I am pleased be able to say that this month there will be no apology for not being able to produce a “regular” Report for the Magazine. Although the “technical “problems” with my PC and printer have not yet been “fixed”, am hoping that I will be able to finish this report before it suddenly disappears into the ether! If some readers think that parts of this report are familiar, they are right – the short report in last month’s Magazine was in fact only part of the intended original, the remainder being a victim of the problems referred to above!
On an optimistic note, dare we hope that there is glimmer of light at the end of the Covid tunnel? It certainly seems so, thanks to the magnificent work done by the scientists, the companies making the vaccine (in this country) their staff, and all the volunteers at every stage of the process. I have mentioned in a previous report that because of various “lockdowns, self isolating, bubbles, and a multitude of “do’s and don’ts” relating to Village Halls and Community Centres, the Group have been unable to hold any Meetings of any sort. The light at the end of the tunnel however could be the Prime Minister’s hair (prematurely?) reflecting in the glory of the Government s announcement that on June 21 “‘all limits on social contact and gatherings will be scrapped'”.
However, it has meant that I can “sort out” a large quantity of memorabilia and other material and books, and all sorts of items and objects which have had a life and use in past Village life. Our Archive contains thousands of items relating to all aspects of the Parish including the Church, the School, Apple Pie Fair, Compton and the Castle, Sport & Social, and many other categories. One day we may have a display of little seen items.
Our Archive, which is located in the bowels of the Village Hall, includes large ring binder files relating to the categories listed above. There are 30 plus files, (so far) each containing about 60 plus plastic A4 size “pouches”. Each pouch contains a brief summary of the contents (plus the contents), often producing the question “why on earth are you keeping that?” But as I said earlier everything had a life and a purpose in past Village life.
As might he expected, our largest collection relates to the church (c1400 – 1450) which has many architectural features and interesting memorials, both on the walls and incorporated within the floor. There is also Marldon’s Royal Coat of Arms and a stained glass memorial to Francis Garrett, the builder of Marldon House. We have many photographs of the interior and exterior.
I hope that I have whetted your appetite for the many items in our Archive, so I will finish with a brief reminder of just a few which hopefully will see the light of day sooner rather than later – photos of Church Group:’ Choirs, bell ringers. Vicars, outings, events, copies of interior layout, box pews, copy consents 1884-1889 for “Victorian restoration”, original School Bell (1864), original School Record books including first Enrolment Register, countless early and up to date photos. – History and photos of Apple Pie Fair, lists of Princess’s, attendants and Guest Openers and many photos.
Compton and its Castle have been owned and occupied by the Gilbert family since the 14th C. and is now owned by the National Trust. The Castle is the oldest building in the Parish. We have a good collection of old postcards of both the Castle and the area. Mrs. Gilbert was elected Sheriff of the County and the Group has a full account of the ceremony with photographs.
Other files such as Sport & Social, Village/Parish, People/Events show the people of Marldon have always been participants and supporters of all of these activities of the Village and Parish despite its small population.
When things get back to normal and our Group is able to pick up where we left off, we shall no doubt put on displays each month, showing what we can from our Archive.
TONY CHIDLOW – CHAIRMAN