Life

Life, Humour, Recipes. Please feel free to comment, your input is valuable and always responded to.

More Local Views – Haytor and Widecombe-In-The-Moor

Posted by cotojo on March 3, 2009

Over last weekend my daughter came to stay and as the weather was dry we decided to go to Dartmoor.  Now, Dartmoor is a wide open expanse  of moorland in the centre of Devon, England and is protected by National Park status, it covers 368 square miles (953 square km).

Firstly, we drove out through the village of Bovey Tracey and headed up the winding country lanes that lead to Haytor.

Haytor seen from the car park

Haytor seen from the car park

Haytor

Haytor

Haytor or Hay Tor is a granite tor on Dartmoor and has a height of 457 metres and is situated right on the eastern side of the moor, providing excellent views of the coastline, the Teign estuary and the rolling countryside between, with the ridge of Haldon behind. It is near the village of Haytor Vale in the parish of Ilsington and until the late 18th century Haytor was known as Itterdown.

Adjacent Haytor Rocks

Adjacent Haytor Rocks

Haytor and the adjacent Haytor Rocks, is a natural beauty spot popular with coach parties and walking groups.  The granite here is of a particularly high quality and there are several disused quarries near the tor, the rock being transported by the Haytor Granite Tramway to the Stover Canal.

Quarry Face

Quarry Face

Inside Quarry Basin

Inside Quarry Basin

The tramway itself was built out of the granite it would carry,much of which remains visible today.  Granite from the quarry was also used in the construction of London Bridge which was opened in 1831, but by 1962 the bridge was sinking and had to be replaced. The last rock was quarried here in 1919 and it was used for the Exeter war memorial.

Piles of Granite Blocks from Quarry

Piles of Granite Blocks from Quarry

Haytor on left looking over the Teign Valley

Haytor on left looking over the Teign Valley

View to West over Dartmoor

View to West over Dartmoor

After walking back down to the car park we drove on to Widecombe-In-The-Moor which is probably best known for Widecombe Fair, held annually and celebrated by a well-known folksong of the same name, featuring ‘Old Uncle Tom Cobley and All’.

Widecombe-In-The-Moor

Widecombe-In-The-Moor from Widecombe Hill

Widecombe-In-The-Moor sign depicting Uncle Tom Cobley and All

Widecombe-In-The-Moor sign depicting Uncle Tom Cobley and All

The church of St Pancras is known as the ‘Cathedral of the Moors’ in recognition of its 120 foot tower and relatively large capacity for such a small village. The church was originally built in the fourteenth century using locally quarried granite and was enlarged over the following two centuries, partly on the proceeds of the local tin mining trade.

The church clock tower

The church clock tower

Inside, the ceiling is decorated with a large number of decorative roof bosses, including the tinner’s emblem of a circle of three hares (known locally as the Tinners’ Rabbits).

The church was badly damaged in the Great Thunderstorm of 1638, apparently struck by ball lightning during a severe thunderstorm. An afternoon service was taking place at the time, and the building was packed with aaround 300 worshippers. Four of them were killed and some 60 injured. According to local legend, the Great Thunderstorm was caused by the village being visited by the Devil.

The Church bell clappers from 1638

The Church bell clappers from 1638

In Widecombe churchyard is the grave of novelist Beatrice Chase who spent much of her life in a cottage close to the village. Her real name was Olive Katharine Parr, and she claimed to be a direct descendant of William Parr, the brother of Catherine, the sixth wife of Henry VIII.  Chase was often referred to as ‘The Lady of the Moor’ following the publication of John Oxenham’s novel in which she was the heroine. The book was called My Lady of the Moor, and she simply adopted the title.

Headstone of Beatrice Chase -The Lady In The Moor

Headstone of Beatrice Chase -The Lady In The Moor

She died in 1955, and was buried in Widecombe churchyard. The small granite cross on her grave is inscribed with Beatrice Chase on one side and Olive Katharine Parr on the other.

Reverse side of Beatrice Chase headstone

Reverse side of Beatrice Chase headstone

The village is very small, but locals would walk for many miles over the open moorland from other hamlets to attend church, and the pathways across the moor can still be seen and are also used by many walkers. Even now, it has around 196 households.

The village is full of old buildings and one of the earliest signs of a settlement is the Saxon Well, which is said to never run dry.  One of the most picturesque wells in Devon, even if its antiquity is disputed. Located downhill from the centre of the village, just below the old post office this charming little well is known variously as ‘Holy’, ‘Wishing’ and most commonly ‘Saxon Well’, although no one really knows how old it is. More recently coins have been thrown in and  a door was fitted.

Saxon Well

Saxon Well

Inside the Well

Inside the Well

The lyrics of Devon’s best known folk song tell a simple enough story, seven men and a grey mare set off for Widecombe Fair, but before completing their journey the old horse becomes sick and dies.  People from mid-Devon would have travelled to the annual livestock sale at Widecombe at the end of every summer to trade their goods for sheep and it is this cross-country journey that is described in the lyrics of the song.

The song lyrics, in full:

Tom Pearce, Tom Pearce, lend me your grey mare.
All along, down along, out along lee.
For I want for to go to Widecombe Fair,
With Bill Brewer, Jan Stewer, Peter Gurney,
Peter Davy, Dan’l Whiddon, Harry Hawke,
Old Uncle Tom Cobley and all,
Old Uncle Tom Cobley and all.

And when shall I see again my grey mare?
All along, down along, out along lee.
By Friday soon, or Saturday noon,
With Bill Brewer, Jan Stewer, Peter Gurney,
Peter Davy, Dan’l Whiddon, Harry Hawke,
Old Uncle Tom Cobley and all,
Old Uncle Tom Cobley and all.

So they harnessed and bridled the old grey mare.
All along, down along, out along lee.
And off they drove to Widecombe fair,
With Bill Brewer, Jan Stewer, Peter Gurney,
Peter Davy, Dan’l Whiddon, Harry Hawke,
Old Uncle Tom Cobley and all,
Old Uncle Tom Cobley and all.

Then Friday came, and Saturday noon.
All along, down along, out along lee.
But Tom Pearce’s old mare hath not trotted home,
With Bill Brewer, Jan Stewer, Peter Gurney,
Peter Davy, Dan’l Whiddon, Harry Hawke,
Old Uncle Tom Cobley and all,
Old Uncle Tom Cobley and all.

So Tom Pearce he got up to the top o’ the hill.
All along, down along, out along lee.
And he seed his old mare down a-making her will,
With Bill Brewer, Jan Stewer, Peter Gurney,
Peter Davy, Dan’l Whiddon, Harry Hawke,
Old Uncle Tom Cobley and all,
Old Uncle Tom Cobley and all.

So Tom Pearce’s old mare, her took sick and died.
All along, down along, out along lee.
And Tom he sat down on a stone, and he cried
With Bill Brewer, Jan Stewer, Peter Gurney,
Peter Davy, Dan’l Whiddon, Harry Hawke,
Old Uncle Tom Cobley and all,
Old Uncle Tom Cobley and all.

But this isn’t the end o’ this shocking affair.
All along, down along, out along lee.
Nor, though they be dead, of the horrid career
Of Bill Brewer, Jan Stewer, Peter Gurney,
Peter Davy, Dan’l Whiddon, Harry Hawke,
Old Uncle Tom Cobley and all,
Old Uncle Tom Cobley and all.

When the wind whistles cold on the moor of the night.
All along, down along, out along lee.
Tom Pearce’s old mare doth appear ghastly white,
With Bill Brewer, Jan Stewer, Peter Gurney,
Peter Davy, Dan’l Whiddon, Harry Hawke,
Old Uncle Tom Cobley and all,
Old Uncle Tom Cobley and all.

And all the long night be heard skirling and groans.
All along, down along, out along lee.
From Tom Pearce’s old mare in her rattling bones,
With Bill Brewer, Jan Stewer, Peter Gurney,
Peter Davy, Dan’l Whiddon, Harry Hawke,
Old Uncle Tom Cobley and all,
Old Uncle Tom Cobley and all.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Add to Technorati Favorites

Join My Community at MyBloglog!

About these ads

11 Responses to “More Local Views – Haytor and Widecombe-In-The-Moor”

  1. Jeanette Woolley said

    Thank you for such interesting photos. My Hawkes ancestors came from Haytor Vale. Wish I could visit England.

  2. cotojo said

    AngelBaby – It is pretty out in the countryside, wide open spaces and panoramic views…..but only when the weather is good.
    Hope all is well my dear friend,
    Love, hugs and Blessings,
    Colin

  3. cotojo said

    Lisa – I like the pics too, and Dartmoor has so many different areas to explore with wonderful views.
    Hope you are well,
    Take care my dear friend.
    hugggggssss
    Colin

  4. cotojo said

    Diane – I love exploring Dartmoor, preferably when the weather is good or it can be quite bleak :)
    I shall have to venture in your direction sometime soon too and visit my aunt and uncle in Bournemouth.
    Hope you are well,
    Take care my dear friend,
    Colin

  5. AngelBaby said

    Love all the pictures, it is really pretty there. Sounds like you had a great trip.

    Love and Blessings,
    AngelBaby

  6. Sophiagurl said

    wow! I love the pictures! very cool. Missed you my friend. How are you doing?

  7. Diane said

    What an interesting post, Colin, with gorgeous photographs. I must go exploring. It’s not so far from me yet I have never been there, I shall have to remedy that :-)

  8. cotojo said

    Tammy – It is beautiful, the views are magnificent and Dartmoor has so many hidden places to explore too.
    Take care sweetie and have a great day
    Huggss
    Colin

  9. cotojo said

    Dennis – It’s a lovely part of the country to live in with many small villages and hamlets scattered around Dartmoor.
    Have a great day,
    Colin

  10. Tammy said

    That looks like something out of a King Arthur movie. It’s beautiful!

  11. Very very cool photos. You are making me want to take a trip to England.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

%d bloggers like this: