Dot, Dot, Dot, Dash is morse code for V and the opening rhythm of Beethoven’s 5th Symphony. During World War II it became a famous BBC theme tune, thanks to Courtenay Edward Stevens, a distinguished Oxford academic, who spent his final days in Lewis Cottage, near Colebrooke, and is buried in the village churchyard. Here Tom Davies, who knew him well, describes the extraordinary career of a much loved scholar and tutor, an authority on Roman history and wartime intelligence officer, who rubbed shoulders with J R R Tolkien and C S Lewis and inspired generations of students.
The farmhouse of Middle Hollacombe, just outside Crediton, was once home to navy commander John Kingdon, who fought alongside Nelson at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. When the current owner of Middle Hollacombe, Tom Davies, decided to research the previous occupant of his home, he discovered some fascinating stories about this Crediton man and his ship, HMS Pickle, which carried the news of victory at Trafalgar to London.
Cheriton Fitzpaine lost 14 local men to World War One. Tom Mildon died of his injuries but is not included on the village war memorial because his death occurred so long afterwards. Elly Babbedge tells his sad story.
After the Church of England was formed in the 16th Century and Protestantism became the official religion of the country, many people refused to convert and maintained their Catholic faith. This was particularly true in Devon and Cornwall, where people were frequently described as ‘popish’ because of their allegiance to the Pope. Here Dylan Bilyard describes how in 1549 Crediton became the focus of a Catholic rebellion with some terrible consequences.
In the mid 19th Century Crediton had earned a reputation for its many fires. In the second of her reports, Elly Babbedge continues to describe the succession of fires, which describes how inns, cottages and workshops were particularly susceptible to catching fire.
The great fire of Crediton in 1743, when most of the High Street was destroyed, has been well documented. But less well known are the spate of fires to hit the town in the mid 19th century. In a two part report, Elly Babbedge describes these fires and asks whether they were accidental or deliberate.
Samuel Dunn started life as a weaver in Crediton, but went on to become an eminent 18th century mathematician and astronomer. He also founded a school in Crediton which played a significant role in the education of young people until it merged with Queen Elizabeth School in the early 20th century. Elly Babbedge explores newspaper reports and other sources to tell the story of Dunn’s School.
St Lawrence Green, outside QE Academy in Crediton, is a pleasant spot to sit or a place for students to gather after school. But it was once the site of fairs, public events and even hangings. It was also the source of an ancient stream, the Litterburn.
A Facebook group for sharing old photos and memories of the Crediton area, set up in January this year, has proved so popular that it already has 3,500 members. Local history enthusiast Mike Hole, who helps run the new group, shares a rare photo which reveals a clue to one of Crediton’s great mysteries