Bishopsteignton Probus – Latest News

TALK ABOUT EXETER SHIP CANAL

Earl Connolly gave a fascinating account of the politics and life of Exeter Ship Canal to Bishopsteignton Probus Club.  It has been a 450-year journey to its current role which is now primarily a leisure facility for boat owners and pleasure trips together with cyclists and walkers using the former towpaths.  The area occupied by the canal is also an important wildlife area.

Earl said that in Roman times, the canal served ships going to Exeter (called Isca Dumnoniorum) at which time it was the most important port on the south coast.  We were shown a drawing of boats in 1587 coming up as far as the Westgate to drop off goods at the city wall.  Prior to this period, politics played a major role in preventing the formation of a canal with significant resistance from the Earl of Devon who was part of the powerful Courtenay family who owned much of Topsham.  At one stage the Courtenays created a weir on part of the River Exe which prevented the building of a canal.   In time, however, a canal was built and large ships came up the River Exe, into the canal up to Topsham where they unloaded and loaded their goods.

The Bishopsteignton Probus Club is for retired men and those nearing retirement.  It is a small, friendly and welcoming club.  The chairman, Baz Carpenter (tel. 01626 774056) or secretary Tony Corlett (01626 774772) would be pleased to give more information, including our system of encouraging potential members to attend initial meetings free of charge to let you see if you like the club’s warm atmosphere, fellowship and varied activities.

Photo: Earl Connolly (right) is thanked by club member David Colwill

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