The Olde Ruggelstone Pub at Widdecombe in the Moor

My Mother was from Hele Village – a part of Torquay in Devon, England. I found my Mom’s house on Google Earth recently, but I have a memory stuck in my head from when I lived in London (SW10 on Hollywood Road across from the Hollywood Pub!) – and traveled down to Devon and Cornwall as much as I could. The Olde Ruggelstone Pub in Devon – read on . . . .

The family surname is East – can’t get much more English than that! I love it because I love geography.

Apparently, the name East originated from the East of London, which makes sense because my Grandfather was a Cockney from London who moved his family to Devon at the onset of WWII.

Anyway, when I lived there in the late 80’s, I made it a priority to visit my Mothers brother (my Uncle) and other relatives who live in Newton Abbot in Devon – on Hay Tor Road – which looks right at Hay Tor up on Dartmoor. I still have relatives in Bracknell and Winkfield – near Windsor, but I guess Devon and Cornwall left the biggest impression on me.  I took the train from Paddington to Devon and Cornwall many times.

The picture you see above for many years was a pub! No kidding. My Uncle – who drove livestock trucks over Dartmoor and Exmoor – took me to the Ruggelstone Inn for a pint. He knew all of the back stories. The woman who poured our pints (as my uncle told me) was a “Spinster who lived above the pub. The beer casks were cooled by an inlet or pipe from that stream”.

I feel blessed to know a little British story that I will bet many in England might not even know.

St. Pancras Church – Widdecombe in the Moor

My fathers side of the family were “Evangelisch” from Stuttgart, which I think ended up being Lutheran. 

Interesting fact, the name Holoch means “person from high Glen or Glade” which makes total sense because Stuttgart is in a very hilly area. So both surnames in my family are based on geo physical references.

My Mothers side of the family were Episcopal, and while I’m not very religious, I do identify mostly with the Episcopal Church and religion. Its “Catholic lite” – “all the liturgy and none of the guilt” . . .

All of this leads to where I was brought up – in the very British looking county in NJ – Sussex County, the town of Newton. (WA2QHN).


One Comment on “The Olde Ruggelstone Pub at Widdecombe in the Moor

  1. I loved my time in Cornwall, and there’s so much communications history there too. If you get a chance, take a multi-day hike on the Southwest Coast Path around Land’s End. Bring your tall boots! Keep going and you will come to the Porthcurno Telegraphy Museum, where many of the Victorian telegraph cables came ashore in a sandy cove. Great obscure little museum. Still further on, you’ll come to Poldhu, whence Marconi supposedly sent the world’s first ever transatlantic radio message — incidentally, approximately on 160 meters. There was a ham club station there but it was deserted when I visited. Every night you can settle in for the night at a cozy pub and get your fill of beer and fish-and-chips. I went in October, and it was a good time to go: mostly deserted, weather starting to turn foul, but not yet shut down for the winter and very atmospheric, especially with all the abandoned tin mines.

    Speaking of undersea cables, many of the transatlantic data cables still come ashore in Cornwall. It’s kind of amazing to stand by the dock in some sleepy fishing village and realize that the commerce of two great continents is flowing beneath your feet. The first transatlantic cables actually came ashore in Ireland, and you can now spend the night in one of the cable houses which is now a nice little B&B. They have cross sections of the original cables on display. Take a boat out to Skellig Michael while you’re there, if weather permits. It’s definitely the highlight of an Irish trip.


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