AbbPast Community Projects
2018: The Abbotskerswell History Board
The third Heritage Lottery Fund grant that AbbPast has been awarded has meant that beautifully designed and printed board telling the village’s history has been erected in the historical centre of the village at the entrance to Church Path. We hope that villagers and visitors will find it informative and help them understand Abbotskerswell’s past.
2017: Replacing the Bath House Plaques
The old Parish Baths, now the Parish Rooms, once had two brass plaques to commemorate the donation of the baths to the village by Rev. Dence. However, they disappeared many years ago. Thanks to the generousity of Robert Williams from stone masons Willams & Triggs they have now been replaced with exact copies, but in granite.
In an unveiling ceremony the children from the village primary school helped Rev. Dence's grandson, Timothy Key, to allow villagers to once again remember this buildings past.
2017: Preserving the Telephone Box
One of this year's tasks is to renovate the former BT Telephone Box on Wilton Way. It was declared redundant in 2016, after having zero use for a year, and since it is destined to be the last of its kind in the village we decided to preserve it. With the help of BT, Teignbridge District Council and The Parish Council this was achieved in the Autumn. We have cleaned it up and removed all the old brackets and notices and plan to put up noticeborads that inform people about the work of AbbPast.
2015: 'Junior AbbPast' at Abbotskerswell Primary School
Committee member and 'Abbotskerswell Village History Series' researcher Felicity House has set up a Junior AbbPast section at the village school. She has been working with the children to research and write a history of the school from its beginning in 1876. If you went to the school Felicity would love to hear from you and learn of your experiences there.
2014: World War 1 with Abbotskerswell Primary School
During the year Peter Wade and Felicity House visited the School a number of times to help the pupils with their project work on WW1. This involved supporting them with the family trees that they were creating which would enable them to find their relatives who were alive at the time of the war. A talk was given to place Abbotskerswell in its context during the war period and also told the story of the Cornish family. Jessica was a local girl who married Albert who was killed during the early months of the war.
2013: Working with Abbotskerswell Primary School
In January 2013 Mr Tim Hughes joined the village school as acting Headmaster and introduced a ‘House’ system for the pupils based on local history; he choose Priory, St Mary, Carsewell and Henley. Following an article in AbbTalk members of AbbPast approached the school an offered their help with providing information on the Houses, which was gratefully accepted.
The Introductory Talk
In April Peter Wade and Felicity House were invited to give an illustrated talk to the whole school providing an outline history of each House as a beginning of a research project for the pupils. Priory were shown pictures of the buildings and the nuns at work; St Mary had an explanation of the importance the church in village history and the impact of the Hare family to the House; to Carsewell the explanation of the village name was the beginning of importance of water to the choice of the valley for a settlement; and Henley were shown how that family began a cider making business that would be part of the village for nearly 200 years.
The ‘House’ Walks
On a sunny day a few weeks later Peter Wade took each House on a walk lasting an hour that showed their Houses place in the village’s history. Priory House were grateful that The Priory agreed to allow us to walk the grounds and visit the Chapel and Chapter House which allowed the children to see The Priory in all its glory. Nick Nicholson joined the walk and provided an additional commentary for the pupils. It was explained how the nuns of the St Augustinian order arrived in Abbotskerswell in the C19th and how they lived until The Priory’s closure in the 1980s. The House were also shown the old Wesleyan and Baptist Chapels in the village.
Next was the turn of Henley to be shown Mallands House where the Henley family lived from the 1840s until the 1970s, which reflects the importance to the village of the family and its business. The cyder works (now an industrial estate) was shown to the children with various buildings showing how the works developed. The House was also introduced to another important C19th family, the Creeds, by being shown the Manor House and the former Manor Farm; the Creeds also owned Whiddon House at that time.
The third walk of the morning was for St Mary House, so it was off to the church for most of the walk. We began with a look at the lychgate, claimed to be the oldest wooden one of its type in England, with an explanation of its original use for burial services. Then onto the church with a look at the outside and the differences in the building caused by the changes over time. Inside the House were shown the church’s layout, the memorials and its ‘treasure’ the statue of Mary. The importance of the Hare family was explained and outside again Court Grange was shown to the pupils. The girls were shown how to curtsey to Mrs Hare, and the boys tugged their forelocks! It was then back for lunch via Court Farm and Church House with explanations of how they fit into the story of St Mary House.
The afternoon walk was for Carsewell House which began with a study of two old buildings, the old Post Office and Town Cottages. The pupils were shown how the houses were originally open plan and then had first floor rooms added later, the Mote Cottages showed this well too. Then it was on to Ladywell and an explanation of the importance of water to the village’s settlement and why villages had holy springs. The importance of the first ‘council houses’ at Barnfield was explained to the House, in providing proper housing for the workers to replace the old thatched cottages. At the bottom of Wilton Way the children had to imagine a world with no houses there just a wet area with the cress beds. It was back to school via the Court Farm and Church House.
The ‘House’ Afternoons
Peter and Felicity also supported the teachers in three working afternoons with the children, who produced displays on their houses.
2012: AbbPast Celebrates the New Elizabethan Era 1952-2012
AbbPast joined the village's Jubilee celebrations with two events reflecting the changes during the reign of Queen Elizabeth II.
We created a display of historical material showing village life in the last 60 years. This featured a DVD of the coronation, since Archbishop Romsey who crowned Elizabeth, was the Great Uncle of a village member, an audio-visual display of photographs reflecting the 60 years and an amazing collection of memorabilia of various jubilees and royal events. We were also pleased to unveil our new AbbPast banner which will help us advertise our work and the launch of our AbbPast website, www.abbpast.co.uk.
The 'Diamond Jubilee Village Trail' Coronation Memorabilia
The Village Trail
On the Sunday afternoon we released our tribute, and lasting contribution,to the Queen's Jubilee: the "Diamond Jubilee Village Trail". This will be available, free of charge, from The Model Stores, Babbinis Tea Rooms, The Butcher's Arms and the Court Farm Inn. To launch the Trail AbbPast member Peter Wade led a guided walk of the Trail. We would like to thank Derek Bellotti and Kingfisher Print for their generous help in producing The Trail.