Nostalgic trip to Lundy

AN impromptu trip to Lundy Island was on the cards (writes Gazette nature correspondent Stewart Beer) after a local North Devon woman made a surprising discovery whilst researching her family tree. Libby Howson, from Yelland, was trying to learn more abou

AN impromptu trip to Lundy Island was on the cards (writes Gazette nature correspondent Stewart Beer) after a local North Devon woman made a surprising discovery whilst researching her family tree.

Libby Howson, from Yelland, was trying to learn more about her ancestors when she was amazed to learn her great-grandmother Kathleen Helen Cowler was born on Lundy in the farmhouse there.

According to the Lundy Genealogical Index she was born on September 10, 1869, but the birth was not actually registered until February 18 the following year on the mainland.

In the 1881 Census Kathleen's family home was given as Fremington Mill Hill Cottage, with her father's occupation proclaimed as "Boatman on Sea." Quite what his role had been on Lundy and how long the family had resided there are still questions awaiting answers.


You may also want to watch:


Her forebears' intriguing involvement with the island compelled Libby and her family to pay a visit. And they did so in July, sailing across one of the rare sunny days with myself acting as guide for the seven-and-a-half hour stay.

Sightings of puffins and seals had been promised and on the outward journey dolphins leaping in MS Oldenburg's wake had already sharpened expectations of wildlife delights!

Most Read

Paramount in Libby's thoughts was seeing the farmhouse where her great grandmother had been born. So, via the path running up behind the stately Millcombe House, the village and the farmhouse in its centre were the first port of call.

"Our visit to Lundy was amazing," Libby said.

"We all had a great time, especially me as I sat by the farmhouse thinking about my great-grandmother being born in that very house and even though it is different inside I could still imagine the family being there.

"I understand fthat two other members of the same family were also born on the island and it has made me want to look further into that branch of the family.

"I have always had a great fondness for Lundy and have been here a few times and will certainly be going back again.

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.

Become a Supporter