September: ROGER CONANT, FROM EAST BUDLEIGH TO SALEM MASSACHUSETTS: A TALK BY IAN BLACKWELL
John Washington’s painting shows how, in 1625, Roger Conant intervened as peacemaker in the confrontation between West Country fishermen and the Plymouth Pilgrims' military officer Captain Myles Standish. The Pilgrims were upset because fishermen had taken over a fishing stage near Gloucester Massachusetts.
Join us on the first Wednesday of every month, from September 2023 to April 2024, at St Peter’s Church Hall, Budleigh Salterton at 10.30 for coffee or tea followed by a fascinating hour-long lecture starting at 11am. The topics are wide-ranging and we begin on Wednesday 6th September with a talk by Ian Blackwell on Roger Conant.
Conant is famous in the US as founder of the city of Salem in Massachusetts. He was born in East Budleigh, trained as a salter and sailed to the New World in the wake of the Pilgrim Fathers four hundred years ago this year. A peaceable man, he disapproved of the increasingly intolerant regime of the Protestant Separatist immigrants at Plymouth and moved his family away, eventually leading a group of colonists to a small fishing settlement named Naumkeag – renamed Salem - in 1626.
Local historian Ian will tell Roger Conant’s story and explain why this unsung local hero deserves his place in history!
Later this year we can look forward to talks on Henry VIII’s warship Mary Rose, RAF Exeter in World War II, and the delights of B Movies. Next year's topics include Admiral Preedy, Joyce Dennys and Wildlife on the River Otter. See a full list with dates on this website under Events.
This season Fairlynch geologist Nicky Hewitt will be leading walks each month, May - September, to explain the pebblebed and other strata in Budleigh's famous red cliffs, laid down in the hot Triassic desert of 240 million years ago. Located almost at the beginning of the World Heritage Jurassic Coast, our cliffs are older and have a fascinating story to tell of tumultuous rivers and scorching winds, in the age before dinosaurs roamed the earth.
The walks will leave from Fairlynch at 2.00pm on the second Tuesday of the month. Heading west to begin with, those who are comfortable walking on the pebbles will descend onto the beach at Steamer Steps to walk the short distance to the start of the pebblebed stratum. Those less mobile are invited to wait at the top of the steps for their return and the remainder of the walk will be easterly along the seafront, to where the traces of ancient roots emerge from the rockface.
The cost will be £2.50 per person, under 16s free. Afterwards, why not tour the museum and see some fossils close up?
The dates are 9th May, 13th June, 11th July, 8th August & 12th September. There is no need to book.
Fairlynch has a great competition for Budleigh Salterton children to create a recycled crown for the forthcoming coronation of King Charles III. The competition is sponsored by Budleigh Salterton Lions Club. Winners will not only get vouchers to spend on crafting goodies, but will also see their crowns displayed in the museum until the end of October.
As the King is a committed environmentalist the crowns must be built only of materials and items found in East Devon recycling boxes and bags. No sharp items to be used please! They must be a strong enough structure to be worn and be all the child’s own work. The competition is open to children living in Budleigh Salterton only and there are three age categories:
Age groups: 5-8 9-12 13-16
Prizes: The Mayor of Budleigh Salterton will present the winners in each category with a £50 voucher and the runners-up with a £25 voucher, in a ceremony at Fairlynch on Friday 28th April at 16.30.
Unfortunately we do not have space at the museum to receive and store the crowns, so entries will be judged by emailed photo.
To Enter: Please take a close-up photograph of the finished crown either on display or on the head of the child who has made it and email it to:
with the name, address and age of the entrant, by the Closing Date of Monday 17th April.
Our view of civilian defences during the Second World War tends to come from Dad's Army - old men armed with pitchforks - but the reality was very different. The length of Britain, highly trained, highly secret groups of civilians were prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice in defence of our country should a German invasion succeed. This is the story of these remarkable would-be resistance fighters in East Devon.
Andrew Chatterton is a Second World War historian who focuses on the secret layers of civilian defence in Britain. His book: Britain's Secret Defences: Civilian Saboteurs, Spies and Assassins was published in July and he was a popular speaker at our recent Budleigh Salterton Literary Festival.
His talk, and all our Coffee Time Talks, will take place in the Peter Hall, Budleigh Salterton at 11am, with refreshments served from 10.30am. All are welcome. £3 for Friends of Fairlynch and £5 for visitors.
Please note: new regulations mean there is much reduced parking at the church.
Fairlynch’s new exhibition on the Lower Otter Restoration Project was opened by our patron Lord Clinton last week as the museum opened its doors for 2022.
The LORP exhibition features a video with stunning aerial photography. Various speakers outline aspects of the plan and its projected consequences, starting with the recognition that pre-emptive work was needed to return the river to its historic floodplain in a controlled way, before that option was swept away by rising sea-levels, storms and frequent flooding events. The 200-year-old embankments will now be breached deliberately and new bridges and viewing platforms introduced to carry the South West Coast Path and accommodate visitors interested in the wildlife. Alongside the video are display panels with further information and some beautiful artwork by John Washington, who has been recording the engineers at work in the valley since the project began.
The LORP exhibition is expected to run for two or three years and will be updated as the landscape changes from water meadow to salt marsh and mudflat.
This year we also have an exhibition marking the platinum jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II, with artefacts and images from past royal jubilees celebrated in and around Budleigh; a collection of work by Cecil Isobel Elgee; frocks of the 1950s and lace from the Priscilla Hull collection.
Covid restrictions have lifted so the local and family history research collections are accessible again and upstairs in the Joy Gawne Room the rocking horse makes a welcome reappearance for visiting children.
All Friends of Fairlynch are welcome to the 2022 AGM at 11am on Wednesday 4th May in the Peter Hall, Budleigh Salterton. When the business of the meeting is concluded there will be coffee and tea at around 11.30am, followed by a talk by local naturalist and photographer David White at 12pm.
David’s talk, entitled “The Otter Estuary and its Changing Wildlife Habitat” will consider what birds and animals might be visiting or living in and around the floodplain in years to come, as the Lower Otter Restoration Project reaches maturity. Will we be seeing more glossy ibis and cattle egrets? Will the beavers have upped sticks and migrated upstream to fresher water? David will draw on his own and others’ expertise and observations at nearby wetland habitats to make some tentative predictions for the future.
Three more fascinating talks have been scheduled for the first Wednesdays in the months before Fairlynch opens for the new season this year. All the talks start at 11am, but why not come early and enjoy a coffee and chat with old friends first? The doors open at 10.30. The venue is as before: the Peter Hall, behind St Peter's Church. Entry costs £5, discounted to £3 for Friends of Fairlynch.
This year the speakers and topics are:
Wednesday 2nd February 2022: Brian Portch - Brunel's Great Western Railway
Wednesday 2nd March 2022: David Strange - The Norman Lockyer Observatory
Wednesday 6th April 2022: Stewart Raine - The Development of the English Seaside Resort
Fairlynch is delighted to announce that our popular Coffee Time Talks begin again on Wednesday 1st September, with a talk by David White on Wildlife Around the River Otter. David is well known locally for his extraordinary photography, capturing a huge range of wildlife, including the beavers seen in images on this website and in the museum. His photograph of local polecats was a BBC Countryfile Calendar winner.
Save the date - Coffee Time Talks take place on the first Wednesday of every month at 10.30 for 11am in the Peter Hall. Entry costs £3 to Friends of Fairlynch and £5 to the general public. Coffee and tea is included.
Future speakers and topics include:
Weds 6th October: Ken McKechnie - West Country Mining: the reality behind the myth
Weds 3rd November: Clare James - Clinton Devon Estates
Weds 1st December: Alan Humphries - Exmouth Docks: the demise of a working port
Local author and Friend of Fairlynch Sarah Bussy will be in conversation with Brook Gallery owner Angela Yarwood on Friday 17th September at noon in the Church on the Green, as part of Budleigh Salterton's Literary Festival Fringe. They will be talking about Sarah's new book, Joyce Dennys and Budleigh Salterton and to coincide with the book's publication Fairlynch will be exhibiting Dennys' charming paintings that often featured the town and its people.
The event and sale of the book will raise funds for Fairlynch, so do come along and find out more about one of our most celebrated former residents!
Tickets are £12 from www.budlitfest.org.uk
On Your Marks, Get Set, No Need to Bake!
- Not if you buy your Christmas cards from us and are the lucky winner of the Fairlynch Christmas Raffle this year!
The prize is a scrumptious traditional iced Christmas cake in the shape of the museum and one raffle ticket will be included in each pack of five Christmas cards we sell, for the bargain price of £4 per pack. You can order packs online or buy them in person at Fairlynch, 10.00 - 12.00 on Thursday 3rd to Saturday 5th December, when our volunteers will be on hand to accept contactless payment, observing Covid-19 safety precautions.
There are just 100 tickets and the draw will be made on 21st December. The notified winner must be able to collect the cake from Fairlynch.
The prize has been made by professional cake maker Kristina Evans and is a traditional fruitcake with brandy soaked fruit and nuts covered with homemade marzipan and fondant icing. It is approximately 10 in/25 cms across.
The cards are A5 sized with wording inside: With best wishes for Christmas and the New Year.
To order online, please follow the link below to Devon Museums' shop.
Budleigh Salterton Co-op has shown its support for Fairlynch by choosing us as a local community cause, so we can receive funding through its membership scheme.
If you are a member of the Co-op and select the shop's own-brand products, you will accrue cash savings and the same amount will be donated to the local cause you choose - but you do need to register which cause you support and always remember to use your membership card.
Register online for Co-op membership at coop.co.uk/membership and select Fairlynch from the list of local good causes, or if you’re already a member but haven’t selected a cause, please log in to your membership account and plump for us now!
The easiest way is to click on the button below and pick us!
Our thanks to the people at the Co-op’s Local Community Fund.
Donate your stories, photos and artefacts to the fairlynch Covid-19 archive
Budleigh Salterton’s mystery yarn-bomber Knitsy has donated their Covid-themed creation to Fairlynch for our pandemic archive and eventual exhibition.
The rainbow-coloured crochet with its cheerful poem appeared on the pole at the end of the Raleigh Wall at the beginning of May, when we were in the midst of lockdown. Like the pebble-artist Simon Wood’s amazing beach art and local people’s displays of painted pebbles along the seafront, it was designed to raise a smile when many of us were feeling anxious and downcast.
Fairlynch is collecting local stories, photographs and memorabilia from the Covid-19 pandemic, so please let us know if you have something to share with us. We are living through a historic time and one day we’ll want to look back on it – hopefully from a position of good health and economic security!
If you have a contribution for the archive, please contact Roz Hickman or Diane Waddington at firstname.lastname@example.org
The AGM will now take place on Wednesday 23rd September 2020, at 2.30 PM and is open to all Friends of the Fairlynch. Due to the continuing social distancing restrictions, the Trustees have decided to hold the meeting using video-conferencing software. Any Friends wishing to attend should email the Secretary, Susan Lacey, at email@example.com
River Otter beavers can stay!
A government review of the five-year reintroduction trial has concluded that beavers do more good than harm in our environment, so the River Otter beavers, thought to number around 50 individuals, can stay as a permanent keystone species in our local ecology.
Beavers were hunted to extinction in England 400 years ago, and this landmark decision by Defra marks the first legally sanctioned reintroduction of an extinct native mammal in England.
“Our rivers and wetlands really need beavers and this is brilliant news,” said Mark Elliot, who coordinated the trial for Devon Wildlife Trust.
Defra based its decision on the report by trial partners DWT, Clinton Devon Estates, University of Exeter and Derek Gow Associates. It found that reintroducing beavers had significant benefits for fish and other wildlife populations and diversity, water quality and flood management.
The Wildlife Trusts now hope this success will lead to a national strategy, perhaps involving subsidies to landowners who allow landscape engineering by beavers to create new wetlands. There should also be assistance for farmers whose agricultural income is adversely affected.
Environment minister Rebecca Pow told the BBC that under a new subsidy system after the UK leaves the EU, “those with land will be paid for delivering services, such as flood management and increased biodiversity….Using beavers in a wider catchment sense, farmers could be paid to have them on their land.”
Fairlynch has been closely following the River Otter Beaver Trial with an evolving exhibition in the Priscilla Hull Room.
In light of the latest government advice, and in order to protect volunteers and visitors alike, the Trustees have taken the decision to cancel all public activities associated with the Fairlynch Museum until further notice.
Please note that the following events have been cancelled or postponed:
In addition, the Museum will not open as planned on 10th April, but will remain closed until such times as the advice from the Government changes, and Trustees feel that it is safe to open the Museum to visitors.
Keeping the Museum closed will not reduce our running costs – last year it cost about £37 a day just to keep it going. With this delay in opening for the 2020 Season, we will be facing a reduction in our anticipated income from entry fees and visitor donations, so any additional donations would be most gratefully received. You can do this by cheque made payable to ‘Budleigh Salterton Arts Centre & Museum’ or through the Big Give button below.
Trustees will be reviewing the situation on a regular basis and we will keep the website updated about any changes.
In the meantime, we hope that you stay safe and well, and look forward to welcoming you to the Museum as soon as feasible.
Trevor Waddington OBE
On behalf of the Trustees
The Museum's Annual General Meeting which was due to take place in Peter Hall on Wednesday, 6 May 2020 followed by a talk by Tony Venning on 'Samuel Pepys, Diarist - His Life and Loves' has sadly had to be cancelled due to the COVID-19 virus outbreak.
Venue: The Peter Hall
Discounted to £3 for Friends of Fairlynch
Coffee and biscuits are served from 10.30am with the talks starting at 11am and lasting 45 minutes. Contact us for more details...
Thirty Museum volunteers enjoyed an evening together on Saturday 14 December 2019 at what has become a regular pre-Christmas fixture in the Fairlynch calendar. The fish and chips supper was provided by Budleigh Fish Café and proved a popular choice, followed by mince pies and cream and a raffle! Cheers! Here’s to many more Fairlynch parties!
The 2020 end of season party for volunteers will be on Saturday 7 November 2020. How about joining us if you’re not already a volunteer?
Like many Budleigh residents of the past, the artist Cecil Elgee had an Anglo-Indian background and it was for this that her name will be known by those familiar with 'Costumes and Characters in the Days of the British Raj', the book which appeared just before her death. But her work as a painter and illustrator covered a wide range of subjects.
Born in 1904, Cecil Elgee, better known by her family nickname as Moppie or Mops, went out to India to join her parents in Bombay in 1922 when she was 18 and studied at the Bombay School of Art. On her return to England in 1927, the family settled in Budleigh Salterton and she continued her art studies at the Exeter Art School, founded in 1854 as part of the Royal Albert Memorial Museum.
During World War 2 she served as a Naval VAD (Voluntary Aid Detachment) at the Royal Naval Hospital in Plymouth. She went through the Plymouth Blitz and at the end of the war she was one of the twelve Naval VADs in the Victory Parade in London. When demobilised she returned home to look after and subsequently nursed her elderly father and later her widowed sister.
Working from her home at 9 Copplestone Road in Budleigh Salterton she proved to be a prolific and versatile artist. Her work was always in demand, especially when she portrayed animals - both family pets, and working animals. Cecil Elgee died in 1984 but her name lives on in the Cecil Elgee Memorial prize, awarded by the Budleigh Salterton Art Club.
The latest acquisition is the fifth of her watercolour paintings in Fairlynch’s collection.
This was recently confirmed by lace historian Brian Lemin of New South Wales, Australia. The 11½ cm long wooden bobbin is carved with the initials MR and the date 1662.
Fairlynch's curator of lace Sue Morgan says “It came into the museum's collection in the 1990s and its origin is unknown.
However, style and decoration are typical of an East Devon trolly-lace bobbin made for a lace-maker with the initials MR in 1662.”
Museum chairman Trevor Waddington commented “It was made just two years after the Restoration of King Charles II and four years before the Great Fire of London. If only these objects could talk!”
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