Crediton is a bustling market-town. Its large and fertile parish contained a number of ancient mansions and fertile estates, including Downes, the seat of the Bullers.
The parish church of Holy Cross is one of the finest town churches in Devon, a splendid red sandstone building. Crediton first appears in history as the birthplace of Winfrith or (as he is more generally known) St. Boniface c.680, who is in some respects the greatest man Devon has ever produced, in my opinion.
The woollen industry in the early 16th century brought the most prosperous days. The fire of 14 August 1743 destroyed 460 houses and the West Town. Like most old market-towns, Crediton began to decay seriously when the railway came in 1851 and nothing has happened since to disturb its slumber.
W.G. Hoskins on Buckfastleigh
The Stories of Crediton
Listen to "Crediton History" by Jim Causley
Kirsty Eliza 1851
The Nursery, Downes, 30th June 1851
How is married life treating you? I cannot sleep, so I write this by the light of a candle stub, and have put my bloomers along the door crack so that Miss Peterson – that’s the Governess – will not see the light. Don’t want to get in trouble my first week……read more
Listen to "Prayerbook Rebellion" by Jim Causley
Kirsty Eliza, Summer 1851
The Nursery, Downes, 21st July 1851
What larks at the fair! And, fingers crossed, I’ve not got in hot water. Though that scamp Redvers forgot to push closed the window I left unlocked for him, and if Governess had seen his bed empty, I’d have been for it. When I saw her with Hatherleigh at the whirligig stall I nearly died. Didn’t recognise her at first with her hair all loose in ringlets, thank goodness our brothers pulled Redvers out of sight behind the gypsy carts. Though I’ll never forgive them for giving him a cup of cider. He looked quite green at breakfast…..read more
“Bread Riot Song”?
Listen to the "Bread Riot Song" by Jim Causley
Kirsty Eliza, Winter 1854
The Nursery, Downes, 7th January 1854
How is it in the town? Up here at Downes, we are forbidden to talk of the riots. When I look out at the pristine blanket of snow over the eaves of the servant’s wing, barely a bird in flight in this bitter cold, it is hard to imagine windows smashed and rocks thrown in anger. I hope mother wasn’t scared and the boys had no part in it. Wicked to break a shop window when such as our father will work all year to make the damage good…..read more
“Adam's Hardware Shop”?
Listen to the "Adam's Hardware Shop" by Jim Causley
Kirsty Eliza, Summer 1854
Servants dining hall, Downes, 10th July 1854
How is my little nephew? I cannot wait to see him next month. And what tittle tattle I shall have for ye. I am now waiting in the dining room and you catches all manner of gossip, though I don’t half get leary looking at the food. Mistress Buller nearly spat out her haddock smokey yesterday morning my tummy rumbled so loud…..read more
“Exeter Kirton Canal”?
Listen to the "Exeter Kirton Canal" by Jim Causley
Kirsty Eliza, Winter 1879
Downes, Housekeeper’s Office, 3rd February 1879
In haste – I have a new maid starting, and must put a coin under the nursery rug to test her honesty.
Did you see young master Redvers in the Times? – I must stop calling him that now he is a major-but you get my drift. He is to be awarded the Victoria Cross for valour under fire against the Zulus, in the battle of Hlobane, where our armies were defeated. Not for long though. He beat the Zulus at the battle of Kambula the very next day. Reckon all that birching at Eton gave him a stubborn streak….read more