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Our Ancestors chatting


coleford 1900's
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According to 19th century directories Coleford was originally a Roman settlement. Some Historians do not accept this idea but, in a paper read at Exeter to the D. A. A. S. L. A.,  T. J. Joyce put forward a sound theory that the S.W. part of the Fosse Way passed just to the south of Colebrooke. Thereby proving that this area would have been settled by the Romans. Little is recorded about Coleford during the Middle Ages apart from a rather tenuous suggestion that monks stayed at the local Inn while building the original church at Colebrooke. The next, in fact the most notable, episode in Coleford's history occurred on the 29th July 1644. King Charles 1, after spending the night at Crediton, passed through the village on his way to Bow. Legend has it that he stood in the porch of Spencer's Cottage at Coleford to review his troops as they passed through. The road through Coleford had by this time became the main route from Crediton to Okehampton and under the Turnpike Act of 1753 it underwent "great improvements" and was turned into a turnpike road with a toll house at Barnstaple Cross.

This continued until 1831 when Mr. McAdam, having upgraded the route from Crediton to Copplestone, carried the route through to Bow thereby relieving Coleford of much traffic, and travellers of two very steep hills. In spite of this Coleford, by the middle of the 19th century had become a thriving, albeit, small self-contained community. In the 1840s and 1850s Coleford could boast a small school, a Gospel Hall, a Post Office, two Inns, two Butchers, a Smithy, a Thatcher, a Carpenter, a Shoemaker, a Tailors and slightly later a Baker, as well as four small farms. By 1870, however, One Inn, the School and the Post Office had closed. By the 1920s the closing of the last Butchers and the Bakery meant that the only businesses apart from farming, left in the village were Thatching and the Smithy - which closed in the 1950s - and the New Inn. Now the Gospel Hall has closed - 2015. Today apart from farming and thatching, only the New Inn remains - affording good food and libation to travellers as it did in the days of yore. On the right, in the previous photograph is our residence, where you will find the Enderson Family.

Coleford's Blacksmith Ernie Harris reflects on life as a Blacksmith in Coleford - accompanied by Neville Enderson playing the accordion. The recording of Colebrooke produced by Mary Stephenson & Carole Herbert


Old Devon Cob Making Poem

OLD cob wall
Have falled at last;
Us knowed he might
A good while past.
Great-grandad he
Built thicky wall
With maiden earth
And oaten strawl.
He built en in
The good old way,
And there he've stood
Until to-day.

But wind and rain
And frost and snow
Have all combined
To lay en low.

Us propped en up
With stones and 'ood,
Us done our best,
But t'weren't no good.
He gived a bit
And then a lot,
And at the finish
Down he squat.
And now, since barns
Has got to be,
Us'll build another
'Stead of he.

But not the same
He was afore,
'Cos no one builds
Cob walls no more.