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The Angel Hotel is amongst the oldest known pubs in the village, with the old Mr Pullen recollecting in conversation with Mrs Baker, that he remembered the original Angel burning down in about 1830. He also recalled it as being thatched, and similar in height to the house next door, this being the cottage known as Paradise. Assuming this is correct, then the proprietors of The Angel at the time obviously took the opportunity to rebuild their old thatched premises in the form it is today to attract the passing coaching trade which was just beginning to grow, and this proved an even better move with the coming of the Turnpike road in 1840. No record of the innkeeper at the time has yet been found, but directories covering the next 50 years record that in 1850 John Brawn was shown as Inn Keeper and carpenter, whilst that of 1878 shows Alfred Pennington was the Innkeeper, and lists the Angel as 'Posting Inn, Commercial and Family'. The directory of 1893 listed James Baker as the tenant of the Angel Posting House, whilst that of 1906 showed Edward Elworthy as the Inn Keeper. However, in 1907, Mr W Baker took over the tenancy, and it was to remain in his family until 1967.

Mr W. Baker came to Witheridge in 1900, and took over the Blacksmiths in Church Street from Charles Baker, but when the tenancy for the Angel became available to let in 1907, Mrs Baker convinced her husband to apply. They were successful and went on to hold the tenancy until 1937. Before 1914, Starkey, Knight and Fords brewer's drays used to deliver beer pulled by Shire horses, and the Hogsheads of cider used to come in from Bradford Barton.

By around 1917, the Baker family had grown to seven children, with the two sons, William and Leslie away on war service, and the daughters Hetty, Olive, Cora, Stella and Ruby living at home.

Olive, who born in the Angel remembers that as a child they used to have to cut up sugar with sugar cutters, for "the grog" for which "stirrers" were provided, these had barley sugar twist stems, and a glass knob on top. They also had to trim 14 lamps, clean the reflectors and lamp globes, and then fill them with oil. All this took place on a bench in the kitchen, covered in newspaper. They also had to clean off the grease on the candlesticks with soda and water. If the children had any spare time in the autumn they would take an old sack bag down to the Marshes at New Bridge for acorns, which they took up to old Mr Amos Maire at Ditchetts were he kept a dairy and a pig.

As children brought up in the Angel, they were "never allowed out to play" and Olive recalls one of her sisters saying, "Mother never educated us, she only 'learnt' us the scrubbing brush. When Mrs Baker first went to the Angel, she used to make 30 Christmas puddings at a time "in the furnace where she boiled the clothes." For ploughing match dinners, "Mr Selley used to bring 40lb rounds of beef" and "the village people used to come round for the dripping". The Welford family, a travelling theatrical company, used to stay at the Angel and put on a show each night. "Sometimes it was a play, sometimes a series of turns such as "tunes on glasses" or "tunes on canes hanging down from a frame".

Many men used to start the day by calling into the Angel at 6am for a pint or quart of cider. Some heavy drinking took place, and often Mr Baker would 'jump the counter' and try to get the fathers to go home to their families once he thought they had had enough. Some of the women round the Drank used to break out and drink, and the pins would come out of their hair, and it would draggle down. Some would cross the Square in their flannelette nightdresses to buy drink to take home and drink in bed. The room above the Angel was the only room in the village big enough to hold dances. The usual thing was to have a whist drive first, then roll back the tables for dancing. It was only a three-piece band, and I do not seem to remember much about it, as I was a bit of a wallflower when it came to dancing. However, I do remember that one of the village bakers, Frank Kingdom I think, played the drums.

Olive's father, William Baker had purchased a model T Ford, obviously second hand, as it was a 1913 Model of 23HP, and with wooden spoked wheels. He also took a keen interest in parochial affairs, and served as a member of the Parish Council. In 1937, after running the Angel for 30 years, William and his wife retired to Exmouth to live, leaving their daughter Ruby and her husband Mr Bill Buchanan to take over tenancy of the Angel. They continued to run the business until 1967, making nearly 60 years in the same family. To provide out of hours petrol, Bill Buchanan installed a Petrol pump in the yard at the back of the Angel.

In February 1939, the Tiverton Gazette dated 7 February 1939 announced the death of Mr William Baker.

The recollections of Mrs Olive Vernon, were recorded by Mr and Mrs Tout and John Usmar.

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Last Edited 03/07/2006    Copyright © 2000-2006 Witheridge

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