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Campers from Cambridge made a return to the campsite after an absence of 6 years.  They started staying here long before that – when there was no cabin, no hard standings and no electric hookups.  Their tent was still standing after a gale force wind because of expert tent pegging. (1)  This was followed by a full English breakfast.  (2)  During their stay they bought a large bunch of dahlias for a friend they planned to visit. (3)  Within days of this photo being taken a hard frost ‘caught’ all the flowers which means that there were hundreds that I couldn’t sell!

Another surprise visit in September was from a family with Creed ancestors.  (4)  This photo represented the fifth, sixth and seventh generations of Creeds associated with the Creeds at Bluntshay.  Sabrina, from this group was very interested in family history so I dug out loads of Creed photos for her to photograph.  This included my great grandparents Creed (5) (who originally bought Bluntshay Farm in 1914 for my grandfather Creed (6) to farm.  Since then I found photos depicting Sabrina’s great grandmother Elsie Creed at Bettiscombe School (c1926) – the girl with all the hair and a big bow (7),  Elsie ‘s wedding photo dated 1935 taken in a field at Bluntshay, (8) and  Jean Board, Sabrina’s grandmother as an entrant for Miss Axminster 1955 (9).  The last photo in this section dates back to 1946 at a family get together showing George Creed’s grandchildren at the time.  (10) One wonders how they  travelled to the get together as so few people  in this family drove a car at that time.

Campers are very good about sending me photos from their stay at the campsite.  This family went crabbing at West Bay and had an exciting time.  (11, 12)



This is only the second year, in my long experience with breeding geese, this has occurred.  (13)  Other names for this syndrome is slipped wing, crooked wing or drooped wing. It affects primarily aquatic birds in which the last joint of the wing is twisted with the wing feathers pointing out laterally, instead of lying against the body.  Males develop it more frequently than females.  It occurs in young birds, but does not affect their general health and they go on to develop exactly the same as the others. The wrist joints are retarded in their development relative to the rest of the wing: for reasons unknown.  The theorized causes of angel wing are genetics, the excessive intake of carbohydrates and proteins, together with insufficient intake of vitamin E, low dietary calcium and manganese deficiency.  I can only surmise that from the time my present goslings were hatched until I picked them up in July they must have been eating material which would normally not be in their diet, because of the heatwave and lack of grass.  The dealer told me that they had been eating docks, which normally they would never touch.  The first occurrence of this syndrome at Bluntshay was about 5 years ago when I had the goslings from a day old.  I ran out of food over a weekend and a friend gave me some layers pellets to tide me over until the next day when I bought the correct growers pellets.  This was the only thing that I could have imagined would have caused angel wing in this instance.


This is strange indeed when Yew is poisonous to animals.  (14)  Every year we have to fence off the area when pieces of the Yew tree fall to the ground.  I don’t want the geese to nibble on them.  (15)  It is said that in the distant past there was a wall all around this area.  Now only two walls out of the four remain. (16, 17)  I seem to remember someone saying that the wall was continuous along the top but what is left is covered with soil and grass. (18)  My grandfather dug up a section further along from here so that horses and wagons, and later tractors and trailers could come into the area so that hayricks could be made.  I have always known the area as Rick Barton.  I found this lovely photo of the Creeds unloading hay bales into the elevator to make a large rick in this area.  (19)  It has been suggested that as Bluntshay used to be part of a Medieval Manor this area could have been the local graveyard.  I did employ a medium once to see if she could “pick up” anything from dowsing the soil.  She mentioned that there was “something” there.  Perhaps if Time Team start up again they could come and investigate the site!

We did finally get around to digging up and disposing of all the nightshade and thorn apple plants that had invaded the plot after the hot summer.  (20)  Lets hope they don’t return next year!


The village of Whitchurch Canonicorum had had mains electricity since the 1930s, but it took a lot longer for it to travel  out into the Marshwood Vale.  In fact there was much thumping on tables at public meetings to speed up the process.

By 1965 a line of pylons was being erected from Dungeness, Kent to Exeter in Devon and thence on to Cornwall.  Most of the towers were 110 ft high (weighing  72 tons) and the contractors were the Michael Engineering Company Ltd.  The pylon in a field on Great Bluntshay Farm, Marshwood was in the final stages of being erected on 20th May.  But by 12.30  it had crashed to the ground killing one man and injuring 5 others. Mrs Hazel Dare who lived at Great Bluntshay said that at 12.20,  she happened to be in the garden pulling rhubarb, when she saw the wires slash down on to the ground .  The pylon had crashed  about 350 yards from where she stood.   999 was dialled immediately for the emergency services asking for 2 ambulances, a doctor and the police to attend.  First aid was administered to the six injured men with a tourniquet and a triangular bandage being placed on the man, who had had his arm severed, to stop the bleeding.  Unfortunately he never regained consciousness and was the fatality on that day. (21, 22).  This was actually a straining tower pylon.  At the inquest of the tragedy many people came forward as part of a “post mortem” on the incident.  It had been mentioned by one worker that the slings for the backstays were not good enough.  The foreman had replied that they had been good enough the last time. When asked if anything had attracted his attention the previous day the foreman said “Yes, there was a crack and a bang.  We looked up at the tower and saw that the insulators were moving.  But it was nothing to be concerned about, we thought.”

Another contractor reported that the backstays were always coming off and the clips had slipped on numerous occasions. “We have had this trouble right from the start” he said.  The Bridport News report covered the tragedy very thoroughly and a verdict of Accidental Death was returned at the inquest held in the Bridport Town Hall.  But after announcing the jury’s decision, the foreman of the jury added ”The jury would like to express an opinion that fuller precautions should be taken in the future”.


From 21st to 24th October 2018 there will be an exhibition of Jurassic Coast paintings at Symondsbury Tithe Barn,  near Bridport.  (23)  This will be Colin’s second exhibition for the Jurassic Coast Trust, the first one being at Seaton, Devon last year. Along with other ambassadors I volunteered to have my photo taken so that a portrait could be painted to go on view at this exhibition.


It is  good that I have had the chance to show off my WW1 exhibition more than once – I spent four years on and off getting it together.   At the Somerset and Dorset Family History Open Day and AGM at Wimborne I recently exhibited over 20  display boards to all the avid family historians who attended the event.  (24)  The next showing will be at the Literary and Scientific Institute Building, East Street, Bridport on 2nd and 3rd November where I hope to exhibit  about 30 boards. (25)


A church magazine has been produced on behalf of our local churches for over 100 years.  The February 1968 magazine front cover (26) shows only Whitchurch church.  The only local information seen in this issue is to be found on the inside of both the front and back covers which mentions Whitchurch, St Gabriels and Wootton Fitzpaine. The current Golden Gap Magazine (27) covers a Team of 12 parish churches within the Church of England in the Diocese of Salisbury.

Located in the south-west corner of Dorset and a piece of East Devon it comprises Lyme Regis and a number of villages, hamlets and farmsteads covering an area of around 60 square miles.  The magazine is produced on a monthly basis with news, a list of local events and views from around the region with details of all church services.(28)

It has a circulation of 465 copies.  There are many local businesses who advertise in the magazine.  Ros Woodbridge (29) co-ordinates the magazine and is in charge of the advertising as well as having recently introduced an annual calendar.

Sam Milburn (30) organises a stalwart team of distributors to deliver the monthly issue and an individual copy can be bought for £1 in any of the churches.  Martin Mattock (31) is the magazine’s treasurer and is always full of ideas and is very good on public relations.  Margaret Trafford is part-time administrator for the Team and is in charge of the production of the magazine.

Mark Van de Weyer (32) took over being the editor in spring 2016.   Although he has lived most of his life in London he has strong Dorset roots and now lives in Marshwood.  Mark has been involved with newspapers and magazines since he left school, initially working at the Luton News as a junior reporter, then progressing  to cover local crime and more important news items.

He then became deputy editor of the Dunstable Gazette followed by a spell as Editor of the Thame Gazette.  From 1971-1998 he was at The Financial Times and after a spell as a sub-editor on the newspaper he spent about 20 years as a publishing manager for the company’s non-newspaper interests, mainly with their magazines.  For the last 20 years he has been involved with setting up and running smaller publishing companies involved with magazines, websites, events and media analysis.  Although he is now largely retired he remains a non-executive director of Early Morning Media.

Mark, with a career spanning over 50 years, has seen many changes in print technology.  At the beginning reporters used manual typewriters and what they wrote had to be checked by sub-editors and re-keyed by typesetters before being checked by printers’ readers.  The result of all this had to be checked “on page” before being sent for final printing.

Today all the middle part of this process is eliminated and they now send what is written and designed on a computer direct to a printing press.  There are huge cost savings as a result with tens of thousands of jobs having been lost, but it does reduce the checking for accuracy.

Another aspect that has changed printing is the creation of the internet.  This had led to a huge decline in the demand for newspapers and magazines because so much information can be found online.

As well as losing readers this has been a “double whammy” because much of the money publications derived from advertising has also disappeared.  For example, job vacancies traditionally were advertised in newspapers and magazines, but this is normally no longer the case, and the loss of this revenue is one of the main reasons, along with declining circulations, for many local newspapers and magazines having been forced to close in recent years.


Thank you to all the people who have helped me with this newsletter:  John Sweet, Heather Coleman, Richard Davies,  Sabrina Morris, The Toop family, Mark Van de Weyer, Ros Woodbridge, Martin Mattock, Sam Milburn, Briony Blair,  Margaret Trafford, Judith Newman, Sally Vaughan (LSI), Bridport News Archives and Colin Bentley.

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