Alison has lived in the village since the 70ís owning Anchor Cottage in
Lane End until her retirement when she moved to Mimosa on Marine Parade.
She was a history graduate of Kings College, London surmounting a
financial struggle to take her place as she lost her father when young.
One of her pupils was Rev John Ewington of Appledore who will be taking
her memorial service at the North Devon Crematorium on 30th April at
Alison came to North Devon in 1965 as the Deputy Head of Barnstaple
Grammar school which had just become coeducational and later comprehensive
in 1974. Alison had previously been Head of History at Downer Grammar
School, Edgeware for 15 years. Alison was deeply interested in maritime
history and gave a farsighted and determined lead as Chairman of the North
Devon Maritime Museum later becoming President. In those years she wrote:
A is for Appledore: Education in a Devon Maritime Community; Knots; Salmon
Netting in North Devon with Philip Waters; North Devon Barges with Barry
Hughes and Grenville. She promoted the innovative project to create a
Victorian Schoolroom which so many primary children and adults have
visited over the years.
Alison took a sabbatical year to research the pottery trade between
Virginia and North Devon for her PhD thesis and published as North Devon
Pottery: The Seventeenth Century. She loved old customs books. Unable to
resist the lure of the slipware pots, she wrote a further book in her
seventies: North Devon Pottery. Through her researches she became
acquainted with the trade between Bermuda and Barnstaple and wrote:-
Atlantic Adventurer, John Delbridge of Barnstaple. Her circle of academic
friends, illustrators, publishers and local enthusiastic amateurs was
Two of her best books were for the publisher: Longman. Sailing Ships and
Emigrants is a gem describing the transport of North Devonians to the
Australian gold rush from Barnstaple Quay aboard the Lady Ebrington; the
other is quite unobtainable today: The Huguenots. She also wrote a chapter
in the distinguished Maritime History of Devon Volume 1 and the Book of
Bideford with Peter Christie.
Alison was a musician playing the lute, piano and concertina and a good
dressmaker. She started a folk dance society at school. She took her
pupils on archaeological digs, an innovation at that time. Alison was a
Sea Ranger Skipper for many years in Barnstaple and also crewed on
Wayfarer Sail No.1 at NDYC, Instow.
She will always be remembered at Instow for the excellent research and
illustrations she contributed to Instow: a history for the Millennium in
particular the chapters: farms, church, poor, transport and wars before a
severe stroke in 1999. The book ran to two editions and has been admired
worldwide by many friends and Instowites: winning the Devon History
Society Millennium award.
Alison has been so well supported after her strokes when she never gave in
or up, by Gwen, Sheila, Ralph and Anne, Beryl, Peggy, Margaret and Peter,
John and Christine, Peter and Pam and Jen to name but a few over these
years. She was devoted to her faithful companion dogs: Diana and Lily. Her
family of cousins live in Ontario but her adopted family of the St Villes
who spent their holidays at Anchor Cottage, will be with us at the
memorial service: Pearl, James and Catherine. Alison was a formidable
lady, respected by her pupils and admired by her friends. She died in her
82nd year on March 28th, peacefully at home.