Latest News

Latest News from Fairlynch Museum

Posted 18 Feb 2020

Publicity Lead

Do you have a spare couple of hours a week to help promote our Museum to visitors and residents?

We are looking for someone with a background in communications, public relations, and/or marketing to take the lead in all things to do with communication.

The full role description is available here.

For more information, or to discuss the role in more detail, please contact Susan Lacey by emailing

Posted 4 Dec 2019

Cecil Elgee (1904 -1984)

Like many Budleigh residents of the past, the artist Cecil Elgee had an Anglo-Indian background and it was for this that her name will be

known by those familiar with 'Costumes and Characters in the Days of the British Raj', the book which appeared just before her death.

But her work as a painter and illustrator covered a wide range of subjects.

Born in 1904, Cecil Elgee, better known by her family nickname as Moppie or Mops, went out to India to join her parents in Bombay in 1922

when she was 18 and studied at the Bombay School of Art. On her return to England in 1927, the family settled in Budleigh Salterton and she continued her

art studies at the Exeter Art School, founded in 1854 as part of the Royal Albert Memorial Museum.

During World War 2 she served as a Naval VAD (Voluntary Aid Detachment) at the Royal Naval Hospital in Plymouth. She went through the Plymouth Blitz

and at the end of the war she was one of the twelve Naval VADs in the Victory Parade in London. When demobilised she returned home to

look after and subsequently nursed her elderly father and later her widowed sister.

Working from her home at 9 Copplestone Road in Budleigh Salterton she proved to be a prolific and versatile artist. Her work was always in demand,

especially when she portrayed animals - both family pets, and working animals. Cecil Elgee died in 1984 but her name lives on in the

Cecil Elgee Memorial prize, awarded by the Budleigh Salterton Art Club.

The latest acquisition is the fifth of her watercolour paintings in Fairlynch’s collection.

Cecil Elgee

Posted 4 Dec 2019

England's Oldest Lace Bobbin Discovered in Budleigh

Fairlynch has the oldest known lace bobbin in England in its collection!

This was recently confirmed by lace historian Brian Lemin of New South Wales, Australia. The 11½ cm long wooden bobbin is carved

with the initials MR and the date 1662.

Fairlynch's curator of lace Sue Morgan says “It came into the museum's collection in the 1990s and its origin is unknown.

However, style and decoration are typical of an East Devon trolly-lace bobbin made for a lace-maker with the initials MR in 1662.”

Museum chairman Trevor Waddington commented “It was made just two years after the Restoration of King Charles II and four years before

the Great Fire of London. If only these objects could talk!”

Lace Bobbin

Posted 29 Jul 2019

Coffee Time Talks

Fairlynch are introducing a series of monthly talks to be held at the Peter Hall, Budleigh Salterton. 

Titled 'Coffee Time Talks'  tea, coffee and biscuits will be available from 10:30 with talks commencing at 11:00.  Talks are scheduled to finish at 11:45. 

Admission is £3.00 for Friends and £5.00 for non-Friends.

Click here for the full programme.

Posted 18 Apr 2019

The Fairlynch Pig

Recently Christine Hadley, who curates the Fairlynch toy collection, re-discovered the Fairlynch Pig and has made this short video of him (or her).

He was made in about 1930 by the French automaton company Roullet et Descamps in Paris.  He is about 30cm long covered in pink chamois leather

with glass eyes.  He walks, nods his head and grunts!

Posted 2 Apr 2019

2019 Exhibitions

Posted 20 Dec 2018

Posted 6 Nov 2018

Triumphant 2018 Season for Fairlynch

The Lord Lieutenant of Devon, David Fursdon

The Lord Lieutenant of Devon, David Fursdon with ‘The Boyhood of Raleigh’

The return of Sir John Everett Millais’ painting ‘The Boyhood of Raleigh’ to Tate Britain marks the end of a highly successful season for Fairlynch, which closed

its doors for the winter on 31 October.   

The Museum welcomed over 7,000 visitors, a 40% increase on recent years. £7,500 was raised from entry fees, and £1,050 was received in donations.

Raleigh 400 was the main event, running for five months from 28 May, when the exhibition was opened by Lord Lieutenant of Devon David Fursdon.

Wedding dresses from the Fairlynch collection

Other displays were much praised by visitors, including the Costume Department’s ‘100 Years of Devon Weddings’ and the Quilts and Textiles exhibition.

Among the experts who had visited Fairlynch during the year were historian Anna Beer, author of a recent biography of Sir Walter Raleigh, and costumes writer

Jill Salen, who is preparing material for a book about the Museum’s collections.

There was a marked increase in the number of group visits to Fairlynch, including those organised by local schools.

Thanks to a Heritage Lottery Fund grant, enabling the services of Education Outreach officer Lizzie Mee, the Museum was able to engage with a good

number of schools. A total of 2,685 children benefitted from the Raleigh 400 teaching programme, including receiving leaflets and other promotional materials. 

Powderham Castle’s State Dining Room

The Museum’s successful season culminates in a special Raleigh 400 dinner on Thursday 29 November in the State Dining Room of Powderham Castle for Friends of Fairlynch and their friends and guests. The Guest of Honour will be the Earl of Devon. 


Wedding dresses from the Fairlynch collection
Powderham Castle’s State Dining Room

Posted 21 Nov 2017

We Need Your Help

Fairlynch Museum is making a display in 2018 to commemorate the centenary of the end of WW1

We are looking for any information, memories, documentation (letters etc.) and photographs that you may have from relatives and friends

  who worked in the VAD Hospitals at Serai, Budleigh Salterton and Bicton House and also Work Parties - set-up to support the Hospitals.

The Hospitals functioned from 1914 - 1919. 

The photo below may have been taken at Serai.

This photo below may have been taken at Serai

We have lists of the staff of those hospitals – and lists of people who were part of Working Parties to support the Hospitals - these can

be found online at Fairlynch Museum website:

or leave a message on the website contact page.

Posted 26 Apr 2017

The Making of a Museum

A long-awaited booklet about the history of Fairlynch is now available with the publication of The Making of a Museum, edited by Fairlynch Trustee Michael Downes.  Based on

a 1987 study of the museum building itself, the new title has been brought out to mark Fairlynch’s 50th anniversary and chronicles the development of a much-loved

Budleigh institution from its beginnings up to the present day.

At over 50 pages and lavishly illustrated with almost 100 images, The Making of a Museum is a tribute to the original founders of Fairlynch as well as a story of determination

and vision. It was a story crowned by many achievements.  One of the most notable was persuading the Tate Gallery to allow on two occasions the showing in Budleigh of

Millais’ original painting ‘The Boyhood of Raleigh’.

The booklet is available from the Museum shop, price £5.00. All profits go to Fairlynch. 

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