Events
Thursday 7th June 2018 @ 7pm

An Exeter Man in Algiers and Mecca: Joseph Pitts, 1662 - 1739

An illustrated talk by Paul Auchterlonie, Honorary Research Fellow, University of Exeter 

Long before European empires dominated the Middle East, Britain was brought face to face with Islam through the activities of the Barbary Corsairs. From the sixteenth to the early nineteenth centuries, Muslim ships based in North African ports terrorised European shipping, capturing thousands of ships and enslaving tens of thousands of Christians. Joseph Pitts’s book A Faithful Account of the Religion and Manners of the Mahometans, first published in 1704, is the intriguing and unique story of one Englishman’s experience of life within an Islamic society, both as a Christian slave and as a Muslim soldier. Joseph Pitts was born in Exeter c.1662 and was captured by Algerian pirates on his first voyage in 1678. Taken to Algiers, he was sold as a slave, forced to convert to Islam, and accompanied his third master on the pilgrimage to Mecca, by doing so becoming the first Englishman to visit the Muslim Holy Places.  Pitts then became a soldier in the Algerian army, taking part in campaigns against both the Moroccans and the Spanish, before undertaking a daring escape while serving with the Algerian Navy. Forced to walk across the Alps, Pitts finally reached Exeter after a journey lasting a whole year. On his return, he wrote an account of his adventures, describing his time in Algiers, his experiences as a slave, his pilgrimage to Mecca (the first such detailed description in English), how Muslims practice Islam and concluding with his audacious escape back to England.

Paul Auchterlonie worked for forty years as a librarian, first at the School of Oriental and African Studies, London, then at the University of Lancaster, and for thirty years he was librarian in charge of the Middle East collections at the University of Exeter. He retired in 2011 and is currently an Honorary Research Fellow at the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies at the University of Exeter.

Admission £5 per person

To book please contact Abi Gray on 01548 830832 or email office@dra.uk.net. To secure your booking advance payment is required either in cash, by cheque payable to 'The Fenwick Charitable Trust', or by card over the phone. Payments are non-refundable. Any unsold tickets will be available to purchase at the door on the evening.
Tuesday 19th June  2018 @ 2pm

Guided Tour of Shilstone House

Led by resident archaeologist Abi Gray

Nestled amidst the rolling hills of the South Hams countryside is Shilstone House, a family home with a remarkable and extensive history. The site, in the parish of Modbury in South Devon, contains an array of architectural and archaeological features representing almost 6000 years of human endeavour. At the heart of the site is Shilstone House, a former Domesday manor which overlays evidence of late prehistoric occupation. Formal gardens surround the dwelling and include lawns, terraces and a medieval walled garden as well as the only known seventeenth century Italianate water theatre and associated water gardens in the UK making the site nationally important.

This guided tour of Shilstone House and grounds will last approximately one hour and thirty minutes and will be followed by a cream tea at the Devon Rural Archive. Guests will explore the history of the site through its surviving archaeology and rare architectural features before seeing the results of a near fifteen year project to restore the house. There will also be a chance to view artefacts from the site in the exhibition gallery.

Tickets are £15 (includes a cream tea) and booking is essential.

To book please contact Abi Gray on 01548 830832 or email office@dra.uk.net. To secure your booking advance payment is required either in cash, by cheque payable to 'The Fenwick Charitable Trust', or by card over the phone. Payments are non-refundable.
Thursday 5th July 2018 @ 7pm

Early Victorian Devon
An Age of Opulence and Optimism

An illustrated talk by Dr David Parker, Historian 

The early decades of Queen Victoria’s reign saw the country on the threshold of the modern world and besieged with radical new ideas and emerging technologies. Reverberating across Devon were the national controversies over the poor, mass education, and the franchise, and the equally contentious Acts of Parliament that sought solutions. In this richly illustrated talk Dr Parker will describe Devon’s great estates and their glittering receptions, liveried servants, and deferential tenants as well as the unrest across the county bred of poverty and hunger, social and political inequality. Horse power was being overtaken by steam power, and the steel rails gouging their way across Devon were transforming countless lives. At the same time steam boats, telegraph and newspapers were bringing back horrifying stories of the Crimean War and Indian Mutiny in which so many Devon men served.

Dr David Parker was a headteacher and then UK and European Masters Programme Director in the University of Plymouth’s Faculty of Arts and Education. Since retiring in 2008 he has enjoyed researching and publishing many articles in specialist and popular journals on modern history, and also several books on local history. n 2013 David’s The People of Devon in the First World War was awarded Devon History Society’s W.G.Hoskins Prize. He has contributed to BBC TV and Radio Devon programmes on World War One themes, and given many talks to local societies.

Admission £5 per person

To book please contact Abi Gray on 01548 830832 or email office@dra.uk.net. To secure your booking advance payment is required either in cash, by cheque payable to 'The Fenwick Charitable Trust', or by card over the phone. Payments are non-refundable. Any unsold tickets will be available to purchase at the door on the evening.
Tuesday 17th July  2018 @ 2pm

Guided Tour of Shilstone House

Led by resident archaeologist Abi Gray

Nestled amidst the rolling hills of the South Hams countryside is Shilstone House, a family home with a remarkable and extensive history. The site, in the parish of Modbury in South Devon, contains an array of architectural and archaeological features representing almost 6000 years of human endeavour. At the heart of the site is Shilstone House, a former Domesday manor which overlays evidence of late prehistoric occupation. Formal gardens surround the dwelling and include lawns, terraces and a medieval walled garden as well as the only known seventeenth century Italianate water theatre and associated water gardens in the UK making the site nationally important.

This guided tour of Shilstone House and grounds will last approximately one hour and thirty minutes and will be followed by a cream tea at the Devon Rural Archive. Guests will explore the history of the site through its surviving archaeology and rare architectural features before seeing the results of a near fifteen year project to restore the house. There will also be a chance to view artefacts from the site in the exhibition gallery.

Tickets are £15 (includes a cream tea) and booking is essential.

To book please contact Abi Gray on 01548 830832 or email office@dra.uk.net. To secure your booking advance payment is required either in cash, by cheque payable to 'The Fenwick Charitable Trust', or by card over the phone. Payments are non-refundable.