Village Hall Talk
Last month there was a well-attended talk at the Village Hall to see Dr. Todd Gray deliver an erudite and lively account of Devon’s Gardens. Dr. Gray wears his knowledge lightly and his overview of land management from medieval times to the early twentieth century proved to be a visual feast taking in images of Elizabethan herb gardens, formal parterres from the seventeenth century, picturesque Georgian landscapes and herbaceous borders from the Victorian era. How all this information was gathered together proved equally fascinating and it was sobering to ponder that significant swathes of Devon’s visual past can now only be found in galleries in New York or university departments in Los Angeles.
At the end of November on the Saturday closest to the Feast of St. Andrew the Local History Group will be staging our annual Lantern procession. The details of this event on November 26th are available elsewhere in the magazine but we hope that as many of you as possible will come out to support us on this happy occasion. As well as heralding the start of the Christmas season our event does have ample historical precedent. In 1317 King Edward 2nd granted two annual fairs to be held in Ipplepen and one of these was to be held on St. Andrew’s day.
700th Anniversary of St. Andrew’s Church
I had cause to be reminded of that year 1317 when back in September I attended the ‘informal gathering’ of the 700th Anniversary Group. It was there that I learnt that Walter de Stapledon, the 15th Bishop of Exeter, had visited Ipplepen and consecrated the altar in St. Andrew’s Church in 1318. Since the Bishop of Exeter held the office of Privy Councillor gaining him direct access to the King it occurred to me that the granting of the annual fairs and the consecration might be a direct consequence of the elevated position in society that this Devon boy enjoyed for this short period. On the surface so many aspects of the distant past seem alien to us but in the world of human relations not so much has changed and then, just as now, having friends in high places often made all the difference.