Devon History Society Web Site

This is the old Devon History Society web site that closed in October 2016.

Please see for current news, events and other information about the Society.

Prize for archaeologist Jan Oke

The University of Exeter’s Archaeology Department has announced that a prestigious bursary set up in partnership with Fairlynch Museum, Budleigh Salterton has been awarded to Little Knowle resident Jan Oke.

Jan is the third recipient of the Angela & Tony Colmer Bursary, established to honour the husband and wife team who devoted many years as volunteers   to conserve and display artefacts in what is now the Museum’s Priscilla Carter Room. She has just completed the three-year course in Archaeology having been inspired to study the subject after taking part in local digs.

The Bursary was awarded to Jan for her work on the Ipplepen excavations in Devon, particularly for her processing and analysis of the archaeobotanical remains from the site which she wrote up for her dissertation.  Archaeobotany is the study of plant remains from archaeological sites to better understand the environmental context of past societies and how the environment was exploited and modified.

Jan, a member of the Devon Archaeological Society, gained her first experience of fieldwork when she volunteered to help with surveys on Woodbury Common as part of the Pebblebeds Project, after a talk given by Professor Chris Tilley to the Friends of Fairlynch. That was followed by working alongside professional archaeologists in a group of half a dozen volunteers keen to gain experience of digging into thousands of years of history on High Peak, near Sidmouth. But she had already experienced the thrill of making unexpected discoveries from the past when a pile of Victorian toys were found under the floorboards of her house. The result was a children’s book, Major Glad, Major Dizzy, which she wrote in 2011, following on from an earlier book Naughty Bus.

The Fairlynch team is hoping that Jan will be able to find time in her busy schedule to give the Museum the benefit of her experience in what she has obviously found to be a fascinating subject.

Michael Downes (Fairlynch Museum)

Historical Association - Exeter Branch 2016-17 Programme

Lecture Programme 2016-17

Click here for the full programme as a PDF

Stories of Diverse Communities in the First World War

Theatre Royal Plymouth - Project New Earth

On Saturday 15th of October there will be a performance by Chinese Arts Space which consist of 4
individual pieces about the Chinese Labour Coprs involvement in WW1. The pieces will commemorate the often forgotten contribution that the Chinese community made during the war and Plymouth is especially significant in this part of history as many of the Chinese Labour corps were based in Plymouth and some are buried at Efford cemetery.

Tickets for the performance at FREE but must be booked in advance due to limited capacity. 

Tickets can be booked online, over the phone or at the Theatre Royal Box office.

Friends of All Saints Church, East Budleigh, Autumn / Winter 2016 Talks

Wednesday 12th October: 'Scenes from East Budleigh's Past' by Sue Pyne. The talk will be in the East Budleigh Village Hall.
Using slides given to her by the late Mr. Percy Lee, Sue gave this talk in November 2006 – it was so popular it was repeated in 2007! Sue has updated the material and will cover fire, flood, carnivals, home guard, village band … and much more.

Wednesday 2nd November: “The Life and Loves of Samuel Pepys” by Tony Venning in East Budleigh Village Hall.
Cultured, intellectually curious and unashamedly hedonistic, Samuel Pepys is justly famous as the author of the world’s greatest diary (also as being something of a lothario – albeit a rather timorous one!). Throughout his life he had an uncanny knack of being present at the very times and places where history was being made, from Interregnum, Restoration and the Glorious Revolution.
Through sheer hard work, commitment and personal charm, this remarkable man rose from humble beginnings to become Head of the Admiralty and a personal confidant to Charles ll and James ll, and who numbered amongst his friends the greatest intellects of his day.

Note: Tony Venning is a member of The Samuel Pepys Club and considers his talk unsuitable for children below the age of 12.

Thursday 1st December: “The Portinari altarpiece” by Maggie Giraud in East Budleigh Church Hall.
The talk on the Portinari altarpiece is to be given by Maggie Giraud, a local art historian, who has lived in the village for four years.  The topic is appropriately seasonal as the subject of the C15 altarpiece is the Adoration of the Shepherds, which now hangs in the Uffizi.   She will trace the history of the painting, the commission, the people involved and how the finished work was transported by sea from Bruges to Florence. As well as talking Maggie, will also encourage the audience to contemplate the picture quietly themselves.

The cost of each talk is £3.00 and drinks will be available. All the talks start at 19:30.

The Devon - Newfoundland Story

 In the first two weeks of April 2017, the Devonshire Association, working with the Devon Family History Society, is celebrating nearly 600 years of contact and interaction between Devon and Newfoundland.

See the flyer here