Introduction to Whimple
W.G. Hoskins –
Scattered about the county are isolated Celtic names which show that the Romano-British population of Devon were not entirely upland dwellers. There are two Crookes, one in North Tawton, the other in Combe Raleigh, both in low-lying country. The hamlet of Aunk, in Clyst Hydon parish, certainly has a Celtic name: it lies on a low spur of land in the valley of the river Clyst, about two miles north of Whimple, which is also a Celtic name meaning “white/holy pool or stream”. There can be little doubt that most of these Celtic names designate hamlets and farmsteads which were continuously occupied from Celtic times into the period of the Saxon settlement, when they were left undisturbed, and so down to the present day. When we stand in such places as this we are in the presence of a remote antiquity, going back to the days of the Celtic kingdom of Dumnonia. On this spot farmers have lived and tilled the soil since the 5th, 6th or 7th centuries, if not earlier in some instances, for Aunk and Whimple lie in the shadow of Hembury, that great fortress of the early Iron Age which was abandoned for the lower ground in the first century of the Christian era.
W.G. Hoskins 25th January 1954.
The Stories of Whimple
“Natives - Whimple”?
Listen to "Natives - Whimple" by Jim Causley
Antonius AD 69
to his father and lord Claudius Agrippus October AD 69
Firstly, I hope you are in good health and things go well for you, my mother and our favourite slaves. A letter-writer pens this for me and I must trust his scrawl will be legible to your eye.
I thank Jupiter for the good fortune I have had so far in this strange wet country. The constant rain has brought mouldering feet and Bronchitiis to many a fine centurion in our legion. How I long for the sunny uplands of Apulia though I trust the work I do here will bring me rapid promotion in Vespasian’s army and prosperity to the family……read more
Residents talk about the tradition of Wassail in the village
Wassail by Jim Causley
Emma Baldwin – Wassail 1098
Whimple Manor, 18th day of Januarye Anno Domine 1098
From Emma Baldwin, widowe of Sheriff Baldwin, to her cherished systers in Normandie:
No man may my sorwe glade
That maketh my hewe to falleth and fade
And hath my understondynge lorne
That me ys wo that I was born
The essay to settle in these crewel lands
Doth make me to wringe mine snow-whyte hands
So overfed the peasants be
Just FIVE days they worke for me
And TWO whole days are at libertye
To cultivate their shared land – two acres or three!
From which they feed their rotten familyes
After – in troth I’m not mistaken –
A mere three quarters in taxes are taken!…..
“WW1 - Lads in their Hundreds ”?
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Nurse Sheasby 1921
15th January 1921
So I am settled in Whimple. As settled as a body can be when they can’t find a comfortable side to sleep on.
Would you like to know what my first pay packet was spent on? Not dusters, polish and trinkets as befit a lady moving to her first professional lodging, but the following: ……read more
Nurse Sheasby 1927
18th June 1927
It is with some sadness I write to tell you I am retiring my bicycle. The parish has purchased me a fine Austin 7 motor and George King of King’s garage is teaching me to drive it. He will persist in telling me women have no judgement with distance, but I should like to see him measuring dilation with nothing but his middle and index finger…..read more
“Justice and Hanging”?
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The Murder of PC Potter
Sentence of death was passed by Mr Justice Hawke at the Old Bailey yesterday on Stanley Clarence George Martin, 27 years old emploee at the Whimple Cider factory of Messrs Whiteway and co., who was found guilty of the murder of Constable John Tremlett Potter of Devon Constabulary, on February 2. Standing alone in the huge dock, save for a warder on either side, Martin heard the verdict unmoved. He stood stiffly at attention, his whole body motionless and his head erect, gazing straight at the judge. “The verdict which the jury have returned against you leaves me no alternative as to what I must do.” It was the judge’s fatal prelude to the death sentence, which he immediately pronounced without further comment. It ended, “May the Lord have mercy on your soul.’ Standing on the left of his lordship, the prison chaplain said “Amen.’
Martin had scarcely moved a muscle. He turned about. A warder held an arm. Martin went down the steps to the cells perhaps with the jury’s recommendation to mercy in his mind.read more
“The Wonderful Women of Whimple”?
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Nurse Sheasby, 1938
Bridge Cottage, Whimple, 13th March 1938
What a week. Six babies and Hitler has annexed Austria.
I’m so blessed to do the job I do, greeting new life when sometimes there seems to be so much death. Poor Alfred Breyley is still cast down from the loss of his wife, Ellen. I almost miss his outright impudence and overbearing familiarity as there’s scarce a smile on his lips one week to the next and he won’t look me in the eye. His jibes about beeswax and dangerous driving have stopped altogether…..
“Old Uncle Whiteway”?
Listen to "Old Uncle Whiteway" by Jim Causley
Listen to "Old Uncle Whiteway - Continued" by Jim Causley
Herbert Breyley, 1995
Three Gables, Aylesbeare, 10th March 1995
I know you are not there to read these letters, but I can’t seem to help writing them. I watched you write to your own mother week in week out. Perhaps if I read it aloud you will hear it up on your cloud where I hope you are scattering cherubs in every direction in an astral version of your Austin 7. Have you joined forces with my other mother yet? I hope the pair of you are giving Dad merry hell……read more