Parracombe Pieces – September 2014

Parracombe Pieces - Archaeology Surveying
Archaeology Surveying

On Michaelmas Day, the devil puts his foot on the blackberries is one old country saying though in some versions it says the devil spits on the blackberries, meaning that St Michael’s Day, September 29th is the last day that blackberries are fit to pick and eat. Michaelmas is also closely associated with goose fairs as St Michael’s Day is a quarter day and marks the start of autumn in the farm calendar when farmers were due to pay their debts and would often give a goose in payment. “Eat a goose on Michaelmas Day, Want not for money all the year”. Michaelmas is also a day of wind prediction when the wind direction on that day gives the prevailing direction until the next quarter day, Christmas Day. So a north or north easterly wind would predict a cold autumn while a south or south west direction would predict mild weather. Rainfall for July 2014 43mm, 1.72 inches, compared to July 2013 28mm, 1.12 inches. Thank you, Linda.

At the Longstone Landscapes Community Archaeology Project, work is progressing well studying the archaeology of the moor above Challacombe and Parracombe with the last survey training event being held in August. Despite squalls and wind the surveys of first two barrows (Bronze Age burial mounds) are now almost complete. The Radworthy team has also been busy and the field boundaries of the deserted farmstead have now been surveyed giving us a better understanding of how the farm developed over time. Some deep corn ditches which were built to keep deer from grazing crops have also been found. Several volunteers have been systematically walking the moor looking for worked flints – so far we have about 4 from the site. Much more work is needed and we are always happy to recruit new volunteers. Message us on the Parracombe History and Community Facebook page for more information. Or come along to the Exmoor Forum in September to lean more about this and other archaeological projects on the moor. More information at this link. Exmoor Archaeology Forum

Twenty five years ago, in September 1989, the main item of interest in Parracombe Pieces was a report of the Parracombe Senior Citizens annual outing, thirty two residents making the trip to Bicton Park. Main attractions were the gardens, the countryside museum and the narrow gauge railway finished off by a visit to the tea shop for cream teas. A stop was made at the Old Coaching Inn in South Molton on the way home. The outing was largely paid for by proceeds from the weekly bingo sessions and the organising committee at the time were Pam Rickard, Annie York, Lorna Willmetts and Chrissie Sanders. A familiar sight in the village at that time was Harry Latham in his Land Rover bringing the children from outlying farms in to school and taking them home again at the end of the day though it was announced that he had decided not to continue with his contract. Parracombe under twelve five a side football team had gained success winning the North Devon Leisure Centre shield beating nine other teams in the process. Team consisted of Paul Smyth, Gary Dallyn, Ryan and Colin Souter, Tom Denby and Ryan Dale.

Well that is all, rather shorter this month as the school are on holiday so no school news and there is no parish news as they now meet bi-monthly. One more significant date, 21st September is the autumn equinox after which he hours of dark will be greater than those of daylight so I suppose we will be looking forward to Christmas events. One major event that will be taking place before then is the Flower Festival celebrating railways with railway displays starting on Friday 26th September and running over the weekend. It’s probably not late to offer any bits you may have for the display and early in October there is of course the harvest festival followed again as last year by the harvest supper in the village hall hosted by members of the Young Farmers.

Best wishes to all
Mervyn and others.

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