Dashper Family Reunion

Report back on the First International DASHPER FAMILY REUNION. 

Friday May 13th to Sunday May 15th, 2005


The venue for the Dashper Family Reunion was the China Fleet Club in Saltash, Cornwall.
Being just across the River Tamar from Plymouth, it was an ideal place for our Dashper Family Reunion's main base, conference dinner and displays.  Set in 180 acres of beautiful Cornish countryside, the facilities were attractive, and we were very happy with the service and presentation standards. Many of the Dashper families chose to stay there as well, and the private bar became a Dashper meeting area till late into the night (and many of us will remember Sunday night's farewell from the obliging staff). We can thoroughly recommend  this establishment as a reunion venue: 

China Fleet


Friday 13th May 2005: Welcome  and First Contact

The international  Dashper family assembled for the first time together at 6.30pm in the lounge of the China Fleet Club, with much merriment and excited first contacts.  We were all given a Dashper Reunion Folder and name badges affixed with our country flag (beautifully prepared by the Canadian Dashper sisters Gloria and Linda) . This in itself was intriguing, to see so many people with the same name 'Dashper' (and all spelt correctly!).  As we collected in our family groups,  the committee made informal introductions and many new connections were made.  The Dashper Reunion mugs and original Dashper T-shirts were unveiled (and credit should go to the Dashper team from Canada and UK of Linda, Gloria and Sylvia . . .  a superb international effort to these ladies), and  these pieces of Dashper memorabilia were steadily snapped up for souvenirs of our first family get-together.  The purple packs of information put together by the UK and NZ Dashpers  Judith, Chris and Mark were distributed to all the family members, and became essential items for the reunion to store and make notes as we progressed.  The Dashper CDRom was included in this pack and contained the entire Dashper website, powerpoints, movies, charts, pictures, text articles, and lots of  interesting Dashper data.  The first evening was great!  Loads of fun, and excitement bubbling over into fascinating stories, with many of us keen to tell of our families' journeys and travels. Due to the early start the next morning, we reluctantly wound the evening up at around 9.30pm and saved our voices for the next day.

Saturday 14th May 2005: Dashper bus tour highlights

We were all on time (of course!) and set off from the carpark at China Fleet at 8.20am.  After a short  tour of the Devon countryside, the church tour began with freshly made coffee at the magnificent church of Berry Pomeroy where William Dashper and Elizabeth Skinner  worshipped. This church was full of contrasts. Tombs of Hon Lord Edward Seymour (1593) and R Hon Edward Seymour (1663), elegant filigree on the altar, exposed brick and mortar,  hanging chandeliers, shadows thrown onto the walls like an eastern temple. Over the altar was a banner   "In the presence is the fullness of Joy";  at the rear of the church another intricate banner stated in old english "Fear God e Honour y King"


Then at Little Hempston we were treated to a perfect little church in a close surrounded by a pub and dwellings. Lots of grave stones worth revisiting. The church had plaster over brick,  with a knights tomb on the window. The altar was very simple and peaceful.  A wall plaque showed a lot of Palks from our family.  Walked back via a tiny alleyway under a beautiful arched bridge.

Little hempston

At Ipplepen, we inspected a pebble-dash exterior, and inside a braced arch roof with a very finely decorated knave painted with fine icons. The pulpit was ornately coloured, and we were overawed by the font that had baptized generations of Dashpers.  Arthur French gave us an intriguing lecture on the generations of Dashpers  from this church, illustrated with sheets of names and links with New Foundling.  We learned how to distinguish a "Grockle" (new-comer to Devon) from a "Emit" (new-comer from Cornwall).


A delicious lunch was served at the Plough Inn, where we had a fine meal of freshly baked buns, salad and meats.  The bus driver had a welcome break here too, from backing out of alleyways and side roads . . . a feat which you had to be there to believe!

From here we travelled to Cockington where we ambled down the hill, sheltered under a thatched roof,  and escaped the rain in a beautiful little church in a domain surrounded by trees of all description. The church was full of people picnicking for a short while, but we were able to inspect the magnificent sculptures over the knave, and icons over the altar.  The pulpit was believed to be from a spanish galleon, and the church had a small 'monk's hole' where a spiral staircase led to a room where he stayed and was able to administer to people. Dated at 1069 this was one of the oldest churches in the area.


Finally we travelled to St Mary's church in Brixham, where we were awed by the grand scale of the arches, the seat where the Dashper dispute over rightful customary access escalated to a court case 400 years ago,  and the ornately decorated font and knave that were becoming accustomed to by this stage.

A highlight was a quick visit to Dashpers, the lane world famous in Brixham. There were ample photographic opportunities posing in front of the name and a few of us walked the length and sought out the houses now built over the site of the original Dashpers mansion (demolished last century). We think we should buy up the houses there and start a Dashper community - one day. Liz astonished a small child who thought with all the cameras that she was the paparazzi at their gate. The journey back was more difficult to remember, due to the fact that most of us were sound asleep. We can report that few, if any Dashpers are snorers however. At least that's our story . . . partners may disagree!  Sincere thanks to our UK Dashper Chris (able commentator and tour guide) and her helper Judith who put together the programme and organized the bus. Very informative, comfortable, interesting, and who cares about a little rain between times.  Well done!

" Dashpers at Dashpers "

Sunday 15th May 2005: Dashper Conference
The conference venue was full of Dashper memorabilia. Photos, albums, laptop displays, and the huge and amazing 99 page genealogy chart linked together over one whole side of the room put together by committee member Judith and her husband Peter. We were overawed by the range and breadth of information. The Dashper family can be duly proud of their efforts. Many of the images and information will now be added to the site once people are able to send them digitally. Please don't forget if you are able to do this.

Despite some initial worries that we would not be able to fill the time slots completely, we had more than enough material, and the emphasis became on keeping the huge amount of information running to time. There were so many highlights from the presentations of each country, which gave the personal side to historical movements and the lives our ancestors lived.  Who can forget for example the struggle for survival of Daniel Dashper's family in Canada,  the American civil war Dashper/Desper experiences, or the Australian Vegemite handouts.

Dashper audience   Dashper Committee
Dashper Family watching the presentations by the international organising committee  (photo thanks to Peter)

Downloads (some still to come) : UK Migration (Judith's presentation word doc from her powerpoint), UK presentation (Chris's word doc),   USA Dashper - Desper (Doug's word Doc to accompany a large powerpoint on Dashper CDRom), USA Presentation (Gloria's word doc),  Australian Presentation (Graeme's word Doc),  Canadian Presentation (Linda's word doc), NZ Presentation (Mark's word doc from powerpoint).

The reading from the Flora Thompson unfinished novel "Dashpers" had us all spell-bound, and the Dashper Shrunken Sailor made us intrigued to find out more. The Dashper X-files never fail to generate interest, and a visit to Dashpers the previous day, linked us to the Dashpers house saga (and the present houses on the site which are currently for sale).  Photos of each day were a treat to revisit, and we hope to put a slideshow together to send out to everyone.

Guest visitors in the late afternoon were Alex Mettler (local Tavistock Historian) and colleague Gerry Woodcock (Historian and former History teacher). These gentlemen gave us a memorable and insightful window into the times of our ancestors, and the conditions of the times.  We were led through time, looking at events which helped shape our past.  The focus of their talk was on the local town of Tavistock, where a number of the family originate from, but the insights were of interest to all.  We thank them for their local  flavour, and were glad they could join us afterwards for afternoon tea.  The following day, some of us undertook a walking tour of Tavistock with Alex, and observed first hand the places they had mentioned.

Finally, later that night, we sat down to a sumptuous Dashper banquette. The meal was splendid, and from the entree of soup and fresh baked bread, through to the mains of the most beautifully prepared and displayed salads and an array of meats, steak and black bean, sweet and sour pork, and noodle, to the delightful fruit platters,  we ate till we could eat no more.  A true feast if ever there was one.  From there, after coffee we adjourned to the private bar where we carried on the stimulating discussions and tall stories till the wee hours when we all reluctantly had to say our goodbyes and depart.

Many dear and long term friendships have no doubt been forged from this family gathering, and we hope all of us will maintain contact whenever we can.  Many of us are already talking about the next one in either five or ten years time, and the possibility of having National Reunions in the meantime. 

The 2005 committee are to be heartily congratulated on their hard work and dedication.  Each member had a crucial part to play, and the fact that all communication internationally was largely done digitally via the internet Dashper chatroom and emails, is testimony of the awesome time leverage we are able to access in the 21st century. Many of us are now sporting Dashper T-shirts, and drinking Vegemite drinks from Dashper Mugs (soon to become collectors items on EBAY).

 Dashper Feast 


The photos of our group show the unity and commitment to carrying on the links forged at this first Dashper Reunion. That, and the desire to have our name spelt correctly,  to get to things on time or earlier,  to hoard stuff to the point of obsession, and to be part of the almost 70% of Dashpers who are a left-hander (some of the genetically programmed Dashper traits we identified).  Many of our partners will be nodding their heads . . . as they have to live with us.

Long Live the Dashpers we say. Live long and prosper!

View the programme we used:  Dashper Family Reunion Programme

Email your reunion stories or photos to: DASHPER FAMILY REUNION

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Last revised: June 18th, 2005