Welcome to Hatherleigh History Society’s website.

The purpose of both our facebook page and website here is to create a digital archive for the ongoing research regarding the town’s history, allowing everyone access to our many records, documents and photo’s and providing an exchange of information about them.

In addition to paper documents we also hold a number of recorded oral histories which we hope to digitise and transcribe to include here.


  • Hatherleigh Railway Memorabilia 2 April 7, 2021

    The Colonel Stephens Railway Museum in Tenterden, Kent holds some interesting North Devon railway memorabilia including a platform name from Hatherleigh Station and some further Tyer single-line signal tokens from this line (see previous posting). From the cut-out pattern one of these looks to be the no.8 token from Hatherleigh to Hole along with one for the Hole to Halwill section of track and a leather pouch for the engine driver to carry the tokens in.

    Hatherleigh Platform Sign - Col. Stephens Railway Museum (photo from tripadviser.co.uk)
    Hatherleigh Platform Sign – Col. Stephens Railway Museum
    (photo credit : hildenley on tripadviser.co.uk)
    Hatherleigh Line single line signal tokens - Col. Stephens Railway Museum (photo from tripadviser.co.uk)
    Hatherleigh Line single-line signal tokens – Col. Stephens Railway Museum
    (photo credit : hildenley on tripadviser.co.uk)
  • Hatherleigh Railway Memorabilia 1 : Signalling Token April 7, 2021
    Hatherleigh to Hole single-line signalling token
    Hatherleigh to Hole single-line signalling token
    (Image from gwra.co.uk)

    The Halwill to Torrington railway line was mainly single track with some double track sections such as at Hatherleigh Station to allow trains to pass one another. In order to operate safely the single line sections were controlled by signals and the driver carried a token coded, by cut-out position and shape, to that section of track. The stations at either end of a section had ‘Tyer’ instruments paired together electrically and only when the driver placed the token in the instrument at one end would the signals allow another train into that section. Each line would have had multiple tokens, allowing several trains to go in the same direction if need be, before a ‘down’ train returned. This is a Tyer No. 6 Single Line Token (about 4 1/2 inches in diameter) and is the 2nd token for the Hatherleigh to Hole section.

    There is a lot of interest in railway memorabilia and this token was sold at auction in 2015 for £240.

  • Hatherleigh Currency 2 (..ish!) January 13, 2021
    Passaford ford 1900
    Passaford ford 1900

    Violet Fulford Williams in her autobiography Under My Patchwork Quilt, (privately published Cir. 1968) writes about her childhood in the late 1800’s at Passaford House, the home of her grandparents Henry and Ellen Veale. The chapters relating to Hatherleigh can be found on our website and among many interesting local details she mentions the ford on the River Lew from which the house takes its name having been used in Roman times, as it lay on the Roman road from Cornwall, and that Roman coins had been found in the ford.

    While the crossing being on an actual Roman road may not be accurate, this route across the river has clearly been used for many centuries and as evidence of a Roman tile kiln has been found on Hatherleigh Moor it is not so hard to imagine an unfortunate traveller of the time loosing his or her footing, and coins, while fording the river.

    It is interesting to wonder whose feet have trodden Hatherleigh’s paths before us!