Friday, 14 June 2013

Widecombe Fair.

Tom Pearce, Tom Pearce, lend me your grey mare
All along, down along, out along lee.
For I want to go down to Widecombe Fair
Wi’ Bill Brewer, Jan Stewer, Peter Gurney,          
Peter Davy, Dan’l Whiddon, Harry Hawk,
Old Uncle Tom Cobley and all                                                   
Old Uncle Tom Cobley and all.

As a child I sang this song with gusto but never stopped to think about the words or wonder whether there was any truth behind its story. So it came as a surprise to find myself in the tiny village of Widecombe last week on one of the hottest days of the year.
Staying in Devon, I joined a coach tour across Dartmoor.  The views were stunning; ponies everywhere, their foals a delight to see. After stopping to climb High Tor and look down on other counties spread out below, we scrambled  back into the coach and descended the steepest of hills into a picturesque village – Widecombe.

A wide green, under a glorious copper Beech tree; stone cottages; quaint tea shops and tiny general stores. All in the care of the National Trust, it is the epitome of an English village.
The Cathedral-in-the-Moor
To one side of the green is the church of St Pancras with its solid square tower reaching towards the hills.  It's known as the Cathedral-in-the-Moor.
Walk inside and discover a large model of the Old Grey Mare; Uncle Tom Cobley and All, made by the late Harry Price and exhibited by the Widecombe History Group.
And on a board on the Green the 2013 Fair is advertised – after all these years it still goes on.

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