Tiverton in Winter
Perambulation of the Leat—9th September 2017
The Perambulation of the Town Leat also known as water-bailing is an ancient custom that takes place in the town of Tiverton, Devon, England, once every seven years. The event commemorates and claims the gift of the town's water supply in the 13th century by Isabella, Countess of Devon and involves walking the length of the watercourse to its source six miles away at Norwood Common.
The procession starts at the Town Hall and is led by the four individuals known as "pioneers" armed with pickaxes and sledgehammers whose job it is to demolish any obstruction found in the stream. Behind the pioneers is the Bailiff of the Hundred, who carries an ancient staff of office, behind him are the "Withy-boys" drawn from Blundell's School and Tiverton High School whose job it is to whip the stream with sticks – or withy-wands. Then come the police, the town beadle, the Mayor of Tiverton, his fellow councillors and lastly the general public.
The procession's first stop is Coggan's Well in Fore Street, the traditional centre of the town where the stream emerges from underneath the road. Placing his staff in the water, the Bailiff of the Hundred claims the stream "for ever, for the sole use and benefit and as the right of the inhabitants of the town of Tiverton". Further proclamations are made at Castle Street, Townsend, Brickhouse Hill, Chettiscombe, the waterworks at Allers and finally at Norwood Common, where a plaque marks the actual source. The ancient route now involves negotiating walls, private gardens and making use of many paths that are not public rights of way, some of which must be cleared on each perambulation.
Thomas Henry Sage VC
2017 marks 100 years since Tiverton resident Thomas Henry Sage was awarded the Victoria Cross in the First World War. Tiverton Town Council are co-coordinating the laying of a commemorative paving stone in the Town to mark this remarkable achievement by a local resident.
Born in Tiverton in 1882, Thomas Henry Sage was the son of author Thomas Sage and Jessie Laura Osmond. The family home was in Ham Place, just off St Andrew Street.
In 1914, after war broke out Thomas signed up with Prince Albert's Somerset Light Infantry. On October 4th 1917 he and eight others were trapped in a shell hole at Tower Hamlets Spur, east of Ypres in Belgium.
One member of his company was about to toss a bomb at the enemy gunners when he was shot. Falling back into the the shell hole, the bomb was already primed. Without a thought for his own safety Thomas threw himself on top of the bomb and saved his comrades, though he was very badly injured.
The Victoria Cross citation read: The live bomb fell into the shell-hole and Private Sage, with great courage and presence of mind, immediately threw himself upon it, thereby undoubtedly saving the live of several of his comrades, though he himself sustained very serious wounds.
Thomas eventually returned to Tiverton and took a job at the Starkey Knight and Ford Brewery. He died in 1945 and is buried in Tiverton Ceremony.
Details of the paving laying ceremony will be made public and all are invited to attend this historic occasion.
The Christmas Lights Switch on is on Saturday 26th November 2016 at 8.00pm. The Town Council are providing the lights this year and see a return of the 'Sparkly Green Pants' which went viral in 2015. The Council has a contract with Festive Lighting until 2017 and so the pants will also be returning next year. The Winterfest and Lighting Ceremony is being run by the Events Committee of the Tiverton Business Forum. The Parade starts at Westexe this year from 6.00pm and the light switch on is to be followed by a spectacular firework display at 8.15pm. We look forward to seeing you all there!
The Extraordinary Meeting of the Coun cil due to be held in the Council Chambers on 31st October 2016 has been cancelled.