Monday, March 22, 2010

In which we meet a man named John

Winkleigh (above) and Ashreigney (below), Burrington, Torrington, South Molton and George Nympton - all villages and towns in a small area of Devon. And various generations of Phil's Alford ancestors lived there and worked as agricultural labourers.

William Alford and Ann Rogers married at George Nympton in 1851, lived in South Molton and migrated to Australia in 1855. We went to George Nympton and met a chap called John who lived in a house, hundreds of years old, next to the church. He invited us in for a cuppa and turned out to be a real character. His hobby is botany and he reads gardening books all day every and refers to plants by their scientific rather than common names, knew that the gum tree in a garden down the lane was Eucalyptus gunnii, knows exactly what sort of wood everything in his home was made of, and told us all about mole catching (see my previous post). We loved it all. That his house just in front of the church in the photo below. His kitchen window looks out over the graves in the churchyard.


  1. There is a notable absence of trees or vegetation at all in Ashreigney. Why?

  2. Some of the villages have an open space called a village square or market square. In Ashreigney the open space is bordered by the town hall and the church, and is grassed. In Highworth (I'll write about it later) the village square is filled by car parking. In Asnreigney there were trees and gardens in other parts of the village but as it's early spring they are all bare.