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(ET)'s family were at Hale Barton and Billhole, before moving to Dart Raffe in 1909, where (ET) was born in 1918, whilst (RT)'s family were at Woodburn (East Anstey), where (RT) was born in 1908, before moving to Summer in 1918. (ET) went to "the Lower School" and used to have her dinner in Trawin's the woolstapler's (now occupied by Mr and Mrs Tout.) Wool was also in Trawin's Linhay (now in ruins in Newbridge Mill Road). Carts used to deliver wool to the linhay from the back, from the quarry track. The two schools were great rivals and the point in Trafalgar Square now marked by the "Halt" sign was the boundary between them, as far as the rivalry was concerned. The schools played each other at football once a year in a field beyond the Manse. A school van driven by a horse driven by "Down from Newland," went out as far as The Old Toll Gate on the Rackenford road, and brought children in, including from Creacombe. Sometimes, some of the children used to come out of Sunday School and go down to the Mill leat and "shut one fender and let out the other fender" and let the water out to catch the trout. When they got caught they were "larrupped."

In the 1920's and 1930's for two or three months at a time, a canvas tent was erected in The Square, between Stonehouse and The Angel. It seated about 50 people and showed silent films. "Old films that were throw outs with lines going up and down the screen." In addition, travelling players (like the Tylers) put on plays like "Murder in the Red barn" and there were local step dancing competitions and concerts, and Joe Churchill always took part. "He didn't have a bad voice," "he was always a comedian," "if there was any trouble, Joe was there." Bill Vernon used to play the piano for the silent films. RT and his family used to go on outings to Ilfracombe from Anstey Station, they used to go to Tiverton from Dulverton Station.

Transport in the 1930's: On one occasion, a party including (RT), Steven Selley, Archie Nott and Bill Churchill) left Tiverton Junction at a quarter to two in the morning and were in Liverpool by a quarter to seven and had breakfast by the river and were at Aintree by nine o'clock. Another member of the party was Steven Burrows (RT)'s step brother) who didn't like the Mersey ferry and kept saying "bloody thing will sink, bloody thing will sink." RT. had a motorbike for years, once he had a side valve 500 and rode it to a standstill. Riding a motorbike "spoilt me for driving a car." (RT) rarely drove a car as he didn't like being shut in. (RT) recalls riding through the snow to a concert at North Molton with (ET) on the pillion and says "if you can ride a horse hunting, you can ride a motorbike."

There used to be Point to Points, and skittles matches. If people "weren't very well when they left, they were a good deal worse when they got back" as there was little springing. Hats used to get shaken or blown off. Once "Old Frank Maunder's straw hat went over the side and was never seen again."

Tiverton Roller Mills had Sentinels. when the Tarr family moved from Woodburn, Archie Nott moved them with a traction engine and two stone trailers. (RT)'s mother's butter went to Barnstaple by bus, they took it to Coombe Tree and it went on the bus to Drayford, South Molton and Barnstaple.

Dick Cox's father lived at Mill Cottage. Muxeries was a place where malting was carried out. The barn at Dart Raffe is framed with curved trees from ground level. Tiles from the house are in a "Cornwall museum," but (RT) still has one. Dart Raffe farmhouse had plaster ceilings. There was a long connection of Tremayne family with Dart Raffe.

Old blind Hooper (Directory 1930 - Piano Tuner, The Square) made bee-skips "with a bung cork in the top." They used to rub the inside with treacle and broad bean leaves and put them out to attract bees, often someone else's. "Used to run after them with a pestle and mortar, making a noise to get them down." Bert Knight kept them and others did until "Isle of Wight disease came and wiped them out." (RT) always sent his honey to Ilfracombe.

Tumulus on Dart Raffe Moor: There is a spring by one of these that rises from the stones and runs clear; there is a "stone ring" about three feet in diameter "like a well." It is a place which never gets rushy.

The first tractor in the neighbourhood was perhaps the one bought by Oliver at Hele about 1925. Charlie Singleton had an early one and cut corn with a binder on contract. He lived at Rackenford and his mother kept the Froude Arms at Knowstone. He had an Austin tractor with a portable saw bench. Later he had a single cylinder Marshall. "He swore terrible, nobody could swear about nothing like him." Once he went out to Middlewick "to cut grass for Maunder" with a new mower and got nearly round the first time when he mowed into a set of chain harrows left in the grass. Swearing, he "drove straight out of the field and didn't come back."

Blackford's sawed timber at Black Dog with a steam engine, Barney Jenkins (the founder of the present firm of contractors at Bickleigh) used to buy timber and send a gang round stripping the oak bark off for tanning. The trees would then be taken away with timber wagons. It was three horses to each wagon, but six would be needed up a steep hill. To get the trunks up, they used planks and rolled them up with chains. "Couldn't they shout, them! Couldn't they swear! but they loved their horses."

When Drayford Mill finished, one way for corn to be taken to Witheridge Mill was up the hill, past West Yeo, along "New Cut," across the main road (A373), along what is now signposted as a public footpath, down past dart Raffe to the Mill.

There used to be a right-of-way from Drayford Mill up through Brown's Wood to Summer.

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

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