Sidmouth's Kennaway House may be subject of book

PUBLISHED: 10:00 02 August 2009 | UPDATED: 09:50 18 June 2010

A GROUP dedicated to researching the history of Kennaway House has unveiled an in-depth exhibition tracing the building back to its construction. The History Group formed in April 2007 after an article was published in the Herald promoting membership of t

A GROUP dedicated to researching the history of Kennaway House has unveiled an in-depth exhibition tracing the building back to its construction.

The History Group formed in April 2007 after an article was published in the Herald promoting membership of the Friends of Church House, later renamed Kennaway House.

The story also appealed for people interested in historical research to join a group and around a dozen people met to discuss how to go forward.

Jane Overthrow, 57, a founder member, said: "Genealogy had been a passion of mine, long before 'Who Do You Think You Are?' created a national boom in family history. A love of old building and local history, as well as meeting people of similar interests- I was in!"

Led by Katherine Chant, an expert in researching historical archeology, the group devised a plan of action, with some people assigned to research the building and some the incumbents.

Jane's task with Mary Mallinson was to research the man who built the property, Thomas Phillipps, who Jane recently discovered was previously known as Thomas Winsloe and was quite a successful property developer in the late 1700s.

She added: "We went back to original documents, using the Kennaway Papers lodged with the County Record Office, the deeds of the house were found in Ford and Simey and browsed the census returns of the house over the years of its existence."

Other History Group members include Karen Allen, of Sid Vale Society, who specialises in Hatton Woods, who bequeathed the building to the church and the community, and also Liz Owen, a Sidmouth Stepper, who concentrates on the fabric of the building.

Steve Jellyman took all of the necessary photographs for the group and Dr Ffiona Eaves took the place of Katherine Chant.

The History Group continued to meet over the years and by the time the newly restored Grade II listed building was opened earlier this month, a vast amount of research had been collected.

The exhibition, which can be found in the Captain Phillipps room, comprises of several display boards put together by designer, Chris Reid. It is free and open during office hours.

Jane, who lives in West Hill, added: "Now that the exhibition is in place, we are doing deeper research to provide guides for people as they tour the house, with the possibility that we may eventually be able to publish a book on this very interesting house that reflected all the social history of the town.


If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Sidmouth Herald. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Latest from the Sidmouth Herald