South Molton Bowling Club

Affiliated to Bowls England



A brief history of the region and the Club

EXMOOR covers 267 square miles of the beautiful rolling North Devon and Somerset countryside and stretches well beyond the boundary of the National Park, to include a variety of rural and coastal towns and villages and also the Quantock Hills.

Barnstaple is the main town in North Devon and is approximately central to the 16 clubs in the region. The town of South Molton is situated about 12 miles east of Barnstaple

From late spring through to late summer, Exmoor's moorlands are a vibrant sea of purples, lilacs and yellows, alive with the sound of birds and insects.

South Molton

South Molton is a typical small market town with a population of approximately 5,000. Originally trading in sheep and cattle, it gets its name from the river Mole from which the power was generated for the woollen and corn mills, although the need for the latter has declined in recent years.

The town has retained its Tuesday and Thursday cattle markets, and markets are held undercover every Thursday and Saturday for the sale of all kinds of local produce. The Quince Honey Farm is the largest of its kind in the country. The town hall dates back to 1743.

The Bowling Club

On February 2nd 1896 a meeting was held at the South Molton Constitutional Club and it was decided to form a bowling club. A set of bowls was purchased and a Committee of six was formed. Members subscriptions were fixed at two shillings (10 new pence), and two shillings and sixpence (12½ new pence) for Honorary members.

A piece of land of approximately one third of an acre was secured at the edge of the town and rented at three pounds from April until September. In 1906 the first team selection committee was formed, and in 1913 the first credit balance of eighteen shillings and three pence (about 92 pence) was reported. By 1924 when the first league in North Devon was formed, Membership fees had risen to one pound per member with two pennies payable per game.

In 1932 the first lady members were accepted. It was not until 1934 that the Town Council gave permission to wear the Borough coat of arms on badges, and this has been retained up to the present time.

The Borough Council made the present ground available to the Club in 1950 and, together with the members, constructed a green of a size capable of having seven rinks in both directions. A major milestone was obtaining a lease for the ground in 1983. The small clubhouse was demolished in 1987 and rebuilt to contain a men's changing room and small bar and lounge. Members paid for the materials and undertook the construction themselves. The improvements continued in 1994 when further extensions were undertaken to extend the floor area from its original 350 sq feet to 3000 sq feet. Again the members did the work.