William Hitchcock, serge maker-hero or villain?

The once wealthy industrialist William Maunder Hitchcock (b.1822) lived in Lapford for the last 25 years of his life until his death in 1894. He boarded quietly with James and Mary Crook at remote Little Hole, Lapford away from public life. Those who met him during his years in Lapford may have […]

Serge weaving in Lapford

   The clacking of hand loans was once a familiar one in Lapford. It is likely that there were once 20 or more looms in the village for the weaving of woollen cloth —most commonly, serge. Serge was Devon’s primary export commodity in the boom years of the counties textile industry in the C17 […]


Lapford serge making Q&As

When did serge making start in Lapford? Devon was a world centre of serge making from the C14. Rural communities played a vital part in this industry, producing wool and undertaking various production processes in the home. In Lapford few records survive of Lapford’s involvement in the serge making before the 1851 census when the industry was in […]

William Snell: cut from a different cloth?

Many serge weavers lived on the edge of poverty, even in full employment. But for their immediate masters, the serge makers, there was financial opportunity. Lapford serge-maker William Snell appears to have grown wealthy from the work of the village’s weaving community.  On his death in 1800 William Snell left a £1300 share of his estate to his three children (over £1 […]

The life and paintings of Eliza Wilson 1837-1915

Three Victorian paintings of Lapford were brought together in a display at The Ark, Lapford in September 2017. They were painted between 1882 and 1901 by Eliza Wilson, wife of Canon Cornelius Wilson the, then, Rector of Lapford. It was probably the first time that the paintings have been on display: they are now all […]

Mary Brown- memories of a Lapford teacher 1973-1998

TRANSCRIPT OF TALK GIVEN BY MRS MARY BROWN AT THE BYGONE DAYS EXHIBITION IN THE VICTORY HALL ON FRIDAY 21ST JANUARY 2000. Before I ever came in to the village of Lapford I frequently passed by along the A377. At that time – early seventies – Highfield was still being […]

Eileen Parish- an evacuee to Lapford

I came to Lapford as an evacuee in June 1940. We had travelled from South West London by train to Exeter where we were transferred to coaches and driven to Haywards School, Crediton, for milk and buns. From there we came to Lapford and arrived at the Victory Hall in […]

Edgar Bragg- a Kelland lad

TRANSCRIPT OF A TALK GIVEN BY MR EDGAR BRAGG AT THE BYGONE DAYS EXHIBITION IN THE VICTORY HALL ON FRIDAY 21ST JANUARY 2000. I was brought to Lapford when a very young child of twenty months and have lived either at “Kelland Barton” or “Easterpark” for over seventy years. Some […]