If anyone with mariner blood has noticed a chill in the air, it could be coming from the ghosts of Buckland Abbey, who have had to say goodbye to Drake’s Drum – far as anyone knows, the one which legend says will sound again and recall the old rogue from the other side if the nation is in peril.

Nobody can say for certain that it is but it is from the right period, it was kept in his house and it was sold to Plymouth Museums by the Drake family more than 50 years ago. It has remained at Buckland, on loan, almost ever since – but now Plymouth wants it for a new exhibition space, The Box, being built for the Mayflower anniversary shenanigans in 2020.

The drum was handed over during the winter closure at Buckland and is now being assessed and repaired in readiness for acclimatisation in its new home as soon as possible.

Officially, no hard feelings. Unofficially, there is some mourning at the Abbey. However, the decision is made.

An Abhey spokeswoman said:

“While a little sad, the Trust see the Drum leaving as a great opportunity for it to be displayed in a new regionally important history centre and also a great opportunity to re-present the 750 year story of the Abbey, of which Sir Francis Drake played a 15 year role, in a new and more holistic way.”

According to Wikipedia, the real drum is in storage somewhere and Buckland has one of two copies. But the National Trust, which runs Buckland Abbey, says it has no knowledge of any duplicates of the one it is passing on.


The Walkhampton road was due to close this week for mucking out under cattle grids – a rolling maintenance job which will affect quite a lot of roads around here until the end of March.

For full list of jobs on the list click HERE

Devon Highways has booked closures for five days for each but most should be done in one to three, depending on weather.

When the closures go live, they should be posted at



Tool thieves have been at work locally this month.

A local farmer caught two men wheeling his motorbike out of a shed on one of his premises and trapped their van with his. The suspects fled and later, after a night-time hunt by helicopter, two men on foot were arrested.

There was an airgun in the van and the word is that it held tools stolen from elsewhere over the previous day or two, including a premises at Whitchurch.

But nobody has yet been charged with anything.

The police said this week: “We were contacted around 3 am on Saturday January 5, with reports of a break-in in progress at Sampford Spiney. It is alleged that the suspects had broken into an outbuilding and attempted to steal a trial bike. Officers attended and found an unattended white van which contained an air rifle; then undertook local searches with the help of the police helicopter in efforts to locate the suspects.

Two men, aged 24 and 28, were located near Horrabridge and arrested on suspicion of burglary. Both have since been released pending further inquiries.”

The crime number for the incident is CR/001441/19


Horrabridge’s rowing marine, Lee Spencer, has made a pit stop in the Canaries, for repairs to his navigation system, after making good progress, guided mainly by the stars, over the first two weeks of his journey across the Atlantic.

Big supporting rowathon planned 12-9 this Saturday, Jan 26, on the rowing machine set up in the London Inn.

Keep in touch with Lee’s news, including a smacker from Joanna Lumley, at https://www.facebook.com/therowingmarine/

                                 Still smiling through: Lee Spencer being helped ashore at Las Palmas on Tuesday.


Early deadline this week but some local event posters up HERE

And our fuller what’s on calendar can be found HERE

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Editor of The Horrabridge Times.