Unforgotten Exmoor

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Volume Two

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Unforgotten Exmoor: Volume Two

Image of book cover. Unforgotten Exmoor. Words and pictures from a vanished era. Volume Two. Oral Histories from Joan Hooper, Barbara Durman, Ivy Archer and Jim Sanders. Author David Ramsay. Blue book cover with photo of a lady sitting on the back of a cart driven by a man.

Words and Pictures from a vanished era

In this the second volume of Unforgotten Exmoor, four more venerable characters, all Exmoor born-and-bred, share their life stories and photographs.

Joan Hooper (nee Davis) was born in the Porlock Vale and had eleven brothers and sisters. Her father was a carter and her mother took in washing. For the first ten years of her life she shared a bedroom with her grandmother (who was born in 1839) and one of Joan’s earliest memories is of collecting dirty laundry from the hotels with her Grandma and helping with the hand washing. On leaving school she went into service as an under lady’s-maid to the Pilcher family, and tells of her responsibilities and experiences in their London and Porlock homes. When war broke out she married, and with just a few sheep in a borrowed field and by ‘going halves’ with the owner of the field, she and her husband gradually built up an entire flock and enough capital to take on Bromham farm at the top of Porlock hill, where they spent the rest of their working days.

In the second chapter Barbara Durman (nee Canning) tells how she was brought up by Dr Head the Rockford doctor and his wife, when her own mother died just two weeks after giving birth. She talks about growing up during the war years, about American servicemen on Exmoor and their jeeps, and about trips to Wales in the paddle steamers which stopped at Lynmouth. She tells of black-outs and home guard exercises on neighbouring farms, and of dancing in the back corridor at the Rockford Inn to war songs played on a wind-up gramophone. Above all though, she gives an inspiring and life-affirming account of a vibrant community living in Rockford and the lot of a remote rural doctor in the days before the National Health.

Ivy Archer (nee Lock) was born on a farm above Brendon at the beginning of the first world war and can remember a time before motor vehicles had arrived in the area. She talks of an endless stream of visitors to the farm, peddlers and gypsies on foot, tradesmen and neighbouring farmers on ponies, and of course well-to-do holiday-makers who were collected from Lynton railway station by her father in a horse and trap and who stayed in the main farmhouse while she and her family lived in the adjoining cottage. She provides a vivid description of how her family saw to the holiday-makers’ every need in a house without electricity where all water had to be collected in buckets from the stream outside and heated inside over an open fire, and where the toilet was over the same stream further down the hill. She talks about her father, a well known singer whose hand-written song book was started in the 1890s and is only now being seen for the first time outside the family. It has a number of Exmoor versions of carols and songs, two of which appear to be completely unknown in the national collections. Ivy’s account starts more than ninety years ago and ends in the second world war when she becomes a land girl.

The final chapter is about Jim Sanders, farmer, singer and diarist who for the past sixty years has recorded the details of day-to-day life on his remote hill farm. His chapter begins with extracts from one of these diaries and follows the course of events for a full year. Entries are recorded in single sentences, entirely without comment, and with equal weight given to both the momentous and the mundane. These sentences gradually build to give a vivid insight as to how things actually were all those years ago, and the shape that each farming year took through the seasons. He tells of his taciturn father who was gassed in the first war, of ploughing, mowing and tilling with heavy horses, of haystack building and thatching, of hedging, trapping and weed pulling, and of course he tells of the choirs and all the singing, the singing for which he has such a reputation over a wide area.

Historic Voices of Exmoor

Unforgotten Exmoor is the second volume in a series of the social history of ordinary folk in a part of the world that most of us have forgotten or will never know. Reflecting on their ordinary lives, their stories are extraordinary, evoking a deeply nostalgic and affectionate portrait of bygone days in pre-war Exmoor.

Life might have been tougher then – far tougher – for the likes of Ivy Archer, Barbara Durman, Joan Hooper and Jim Sanders, but, as each tells their tale, there’s always the feeling that it was somehow better, less complicated, more in tune with the rhythms of the land...

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Volume Two - Compare Prices or Buy
  • Adams, Maude, actress
  • American officers
  • Antell, Abe, shepherd
  • Archer, Charles
    • Ivy
  • ARP warden
  • Ash, Bill
    • Connie
    • Phyllis
  • attendance officer
  • Badgworthy Land Company
  • Back, David
  • Bailey, Alice
    • Elizabeth
    • Fred
    • Granny
  • Baker, nurse
  • Bale, Miss
  • bank manager
  • Barrie JM
  • Barrow, Alice
  • Barwick, Mr
  • Bearded lady
  • Beesley, Josie
    • Mary
    • Marion
  • Bell, Fred
  • Bella, Aunty
  • Bennett, Jack
    • Mrs
  • Bill, uncle
  • blacksmith
  • Bland, Mr
  • Bowden, Charley
    • George
  • Bristol corporation
  • British Legion
  • Bromham, Fanny
  • Budd, Miss
  • butcher
  • Burgess, Porlock Baker
    • roasting turkeys
  • Burnal, Fred
  • Campbell’s Steamers
  • caretaker
  • Canning, Ada
    • Albert
    • Barbara
    • Cyril
    • Eileen
    • Fred
    • Granny
    • Jean
    • William John
  • carpenter
  • carter
  • Chadwick-Healy
  • chauffeur
  • Cobbam’s Air Display
  • Cockman, Mr
  • cobbler
  • conscientious objectors
  • cook
  • cordwainer
  • Cox, Miss, teacher
    • Mrs, teacher
  • Crocombe, Alice
  • Davis, Alfred
    • Jack
    • Walter
    • Philip
    • Joe
  • Delbridge
  • dentist, mobile
  • Diamond, Ron
  • director
  • dispenser
  • district nurse
  • doctor
  • Dorothy, Aunt
  • dressmaker
  • Dyke, Miss (Brendon teacher)
  • Egg Marketing Board
  • evacuees
  • farm workers
  • female prisoner
  • fishermen
  • flockmaster
  • Floyd, Edith
    • Florrie
    • Mrs
    • Phyllis
  • Flying circus
  • Fortune tellers
  • Foster, Dr
  • French, Ada
    • Albert
    • Avis
    • Dick

  • gardener
  • gentlemen of the road
  • gentry
  • German officers
  • Glen Miller
  • Graham, Mrs
    • George
    • Margaret
  • grave-digger
  • Great Western Railway
  • groom
  • groundsman
  • Gulliford, Elizabeth
  • gypsies
  • Harper, Frank
  • Harrod’s cheque
  • Head, Dr Arthur
    • Anne
    • Timothy
    • Francis
  • Hearts of Oak
  • high court judge
  • Home Guard
  • Hooper, April
    • Delwyn
    • Don
    • Pat
  • Hoyles, Travell
  • Hughes, Mrs
  • Italian prisoner of war
  • Ivy, Miss
  • Jenkins, Rex (Brendon vicar)
  • Jones, Len
  • Kelly, a peddler
  • Kelly’s directory
  • Kipper, Fatty
  • Knight, Frederick
  • Knights, owners of Exmoor
  • Lady Lovelace
  • land-girl
  • landlord
  • Lang, Mr
  • Latham, Dick
  • Leaworthy, Fred
  • Licentiate of the Society of Apothecaries
  • Lethaby, Ted
    • Wilf
  • Lewis, Anne
  • Lewis, C S
  • lLiptons
  • Llewelyn-Davis, Sylvia
  • Lock, Bill
    • Evelyn
    • George
    • Harry
    • Ivy
    • Thomas
    • Tom
    • Victor
  • Lorna Doone

  • MacCracken, George
  • maid, house
    • kitchen
    • tweeny
    • under lady’s
  • Mayforce, Mary
  • medical corps
  • Medway, Mr
  • Midget men
  • midwife
  • miller
  • Milk Marketing Board
  • Molland, Arthur
    • George
    • Helen
    • Stanley
  • Moore, Granfer
  • Moore, TH
  • Mountain, Sir Edward
  • Nancekivell, Mr
  • National Health Trust
  • National Trust
  • navvies
  • Nercombe, Miss
  • Nightingale, Dr
  • Old Mother Scrumpy
  • Palmer, Mr
  • Palmer’s Diaries
  • parson
  • Pattern, Mrs, Head of Brendon school
  • peddler
  • Pekinese dogs
  • ‘Peter Pan’
  • Pettet, Mr, vet
  • Pierce, Elsie
    • Roy
  • Pilcher, Lady
    • Miss Judith
    • Sir Gonne
  • Pile, Ada
    • George
    • Rosie
  • Piper, Tony
  • poachers
  • policemen
  • postman
  • publisher
  • Pugsley (family name)
  • Punch and Judy
  • Quennell (architect)
  • rabbit trappers
  • Rawle, Mr
  • Red Cross
  • Reed, Farmer
  • Richards, Mr, ARP warden
    • Sam
    • Stanley
  • Ridd, Dick
  • Rinso
  • Romany family
  • sailors
  • Sanders, Ada
    • Arthur
    • Annie
    • Colin
    • Jim
    • Mrs
    • Nellie
    • Owen
  • Sandhurst
  • Schoolmaster
  • Schoolmistress
  • scottish shepherds
  • Scripture Inspector
  • Sedman, Amy
  • sergeant
  • servant’s meals
    • rooms
  • Shapland, Mrs
  • shipping magnate
  • shopkeeper
  • Squires, Evelyn
  • Summers, Gordon, game dealer
  • surgeon

  • tailor
  • Tattersall, Gran
    • Jean
  • tea dealer
  • tenant farmers
  • Thomas, Ethel
  • Thorn, Mrs, cook at Lynch
  • Tossel, Mr
    • Mrs
  • truant
  • Trumps, Barnstaple
  • Tucker, Percy
  • Turner, Mr
  • Turpin, Randolf
  • tweeny-maid
  • Uncle Fred
  • under house-maid
  • under lady’s-maid
  • undertaker
  • Upstone, Mr (Porlock hardware van)
  • Vegas, Mr and Mrs
  • Vellacott, John
  • vet
  • visitors
  • Vowles, photographer
  • Watts, Bert
  • Webster, Annie
    • George
  • Wendy House
  • Westcott, Cyril
    • Ella
    • George
  • Whitehair, William, teacher
  • whorts picker
  • Williams
  • A39 road
  • abandoned farm
  • Alderford cottage
  • Allerford cottages
  • Allerford school
  • Ash Heap (field name)
  • Ash Plain
  • Ashford
  • Ashton farm
  • Barbrook
    • harvest tea
  • Barnstaple
    • fair
    • grammar school
  • Barton steep
    • wood
  • Beggar’s Roost
  • Blackbird’ (song)
  • Blackmoor gate
  • Blue Ball
  • Bodley range cooker
  • Bossington
    • cottage
    • farm
    • lime kilns
  • Brendon
    • church
    • Home Guard
    • Manor
    • pony show
    • school-house
  • Brendon Barton cottage
    • farm
  • Bridge Ball
  • Bridgwater
  • Bristol
  • Bromham farm
    • tenancy
    • plain (field name)
  • Broomstreet farm
  • Buckfastleigh
  • Bude
  • Burgess, the Porlock baker
    • roasting turkeys
  • button-up boots
  • Caffyns
  • Chains
  • Challacombe
  • Cheriton farm
  • Church hill
  • Cloud farm
  • Clover field
  • Combe farm
  • Combe Martin
  • Combe Martin church
  • Combe Park
  • Combe Park farm
  • Combefoot
  • Cottage Inn
  • Countisbury
  • County Gate
  • Cow field
  • Cranscombe farm
  • Croyde
  • Culbone
  • Dame school (Rockford)
  • Deer Park
  • Deercombe
  • Derby
  • Devon red
  • Dipper’s field
  • Doone cottage
  • Doone valley
  • Downs farm, Instow
  • Dulverton
  • Dunkery Hotel
  • East Ilkerton farm
  • Edgeware Road
  • Exford
  • Exmoor Forest hotel
  • faggots
  • Farley Combe
  • Farley water
  • feather mattresses
  • Fellingscott farm
  • Ferndale school
  • ferrets
  • fish van
  • flood disaster
  • Floyd’s Tea Gardens
  • Folly (field name)
  • France
  • funeral

  • Gallipoli
  • Galloway
  • Gibraltar Cottages
  • gin trap
  • Glenthorne
  • Globe (hotel)
  • Greys, Minehead cafe
  • Hallslake farm
  • Harvest home
  • Headlow (field name)
  • hedging
  • Hillsford Bridge
  • Hoar Oak
  • Holiday Haunts
  • Holloway prison
  • Horner
  • Horner Tea Gardens
  • horse, caravan
    • hanging itself
    • getting ready
    • heavy
  • Ilkerton ridge
  • Ilfracombe
  • Isolation hospital
  • Karswood Pig Powder
  • Kyber Pass
  • Lady Lovelace’s plantation
  • Lancashire
  • Larkbarrow farm
  • Lee Corner
  • Leeford
  • Liptons
  • Llewelyn-Davis, Sylvia
  • London
  • lLower East Ilkerton farm
  • Luccombe dance
  • Lynch chapel
  • Lynch House
  • Lyncombe farm
  • Lyncrest
  • Lynmouth
  • Lynton

  • Malta
  • Marlylebone
  • Martinhoe church
  • Millslade
  • Minehead
  • miniature railway
  • mowing machine
  • music hall songs
  • mustard plaster
  • myxamatosus
  • nature rambles
  • navvies
  • needlework classes
  • New Zealand
  • Oaklands
  • Oare
  • P & O
  • Paddington
  • paddle steamer
  • Palmer’s Diaries
  • Park Corner
  • parlour songs
  • patch work quilts
  • peddler
  • picking whorts
  • Poor poor farmer' (song)
  • Porlock
    • church
    • Hill
  • Porlock Weir
  • Quarry field
  • quay
  • Queens (hotel)
  • Quennell (architect)
  • quilts
  • quoits
  • Ranscombe farm
  • reading room
  • Red Cross
  • Rock close (field name)
  • Rockford
    • pub
    • school
    • youth hostel
  • Rockford ford
  • Rushie splat (field name)
  • Rutland Gate
  • Sandhurst
  • Scobhill gate
  • Scoresdown
  • sea shanties
  • secular songs
  • Selworthy church
  • septicemia
  • Shepherd’s cott
  • Shilstone cottage
  • Shilstone farm
  • Simonsbath
  • singing
  • single furrow plough
  • Slade’s (field name)
  • Slade’s meadow
  • sleigh
  • slops pail
  • Smoke gets in your eyes’ (song)
  • song book
  • South Stock farm
  • Sparhanger farm
  • sphagnum moss
  • Staghunter pub
  • Stile field
  • stirrup pump
  • stitching corn
  • Sunday
  • superstitious
  • Sweet Rosie O'Grady' (song)
  • Swimbridge

  • tablecloths
  • Tarr steps
  • Taunton station
  • Thornworthy farm
  • threshing
  • Tippacott farm
  • Tiverton
  • Tivington
  • toilets, indoor
  • trapping
  • Troytes farm
  • Trumps, Barnstaple
  • tug-o-war
  • Twitchin farm
  • two headed chicken
  • Venniford cottages
  • Venniford steep
  • vernacular music
  • Victoria engine
  • violet rays
  • Wales
  • war
    • first
    • second
  • wash-house
  • washing lines
  • washing, basket
    • "blue"
    • boil
    • collecting
    • dirty
    • ironing
    • line
    • mangle
    • taking in
    • self
    • starch tub
  • washstand
  • Watersmeet
  • weeds
  • Week farm
  • West Ilkerton farm
  • West Somerset Free Press
  • Westaway (field name)
  • Westminster
  • When the poppies bloom again’ (song)
  • whist drive
  • Whit Sunday
  • wild flower competition
  • Williton hospital
    • Institution
    • register office
    • workhouse
  • Wilmersham farm
  • Wilsham cottage
  • Wilsham farm
  • winnowing machine
  • Withypool
  • Withypool farm
  • wool cheque
  • Wootton Courtenay
  • workhouse
  • youth hostel
  • Zanzibar

Compare Price / Buy

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

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