NWR Taunton

INSTEAD of our usual monthly coffee morning at the Cosy Club in Taunton, the group was home-hosted to a wonderful afternoon garden tea party – and the sun shone! It was a lovely way to end a sizzling summer.

For our September evening meeting, we had been asked to consider ‘Scientific things that we would prefer NOT to have happened’.

This produced a very lively discussion about so many things including plastic, disposable nappies, the nuclear bomb, social media, internet, CCTV and thalidomide – which was originally developed for use as a yellow dye! Who Knew?

We came away with our heads buzzing !

NWR women are active, interested in everything and will talk about anything.

If you are an ‘empty nester’, retired, early or otherwise, recently moved to the area and looking for some friendship, or just find yourself with time on your hands, please contact NWR on 0845 450 0287 or go to www.nwr.org.uk and look on Find A Group where you can find details of the Taunton group.

Langport & District History Society

THE Society’s first meeting after the summer break was an illustrated talk by John Allen on one of the most important events in West Country history, the Monmouth Rebellion of 1685, culminating in the Battle of Sedgemoor and its tragic aftermath locally.

John began with a summary of the life of James, Duke of Monmouth in the context of the turbulent political and religious climate of late 17th century England. He was the illegitimate son of Charles II, born in Rotterdam on April 9, 1649.

Because of fears for his personal safety in this period before the 1660 Restoration, he was moved around the Continent and England.

When Charles was restored to the English throne in 1660, there was no legitimate heir, provoking various claims including that of the Protestant, James, and the Catholic Duke of York, the King’s brother.

Young James was brought to court in 1662, rapidly granted titles, including Duke of Monmouth, and was married the following year to a Scottish heiress, Anna Scott. He took up a military career and fought in the Dutch Wars.

As the constitutional enmity over the succession grew between Monmouth and York, breaking out in episodes such as in the Popish Plot and Rye House Plot, Monmouth bolstered his popularity by various trip around England, especially in the West Country, gaining support from local notables and the general citizenry alike, though for much of this time he was effectively exiled in Europe.

By the time York became King as James II in February 1685 on Charles’s sudden death, there was seething rebellion in both Scotland and English against a Catholic monarch. Monmouth landed at Lyme Regis on June 11, and marched northwards gathering troops and supplies. After a convoluted progress which failed to produce any decisive outcome, his army eventually met the King’s forces outside Westonzoyland on 5-6 June, in what is known as the Battle of Sedgemoor.

John described the various strategies and manoeuvres of the two opposing forces, leading to the rout of Monmouth’s army, and then set out the terrible consequences for the West Country as the King took revenge on the rebels.

Most famously this was done through the notorious ‘Bloody Assizes’ under the Chief Justice, George Jeffreys. Monmouth himself was captured, and beheaded at the Tower on 15 July, it taking 5 strokes to achieve the execution!

John concluded his presentation by regaling the audience with various myths and legends surrounding the Monmouth Rebellion.

The Society’s next meeting will be at Langport Library on Monday 1 October, when Joseph Lewis of SSDC’s Community Heritage Access Centre (CHAC) will talk about Langport in the 1980s. This will be followed by the Society’s AGM.

It is free to members (annual membership from September is £15): non-members are welcome, admission £4. Anyone interested in joining the History Society should contact Sue Standen (01458 273471, suzannestanden471@btinternet.com). Follow the History Society at @langporthistory, and on: https://sites.google.com/site/langportheritage/home.

Phoenix Group of Photographers

THE Phoenix Group of Photographers’ first meeting of the new season opened with a presentation by husband and wife team Peter Brisley and Sue O’Connell.

“Travels to the Edge” being the title of the evening’s talk.

Peter and Sue’s enthusiasm for travel combined with photography was apparent.

Travels to the Edge was put together with images taken some years ago in Syria, Java, Mandura, Indonesia, Myanmar, Mongolia and Iran, countries, some of which would be extremely dangerous to visit at the present time because of conflicts.

However, stunning projected shots gave members a colourful taste of these distant lands; Ploughing using oxen, incredibly beautiful temples, some of which were modern only recently built, shots of camel racing, hunting with golden eagles. Sadly, the present conflicts resulted in some ancient ruins being destroyed by extremists, remembered now only in photos captured by Peter and Sue, joyful pictures of of young people being schooled to become monks and nuns and sadder images of large numbers of youngsters orphaned by war.

Enthusiasm by Peter and Sue combined with photography of the highest quality gave members an inspirational and entertaining evening.

The club meets on Monday evenings at West Monkton Village Hall from 7.30pm. Visit www.pgop.org.uk.

Blackdown Ladies

AFTER the August break, the September meeting started with a request from Janet Grabham for more ringers to play with the Bells.

She explained that they are rung on a numbers system and don’t need musical talent.

Nine ramblers had walked a five-mile circuit from Colyton, enjoying the beautiful scenery of hills and river on a perfect day.

Tanya Devonshire-Jones, a well-known local yoga teacher, then talked about the origins and pupose of yoga before inviting members to take part in a short demonstation.

Yoga began in India and is thousands of years old.

Tanya teaches Iyengar yoga,which is taught all over the world.

It aims to develop strength and suppleness through the performing of various poses (asanas) and uses props to aid in this. which ensures that students suffer no strain or injury and makes the practice of this type of yoga possible for people of all ages and capabilities.

Tanya then demonstated a few basic asanas, teaching several members, most of whom had never practised yoga before.

Although no one was able to emulate Tanya’s elegant and perfectly correct poses the session was enjoyed by all who took part and will certainly result in a few more recruits to Tanya’s classes!

Well deserved refreshments followed, provided by Sheila Garrett, Rosie Viant and Anne Robinson.

In October Kerry Morgan-Gould, of Ashfords, solicitors will speak about the Power of Attorney.

Rowbarton Friendship Association

CHAIRMAN David Gill welcomed members at the monthly meeting of the RFA on September 6.

After giving updated reports of sick members and extending birthday greetings for members in September, chairman David introduced the speaker, Peter Tinney.

His theme was ‘Childhood Reflections’.

Peter comes from Wedmore and was one of nine children born into a long-established farming family and together with his wife, Margaret, still runs a farm in the locality.

Today, Peter seemingly weighed in at 11lb at birth and his entrance into the world was a joyous occasion for his parents had always believed a farming family should have a son to continue the family tradition.

His hour-long talk was humourous and had members engaged in much laughter throughout.

Peter said he had a lovely childhood, growing up on the farm (as did all his brothers and sisters). He attended the local school and although his parents were very hard working, they devoted a lot of their time to looking after all the family.

Peter was thanked by Peter Gibbs.

The tea interval followed, then chairman David gave out club information.

The results of the August photography competition were read out and the winners were; 1st, Sylvia Twine, 2nd, Barbara Osmond, 3rd, David Blunt.

Chairman David thanked Richard Sainsbury for judging the photo competition.

The August collection came to £115.55, inclusive of sales tables.

The next committee meeting is on September 20.

The next monthly meeting of the club will be the Harvest Festival, on October 4, coupled with a collection of gifts.

Fr Julian Lawrence will officiate at the service and Alan Cook will accompany the hymn singing.

There will be no raffle at this meeting.

Chairman David told some humourous jokes to send members home with a smile on their face.

Peter Gibbs and Margaret Howe did the raffle.

Thanks to Maurice and helpers for hall preparation.

For more information, contact David on 282480.