TODD GRAY: UNCLE TOM COBLEY
For only our second talk since lockdown we were delighted to host Todd Gray who entertained a well-attended meeting with his take on that famous old Devon folk song – Widecombe Fair.
With a wide range of visual material and a good smattering of actual song, Dr. Gray was able to point out that there were more than fifty versions of the ditty sung across the country. The song was performed long before the most famous version came into prominence. The man who first published the Widecombe lyrics, Sabine Baring-Gould, believed that the ballad had its origins in the eighteenth century. The lyrics which refer to Widecombe Fair became well-known after being published in 1889 but Dr. Gray found out that the lyrics of the song show that it was sung in Feniton in 1867 as well as a parody two years later in Dartmouth.
As Dr. Gray says ‘Widecombe Fair is based on people having fun and is designed to be sung with a crowd and that’s why the tune has been so popular. We now know it is much older than thought and not particularly associated with Widecombe. The song was sung across the country with lyrics changing to refer to the location.
ARTHUR FRENCH MEMORIAL TROPHY
It is always a delight and a privilege to award the Arthur French Memorial Trophy at Ipplepen School. I was shown the History work produced by Year 1 right up to Year 6. There were Viking masks, the history of Space Travel, the achievements of Amelia Earhart and a charming exploration by Year 1 of how the types of Christmas presents have changed over the last fifty years.
Our overall winner came from Year 2 and the picture shows the winners for each of the Year Groups. All the pupils deserve credit for the quality of their work, and it is heartening that the legacy of Arthur French is being kept alive in this way.
HAPPY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL OF YOU FROM THE IPPLEPEN HISTORY GROUP