Potwallopers / Potwallaping

NORTHAM POTWALLOPING

The term ‘potwallopers’ has been in existence since 1725 and is an alteration of the word ‘Potwaller’ (1701) which meant a man who qualified for a parliamentary vote as a householder in some boroughs in England prior to 1832. The test being his having a separate fire-place on which food was cooked for himself and his family.

In the ancient manor of Northam (which includes what was to become Westward ho!) a potwalloper had the right to graze their animals on the Burrows, but in return they had to help retain the pebble ridge by annually assisting in throwing back the pebbles that had been thrown onto the Burrows by the winter storms and high tides.
This annual ceremony disappeared after a time and was not revived until 1922 when it was continued for a few years until, again, there was a break in the tradition.

The accompanying photos are from around 1925 when many potwallopers made a family day of it by taking picnics and drinks.

A newspaper article in 1952 stated that the ‘Potwalloping Day’ had not taken place for 20 years, and that ‘It was the custom to provide refreshments of beer, cider, and sandwiches for the Potwallopers in the 1930s and before.’
In 2008 Natural England told the Torridge District Council that they were no longer allowed to interfere with nature to protect the golf course because the course lies on a site of special scientific interest. Also that members of the golf club were banned from resurrecting the custom of ‘potwalloping’ where local people would through back the pebbles.

In more recent years Westward Ho! have had Potwalloping days which were friendly fun days of food drink and entertainment. The last one held was a few years ago.

The right to graze sheep and horses still belong to ‘potwallopers’ plus the right of access to the common land.

wwho potwallopers 1925 article

1925 Potwalloping:

Potwalloping 1925 pathe

Northam potwallopers 1925 2 sc 19th Dec

Many hands...etc

Members of Royal North Devon Golf Club and friends are toiling at gigantic task of remaking sea wall (2 miles long 20 feet high and 50 feet wide) to save part of famous Westward Ho Links from encroaching sea. Devon.

The 1926 Potwallopers

With thanks to David Gale for his hard work identifying as many of these people as possible:

Potwallopers
Potwallopers

Below are the names of those so far identified. Please let us know if you can fill in the gaps or suggest corrections. The photographs below might help.

NumberSurnameOther NamesAddress or details
1
2GALECHARLESHazel Terrace, Northam (or TRACEY? Who worked on the Golf Course)
3CANNLAWRENCE
4TITHECOTTREUBENNorth Street, Northam
5JEFFERYGEORGE
6DYMONDBILL??
7LITTLEJOHNSCHARLIENortham
8EVANSTOMMY (or STANLEY)Watertown
9
10
11
12
13
14VILEJOHNNYPebbleridge Cottage
15JEFFERY?
16SMALEJIMMYKimberley Terrace, Northam
17SLOCOMBEFRED
18TAYLORHORACECow Park, Northam
19BOYLEBILLFore Street, Northam, worked for Walter Metherell
19a
20CLARKE (or TAYLOR, ARCHIE father of No 21)CHARLIECharley Clarke came from Richmond Farm, Watertown
21TAYLORERNIE16 Eastbourne Terrace, Westward Ho!
22NORTHCOTTGEORGENortham
23
24RIDDWCross Street, Northam
25
26KELLYMrs WCross Street, Northam
27KELLYFRANCESCross Street, Northam
28CANNWALTER
29KELLYSYDCross Street, Northam
30WESTLAKEALBERTLewis Hill, Northam
31WESTLAKE, (or TOWLER, ELSIE, married name NICHOLS)GLADYS
32WESTLAKEWINNIE
33WESTLAKEBILLNorth Street, Northam
34
35MAY"FARMER"2 Leigh Crescent, Northam, worked as foreman, MILLS farm, Tadworthy Road, Northam.
36
37
38FOWLER, (or TOM JEWELL, Appledore)BILLAppledore
39
40COOK (or Mr LITTLEJOHNS)ALBERTA Coalman, Castle Street, Northam
41WITHECOMBE, (or ---LLOYDWALTER
42BONDTOMNorth Street, Northam, Foreman of Golf Greenkeepers
43TUCKERJACKAppledore
44
45LAMEYJACKAppledore
46BRAUNDJIMAppledore, Blacksmith
47
48WILKEYFREDVenton Farm, Westward Ho!
49JONESTOMMYCycle Shop, Fore Street, Northam
50STONEMrHeadmaster Northam School
51
52BLACKFORDBILLNortham
53METHERELLWALLYTrelawney
54GRIFFITHDAVESweetholme Terrace, Northam
55LAMEYRANDALLMeeting Street, Appledore
56
57TAYLOR?16 Eastbourne Terrace, Westward Ho! See No 21
58
59GUARDOSCARAlms House, Northam, Drowned at Westward Ho! With Warren Smith???
60GLOVERLOPENorth Street, Northam
61COOKERNEST or EVERETTHazel Terrace, Northam
62BROWNBERT ??
63
64STEERFREDBidna Farm, Northam
65
66
67GIFFARDMrsCastle Street, Northam
68WITHECOMBEBILLYBone Hill Farm, Northam
69FOGATY, Mrs, née WILKEYAvon Lane, Westward Ho!
70
71YEOMAN, MrsNortham
72
73
74
75HAMLYNMrsNortham
76RICHARDSLAMBETHAppledore, Builder
77SPRYTOMNew Causeway, Northam
78CANNJOHNNYFore Street, Northam
79NORRELSTISHCross Street, Northam
80
81
82BISHOPJACKLenards Road, Northam
83CANNNIPPERCastle Street, Northam
84BELLEWARTHUR
85HAMBLYMr (see no 40)Kipling Terrace, Insurance Agent. Always wore a buttonhole
86HEARNJESSECross Street, Northam
87HOGKINSCHARLEYHolywell, Northam
88GIDDYBILLWestward Ho! Was a traffic Warden for Cross Street, Northam
89GLOVERDORISOxmans Lane, Northam
90GLOVERMrs
91GALLIFORDMrsWestward Ho! Road (or ANNIE COX, Cross street)
92
93TUCKERCHARLIE ??
94
94a
95
96
97
98SYMESSTANBideford, East
99TUCKERJACKAppledore
100SLOCOMBERWatertown
101BOWDENSTEVEN (SCRUFF)
102OATWAYROYCastle Street, Northam, Both his parents died in Black 'flu' epidemic after 1st world war

potwallopers 1926 1 numbered

potwallopers 1926 2 numbered

potwallopers 1926 3 numbered

potwallopers 1926 3

potwallopers 1926 4 numbered

potwallopers 1926 5 numbered

POTWALLOPERS 1926 6 numbered

POTWALLOPERS 1926 8 numbered

POTWALLOPERS 1926 9 numbered

POTWALLOPERS 1926 10 numbered

POTWALLOPERS 1926 11 numbered