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All Our Stories

Our Heritage Lottery Fund, "All Our Stories" project:
"The Story of some of the 18th Century Buildings in Exbourne."

Exbourne Local History Group All Our Stories

We applied for and were awarded a Grant from HLF to carry out our research.
Our project started with approaches to owners of the properties.
As a result of meeting with them, we were able to choose eight properties to research:
Rosemary Cottage, Willow Cottage, Riverside, Higher Woodhall, Buskin Farm, Chattafin, Waterhouse and Town Living.

Celebrating our good news! Celebrating our good news!

The main initial focus was to look closely at the houses themselves, with the help of information given by a local historian into the ageing of houses and their internal and external architectural features.
House owners and researchers attended a half day session at Devon Records Office to learn about the collections held there and how to access them. This enabled them to work independently, if they chose to do so, as their time allowed. However our Researchers were always on hand to answer queries and give advice and support as needed.

The following sources were used both online and through visits to the Devon County Records office:
National Censuses,
Farm Censuses,
Tithe Map and Apportionment Books,
National Tax Records,
Parish Records,
Probate Records,
Beaford Photographic Archive,
The Devon Rural Archive,
The Devon County Record Office
The Dartmoor Museum of Rural Life
plus online resources will help us to build a picture of the history of these houses and their occupants.

Exbourne Local History Group All Our Stories

Our researchers worked alongside the house owners guiding them initially and then giving support as required. This varied from owner to owner. Some were enthused to carry out their own research, others needed varying degrees of support, throughout the project.

All the documents and photographs collected will be included in this. Each catalogued item will have key words assigned which will help people to find material on topics, places and people in which they are interested. Much but not all the information gathered appears in our published end-of-project book.

All relevant documents and photographs were scanned, photographed or photocopied (depending on size). Some copies were also laminated for display. This ensures that the material; remains accessible in the future.

All the gathered information is stored in the Exbourne Local History Archive. This is available to all members as well as others in the wider community. Initially this will be at meetings, events or on demand.

The eight support meetings held at regular intervals during the project, enabled House Owners to provide feedback on their research, as well as the sharing of information about progress made. It also provided opportunities for any problems which had arisen to be discussed by all participants and solutions suggested and shared.

Current and some past owners of the properties identified for study willingly shared their documents and memories. However much of the research was carried out online and by visits to the Devon Records Office as well as accessing the National Archives.
We talked with other members of the community who had information about, or memories of our chosen properties. We added this to the collected body of information for the project.

This included a recording of Margaret Weeks giving a talk onsite, with her memories of milking in the parlour at Town Living, which was used to create an audio visual presentation. Photographs of the houses internal and external features were also used to create a slideshow. Both of these were on show at the Celebration event and the Book Launch.

The book of the project is available to the general public. There were 150 copies printed. It is intended that 50 copies are to be given away to members, house owners and various archives including the National Archive. The remaining 100 will be sold to those interested, thus generating funds for future research and reprints.
All records and information collected on computer or by hand are now part of the Exbourne Local History Group Archive (with permission of contributors.)

The findings are part of the body of work to be included in:
The Archive;
A published illustrated book of the project, available from the group and through local outlets;
An Information Pack for the village Primary School.
These outcomes of research were also publicised both in the local Parish magazines and weekly newspapers as well as on the Exbourne History Group website. Through the website, publication and computer archive people will be able to access information about aspects of Exbourne which interest them.
We shared our project with the entire community by holding a Celebration Day at the end of the project.
Through our website and our digital record, it will be possible to share with all interested groups and researchers.

A special celebration day took place on Saturday 18th January.
This included an exhibition of artefacts and documents about each property and also about how the research was carried out.
All owners were present to answer questions about their property and their research. A representative of the Heritage Lottery Fund also attended.

The event was opened by the Mayor of West Devon and reports appeared in the local paper as well as the Parish Magazine. The celebration day included lunch for participants before the official opening of the exhibition. Almost 100 people visited on the day. The exhibition was also kept in situ so that children and staff from the Village Primary School could visit on the following Monday. Due to the large amount of material, which was discovered, it was necessary to extend the project (with HLF approval) to enable the information to be edited to create an 84 page book. This book was published at the Launch Event held on Tuesday 15th April. There was also a press report of this event.