Ottery Heritage Society - Local History and Archaeology
Events & Projects

Events / Meetings

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


April 17th 2018 (Tuesday)
            7.30pm: 'Devon's Hospitals of the Great War'
             Dr Julia Neville, University of Exeter, talks about her research into the Classrooms, Cottages       
            and Country Houses that were hastily converted into hospitals during the first World War.

May 15th 2018 (Tuesday)

            7.30pm: 'The Local Press and Ottery'
             An evaluation of how well Ottery has been served by local newspapers over the years

June 19th 2018 (Tuesday)
            7.30pm: 'Annual General Meeting'
            8.00pm: 'Ottery's Museum'
          A presentation on Ottery's planned museum project, impressions on what it could look like,
             and an opportunity for members of the audience to express their views.

July 17th 2018 (Tuesday)
            7.30pm: 'The Otari Connection'
             Jill Courtney gives a presentation on the revival of the 25 year friendship with Ottery's Japanese namesake

September 18th 2018 (Tuesday)
            7.30pm: 'Devon Ghosts'
             Popular story-teller Robert Hesketh uncovers creepy ghost stories from around Devon.
             All sceptics and any apparitions from the afterlife are most welcome.

October 16th 2018 (Tuesday)
            7.30pm: 'Richard Caton Woodville - War Artist (1856-1927)'
              Brian Portch talks about this extremely talented artist, and displays examples from
              Woodville's many evocative battle scenes

November 20th 2018 (Tuesday)
            7.30pm: 'Sawbones and Leeches'
             Professor David Radstone, clinical oncologist, displays and describes artefacts from
             the Devon & Exeter Medical Society Museum.


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