Meeth lies above a bend in the River Torridge near the confluence with the Ockment. It was mentioned in the Domesday Book, so there was an established community before the Normans came. It is likely that Meeth was one of the early Christian communities in North Devon. Ancient records mention landowners by the names of Giffard and Fryes whose names live on in two farms within the parish. There are still six working farms within Meeth, but no longer the diversity of businesses mentioned in 1890 when there were 9 farmers; a shoemaker; 2 shopkeepers; blacksmith; a carpenter, wheelwright and machine maker; a victualer (the landlord of the New Inn) and a tailor. Some of the censuses around that time also mention glove makers, presumably homeworkers, associated with the businesses in Great Torrington. Today the inn is the Bull and Dragon, the name having been changed recently, presumably not for the first time in its history, as many New Inns were formerly the King or Queen's Head which it was diplomatic to change during the time of the Commonwealth under Cromwell. The building however is very old and decorative with its thatched roof. The other businesses in the village are the the headquarters of a coach firm, a small nursery and 2 homes offering bed and breakfast. The clay works which extracted ball clay from extensive pits in the village sadly closed a few years ago. They had been started at the beginning of the twentieth century by local residents and became very successful, exporting the quite rare ball clay as far as America. For a time, the clay was mined, but then open cast works were used. The railway made transport much easier and the link continued for some years after the passenger service ceased. Today, Meeth Halt is the start of an attractive part of the Tarka Trail heading north towards Great Torrington and Bideford. The trail for walkers and bike riders goes through the woods and fields of the beautiful north Devon countryside, eventually going along the River Torridge made famous in the book Tarka the Otter.
The church is in the centre of this village which straggles along the A386, 3 miles north of Hatherleigh. A cobbled path, made in 1818 from Torridge river pebbles by the French prisoners from Dartmoor prison at the time of the Napoleonic wars, leads past old lime trees to the early Norman porch. The church too changed its name and patron saint at some time from St. John to St. Michael and All Angels. The porch has a remarkable roof with molded ribs and carved bosses, and the door too is old, probably twelfth century. The church has been altered over time, the roof with its interesting bosses is fifteenth century, the altar rails and pulpit and font cover are probably Jacobean, and a huge and clearly very necessary restoration was undertaken at the end of the nineteenth century, when the sanctuary and vestry were added and the floor tiled. The tower has needed considerable repairs over the years - in 1692 it was apparently in danger of falling down. Most recently in the 1990s the tower was re-pointed and the four bells restored. The second and third are from the Exeter foundry about 1400 and are inscribed Ave Maria and Ave Maria Gracia. The treble and tenor are both dated 1714 cast by Stadler. The treble has the inscription "ring me round, I'll sweetly sound." They are rung regularly for services and practices are at 7.30 pm on a Friday evening to which anyone is welcome. The most remarkable treasure in the church is the large plaster Coat of Arms dated 1704 from the reign of Queen Anne, created it is thought by John Abbot of Frithelstock and recently restored so that the fine workmanship can be appreciated. What may become a treasure of the future is the Millennium Plaque: a needlework picture showing many of the houses and special places in the village surrounded by tiles of local clay. These were decorated by Meeth children with illustrations of what they thought important to remember at the millennium and fired by a local potter. The needlework was done by Meeth ladies and the frame by a resident craftsman. The churchyard has many fine gravestones, some of them listed.
Meeth Guild meets every third Tuesday of the month at 7.30 pm in the Village Hall for talks and demonstrations to which anyone is welcome. The trustees of the Village Hall organize events during the year such as skittles evenings, quiz nights, car treasure hunt and barbecue and these are advertised in the Parish Pump and the Post Office. The harvest supper is also held in the Village Hall, usually the last Friday in September following harvest evensong in the church. Other events in the village are organized from time to time, an annual one being the fete and dog show in aid of the church and with a portion of the proceeds going to a charity .
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Farmer’s Carol Service -
Hatherleigh Cattle Market
Friday 13 December @ 7.30pm
Carols led by Hatherleigh Silver Band
Speaker Simon Walsh (Originally from Northern Ireland, Simon lived in Devon for four years and now lives in Derbyshire, where he works among farmers helping with shearing, lambing and general farm labour. He also works at Bakewell Livestock Market, and keeps about sixty sheep of his own.)
Special singing by Bodmin Community Church Praise Group
Soup & Rolls, Tea & Mince Pies served
(Soup & Rolls from 7pm, Tea & Mince Pies afterwards)
Free Admission, Everyone Welcome
For further details contact Ian & Hazel Gilkinson (Faith Mission) on 01566-783512 / 075-38363210
Donations after expenses will be given to Faith Mission & Farming Community Network
On Friday 13th of December at 6.30 p.m. please don't forget the Xmas Village Hall Concert, all our local Talent and then a good Sing a Long with Carols after refreshments and the fantastic Draw.
Soup & Pud lunch -
There is a Soup & Pud lunch in Old Schools, Hatherleigh, on Saturday 14th December at 1pm. All home made and utterly delicious, followed by tea or coffee. £6 per person.
So we can cater for everyone, please buy your tickets before the day from the Post Office-Hair Studio or Jo Barrett (01837 810 535 or 07967382265)
In aid of Shelter Box
Soup and Pud Lunch -
Soup & Pud (all home made and delicious) for Shelter Box/ Philippines Disaster Relief on Saturday 14th December @ 1.00pm. Old Schools Tickets are £6.00 each. If you can make it (or if you can't and would still like to make a contribution) call Jo on 01837810535.
Hatherleigh Handbell Ringers -
On the 16th December at 7pm, the Hatherleigh Hand Bell Ringers are coming to perform at the Nursing Home and we would like to be able to publicise it to the wider community so that others can come along and enjoy the performance.
Cinema Club -
The next scheduled date for Hatherleigh Cinema is 18 December, however this is very close to Christmas and most members will be involved in seasonal activities. The December meeting is therefore cancelled. Members with paid up subscriptions will not loose out as their subscription period will be extended by a month. We wish all our members seasonal greetings.
Christmasvice Carol Ser -
CHRISTMAS CAROL SERVICE
20TH DECEMBER 2013
Join us in our
Choir in the pub -
The December meeting will be held on Thursday 4 at 2.30pm for the Christmas party. On January 2 the meeting will again be at 2.30pm and the speaker will be Stuart Dowle from Quicke's Farm and will talk about cheese making. Both meetings will be held in Exbourne village halChurch Choir
On Friday 20 December the St.Mary's Church Choir will be assembling at the Red Lion at 6.00pm. Anyone who enjoys carols and would like to join in singing around the village are very welcome. Words will be supplied so all you need to do turn up on the night. We recommend that you dress warmly and bring a torch. After singing round the village, we will return to the Red Lion and sing carols inside. The charities chosen are the Devon Air Ambulance and Children's Hospice South West. The choir will also be singing at St.Mary's Church Carol Service at 6.30pm on Sunday 15 December.
l and everyone welcome to attend.
Walrus Dip -
Following the success of the 27th dip last New Years Day when over £3,600 was raised for the Children’s Centre and the Gospel Choir, 1 Jan 2014 will see the Walruses take to the banks of the River Lew and thence into the murky depths of the river itself for a long 5 minute dip.
The recipients this year are Hatherleigh Youth Football, Hatherleigh Players and Hatherleigh Festival, all of whom are in need of funding for their various projects. It is hoped that we can raise close to £4,000 this year.
What better on New Year’s Day but to come down to the bottom of Town and support the intrepid dippers (some would say crazy dippers), watch their take on the events of World War 1 - 100 years on from the start of this momentous world changing event.
Fun and frolics continue after the dip in the cricket club where the bar will be open, food will be served (1st come 1st served though – it goes quick). Its not a long do – we hope to be all home by 6.00 probably wrapped up by the fire!
The event starts at 2.45 with the actual dip at approx 3.00. Come and support the event – YOUR WALRUSES NEED YOU.
Exbourne WI -
The December meeting will be held on Thursday 4 at 2.30pm for the Christmas party. On January 2 the meeting will again be at 2.30pm and the speaker will be Stuart Dowle from Quicke's Farm and will talk about cheese making. Both meetings will be held in Exbourne village hall and everyone welcome to attend.
Exbourne Gardening Club -
Following the open meeting on 14th November the newly formed Exbourne Gardening Club will hold our first meeting on Tuesday 7th January 2014 in the Village Hall at 7.30 p.m. As we have very little experience of organising a Gardening Club we are very pleased that Susan Gill from Hatherleigh Gardening Club has agreed to come to this meeting to give us some hints and tips on how we might get started and also to explore opportunities for the two clubs to work together. The meeting is open to anyone who likes gardening whether you are just starting out or have been getting compost under your finger nails for decades !
There will also be a Singalong on Tuesday January 7th at 3.00pm.
Commencing Thursday 9th January 2.pm. - 3.pm in the village hall. It will be suitable for all ages. Further details can be obtained from Janet Chapman 01837 810171
History Society -
There will be no meeting in December but on Monday January 13th 2014 at 7:30pm in Old Schools, David Ramsden from the Barn Owl Trust will be giving an illustrated talk entitled ‘Restoring the Balance’. This will be a joint meeting with Highampton History Group.
Cinema Club -
The next Hatherleigh Cinema will be on 15 January, as always at 730pm on the third Wednesday in the month. Under the terms of our licence we cannot publicise openly the titles of the next two films but members will be informed by email about 8 January. Also the programme will be posted on the Community Centre internal notice board from the same date. Become a member and choose the films to be shown. Please check the Community Centre or Post Office notice boards for the entitlement of club membership.
Bring and share supper -
January 15 - the Ladies Group Social Evening with a bring and share supper and 'secret Santa' gifts.
Exbourne History Group -
On Saturday January 18 there is the Project Celebration of all the research carried out about some farms and cottages in the parish. With the help of a Lottery Grant much has been achieved and the public are invited to the village hall at 2pm for the exhibition to be opened by the Mayor of West Devon, Cllr Bill Cann OBE. Entry will be free and cream teas will be available.
Quiz and Food -
The committee will be holding a Hot Meal and Quiz night on 18th January at 7pm. A Great night out. A chance to socialise and test the grey matter!. Do come and join us. There will be a small charge for the meal. Please bring your own drinks. Any profits to village hall funds.
authentic Indian curry -
January 31 - an authentic Indian curry supper. If you've never tried a real Indian meal, here's your chance!
Dance the night away
To your favourite tunes
60s, 70s and 80s Disco
Baxter Hall Petrockstowe
Saturday 1st March 2014
Caroline Bother, Headmistress of Hatherleigh School, is running the London Marathon on behalf of the NSPCC and the Disco is part of her fundraising effort, watch out for other exciting events.
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