Museum News & Blog

The Missing St Leonard’s Tower Model

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b2ap3_thumbnail_lost-model_20190722-145351_1.jpgThis low-resolution photograph taken from a Newspaper article in 1908, shows Mr Roberts aged 91, former Wolborough Parish Clerk, with a model of St Leonards Tower and Chapel. Mr Roberts said that he had been baptised in the chapel in 1817/18.

The question is what happen to the model?

Three models of the Tower are currently in the possession of the Museum:

1.       A Matchstick model of the Tower and Chapel made by Leonard Ball, is in The Tower.

b2ap3_thumbnail_matchstick.jpg

2.       A wooden model of the Tower without the Chapel, given by Mid Devon Motors is in The Tower.

 

3.       A model of the Tower without the Chapel made from Blue and White Crockery is in the Museum and was made by Harry Hodges in the 1920’s.

 

However, the original model, shown above, has not been seen for over 40 years.

It is not known who made the original or when, but it was probably after the current St Leonard’s had been built, but before the Chapel had been demolished in 1836.  There are only four records of its existence.

1.       A model of the St Leonards Chapel as it appeared in 1688, on the invasion of William of Orange, was displayed during the Newton Abbot Carnival, Torch Light Procession on December 16th, 1884.

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2.       The Mr Roberts photo 1908 at the top if the page.

 

3.      Hello, I’m Sandra Wilson (nee Purchase & sister to retired Town Crier & Mayor of Newton Abbot) & now reside in Adelaide Australia.

 

A couple of years ago I saw a post on Facebook of the mosaic model of St Leonard’s Clock Tower which triggered the memory of a project I did for School (Highweek Secondary Modern School for Girls) when I was 13 or 14 – 60 years ago.  The project was to do with St Leonards as far as I can recall.  I believe a model of the Tower and Chapel was in St Leonard’s Church vestry & was lent to me probably by Reverend Scott to support the project which went on display at the Congregational Church (opposite Bearne’s Primary School).  I Thought the model had been returned to St Leonard’s Church.  If it wasn’t, I was probably one of the last people to see this model.  I sincerely hope this can be located & placed in the new Newton Abbot Museum.

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(I have checked with Sandra and she is 99% certain that the model she used for the project was the Tower and Chapel version as shown in the 1908 photo.)

 

4.       A drawing of the original Tower and Chapel model is reproduced in the 1973 Booklet, ‘The Ancient Tower of St Leonard Newton Abbot S. Devon – A History’. (The drawing was copied from the original by Abbot Litho Press, but cannot be reproduced here due to Copyright).

 

If anybody knows what happened to the model or correct any of the above, your comments would be welcomed