Made largely from cob and stone and located in a prominent situation on the Shebbear village square in Devon, Tyrella House is now a private residence and is currently undergoing renovation.
Over the years as
a retail outlet, the building has undergone many changes.
Built circa late 17c in the square of the Devon Village of Shebbear, Tyrella House one time grocers, dentist, butchers etc.
The following is an extract from the book 'Shebbear 2000 - A Millennium Celebration'. This is a personal account by Audrey Rolfe of her evacuation from London to Tyrella House, Shebbear in 1940.
It has been reproduced by kind permission of Audrey Rolfe and the joint authors of the book.
The Second World War was declared on September 3rd. 1939 and it wasn't long before plans were made to evacuate the children from London to safer parts of the country to avoid the bombing of the German 'blitz'. In his book 'Shebbear Village School' David Brown records the arrival in Shebbear of children from London:
"On June 17th. (1940) two coachloads of children from London arrived in the village and parked in the school playground. Margaret Woolcock (now Mrs. Fouracre) recalled how she remembers looking through the school windows and seeing rows and rows of disconsolate faces sitting there each with a little box tied around his or her neck. The people of the village began to come in to select children whom they would take home and offer a home. She still remembers how sorry she felt for them, especially as this gradual selection process seemed so much like a market. Yet many of these children were treated with great kindness and formed lasting relationships with the people who took them in."
One of the school friendships that has lasted over the years is that of Audrey Parker (now Mrs. Rolfe) and Doreen Bridgman (now Mrs. Phillips). Audrey now lives in Blackheath and Doreen, the elder daughter of Barnie and Winifred Bridgman and whose home was at Waite Farm, now lives in Torrington.
of an Evacuee who lived in Shebbear during the period June 1940 to February
by Audrey Rolfe, née Parker.
On 17th. June 1940 my sister and I (ages 7 and 11 years) left our home and our mother and father to become wartime evacuees. We travelled from home to school and from there a coach took us to Waterloo railway station. We had a six hour journey by steam train to Torrington and then on by bus to Shebbear.
We arrived at Shebbear very tired and lonely, the villagers were waiting to receive us and billet us in their homes. With a friend, my sister Margaret and I were allocated to stay with Bertie and Gertie Bridgman who lived in the Post Office, at that time in the Square, and they had a son, Denys, and two daughters, Margaret and Stella. They were very kind to us and regularly took us out in their car. (We thought being in the car very posh because our parents did not own a car.) In wintertime chains were fitted to the tyres to save slipping in the snow and ice. We thought it strange to have food cooked on the 'range' and oil lamps for lighting.
When Margaret and Stella had their double wedding we were bridesmaids, we hadn't been bridesmaids before so we liked that. We used to cycle to Black Torrington with Margaret Bridgman and help pump the organ whilst Margaret played.
I think it was Fridays that the dentist used to have a surgery in the back room of the house. Sometimes we had a ride around with the postman in his van. We also went to Caute delivering newspapers and I see the thatched cottage is still there.
From memory we didn't seem to do much at school and we were nearly all in one class - we both contracted chicken pox and had three weeks off from school.
We used to go to Walter Ackland's farm, feed the calves and have a go at milking the cows (I have since met Walter and he remembered me after nearly 50 years), also, we sometimes used to go to John Nethacott's farm (grandfather of Denys) and enjoyed ourselves having rides on his shire horses. On both farms, when it was harvest time, we would try and catch the rabbits when they ran out of the corn. Once we went to the Square in school time and saw the hunt. They were happy days.
I can still remember paddling in Pitt stream, catching newts and frogspawn and sticklebacks, also the floods at Gidcott Mill and adders in the hedgerows basking.
I still see Betty Robinson who stayed with Miss Larkworthy. Us evacuees used to call her 'the old witch' - I suppose it was because she was a bit eccentric! I can remember an orchard filled with daffodils which we used to pick, I think it was up Berry way and going on that road we were sometimes invited into tea with Bill and Clara Ackland.
It was quite a novelty to have our baths in a tin bath in the kitchen, also the tin shed at the bottom of the garden with a wooden seat and bucket - (they grew lovely broad beans!) We used to like getting the water from the village pump. (It was disappointing to see it no longer worked when we came back.) I think it was the focus of the village, also changing the name of the 'New Inn' to 'The Devil's Stone.' My mother and Father used to stay at the New Inn when they visited us; Mrs. Ayres was the landlady, very smart and nice.
We enjoyed the food especially saffron buns and teddy pasties, nothing tasted quite like them. (I have also met Frank Buse who worked in the Bakehouse.) We used to watch Donald Davey shoe horses in the forge, he used to catch a rabbit for Mother and Father to take home. We bought our shoes from Mr. George Ackland's shop.
We returned to London in February 1942 but my sister Margaret came back to Shebbear for 11 weeks when the 'doodlebug' raids (flying bombs or V1's as they were called) were in London. This was during the summer of 1944 and we visited then.
During the last 11 years we have visited Doreen Bridgman (Phillips) and family and have been back to Shebbear every year since. We have also met several people we went to school with, as well as Donald and Edna Davey, Ronald and Muriel Metherell, George Blight as well as several other people which Doreen has introduced us to which we knew and wouldn't have remembered if she hadn't pointed them out to us.
When one goes back to these places after 50 years or so they do alter. The village shop is now a house, the pump is now a memorial. A lot of farmers have moved out and a lot of buildings are derelict. The school is the same. I suppose village life never lasts - it goes with the times. I will most likely see it again this year.
Just after midnight on July 31st 1940 a German bomber dropped a stick of eight bombs on Binworthy Farm. Mrs Daisy Watkins remembers: "It was a bright moonlit night and whether the bomber, probably returning from a raid on Cardiff or Bristol, saw the roof of the big Dutch barn, or whether he simply unloaded his bombs we can't be certain. The bombs fell not far from the old farmhouse. One of the bombs wrecked a 'fowls' house' and the only casualty was a peacock".
Just a bit later in the summer, two incendiary bombs fell on Vaddicott. These were part of a load of several incendiaries dropped during daylight across Suddon Woods and on to the field near Ladford which had 'shocks' of corn in it at the time. Amos Bridgman, who now lives near Bideford, remembers "They fell in the field but the ground was quite damp - so they didn't burn much and we soon cleared it up".
One may ask, what was Amos Bridgman's father doing, trying to grow corn in a field that was so wet it could put out incendiary bombs? But this was wartime, our merchant fleet was being decimated, and food was scarce, with much of it on ration. There were many examples of the country's desperate efforts to grow food where none had been grown before.
As the war continued, so rationing became ever more severe. This quote below from the Holsworthy Post in Summer 1944 sets an example:
EGGS FOR CHILDREN
From October 18th, children holding ration book RB2 will not get their priority allowance of fresh eggs, but will receive instead a double ration of dried eggs.