the airport, then named RAF Exeter, was an active operational fighter base.
The public will not only have the opportunity to fly in the Boultbee Flight Academy two seat Spitfire SM520 but some will even have the chance to fly in this Spitfire as it flies in formation with another single seat Spitfire RR232 aptly named 'City of Exeter'.
The 'City of Exeter' Spitfire was built from a single rivet by Exeter based 'Tool Care Hire' owner Martin Philips.
A 30 minute flight experience over Exeter and the surrounding area in formation with the 'City Of Exeter' will cost £3,850.
There is also the option of a cheaper 30 minute 'Spitfire over Exeter' flight experience, where you are not part of a formation, for £2,950.
The description for the experience adds: "You will be given briefings about the facility, the aircraft, the flying equipment you'll be wearing such as helmets, flight suits and parachutes, and you'll watch a video that explains the risks of flying a vintage warbird such as the Spitfire.
"You'll meet your pilot and discuss with him what you'd like to do on your flight be it a sightseeing tour or some aerobatics, or a bit of both.
"Then it will be time to strap into the aircraft, experience the Rolls-Royce Merlin start, and then taxy out for pre-flight checks and take-off.
"This experience will see you flying one of the Academy's Spitfire TR9's around the Devon area. En route you'll enjoy the sight of the Spitfire's famous elliptical wing passing over green and pleasant land, and Devon's beaches and if you elected to try some aerobatics you'll marvel at the power, manoeuvrability and grace of this aircraft that is over 70 years old."
Devon born Matt Jones, Managing Director of Boultbee Flight Academy and Spitfire Pilot, said:
'Having been to School in Exeter it's great to be able to bring the Spitfires down to the City this summer especially given the airport's history as an operational Battle of Britain base. It's even more special to be flying the 'City of Exeter' Spitfire offering people the once in a lifetime chance to be part of a Spitfire formation.'
Martin Phillips, Owner of 'City of Exeter Spitfire' added:
'Having been born and educated in Exeter I look forward to sharing my dreams and aspirations with the lucky few who will participate. It gives me great pleasure to return this iconic silhouette to our Devon skies. The 'City of Exeter' Spitfire will be joined shortly by our twin seat project Spitfire MK IX BS410.'
Watch a video of Prince Harry flying one of the Spitfires below:


Saturday, 10 September 2016

Research: Cockwood House

The story of Cockwood House once the residence of Rev. D Drury headmaster of Harrow, and of neighbouring Eastdon House, the home of Richard Eales
£2.00 + p&p from the Dawlish Local History Group via the link above

Photographer Adrian Wood has kindly provided a photograph of a stone wall along Cockwood which inludes some dressed stones

Dawlish Museum have enquired. They write
" No luck with an answer here at the Museum I'm afraid. The book says Cockwood House is believed to have been demolished shortly after 1841 but ends with the same question -'to date we still have not found the site of the main house so it is thought that all the stone has been robbed- but on a walk to Dawlish Warren the front hedges to a couple of houses have at their base very similar stones. Could they have come from Cockwood House,one wonders ?"

In Brunel's Atmospheric Railway featuring the contemporary watercolours of William Dawson, - section 9 from Cockwood Lake to the Warren - shows the ruins of Cockwood House; near the river, to the West of Eastdon House.
This book is available online for over £50, but may still be bought from the Newton Abbot Town and Great Western Railway Museum for just £20. Isambard Kingdom Brunel may bring some copies to our meet this Wednesday.

A trawl of the newspaper archives has produced the following results:

Exeter Flying Post - Thursday 04 July 1811

Morning Chronicle - Friday 26 March 1819

London Evening Standard - Monday 13 January 1834

Exeter and Plymouth Gazette - Saturday 11 November 1837

Exeter and Plymouth Gazette - Saturday 17 February 1838

  Exeter and Plymouth Gazette - Saturday 10 March 1838

Exeter Flying Post - Thursday 14 June 1838
Sherborne Mercury - Monday 01 October 1838

Exeter and Plymouth Gazette - Tuesday 05 August 1913

Exeter and Plymouth Gazette - Tuesday 05 August 1913

Exeter and Plymouth Gazette - Tuesday 05 August 1913

Western Morning News - Friday 24 March 1933

Western Morning News - Friday 24 March 1933

Western Morning News - Thursday 31 July 1884

Exeter and Plymouth Gazette - Tuesday 05 August 1913