Welcome To


Local History Group

After some preliminary meetings, visits and lectures, the Broadwoodwidger Local History Society was formally established in September 2016. It aims to encourage and develop interest in and awareness of all aspects of the history of the Parish of Broadwoodwidger and to collect and disseminate information on such history. It also organises talks, outings and visits of relevance to its aims or of interest to its members.

New members are always welcome – please contact the Secretary, Julie Gower on 01566 784004 or by e-mail on broadwoodheritage@outlook.com

To find out more please visit or Local History website https://www.broadwoodwidger-lhs.info/ 

The current situation as regards the virus is still very uncertain, and predictions for the rest of the year are not encouraging. Whilst gatherings, such as society meetings, are enjoyable and have been missed, they are non-essential. They also need a significant proportion of members to attend to make them viable. There is no alternative other than to cancel all meetings for the rest of the year. Next year’s programme will be reviewed (most of which is re-scheduled from this year) later in the year.

February 17th Meeting at the Hub at 7pm with Diana Sutherland who will speak on “Launceston Houses and Shops”

The November meeting commenced with an illustrated lecture by Paul Rendell on “The Landscape and Wildlife of Bodmin Moor” He was thanked by the chairman David Tovey for a really interesting and informative talk. This was followed by the AGM where it was announced by the treasurer that there was a very healthy balance on the accounts. The officials remain the same with David Tovey, Chairman. Julie Gower, secretary. Marion Perkin, treasurer. Committee members – Mike and Pat Brown and David Willey. Wendy Withers and Anne Worden resigned from the committee and were thanked for their contributions.

The first speaker at the newly formed Local History Society three years ago was Simon Timms and it was with pleasure that we heard he had accepted an invitation to speak at the September meeting of the society. An excellent turnout enjoyed his talk on “The flooding of the Wolf Valley 40 years on.” Simon was the archaeologist at Roadford when the surveys were carried out before the commencement of the building works and the digs, whilst the building of the dam and the clearing of the valley took place. He completed the evening as always with a song where everyone joined in! If you require any further information on the Local History Society, please look at their home page.

The June meeting, was an illustrated lecture by Andrew Thompson on “Tavistock a Thousand years of History” it was extremely interesting and a suggested guided tour of Tavistock was booked within days of the meeting for June 2020. The list of talks and outside visits for 2020 is now complete and we look forward to members finding much of interest when they sign up at Christmas for the coming year. No meeting for August.

Next meeting is September 16th at the Hub when we will be very pleased to welcome once again Simon Timms, who will speak on “The flooding of the Wolf Valley 40 years on”.

The April meeting was a presentation on Bude Canal by two members of the Bude Canal and Harbour Society, some lovely slides were shown on a very interesting subject. There is no May meeting as a restricted visit to Sydenham House has been arranged for this month with members names pulled out of a hat to attend.

The October meeting held at the Hub was almost at capacity to hear a presentation given by one of the National Trust rangers who works at Lydford Gorge. It was very interesting to hear the history of the gorge and the wildlife that exist there, together with some information on Lydford.

The Local History Society autumn meetings got off to a good start with a presentation by Kim Baldacchino on “Bratton and Godescote: A local study” Kim specializes in the history of Bratton Clovelly, part of the parish of Broadwoodwidger used to be within the boundaries of Bratton. Kim is an excellent speaker and we were pleased to see the Hub full for this event. It has certainly given us lots to think about and plan for the future. The next meeting will be held on Monday 15th October 7pm at the Hub, when the presentation will be given by a National Trust ranger on “Lydford George”, hope you can join us.

You don’t have to be a history buff to join us, we are a friendly crowd of people enjoying a varied programme of talks and in the summer visits, non-members are welcome to our talks.

After the summer break the winter programme begins on the 17th September at 7pm at the Hub with a presentation by Kim Baldacchino on “Bratton and Godescote: A local study” Kim specializes in the history of Bratton Clovelly and part of the parish of Broadwoodwidger used to be within the boundaries of Bratton. In her talk she will also reveal what she has uncovered about Godescote (or Guscott) believed to be the lost manor in Broadwoodwidger. This will be followed by tea/coffee and biscuits, cost £2 for members and £4 non-members.

You don’t have to be a history buff to join us, we are a friendly crowd of people enjoying a varied programme of talks and in the summer visits, so why not come along to one of the above meetings. Non-members are welcome to our talks.

The June end of month Coffee Morning in the Hub was hosted by the History Club. It was a beautifully hot day and we had a really good turnout of people who had braved the heat. Inside, apart from plenty of tea, coffee and biscuits on offer, there were various tables selling produce. The fresh produce table was amazing with home-made cakes and biscuits, freshly picked fruit, and home-made jams and chutney, which all disappeared in a very short space of time. In addition a large table selling home grown plants, shrubs and vegetable plants, proved very popular. If you wanted a good book to sit and read in the sun, there were plenty of second hand books to buy. A general buzz of conversation could be heard, and the morning finished with the raffle being drawn and people coming up to choose their prize.

Thanks to all the helpers, and all the lovely people who came to spend their money, but more importantly their time, because these coffee mornings are so important to keep people in and around the village in touch with one another.

An extra meeting was held on the 30th April, due to the icy weather in February when the Rexon Cross Chapel talk had to be postponed. Anne Worden and Pat Brown gave an interesting account of the chapel from the start when the land to build the chapel was purchased in 1859 for five shillings to the closure in December 2013. The four chapels in the Parish have now completed much of their research and this can been seen on www.broadwoodwidger-lhs The History Society web site.

For the May meeting members were invited to visit Lifton Park at the kind invitation of Professor and Mrs Terence Lewis. A cup of tea was enjoyed on the terrace followed by an informative and interesting talk on the history of the house by Professor Lewis. With some of the ruins still in place the house and gardens were a delight to see and members really enjoyed being given the chance to have a look around. Many thanks were extended to Professor and Mrs Lewis for their warm welcome and tour.

Broadwoodwidger Local History Society welcomed Dr Todd Grey M.B.E. a leading Devon historian to their April meeting, to give a presentation on “Ancient Bench Ends in Broadwoodwidger and Devon”. Starting the evening at the Hub, members moved to St Nicholas Church to inspect the very remarkable bench ends, on the side aisles, which together with the seats are thought to be original. One bench end has the date 1529. The bench ends are adorned with many different carvings some with the instruments of the Passion and various figures, among the symbols is Malchus’s ear beside the sword that cut it off, the seamless robe and the thirty pieces of silver. Dr Grey has written a book on bench ends which was on sale at the end of the meeting. Mr David Tovey (chairman) gave a vote of thanks to Dr Todd for the very informative presentation.

A good attendance enjoyed a talk by Dr Catherine Bowness on “The Arundell Sisters” at the January meeting. Subscriptions were paid for the year and we were again delighted to welcome some new members. The February meeting on the 19th features “Stories and songs of Dartmoor” by “Dartmoor Bill” Murray. Start is 7 pm at the Hub £2 for members and £4 non-members (to include tea/coffee) you are very welcome to join us in what promises to be a very jolly evening. Our meeting on the 19th March is a presentation of the research carried out on the four Chapels in the Parish in the last few months, this should be quite enlightening hearing the history of buildings which in the past drew large attendances and now all barring one is closed.

You don’t have to be a history buff to join us, we are a friendly crowd of people enjoying a varied programme of talks and in the summer visits, so why not come along to one of the above meetings.

Held on one of the warmest evenings of the year, our June meeting was an illustrated talk on “Remarkable Women of Devon” by Dr. Todd Grey MBE, leading Devon Historian. There was a large attendance, many from other groups in the area who enjoyed the very informative and light hearted talk.

We are pleased to announce that Dr Todd Grey MBE, will be coming to our April meeting next year to give a talk on “Broadwoodwidger and Devon’s ancient bench ends” starting in the church before moving to the Community Hub for discussion and refreshments.

We have our walk and talk at Launceston on July 3rd and then enjoy a summer break for August.

Anne, Committee member