About the Heritage Project

The project was developed with four inter-related elements, which will feature on the web site.

  1. The production of a comprehensive database of historical records and facts that will be accessible through the town’s Tourist Information Centre and the town’s web site.
  2. A selection from the unique collection of historic photographs of Modbury, known as: "The Baker Collection”
  3. Details of specific historic sites of importance that were identified within the project.  Each location, featuring a mounted informational plaque, describing the site.
  4. The design and production of a “Time Line“ exhibition of Modbury’s heritage, representing nine identified historic topics. This information will also will be recorded on the web site. The exhibition consisting of ten display panels will be featured in a number of events throughout the year, in particular the annual Modbury Fair in May.

Project Development

The genesis of the current project emanated from the historical research that was undertaken in the production of a Town Map in 1997.

The Modbury Society funded this project, based on the research undertaken by the History Society. There are a range of published books on the history of Modbury that have been a source of relevant material, and there is also a unique collection of photographs and documents that are currently stored in the West Devon Records office. The History Society also has a considerable archive of Historic Heritage material. The outline proposal is for the project to commence early in 2001, with the first phase prioritising the sourcing of suitable historic material, to prepare the format and construction of the database. The project to be publicised during the annual Modbury “May Fair” as part of the fund raising strategy. Elements 2,3 and 4 have been completed within three years. Element 1, will be ongoing as further historic information is fed into the database.

The Modbury Community Group already represents a significant sector of parishioners within an active rural town.

There are over thirty local organisations that are aware and supportive of the project.

The group have identified and received confirmation of support from a range of voluntary advisers, who will provide professional services and advice to help manage the project. The Parish Council publish each month a Community Newspaper, the “Modbury Messenger” that informs the parishioners on a wide range of topics, and would be actively used to inform about the progress of the project. Use was also be made of the Church magazine “The Magnet” and the local South Hams Radio, to raise the profile of the project. As and when the “Time Line” exhibition is completed there will be presentations to the school, the History Society, and to the Church Community.

Attached to the original application were a copy of the Modbury Map, and other details of the Town extracted from the South Hams Family History Site, describing Modbury (Ermington Hundred).

The town has a unique history and heritage. It is founded on a site identified as a Saxon meeting place, and was the location of two important battles in 1642 and 1643. The town centre has a designated conservation area, with listed buildings including St George’s Church, a Grade 1 listed building, which was dedicated in 1320. The church is a dominant feature of the town, and has unique architectural characteristics.

The spire is visible for many miles around and provides a focal point for travellers and visitors. The town is also fortunate in having a number of important historic figures that have been resident. These include the Champernowne family, who were Lords of the Manor. Katherine Champernowne was the mother of three famous sons, Sir Walter Raleigh, Adrian Gilbert and Sir Humphrey Gilbert. Other personalities are featured within the map.

Modbury is located in the South Hams region of Devon, located within an area of outstanding natural beauty.

The elements of the project will collectively provide a range of increased knowledge and awareness of the town and its heritage, both for its parishioners and the many visitors from around the world, who visit the town.

The creation of a town web site will ensure that specific heritage information can be easily accessed from around the world. The identification of ten specific sites of historic interest, and the creation of the Time Line exhibition will enable a virtual tour of the town and its history to be constantly available to web browsers.

The community within the parish are fortunate in having residents who have volunteered their professional skills to support and manage the project. These include individuals from such backgrounds as Media, Art and Design, Architecture, Masons, and Specialists in Information and Communication Technology. Major supporters and advisers to the project have been Alex and Pat Hammerstein, of The Modbury Group, who have been responsible for all of the data and imaging processing, and the web site development and management.

The project data and official records will be held in the Parish Office, which is open three times a week. The history site will be available through the TIC computer, which is located in an adjacent office. Information will be published on the progress and specific activity of the project in the monthly publication of the “Modbury Messenger”. The West Devon Records office, that provided the image files of the Baker Collection, already archive a wide range of relevant historic data and artefacts. The Modbury History Society also has a unique collection of artefacts, information and photographs in their own resource centre. The town’s unique collection silver is currently held in the Plymouth City Museum.

Further information will be available on this site as the project continues to develop. It is intended in the future, to incorporate the Modbury Village Design Statement that was completed in 2004. This includes a library of contemporary photographs of the parish, photographed by local photographer Alistair Davis, to support the statement.