Colyton Parish History Society
The Colyton Parish History Society was established in 1986 and the inclusion of “Parish” in the name was to emphasise the inclusion of Colyford and the other villages which have contributed so much to the history of the area.
Right from the outset, it was intended that the Society would establish a museum to showcase the Parish’s heritage, to complement those which have been set up in Seaton, Axminster and Honiton.
Over the years a collection of historic photos, documents, books and artefacts relating to Colyton has been built up and this forms the basis of the displays in the Heritage Centre. The Society’s members have also worked enthusiastically in a number of areas:
- Since 1987 a series of talks have been given, mostly on local history subjects though the winter months. From 1991 summer visits have been made to places of local interest and houses not normally open to the public. The current programme of events can be found by following the link to our News & Events page.
- Since 1997, fortnightly tours of Colyton have been led by members during the summer months. An autumn Parish boundary walk was started in 1991 and following a few years when it did not take place, restarted in 2012. It has proven very popular and this year’s walk will take place on Thursday 8th May. Details can be found on our News & Events page.
- Exhibitions have taken place in 1990 – Opening Exhibition; 1991 – “Coalition in Camera”; 1991 – Opening of a new base for the Society; 2005 – a large scale World War 2 exhibition; 2011 – “History of the Borough of Colyford”; 2012 – “Royal Events” These all made use of the Society’s large collection of photographs, memorabilia and artefacts. Plans are being made to hold further exhibitions now that the Heritage Centre is fully open.
- A number of research projects have been carried out over the years by members. These include the architectural history of St Andrew’s church, the water mills of the Coly valley, transcription of the Feoffee’s charter and recording of the cemetery headstones. Oral history has also been carried out to record the recollections of old Colytonians In particular reminiscences of WW2 were recorded in conjunction with the WW2 exhibition.
- Members have written and contributed to a number of publications on topics of local interest and the Society has published, or collaborated in a number of items, including the Parish Map; Colyton Parish Through the Centuries; Colyton at War; The History of the Feoffees of Colyton; The Most Rebellious Town in Devon; Colyford – Ancient Borough and Royal Manor; and History Walk around Colyton, written and produced jointly with the Primary School. A full list of these publications can be found on our “Retail Corner” page and they can usually all be found on sale in the Heritage Centre.
- In 1989 the Devon Record Office set up a number of county wide “service points” for the study of family and local History Society members established one of the first of these was and it has now been moved to the Heritage Centre. In addition to the microfiche copies of Parish registers etc supplied by the Devon Records Office, the Society has added a considerable number of further records. Nearly 2000 people have made visits to the Colyton Service Centre and several hundred email enquiries, many from overseas, have been answered. As a result of feedback received in the course of answering these enquiries full details of some 80 Colyton families are now held by the Society.