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I have been trying to work out which churches on Dartmoor Harry Hems worked on.  RAMM’s Hems collection contains hundreds of medieval wooden carvings, presumeably taken from churches he worked on.  Sadly, we only know where a few came from, so they are not much help with this problem.  Luckily, Hems kept very detailed scrapbooks containing every scrap of publicity that he could get hold of – there were 22 volumes and 19 survive in the Westcountry Studies Library.  Another stroke of luck is that in 1976 someone called Simon Olding went through these scrapbooks and made lists of all Hems’ projects.  RAMM holds these lists and they are a treasure trove of information.  Thank you Simon, whoever you are!

From Simon’s lists I have found 19 churches that Hems worked on: Ashburton, St Andrew’s; Avonwick, Chapel of Ease; Bovey Tracey, St Thomas-a-Becket; Buckfastleigh Abbey; Hennock Church; Horrabridge, St John’s; Lustleigh Church; Lydford, St Petrock’s; Mary Tavy; Meavy, St Peter’s; North Bovey, St John’s; Okehampton, All Saints; Shaugh Prior, St Edward’s; Stowford, nr Lifton; Tavistock Congregational Church; Tavistock, St Eustaceous; Tavistock, St Peter’s and Widecombe-in-the-Moor, St Pancras.  I wonder if there are any more?

I look forward to working with with Ruth Gidley, RAMM’s Community Participation Officer, to build up contacts with these churches and their communities.

From Simon Oldings’ list of Hems projects in Devon

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