The Miss Varwells Throwleigh

at Throwleigh Village Hall

The Miss Varwells Throwleigh

The story of a traditional Dartmoor village in pictures, songs, music and memories

In 1909 two unmarried sisters, Emmie and Michael Varwell, arrived to set up home in Throwleigh where they were to spend the rest of their lives.

In 1938  Emmie wrote a book, ‘Throwleigh, The Story of a Dartmoor Village.’  In it she describes her love for both the landscape and the history of the area, but especially for the village people that she had known and the stories that they had told her, both of the recent past and of long-ago. We meet key ‘characters,’  such as the influential  Rector/cum property developer; the ‘jack of all trades’ blacksmith; the last of the Devon wrestlers and an old lady whose family’s memories stretch back as far as the English Civil War. Along with Emmie Varwell, we enjoy the village celebrations, the stories that are told, the songs that are sung and we share her sadness as an older generation departs.

In March 2017, the Emmie and her sister Michael will return to Throwleigh.  For just three evenings they will tell us their stories of Throwleigh; the old songs will be sung once more and, via pictures from the Throwleigh Archive, we will see the village that Emmie Varwell knew, meet the characters that filled her world and re-create the place that she so loved.

This unique event is being presented by The Throwleigh Archive and will bring together three different ways of telling the story of the village in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Central to the performance will be extracts from Emmie Varwell’s book read by either Emmie herself or her sister, Elizabeth, who interestingly, was always known as ‘Michael.’ Other contemporary villagers will also take up the tale which will often be enhanced with Dartmoor expressions that were in common use at the time.

The Archive’s excellent collection of photographs has been carefully researched to provide images which support the narrative. So as well as hearing about the characters and places in Emmie’s book, we will also be able to see them and re-create the atmosphere of the village of her day.

Finally, there will be a considerable musical element which is drawn from a variety of sources. Emmie mentions a number of songs that were sung at village events and these will be re-created so that once again those old songs will be heard in Throwleigh. Other songs and tunes, some specially written using Emmie’s words, will also accompany the narrative and pictures. Taken together these elements will complete an experience that will bring the village of Emmie Varwell back to life.

Those helping to present this event comprise something of a Dartmoor ‘all-stars’ team. The producers have received advice from well-known photographer and Throwleigh resident, Chris Chapman, who will also make a recording of the performance which will be lodged on the Archive’s web-site. Amongst the performers are locals Bill Murray, expert on all things Dartmoor and author Maggie Clarke. The singers will be lead by Deborah Clark from South Tawton and the band will be lead by David Faulkner of Okehampton based Wren Music.

So this March take a trip back in time and come along to Throwleigh for a really special evening.

Frequently moving, often hilarious and always fascinating,

The Miss Varwells Throwleigh will be a unique event not to be missed.

Presented by The Throwleigh Archive in Throwleigh Village Hall

March 23rd, 24th 25th at 7.30pm

Tickets £10 including refreshments (£5 under 18)

More information at or ring 01647 231051 or 07971 770842

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