On the final day of BrixFest,Tuesday May 30th, local organisations joined in to the bring the National Lottery-funded Brixham Heritage Trail to life.
From Berry Head to the Battery Museum volunteers stationed at relevant points along the trail were on hand to discuss or enact the historic events which took place on that spot.
At All Saints’ Church, Bridget Cusack (pictured left) – author of information on the church’s history – chatted about the life of the Rev Henry Lyte, famous as the author of Abide with Me.
It appears that Lyte was quite a self-publicist.
A handsome but frail man, probably suffering from consumption, Lyte was fortunate in having a very wealthy wife who could afford to fund regular convalescent trips to the kinder climate of the Continent.
So Lyte penned a hymn (photographed left) to celebrate his safe return, which he instructed his flock to sing to welcome him back each time he returned from his travels.
There’s also an early example of fake news. A version of Abide with Me purportedly in Lyte’s hand and signed by him, is headed with an etching of his grave and date of his death! Prescience or forgery?
But the younger members of the Vaughan family (photographed left) from Aberdare in South Wales, who were visiting All Saints’ Church on the Heritage Trail, were just as interested in completing the church’s Fishy Quiz.
For those without a nervous disposition, the Widow Noir and Copt Blackheart could be found at the Old Fish Market from where they conducted a tour of the ghost and smuggler haunts around the harbour.
On Prince William Quay, Navel Cadets piled 15 dustbin bags full of the rubbish they picked up on the beach the morning after BrixFest Children’s Day.
And to raise awareness of the beach littering problem Cheryl Ashes, Kelly Anne Boyce and Laura McEwar (pictured left) of EdQuest spent the day using it to create a sculpture.
The EdQuest Team was also publicising its “Saving our planet one school at a time” festival for teachers and educators, which takes place at Tower House School, Paignton on Friday June 30th and features interactive zones and workshops.
At Breakwater Beach the South Devon Players (photographed left) took the part of the Brixham Angels – the wives and children of the fishermen at sea when the Great Gale of January 10th, 1866 struck. They dragged their furniture and bedding onto the Breakwater to build a bonfire to guide their men safely into harbour. The smoke from this formed the shape of an angel and a legend was born.
Alas, despite their efforts the fleet – and many boats actually in the harbour – was decimated. The devastation was so great, it was said to be possible to walk on the wreckage from Brixham to Paignton without getting your feet wet.
Tuesday was also the final day of the Crabbing Competition along the quayside where BrixFest chairman Sophie Bower was busy weighing the entries.
Though the Brixham Trail launch day is over, work by the BrixFest team will continue on the National Lottery project to capture as many local memories of those who took part in – or had family members involved in – Brixham’s historic past. Snippets from these testimonies will be captured in a mobile app guide to the trail and all the material, recordings and films generated will be freely available on the Heritage Trail website.
Thank you and credit goes to Anne Massey and Staurt Cumberpatch for their photos of the events.Follow