BBC Village Profile 1983

A 40-year-old BBC recording captures an old Lapford dialect and provides recollections of village life from 1983 back to the days of Edwardian Poor Law handouts. Included is the memory of giving sickly children milk from a single cow. Was it a cure? —“Oh sure! Nobody ever died!”
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The Parson & the Porcupine

Scoundrel! Blackguard! Wretch! A war of words between a Lapford parson and the country’s best-loved journalist heralds four decades of notoriety and torment for the village.
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Lapford Congregational Chapel

In 1998 Noel Parry wrote ‘The Light On The Hill’ (reproduced here) to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Lapford Congregational Chapel. The book also covers something of the village’s earlier non-conformist roots dating back to the eighteenth century.
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The Rise of Lapford Creamery

A short history of the successful development of Ambrosia’s Lapford Milk Works, as told by its longest serving manager — Bill Sutton.
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The Publican who changed Lapford

When building work began on a new Ambrosia factory near Lapford Cross in 1926, there was an air of anticipation. For a village still to experience mains water, electricity or flushing toilets, it felt like a giant leap into the modern, industrial world. So there was probably some surprise…
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The Big Freeze of 1962-3

Lapford was badly hit during the national “Big Freeze” of 1962-3. The following article gives a sense of the challenges faced, and reports on the extraordinary efforts to keep the village’s creamery operational.
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Lapford Timekeeping & the Village Clock

In 2021, Lapford’s village chimes fell silent, breaking a tradition of timekeeping dating back at least 600 years. The following display posters were part of an exhibition raising awareness of the loss of an old village sound and its historical significance. With public support it was hoped the loss might…
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Fledgling Adventures of a Field Wizard

What links Lapford to Alaskan Lemming? Read how Lapford-born Cyril Harrold gain a reputation as one of the most gifted field naturalists of his day before tragedy denied him the expedition of a lifetime.
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Audio interview: Eileen Parish

Eileen Parish came to Lapford as an evacuee and made it her permanent home. In this interview with Noel Parry, made in 1999, she discusses her memories of the evacuation, the village and trips into Exeter.
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The “Good Morning and Smiles Bus”

It is 100 years since Turner’s Tours started the first bus service through Lapford. So, all aboard for a nostalgia trip discovering some of the original sights and characters on Mr and Mrs Turner’s happy bus.
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Perils of the Road 1830-1930

The growth in the use of Lapford’s roads between 1830-1930 was not without incident. The following 25 tales—some amusing, some tragic—capture something of the impact of the ‘road revolution’ on the lives of Lapford villagers from the days of pack horses to the halcyon days of motoring.
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The Great Escape

The story of the first pleasure outings from the village, made possible by the advent of charabancs, trains and the ‘weekend’.
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A Walk Around Lapford (1976)

In 1976, Lapford hosted friends from its twin village of Langannerie. The twinning committee published this short guide for a walking tour which followed an exhibition of Lapford’s history.
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Lapford Then and Now

NEW! Compare pictures view of bygone Lapford with the same views today. We will be adding more in the coming months.
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Lapford Mill

Milling in Lapford was recorded in the Doomsday book. The current mill is noted for its intact machinery and for lovers of art it is an occasional entertainment venue and home to Lapstock Music Festival. Discover the mill’s chequered history with links to South African Gold and Yorkshire Brass.
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The perjure of a fallen jockey

Lapford farmer, Thomas Leach, was very proud of his new racehorse: Maid of Honour. At 30 guineas the mare was a costly purchase but when she won a stake at Barnstaple Races in the autumn of 1870, Thomas felt sure he had made a good investment. But, the following night,…

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Poor House Lane cottages

A familiar feature for those who regularly travel though Lapford is the decorative mid-C18 iron arch (pictured above) crafted by the village smithy, George Challice. Through the arch is a row of three thatched cottages dating from about 1740, the first of which is appropriately named Challice Gate. Next…
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The church & council school

School log books dating back to 1865 were once rescued from a builder’s skip! They provide a fascinating insight into social history and conditions so their survival is very fortunate. In 2016 Sue-Briant-Evans published a brief history of the school including colourful excerpts from the logs. It is reproduced here.
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The Lapford baker killed by yeast

The Richards were once one of the largest and oldest established families in the village; a family of dissenters and industrialists. They were the last occupants of the cottages that once stood on Park Meadow. Read the story of William Richards schoolmaster, butcher and baker who met a ‘barmy’ end….
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Arrival of the gentry

In the early C19, Lapford’s fortunes were suffering from a decline of the serge weaving industry. Fortunately, the building of a turnpike and railway through the parish brought new commercial opportunities. Moreover, they gave improved accessibility to local hunting grounds, bringing a timely influx of wealthy ‘sportsmen’ and benefactors.
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The golden road to Lapford, Soweto

In the early 1900s Lapford’s economy was fuelled by agricultural toil—the husbanding of livestock and the digging of it’s ruby-red soil for cultivation. But not all hard earned income was ploughed back into the village. Lapford labour was indirectly supporting an altogether different land enterprise over 5000 miles away.
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The Cockwell Family

Which Lapford giant became a Highland Games champion? Who supervised savages? Why couldn’t a mother marry? Who might have been Britain’s busiest post handler?
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Kelland Barton— “the most famous farm in England”

John Moon’s innovative farming practices turned Kelland Barton into “the most famous farm in England”. But bad fortune followed the Kelland family after they reclaimed their ancestral farm. Within 40 years the farm had halved in value and left family hands forever.
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Neighbours with a past

From a child cotton spinner and a boy enthused by bug-hunting to an influential family of art, natural science and politics who found a home in Florence at a time of revolution and change. The de Schmid family who moved to Nymet Rowland came to the village with a fascinating…
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Haunted by a holocaust

On remote farmland in southern Scotland tragedy unfolded—a “great holocaust”. Chief fire officer, Eric de Schmid, could have done little more to save lives but he was hurt by criticism and haunted by memories. The Devonian, born near Lapford, later suffered public abuse for being a German spy.
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Lapfordians who changed the world

Canned rice pudding was invented and manufactured in Lapford and the name of the village was exported around the world on the side of a tin. Remarkably, for such a small community, Lapford can boast many other fascinating connections with change and development in the late C19/early C20. Quite uncanny!
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Hidden Detail

Photograph believed to have been taken at the opening of the memorial, 22 November 1919 From his studio in Sidwell Street, Exeter, Herbert Read created pieces for some of the world’s most prestigious venues including the Taj Mahal, the House of Lords and the National Cathedral in Washington DC. Lapford’s…

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Passing Muster: the armed villagers of Tudor Lapford

In Tudor times there was no standing army in England. Lapford was expected to maintain its own village militia, together with necessary equipment, ready to be called upon by the Crown in a time of need. What sort of village fighting force could Lapford muster?
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The Lapford Bride

Eight scenes in the remarkable life of Mary Ann Partridge who married at seventeen and was accused of wilfully murdering her husband the following year
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Easton Barton: looking to Lapford

Easton Barton in 1907 – a grand farmhouse with medieval origins and striking Tudor features—tall granite windows and arched doorways. Roman remains said to be found on Cornbury Hill point to the possibility on an even earlier house on the site. Approaching Lapford, a road to the right  immediately before…

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