House History Timeline

Viewing SV's Georgian Detached in Meshaw

Meshaw appeared in the Domesday Book.



Brenda Phillips Until 1995 (Occupier)



The Conservative Party gain power and Margaret Thatcher becomes Britain’s first female Prime Minister. Her term lasts until 1991, her policies emphasise central government and private enterprise whilst undermining the power of the Trade Unions.


Winter of Discontent

Eight years of unrest and discontent at the declining economy, continuing inflation and rising rates of unemployment result in a number of trade unions striking.



18 June 1969 - The Executors of Walter Crabb sold Bourne Head to Mr Frederick Cyril Quartly - this is first time Bourne Head and Gidley are mentioned separartely and thereore I believe that this is when the two properties were first split. (See aerial photograph which clearly shows that the split has not taken place. The photo may well have been taken in the late 60s)



Charles Crabbe Until 1940 Charles Crabbe bought Gidley Arms and Bourne Head Farm on 21 October 1909 from the Trustees of Robert Preston Preston-Whyte. Charles Crabbe had been the tenant farmer at Bourne Bridge, another of the Preston-Whyte's estates, so he was already known to the Preston-Whyte family.

Harriet Jane, his wife, died in 1938 and Charles Crabb died on 11 January 1940 at The Ring of Bells, in Cheriton Fitzpaine. I don't know when he left Gidley or who lived there afterwards. His will suggests that his son, Walter inherited the house but in 1940 Walter was a male nurse living in Solihull. As he also died in Solihull in 1967, I don't know if he ever lived there. He appointed his 3 sons to be Trustees of his Will.



According to Lesley Aitchison catalogue, 5 estates belonging to the Preston-Whytes, one of which was Gidley Arms and Farm were to be auctioned off on 26 July 1907. However neither the Gidley estate nor Meshaw Barton sold and they both came up again for auction in 1909.





Henry Hooper 1901 Census: Henry I Hooper (aged 41), Innkeeper and Farmer, and wife, Rosa Mary (24)

Accession of Edward VII

Four years after her diamond jubilee, Queen Victoria dies. Her death is an occasion of national mourning.


Second Boer War

After receiving military equipment from German, the Boers re-armed and fought on the borders of the Cape Colony and Natal. The British army immediately sent reinforcements. The severity of the British actions (including the use of concentration camps in which inmates were subjected to cruel work regimes and fatal diseases spread) in South Africa was strongly opposed by liberal politicians as the extreme of imperialism. The war ended in 1902 with the Treaty of Vereeiging, the two independent republics were lost and absorbed into the British Empire.



Albert Matthews 1891 Census: Albert Matthews (aged 23), Licensed Victualler, and his wife, Ellen (aged 22)


Jack the Ripper

Five prostitutes are brutally murdered in the Whitechapel area of London’s east end. The killer, “Jack the Ripper”, have never been definitively identified, and the case resulted in worldwide press coverage and hysteria.



William Harris Until 1881 1861 Census: Gidley Arms Inn & Bourne Head Farm
Willam Harris, farmer of 120 acres and victualler, living at above with wife, Ann and 3 daughters and one son, Ann (20), Jane (16), Selina (11) and William (2).
1871 Census: William Harris still living at Gidley with wife and 2 daughters (Jane & Selina) and 2 sons (William and Charles, aged 9).
1881 Census: William Harris still living at Gidley but his wife had already died and William (21) and Charles (19).


Crimean War

To stifle Russian expansion after she occupies parts of the Ottoman Empire, Britain and France, with the support of the Austrians, declare war. It ends in 1856 when the British and the French force the fall of Sebastopol and the Treaty of Paris is signed in 1856. This war raised the profile of the nurse Florence Nightingale, leading to the creation of modern nursing.


The Labour Classes Lodging Act

This act authorised local authorities to establish lodging houses for the labour classes.



Robert Saunders Until 1851 1850 White's Devonshire Directory refers to Robert Saunders, Victualler, Gidley Arms Inn
1851 Census shows Robert Saunders, farmer of 120 acres, living at Gidley Arms with wife, Mary, and 3 children, Elizabeth (28), Susanna (26) and Robert (23)


Irish Potato Famine

As a result of British economic interference, the “blight” potato fungus, and destructive farming methods, there is widespread famine in Ireland resulting in 500,000 deaths and mass emigration.


The Penny Black Stamp

The introduction of the adhesive penny black stamp for all letters by Sir Rowland Hill marks the beginning of the modern postal service.



Gidley House was built in 1826. (Date is inscribed on beam on attic.) I believe it was originally a private house but very soon afterwards became a pub, probably when the new road (A373) from Witheridge to South Molton was built in 1839, hence it was referred to as Gidley Arms Inn. It was built adjacent to a much older house, Bourne Head Farm (Bourne meaning stream, Head being the top of the stream). The farm was owned by the Preston family of Lee (Leigh) House, Chumleigh. Richard Preston owned estates around this part of Devon. He was a Barrister and MP. He left his estates to his daughter, Mary Preston. As she never married, she left her estates to Robert James Whyte, who inherited them in 1880, taking on the Preston name to call himself Preston-Whyte thereafter.


Accession of William IV


Peterloo Massacre

Cavalry charge into a public meeting at St Peter’s Field in Manchester. The Group were agitating for parliamentary reform. In the aftermath, six acts were passed labelling any meeting for radical reform “an overt act of treasonable conspiracy”.

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