Dr John Griffin gave an interesting talk at our June meeting on the colourful local character who lead hunting hounds in the west country, William Pook Collier. He was very much a Culmstock resident throughout his life and was aggrieved when his son did not follow him to hounds and moved to Southall. William born in 1820 was the son of John Jewell Collier and Elizabeth Pook, yeoman farmers of Culmstock and Hackpen Hill. He was known throughout the hunting scene in England with both the Duke of Beaufort and Earl of Harewood inviting him to dine and show off his skills on the hunting horn and his tenor singing. The latter was also made full use of by the choir at All Saints Church, Culmstock. A portrait of William Pook Collier hangs in the Culm Valley Inn.
Mr Peter Reed then gave a talk on his heating/cooling companies that started in the Hemyock market premises in the early 50's. Throughout the years the company and staff were involved in truly innovative work using local materials to create solutions required by farmers and manufacturers over a wide area.
Mr Stephen Reed, an archaeologist from Devon County Council, presented a very informative and interesting talk on archaeological activity around Devon including the find of post-mediaeval pottery at the Churchills Rise building site.
The Blackdown Hills smelted iron from Roman times through mediaeval times with lumps of slag and evidence of furnaces to be found today. The availability of the Iron Ore and Charcoal in the area plus volumes of water made it an ideal location.
The Churchills Rise building site yielded a quantity of pottery remains indicating that a factory was producing pottery items in the early - 16th century and another pottery site has been exposed at the Hemyock Motors site dating to the early 17th century - 100yrs after the Churchills Farm pottery.
This activity may have resulted in the various recorded fires that destroyed cottages since the 16th century. In one of these fires 2 cottages were burned down on which the Church Rooms was built in 1896.
It is hoped that the pottery can be viewed in Hemyock around the 22nd August.