Carnival
The burning of effigies (and not only of Guy Fawkes) has been associated with November 5th from at least the end of the 18th century in Ashburton.
Richard Carlile, who was born in 1790, says 'Julian [his son] is not near as excitable over his paper cap, embellished on and before the 5th of November, than I was then in scouring the hedges for miles around, from daylight till dark, to gather a faggot wherewith to burn the effigy of "old Tom Paine", my now venerated political father!'

From Richard Carlile to Eliza Sharples Carlile, quoted in The battle for the press, as told in the story of the life of Richard Carlile, Theophila Carlile Campbell (his daughter),London 1899, chapter 2 http://www.gutenberg.org/files/38370/38370-h/38370-h.htm- Accessed 17-11-2013

An effigy of the Pope was burned in 1850. 'Urchins' had a holiday from the public school to assist in the proceedings.

Western Times 9 November 1850 p7 col5

Whether processions were included in Carlile's day and the first half of the 19th century is unclear, but in late Victorian times Ashburton often celebrated November 5th with a carnival.

November 5th fell on a Saturday in 1881, so celebrations were held the following Monday, so as not to interfere with the market. There were two processions, one from the top of North Street, and the second from Bowling Green; some of the participants being on horseback. Whilst 'Guys' predominated in the North St procession, 'gibbeted effigies of some of the Irish agitators' were noticeable in the latter. The processions had banners, and were lit with torches and tar barrels. Later fireworks were discharged - they consisted mainly of hand rockets.

Western Times 11 November 1881 p7 col4

Exeter and Plymouth Gazette 11 November 1881 p2 col2

In 1892 'the usual procession' was carried out 'with plenty of spirit'. Amongst the tableaux was 'Colombus discovering America', 'The Death of Nelson' and the 'Death of General Wolfe on Bunker's hill'. Topical local concerns were very popular: 'Ashburton's milk supply', 'Ashburton's prospective local board', 'Villas to let, cottages wanted' and 'The present recreation ground'.
After the procession a bonfire was lit at the Bullring, followed by fireworks.
Western Times 9 November 1892 p3 col2

In 1898 a procession, led by the Hele Band, started from the top of East Street. Tableaux included 'The coronation of the Queen', 'Neptune and his sirens', the Volunteer Fire Brigade and a life-size model of an elephant. 200 torches lit the scene.

Exeter and Plymouth Gazette 11 November 1898 p11 col1



                                                                       *******
Ashburton carnival was revived in November 1912 after a lapse of some years. Amongst the tableau was Mr J Butler's brig, The Saucy Nancy, 'fully rigged and manned with sailors' (see below); a car representing the woollen trade which included two living sheep; the Ashburton Fire Brigade with their manual engine, under Capt. J D Reddaway; a working dairy; a Japanese tea party; Darby and Joan (see below) etc.
Western Times 12 November 1912 p6 col4

The four photographs below, plus the information, are courtesy Sheila Lafleur, to whom many thanks.
Above: Outside the Sun Inn, North Street.


Left:
Mr Baskerville and Mr Boons (blacksmith). This is written on the back of the photograph, but the newspaper report says that the pair were Messrs. Baskerville and Tucker.
Jeremy Parker has clarified this:

'I think the writing on the back was probably intended as "Mr Boon's blacksmith".
Horace Boon was my great grandfather, Bill Tucker was my cousin's grandfather.
When Bill first came to Ashburton he was employed by Horace to do any smithing required by the ironmongery (now Church's), and Horace arranged for him to lodge with the Baskervilles.
Bill later lived at Hurst in East Street with his smithy at the back.
Many thanks to Jeremy for this
Above: Susan Wills, nee Eales, is standing in the doorway.

Right
: Miss Keat and Miss Pearce, who also seem to be in the photograh above.

The proceeds of the carnival were to be donated to the Ashburton and Buckfastleigh Cottage Hospital, and many carnival participants roamed the streets throughout the day with collection boxes. One group, consisting of Mr J Wills and Mr J Hatch, and the Misses Keat, Pearce, Shillabear and Sargeant 'by persistent work added to the funds'.
Western Times 15 November 1912 p14 col2
Many thanks to Frances Berry for this photograph

In 1927 the carnival was again revived 'after a lapse of many years.' There were displays of field gun drills and the sailors' hornpipe in the Recreation Ground, where there were various stalls such as hoop-la and coconut shies ; a public tea at the Wilderness, Mr E Tucker's residence; distorting mirrors at the Butter Market; and a dance in the drill hall in the evening. There were a hundred entries in the carnival procession.

Western Times 2 September 1927 p15 col5

When Amy Evelyn Brendon married Alan John Kerslake in 1937, the newspaper report said that she had been Ashburton's first carnival queen in 1931.
Western Times 26 February 1937 p14 cols3/4



During the 1930s the carnival was very much associated with the Hospital. In 1940 the Ashburton Hospital Carnival decided to cancel the event because of the war, but they resolved to have a house-to-house collection to raise funds for the hospital, the District Nursing Association and the St.John Ambulance.
Express and Echo 21 June 1940 p5 col5

Above: Late 1930s. Charlie Harding is standing; also in the photograph are Glen Arscott, Dick Stanbury, and children Paddy and Pam Harding.
Many thanks to Richard and Frances Berry for this photograph.

In 1943 a Furry Dance was held in connection with Red Cross Week. Participants included J Stephens, chairman of the Urban Council, B B Baker, portreeve and Eileen Davey, carnival queen.
Western Morning News 7 July 1943 p4 col3


Right: Michael Webster (Portreeve) and John Brown in the carnival procession, 1970.
My own photograph, 1970

Left and below:
More photographs from the 1970 carnival.
My own photographs