Annual General Meeting
The Chairman, Audrey Wheatley, welcomed 34 members and visitors to this
4th AGM of the Society at the Falcon Hotel, Bude on 27th February 2005.
Unusually, this was a Sunday since the Falcon is now licensed for weddings
and Saturdays have become popular.
The Chairman and then the Secretary, Bryan Dudley Stamp reviewed a busy
year for the Society, followed by the Treasurer, Chris Jewell, who showed
that the Society's funds were in good financial shape. He regretted the
non-appearance of the Canal Day, largely due to the greatly increased
amount of paper work in connection with the insurance of the event, which
placed an impossible burden on our small committee. However, he hoped
that much of this difficulty had been overcome and looked forward to the
possibility of a Canal Day 2005, probably on 24th July. Greatly to the
relief of all he said that in view of the total lack of a volunteer willing
to take over the accounts and, of necessity, becoming a Trustee of the
Society, Chris had decided to withdraw his resignation and to continue
as Treasurer for the time being.
Ian Whitfield was thanked for his long service as Examiner of the Society's
accounts and John Harris was elected to replace him.
The accounts were approved and the three members of the Committee retiring
by rotation, Bryan Dudley Stamp, Chris Jewell and Lawrence Wheatley, were
re-elected nem con.
The Chairman presented Chris with a clock engraved with a tribute to his
work for the Society which had been subscribed by the Trustees.
After refreshments Cllr Des Shadrick (Devon C.C.) gave a talk on "The
Bude Canal and the Ruby Trail Initiative" covering progress of the
cycle trail starting along the canal valley and its importance in attracting
business along its length which would encourage the economy of the district.
Our trustee, Stan Noakes, his wife and son holidayed in Batu Ferringhi,
Penang and gave the following account:
Each morning with towels in hand I claimed three sun-beds under shade
before proceeding to breakfast. On Boxing Day we had had breakfast and
were busy with newspapers, books and suntan oil in the hotel beach gardens,
approximately four metres above sea level - a sea which was always very
calm. At about 9.30 am we noticed a white-topped wave about a mile out
to sea. Our son, Dan, a keen surfer, said he thought it was a tidal wave.
Shortly after the hotel staff began blowing whistles. Everyone had to
leave the beach and all the boats were brought ashore to the highest beach
As we watched, a series of waves approached the steeply shelving beach
and the hotel grounds were flooded. Several adjacent hotels had their
pools flooded with the dirty water. In the next bay, Miami Beach, there
were 40 drownings.
2004 had been a difficult year with Dee undergoing major surgery and completing
a six-month course of chemotherapy just prior to the commencement of our
holiday but we counted our good fortune in surviving the tsunami when
so many had died or were made homeless and had lost many loved ones.
Canal Day 2005
This event will be held on Sunday 24th July 2005 between 12 noon and 5pm
on the Barkhouse Green, Lower Wharf, Bude adjacent to the canal.
This year it will not be possible to have a locking in/out of the canal
for any boats, as the tide times are not suitable for the event. As in
previous years, Bude Stratton Town Council are holding their Gurney Day
event on the same day in the Castle Grounds which are adjacent to the
We should be glad of the assistance of any members in setting up, manning
stalls, etc. Please contact me on 01288 352298 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Canal Map 1904
Society, with the consent of Bude Stratton Town Council, have had plan
2 of the 1904 map reproduced with notes. These will soon be available
for purchase. The sizes will differ slightly from plan 1; mainly A4 and
A3. Copies may be ordered: plain with notes, mounted with notes, framed
with notes, from me.
Our thanks to David Martin of Martin Group Services, Bude, for all his
work in the reproduction of this plan, the second of eight. This plan
shows the Barge section from about the 1 mile post to Pinch Hill, Marhamchurch.
BCHS hopes to reproduce the other six plans in due course as pledged to
Bude Stratton Town Council. Plan 3 includes the Hobbacott inclined plane.
31 December 2004 the year end balances were as follows:
Account 1 £1,357.35
Account 2 Educational Fund £284.75
Account 3 Project Fund £ 1,930.66
Account 4 Canal Day £ 532.58
This is the main account for day to day income and expenditure. The balance
shown is healthy bearing in mind the activity that takes place during
the year. One of the main items of expenditure was £803.31 for the
purchase of a new wooden shed and associated costs. The cost was offset
by using £200 from the Gift Aid refund. The shed allows the safe
storage of bulky items and all of the donated goods for resale.
Account 2 Educational Fund
The purpose of this account is to have an educational fund. The income
is normally all donations and a percentage of any surplus from fundraising.
During the year the fund has paid for the website, a revised canal leaflet,
a revised "Way Forward" leaflet, display panels and leaflet
about the tub boat, a Budehaven School canal project, and a grant to Mr
W A Young to aid with costs for his book, "Emma's Life on the Bude
Account 3 Project Fund
This account holds funds for projects to benefit Bude Canal specifically
or in general. It is funded by monies as and when from Account 1, the
total or majority of the Gift Aid refund, and the total of the donations
in the donation bottle. Of the balance of £1930.66, £1000
is set aside as a pledge to NCDC as our contribution to the Bude Canal
Regeneration Project. The balance is available for future projects including
some work on the tub boat at Helebridge.
Account 4 Canal Day
This account is dormant at present. Its purpose is for the administration
of income and expenditure in relation to Canal Day which we hope will
be on 24th July this year.
As at 21st February 2005 the analysis of the Society's membership shows:
Annual membership 102 99
Life members 19 18
Total no. members 127
This is an important part of the income of the Society. It ranges from
selling waterway books, mugs, maps, visits to waterways etc, to giving
talks etc. However, by far the biggest earner is the sale of donated new
and second-hand goods, which is organised and controlled by Betty Moore,
our Events Secretary. It never fails to amaze me what people will buy,
but long may it continue!
I thank my fellow trustees and certain members for their continuing support
to the Society and myself. In particular to Mr Ian Whitfield who has examined
and certified the accounts for many years and has now retired from this
I close by saying that I have withdrawn my intent to resign as Treasurer
of the Society.
Chris Jewell, Treasurer
of Spring now; buds on the trees, birds making nests and grass starting
to grow. I don't know when the grass will be cut though, as when I got
the mower out to prepare it for hard work, it died! I hope the agricultural
engineers can revive it in good time.
My early morning walks along the towpath with the dogs provide a quiet
period of reflection before the rigours of the day. The peace is only
broken by a few song birds interspersed with the staccato rattle of a
distant woodpecker. The Woodland Trust Survey in conjunction with the
BBC encourages the search and observation of signs of changing seasons.
I have so far recorded seeing frog spawn and bumble bees but not yet ladybirds.
It will not be long before swifts and swallows will be arriving; although
the martins are usually the first to arrive.
On my walks I look for animal tracks. It's amazing just how many visitors
can be recognized. Recently I observed two distinctly different sets of
hoofprints close together, one set about sheep size, the other considerably
smaller. I can only surmise it was a deer with a small fawn. I will keep
a watching eye for them.
Making nests is a sign of spring and some birds have a liking for chimney
pots. One morning Yvonne went into our lounge to discover a rook had come
down the chimney and was causing chaos. It was caught and released outside.
The following morning the same thing happened - but I don't think it was
the same one. Incredibly, the third morning another rook! This one was
angry and put up a fight - perhaps it was the same one! I have since draped
wire netting around the chimney pot.
Talking to an elderly gentleman I met at the lower lake, I established
the exact location of two cottages that once stood by the side of the
river around 1925. One of the cottages was a mill and the only evidence
now is part of the stone-lined leat and some building rubble. I wonder
if anyone knows more of this.
Event - Visit to Exeter and Boat Trip
is planning a visit to Exeter on Saturday 16th July 2005 to have a guided
tour of the Port of Exeter (optional) followed by a trip by boat down
the Exeter Canal to Turf Lock, through the lock into the River Exe and
on to Exmouth. A trip of 2½ hours duration. The costs are: Coach
fare £7.50 adult £3.75 child under 14
Guided tour £2.50 adult £1.50 child under 16 Boat
Trip £6.00 adult £3.00 child under 14 If you are interested
please complete the enclosed booking form and return with the necessary
total remittance by 25th June. Please make cheques payable to 'Bude Canal
& Harbour Society'.
The coach will leave Bude at 9.10am. The guided tour of the Port of Exeter
will start at 11am and last 1½ hours. There is then a break to
allow for lunch and the Boat Trip starts at 2 pm from the City Basin of
the Exeter Canal. The boat will arrive at Exmouth at about 4.30pm and
the coach will leave to return to Bude at about 6.30pm arriving in Bude
at about 8.30pm.
This is a rare chance to travel the Exeter Canal and negotiate the locks
and bridges, especially the impressive lift and swing bridges at Countess
Wear, when modern vehicular traffic gives way to the traffic on this ancient
waterway. Then through the Turf Lock and into the River Exe to continue
to Exmouth along this beautiful river with glorious views of the wonderful
adjacent countryside and waterfront. This is sure to be popular so book
early to avoid disappointment and come and have a super day out.
Canal Regeneration Project
the Heritage Lottery Fund Regional Committee meeting on 15th March 2005
when the above project's application for funding was considered, it is
understood that it had a positive reception. NCDC now have to consult
the other project funders and then a full press report will be released.
Blight (or Bright)
The following report appeared in the Royal Cornwall Gazette of 15th September
"Fatal Accident at Bude - On Saturday, while the workmen on the Bude
Canal at Rodd's Bridge lock were fixing the gates, the chain to which
the gate was appended slipped, and fell on one of the workmen, William
Blight (who fastened the chain himself), and killed him on the spot. He
has left a wife and eight children."
has e-mailed the following information about William Blight (or Bright):
The name is actually Bright; which I found listed in the 1861 Census for
Marhamchurch and his name was spelled with an "l" there also.
I also have a copy of his Death Registration and his name is BRIGHT on
it. William was born in Sheepwash, Devon and was christened on 7th February
1819. He was a carpenter by trade and married Harriet Hill on 16th August
1843 in the Parish of Halwill, County of Devon. In the 1861 Census there
are five children listed: Elizabeth, Thomas, Ann, Mary and Henry. There
were three other children: William, John, and Robert. All of the children
except Mary emigrated to the USA after William was accidentally killed
in 1865. Don has yet to determine where Harriet spent the rest of her
days after William's death.
He goes on to say that Mary is his great-grandmother. She married John
George Williams on 12th February 1878 in St Paul's Parish, Devonport.
John George Williams' real name was George Wrench Mason. For some reason
he changed his name when he enlisted in Her Majesty's Military. All of
their children were given the surname of Mason-Williams. Their second
child, William Wrench Mason-Williams, is my grandfather. He came to Ontario,
Canada in 1920. When he arrived there he dropped the Williams from his
name, thus I am a Mason.
Don concludes that since last September he has made contact with four
of the descendants of the Brights that live in the USA.
century Visitor's Poem appreciating Bude's beauty.
A poem written by a visitor included in the Programme of 'The Cutting
of the First Sod' of the Bude Holsworthy Railway held at Berries Farm,
Bude, on Friday 31st January 1890, begins:
Most beautiful Bude, the Gem of the West,
Thy lovely surroundings all make thee the best;
Thy views on the sea, the coast or inland,
Are romantic, sublime, and delightfully grand.
Most beautiful Bude, with thy deep crescent bay,
And majestic headlands, far stretching away,
With many a cove round thy rough, rocky shore,
Which those who love venture delight to explore.
to eulogize for another ten stanzas on the beauties of Bude with much
truth. The first line of the fifth stanza reads: "Most beautiful
Bude, with clear Strat and Canal", further proof that the river was
known as the Strat from at least the 12th century until 1954 (vide the
1904 Map and the 1946 "Official Guide to Bude", showing a picture
of the Strand with the caption "Bude, River Strat") when Mrs
Jewell persuaded the Ordnance Survey to change their maps.
We welcome the following new members who have joined since December:
Mr P. Perry-Bolt, New South Wales, Australia
Mr B. Hughes, Northam, Devon
Mr & Mrs A. Wills, Annery Kiln, Devon.
Mr I. Menzies, Binhamy Close, Bude.
talk by Charmian Astbury "The Ketch Ceres"
On the 12th April Charmian Astbury will give a talk about producing her
book "The Ketch Ceres". This will start at 7.30pm at the Parkhouse
Centre, Bude and admission will be £2.50 per person including refreshments
(children half price).
Charmian lives in North Devon and since retiring has written three books
and several articles which have been published in periodicals. "The
Ketch Ceres" tells the fascinating story of the ship during its 125-year
life from 1811 to its loss in 1936. Copies of the book will be available
for sale during the evening. This is an evening not to be missed - hope
to see you there.
Sun/Mon 1-2nd May Model Boat Exhibition (Society stall) - may be the last.
Saturday 16th July Exeter City tour & boat trip
Sunday 24th July Canal Day
A series of new signposts has appeared on the towpath at Rodds & Truscott
bridges and elsewhere.
They are made of a plain wood with clear, unfussy, black printing; a definite
asset to the canal and of great service to visitors.
Booklet of walks
A booklet of walks titled (in lower case) "bude canal trails and
bude valley", to be available at TICs etc @ £2.99, has been
produced by North Cornwall Coast & Countryside Service. It is in an
attractive, handy, pocket-sized edition and suggests walks of various
lengths in the area with local history of the canal, breakwater, etc and
information on bude marshes, local geology, flora and fauna.