The Branscombe Project began about twenty years ago. A group of people, some of whom had lived all their lives in Branscombe, others relative newcomers, decided they wanted to find out more about their village and the wider landscape.
The time-span is anywhere from prehistoric times to the present, and the idea is to explore changing landscapes, changing lives, historical materials, and living memories.
We have taped over a hundred interviews, dug in the archives and in the ground, and walked the landscape. People have lent us photographs, documents, postcards and objects.
We put on biennial exhibitions, winter talks, documentary dramas and ‘disappeared houses’ walks. We have covered topics as diverse as Branscombe Ghosts, Maps, Farming, Cliff Plats, Orchards, Shops & Trades, the Churchyard, Lace Making, Smuggling, Outside Loos, Road History, School History, Hedgerow Dating, Archaeological Excavation & Field-walking, House & Family Histories, Gardens, the Blackshirts, and the wreck of the Napoli.
Our events and activities are open to all - there is no subscription and no membership list.
We want to make as much of our work available on this website as possible. It will take time. We hope you’ll enjoy what’s here and find it useful.
Many of you will remember Sheila Unwin who died 5 years ago at 89. Sheila was involved with the Project from its inception. She had started recording the graves and the information on the gravestones on the south side of St Winifred's; we joined her and on her original research was the cornerstone of the mapping of the churchyard.
Sheila led an extraordinary life. She served in the WRNS in WWII. Throughout the war she wrote home about her experiences. Her daughter, Vicky Unwin, has put those letters into a book which is published next month. While working with Sheila on many Project activities she let me read some of the letters - they read like a novel. I look forward to reading them all. We thought some of you might like to know about this book.
Available at Paragon Books in Sidmouth 01395 514516.
Also available in other bookstores and online.