Manning's Pit Timeline of
This is almost certainly not relevant to Manning's
Pit, but is important for Barnstaple's cultural
history, and would have been of interest to
Benjamin Manning, who quoted Shakespeare at every
opportunity : Shakespeare probably visited
Barnstaple as his company toured the South West
while endeavouring to avoid the Plague.
Griffiths is born in Pilton. Amelia who became
known as the "Queen of Seaweed" collected and
preserved almost 250 species of seaweed during her
lifeteime. She is now recognised as having been
one of the most important early woman scientists,
in many ways similar to the more famous Mary
You can read more about her at this
She probably left Pilton when she married the Rev,
Griffiths and they moved to Cornwall, but it is
highly likely that as a child and young woman she
would have walked in the fields that are known as
J M W Turner
born 23rd April, Covent Garden, parents
moved there from South Molton, North
Devon, shortly before.
Turner is considered one of England's greatest
What is Turner's relevance to Manning's
Pit? His Uncle lived very close to North
Field, which was the name of the Manning's
Pit field at that time. It is likely that
Turner visited him. Turner himself almost
certainly knew FR Lee (see below), and we have
uncovered evidence that suggests that he - at
least once - collaborated with Lee, as did the
other important Victorian artists, Landseer and
More to be added on this topic.
Here is a clip of a modern map taken from
Google Maps, with the locations of Manning's
Pit, Littabourne, where Turner's uncle was to
live, Pilton Street, where Banjamin Manning
had his home and shop, and Bellaire, where FR
Lee, the Hibbert family and Saki's family
lived. It is only a two minute walk from
Saki's house to Manning's Pit today, and it
would not have taken very much more time to
get there across the fields from Littabourne.
artist was the son of William Turner and Mary
Turner (née Marshall). His grandfather, John
worked at South Molton as a saddler and his
father, William, was a barber and wig-maker in
the town. The family are said to have lived for
at time in a cottage in North Street (then known
as Steppa Lane.) William Turner had four
brothers and two sisters.
Joseph Turner's early life was spent at
21 Maiden Lane (Covent Garden) and his father
encouraged him in his desire to be an artist,
selling his son's drawings at his barber's shop.
Rev Sweete in
his tour of North Devon observed a pillar
in the right of the Road (the Longstone) at the
junction of Bellaire and Under Minnow
Road. There will be more information
added about the Longstone under Sarah
Hibbert's details later, but this
stone was to become a feature of the garden F R
Lee created in 1859 after he moved to Broadgate
House. The modern day photograph shows the
Longstone as it is now, outside the walls of
Broadgate House. This spot was said to have
significance as a central point for many ancient
routes, and it has been surrounded by Save
Manning's Pit posters signs and banners in the
last two years.
More information to come also about the
The Longstone in 2017,
with the walls of Broadgate House behind it.
Ceramic sculpture in Victoria
and Albert Museum
Death of Munrow
Poor Lieutenant Hector
Munroe met a tragic and embarrassing death on the
2nd December 1792, that could have come straight
out of one of Saki's stories...
He was attacked by a tiger while answering a call
of nature in some bushes. In a world without
television or much amusement, ceramic sculptures
depicting his gruesome death were all the rage for
quite some time.
Whether or not he was related to the family of
Hector Hugh Munro (Saki) the story of his death
must surely have had an influence on the
imagination of the boy Hector as he grew up in
story about a tiger
about Saki's stories and Munroe's death
Thomas Lee Jnr born at Barbican
House, near Trinity Street, his father a
Link to Wiki entry for Thomas Lee
Frederick Richard Lee has commission
in 56th Regiment
and serves in the Netherlands
leaves Army because of ill health and from
this time devoted his life to landscape painting
Richard Lee becomes a student at the Royal
J M W Turner was a Member and a Tutor of the Royal
Academy, and the two of them are likely to have
known one another, especially as they both had
family in North Devon.
A Lace Factory is opened at Raleigh Pilton
(a branch of Heathcote's Tiverton)
Benjamin Manning moves to Pilton around this time.
Hugh Robert Hibbert born, in Birtles,
Cheshire. 19th December:
he is later to marry F R Lee's daughter, and become Mayor
Lee paints “The Lane towards Pitt Farm,
Raleigh, in Pilton” in July.
This painting could have been done while he
was visiting his family in Barnstaple.
Benjamin Manning marries Elizabeth Gribble
(from Parish of Bishops
Tawton) 23 October
Oct Pilton Parish Church: John Gribble Manning
Benjamin Manning's first child.
|Thomas Lee Jnr
drowned in accident at Mortehoe. He had been a
successful architect like his father, and there
is a plaque commemorating him at St Anne's
Chapel. Among his works were the Wellington
Monument and Arlington Court, and also the
Barnstaple Guildhall - where Benjamin Manning
was later on to attend Town Council
Meetings - and the Town Council in 2017 voted
unanimously against any development on
Thomas Lee Jr may also have been
the architect responsible for Broadgate Villa,
the house where Saki lived as a boy. This house
is directly opposite Broadgate house, which
became F R Lee's home in 1858.
One other item of interest - it is possible that
Thomas Lee lost his life in a surfing accident.
Surfboard riding probably became popular after
Captain Cook and his crew witnessed it off the
island Kauai in Hawaii in 1778
Pilton Parish Church 4 October William
- Benjamin Manning's second child
Church Frederick Richard Manning baptised,
Benjamin Manning's third child.
JMW Turner's uncle moves to Littabourne from
central Barnstaple. Littabourne is only a
quarter of a mile from Manning's Pit, and the
about the same distance from Broadgate House
where F R Lee was to live later. While Turner
died before Lee bought Broadgate house, it is
possible that Lee knew about Turner's
uncle, or even had some contact with him in
Littabourne while on family visits to
FR Lee was elected a full member of
Royal Academy in 1838, enjoying great
success as a landscape painter, associating with
Sir Edwin Landseer and Thomas Cooper. He is
known to have collaborated with them in the 1840s
and 50s, Frederick painting the landscapes while
Landseer or Cooper added the animals. He settled
at Penshurst in Kent with his wife Harriet and
daughter Sarah Catherine.
Pilton Parish Church
Harriet Manning baptised, Benjamin's fourth and
Sarah Catherine Augusta Lee born in
(London?) F R Lee's daughter.
link to page about Sarah Hibbert
and her husband Colonel Hugh Hibbert.
Their granddaughter married Henry
Broadgate Villa for sale.
This house was later to become the childhood
home of H H Munro (Saki)
Hugh Hibbert first enters army as an Ensign in
the 39th Foot.
enters Regiment Royal Fusiliers, went with them
as a captain to the Crimea. He reached the rank
of Brevet Major in 1855 without purchase due to
exhibiting bravery and leadership on the
More details of his army career ,and a
photograph of Hugh Hibbert, can be found here:
Sale of Pilton Estate, including
the field known as Northfield (or North
Fields) part of which became known later
as Manning's Pit. As the map makes clear,
it was bounded by Northfield Lane, which has not
changed its name.
Benjamin Manning writes to the
North Devon Journal during his dispute with
"Tenant Farmer" over pigs.
Here is a part of the letter:
admit the impropriety of keeping pigs in
places not adapted for that purpose; but the
place in which I store mine is situated at
the extremity of a garden 120 feet from the
nearest dwelling house. This place is
sheltered by a wall 10 feet in height; so
that nothing, in the way of mischief, can
reasonably be supposed to result from pigs
being kept under such circumstances. But one
word more – will Mr “Tenant Farmer” be so
bold, and so manly, and so honest, as to
give his proper name and address in answer
to this, that our townspeople may have the
opportunity of knowing to whom they must
send their wash. I hope he will learn from
this that pigs are not the only unclean
animals; and that meanness and spleen,
grounded on the most fallacious, ungenerous,
and unjust principles, as they of necessity
be, can never fail to merit the censure and
disapprobation of very lover of truth."
Western Times - November 10 1849
Benjamin Manning stands in Municipal Elections
for North Ward as "champion of pig-sties"
Cutting from the British Newspaper Archives
Harriet Eves Lee dies in Kent, and
is buried there, where she and Frederick Richard
Lee have been living.
Manning and Sons butchers shop in High Street,
note the sign also says Auctioneers. This shop
looks very much the same today. It is now (2016,
since then sold again) a shop by the name
June North Devon Journal, notice of Public
Pilton Parish Council. concerning sewers
Benjamin Manning one of overseers of
Hugh Robert Hibbert commissioned Lieutenant in
the 7th Royal Fusiliers.
Benjamin Manning, butcher, grocer,
auctioneer, living near 30 Pilton Street
with wife Elizabeth and four children, plus
wife's father and mother, John and Elizabeth
Gribble. John is a Greenwich Pensioner. Also
Manning nephew, John.
J M W Turner dies in December
More details from South
Turner never married and in his Will he made
provision for land for the building of
almshouses for "decayed English artists
(Landscape Painters only) and single men". In a
codicil made in 1848, he left all his pictures
to the nation, providing that an Art Gallery, to
be known as "Turner's Gallery", was built and
maintained at the nation's expense. If it was
not built within ten years from the date of
Turner's death then his heirs-at-law could claim
the entire collection. When Turner died in
December 1851, his next-of-kin contested Probate
on the grounds that he had been of unsound mind.
Benjamin Manning (auctioneer) sells a house
owned by a Mr William Turner (Mason) in
Probably coincidence but see below, 1856.
Hugh Robert Hibbert serves with
7th Royal Fusiliers, in the war in Crimea, they
embark April 1854
From the Macclesfield Express (the story is
based on research by Macclesfield historian
"Shipped to the Crimea
with his regiment Lt. Hibbert was first
engaged in the battle of the River Alma, where
the French, British and Turkish armies
defeated the Russians on 20th September 1854.
The Fusiliers had led the storming columns,
and young Hibbert suffered a slight but
painful wound to his ankle from one of the
last shots fired on the battlefield, which
lodged in the heel of his boot.
that Sevastopol was well defended on the
northern side, the command was given to attack
from the south, which meant skirting around
the town. At first, with the peasant farmers
gone, there was much fruit and food to be had
from the cottages and orchards. However,
conditions rapidly changed. Though lame
Hibbert refused to leave his men and walked
the ‘very severe march’ south to the Crimean
port of Balaklava, even refusing a request to
complete the journey aboard a British naval
Read the brief extract in
The Crimean War
Hugh Robert Hibbert writes:
We have a new invention to annoy our friends (
the Russians at Sebastopol) in their pits. It
consists of filling empty soda water bottles
full of powder, old twisted nails....
Major Hibbert seriously wounded (See story based
on Dorothy Bentley-Smith's research in Macclesfield
Declared public holiday in Macclesfield,
hundreds line streets, magnificent sword
presented to Major Hibbert as town honours him
(See story based on Dorothy Bentley-Smith's
research in Macclesfield
Benjamin Manning “wields his auctioneer's hammer
with his customary zeal” North Devon
More details about J M W Turner's will, from
South Molton Website:
On 19th March 1856 after long drawn out court
hearings, the "charity" money was split between
his five cousins or their descendants with the
result that Turner's plans for his almshouses
came to nothing.
According to a report in the Exeter Flying Post
dated March 20th 1856 the agreement reached was
that Turner's pictures were to be handed over to
the National Gallery together with a sum of
£200,000 to the Royal Academy for the
encouragement of landscape painting. A large
fortune, consisting of about £100,000 in funds
and other property was to go to Mr. Turner's
nearest relations; Mr. T. P. Turner and Mrs.
Matthews of Exeter, Mrs. Tepper and Mrs. John
Widgery of South Molton, and Mr.
William Turner of Barnstaple. Mrs. John
Widgery (Mary Ann Turner Tucker Widgery) was a
first cousin to the artist and the daughter of
his father's sister Mary.
Frederick R Lee remarried in 1857.
His new wife owned the Broadgate Estate.
The Royal Academy has a charming sketch of a
"sunfish" painted by him in this year, caught by
him while on a trip (presumably in his yacht)
from Algiers to Gibraltar.
FR Lee returned to North Devon in
1858, when he moved into Broadgate House,
Pilton. His second wife, Mary, sadly died
only eighteen months after their marriage.
Having inherited his father’s fortune and being
well-established as a major figure in the
English landscape painting world, he traveled
widely in this country and abroad
This is a photograph from 1858 of
Broadgate Villa, which was across the road
from Broadgate House.. You can see two trees on
the right on a hill, and the slope of Manning's
Pit is almost certainly just beyond them.
The trees would border the field. This
shows clearly how close both houses were to the
fields now known as Manning's Pit.
Broadgate Villa was to become the home of the
Munro family, and the young Saki a few years
There is a photograph of the
Desborough family on the
Pilton Story website, with more
information about them.
Incidentally, on Thursday
November 11, in 1858 Mr Manning was
involved as auctioneer in a sale of furniture
for a Mrs Davis, at Broadgate Villa. We do not
know whether that means the Desborough's were
there as well, but it certainly is possible that
the F R Lee came to the auction, as it was just
across the road from his own house.
One other note of interest: Thomas Lee was
probably the architect who designed
FR Lee makes a new garden and
inserts a wall around the Longstone, and from
the 1860s spent his time between Broadgate
House, his yacht in which he sailed the world,
and South Africa, where he owned several
farms. He died in South Africa
and was buried there in 1879.
Catherine Sarah Lee marries Col
Hugh Hibbert (1828-1895) at Birtles Cheshire –
it would be interesting to find out more about
how they met.. They were to have five daughters
and one son, so although he went to India in
1864, Colonel Hibbert must have returned
to England regularly! It appears that they spent
much of their married life in Broadgate house,
well before Lee died, as (at least most of)
their children were baptised in Pilton Church,
and Col Hibbert was a magistrate in Barnstaple.
Benjamin Manning aged 49 and family plus mother
in law and three servants now live in Joy
Street, he is a spirit merchant and auctioneer.
Henry Desborough of Broadgate Villa dies. Late
of Pilton, formerly Secretary of the Atlas
Assurance Company Cheapside to the City of
London, left effects of under £2000.
John and Benjamin Manning refuse to pay for a
Prize Pig they had agreed to buy.
Hugh Thomas Hibbert, son of Colonel Hugh Hibbert
and Sarah Hibbert, was born on
August 5th in Gibraltar.
Benjamin Manning in dispute over with SW Rail
wants £500 after hitting head in accident in
case over Prize Pig, the Manning family lose.
Benjamin meets juror in market a week later,
ends up in court,
for abusive language.
On 20th March Hugh Hibbert
writes from India to his father
"I am agreeably surprised with India, tho'
it is not a place I should like to live in and
shall not wish to stay a day longer than was
absolutely necessary. "
Victoria Catherine Hibbert,
daughter of Hugh and Sarah, baptised
Benjamin Manning's charwoman
details to be added
Letter to Exeter and Plymouth Gazette
Benjamin Manning threatens his milkman with a
Cutting from the British Newspaper Archives
Benjamin on Town Council (he
served three five year terms)
Hector Hugh Munro born in Burma
Hector was to become a world famous short story
writer, known under his pen-name "Saki." He
spent most of his childhood living with his
aunts in Broadgate Villa, just across the road
from Broadgate House.
Margaret Dora 4th child of Sarah
and Col Hibbert born. She became the mother of
Henry Williamson's wife.
There is a record of Northfield, the large field
below Northfield Lane that leads down to
Bradiford Water, being leased by Manning
from Sir Frederick Williams.
John Manning advert High street
Mary Frances Munro, Hector's mother, hit by cow
Captain Munro left his children in Pilton, in
Broadgate Villa under the care of his two
sisters when he had to return to work in Burma.
NDJ Thursday 20th- March
Thanks to Bill Greenwell for the
above cutting, here is more from his website
about Hector Munro's childhood:
No date yet for when Mercer family
acquired/leased Broadgate Villa, but it was
around this time.
Post office records
Manning and Sons Spanish Wine Stores, 29 Joy
Manning John and Son, butchers and cattle
dealers, 74 High Street.
In November 1873 a letter from Frederick Richard
Lee to his Barnstaple relatives was reported in
the local paper which stated that, at the age of
seventy, he had just completed a voyage around
the world in his yacht ‘Linda’, and was then
engaged on another trip to remote parts.
The message concluded ‘we are all well and
hearty, and have no fear for the future.’
George Frederick Hibbert, son of
Colonel and Mrs Hibbert, is baptised in Pitlon
Church, 14 September.
"Wanted an active and intelligent
Mannings advertises for help
Cutting from the British Newspaper Archives
An auction held in Manning and Sons Auction
Rooms, above the Bodega.
Cutting from the British Newspaper Archives
FR Lee dies in S Africa
Sarah inherits Broadgate House and Estate.
At Broadgate Villa, Pilton.
Lucy E Munro aged 73, widowed
Charlotte M Munro aged 50, "Tom"
Augusta J Munro aged 39
Ethel M Munro aged 12
Hector Hugh Munro aged 10
Leah M Hepper servant aged 27 born Morchard.
Hugh Munro attends the 1888 By Election
The above link takes
you to a full report from the North Devon
Journal of the exciting events that took place
that day. As Ethel Munro, Hector's sister,
related in "The Square Egg", the Munro family
watched events from a room above what is now
Youing's sweet shop. Benjamin Manning was ill
around this time, but his son William nominated
Lord Lymingotn, who won the Election. Col
Hibbert was one of those who nominated his
opponent, Sir Robert Carden.
Sarah Hibbert commissions window in
St.Peter's Church, Barnstaple, as a memorial to
her father, F R Lee.
More about this
Hector Hugh Munro as a boy.
29 Joy Street
Head of house:
Benjamin Manning, widower
Licensed Victualler and Auctioneer
Other Household Members
Willaim Manning 45 Auctioneer
Amelai Pinkham 55, servant, bar maid
Mary Baker 28 domestic servant
Frederick Mogridge 16
John Phillips 14...waiter?
Benjamin Manning dies age 72,
Friday 11 May 1873, from the Exeter and Plymouth
Gazette, details taken from from the British
"DEATH OF MR BENJAMIN MANNING -
"The death is recorded of Mr. Benjamin
Manning, of the Bodega, Joy Street, and chief of
the firm of Manning and Son, auctioneers. The
deceased, who died at the age of 72, has led an
active and a useful life, and at one time took a
prominent interest in local affairs, having been
elected for three terms of three years each to
the Town Council. He was Liberal in politics of
the old school, always expressing his opinions
fearlessly, but sometimes with an amount of
vehemence which made it rather unpleasant for an
opponent should he be close at hand.
He was a self-made and self-taught man. His
knowledge of Shakespeare was considerable, and
we never recollect hearing Mr Manning speak on
political matters, either in public or private,
without illustrating his argument with some apt
quotation from that poet. He established the
Bodega wine and spirit vaults, and for years he
made it the head centre of Liberalism in the
town. His strong convictions and his love of
expressing them always drew to the house the
principal men of his party, who now regret his
decease. Mr Manning had been failing in health
for the past few years, taking to his bed three
William Manning dies
Allan Smith born
Probably this year:
Margaret Dora Hibbert marries Charles Robert
Hibbert, against family wishes. He was twenty
years older than her, and her cousin.
They live (impecuniously) in White House
Francis Hibbert born,
Charles and Margaret's first child.
Artist Joseph Kennedy dies
Col Hibbert Mayor of Barnstaple
Col Hibbert and Sarah entertain
Duke of Cambridge
Col Hibbert dies - buried in Pilton Churchyard.
Cutting from the British Newspaper Archives
Dogged" a short story, appeared
as written by H H Munro, in St. Paul's, 18
Augusta Munro dies, Hector's Aunt.
The Rise of the Russian Empire, by H H Munro, is
published ( a history.)
Ida Loetitia is born - daughter of
Margaret Dora Hibbert and Charles Robert
Hibbert, granddaughter of Sarah and Hugh
Hibbert, and great granddaughter of F R
The Woman who Never Should
(political sketch) by H H Munro, plus other
The Not So Stories and The Westminster
We do not know -yet - when the
bottom part of the field known as North Field
first became known as Manning's Pit. We have
however spoken to locals whose parents said they
played in Manning's Pit when they were children,
back in around 1904, so it was known by that
Reginald (Short Stories) H H Munro,
Reginald In Russia - H H Munro (short stories)
The Chronicles of Clovis published
(short stories) H H Munro (Saki)
The Unbearable Bassington (novel)
published, H H Munro (Saki)
When William Came (novel)
published, H H Munro/ Saki.
Beasts and Super Beasts published
H H Munro Saki.
These short stories include The Lumber Room.
Also The East Wing (Short story) published.
1912 - 18
Allan Smith paints a set of
painting now in Phillip Boadens' possession,
including one of Manning's Pit, shown
Hector Munro's other Aunt. Aunt
"Tom" dies in January - Hector and Ethel have to
dash down to Barnstaple.
Hector Hugh Munro is killed by a
sniper's bullet in the trenches, on November
Broadgate Estate sold - catalogue
on Pilton Story website. Sarah Hibbert is
forced to sell the Estate and many possessions
in order to settle the debts of a wayward
son. One report in a newspaper mentions a
painting of F R Lee's that was "touched in " by
J M W Turner, RA. The sale includes the
portrait of FR Lee (shown above, earlier) which
is now in Barnstaple Museum.
The Toys of Peace (short
stories) published posthumously, H H Munro
(Saki.) Interestingly, the boys in the
story have a great uncle who fought in the
battle of Inkerman (as did Hugh Hibbert)
After a short stay in Ebberley Lawn,
Barnstaple, Mrs Hibbert moves back to Pilton
and lives at No 2 Bellaire, opposite Church
Lane, and almost opposite Broadgate House.
Allan Smith is Art Master
Barnstaple Boys Grammar
The Square Egg and Other Sketches, by Ethel M
Munro, Saki's sister, published.
This includes mentions of walk in the
countryside that they loved,
and a description of Hector's interest in the
1880 By Election.
Henry Williamson marries Ida
the Otter, by Henry Williamson published
While writing this book, Henry
Williamson is said to have walked up and down
all the streams and rivers in North Devon where
Otter Hunting took place. He became very close
to Sarah Catherine Hibbert and visited her at No
2 Bellaire Cottages. She is the first
person to be sent news that he has won the
Village Book by Henry Williamson is published
with a dedication to "Grannie
Hibbert", Sarah Catherine Hibbert, Ida's
grandmother. You can read more about Henry
Williamson's feelings for Sarah Hibbert at the
link above. We are grateful to the Williamson
family for information that they have given us
about the link between the Williamson and
Sarah "Grannie" Hibbert dies. She
is buried in Pilton Churchyard alongside her
Foot in Devon by Henry Williamson published.
This book describes walks around
the North Devon Coast, and there is a mention of
Saki in the portion dealing with the route from
Braunton to Barnstaple. We have been told by the
Williamson family that the Hibbert and Munro
families did indeed socialise. It is often said
the Munro children were kept apart from other
children and society, but they did in fact mix
with their neighbours, the Hibberts. This is not
surprising considering the two families had much
in common, with their connections to both Kent
and India. Both families also attended Pilton
The Salmon published by Henry Williamson
HW knew all the rivers of North
Devon and it is highly probably that he visited
the Bradiford Valley and the Manning's Pit area,
either when researching for his books, fishing -
Bradiford Water is a known salmon river - or in
earlier years visiting Grannie Hibbert.
A battle between the
Pilton and Bradiford boys around this time was
to become the inspiration behind Brian
Norman's poem," The Battle of Manning's Pit.":
Norman and his cousin John recite the poem on
in support of the campaign to Save
Manning's Pit, in 2017.
Snowballing in Manning's Pit,
photograph from Pilton Story Website
Allan Smith retires from
he also taught at Barnstaple Art School in the
The Manning's Pit fields from
Allan Smith dies
Pilton Longstone Excavation - more
information to be added.
Barnstaple Art School closed, building
demolished, now Waterstones.
Pilton Art Group formed, purchase old Pilton
School Building. and continue as an Art Group up
until the present day.
Many members have painted Manning's Pit.
Lynbro road built, Manning's way
constructed, original footpath from Northfield
Lane, into Manning's Pit.
Manning's Pit Bridge from old photograph
Women versus Men football Match,
barbecue in the Pit
Peter Squire paints Manning's Pit
Egg pacing, egg decorating in
Manning's Pit, events organised by Vicar
Local children on Manning's Pit
bridge in 1980's
Sledging in Manning's Pit, probably from 1980s
Green Man Festival founded.
Zodiac Mindwarp, a hard rock group
set up by Mark Manning,
have a UK Top 20 hit in May 1987 with Prime
Mark Manning (Zodiac
Mindwarp) moves into Windsor Road and often
takes his son down into Manning's Pit to
play by the bridge.
James Lovelock visits Manning's
Pit along with other family members when his
daughter and grandchildren move to Windsor Road,
Pilton, close to the fields, and opposite the
house where Mark Manning lives. During the next
twenty years many of his family come to know
Manning's Pit well
2004 - 2014
Countryside Stewardship scheme in
Manning's Pit fields.
A biography by Dr. Sandie Byrne is published
Killed Mrs De Ropp
Drama starring Ben Daniels, Gemma Jones, Julia
based on Saki's stories
Lewis walks in Manning's Pit
(photo Tony Gussin, North Devon Gazette)
Artist Ken Doughty dies
(1930-2009, lived very close to Manning's Pit,
(not yet known if he did any any paintings of
Families sledging in Manning's Pit - whenever it
it seems like all the families with
children in Pilton are out in Manning's Pit
Pilton Story founded.
Manning's Pit by Tim Saunders
Exhibition by Tim Saunders and Christine
paintings of Manning's Pit by both artists.
Snow on Tutshill, from Manning's
Exhibition of Paintings of Manning's Pit
by Christine Lovelock
Exhibition of 5 Barnstaple Artists includes
work by Allan Smith
Manning has an Exhibition of his Paintings
40 works bought by Damien Hirst.
Manning's Pit bridge by Margaret
Arts Group - The First Forty Years
published by Margaret Reed
Manning's Pit sold at Auction to
Summix Ltd, speculators from London.
The Friends of Manning's Pit is formed but
tragically is not able to raise the funds
to bid for the land at the auction in the
short time available.
The Friends of Manning's Pit Campaign Group
launched and the community response is
The people of Pilton come out into Manning's Pit
This was a small march organised with very
little notice, but good photographs
Protest March in Barnstaple Town
at least two hundred people attend despite
unfortunately link to NDJ report and
photographs no longer works.
Friends of Manning's Art Exhibition - five
Kemp a film director who has produced
films for BBC/Channel 4 etc joins the campaign
and starts filming in Manning's Pit.
Public Exhibition held by Summix's
agents to show plans for development, but of the
hundreds who attended' most preferred to go
upstairs in the same building to see the official
launch of Martin Kemp's wonderful film
"The Magic of Mannings' Pit."
Friends of Manning's Pit hold
numerous events in the community.
Save Manning's Pit posters and signs appear
spontaneously all around Pilton, creating a
visual demonstration that is to last two years.
A page of posters
Save Manning's Pit petition
those who sign it include
Lovelock, the world famous environmental
Porritt, former Director Friends of the
others to sign include:
Julia Bird, poet and author of
"Hannah and the Monk" and "Twenty Four Seven
Welsh landscape artists and authors David
Bellamy and Jenny Keal
Trevor Beer (naturalist who won the Gavin
Maxwell Award for the Conservation of Otters)
The leaders of all the main political
parties in North Devon and almost all the
population of Pilton, with the exception of
those who do not sign online petitions but
preferred to sign a paper one.
The politicians to sign are:
Sir Nick Harvey (former Liberal
Democrat Government Minister and North Devon MP)
Peter Heaton-Jones (present Conservative North
Steve Crowther (UKIP Party Chairman)
Ricky Knight (Former Barnstaple Town Councillor
and former Lead Candidate for the Green Party at
the European Elections)
Mark Cann (Labour Party Candidate at the
last General Election)
In the Lumber Room with Saki
A programe on Radio Four
Extra by Shuan Ley
One hundred years after Hector
Hugh Munro was killed by a sniper's bullet on
the Somme battlefield, Shaun Ley, who also grew
up in Devon, returns to Saki's childhood home to
explore the environment that made the author.
During the three hour programme, well known
actor Ben Daniels read one of Saki's most famous
short stories, the story of Shredni Vashtar.
This, above, is the house (as it
was when Shaun Ley visited it to make the
programme)) where Hector lived as a boy.
In his day, the fields behind his house led down
to Bradiford Water, perhaps 200 yards away. It
was a short walk up the river bank to the little
bridge that crossed the stream at Manning's Pit.
These words come close to the end of the famous
"The great polecat-ferret made its way down
to a small brook at the foot of the garden,
drank for a moment, then crossed a little
plank bridge and was lost to sight in the
bushes. Such was the passing of Sredni
Was Hector thinking of Manning's Pit bridge when
he wrote those words? It seems very
likely. See our Saki page for
Friends of Manning's Pit Art Exhibition
North Devon MP gives out prizes at
sends a late Christmas Card, and message of
"Of course I support your brave and important
effort to stem the tide of intrusion into our
11 artists exhibit, including former Mayor Ian
Save Manning's Pit Banner has a
star turn in the
For more about the Pilton Panto, go to this link
.Planning Application for 41
houses on the Manning's Pit field is submitted
North Devon Council receives
hundreds of letters of objection.
The Life and Times of
Exhibition at the Museum of Barnstaple and
This includes paintings by F R Lee, Alan
Smith and Mark
Manning, among others.
Also exhibits relating to Benjamin Manning, HH
and Henry Williamson.
Childhood's End by Mark Manning
Christmas Exhibition at Burton Art
Gallery, Bideford -
three works depicted Maning's Pit are exhibited
FR Lee's work included in
Exhibition in Exeter Museum
Ken Loach signs our Petition
with these Comments:
need homes - but they also need green
spaces. There is no conflict between a
properly planned housing programme and the
preservation of historic open land. I
strongly support saving Manning's Pit for
future generations to enjoy.’
Richard and Anne Williamson,
Henry Williamson's son and daughter in law,
sign our petition, and tell us that Henry
Williamson visited Grannie Hibbert in her
cottage in Bellaire, as well as the Manning's
Pilton Panto 2018
Our banner makes another appearance!
The application by Summix to build on
Manning's Pit is withdrawn
Dr Sandie Byrne signs the petition. She
is the author of "The Unbearable Saki" and
visited Broadgate Villa during the making of
Shaun Ley's Radio Four Programme.
Satish Kumar signs our petition.
The Inaugural Manning's Pit Poetry
Competition is launched.
October 2019 Note
More to be added here, but for the
moment you can find out all that has happened
since August 2018 by going to our Campaign
This Timeline is a work in progress
apologies if any links are not complete, etc, and
any attributions missed. We will also be producing
a more simplified Timeline with only the main
We are still researching this History and will be
grateful for any contributions or corrections if
anyone would like to send them to us.
Our sources and people we would like to thank, in
no particular order:
British Newspaper Archive
Pilton Story Website
Michael and Lyn Essery
Peter and Sheena Ferguson
Museum of Barnstaple and North Devon
Athaneum at North Devon Library
The Macclesfield Express
We also believe that that Ian Dury had a
family connection with Bradiford, and may
have known Manning's Pit, only about a quarter of
a mile from Bradiford Hill.
The research for this Timeline and the Life and
Times of Manning's Pit was undertaken by Christine
Lovelock and Tim Saunders.
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
if you have any information or corrections you
would like to send us.