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History Alive

We know we live in a historic town when our “New” Street was built in the 12th century, but how much do we really know about our town’s history and the lives of the people who lived here before us? Wouldn’t it be something if the past could come to life?

That’s the whole idea of “History Alive”. The event will be part of a national heritage weekend 10th-11th September 2022. Alongside the Town Council’s newly formed Marketing Working Group and using the inspiration of other local groups in our town and groups of friends and individuals, we aim to recreate some of the events that have shaped our town and the nation’s history. We could portray anything from Great Torrington’s role in making the nation’s favourite tinned rice pudding, and fashionable gloves, through to the transport innovations of the canal and railway. The town has been no stranger to conflict. There have been conflicts over Great Torrington cemetery, the fencing-in of common land, with the lepers, the destruction of two castles, and national conflict between Cavaliers and Roundheads that was fought out on our streets in 1646. More recently the impact of the First and Second world wars on the town.

As a town, over the years, we have showcased our history: the Cavaliers re-enacted the explosion of Great Torrington church in 1646 at one of their famous bonfires, the informative work done by the Rolle Canal and Tarka Valley Railway groups, the role of the old Torrington 1646 centre, and the work of the local history society. Plus, the local history work done in our schools, and by the Commons Conservators, the Plough and its musicians and players, local historical authors and the Taddiport Lepers. The Mayfair Carnival is a yearly witness to the creativity of local groups and groups of friends. Let’s bring it all together on a weekend in 2022, with talks, demonstrations, guides, re-enactments etc. Starting the planning now, gives us the time we need to formulate ideas and by Autumn this year we could be ready to go to press for inclusion in national and regional tourist publicity literature. We really want to involve as many local people and community groups as possible so to learn more and get involved, please contact one of us.

Town Council:    admin@great-torringtontowncouncil.gov.uk; 01805 626135

John Wardman: johnwardman@hotmail.com; 01805 622622

Dave Gibbons:   dclaytongibbons@gmail.com 

Peter Hood:        hoodp@hoodp.plus.net       01805 622433