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COLYTON: Tribute paid to long-standing volunteers of history society

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

A TRIBUTE TO THE TOWN: Brian Carpenter, community and education officer of Devon Heritage Centre (far left), presents certificates to Colyton Parish History Society members Shirley Campbell Brown, Colin Pady, John Forrester Addie and John Cochrane, watched by society chairman Marian Sydenham

A TRIBUTE TO THE TOWN: Brian Carpenter, community and education officer of Devon Heritage Centre (far left), presents certificates to Colyton Parish History Society members Shirley Campbell Brown, Colin Pady, John Forrester Addie and John Cochrane, watched by society chairman Marian Sydenham


FOUR members of Colyton Parish History Society were presented with certificates last week, celebrating their long-standing commitment to the organisation. Parish councillor Colin Pady, John Cochrane, John Forrester Addie and Shirley Campbell Brown received certificates during an open day at the society’s new heritage centre at the Merchant’s House in Market Place, Colyton. The open day was held to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the society running a Devon History Service Point in the town. Colyton’s service point became the second in Devon when it opened in 1989, first in the town hall and later moving to Colyford Memorial Hall, the Sunday School Building in Colyton, the “history hut” cabin in Dolphin Street car park and finally to its new permanent home in the heritage centre, which opened earlier this year. The service point has always been unique in that it is run by the history society and not a library or other public facility. Brian Carpenter, community and education development officer for Devon Heritage Centre, attended the open day last Thursday and said: “The service point scheme was originally conceived in the 1980s as a way of taking history to the people by making copies of records available in their own localities. “In June 1989, Colyton was the second service point to open and the scheme has now expanded to the point where there are 22 such facilities throughout the county, from Ilfracombe in the north to Kingsbridge in the south, and from Holsworthy in the west to Colyton in the east. “The recent opening of Colyton Heritage Centre and its forthcoming Lottery bid are great examples of the way in which the service points are embracing contemporary developments in digital history and looking to the future.” Mr Carpenter later paid tribute to Jackie McCullough who bought the Merchant’s House for the use of the society, and the group’s many volunteers who manned the centre, commenting that they were “a tribute to the town” and “gave an indication to the way people are prepared to back the centre as a project”. He then presented the certificates. Seeking heritage funding Several short talks were also given at the open day. Councillor Pady spoke on the history of the Colyton Chamber of Feoffees, how it was first established by Royal Charter from King Henry VIII in 1546 and the significant contributions it had since made to the development of Colyton. Mr Cochrane, chief archivist of the history society, spoke on the important collection of Feoffees’ records and why the society was applying for a Heritage Lottery Fund grant to digitise and transcribe these records in order to make them more accessible to the public for academic and family research. Local historian Mr Forrester Addie finished proceedings by explaining how the History Service Point helped local people to understand how they could use such records to research their family history. He used Councillor Pady’s long family history in the local area as an example, rolling out a printed family tree which spanned the length of the room and more. Commenting on how the service point receives queries from all over the world, he said: “A gentleman from South Africa visited the heritage centre on Tuesday morning seeking information about his ancestor who was a doctor and apothecary in Colyton in the mid 19th century. We were delighted to be able to show some of the information we have available.”

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