A great fire at Crediton in 1743 tore through the West Town. The thatched roofs and timber frames caught like tinder, and onlookers watched the ‘impending conflagration’ as it devastated the area. The map of Crediton held by the Devon Record Office provides an insight to what the town would have looked like before the terrible fire. The recovery of a missing part of the map has provided detailed information about eighteenth century Crediton and has sparked new research. Simon Dixon, John Heal, Philip Planel and Nick Hastead use the map to reconstruct this old market town and explore its trade and industry.
This article tells the extraordinary story of Robert Cadman and his renowned steeple-flying performances throughout the South-West of England. Remarkably, Cadman hadn’t been the only one. John Penny follows the stories of the original ‘daredevils’ who gathered huge crowds at their dangerous performances and even appeared in the work of William Hogarth. These shocking spectacles were studded with moments of both calamity and ingenious choreography.