Roll of Honour Project-ABBPAST



AbbPast has produced seven major publications, all of which have been funded by Heritage Lottery Fund grants. We have also produced a number of shorter booklets which are either for sale or also freely available.

Copies of the publications that are in print are available from The Model Stores in the village, Orchard Cafe or from AbbPast Committee Members. 

The publications can also be downloaded using the pdf links below.



This series of four themed booklets telling the village's story was supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, meaning that the booklets are free to villagers. The year long project in 2016/17 was successfully completed and all are available in the village, or you can download the pdfs below. Two more volumes were added to the series during in 2018/19.

1. Industry & CommerceBook_1_Industry_and_Commerce.pdf

     This is the story of Abbotskerswell's industrial development from its farming roots to industrialisation. It includes a study of
     steady decline of the village’s farms, the Aller industrial area, Henley's Cyder Works, quarrying and the modern industries.

**This volume is now out of print**

2. Houses & Families -


     This volume is the story of Abbotskerswell's houses and the people who lived in them; from the old thatched cottages
     the important houses, through to the new estates. We explain the importance to village of the Hares and Dences at Court
     Grange, the  Creeds at The Manor House and the Henleys at Mallands House.

                                                                                    **This volume is now out of print**

3. Religion & Education - Book_3_Religion_and_Education.pdf

     Our third volume relates the events surrounding the creation of the various religious buildings and their activities in the
     village over the centuries, with stories of assaults on Vicars and secretive religious organisations. The history of village
     education is told from the early 19th century to the present day, with the first proper school buildings of 1875 still being used.

                                                                                    **This volume is now out of print**

4. Pubs Clubs & Governance - Book_4_Pubs,_Clubs_and_Governace.pdf

     This volume completes the initial four booklets in the series. It tells the story of the five public houses that existed in the
parish, before going on to relate the social cackground to the clubs and events that provided the entertainment in a working
     community. The story of the original
Parish Council comes next, and then the volume ends by telling the stories of some of
     the people who lived in the village, both important and
infamous; yes, the story of John 'Babbacombe' Lee is told here.

                                                                                       **This volume is now out of print**

5. The Era of World War II - 

     This volume is the first of the final two in the series and covers the period from the 1930s until 1959. Abbotskerswell returned
     to a quiet rural village after the horrors of The Great War, but all too soon was preparing for a second major war. We follow
     the village, and its men and women who were the armed forces, relating their stories. The story continues into the post WW2
     world of austerity and rationing but by the end of the 1950s the beginnings of the modern village are emerging. 

6. Abbotsleigh Priory - Vol_6_Abbotsleigh_Priory.pdf

AP_jpeg     The sixth booklet in the Series tells the story of the creation of Abbotsleigh and the lives of the Sisters who lived there from
     1861 until 1983. The role of Sister Mary Benedict in this story is both crucial and remarkable and possibly unique in the
     history of British convents. Using stunning glass negatives taken by a Sister in the early 20th century and the Archives of the
     Bishop of Plymouth and Abbotsleigh the story unfolds. 

7. People & Places


The latest volume in the series tells the stories of some of the villages most significant people and also describes some of the buildings that played an important part in the history of the community. 



Production Date: 2014  

     This was our first publication created when in 2012 we formed a research group to look into the history of Abbotskerswell
     during the period of World War 1. Our intention was to conduct in-depth research into the servicemen who are listed on the
     village's Roll of Honour, but ended up by also looking at life in the village during the 1910s. Our Heritage Lottery Fund grant
     funded the booklet and the renovation of the graves in village churchyard. As a memorial to the men who gave their lives we     fully renovated the graves of the three men buried in the  churchyard and cleaned the six family gravestones that carry memorials to men buried abroad.
We were also honoured to be featured in the national launch of the HLF 'WW1 Then & Now Fund' as an example of what might be possible with the funds support.

    hlf2                  **This volume is now out of print**


Lanes_&_Footpaths_Content.pdf  Lanes_&_Footpaths_Cover.pdf

Production Date: 2020 


   This publication was nearly finished when the Covid-19 pandemic arrived and since its content seemed to be just what people 
   needed we were fortunate that Kingfisher were able to produce it for us. It tells the story of the village's roads, lanes and
   footpaths, with descriptions of where they are and what can be walked. We also added a chapter on the orchards of
   Abbotskerswell to support the great work that is being done to create a Community Orchard.

The publication was funded by AbbFest, to whom we are very grateful for making it possible for us to produce the booklet and make it freely available to villagers
Production Date: 2018

Production Date: 2018

This publication became AbbPast's first venture into the history of a village organisation to help raise funds; this booklet can be purchased in the Church, from the Orchard Cafe or at Town Farm.

Church_jpeg      In 2018 the clock in the church seized up and to repair it over £5 000 was required. Since the clock had been paid for by
      Mrs Hare, from Court Grange, in 1908 AbbPast felt that history was calling and it was time to help out. The creation of a new
      history of the church, paid for by an AbbPast member, was the solution. All the proceeds of the sales will initially go to the
      clock fund, and later to church funds.


Production Date  2019
Once again AbbPast has joined a village organisation to create a booklet telling its story. The trustees of Church House, and AbbPast, have jointly produced this publication which is available for the cost of £1 from the Orchard Cafe or at Town Farm.

      In 1919 the daughters of Mrs Marcus Hare, who had lived at Court Grange, gave Church House to the village for it to be
      used for village events. In this way this 16th century church house continued to be at the centre of the village's social life.
     The  background to Church House and the uses of it in the last 100 years are told in our publication.


Production Date: 2018
     AbbPast produced this booklet as a limited print run to commemorate the 58 year history of the village branch following its
     closure in 2017. Using the Meetings Record and Committee Minute books, plus photographs and artefacts gathered over the
     years, this is a tribute to the members, and their activities during its history.


     Story_of_Rose_Cottages_2.pdf       Rose_Cottages_Plans_3.pdf

Production Date: 2019
     On 22 July 2019 AbbPast held an Open Day at No. 3 Rose Cottages to allow villagers to look at its recent renovation but more
     importantly to see it as the four cottages that it had been since at least 1839. We were indeed fortunate that its owner granted us
     this fantastic opportunity to hold the Open Day, which around 200 people took trhe opportunity to attend. We produced a short
     history of the site and a plan of No. 3 as the four cottages, which are available as the pdfs shown above.


"MARY JANE KNIGHT nee VENING - A Journey from Devon to Quantong"


Production Date: 2020

  In the spring of 2020 AbbPast was approached by Jane Tonkin whose great grandmother lived in Abbotskerswell until marrying and then
   emigrating to Australia. Jane was keen to know more about the village and family that Mary Jane talked so fondly of, and what emerged
   was a fascinating story of what one villager did in their life out in the old British Empire.