Dartmoor Explorations

A collection of walks, discoveries, insights and pictures of exploring Dartmoor National Park

DARTMOOR EXPLORATIONS CALENDAR – FEBRUARY

In 1991, the Dartmoor National Park Authority (DNPA) published a spiral bound diary to commemorate their fortieth anniversary (1951-1991), called “The Dartmoor Diary”.

Inspired by this publication (and some of the entries in it) and to celebrate the DNPA 70th anniversary year in 2021, the “Dartmoor Explorations Calendar” records an event or story, complemented with photographs for each day of the year.

This page of the Dartmoor Explorations Calendar celebrates February on Dartmoor and its immediate borderlands

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1st February 1864: Wheal Frederick licence renewed for one year of operation. From 1850 through to 1864, the Wheal Frederick sett was subject to a series of one year licences. The licence from 1st February 1864 was for “Wheal Frederick and adjoining lands” and included a memorandum that “The sett of Whl. Frederick no longer exists in its entirety, a portion of it is now included in the Rattlebrook Sett”. The dues for this licence were 1/20 on metals and metallic ores and 1/15 on clay. (Source: Dr T. Greeves in Dartmoor Magazine, Issue 73).
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1st February 1876: The Great Western Railway Company purchased a 999 years lease of the South Devon Railway only eleven years after the first part, from Tavistock Junction (Plympton) to Tavistock had been opened. The picture is on Ham Viaduct taken from the Dewerstone in Summer 2020.
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2nd February 2019: St Mary’s Church, Mary Tavy starting at 5pm held a sung mass for Candlemas. The feast of Candlemas, the “Presentation of Christ in the Temple”, takes place 40 days after Christmas. The candlemas was held by Fr Steven Martin and St Michael’s Choir. The mass included: Byrd 4-part Mass,  Eccard “When to the Temple Mary went” and a Nunc Dimittis as well as Congregational Hymns.
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2nd February 2019; St. Raphael’s Church, Huccaby snowdrops. known also as “‘Candlemas Bells” (named after Candlemas, 2nd February). Latin is Galanthus Nivalis (or snowy milk blossom as each flower is thought to resemble a droplet of milk. Sometimes also “Fair-maids-in-February”
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3rd February 1928; Mary Jane Williams (known locally as “Granny Williams” or “Aunt Polly”), was born in August 1846, was married in April 1866 and died on 3rd February 1928, aged 81. She is said to have lived at Wheal Lucky Cottage, near Rundlestone for 52 years.
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3rd February 1928; Mary Jane Williams (known locally as “Granny Williams” or “Aunt Polly”), died on this day and is said to have lived in Wheal Lucky cottage for 52 years. The picture shows superimposed picture of Wheal Lucky cottage entrance, with North Hessary Mast in the background. The cottage picture is likely to be from the early 20th century. Note the stones on the roof, weighing it down.
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4th February 1999: Round cairn and cist on the south west side of Crow Tor, 1016922, first registered on Historic England register on 4th February 1999. Unusually, this antiquity is not shown on modern OS maps.
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4th February 1999: Round cairn and cist on the south west side of Crow Tor, 1016922, first registered on Historic England register on 4th February 1999. The Grid reference for this antiquity is SX60524 78663. The picture was taken in December 2020 and shows Crow Tor in the background.
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4th February 1999: Round cairn and cist on the south west side of Crow Tor, 1016922, first registered on Historic England register on 4th February 1999. The picture was taken in December 2020 and shows Longaford / Littaford Tors and Wistman’s Wood in the background. The Historic England register states: “The monument includes a kerbed round cairn and cist situated on a south west facing slope overlooking the West Dart River. The cairn measures 4.7m in diameter, stands up to 0.4m high and is surrounded by a number of edge set stones representing a kerb. In the centre of the cairn is a large cist with maximum dimensions of 1.04m long by 0.6m wide and 0.6m deep.”
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4th February 1999: Round cairn and cist on the south west side of Crow Tor, 1016922, first registered on Historic England register on 4th February 1999. The picture was taken in December 2020 and shows Beardown Tors and Wistman’s Wood in the background. The Historic England register further states: “A large cover slab which has been displaced now slightly overlaps the southern corner of the cist and measures 1.5m long by 1.35m wide and 0.27m thick. The cist was part excavated by the Dartmoor Exploration Committee in 1900 and a flint scraper was recovered.”
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4th February 1924: Burrator & Sheepstor Halt was opened with the reservoir and the surrounding area having become an attraction for ramblers. The pictures are from Autumn 2020 from various locations where the the halt once stood
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4th February 1924: Burrator & Sheepstor Halt was opened. The superimposed “then and now” showing the side where the platform was.
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4th February 1924, Burrator & Sheepstor Halt was opened. The picture is the Halt looking NE over the reservoir. The gate in the picture is still in place as are the railings and steps down to the platform (see previous photo). This is now overgrown and there is no longer a view of the reservoir from here.
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5th February 2015: The Dartmoor National Park facebook page was created on this day. This picture was taken in December 2019 at the boundary marker next to Marley Head.
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5th February 2015: The Dartmoor National Park facebook page was created on this day. Originally the facebook page was called “Enjoy Dartmoor” before the name changed to “Dartmoor National Park” on 10th November 2017. https://www.facebook.com/enjoydartmoor1/
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5th February 2003: Recorded in the Widecombe History Group Minutes from this date, a lady who was researching the Widecombe Fair Song and who was the great-grand daughter of a man named Bill Brewer asked for any photographs or relating details.
6th February 1977: Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee, commemorated at Leusdon Common with this standing stone. This stone is inscribed ER Silver Jubilee 1952 – 1977
6th February 2012: Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee, commemorated at Leusdon Common with this standing stone. This stone is inscribed ER Diamond Jubilee
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7th February 2014: BBC South West aired a 30 minute film called ‘Mystery of the Moor‘. about Whitehorse Hill Cist
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7th February 2014: BBC South West aired a 30 minute film called ‘Mystery of the Moor‘. about Whitehorse Hill Cist – the short clip is still available on BBC iPlayer
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8th February 1643: During the English Civil War a young royalist poet, name Sydney Godolphin from Cornwall was shot in the porch at Three Crowns at Chagford. His presence is still felt by women (in the ladies) – allegedly!!
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8th February 1979: Higher Uppacott, near Poundsgate was purchased by National Park Authority. It is a Grade I medieval longhouse with an unconverted shippon.
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8th February 1979: Higher Uppacott, near Poundsgate was purchased by National Park Authority. It is a Grade I medieval longhouse with an unconverted shippon.
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8th February 1979: Higher Uppacott, near Poundsgate was purchased by National Park Authority. It is a Grade I medieval longhouse with an unconverted shippon.
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8th February 1979: Higher Uppacott, near Poundsgate was purchased by National Park Authority. It is a Grade I medieval longhouse with an unconverted shippon.
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8th February 1979: Higher Uppacott, near Poundsgate was purchased by National Park Authority. It is a Grade I medieval longhouse with an unconverted shippon.
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8th February 1979: Higher Uppacott, near Poundsgate was purchased by National Park Authority. It is a Grade I medieval longhouse with an unconverted shippon.
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9th February 2001: Blowing mill 260m south east of Teignhead Farm, first recorded in Historic England register, number 1019217. There are lots of discernible features as shown in the above sketch. The blowing mill is also known as Fayrecombe Mill.
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9th February 2001: Blowing mill 260m south east of Teignhead Farm, first recorded in Historic England register, number 1019217. In the register it is stated: “The monument includes a tin blowing mill situated at the foot of a steep 3m high scarp adjacent to the North Teign river. The mill building is of drystone construction with the wall standing up to 0.8m high. The interior of the mill measures 13.6m by up to 3.5m and access to it was through a clearly mill, two edge set stones represent the site of the furnace, in which the black tin (cassiterite) was smelted. A hollow adjacent to the northern wall denotes the position of the wheelpit in which a wheel powered by water operated the furnace bellows. Molten tin from the furnace was ladled into a large mould stone, containing two separate troughs which stands next to the furnace. A second broken mould stone lies within the entrance. A 5.5m long by 2.3m wide rectangular structure is attached to the south eastern end of the mill building. This is defined by a rubble wall of varying height and width standing up to 1.2m high. In the area south of the mill there is a series of earthworks, some of which are the result of earlier streamworking, but others may relate to dressing and washing activities. Beyond these earthworks and adjacent to the river is a drystone wall of 19th century date. Built into the top of this, a broken mould stone and mortar stone are clearly visible. These features are included in the scheduling”
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9th February 1961: New Bridge (sometimes called Holne New Bridge) was designated a grade II listed structure on this date. The bridge is believed to date from the 15th century. This picture was taken in August 2019, on the south side of the bridge.
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10th February 1878: John Webb (Senior) died on this date, he had the Inn in Postbridge built. In 1861, John Webb, who was a tin miner and also farmed nearby at Ringhill applied for a lease of two acres of unenclosed land to build a house. It was built in c1862. A licence was granted in August 1863 after John Webb changed his plans. The picture is from circa 1900.
10th February 1878: John Webb (Senior) died on this date, he had the Inn in Postbridge built. After his death in 1878, the Inn was taken on by John Webb junior, which during his tenure, became a Temperance House, which it is said to be due to the persuasive nature of John Webb (junior) wife Lizzie, who preached to him the evil ways of the demon drink.
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10th February 1878: John Webb (Senior) died on this date, he had the Inn in Postbridge built. Picture is a letterbox stamp, dedicated to John Webb, c1990’s
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10th February 1900: A fatal accident befell a local farmer on the highway near Shute Cross, the inquest respecting whom was reported in the South Brent Times.
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10th February 1900: A fatal accident befell a local farmer on the highway near Shute Cross, the inquest respecting whom was reported in the South Brent Times
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10th February 1900: A fatal accident befell a local farmer on the highway near Shute Cross, the inquest respecting whom was reported in the South Brent Times
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11th February 1698: St Winifred’s Church, Manaton. Here Lyeth the Body of Richard Eastchurch  Master of Arts, who was Rector of this Parish 37 Years, Died the 11th Day of February Ano D. 1698 Aged 61. The preserved slate ledger is in the floor of the chancel and bears a superbly crafted inscription and the family coat of arms in deep relief.
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11th February 1698: St Winifred’s Church, Manaton. Here Lyeth the Body of Richard Eastchurch  Master of Arts, who was Rector of this Parish 37 Years, Died the 11th Day of February Ano D. 1698 Aged 61. On the slate ledger, the blazon for the coat as portrayed is a cross vair in the dexter chief quadrant a radiant sun. The coat portrayed on his ledger presents a minor curiosity, in as much as only one radiant sun is shown, for the standard Eastchurch coat displays a sun in each of the quarters. Moreover, according to all heraldic sources consulted, the principal charge should be a saltire, not a simple cross. (ref Mike Brown Dartmoor CD)
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11th February 1698: St Winifred’s Church, Manaton. Here Lyeth the Body of Richard Eastchurch  Master of Arts, who was Rector of this Parish 37 Years, Died the 11th Day of February Ano D. 1698 Aged 61. The slate ledger is in the floor of the chancel, which lies beyond the Tudor rood screen, which is beautifully painted and gilded and believed to have been erected around the year 1500.
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12th February 1853: Two privates from the 7th Regiment of Royal Fusiliers, George Driver and Patrick Carlin and Corporal Joseph Penton perished in a journey to Princetown. The two privates had travelled from Devonport and Penton had struggled down from Princetown through difficult conditions to escort the two privates back. They met at Yelverton. The two privates perished at Peek Hill, the corporal at Soldier’s Pond just outside Princetown. All three men had managed to get through to Devil’s Bridge where they encountered a big snow drift. At this point the two privates tried and return to Dousland and made it back as far as Peek Hill.  The plaque in Princetown, St Michael and all Angels churchyard, reads: “IN MEMORY OF Three Valiant Soldiers of the 7th Royal Fusiliers who died on Dartmoor in a snowdrift 12th Feb 1853 Corp Joseph Penton Aged 20 Private Patrick Carlin Aged 23 Geo. Driver Aged 27”. The photograph was taken in February 2020.
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12th February 1890: Jonas Coaker, the Dartmoor poet died on this day, aged 89. He was born at Hartland, Postbridge on 23rd February 1801. Jonas began life as a servant-boy, then when he was was fifteen, went to reside with a farmer where he lived for about ten years before returning to Postbridge, becoming a labourer.  His favourite occupation was said to be building newtake walls, which he reckoned he had a talent for as well as possessing an aptitude for verse-making.  The picture is Hartland in summer 2019.
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13th February 1970: Merrivale quarry – 200 tons of Dartmoor granite was crossing the Atlantic in the freighter Brasilia, thence to Arizona (Lake Havasu City).
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13th February 1970: Merrivale quarry – 200 tons of Dartmoor granite was crossing the Atlantic in the freighter Brasilia, thence to Arizona (Lake Havasu City). The 200 tons were part of a larger consignment.
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13th February 1970: Merrivale quarry – 200 tons of Dartmoor granite was crossing the Atlantic in the freighter Brasilia, thence to Arizona (Lake Havasu City). Lake Havasu was new location of the original London bridge. The picture is the moorland entrance / exit from the quarry, the location of which at one time was to be the start / termination point of the proposed Merrivale Light Railway.
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14th February 1959: Valentine’s Day Murder on Knowle Down, on road between Walkhampton and Horrabridge. John Maxwell (a pseudonym) murdered his wife on this lonely stretch of road, trying to hide the evidence by making it look like a tragic road accident. (Source: “Bodies on the Moor” by Trevor James)
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14th February 1959: Valentine’s Day Murder on Knowle Down, on road between Walkhampton and Horrabridge. John Maxwell (a pseudonym) was found guilty at Devon assizes and sentenced to life imprisonment. Much praise was given to a young constable only eleven months out of his probation who was first to arrive at the scene for his observations which started the investigation. The constable was Brian Phillips, who went on to become the Assistant Chief Constable for Devon and Cornwall Constabulary. (Source: “Bodies on the Moor” by Trevor James).
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15th February 1943: A Hawker Typhoon 1B DN310 from unit 193 squadron crashed at Foggintor. The pilot lost control having been overcome by engine exhaust fumes. The picture is from the track close to Foggintor, approaching from the north. Note the granite setts in the trackbed
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15th February 1943: A Hawker Typhoon 1B DN310 from unit 193 squadron crashed at Foggintor. Wikipedia describe the aircraft thus: “The Hawker Typhoon (Tiffy in RAF slang) was a British single-seat fighter-bomber, produced by Hawker Aircraft. It was intended to be a medium-high altitude intercepter, as a replacement for the Hawker Hurricane but several design problems were encountered and it never completely satisfied this requirement”.
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16th February 1968: Brent Moor House was blown-up as a Royal Marines exercise. The house had deteriorated by 1968 (having been closed in 1955) and the final nail in the coffin was that water company concluded, it was in the water risk area if in case the dam burst (strangely, however, properties nearby though more vulnerable were left alone).
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16th February 1968: Brent Moor House was blown-up as a Royal Marines exercise. The house had been an ordinary 17th century farmstead with animal housing and an orchard until it was bought by Francis Meynell in 1855, who expanded it into the status of a mansion for his family to live in after he retired from the East India Company. He was known to have painted images of slavery to actively protest against it. After he died of illness and a series of tragic deaths in the house, it was passed on and became the Hunt masters lodge at the turn of the 20th century.
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16th February 1968: Brent Moor House was blown-up as a Royal Marines exercise. Between the Wars it became a holiday home and one such vacant was William Prichard, a well-known pianist who held musical events for the local children at the grounds of the house. Little can be discerned in the ruins today. Picture taken on a bright December (2020) morning.
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16th February 1968: Brent Moor House was blown-up as a Royal Marines exercise. During the 2nd world war the house became the site for the evacuation of deaf children. After the war it became a successful Youth Hostel until it was shut down by the water company in 1955 (exactly 100 years after Meynell bought it) when the Avon Dam reservoir and its associated treatment works were being built.
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16th February 1968: Brent Moor House was blown-up as a Royal Marines exercise. The site was later sold by South West Water, and requests to redevelop have been refused by Dartmoor National Park
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17th February 1831 – Mary Tavy (Wheal Friendship) – the settlement case of Thomas Glanville. {Note: Pictures are from part of Wheal Friendship area, which it is likely Thomas Glanville would have been familiar).

The beginning of the story: In the 19th Century the settlement laws were so strictly applied with overseers and churchwardens everywhere keen not to allow strangers to gain a settlement in their parishes. A settlement examination conducted on Thomas Glanville on 17th February 1831 is a case in point. Thomas Glanville’s statement was recorded by the clerk of the court thus: “Examination of Thomas Glanville miner now residing in…Mary Tavy…who saith That he is now about Thirty Three years of Age…was born…in the parish of Perranzabuloe…Cornwall where his parents then resided…when he was about Twelve months old he was brought by his parents into the parish of Mary tavy…and that he remained there with them in that parish and the parish of Brentor…until about six years ago when he married his present wife Joanna by whom he has Three children namely William aged about six years Mary Ann aged about Four years and Melora aged about Ten months…That he has always worked in the Mines.” (Source: Mike Brown Dartmoor CD)
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17th February 1831 – Mary Tavy (Wheal Friendship) – the settlement case of Thomas Glanville. {Note: Pictures are from part of Wheal Friendship area, which it is likely Thomas Glanville would have been familiar).

Story continuation: Thomas Glanville’s statement reveals that, although born in Cornwall, like many of those who descended on the parish during the nineteenth century, his family were attracted by the incentive of finding work at Wheal Friendship or the other mines roundabouts. Thomas Glanville was exceptional, however, in that he had actually lived in Mary Tavy for virtually 32 years. A factor which was, however, not one which was taken into consideration by the poor laws of the day. For, despite having resided in Mary Tavy (and nearby Brentor) for so long, and having married a local girl, Thomas Glanville had almost certainly not gained a legal settlement in the parish. This, by modern standards seems very harsh. (Source: Mike Brown Dartmoor CD)
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17th February 1831 – Mary Tavy (Wheal Friendship) – the settlement case of Thomas Glanville. {Note: Pictures are from part of Wheal Friendship area, which post dates Thomas Glanville. The miners used pneumatic stamps and latterly arsenic was mined. The mill is opposite the track to the calciners, which forms much of the mine complex. The crushed ore was put into the calciners which were the furnace part of the process).

Story conclusion: For a person of his status, Thomas Glanville, as so many others like him, had probably never rented a property assessed at more than £10 nominal value per annum and, by inference, had also therefore probably never been assessed for a contribution towards the church rates or poor rates of the parish. It is also very likely that he had never worked in the parish on a contract lasting more than a year. Miners were paid by the month or per short-term contract if they were tutworkers or tributors. Any or all of which would have gained Thomas Glanville a legal settlement in the parish. But without any of which he would have been deemed by the poor laws to have been settled in Perranzabuloe, the place where he was born, but which he had not even visited for nearly 32 years. (Source: Mike Brown Dartmoor CD)
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18th February 1841: Sir Ralph Lopes & Mr (Edwin) Scobell agreed division of lands across Wigford Down. A series of tall pillars (eight in all), rough hewn, and each bearing the letter ‘L’, run across the centre of the Down as shown on the drawing above.
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18th February 1841: Sir Ralph Lopes & Mr (Edwin) Scobell agreed division of lands across Wigford Down. On this date, George Giles, then the steward and land agent of the Maristow-owned manors, wrote to a land surveyor by the name of William J Stentaford, the following: “I have been with Sir Ralph Lopes & Mr Scobell on Wigford Down this day they both returned to my office…and ultimately agreed on an equal division of the 393a 3r 15p, the boundary to be shown by Granite posts, when the line has been traced — and that Mr Scobell’s portion shall be that moiety next adjoining his inclosed lands of Urgles and Good-a-Meavy beginning north from the corner of outher Diamond park…across towards Oxen Torr — or somewhere in that direction, wherever the line of equal division may fall…the line…must be taken up from Sir Trayton Drake’s boundary of Greenwell Down — and should it fall upon Shaugh Prior Boundary it must not be carried across it…This is a matter that requires your earliest attention.” (ref Mike Brown Dartmoor CD)
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18th February 1841: Sir Ralph Lopes & Mr (Edwin) Scobell agreed division of lands across Wigford Down. On this date, George Giles, then the steward and land agent of the Maristow-owned manors, further wrote: “Sir Ralph and Mr Scobell will again meet on the locus in quo when you are prepared to shew the divisional line. This Job is to be at the joint expense of each party.” (ref Mike Brown Dartmoor CD)
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19th February 1952: The first meeting of the Dartmoor National Park Committee was held. The picture was taken in November 2020 at Dartmeet, where the park ranger was replacing a footpath finger post.
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19th February 2005: Thousands (estimated as 2500) of hunt supporters from across the south west descended on Postbridge. This was in defiance of the hunting ban. The picture is of the Post Office / Shop.
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19th February 2005: Thousands (estimated as 2500) of hunt supporters from across the south west descended on Postbridge. The reason for the “event” was to support the various hunts which converged at East Dart Hotel (picture) before setting off across the moor in a northerly direction to exercise the horses and hounds to take part in drag hunting.
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19th February 2005: Thousands (estimated as 2500) of hunt supporters from across the south west descended on Postbridge. It was reported that there were speeches on the day, which were met with rapturous applause. The picture is the normal tranquil scene presented to any visitor, early on a Sunday morning at Postbridge.
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20th February 1952: Stinhall, a grade II listed building near Chagford first listed on Historic England database, registration 1308893. The Historic England website describes the house thus: “A former farmhouse, dated 1690 but apparently earlier core, modernised and enlarged circa 1984. Granite stone rubble with granite ashlar quoins; granite stacks, all with their original granite ashlar chimney shafts and one with moulded coping; thatch roof, slate to refurbished rear block. Plan and development: the main block faces north and it basically comprises the 1690 house. It has a 2-room plan with central through passage.”
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20th February 1952: Stinhall, a grade II listed building near Chagford first listed on Historic England database, registration 1308893. The Historic England website further describes the house thus: “The central front passage doorway now contains a C20 door. Above is a granite hoodmould, without labels but surmounted by the datestone carved with intials RS and the date 1690”.
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20th February 1952: Stinhall, a grade II listed building near Chagford first listed on Historic England database, registration 1308893. The Historic England website further describes the house thus: “The 1690 date appears to commemorate a major refurbishing of a house at least as old as the early C17”.
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21st February 1914: William Donaghy, a Liverpool school teacher, was found dead on this date by Mr George French of Hartland Farm. William Donaghy had disappeared in November 1913. His death remains a mystery over 100 years on
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21st February 1914: William Donaghy, a Liverpool school teacher, was found dead on this date by Mr George French of Hartland Farm. There is a mystery surrounding who provided the memorial, which has inscription as can be seen in the above photograph, thus:
IN MEMORY OF
WILLIAM DONAGHY
OF LIVERPOOL
WHO DIED BESIDES THIS STONE
FEBRUARY 1914
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22nd February 1704: William Meade of Headland Warren wrote his will, which included the following bequest; “William Meade of the pish of North Bovey…warreyner…Doe Give and bequeath All the right Title Claims Term & Interest wch I have or ought to have in a certain Tenemt called Detsworthy Situate lying & being within the pish of Shutstow unto my Kinsman Edward Meade and to his three Sisters the rents & profitts of the Same to be Equally Divided between them.” (ref Mike Brown Dartmoor CD).
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22nd February 1704: William Meade of Headland Warren wrote his will. Interestingly, William Meade’s will points to the place where the ancestry to the Meades of Ditsworthy (Detsworthy), which is across the moor in Plym Country.
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23rd February 1971: Two Blowing houses at Week Ford first registered on Historic England register, number 1002602. Each mill has a wheel pit and 6 mortar stones as shown in the above sketch. The lower mill is also known as Beara House or Mills.
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23rd February 1971: Two Blowing houses at Week Ford first registered on Historic England register, number 1002602. The picture was taken in June 2020 and is of the wheelpit of the upper mill. Described in the Historic England schedule, thus: “The upper building is a stamping mill. It measures approximately 6m long by 4m wide internally and its walls measure up to 0.5m thick and 1.7m high. At the eastern end is a well defined wheel pit. To the south is a stone built raised bank to bring water to the wheel from the leat leading from the O Brook. On the southern wall of the building is a rectangular recess interpreted as a possible furnace or hearth. There is a clearly defined entrance to the building on the north side. At least six mortar stones lie immediately outside the building, one in the tailrace from the wheel pit. A leat connects the wheel pits of both mills.”
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23rd February 1971: Two Blowing houses at Week Ford first registered on Historic England register, number 1002602. The picture was taken in June 2020 and is of the lower mill, aka Beara House or Mills. Described in the Historic England schedule, thus: “The lower building is a blowing house and measures up to 10m long by 4.8m wide internally with walls standing up to 1.5m high. To the south east is a small rectangular chamber divided from the building by a wall and the southern end of the building is higher than the northern end with a possible furnace recess in the south western corner. The higher surface seems to indicate the site of a further furnace. The entrance is on the eastern side. Within the building are one complete mould stone and numerous fragments of others. There are also at least six mortar stones in and around the building. The wheel pit is located on the western side. The lower building was partially cleared of tumbled stone by Burnard in the 1880’s. The mills were first documented as ‘Wikeford Mills’ in 1608, they were also known as ‘Beara Mills’ appearing in further documents from 1703 and 1737.”
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23rd February 2004: Dartmoor Hill Farm Project was launched on this date (ref: DM75). The inaugural meeting was attended by 140 farmers from around the moor. The Dartmoor Hill Farm Project was set up to try to ensure a viable future for Dartmoor farmers. and has supported farmers on Dartmoor to establish and run a wide range of projects to add value to their businesses and to increase vocational skills. More information can be found at: https://www.dartmoorhillfarmproject.co.uk/
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24th February 1833: Sir Thomas Tyrwhitt died on this day. Wikipedia states about Tyrwhitt: “Educated at Eton College and Christ Church, Oxford and after serving as private secretary to the Prince of Wales, Tyrwhitt was elected Member of Parliament (MP) for Okehampton in 1796.Tyrwhitt was responsible for the construction of several roads across Dartmoor, a hamlet called Princetown named in honour of the Prince of Wales, a prison for prisoners of war captured during the Napoleonic Wars now known as HM Prison Dartmoor as well as the Plymouth and Dartmoor Railway. He became Auditor of the Duchy of Cornwall in 1796 and Lord Warden of the Stannaries in 1803”.
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24th February 1833: Sir Thomas Tyrwhitt died on this day. He has a memorial in St. Michaels Church, Princetown, which the above picture is a part. The latin “ME. STANTE. VIREBUNT” means: “While I stand they will flourish”.
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24th February 1833: Sir Thomas Tyrwhitt died on this day. He had Tor Royal built between 1785 and 1793. It was added to in c.1815–20. It is now a grade II listed building. From the end of the 18th century there was much interest in enclosing and “improving” the open moorland on Dartmoor. In 1785 Tyrwhitt bought over 2,000 acres, where he experimented with growing various crops, the most successful of which was flax.
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25th February 1953: Chambered cairn at Cuckoo Ball newtake, first registered on Historic England register, 1012284. The schedule states: “This chambered cairn lies in the north-west corner of Cuckoo Ball newtake, fenced off from the enclosed grazing, but open to access from the Moor.”
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25th February 1953: Chambered cairn at Cuckoo Ball newtake, first registered on Historic England register, 1012284. The schedule further states: “It is tapering in shape, about 20m long, 12m wide at the north end and 7m at the south end and has a maximum mound height of 1m.”
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25th February 1953: Chambered cairn at Cuckoo Ball newtake, first registered on Historic England register, 1012284. The schedule further states: “Two of the megaliths which formed part of the chamber at the north end remain standing. They have a maximum height of nearly 2m, maximum width of 1.6m and thickness of 0.2m. Three have fallen and any capstones have been removed. Large stones in the newtake wall may derive from the chamber.”
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25th February 2001: On this date the Plymouth section of the Dartmoor Rescue Group organised a walk, which they named “12 Across and 2 Down”. The route followed the ancient track used by monks to cross the moor between Buckfast Abbey (founded 1018) and Tavistock (founded 970), known as the Maltern Way. The first four crosses are: 1. Horn’s Cross (14th Century), 2. Horse Ford Cross (re-found in 1884), 3. Skaur Ford Cross (found recumbent by William Crossing in 1883) and 4. Ter Hill Cross [East] (removed in 17th century but re-erected in 1885 by Dartmoor Preservation Society).
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25th February 2001: On this date the Plymouth section of the Dartmoor Rescue Group organised a walk, which they named “12 Across and 2 Down”. Crosses 5-8 are: 5. Ter Hill Cross [West] (copy replaced in 1994 in memory of Tom Gant)*, 6. Mount Misery Cross (found recumbent by William Crossing in 1878 and re-erected in 1885), 7. Childe’s Tomb (vandalised in 1812 and repaired in the 1880’s) and 8. Goldsmith’s Cross (named after Lt. Goldsmith R.N. who rediscovered it in 1903). *Original now at High Moorland Centre in Princetown
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25th February 2001: On this date the Plymouth section of the Dartmoor Rescue Group organised a walk, which they named “12 Across and 2 Down”. Crosses 9-12 are: 9. Hand Hill Cross (original erected in 1980, by Mr Bill Northmore, in gratitude for a lifetime of enjoyment of Dartmoor) , 10. Whealam Bottom Cross (likely to have been erected as a boundary marker, for the nearby Wheal Anne mine), 11. Nun’s Cross (aka Siwards Cross was a boundary mark of the King’s Forest in the perambulation of 1240 and 12. Hutchinson’s Cross (set up in 1968 by Lt. Commander B. Hutchinson R.N. as a memorial to his mother, Mrs S.L. Hutchinson).
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25th February 2001: On this date the Plymouth section of the Dartmoor Rescue Group organised a walk, which they named “12 Across and 2 Down”. Crosses 13 and 14 are: 13. Newleycombe Cross (referred to as ‘Medieval Cross’ and possibly of that vintage) and 14. Crazywell Cross (The head was found near the pool during the 19th Century).
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26th February 1909: Local newspapers announce the disappearance of a Mr Harford Green, from Hertfordshire. A local farmer, Mr. Walter Alford discovered a bowler hat and a dark grey overcoat near Lydda Bridge, shown on the map above. The bridge lies on the Rattlebrook Peat Works track. (Source of information for this post obtained from Legendary Dartmoor website).
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26th February 1909: Local newspapers announce the disappearance of a Mr Harford Green, from Hertfordshire. A local farmer, Mr. Walter Alford discovered a bowler hat and a dark grey overcoat near Lydda Bridge. Mr Harford Green had travelled from Dawlish to Okehampton on 22nd February. He stayed at the Temperance Hotel and said he wished to stay a few days as it was his intention to visit some Dartmoor bogs in search of a rare fly. On 23rd February Mr Harford Green went to the Dartmoor Inn at Lydford, with the intention of returning to Okehampton via the military camp. He might well have taken the track over Great Nodden to the “points” as shown in the photograph. (Source of information for this post obtained from Legendary Dartmoor website).
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26th February 1909: Local newspapers announce the disappearance of a Mr Harford Green, from Hertfordshire. A local farmer, Mr. Walter Alford discovered a bowler hat and a dark grey overcoat near Lydda Bridge. The picture is taken alongside Lydda Bridge looking west. The ‘boglands’, Mr Harford Green was advised to visit was Tiger’s Marsh, just a few hundred metres from Lydda Bridge. (Source of information for this post obtained from Legendary Dartmoor website).
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26th February 1909: Local newspapers announce the disappearance of a Mr Harford Green, from Hertfordshire. A local farmer, Mr. Walter Alford discovered a bowler hat and a dark grey overcoat near Lydda Bridge.  It is reported that inside the clothes were two envelopes, one addressed to Mr Harford Green’s wife and another to himself. It is also reported that inside the coat pocket was a blood stained handkerchief. Mr Harford Green was never found after an extensive search. A mystery still unsolved, did he perish on the moor or did he just wish to disappear ? (Source of information for this post obtained from Legendary Dartmoor website).
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27th February 1791: Elizabeth Thorn, daughter of Joseph and Mary Thorn was baptized at Buckland-in-the-Moor. The bulk of the entries in the parish records of Buckland in the Moor reveal something of the hardships which the poorest inhabitants had to endure in former times. The plight of the Thorn family may be cited by way of illustration. Following the death of his wife, Mary in 1797, Joseph Thorn four children were forced back into the poor relief system. (Source: Mike Brown’s CD on Dartmoor)
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27th February 1791: Elizabeth Thorn, daughter of Joseph and Mary Thorn was baptized at Buckland-in-the-Moor. By the end of 1807 the Buckland overseers had relinquished themselves of the responsibilities of maintaining Joseph Thorn’s children, which had been a considerable drain on the parish funds. What happened to Elizabeth from this point is unknown.
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28th February 1959: The last passenger train left Mortonhampstead station at 0915 on this date. However, regular goods trains continued to use the line up until 6 April 1964
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28th February 1959: The last passenger train left Mortonhampstead station at 0915 on this date. The station was situated on the south side of the town by the road to Bovey Tracey. The platform was 300 feet long and mostly covered by a wooden train shed. Beyond the train shed was a short platform with cattle pens. To the South of the station was a goods shed and an engine shed. The signal box was unusually built onto the side of the engine shed. In 1929 the Great Western Railway, which now owned the line, opened the Manor House Hotel just outside Moretonhampstead.
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28th February 1959: The last passenger train left Mortonhampstead station at 0915 on this date. A small section of platform still remains in 2020 (December). This would have been the approximate location of the wooden train shed. The goods and engine sheds for many years have continued to be used by a commercial road haulage business.
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28th February 1959: The last passenger train left Mortonhampstead station at 0915 on this date. The Moretonhampstead and South Devon Railway was a 7 ft 1⁄4 in broad gauge railway which linked the South Devon Railway at Newton Abbot railway station with Bovey (in the town of Bovey Tracey), Lustleigh and Moretonhampstead.
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28th February 1959: The last passenger train left Mortonhampstead station at 0915 on this date. The four pictures above are: a) Top left – entrance to the station with an old gatepost from the railway era ? b) Bottom left – entrance to the station with a short section of rail, c) Top right – new (ish) houses just outside the station, ironically named “The sidings”, d) Bottom right – general view of the station from the main road.
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28th February 2005: James CHIPS Barber sadly passed away on this day. He wrote with his wife Sally many wonderful little A5 sized books on Dartmoor. One of the authors favourite books was “Weird and Wonderful Dartmoor” (Obelisk Publications) published in 1991. Thank you for the books CHIPS.
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28th February 2005: James CHIPS Barber sadly passed away on this day. In the “Weird and Wonderful Dartmoor” book, there is a lovely story called “The School Drum”, which describes the story of the children at Meavy School being called to school by the beating of a copy of Drake’s Drum. There is a plaque at the school today (which states the school was opened in 1926 and the drum was placed in its current location (behind a glass screen) high up on the school building in 1992.
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