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1864 - 1878

From the TWP Fishing Archives

Initial inception of club

6 Aug 1864


That Mr Benson as one of the Conservators of the Tavy be requested to communicate to the Earl of Devon and JH Gile Esq, the other conservators, the following letter on the subject of the meeting –

..and that such form be sent if approved to the landowners and occupiers :–

Salmon Fisheries Act 1861

We the conservators appointed under the above Act for the River Tavy are desirous of obtaining your consent to and cooperation in the carrying out its provisions

To enable us to do so it is proposed to form an Association to provide by subscriptions and the sale of tickets the funds necessary for the protection of the fish and such other purposes as may be required.

Owners and occupiers having a river frontage to have a ticket-

The season ticket to be in compliance with the Act.

May we request an early answer whether you concur in the above and authorize us to prosecute all poaches and persons illegally trespassing on your lands and damaging the river and banks.

We are your obediently

D Evans            }

J H Gile            }            Conservators

J Benson            }

Be pleased to address your answer to Mr Benson – Bedford Offices, Tavistock.

12 October 1864

It was resolved that ........be called the “The River Tavy Fishing Association”

Rules outlined

1.     Season compliant with the Act of Parliament

2.     That the object be to protect the River Tavy and it’s tributaries Lumborn and Burn river, Arnacombe and Rattlebrook and their branches which may be granted by the proprietors to be preserved by the Association.

3.     That the owners joining the Association having the right of water frontages be entitled to fish without any payment throughout the bounds of the Assn. together with the right of transferring tickets to friends for fly fishing only.

4.     That each occupier joining the Assn having the right of water frontage be entitled to fish without any payment throughout the bounds of the Assn together with the privilege of transferring his ticket to any guest staying in his house.

5.     That an annual subscription of One Guinea payable in advance shall have, beside the personal right of fishing, the right of giving a day ticket to a friend residing beyond 16 miles from the preserved water at any point.

6.     That the

Annual subscription be           £1 - 1/0

Monthly                                  10/6 (10 shillings  and 6d (old pence))

Weekly                                    5/-

Daily                                      2/6

7.     That no fishing be permitted but with the artificial fly except in the case of the owner occupier who may fish in compliance with the Act on their own river frontage.

8.     Any person found fishing on the preserved water without a card will be prosecuted and any person holding a card who does not comply with the rules of the Assoc. shall forfeit the same.

9.     That any person who shall sell fish taken in the preserved water shall be excluded from the Assoc. and his card forfeited.

10.  That no dog be permitted  to accompany any member whilst fishing.

11.  That the committee be empowered to issue of whom to form a quorum.

12.  That the committee be empowered to issue Annual Tickets at 5/-. Such tickets to be endorsed by the owners of river frontage.

13.  That the committee be empowered to make all arrangements with regard to watching the river.

14.  That no rule be made or any rule altered except at an Annual Meeting or at a Special meeting called for the purpose fourteen days notice to be sent to each member of such special meeting stating all general or special business to be transacted.

Signed by J Carpenter-Garnier Esq - Chairman.

…subsequently submitted and confirmed by the members at a meeting on 26 October 1964.

13 March 1865

200 copies of the Rules printed and distributed.

Necessary cards printed

Vote of thanks to the Chairman.

27th March 1865

Resolved that

..for the present one ‘watcher’ (= water bailiff) be appointed to preserve the whole bounds of the Assn.

That he be a stranger to the neighbourhood

That the Secretary be requested to advertise in the local papers for a good watcher.

That the Secretary be requested to write to the Chief Constable of Devon to enquire what assistance the Police Force will render the Association in preserving the waters.

1 April 1865

From the number of applicants two were chosen to be put forward as watchers:

P Hosking, late in the service of Chapell Hodge Esq of Burleigh, and the man recommended by Col Gilbert of the Cornwall Constabulary.

New membership…

..That the following labouring men be allowed to receive the 5/- season card for 1865 – subject to the Landowners Endorsement:

Messrs. George Eastlake - John Rowe - Benjamin Hall - Physic - Chard – John Snell – Mr James – John Dingle - ? Martin – William Dalis – William Pengelly – Richard Odgers – George Ballamy – Thomas Kent - ? Seccombe.


That the secretary supply Mr Jeffery’s of Plymouth with a number of tickets – for the disposal to anyone who may apply to him for them.

4 April 1864

Appointment of “watcher”


That Phillip Hosking be at once appointed as River Bailiff at the salary of 17/- per week – Each party to give and take a months notice to leave.

That any tenant or other person giving such information as shall lead to the conviction of any offender against the rules of the Association shall receive half of the fine inflicted…

23rd May 1865

First Expulsion!

..That Physic, having been found fishing in a manner against the Rules of the Association – he do forfeit his card…

…and another subsequent one….

16th August 1865

…. That information having been given to the meeting that Benjamin Hall and John Dingle having been found fishing with a minnow they do forfeit their cards – and that the secretary take such legal steps to prohibit their further further fishing as may by law be required…..

…..and (temporary) reprieve!!

…after this meeting the Secretary was desired to return to Hall and Dingle their cards upon their promise not again to offend……

(I say temporary as at the 30th September meeting it was taken away from Dingle and a Mr Hall again!)

The decision to apply to build a Fish Pass on the Abbey Bridge in Tavistock was also approved at this meeting.

At the end of the first season..

On acceptance of the accounts a number of resolutions fine-tuned the rules, allowing fishing with artificial minnows (too late for Mr Dingle!), extending the season to 1st November, allowing 1 guinea full members the right to give 3x 5/- day tickets to friends from outside the region, introducing plans to prosecute anyone as a trespasser if their ticket is forfeited and finally raising the season ticket to 10/- to all those fishing with artificial minnows.

Further notable entries in the first decade of the club:

1866 March – Donation to the Tavy Fishing Association from the Duke of Bedford accepted graciously.

1866 December – Members requested to take out licences according to the fixed regulations of the Tamar and Plym Fishery District Board of Conservators.

1867 – Statistics reported to the AGM showed that 400 'Salmon Peal' (Seatrout) had been taken by members during the season. Concern over the effects of mineral waters and debris of old mines was discussed and it was felt that current legislation was not providing sufficient protection to the river. Also agreed reduced price (2/6) for members holding a Plym card. New appointment of “Superintendent for the Tavy District” at yearly salary of £20 – Mr Stevens proposed for the job. Special thanks to the Secretary for all his work and valuable service since the club’s formation – a special present of 10 Guineas.

The accounts also show that the secretary claimed £3, 3 shillings and sixpence for attending the Guildhall for prosecution of poachers etc. and that subscriptions that year brought in nearly £40 and left the club some £35 in profit! – all in beautiful copperplate writing.

1868 – Mineral poisoning of fish by the Lady Bertha Mine – the circumstances of which were laid before the meeting – which considered any proceedings would be fruitless.

The new fish pass on the Abbey Bridge was stated to be nearing completion and the grating was stated to be affixing the Tavistock Canal. Special thanks were given to His Grace, the Duke of Bedford for his generous support…for a most efficient Ladder whereby Salmon and Trout are enabled to reach the best spawning grounds of the District.

Further resolutions tried to keep a closer eye on the Mining Water flowing from the different mines into the river….and a general desire was expressed that he (the Superintendent) should frequently visit the mines with a desire to prevent further mischief being done by the same…..

1871 – No fishing other than with the artificial fly below Double Waters. Additional Watchers agreed. Introduction of new rules governing times to fish:

-       No fishing of any kind from one hour after sunset on Saturday night to one hour before sunrise on Monday morning during the ensuing season….!

-       No fishing be allowed during the night from before 1 hour before sunrise and 1 hour after sunset…..

The presence of poachers was also highlighted… it was proposed by Captn Johnson and seconded by Mr Betteley that in as much as it is reported that illegal netting is going on in the estuary and the Superintendent's attention be called to it and he be desired to further watch the same….

1872 -  Fly and minnow allowed now down to Denham Bridge. …… that there were about 300 peel taken during the season…

 1874 - ..the accounts were produced showing a balance of £36 - 10/2. ……the Chairman stated to the meeting what had been done with reference to the Bye Laws of the district – as suggested by the Board of Conservators with special reference to the close season – the size of meshed nets – and the use of the gaff… (unfortunately, there is no clarification of what was decided..).

1875 - …The Secretary was desired to write to the Earl of Mount Edgecumbe's (?Solicitors?) to obtain their sanction to cut down the branches on the Earl’s bank below Denham Bridge so as to allow Rod and Line fishing from that bank…

            - Capt Whale reported that trout were on the decrease and after some discussion – he proposed, and Col Brown seconded and it was resolved that no trout fishing be permitted after the 1st September…

            - the Superintendent was called in and replied to various questions and reported generally on the pollutions of mining refuse in the District – and that he was constantly doing all in his power to bring it under the notice of the authorities at the Mines to prevent the fish being killed….

1876 - ..that the Trout fishing be extended to the 2nd October….

1878 – Accounts showed a princely balance of only £1 – 3s/9d. It was also proposed by …Dr Ross and sec by Col Slaughter and resolved

-       That the Association hand over the preservationof the river to the District Board of Conservators and amalgamate the Association in the Board.

The First Club Book finishes at this point and there is a tantalising gap til the next - 1887. It is not clear if the record was lost or the District Board held subsequent records but interestingly the next book starts with the resolution to call the Club the Tavy Walkham and Plym Fishing Association..

Club Record Books

1864 - 1878

1887 - 1895

1896 - 1902

1907 - 1935

1936 - 1976

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