Hennock & Teign Village Chronicle

Published by the Hennock Village Hall Committee

300° view of Hennock from
the top of the Church Tower

© 2014 D Baker

Hennock Village Hall History

Hennock Village Hall is a Grade II listed building, believed to have been originally built in the 13th century as a barn that was used by the White Canons of Torre Abbey to store the tithes that were collected as produce from the local landowners and farms.

It was used for this purpose for some 300 years until the Abbey was dissolved by Henry VIII. It then passed to the vicar of the local church of St. Mary's who lived in the adjoining vicarage. The barn was used variously as a shippen for cattle, stables, coach house and store until the 1900's.

Following the Great War returning local serviceman pooled their Armistice Money, bought the building and converted it to a Village Hall for the use of the community.

In October 1989 a meeting was held to discuss the closure of the hall. A new management committee was formed at this meeting, and from this a village questionnaire confirmed the community wished to keep its historic village hall open. Plans were passed for the village hall to be updated with a new extension providing a kitchen, level access and toilets; also enlarging the size of the main hall with a side extension and removing the corrugated tin on the hall roof and re-thatching the building with wheat reed.

The committee were unsuccessful in applying for grants for the whole £250,000 funding for the project. With very limited funding the whole project became very much a hands–on community led scheme with the help of the villagers, friends, families and local businesses, and the only way forward was to break down the project into four separate phases.

  1. Re-thatching the hall roof
  2. Building the new extension to form kitchen, new access and toilets
  3. Enlarging the main hall with a side extension
  4. Reusing the old kitchen to form a Reading Room with office room above.

Thatching the Roof – 1998-2002

'We grew our Roof' in our village

Local Farmer, Richard Harvey of Frost Farm kindly grew a crop of organic wheat reed (wheat variety N59) in the field named Higher Pitland and donated the wheat reed for our new roof.

A community project, the villagers turned out on a fantastic sunny August day in 1998 to cut the crop with a binder and stand up the stooks to let them dry out for about 10 days in the field. The sheaves where then stored in the barn until we combed the wheat reed ready for the village Master Thatcher David Trant to re-thatch the hall roof.

Funding for harvesting, combing and thatching was received from:
Teignbridge Rural Aid Fund, Dartmoor National Park and Manifold Trust.

New extension & enlarging the Main Hall 2006 – 2009.

After many years of local fund raising and receiving various small grants, we were in a position to proceed with the new works to the hall. A tireless band of helpers, movers and diggers within our community helped with the many hands-on jobs to get the site ready, digging out foundations, laying drains and organising materials. Lead by our chairman Vic Beer and Paul Wastell (local builder) the project proceeded over the next 12/18 months.

The slated extension has provided us with a new level access, a kitchen and ladies/gents and disabled toilets. The new entrance is made from local oak grown and harvested from Huxbeare Farm, Hennock.

We have enlarged the main hall room by a third, by taking out the side-wall, creating a new access to the lower part of the hall, installing roof lights and storage area. Of course like all projects it doesn't end there: we've also re-plastered the internal walls, installed a new central heating system, new lighting, replaced the old floor with oak boarding and lime washed the exterior of the building.

The Village Hall Committee, working with Dartmoor National Park and others have endeavoured throughout this project to use materials, design, colours and finish techniques in character with our listed tithe barn.

We received grant funding from the following for this project:

  • D.C.C. – Rockets £20,000
  • Dartmoor National Park £7,000
  • Hennock Parish Council £6,000
  • T.D.C. Rural Aid Fund £5,000
  • Community Council of Devon £5,000
  • South West Water £1,000
  • Hennock Environmental Trust £1,000
  • Awards for All £5,000
  • Village fundraising £25,000

The village hall committee has over many years organised these fund raising events:

  • Hennock Village Fayre
  • Vintage Rally & Horse Show
  • Apple Day
  • Cream Teas
  • Bluebell Walks
  • Easter events
  • Coffee mornings
  • Sale of slates
  • Dances in the hall and square.

The committee extends its thanks to all those grant funders, village groups, local companies, and many individuals and villagers who have worked untiringly for the past 10 years on this project. Without your support we would not be here today. So a big............THANK YOU ........to you all.

Re-use of the old kitchen area: (Ongoing)

This is being converted for use as a small meeting room (with limited access) and a Village Archive and Library with possibly a Computer with internet access for the use of Villagers.