The March meeting started with an AGM when the Chairman provided the audited financial report together with information on the previous year’s activities. The Group is in a healthy position both financially and with its on going activities and has successfully completed projects over the last few years. Several new names were appointed to take the group on to the next stage of development. John Butterwith was appointed Secretary, Marion Churchill and Tony Bennett will look after the monthly collections and report on the financial situation and Jon Henville will look after the blackdownarchives.org.uk web site. Additional names are still required to allow the Group to become involved in new projects that will benefit the community.
Mike Cooper has been chairman now for 9 years and will be retiring in the next year to allow the Group to continue with its development.
Following the AGM, a very interesting and informative presentation was given by Paul Steed on “Milling and the Mills in the Culm Valley. In the Domesday Book, it would appear that there were five water mills situated at Culmstock, Whitehall, Culm Pyne, Gorwell and Hidon. At the peak time, Paul informed that there were eighteen mills. Thanks were expressed to Paul for sharing his knowledge with us, and these were demonstrated by the presentation of a bottle of wine from the members.
The February meeting was a talk from Peter Fisher, one of our members, on John Wood an agricultural labourer of Clayhidon who enlisted for unlimited service with the 40th Regiment of Foot at the age of 16 in 1805. He was involved with the Army in South America, North America, Portugal and Spain ending at the Battle of Waterloo. The details of his talk will be available to members from the archives.
The next meeting appropriately will be by Colin Spackman on the Duke of Wellington and his visit to Wellington Monument. The May meeting will be given by Julian Hewitt, an amateur archaeologist, on his field work in the South West with his finds of historical artefacts from the last 3 thousand years.