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News Archive 18 :Village Square meeting, Staff Xmas party, List of private bookings, etc.

South Tawton Village Square Meeting
Sunday February 6th 2011

Janet Wright, John Christian, Meg Wolton, Lucinda Legge, Shane Vallance, Ali Smith, Jeremy Hatch, David Youle, Hugh Norman, Nick Norman, Kate Norman, David Sampson, William Cann, Alan Dunne, Susan Freeman, Mark Freeman, Joyce Wood, Barry Wood, L Jones, Dave Methuen, Sue Methuen, L Fowler, Diana Clatworthy, Michael Clatworthy, Peter Craske
Jill Watson, Pat Thompson, Irene Madders, Tim Watson, Ken Crawford, Ann Crawford, Deborah Clarke, Andy White
Peter Craske chaired the meeting and Mark Freeman kept a record of the points raised by those present..

Issues Discussed

Historical perspective: Meg Wolton provided photographs showing different views of the village square (or Cross Trees square) over the years
Planting: the majority agreed that the square would be enhanced with some appropriate restrained planting. Two present demurred, raising concerns about litter, maintenance and lack of historic precedent.

Surfacing: all present agreed that the current state of the surfacing of the square was unacceptable, making the centre of the village unsightly and potentially unsafe. David Youle explained that, when the road was resurfaced in 2004, the village square was not done because of the presence of scaffolding in front of Church House during the restoration. The majority present felt that the most suitable and least costly surface would be tarmacadam, perhaps with some tinting to demarcate the square from the road. William Cann offered to seek out the plans for the village square which were drawn up for the Parochial Church Council some ten years ago. All recognised that, given the current austerity measures, this was not an ideal time to be seeking financial support for such work.

Parish Plan: while the summary of the Parish Plan in 2008 made no specific mention of the village square, a number of respondents had made reference to it. The relevant pages were to be forwarded to Peter Craske by Andy White.

Cars: the majority considered that the use of the square for parking was inevitable, given the need to maintain access to the lych gate for funerals and weddings, the bridle path, 1 and 2 Town Barton and The Cottage. Several present raised concern about the setts on the north side of the oak tree which were frequently hit by cars on exiting the square. All agreed that the setts would be improved with weeding – as would the area in front of the lych gate

Trough: Peter Craske had contacted Dartmoor National Park who had offered to drill holes in the trough so that it could be used as a planter, the remainder of the cost to be met by the Parish Council.  Best positioning of the trough discussed plus the desirability of purchasing other granite troughs for the square.

Grassed area: problems with fouling and litter discussed,  the opportunity afforded by the notice board to promote the village and possible enhancement of this area discussed.

Litter: Peter Craske, Mark Freeman and Susan Freeman offered to ensure that any planted areas were kept litter free. Desirability of moving current litter bin discussed.

Lighting: Jeremy Hatch raised the issue of lighting – on the side and front of the Seven Stars. This issue is currently being debated by the Parish Council and an article requesting parishioners for their views placed in January Beacon. Concern raised by some about the amount of light pollution.

Additional points made in correspondence prior to the meeting:

Joyce Wood: produced plan which recommended the creation of a grassy slope to the south of the oak tree with designated parking bays in front of this and a disabled bay to the east of the tree. Plan submitted not-to-scale and bays likely to encroach too far on to road.

Pat Thompson: registered approval of any plans to enhance the square with planting.

Irene Madders: registered the need for access for hearses and the desirability of retaining the village square for car parking.

Additional points made in correspondence by Ken Crawford and Ann Crawford following the meeting:

  • Desirability of dedicated bus turning space
  • Terracing of square as two level areas
  • Reduction of cobbled paved area below church steps to create additional car parking (at right angles to pavement rather than parallel)
  • Reduce crown of oak tree
  • Introduce planters/hanging baskets
  • Replace/reduce grassed area by notice board
  • Install electric power point in tree dias (to provide illumination and decoration of the tree at Christmas)

It was agreed that a working party should be set up to undertake the following tasks:

Short Term

  • weed cobbles around tree and in front of the lych gate
  • organise the removal of the trough from the west side of the oak tree to a position to the right of Church House steps. Plant trough
  • earthing up and planting of bulbs/shrubs around the base of the oak tree
  • consider ways of enhancing grassed  area by notice board
  • fund raising

Medium/Long Term

  • working party to consider medium/longer term issues raised at initial meeting. Any progress/recommended actions to be reported to those attending the initial meeting, through reports in the Beacon and updates on the Church House website.

Working Party Initial Meeting

Would those who would be willing to serve on the working party please contact Mark Freeman at 2 Town Barton (e-mail:; Tel 01837-840085)


12 December 2010


ch in snowChurch House News


  Produce Market

  Plans are afoot to have a local produce/craft market on the second
  Saturday of each month at Church House starting in March 2011. So, if you  
  have surplus veg or plants, make preserves, bake a mean cake, throw pots,  
  whittle wood or design jewellery and would be interested in having or
  sharing a stall for the princely outlay of £7.50 (large table) 5.00 (small) a
  session, contact: Mark Freeman (Tel: 840085) 

  Villages of Britain

 South Tawton is one of ‘ the five hundred villages that made the countryside’ featured in a new book by Clive Aslet. This looks at rural history as exemplified by the villages featured. Thus, South Tawton is included to show the importance of Church Ales (as revived at Church House in 2005) to the social life of medieval Britain. Originating as Saxon drinking festivals, the Church Ales became increasingly popular and profitable and, by the fifteenth century, were raising substantial sums for the Church until the levels of drunkenness at the revels raised concerns and Church Ales disappeared under a cloud of Puritan disapproval in the seventeenth century.

The other mid/West Devon villages features are Down St Mary, Sampford Courtenay, Honeychurch and Lydford.

‘Villages of Britain’ by Clive Aslet is published by Bloomsbury at £30.00




Stewards Christmas Party 2010



wedding balloons

24th April 2010 "Wedding party today, so plenty of chair and table moving to upstairs -plus tables from Church. They are helping with this. The couple were married last August in Australia." David Youle

5th May 2010 "Hi David,
Thankyou for your help with clearing up after our party! I hope you got the knife and extra Duni roll as these are probably more useful to you than us. I will attach a few photos of the upper room during dinner- I hope these are ok for the website.

Thankyou again for everything.
Jane & Ben" Jane Carey              - see photos


gary & Maria         Gary and Maria's medieval wedding - 28th August 2009 - see photos

Example of Church House private bookings August - December 2009

Whilst it is very satifying that the building is being used so much for the community, it should also be realised how much (voluntary) caretaking and cleaning work is involved and also the degree of build up of wear and tear on the structure and fittings,
which will need funding for re-furbishment at some later date

Open Days    Sundays: May, June and October - Wednesdays and Sundays: July, August and September: 11 am - 4.30 pm.

Aug               09                      Workshops with Folk Festival
                     15                       Wedding
                     27 - 28                Medieval wedding Celebration
                     Aug 30 -Sept 6    The Beech Tree exhibition (upstairs)
Sept               01                      S.T.Charities
                     03                      Benefice Committee afternoon
                     03                      PCC evening
                     05                      Ringing Festival
                     06                      Sandford Heritage Group
                     08                      Art Group all day
                    10                       SW Uplands meeting afternoon
                    12                       Safari Supper
                    15                       Art Group all day
                    17                       Pre-school committee
                    18 - 20                Flower Festival . Exhibition upper floor
                                              Teas etc during festival
                    21                      Music Group p.m.
                    25                      Devon Education
                                              Wedding p.m.
                   28                       Music Group p.m.
                   29                       Art Group
Oct              05                       Music group p.m.
                   06 Art Group
                   12 Quiet Day & Music group later
                   13                       Art Group
                  14                       Devon Education
                  15 - 20                Art tuition groups and Exhibition
                  19                       Music Group p.m.
                  21                       Devon Education
                  27                       Art Group
Nov             07                       Wren Music all day
                  09                       Devon Education Music Group later
                                            Music Group
                  10                      Art Group
                  11                      Devon Education
                  16                      Music Group
                  17                      Art Group
                  18                      Mother’s Union
                  19                      Dowsing Talk by John Christian
                  19 and 21           Quiet Days
                  23                      Music Group p.m.
                  26                      Devon Education
                  27                      Devon Education
                  30                      Music Group
Dec             01                     Charity meeting
                                           Art Group
                  02                      Devon Education
                  05                     Music Group
                  11                     Stewards Party


Further Information
Please contact David Youle

          Phone      01837 840418
           or click here -       Email