OBITUARY

Dr Alison Grant BA; PhD; FSA


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 11.00am.

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 truly enormous.

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.


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