Histories & Mysteries: Thomas Stukeley – Devon born pirate, double agent, forger and traitor
Dec02

Histories & Mysteries: Thomas Stukeley – Devon born pirate, double agent, forger and traitor

Sir Thomas Stukeley Thomas Stukeley was a soldier, pirate and adventurer, who was born in 1525 to Sir Hugh Stukeley in Affeton, North Devon. Though there are rumours that still circulate today that Henry VIII was actually his natural father. Stukeley was one of the most colourful characters of the Elizabethan age, whose exploits brought him fame and notoriety throughout Europe. Described variously as picturesque, quixotic, cloudy...

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It’s been a very long journey
Nov17

It’s been a very long journey

A decade ago, I sat down with a number of key local figures in Okehampton, including Dartmoor Railway’s Operations Manager, to put a campaign plan in place for a regular passenger rail service between Okehampton and Exeter. It was an optimistic discussion to say the least, given that our economy was still recovering from the financial crash and securing funding was going to be the single biggest challenge. We also didn’t just need to...

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Folkmoor: Red Hair
Nov15

Folkmoor: Red Hair

As I quickly write this column late (sorry Editor Laura!) I note that it is 5th November. As everyone will be considering the Gunpowder Plot and fireworks as being associated with this date, I thought I would instead note that it is also International Love Your Red Hair Day. Stereotypes based on appearance are all too common. But redheads certainly seem have a raw deal. Where might some of these ideas have come from? Often, we might...

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“I thought I would take up hang gliding and surfing”
Sep22

“I thought I would take up hang gliding and surfing”

Not that long ago, I remember reading the title ‘The Lord-Lieutenant of Devon’ and thinking that it was the coolest job title I had ever heard. Other than maybe ‘space cowboy’, as coined by Joey from the television series Friends. I sought to find out more… The Lord-Lieutenant is Her Majesty’s personal representative in the county and is appointed on the advice of the Prime Minister. This role is non-political and unpaid and he or she...

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The evacuated children of the Second World War
Sep10

The evacuated children of the Second World War

On the day that this edition of The Moorlander goes on sale across Devon, it’ll be 3rd September, and the anniversary of the day Britain declared war on Germany. The rest, they say, is history. At the time, there was a fear that German bombing would cause mass civilian deaths and this prompted the government to evacuate children, mothers with infants and the infirm from British towns and cities. The evacuation took place in several...

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All aboard for 1871 – celebrating 150 years of Okehampton’s railway – UPDATE
Sep03

All aboard for 1871 – celebrating 150 years of Okehampton’s railway – UPDATE

Public Dinner in Fore Street, Okehampton, for 500 to 600 guests on 30th August, 1871, marking completion of the line from Okehampton Road (nowadays Sampford Courtenay) to Okehampton. While work to reopen the Dartmoor Line between Okehampton and Exeter later this year continues, over the coming weeks, as reported in the last edition of The Moorlander, a programme of events and exhibitions will celebrate 150 years since the railway...

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