Unforgotten Exmoor

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Volume Three

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Unforgotten Exmoor: Volume Three

Image of book cover. Unforgotten Exmoor. Words and pictures from a vanished era. Volume Three. Oral Histories from John Hoyles, John Pedder, Josie Floyd and David Westcott. Author David Ramsay. Green book cover with photo of a farmer working a field on a horse-drawn harrow.

Words and Pictures from a vanished era

Four more ordinary Exmoor people share their life stories with over 150 photographs taken from their own family collections.

John Hoyles was born and brought up in the Brendon valley. His mother cooked at the Staghunters and John spent every evening in his early years in the kitchen at the back of the pub. He tells of the old characters that collected in the bar and of the toasting, the pub games and the customs of that time. At home he had to fetch all the water for the house in a bucket, and he tells of growing up during the war years, of pig-keeping and bell-ringing, of ‘tying the road’ at weddings, and of how even the Brendon schoolboys received rifle practice in preparation for a possible German invasion. After the war his parents took over the Rockford Youth Hostel and he describes how this was run with up to sixty people sleeping on bunk beds in communal rooms. In the early fifties his parents moved again, this time taking over the Blue Ball pub up at Countisbury, and John describes this old coaching Inn where the only water supply came from a tank of rainwater from the roof, and of how they fitted early hand pumped petrol pumps in order to attract custom.

John Pedder was from seafaring stock. His grandfather owned six ketches which were worked from Lynmouth harbour to both sides of the Bristol Channel and then beached at high tide and unloaded into carts or onto pack horses before the tide returned. His family had been Postmasters at Lynmouth since the 1880s and it was his grandfather who took the telegraph message that led to the famous overland Lynmouth Lifeboat launch. His father had been the local agent for the Paddle Steamers which called every day in season off Lynmouth. He took all the bookings and arranged for the packets to be rowed out by local fishermen to these steamers to collect the passengers. John himself followed in the family footsteps, going to sea for six years and then taking over the post office. He tells about growing up in the war years, about small-boat herring fishing, evacuees arriving, swimming in the open-air sea pool in the harbour and about the Lynmouth flood in which he saved his father’s life.

Josie Floyd (nee Richards) was born at Broomstreet, a farm overlooking the Bristol channel. One side of her family were Ridds, of Lorna Doone fame, and the local Culbone church (the smallest complete parish church in the country set deep within coastal woods and only approachable on foot) is almost exclusively filled with the gravestones of previous generations of her family. She describes galloping back as a young woman through these woods in the pitch dark from the Regal cinema - trusting the horse not to tumble headlong down the cliff - and of riding the same horse to the local dances and changing on arrival in the stables. She tells of German U boats in the channel, of her cousin who was accused of being a German spy, of collecting sphagnum moss for medical dressings for the troops and how, after the war, her sister Sheila left Exmoor for ever, emigrating to Australia on a £10 ticket.

David Westcott can trace his immediate family in the Porlock area for more than 500 years. He grew up at a time when ladies still rode side-saddle. His grandfather was the secretary of the Exmoor Pony Society and David describes the round-up of the ponies and how they were driven to the Brendon and Bampton pony fairs. He describes the fishermen at Porlock Weir and his fishmonger uncle who salted herring in barrels and how he took the young David all over Exmoor on his fish round. He talks about how he and his friends as lads collected pocket money by pushing the early cars up Porlock Hill, and about a cider brewing curate and the Porlock Weir choir. He tells of starting work on the family farm where he ploughed with a horse and a single furrow plough for the first ten years until they got a tractor, and how he and his father carried two churns of milk each on a yoke down to Porlock Weir every morning to deliver into the jugs of about forty houses on their milk round. He also describes the three terrible winters that occurred in his lifetime - 1940, 1947 and 1963 - and of how horses always coped far better in those conditions than any wheels could.

Historic Voices of Exmoor

It has been a delight to read this new volume of David Ramsay’s Unforgotten Exmoor, the third in the series, and to know that someone is continuing to collect these important memories from Exmoor’s older residents. And that they are willing to share them. The book, like the earlier volumes, focuses mainly on a central coastal swathe between Lynton and Porlock, with the Brendon Valley to the south. This area, in reality only a small portion of Exmoor, is the prism through which we see the rest of the national park, and beyond. This is what makes it so interesting. Indeed, taken together, the three volumes of Unforgotten Exmoor are a testament to the fact that small is beautiful. Lives interweave, one person’s reminiscence is told again by another, but differently, and bit by bit, like a pointillist painting, a picture develops of what life was like in the earlier part of the twentieth century. These stories, the stories of Everyman, show how the personal is political and how life on Exmoor, remote as it was at the time, still reflected, and was influenced by, events on the wider world stage.

As with all good stories, we are left wanting to know more. About the tramps who knocked on Josie’s door in the Depression, ex-servicemen from the first world war, looking for work; about the conscientious objectors, working in the woods; or David Westcott’s cider-making curate, who only had 52 sermons, which he preached on the same week each year. And how John Hoyles, a stone mason, came to be a Grenadier standing guard outside Buckingham Palace.

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Volume Three - Compare Prices or Buy
  • Arkwright, Mrs
  • Ash, Alan
  • Attree
  • Babbage, Charles, computer inventor
  • Baden-Powell, Lord
  • Bale, Abraham
  • Beazley, Sidney
  • Beck, Mrs
  • Beesley, Ray
  • Bevan
  • Brennan, Mrs, Rising Sun
  • Byron
  • Canning, Tom
  • Chichester, Captain
  • Crocombe, John, coxwain
  • Dallyn, John
  • Darch, Bill
  • Evered, Philip, Master of D & S
  • Fisher, Widow
  • Floyd, Bill
    • Helen
    • Joe
    • John
    • John,carver
    • Lennox
    • Molly
    • Nigel
    • Robin
    • William
  • Fouracre, Ern
  • French, Albert, farmer

  • Gallagher, George
  • Graham, Lewis
  • Gregory, Dick
    • Gordon
  • Groves, Fred
  • Halliday, Miss
  • Haw Haw, Lord
  • Head, Dr
  • Jarvis, George, water bailiff
    • Lime Burner
  • Jones, Tom
  • Judges picture postcards
  • Kellaways (shop)
  • Kent, Fred, blacksmith
  • Leeves, Graham
    • Hazel
  • Litson, Gabriel
  • Lock, Ivy
  • Loosemore, Mrs
  • Lorna Doone
  • Lovelace, Fan
  • Lovelace, Lady, Ashley Combe

  • Manley, Victor
  • Marley, Mr, deer damage assessor
  • Mather, Ted
  • Medway, Herbert, butcher
  • Molland
  • Moore, Sally
  • Mountain, Sir Edward
  • Nancekivell
  • Newnes, Sir George
  • Nightingale, Dr
  • Nye, Major General Sir Archibald
  • Parmentor, Charley, War Ag
  • Pedder, Angela
    • Edward James
    • Harriet
    • Hope
    • Jack
    • Julie
    • Pauline
    • Stephanie
  • Pile, Joe
    • Bill
  • Prideaux, Bill, blacksmith
  • Pugsley, Roy
  • Rawle, Harry
  • Red, John
  • Richards, David
    • Ernest
    • John, The Globe
    • Margaret
    • Molly
    • Sheila
    • Stanley, postmaster
    • Tom
  • Ridd, Ambrose
    • Granfer
    • Granny
    • Ian
    • John
    • Mary
  • Ridler, Miss, private tutor
  • Rook, Mr, Ship hotel
    • Tom, auctioneer
  • Rudd
  • Sanders, Mr
  • Scott, Mr, Lynton POW
  • Shute, Mr, Lynton POW
  • Smart, parson, Porlock curate
  • Snow White
  • Squires, Charley, Brendon blacksmith
  • Sutton, Harry

  • Taylor, Major
  • Thorne, Harold
  • Tucker, David
  • Vellacott Charley
  • Vowlews, Alfred
  • Westcott, April
    • Carole
    • Cecil, fishmonger
    • EA and sons
    • Ernest
    • Jayne
    • John
    • Margaret
    • Robert
    • Sally

  • AA box
  • aeroplane crash
  • Agricultural Disaster Fund
  • air force
  • Alderman’s barrow
  • Allerford cottages
  • ambulance, horse drawn
  • Anchor hotel
  • apprenticeship
  • Ashley Combe
  • Bampton fair
  • Barbrook petrol station
  • Bath hotel (fn)
  • bath house (fn)
  • battle of the butchers
  • bedspread
  • Besshill
  • bible swept out to sea (fn)
  • bicycles
  • Birchanger (farm)
  • birds cleaning ground
  • blackouts
  • blacksmith
  • Blathwayt estate
  • Blue Ball pub
  • Blue Band buses
  • Brendon - bridge
  • Brendon Manor
  • Bridge Ball
  • Bristol Channel
  • Broomstreet (farm)
  • burning the common
  • Burvill street, Lynton
  • buses
  • Campbell’s paddle steamers
  • carbide lamp
  • cargo
  • Carpenters
  • Castle Rock
  • charcoal burners (fn)
  • choir
  • church bells
  • cigarettes
  • Civil Defence
  • cliff railway
  • coaching inn (fn)
  • coal
  • coal yard
  • coast guard
  • Combe Park (farm)
  • conscientious objectors
  • Coombe (farm)
  • Combe Foot
  • Cottage Inn
  • Countisbury hill
    • mill
    • school
  • Court Place (farm)
  • Cross Street, Lynton
  • Crossgate
  • Crown hotel
  • Crystal Palace
  • Culbone
    • church
    • Inn (fn)
    • woods
  • curfew
  • dances day trippers
  • Deer damage
  • Devon and Somerset
  • dig for victory
  • dining rooms
  • Dr Barnardo’s Home
  • East Lyn (farm)
  • Eastcott (farm)
  • ‘Eleanor Mary’, ketch
  • electric light works
  • Embelle wood beach
  • emigration to New Zealand
  • evacuation (fn)
  • Exmoor museum
  • Exmoor pony society
  • ferret
  • fish, stranded
  • fishermen
  • fishing
  • fishmonger
  • fleas and lice
  • football ‘Forrest Hall’

  • Gallipoli
  • garage
  • gas masks
  • German
    • bombers
    • agents
    • spy
    • u-boats
  • Gibralter cottages (fn)
  • Gipsy
  • Glebe (farm)
  • Glenthorne estate
  • grass variety trials
  • ‘Growing Wild on Exmoor’
  • guests, permanent
  • harbour
  • herring fishing
    • salting (fn)
  • High Cliff hotel
  • Hillsford Bridge
  • Hoaroak valley (fn)
  • Hollerday House
  • Holman’s Park
  • Home guard
  • horse ploughing
  • horseshoes, silver
  • hot toddy
  • hunt puppies
  • ice cream
  • Institute, the
  • “Inverdargle"
  • invasion (fn)
  • junket
  • ketch
  • Lands End Trials
  • Larkbarrow (farm)
  • leather tanning
  • Leeford
  • library, traveling
  • Lilycombe
  • lime kilns
  • lime mortar
  • Littlewood (farm)
  • ‘Louisa’, Lynmouth lifeboat
  • Lydney
  • Lynbridge
  • Lyndale hotel
  • Lynmouth
    • beach
    • cottage hospital (+fn)
    • council
    • flood
    • lifeboat
    • memorial hall
    • open air sea pool
    • pillars
    • post office
    • reading room
    • Relief Fund
    • slaughterhouse
    • temporary post office
    • town on wheels
  • Lynrock Fountain shelter
  • Lynton coast guard

  • Manleys, grocer, Porlock Weir
  • Manor House, Countisbury
  • Marleck
  • ‘Mary’, ketch
  • memorial hall, Lynmouth
  • merchant navy
  • Metticombe (farm)
  • milk round
  • Millslade
  • Minehead
  • motto-ware
  • muffled peal
  • museum
  • mushrooms, wild
  • Myrtleberry
  • Napoleonic prisoners of war (fn)
  • National savings
  • Nelson Tea rooms
  • North Devon Journal
  • nougat
  • oak bark
  • Oaklands
  • Oare church
  • Oare House
  • Orchard house, Lynton
  • organ
  • overland launch
  • oyster cleansing beds
  • packet boats
  • packhorses
  • paraffin pump
  • Parsonage (farm)
  • Pathe news reels
  • Pavillion, Lynmouth
  • Peace cottage
  • ‘Penguin’, ketch
  • petrol pump
  • photographer
  • Picked Stones (farm)
  • picking up stones
  • picnic hampers
  • pit props
  • pitch-and-toss (game)
  • Plymouth Bretheren Gospel Hall (fn)
  • poaching
  • pony and trap
  • pony round-up
  • Porlock
  • Porlock hill
    • pushing cars up
    • tarring
  • Porlock Weir
  • post horses
  • post mistress
  • post office
  • postmaster
  • potatoes
  • Prospect cottage
  • pumping petrol
  • pumping the organ
  • quay
  • rabbits, mass extermination of (fn)
    • train (fn)
    • trapping
  • reading letters
  • reading room
  • Regal cinema, Minehead
  • Rhenish tower
  • Ridd milking machine
  • ringing of bells (fn)
  • Rising Sun pub
  • Rockford - youth hostel
  • Rockford pub
  • Rookery, hotel
  • saddle
  • salmon (fn)
  • Scouts
  • Seaside Follies
  • Severn Estuary
  • Shilstone cottage
  • shipping conveys
  • shoe cleaning
  • shooting party
  • shove ha’penny
  • side-saddle
  • Silcombe (farm)
  • Sillery sands (fn)
  • Sinai hotel
  • slaughterhouse
  • snap-shot booklets
  • sphagnum moss
  • Sportsman Inn, Sandyway
  • St John’s Ambulance
  • St Nicholas’ church, Porlock Weir
  • St Vincents
  • stables (fn)
  • Staghunter pub
  • stone gateposts
  • stove, paraffin
  • suffragettes
  • Sunderland flying boat
  • swimming, segregated (fn)

  • tannery
  • taxi
  • tea from fishermens’ wives
  • ‘Teal’
  • telegrams
  • ‘The Barry’, paddle steamer (fn)
  • The Globe
  • Thornmead
  • ‘Three Sisters’, ketch
  • threshing machine
  • Timber corps
  • Tippacott (farm)
  • toasts
  • torpedo
  • tractor
  • tramps
  • Tucker’s toffees
  • Turkey (fn)
  • Valley of Rocks
  • victory roll
  • wages
  • walking a puppy
  • War Ag
  • war office (fn)
  • water supply
  • waterwheel
  • water, hot
  • Watersmeet
  • ‘Waverly’, paddle steamer (fn)
  • Welsh coal miners
  • Wendy Cott
  • West Buckland school
  • West Lyn (farm)
  • West Somerset Yomenary
  • whortleberries
  • wild white grass
  • Wills tobacco
  • Wilmersham (farm)
  • windmill
  • wine bottles
  • Winsford
  • winter of discontent
  • winter
    • 1947
    • 1963
  • Wootton Courtenay mill
  • workhouse
  • Worthy Manor
  • Wringcliff bay (fn)
  • Yearnor (farm)
  • Yenworthy (farm)
  • youth hostel, Rockford

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  • Volume One - Compare Prices or Buy
  • Volume Two - Compare Prices or Buy
  • Volume Three - Compare Prices or Buy

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