CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Devon Life today CLICK HERE

When Winston Churchill came for tea in Stoke Canon

PUBLISHED: 17:25 09 July 2018

Pictured from left are Lady Barnes, Winston Churchill’s wife Clementine, Winston Churchill, Sir Reginald Barnes, Reginald Barnes jnr, Charles Tremlett, John Chapple and H L J Horrell

Pictured from left are Lady Barnes, Winston Churchill’s wife Clementine, Winston Churchill, Sir Reginald Barnes, Reginald Barnes jnr, Charles Tremlett, John Chapple and H L J Horrell

Archant

The redevelopment of some rural Devon barns has unearthed a very unique link with our greatest statesman

When a development of rural barns on the edge of a Devon village goes on sale this summer, a little bit of history will go with it. For Oakhay Barton in Stoke Canon was visited by one of our greatest statesmen of all time - Sir Winston Churchill.

According to a note on the back of an old photo which recorded the event for posterity, the year was 1924 and Churchill was on his way to speak at a political rally at Bicton, when he and his wife stopped to visit his old friend Sir Reginald Barnes at his farmhouse home on the edge of Stoke Canon.

In October that year Churchill would be re-elected to Parliament with a 10,000 majority at his seat in Epping – going on to become Prime Minister in 1940.

The barns at Oakhay Barton which Sir Winston Churchill once visited are to be redevelopedThe barns at Oakhay Barton which Sir Winston Churchill once visited are to be redeveloped

And fortunately, his visit to Devon was recorded with the photo (above) taken outside the barns.

The treasured photo belongs to Anne Alford, who moved to Oakhay Barton with her husband Garfield in July 1956. Garfield’s father, Jim, had bought the property from Reginald Barnes in 1938.

“It was the most beautiful house. It had belonged to the church for around 1,000 years, but General Barnes was able to buy it,” explains Anne, who has six grandchildren and three great grandchildren. She brought up her three children at the farm.

The barns at Oakhay Barton which Sir Winston Churchill once visited are to be redevelopedThe barns at Oakhay Barton which Sir Winston Churchill once visited are to be redeveloped

“It was a wonderful place for children to grow up and we have a lifetime of happy memories from our time there.”

And they always knew that the farm had received a famous visitor: “It was something that was always talked about when we lived there. We knew that Churchill was a friend of Reggie Barnes and had stopped in to visit him on the way to a rally.”

Sir Reginald was born at Oakhay Barton and inherited the property from his father. He met Churchill in November 1895, when aged 24, he was attached as an observer of guerilla warfare to the Spanish Army during the Cuban War of independence.

The barns at Oakhay Barton which Sir Winston Churchill once visited are to be redevelopedThe barns at Oakhay Barton which Sir Winston Churchill once visited are to be redeveloped

His fellow 4th Hussars officer, one Winston Churchill, was also an accredited journalist for the London Daily Graphic sending home dispatches from the front.

Both officers were also under orders from Colonel Edward Chapman, the then British Director of Military Intelligence to “collect information and statistics on various points and particularly as to the effect of the new bullet its penetration and striking power”.

Their paths would cross many times in the ensuing years and it was a friendship which would last a lifetime.

The barns at Oakhay Barton which Sir Winston Churchill once visited are to be redevelopedThe barns at Oakhay Barton which Sir Winston Churchill once visited are to be redeveloped

Barnes had a long and distinguished career and was awarded several honours. He was invested as a Knight Commander of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath and was twice awarded the French Croix de Guerre.

His home was always at Oakhay Barton on the edge of Stoke Canon where he lived with this wife Gunhilla Wijk. Their son, who went on to serve as a Second-Lieutenant with the Coldstream Guards, was killed during the Second World War.

Barnes was appointed deputy lieutenant for Devon in August 1927, a position he held until his death in August 1946.

The barns at Oakhay Barton which Sir Winston Churchill once visited are to be redevelopedThe barns at Oakhay Barton which Sir Winston Churchill once visited are to be redeveloped

Barn development

The traditional barns are being converted into eight homes by restoration specialist developers Woofenden Construction and sold by Stags Estate Agents.

The story of Winston Churchill’s visit to Oakhay Barton was revealed in a chance conversation between Woofenden builder Ivor Moon and a passer-by in the village.

The barns at Oakhay Barton which Sir Winston Churchill once visited are to be redevelopedThe barns at Oakhay Barton which Sir Winston Churchill once visited are to be redeveloped

With some old-fashioned detective work Ivor tracked down Anne Alford who was able to tell us about Oakhay Barton’s fascinating history.

Woofenden.com; Stags.co.uk

________________

Follow Devon Life on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Devon Life visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Devon Life staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Devon Life account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from People

Fri, 13:13

Actor Tom Burke talks to JUDI SPIERS about his production of Don Carlos staged by his own theatre company Ara, in association with Exeter’s Northcott Theatre

Read more
Wed, 11:54

In the latest in her series throughout 2018 profiling inspirational women, KATE HASKELL talks to England Women’s Cricket Captain, Heather Knight

Read more
Friday, October 26, 2018

There is more to Georgia Toffolo than an award-winning TV show, as HOLLY EELLS discovers

Read more
Friday, October 26, 2018

Striving to be the best in the world, homegrown Devon professional squash player Lyell Fuller is seeking sponsorship to help reach his goal. KATE WILLAMS finds out more

Read more
Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Tavistock Rugby Club in Devon is celebrating after being awarded a grant of £2,500 to fund private showers for referees at their Sandy Park ground, as part of rural energy provider Calor’s annual funding scheme

Read more
Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Devon’s Wilfred Emmanuel-Jones, also known as The Black Farmer, tells KATE WILLIAMS about his new book, Jeopardy, encouraging the embracing of risk to enrich life

Read more
Tuesday, October 2, 2018

As five members of Dartmoor Search and Rescue Ashburton celebrate 125 years of collective volunteering, we look back on their time with the organisation

Read more
Tuesday, September 25, 2018

CAROLYN SEAGER reveals how long after her mother’s death she discovered her amazing career in the service of her country

Read more
Tuesday, September 18, 2018

An author known for her novels depicting life on the Channel Islands is nonetheless happiest writing from home here in Devon

Read more
Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Fig Tree Court is a development of 14 apartments in Tiverton for retired and semi- retired over-55s with gorgeous views over the Grand Western Canal

Read more
Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Alex Green goes behind the scenes on the Dartington Hall Estate to find a community of artists, makers, farmers, and social entrepreneurs living out the legacy of its founders

Read more
Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Many people know of award-winning Roly’s Fudge, but do they know how much hard work and business insight goes into making it?

Read more
Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Topsham businessmen Steve Williams and Pete Woodham-Kay take an ethical stance on eating meat | Photos: Nick Hook

Read more
Tuesday, August 28, 2018

As llama love grips the nation, we meet a Dartmoor couple who have spent the last 11 years making them their livelihood | Words: Lydia Tewkesbury

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy



Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory

Subscribe or buy a mag today


subscription ad

Local Business Directory

Property Search