Ottery Heritage Society - Local History and Archaeology
Events & Projects
" face="Arial">Events / Meetings

Note: All meetings are held at The Institute, Yonder Street, Ottery St Mary, Devon unless otherwise stated.


January 15th 2019 (Tuesday)
            7.30pm: 'The Last 100 Days'
             Popular speaker Robert Hesketh shares his research into how local newspapers reported
             the last 100 days of the Great War, the rapid series of allied offensives and the unparalleled
             victories which brought about the Armistice.

February 19th 2019 (Tuesday)
            7.30pm: 'The Story of Honiton Lace'
             Local lace expert Pat Perryman talks about her life-long passion for lace and her
             contribution to the lace exhibition od Honiton Museum, plus examples of the craft
             dating back to the 1580s.

March 19th 2019 (Tuesday)
            7.30pm: 'Exeter Workmen's Dwellings'
             Richard Holladay describes how Dr Lovely and like-minded associates set about
             tackling the horrendous slum conditions prevalent in Exeter in the 1920s.

April 16th 2019 (Tuesday)
            7.30pm: 'Brunel's SS Great Britain'
            Brian Portch reviews the career of SS Great Britain from its launch in 1843
            to its salvage and return to Bristol in 1970.

May 21st 2019 (Tuesday)
            7.30pm: 'The Groundwater Resource under Ottery'
             Marcus Adams of SW Water dscribes the groundwater resource of the
             Otter Valley and the importance of the Ottery St Mary wellfield.

June 18th 2019 (Tuesday)
            7.30pm: 'ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING'
            8.00pm: 'A cheap Piece of Magnificence'

             Nigel Pratt describes south west England's immensely rich decorative
             plasterwork from the 16th and 17th centuries.

July 16th 2019 (Tuesday)
            7.30pm: 'Roman Life around Ottery'
             John Smith discusses his research into the effect of Roman rule on life
             in Ottery St Mary and East Devon.

August -- No meeting

September 17th 2019 (Tuesday)
            7.30pm: 'The National Trust on Dartmoor - A Grand Tour'
             Join Paula Clarke, National Trust Community Engagement Officer, for
             a whistle-stop tour of all the National Trust sites across Dartmoor.

October 15th 2019 (Tuesday)
            7.30pm: 'Clinton Devon Estates Wildlife Update'
             Kim Strawbridge updates us on monitoring of the estate's wildlife, including
             the natural and cultural history of the Pebblebed Heaths.

October 19th 2019 (SATURDAY)
            'Coleridge Anniversary Lunch'
             Tumbling Weir Hotel, Ottery St Mary, 12.30 for 1.00pm. Details Later.

November 19th 2019 (Tuesday)
            7.30pm: 'Bring Along your Finds'
             Will Partridge, Finds Liaison Officer for SW Heritage, offers to cast an
             expert eye over any family bit and bobs you've discovered.


World War One Project


The Ottery St Mary Heritage Society is proud to announce that it is the recipient of a Grant of £5,200 from the Heritage Lottery Fund under their “The First World War – Then and Now” scheme.

Our project entitled “Ottery St Mary Remembers The Great War Through It’s People” aims to open a portal into the past by highlighting the lives of those who made the supreme sacrifice for their country in the First World War. This will enable us to compare and contrast their lives and experiences with those of their modern contemporaries, and also to assess the effects of the War on their families and the wider community.

We celebrated the launch of our project in July 2014 with the staging of our hugely successful six-day exhibition at The Old Boys School, Ottery. "Otteregians and the Great war" was a resounding success, enthusiastically supported with favourable comments from all who attended.

The first phase of our plan has been completed. We have identified and recorded all of the First World War Memorials in our district and have researched each of the individuals listed thereon. Because the memorials do not list everyone from Ottery who made the supreme sacrifice, we have also searched other sources, both locally and nationally, to ensure that we capture as many of our heroes as possible. The project covers the town of Ottery St Mary and the surrounding villages of Alfington, Escot, Tipton St John, West Hill and Wiggaton, and also covers individuals closely associated with the area but no longer resident therein. The overall objective has been to re-establish our War Memorials as a central focus of the community, as they would have been when they were first established, monuments to local people, loved ones and friends.

Our intention was to involve as many local people as possible in the project which has included discussions with The Kings School and the Ottery Scouts regarding joint initiatives. We are grateful to everyone who took part in our research, in particular the valuable help from people living in the villages. We have received a great deal of information about those who died, including family details, photographs and personal reminiscences to support our military research. 

Now that information has been collected and processed, we are making the results of our project available throughout the district with a series of local “road shows” at the various locations and regular articles in the local press.

We have also published a Memorial Book telling the personal stories of our heroes who gave their lives for their country.
This brilliant new publication, "Ottery's Sacrifice" is now on sale; copies may be purchased from The Curious Otter Bookshop, Mill Street, Ottery St Mary, EX11 1AD. Orders and Enquiries to 01404 814469.

The information will also be available on our web site and in paper form in the Heritage Society Reference Library.

If you wish to become involved or can help in any way, please speak to one of the Heritage Society Trustees or contact me, Jim Woolley, on 01404 812176.

Jim Woolley