Community Site for Langtree Parish, North Devon

Local History Group

Local History Group

Langtree Local History Group started 3 years ago following the pub-lishing of the Parish book ‘Langtree Parish History and Memories'.  Two major projects we are at present working on:

      1. To record in grid form all the graves in the churchyard at All Saints Langtree

      2. To gather a photo-graphic record of the Parish for the period September 2006 to September 2007, through the eyes of its youth.

This project involves the primary School, the various youth groups meeting at the hall, and the chapel Sunday group.  A large collection of photographs of bygone events and times within the Parish, were made available as part of the preparation for publishing the Parish book.  We hope to file and copy these onto disc and make them available to all at a future date.  We have done some work on the Old Castle Site, below are photographs of: 



Members standing on what is believed to be part of the site.  Old maps show this area on the edge of the commons and including land now owned by the farmer as the place where the castle once stood


 Old Castle Site

Members search nearby for archaeological evidence (we found a flint scraper and bits of pottery)


 Old Castle Site Search

 Langtree Parish History & Memories


Langtree Parish Book can be purchased from the Village Post Office & Stores at Langtree, two bookshops in Torrington, or contact us by E-mail.  The book (A4 size & 184 pages) costs £5.00, post & package extra


 Langtree Parish History & Memories

Can you help us - we have been investigating the following topics but would like more information having drawn a blank in our inquiries.

Old Maps mention this; it was positioned at the crossway and seems to be just on the Shebbear road.  There must also have been a Toll House for the person who collected the tolls, but where exactly was it? Does anyone know and do you have any old photos? If so we would  like to hear from you.


Toll Gate at Stibb Cross

One of our members has a beautifully crafted pot about 12ins high with the words ‘Art and Stoneware, Marland, Bideford' marked into the bottom.  It is a very attractive blue/green colour. We believe the pot was probably made at Marland clay works, Peters Marland, and would love to find out a bit more about this side of their work.  Our research has not yet brought any real information to light.


Marland Pottery

Another member has some china marked ‘A present from Langtree'.  We know that other sets exist in a different design.  Does anyone know when these items were produced and where it might be possible to get some for our History Group?


  Langtree China

Also ............

We are seeking to record anything of interest from present day situations and events


Primroses in a local wood

Langtree Parish War Memorial

The Langtree Parish War Memorial is the Face of the Turret Clock installed in the tower of All Saints Church at Langtree.


Brief History

The Parish of Langtree in North Devon has a slightly unusual War Memorial - the Turret Clock installed in the bell tower of All Saints' Church, Langtree - a 13th-century Anglican Church.  The Parish is part of the Archdeaconry of Barnstaple and the Diocese of Exeter, and includes the villages of Langtree and Stibb Cross, and the hamlets of Berry Cross, Langtree Week and Stowford.

The clock was made in 1920 - one of 1,600 turret clocks made by W Potts & Sons Ltd.  It is an hour-striking clock with a gravity escapement - meaning it is weight-driven - de signed by Lord Grimthorpe in 1860.

In February 1919, a Parish Meeting was called for "the purpose of erecting a suitable memorial to the men who have fought and died for their country", and it was proposed in May 1919 that the Memorial should be either a granite cross or a clock.  It was agreed by a substantial majority vote that the memorial would be a clock.  In 1920 the clock was installed as a commemoration to the 12 men of Langtree who fell in the 1914-18 War.  An inscription on the cabinet housing the clock's internal workings shows that "This Clock was set going September 18th 1920, Rt Hon George Lambert MS".



 World War I Memorial Tablet

In January 1948, a special Parish Meeting was called to "consider what steps should be taken towards the erection of a memorial to the fallen of the Parish in the 1939-45 Great War".  It was proposed that a tablet be created similar to the one already in the Church.  At a Parish Meeting in March 1950 it was explained that the reason for the delay was that fresh instructions for the inscription had to be given to the makers, as it it had been overlooked that one of the fallen had been a female.


In 1967 the Parish Council agreed that it was not solely the responsibility of the Church to keep the clock in repair as it was the Parish Memorial.  The Rural District Council confirmed that the Parish Council had the power to spend money on the clock and the precept was amended for the following year to cover the expenses involved.



In 1975 the Parish Council agreed to fund repairs and painting of the clock, and agreed to donate £20 per annum to a Church Clock Fund.  In October 1977 the clock face was cleaned and painted with figures and hands gold-leafed.  Donations had been made towards the cost of renovation but £75 was needed to clear the cost, which the Parish Council donated.  In 1989 it was discovered that the clock chiming mechanism was all seized up due to rust, but that the Church tower was so unsafe that any vibration from the chiming of the clock - if it was repaired - would only do further damage.

In 1993, the clock was damaged by builders who were working on the Church tower; subsequently, the builders agreed to pay for the damage.  The clock was repaired in 1995 with the work being paid for by matched funds from the Parish Council and Torridge District Council.  In 2005 it was agreed that the Parish Council would take financial responsibility for maintaining the clock face as the War Memorial, and that the Church would retain financial responsibility for the internal workings, day-to-day running and upkeep of the clock. 

In August 2006 the clock face was completely refurbished with figures and hands gold-leafed - a refurbishment made possible by a grant towards the cost of the work from the Balsdon Trust.


January 2011

We have acquired from the Devon Family History Society a CD of the Torrington Deanery record of Baptisms 1813-1840, Marriages 1755-1837, and Deaths, 1813-1837 for the Parish of Langtree. It makes fascinating and sometimes very sad reading as there were 104 deaths recorded  of children aged five or under in those 24 years, some of them with Surnames well documented within the Parish,  IE Mills, Cole,  Blight, Short,  Johns, Ley, Walter, Morrish,  Whitlock, Hearn, Nethaway, Richards, Hackwell, Vanstone, Copp,  Ayers, & Thorne. There are also Baptisms where the single mothers address is given as Langtree Poor House. Three deaths are recorded of people who lived/died at the poor house. There where 21 people who lived into their 80’s and 11 who made it into their 90’s the oldest being a Catherine Cory who died on 23-2-1833 at the age of 98. There are three sets of twins recorded, Sally & Mary Lee, 30-11-1828, Mary & Thomas Hedger, 28-5-1830, & Jacob & Esau Balkwell, 8-8-1837. In some instances the Families residence is given, in others it’s simply listed as ‘Langtree’.  These records for the parish of Langtree have been printed off and are available from the History Group on short term loan.

When research was undertaken for the Langtree Parish book there were rumours of a Langtree Poor house having existed but no real evidence. In the years since then more and more bits of evidence has come to light confirming its existence, location and uses, as in the above mentioned church records. This is what the history group enjoys doing and the above records are part of our increasing archive. We are always interested in any records or pictures you may have and are willing for us to copy and record for the Parish.  Peter Roberts has passed on to us for safe keeping the rainfall records so diligently kept by his wife Sheila and latterly by himself , and allowed us to copy an old picture of the forge possibly taken around 1920 he has  also given us sight of some old deeds with much interesting information. We are very grateful to him for this.

We have arranged a family History day at the parish Hall for Saturday May 7th from 11.00AM – 4.00PM when you can learn how to research more of your family History. Members of the Bideford History Society are coming to lead this event. More details nearer the time, but please book it in your diary now.

We meet on the forth Wednesday each month in the Parish Hall 7.00pm-9.00pm except August & December , though as a one off we have made a change for February by swapping with the WI to accommodate their speaker and will meet on the third Wednesday (16th) for that month only. Come along and join us if you are interested.