Appledore from Instow

North Devon Maritime Museum Appledore

Odun Road, Appledore, Devon, EX39 1PT


All these North Devon Museum Trust publications can be obtained from the following address:-


North Devon Maritime Museum,

Odun House,

Odun Road,


EX39 1PT


OR email: [email protected]

There is a minimum charge of £2.95 to cover post & packaging


Please make cheques payable to North Devon Maritime Museum

The Ocean Queen; links between Canada and North Devon.

By Barry D Hughes


A5. 49 pages. 30 illustrations including 4 colour plates by Mark Myers. ISBN 978-0-9504018-8-1 £4.00


Barry Hughes reveals, with evocative descriptions and images, the early interdependence of the maritime communities of the Taw and Torridge and the shores of North-east America some 3000 miles away. Trade, initiated with the development of the seasonal fishing industry off the Newfoundland coast in the 16th century, soon blossomed into a wider transatlantic commercial links in shipbuilding, lumbering, manufactured goods and a human cargo of west country emigrants. The story of the Ocean Queen, built in 1845, epitomizes the strength of the Taw/Torridge transatlantic trade and the sometimes poignant stories buried within its history.

Ocean Queen

An Account of the Motor Vessel Eilian

And her Master – Jack Newcombe

By Peter R. Newcombe  (Limited Edition of 250)


ISBN 978-0-9559343-0-8  £12.00 (£22.00 if  bought with Closing Down Sail)


This story concerns one of the last trading schooners in Britain, the Braunton owned vessel Eilian, launched 100 years ago on the 14 August 1908 by William Thomas & Sons at Amlwch on the island of Anglesey in North Wales. Eilian was the finest vessel built by Thomas & Sons and the first steel schooner fitted with an auxiliary engine. Eilian voyaged throughout the British Isles and to the continental Channel ports, but latterly was in the home trade chiefly shipping clay or coal in Westcountry waters.


Closing Down Sail

By W. Martin Benn  £12.00 (£22.00 If bought with An Account of the Motor Vessel Eilian)


An  A to Z listing of the smacks, ketches, schooners, brigs etc on the UK and Irish Registers on and after 1st January 1900 through to the mid 1960's when the last survivors were sold out of trade.


HMS Weazle 1782 - 1799

By Bob and Ann Brock

ISBN:0-9504018-7-0  £3.99


HMS Weazle was wrecked off Baggy Point, North Devon in February 1799. All on board were lost, and this book is published to commemorate the bi-centenary of the tragedy. It tells the story of the Weazle from her beginning to her end, and by using extracts from various documents held at the Public Records  Office, the story can be told as accurately as possible by the people were involved with her.


North Devon Barges

By Barry D Hughes

ISBN  £16.95


The tidal estuaries of the rivers Taw and Torridge have been the main transport link between local communities in north Devon since before recorded time. The aim of this book is to show how the estuary boatmen have provided an economic transport system for both the farming community and for the many industries which have flourished in this area during the past five hundred years.

The working conditions for the bargemen were often extremely harsh, especially in winter. In the past they formed the lower ranks of the social strata amongst the maritime classes in our ports, and for most of our history their work went unrecorded. Fortunately Vernon C Boyle, an artist and local historian started making notes from the information he gleaned from many of the older bargemen when he went down to the estuary mouth in his boat in order to sketch and paint them at work loading the sailing barges and salmon netting during the 1920s and 30s.This information, now in the archives of the North Devon Maritime Museum, Appledore has been vital when researching the life aboard the sailing barges before motor barges gradually replaced them in the 1930s.


Many of the photographs of the motor barges also in the archives, were taken by Grahame Farr, the well-known maritime historian from Bristol who visited Devon regularly during the summer months of the 1940s and 50s. Information and photographs from 1960 to the final days of the estuary trade has been recorded by the author who also helped in loading the barge ‘Paul and Michael’; skippered by his friend John Daniel during the summer months.

Barrys Book Cover

A Sailors Life

By Tom Brown

ISBN: 978-0-9930468-0-3  £10.00


The life of John Short of Watchet is, in many ways, an ordinary life. He was born in 1839, married and fathered three children and died at the grand old age of 94. He also sailed around the world and became something of a local hero as ‘Yankee

Jack’ the shantyman, not quite so ordinary, then.


John did not keep a diary nor did he write many letters but because of the detailed record keeping of the merchant marine in the 19th century, Tom Brown has been able to piece together the details of his voyages. He first went to sea with his father at the age of nine – not full time – working the coastal trade between Somerset and South Wales. We know that he had some education and could read and write but he began work full-time at the age of fourteen. His first deep-sea voyage was probably to Quebec in 1857 aboard the Promise where he learned his first two shanties. He was one of the earliest shantymen and his versions are consequently among the least developed. In his twentieth year he doubled round the horn on the Hugh Block to Valparaiso and followed that with a voyage to India aboard Earl Balcarres. It by referring to Lloyd’s List and Short’s own discharge papers which he kept after each trip that Tom’s researches have managed to detail these voyages.

John’s story is also the story of the merchant navy in the second half of the century and to the point when he left the sea in 1901. There had been many changes, not least the giving way of sail to steam and John hated steam ships. The book is packed with fascinating details of maritime law and the fluctuations of world trade that he would have seen.



By Alison Grant.

ISBN 0-9504018-3-8  £2.00


North Devon Museum Trust has published this study to mark the 400th anniversary of the death of Sir Richard Grenville.

This is not merely a success story, for Grenville failed to realise many of his ambitions, and surprisingly went to sea before he was forty. In the end by an act of incredible bravery or sheer obstinacy he achieved the fame that had eluded him for so long at the cost of his ship and his life.

Grenville is a study of a man's life, death character and reputation. The book is illustrated by the noted marine artist Mark Myers and 'Tennyson's epic poem 'The Revenge' is added for good measure.


The Story of The Dido C

By Charmian Astbury

ISBN 0-9539640-1-9  £3.99


The Story of the 'Dido C' tells of the last Westcountry ketch to be built. It is a story told against a background of the disappearing need for such coastal traders as both road and rail opened up the more remote areas of the South West.

Eighteen photographs, three news reports, letters, not only from 2002 but from the nineteen-fifties, reveal the forty-three years of the Dido C in a wealth of surprising detail as well as a delightful immediacy.


The Ketch Ceres: 1811-1936

By Charmian Astbury

ISBN 0-9539640-2-7  £3.99


The Ketch Ceres: 1811-1936 tells the tale of one small sailing vessel and her one hundred and twenty-five years of trade in and around the shores of the Westcountry South Wales and Ireland. Her tale is told against an ever changing background of war, peace and economic necessity.

The thirty-nine illustrations, taken from photographs, documents, news reports and paintings, provide the reader with both a feel for her life and times as well as an awareness of the real affection in which she was held by all who knew her.


Salmon Netting in North Devon

By Alison Grant & Philip Waters

ISBN 0-950418-6-2  £5.00


North Devon Salmon Boasts were usually burnt, or otherwise disposed of at the end of their working lives, but a few years ago one local fisherman, broke with tradition, and donated his to the North Devon Maritime Museum. The small boatyard where the boat was built has now closed, but two grandsons of the original owner are restoring the boat for the Museum, with help from the men who actually built her 50 years ago. The future of salmon netting is uncertain, so before knowledge of it dies out the Museum has placed fishing and boatbuilding skills on record in this book. It contains details, and a wealth of illustrations, of fishing areas (drafts), local personalities, profits and problems, laws and law-breaking, and a number of tales, tall and otherwise,' contributed by fishermen, boat builders and the local community.


Schooner On The Rocks and memories of an Appledore Maid

By Ann Wells

ISBN 0-9562279-1-1  £8.50


Since the second world war great changes have taken place in the North Devon maritime village of Appledore. Before then the village was almost a closed community with little influence from the outside. But changes when they came, came thick and fast. The author's mother and father could remember the ladies who picked laver from the seashore in the winter months without shoes on their feet, and the mother herself as a 'cheel' accompanied her parents on the fishing boat, comfortably folded into a hammock that served as her cot. When she was only ten years old she got her own boat

This small volume is an entertaining collection of stories and accounts of the lives of some of the characters who have lived in Appledore, giving an insight into what life was like before it became the village it is today, and providing a fascinating window on the social history of a soon-to-be-forgotten world.


Guardians of the Salmon - Pioneering Conservation on Westcountry Rivers

By Gordon H. Bielby

ISBN: 1-84114-139-9 £16.95 Special price  £9.00


This is an important book for all those who have an interest in the conservation of our rivers. It looks back on and describes the early environmental work on Westcountry rivers, thereby providing a unique backdrop against which later efforts can be judged.

Guardians of the Salmon is a nostalgic look at efforts in bygone days to conserve the salmon, It is mainly -but not exclusively about the life and times of the members who serve on, and the bailiffs, fisheries officers and Clerks who worked for, the various bodies formed down the years for that purpose. It recalls their dealings with folk who in their different ways were involved in the salmon world, including: magistrates, millers, trappers, policemen, polluters, poachers, priests, reporters, solicitors, engineers, netsmen, fishery owners, anglers and inevitably, some men from the Ministry.

This is not a 'fishing book' in the sense of how, where and when to go angling for salmon (for I know nothing of such things), but a work that has more to do with subjects such as wildlife conservation, heritage, countryside, local history and the environment.

Written with great sympathy and understanding (and no little humour), this book is an important work for those who are involved in conservation, or who simply have a passion for appreciating and protecting our wild environment.


APPLEDORE, handmaid of the sea

BY John Beara

ISBN 978-0-9509110-1-4 North Devon Museum Trust 1976. £3.60


A5. 52 pages. 22 illustrations.

The background to the modern history of Appledore is outlined accurately and clearly.

a is for Appledore

By Alison Grant

ISBN: 0-9504018-5-4  £1.50


For many centuries educational provision in England was a matter of luck and locality. and even after the government began to take an interest, much still depended on local initiative. This book on education in Appledore is therefore not only concerned with schools, but is also about 'the most completely maritime community in the country'.

All profits from this publication will go to North Devon Museum Trust's Victorian Schoolroom project to re-create an 1890s schoolroom in an annex of the Maritime Museum at Appledore. This will enable classes from present-day schools to experience as well as read about education in the past. The project has involved many members of the community, including pupils of Appledore School, who have contributed the illustrations for this book.

Handmaid 20161115_143334

The History of the Appledore Lifeboat Station - 1824-2000

By Joe Ball  £2.50


This history was compiled by Joe Ball president/chairman of the Appledore Station, Branch committee. The information has been taken from books' leaflets. RNLI literature station service boards. more than two thousand service returns, minutes or committee meetings and RNLI computer service records from 'I970 to 1999.


Tales of the Torridge

By Pauline Smith

ISBN: 978-0-9568735-9-0  £12.99


Stories are how we make sense of things. They cement our relationships with each other, our connections to home and a wider history.

By fusing extensive research and collaboration with local historians, the author has created these ten simple illustrated stories to bridge the huge gap between history books and what it might have been like to live in Torridge during the most exciting and explosive periods of English history when wonderful serendipity befell Torridge and led to prosperity and adventures unimaginable today


Competitive Sailing at Appledore - 1934 - 1971

By Philip Waters

ISBN: 1-898546-7-1  £2.00


Appledore Rope Mats - A history and exploration of mat-making techniques

By Ann and George Wells

ISBN: 978-0-9562279-0-4  £4.50


In this book are display examples of the unique Appledore form of this almost extinct practical craft.


Northam Burrows - A Mixture of Memories and Facts

By Philip Waters

ISMN: 189854676-2  £2.50


Bronze Age To Bottle Seals - Glimpses of the Archaeology and History of North Devon

Edited by Terry Green

ISBN: 978-0-9550316-5-6  £9.00


Published in 2009 to mark North Devon Archaeological Society’s Golden Anniversary, this collection of essays on topics of local interest ranging from prehistoric settlements to the social significance of 18th century bottle seals comprises contributions from 16 experts in their fields who helped to celebrate 50 years of Charles Whybrow’s 1959 foundation.


Illustrated History of Appledore 1

By David Carter

SBN: 9780953852406  £12.50


This admirably detailed liberally-illustrated book presents a strictly chronological history of the shipbuilding and seafaring village of Appledore. Browsing through the opening set of fascinating ‘then and now’ photographs, each pair about a hundred years apart, one is struck by how little the physical fabric of the village has changed. The lives of the people themselves over the same period is a very different story. The last quarter of the book picks up this human story by focussing on the history of one family, the Slades, probably the most famous of Appledore’s seafaring families.


Illustrated History of Appledore 2

By David Carter

ISBN 978-0-9538524-1-3  £12.50


This book takes you on a 240-page guided tour of the village, starting on Appledore Quay and weaving around its historic streets and houses. On the way, we discover many interesting facts.

Read about the Bell Inn murder, the Silver Mine, Dirty Dicks Boys Club, and the Singing Mice.

We also discover about the people who lived in these houses, and what they did to contribute to Appledore's history.

It starts with an early history of the village, with stories of beheaded saints, pioneer explorers, slaves, Spanish treasure, and smuggling.


CLASSIC LANDFORMS OF THE NORTH DEVON COAST (2nd edition) Peter Keene, Geographical Association 1996. Re-printed by Thematic Trails 2005.

ISBN 978-1-899085-18-7  £5.95


This booklet provides a serious explanation of the varied landforms of the North Devon Coast. In particular the aim is to offer an interpretation which is not only useful to visiting tutors and students but is also presented in a way which is digestible and fascinating for the interested non-specialist member of the general public. The booklet, drawing attention to a large number of coastal features, encourages readers to make an inquisitive interpretation of the landscape

North Devon Coast


(Thematic Trails) 2009    £5.95


100+ photos of the North Devon coast published for those with an interest in photos of the coastal landforms of the North Devon coast. In particular it augments the visual material published in “Classic Landforms of the North Devon Coast” and the ten associated Thematic Trails covering this coast. The photos are in sequence from the Cornish border (Marsland Mouth) to the Somerset Exmoor coast. Many of the images were taken with teaching in mind but a selection of other photos are included, providing alternative insights. The (PC / Mac) images can be viewed in two ways. One file is a PowerPoint presentation with commentary notes and full references (presenter tools option). Alternatively the photos may also be viewed as a high-quality JPG set from which individual photos can be selected as desired. Copyright rules apply.

North Devon Coast CD

DVD: Boat Stories - Every boat tells a story



A series of ten colourful short documentaries filmed out on boats along the north Devon coast.


Lively stories told by the fishermen, skippers, coxswains and crews. Every film takes you on a different journey -from lobster potting to traditional herring fishing - from gig rowing to diving to the pilot boat escorting the big ships across the notorious Bideford bar.


Listed here are the publiction available direct from North Devon Maritime Museum Trust


Rolle Canal & The North Devon Limestone Trade

By Barry D Hughes

ISBN: 978-1-906769-85-7   £14.99


The Rolle Canal named after John, Lord Rolle the local land owner who financed its construction, was built so that raw material could be transported at low cost to new inland kilns at Torrington, thus reducing the transport costs incured in liming fields over a wide area of central Devon.


Porky's War

The story of a real-life Freddie the Frogman on D-Day

By Terry Henson

ISBN: 978-1-908336-03-3   £8.99


There were many secret units organised during WW2 to help bring about final victory. Their stories have slowly emerged over the years since the war ended in 1945. This is the story of one man who joined an all volunteer 'suicide' unit' by default.