The Marldon Local History Group formally came into being on 11th September 2001, on the initiative of a group of about a dozen enthusiasts who had been meeting informally for the previous 12 months or so.
The Group has a formal Constitution, a Committee and the usual Officers. The formal objective of the Group is
"the promotion and the study of the history of the Parish of Marldon, the surrounding area, the collection and preservation of archival material, and the dissemination of information on it through meetings, publications and other appropriate activities."
The Group quickly discovered that there is a great interest in the Parish about the history of the Parish, especially in the comparatively recent social history with which the older members of the community can relate and identify. This is reflected in the continuing success of and attendances at the Group's quarterly Open Meetings, which are open to Members and non-members, and at which the Group displays any newly acquired material as well as existing appropriate material. Our Open Meetings have a Speaker or theme of local or seasonal interest, and have become an incentive for both Members and non-members to bring to us their own personal contribution to our ever increasing Archive.
Whilst on the subject of social history, the Group is also anxious to add to its collection of recordings and transcripts of parishioners (or former parishioners) relating their memories of life in the Parish. To many, this is not "real history", but it will be one day and if it is not recorded soon it will be lost forever. So if you are interested in this, and think that you could talk to our older residents and coax their memories out of them, please get in touch.
In addition to our own Archive of material, the Group has catalogued for easy reference the Minute Books and other papers belonging to Marldon Parish Council (dating back to its formation in 1894) and all material published by the Devonshire Association relating or referring to Marldon. The Group also has copies of the Parish Church records of births, marriages and deaths dating back to 1598 which are also available at the County Records Office in Exeter.
The Group has completed its own survey of the Upper Churchyard of St John the Baptist Church, Marldon and has a copy of a very detailed survey of the Lower Churchyard, carried out some years ago, complete with monumental inscriptions, map and index. These together have enabled the Group to produce a fully comprehensive Churchyard Index which can be accessed from this site.
The Group is also compiling its own bibliography of Marldon, and is anxious to add to its collection of books which are about, or refer to, the Parish. In addition, it is willing to copy old title deeds, which are often another source of interesting information, revealing not only who owned what in the past, but incidental information such as field names and old tithe numbers.
The author Elizabeth Goudge lived in Marldon between 1939 and 1951, and wrote some of her best known books during that period, some of which feature or are based on well known local places e.g. Compton, Berry Pomeroy and Torquay. The Group aim to acquire a complete library of her books and already have many titles, including a few signed first editions.
Since being established in 2001, the Group has consistently maintained a membership of more than 100. The Group’s Open Meetings are held in March, June September(A.G.M.) and December and attract attendances of 70-plus Members and non-members. Our annual subscription is only £5, which includes free admission to all Open Meetings.