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            26th June 2008

1.    Hawley book launch

2.    Hawley events in town

3.    Hawley play

4.    Town Clerk is 50!

5.    The Diving Belle and The Butterfly tonight

5.    Small News

1.   Hawley book launch

John Hawley
Merchant, Mayor and Privateer
Author, Michael Connors, 168 pages, many in colour
Foreword by Sir Geoffrey Newman

This is the story of a terrible time, an exciting place and an extraordinary man.

John Hawley was a Dartmouth merchant who became a privateer admiral and was the scourge of the Bretons during the middle part of the Hundred Years War. He effectively ran Dartmouth for nearly forty years, serving as its mayor fourteen times and representing it in Parliament for four terms. He became a public hero and yet was for a time imprisoned in the Tower of London.

He almost certainly met Geoffrey Chaucer, of whom he was a close contemporary, and was probably the object of the satirical portrait of the rascally Shipman in The Canterbury Tales.

Dartmouth occupied an important place in the life of the English nation during Hawley’s lifetime, its shifting population confronting war and pestilence with a dogged resilience, led by a group of confident oligarchs of which John Hawley was the undisputed and charismatic leader. He lived his whole life in a time of war, albeit one punctuated by edgy and often unreliable truces. He shone brightly at that time and in that place because a combination of political, economic, and other factors created unique challenges and opportunities to which he responded with a brilliant energy.

`Well researched and scholarly text…..very enjoyable`

`....a fascinating book...meticulous research and attention to detail....`

This wondrous  book is available right now from The Harbour Bookshop  Dartmouth. Click here to see more.

2.     Hawley events in town

2008 is the 600th anniversary of the death of John Hawley, who, in addition to his other exploits described above was a principal benefactor of St Saviour's Church where he built the Chancel.  A series of events have been organised to commemorate his death.

Shown here at the book launch are (l to r) The Reverend Simon Wright, Vicar of Dartmouth, Richard Webb, publisher of the book on John Hawley, Michael Connors, author, Commodore Martin Alabaster RN of Britannia Royal Naval College and Sir Geoffrey Newman, whose family owns Blackpool Sands.

Beginning on Friday 4th July to Sunday 6th July from 10.00am to 8.00pm, Dartmouth Flower Arrangers present a series of arrangements depicting various aspects of the life of John Hawley.  What better place to see them than in the beautiful church of St Saviour's which was largely built by him. Admission is free but donations towards the costs will be most welcome. Refreshments will also be available from 10.00am to 4.00pm.

To read the tribute from Kevin Pyne click here.

The outstanding Hawley Brass in the Chancel of St Saviour's Church, normally protected by carpet, will be on public view for the whole of the period of the commemoration next week. It depicts John Hawley and his two wives, the first Joanna, who died in 1394 and also Alicia, his second wife who died in 1403. All three are now buried together under the brass.  This large brass in the Chancel which he built, is considered to be the largest and finest church brass in the whole of Devon.  Don't miss this opportunity to see it!

There is an interesting exhibition on the life and times of John Hawley together with a 13th century ship's model of a Cog loaned by Dartmouth Museum on display in Dartmouth Library (in the Flavel Centre) during library opening hours.

Some information about John Hawley which may or may not be historically correct!  (JH)

  • John Hawley, defeated an invasion by the French, who wanted to rape and pillage Dartmouth, at Blackpool Sands.

  • John Hawley was Mayor of Dartmouth fourteen times.

  • John Hawley was MP for Dartmouth for four terms and complained in Parliament about second homes being bought in Dartmouth by the London `nouveaux riches`

  • John Hawley built Dartmouth's first castle and tearooms for us to all walk to at weekends.

  • John Hawley was imprisoned in the Tower of London for shooting a seagull.

  • John Hawley was a pirate/privateer - long before Johnny Depp.

  • John Hawley was studied by generations of bored school kids as the Shipman in Chaucer`s Canterbury Tales.

  • John Hawley was a merchant who made loads of money from organizing booze cruises down to Bordeaux.

  • John Hawley funded the building of the Chancel of St Saviour`s Church just to give more space for the sinners of 

  • John Hawley promoted  his weekly binge drinking in the recently built Cherub.

  • John Hawley was a true local hero - only a few years before Nigel Way took over this role.

  • Finally John Hawley was buried with both of his wives - one each side - the Dartmouth one and the Kingswear one!

3.   Hawley play

Don't miss this fictional play about the life and times of John Hawley, written by Linda Churchill and performed by the Dartmouth Players, beginning on Sunday 29th June at 7.30pm in St Saviour's Church, just a few feet from Hawley's tomb!  Additional performances of the play are on Monday, 30th June and Tuesday 1st July all at 7.30pm in St Saviour's.   This is going to be one of the most talked about events in Dartmouth this year, when will you go?

Tickets available from The Flavel either in advance or on the night at St Saviour's, get yours now!

Come down for the weekend?

Self catering accommodation click here

Dartmouth B and B  click here

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A Tourist Guide to Dartmouth click here

4.     Town Clerk is 50!

Chris Horan Clerk to Dartmouth Town Council and Triumph Bonneville rider was 50 on Tuesday.  Town Councillors and friends threw a surprise Birthday Party at lunch time.  Rum punch, kirsch, cake, strawberries and other lovely things were prepared by Karen and Tracey.  Shown here are Chris, his wife Ruth and Karen.

Chris was largely responsible for obtaining initial funding to start the MCTi and for getting Dartmouth Town Council "Quality Status"  Well done Chris, only another 15 years before retirement!

5.   The Diving Belle and The Butterfly tonight!

A remarkable real-life story of Jean-Dominique Bauby, a paralysed French writer who used his left eyelid to dictate his memoir. It is a tender testament to the power of language and love. At 43, Bauby was defined by success, wit and charisma. But in the course of a few bewildering minutes, the editor-in-chief of French Elle became a victim of a rare syndrome.

The only way he could express his frustration, however, was by blinking his left eye. The rest of his body could no longer respond. Bauby was submerged in a diving bell of physical immobility, that precious, fluttering eyelid was a butterfly of freedom and hope. Visitors, and eventually his editor, would read each letter aloud and he would blink at the right one. Slowly painstakingly, words, sentences, paragraphs and even this graceful book emerged.

Guest tickets for sale in The Windjammer 7.30-7.55 £3.50
Our bar in The Guildhall opens at 7.30 the film to be shown at 8pm approx

6.    Small News

  • This mystery picture taken of a begonia is at a prominent place in Dartmouth, the first to name it will get a mention.


  • Is it time to book your holiday in Dartmouth now? 

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  • Images copyright Dave Cawley, Becky Wright & others.


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