No 27 Spring 2004

Demise of Bude Canal Day 2004
Treasurer's Report - AGM 2004
Bude Canal Project
Up the Tamar
Virworthy View
Membership Report
Sailings Book
River Name
Capt Brinton Ferry & Moveable Footbridge
Wadebridge 34007




Demise of Bude Canal Day 2004

The proposed Canal Day planned for Sunday 18th July 2004 will NOT now take place.
The Trustees have decided that, due to additional and onerous administration in relation to insurance provision and risk assessment, it is not reasonable to hold the event this year.
A further assessment will be made in the autumn, when it will be decided whether to undertake this event in 2005.
The root cause of the cancellation is the need to counter the ever- increasing risk of litigation which is spreading through society.
BCHS, as a registered charity, is obliged to be responsible for any claims of this kind and, with this in mind, the only decision possible at this time was to cancel the event for 2004.
The Trustees apologise for any inconvenience or disappointment this may cause our members and friends.
Chris Jewell, Trustee & Organiser Bude Canal Day

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Treasurer's Report - AGM 2004

The Treasurer reported that the accounts held by the Society had been inspected and the balances as at 31.12.2003 had been comfirmed as follows:
Account 1 £1,913.02
Account 2 - Educational Fund £905.01
Account 3 - Project Fund £1,652.29
Account 4 - Bude Canal Day £532.58
Total £5,002.90

It was pointed out that Lloyds TSB have changed their policy in relation to 'Treasurer's Accounts' and the paying of interest. BCHS Accounts 1 and 4 are 'Treasurer's Accounts'; all transactions are now free but interest is paid on the respective balances.
Income from fund-raising events was slightly down on 2003. However, the increase in the subscription rates had aided the total income and this will be repeated in respect of members who have signed Gift Aid declarations. The Society had received several significant donations by members. The Society thanked all members for their continued support in the form of their subscriptions and donations.
The Educational Fund during the past year funded the purchase of various items to the value of £560.64 which included a new set of display panels and work in connection with our new website.
Project Fund has a balance of £1,652.29 of which £1,000 is set aside for use by NCDC when the Canal Project is implemented. The balance of £652.29 plus any other money paid into Account 3 has been agreed to be used if needed in relation to the conservation of the tub boat.
Bude Canal Day account has a balance of £532.58 which was to be used for the 2004 Canal Day, however, there will NOT be a Canal Day this year. This is because of the increased administrative burden placed upon the Society in relation to the public liability and other insurance matters, and the need for a risk assessment.
The Trustees need to evaluate the implications of all these matters and will review the situation in September 2004 when they will decide the absolute future of the event.

Membership of the Society as at 28.2.2004:
Total memberships (incl. life members) 117
Total members (incl. life members) 127
Life members 18

There were 4 new life members who joined in 2003. Two were current members who changed to life members and two who joined as life members.
The Treasurer thanked all his fellow trustees and members who had helped at fund-raising events during the year and particularly Mrs Betty Moore, Events Secretary, for all her continued efforts. He also thanked Mike Moore for his advice and help in producing the annual report and Mr Ian Whitfield who inspects the annual accounts.
The Treasurer then answered some questions on Bude Canal Day.
Any member who would like a copy of the accounts for 2003 should contact the Treasurer at 4a The Crescent, Bude, Cornwall EX23 8LE.

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Bude Canal Project

On the 2nd March 2004 the North Cornwall District Council's Planning Committee gave formal consent to the proposed works to be done when the Project obtains the funding from Heritage Lottery Fund and Objective 1.
The important factor is that now that the Planning consent has been given the NCDC can start to submit their bids for funding. If successful this offer of funding should be known by September 2004. This would be followed by a year's intensive planning and further consultation so that the implementation of the physical works could start in November 2005. The projected and hoped for completion date would be December 2007.
Maybe the AGM of BCHS in 2008 will need to be a weekend event instead of an afternoon meeting. Something to look forward to and be proud of our Society's involvement and support.
Chris Jewell.

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"Up the Tamar"

Following the successful boat trip on the river Fal last May, the society have decided to try the same formula and organise a visit to Plymouth by coach with the option of a boat trip up the river Tamar to Calstock.
The boat trip leaves the Barbican, Plymouth at 11a.m. and cruises to Calstock. We will have about 1 hour ashore before the return trip to Plymouth, arriving at 3.30 pm. This will allow the boat trippers 2 hours in Plymouth before the return by coach to Bude, leaving at 5.30 pm. The approximate return time at Bude will be 7pm.
If you do not fancy the boat trip, use this opportunity to visit Plymouth and explore this historic city.
If you are interested in this day out please complete the enclosed booking form which has all the details and return it with the required payment no later than 19th June 2004 to: C. Jewell, 4a The Crescent, Bude, Cornwall EX23 8LE.
These organised trips are popular so please BOOK NOW to avoid disappointment! Non members are welcome.
Betty Moore - Events Secretary

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Virworthy View

Looking forward to a quiet spring and a warm summer once we get the March equinox out of the way. The wet weather in December continued into January and caused some problems. A lady walking her dog called at the house to inform me that there were two sheep in the canal in a distressed state - not mine I hasten to add! Of course it was raining and the canal was full of water. The sheep nearest to the towpath with just its head out of the water was in need of urgent rescue. It was just out of arms' reach and more than 'wellie' depth but I managed to get it out and only filled one 'wellie'.
Did you know a sheep full of water is so heavy even it own legs cannot support itself? Yvonne was dispatched to find the owner, without success. We then dragged and half carried it to one of our paddocks. I went back for the other one that was nearer the opposite bank, which required me to cross the canal. Armed with a large sheet of plywood - a trick I learnt from previous encounters - I got three quarters of the way across and then stepped into the water again! This time I was up to my waist. Now thoroughly wet and muddy, I proceeded to use the plywood to drag the other sheep up onto the bank.
With no lasting ill effects the sheep were reunited with their owner later that day. The heavy rain and excess water in the canal has caused damage to a number of culverts where the water has leached under the pipes causing their partial or total collapse. A short length of the towpath has been closed off for safety reasons until repairs can be carried out. A diversion is in place to allow continued access.
On a brighter note, we are seeing the return of the summer birds. I am amazed at the enormous range of their colouring. Nature must have a reason for this variety not just to please us mortals. So far in early March, we have recorded 17 different varieties of birds in the garden, not including pheasants and moorhens. No doubt there will be many more with the later arrivals such as swallows, swifts, finches etc.
Early in January I was confronted by a man and boy with bucket and fishing net looking for frog spawn! The earliest I have seen frog spawn is mid February. I suggested they came back later but I haven't seen them since.
Geoff Lowe

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Membership Report

We welcome the following new members who have joined since December:
Mrs L Opie, Durston Road, Bude
Dr D Knight, Twickenham, Middlesex
Mrs J L Gwynne, Ocean View Road, Bude
Mike Moore

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Sailings Book

At the Council offices at the Castle in January I spent an interesting hour or so looking through two large books detailing the arrivals and sailings of ships in Bude between 1860 and 1927. The names of the ships, their owners, how rigged, laden in and out, dates of arriving and leaving, type of cargo are all listed.
Many familiar names appear: Wild Pigeon, Pres. Garfield, Sir T. Acland, Stucley, Crystal Spring, Emma, Louise, Ada, Clara May, Sarah Jane, Agnes, and, of course most frequently, Ceres owned by Mr. Petherick. In fact in 19l6 a page and a half contain only Ceres.
Many small vessels stayed in port for fear of U boats. In the later book from about 1901 to 1927 most of the cargoes in are coal and out nil or ballast, depending on the whim of the current keeper of the list. The last entries in the book for 1927 have Ceres listed six times between Sept 2 and Oct 16 and she took out hay on five occasions and flour on one.
Another idiosyncrasy of the earlier writers is the type of rigging. Most of the ships were, like Ceres, ketch-rigged with here and there a schooner and one yacht, but in 1879 Sea Gull, the first boat at the page top, is listed as "sloop" and all the rest, including Ceres, are dittoed. On 2nd June she is labelled 'schooner' again with all the following dittoed and in another they are all ketches!
Other cargoes which appear from time to time are: iron tubes, phosphates, bricks, timber, guano, and 'culm' which I think is coal dust, particularly anthracite. Between August 19th and September 7th 1913 Ceres, May Queen, Clara May, and Stucley discharged their cargoes in the harbour. I wonder whether the basin was full or the lock gates damaged. The ships stayed for two or three days but in 1926 the yacht Kathleen stayed from 30th June to 13th July and again from 15th to 18th of July (listed laden as "pleasure")

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Bude River Names

Further to the item in The Tub Boat No 26 concerning the confusion of river names a member, John Brown, pointed out that the OS Landranger names the river that runs through Stratton to Bude as the Neet and the tributary at Helebridge as having no name. I have had an interesting period of research into the origin and change of name of the river in Bude.

"A Popular Dictionary of Cornish Place-Names" (1988) suggests that the name "Bude" may have derived from the stream which appears as Bedewater in 1587.

An article about the dangers of the coast between Padstow and Hartland and the few harbours therein written in 1819 refers to the river as River Bude but the author was no local and was only considering the coast. A map of 1838, possibly OS, showing only the coast and immediate hinterland, also names the River Bude.

I have been referred to various books on Cornish place names by R F Chope, O J Padel, and Henderson & Coates which suggest the Celtic (ie Cornish) Straetneat, meaning either a town on a Roman road (cf Skeat below) or the valley of the river Neet. This meaning and the name does not occur after the 13th century. Professor Skeat suggests that the Celtic "Stroet-tun" meant a town on a Roman road but I think it unlikely that there would ever have been a Roman road in this area.

I learned later from Kenneth Saunders, a nephew of Mrs Jewell, that Roman milestones have been found at Trethevy and in Tintagel church but this is hardly evidence for a Roman road in Stratton.
Professor Skeat also says that Neet is the Celtic name of a water (river or lake) so that locals may well have referred to any stream near their village or enclosure by that name. Certainly a map of Bude of the 1860s shows the river through Bude as"River Strat", as do the Ordnance Survey map of 1883/84, (in which the tributary formed from two or more streams from Week St. Mary and Wainhouse Corner joining the Strat at Helebridge was called the Neet,) and a map of Bude of 1904 held in the museum, I believe and, a photocopy of which I have, clearly labels the river in Bude as the Strat. The "Official Guide to Bude" of 1946 has a photo of the Strand with the caption "Bude, River Strat".

Mike Moore found the "Cornwall Rivers Project" website which states that "the river Neet is a tributary of the river Strat which reaches the sea at Bude".

An accompanying map showing only the rivers of North Cornwall has the River Neet originating at Langford Mill between Week St. Mary and Whitstone and gathering several other streams, two of which are named as Jacob Stream (from around Jacobstow) and South Week Stream, before flowing into the River Strat (coming from beyond Stratton) below Helebridge.

Stratton RDC told the OS in 1953 that the Strat flowed through Stratton and was joined by the Neet at Helebridge.

The Ordnance Survey cartographer says that the name was changed in 1954 at the request of "several significant sources" including the Bude UDC. The originator was a Mrs Ethel Jewell, a local historian, who wrote to the Ordnance Survey in 1953 giving no evidence for her assertion that the river should be the Neet and that "Strat" is a "vulgarism"!

E. C. Dredge, the Clerk to the Bude UDC, said that the council members discussed this at a council meeting and were all agreed on the name Neet, again without producing any evidence for the belief. A Councillor, Major Chudleigh, and a solicitor, Mr Peter, also added their opinion. The OS ignored the contrary opinion of the Stratton RDC. This is borne out by Mike's evidence above.

I must say I am astonished that the OS should have changed the name of a river on the say-so of these people, while ignoring the wishes of the Stratton RDC.

I was very puzzled as to why these local people should be so adamant in the face of all the evidence that the river should be Neet and not Strat to the extent of calling "Strat" a "vulgarism". Mr Saunders guessed that "Stratton RDC members objected to the name of their river being changed by a bunch of Budeites, I bet you, and voted against. Some things don't change."

I was amused by this since I had previously wondered if the 'Budeites' who wrote to the OS had been affronted by the river running through their town having a name suggesting Stratton!

P.S. Latest on above: LEAP Cornwall action plan July '98 p.30 also confirms that the river from Helebridge to the sea is the Strat. The OS is clearly wrong to name the river through Stratton as the Neet rather than the Strat. Ed.

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Capt Brinton Ferry & Moveable Footbridge

The Christening & Launch of the new lifeboat 1911
(Elizabeth Moore Garden?)
At high water the lifeboat was launched into the canal from its house (still to be seen in the "Falcon" & "Brendon" car park).
At low water it was taken out of the other end of the lifeboat house and pulled by ten horses on its carriage for launching from Summerleaze beach or Widemouth Bay according to where the emergency was situated.

Capt. Bill Brinton
During the 1914/18 war a lifeboat from the "Alcide" was washed ashore. This became a ferry under the command of Capt. Bill Brinton which would take passengers across the river for one old penny.
During the summer at low water a manual wind-up bridge enabled pedestrians to remain dry and cross the river by Chapel Rock. During the winter the bridge was wheeled away and parked in the Ocean Caves.
Bill Brinton was also skipper of the "Elizabeth" which ran aground under Summerleaze Point in February 1912.







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Wadebridge 34007

The Society paid a visit to this restoration project last September led by Fred Copeland. He reported at the Annual General Meeting that the restoration was going well and the engine's boiler had now been reunited with its main frame at the workshop at Bodmin General Station. It is hoped that the engine will be completed by early 2005. For those interested there is now a web site: www.wadebridge34007.co.uk
The engine has two chains; a horizontal chain of 118 links and a vertical chain of 73 links. Each link costs £20. Interested parties are invited to sponsor a link, with a suitable certificate being given, by contacting Peter Richards, Trenoweth, Marshgate, Camelford PL32 9GN.
Bryan Dudley Stamp


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Forthcoming events

Saturday 26th June 2004
Coach trip to Plymouth and/or Boat Trip along the Tamar River with a short stay at Calstock then return to Plymouth for shopping or sight seeing. Coach leaves Plymouth at 6.00 p.m. for return to Bude.

The Society will have a stall at the Bude Carnival (Saturday 21st August - Castle Grounds) and at the RNLI Weekend 28th/29th August on the Barkhouse Green


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Contact the Society