Lympstone’s history in print

Lympstone has been immortalised in a book, thanks to a resident researching the history of the village’s houses.

Rosemary Smith, who has lived in Lympstone for 40 years, has penned The Houses of Lympstone from her collection of deeds, journals and memories.

Rosemary, who also wrote The Lympstone Story, said her latest book was the result of her years of research.

Some 93 of the village’s houses are listed in the book, taking the reader on a tour to describe their architecture, history, and the residents who lived in them.

The book features families from the big houses – the Drakes, the Baring family of bankers and one of the founders of WH Smith.


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Shipbuilders, merchants and the old Lympstone families who lived in the cottages – fishermen, boatbuilders, undertakers, shopkeepers, farm workers, coal merchants, smugglers and lace makers – are also charted.

It is through the memories of diarists Annie Thomas, Fanny Orchard and Minnie Street that the reader is given a glimpse of life in Lympstone 100 years ago, with stories of the many village shops, the postman who organised the Saturday night penny concerts, torchlight processions to celebrate the Relief of Mafeking, and tea in the big house.

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The book has been illustrated with more than 50 black and white photographs taken by architectural photographer and Lympstone resident Harland Walshaw, whose images have featured in a number of publications, including the Art Book of the Year in the USA, and a book about German architect Karl Friedrich Schinkel.

The Houses of Lympstone is published by the Lympstone Historic Houses Group, which organises talks, walks and visits, and is preparing House Histories for all the listed houses in the village.

The 116-page hardback book costs �8.50, and is available now from Lympstone Post Office, or by contacting Rebekah Pearson, Sowden House, Longbrook Lane, Lympstone, EX8 5BE.

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