The History Society

The Hatherleigh History Society

Hatherleigh History Society was founded in 1981 when the Town was celebrating one thousand years of recorded history. Our purpose is to research the Town’s history and build up a permanent archive of photographs and documents. We hold monthly meetings with visiting speakers talking on a wide range of subjects of both local and wider historical interest.

The Rev Norman Hillier who was vicar of Hatherleigh in 1981 was instrumental in establishing the Society and he remained as Chairman until his retirement in 1986.

In the 1980’s various members undertook the officers’ roles notably Jerome and Jenny Twomey, Monica Charlton, Kathleen Sanders, Jean Bromwich and David Sylvester. In 1996 Dennis Bater became Chairman and Brian Abell was elected as secretary the latter continuing in that role for 19 years. Dennis served as Chairman for 24 years until his sad passing in 2020.

Speakers at the monthly meetings have included such well known names as Craig Rich from BBC Spotlight, the late Tony Beard the wag of Widecombe,  Dr Tom Greeves former president of the Devonshire Association, Dr Todd Gray and Simon Dell MBE. Many other local speakers have contributed to our knowledge of the history of Hatherleigh and our area of North Devon.

Visits to places of interest in the area have been organised each year and increased our knowledge of the county and its historic buildings. ‘ History as it Happens’ is recorded each month and the minute books give an ongoing account of events as they have happened in the town. The Society has collected many records, photographs and documents relating to Hatherleigh and many of these are being added to the web site which was set up in 2013 with additional funding provided by the Hatherleigh Moor Management Committee.

A number of exhibitions have been staged when archive material has been displayed and groups of members have researched various subjects such as the field names project of 2005 and recording the many shops and places of work that existed in the Town in the 1920’s and 1930’s.

The Society meets on the second Monday of the month in ‘Old Schools’ in Hatherleigh’s Old Market Square and details of meetings are advertised here, on our facebook page and in the Parish Pump. Visitors are very welcome to attend our meetings at a cost of £3.

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