Thursday, 19 January 2017


The, as from tomorrow, president of the United States, is said to be a Scottish Trump and, therefore nor likely to be related to the East Devon Trumps.  (Well, it would seem I got that wrong.  It was Donald.s mum who was Scottish.  Someone said on radio today that his grandfather was a German,  a Trumpf perhaps!!)   'Trumps' was the fine old grocer's in Sidmouth which, when it closed in September 2014 was two hundred years old and said to be the oldest in the country and the Trump of this blog was probably related to him, her or them.

My source for this story is the diary of the wonderful Sidmouth antiquary, Peter Orlando Hutchinson  (1810 - 1897) as recorded in a fine book called "Travels in Victorian Devon" compiled by Jeremy Butler and published by Devon Books in 2000.   In 1869 Hutchinson wrote:

"There used to be (and still is) a tradition that a man called Trump found a crock of gold many years ago when ploughing a field between the pound and Trow, but his nephew some decime or duodecime of years ago laughed at the story when I told him I had heard so, and assured me his uncle made his money in other ways."

Trow, for those who do not know it,  is the name given to a house or two and, close-by a farmhouse just inland from Weston Mouth.  These days the old farmhouse is part of the famous Donkey Sanctuary.

'Decime' and 'duodecime' are lovely words are they not?   (They don't appear in any of my dictionaries) with the meaning 'ten and twelve years.'

So the 'crock of gold' was found some years before 1859 which puts it fairly into the age of smuggling.  If, as I suspect,  Farmer Trump was using Trow Farm to store smuggled goods and telling the tale of the crock of gold to account for his making too much money from that moonlight trade, the story makes sense.   No wonder then that his nephew laughed.

This is of course a fancy with no evidence to back it up but I have read elsewhere (I don't have the source) that Trow Farm was for a long time said to be haunted and that this tale was put about by the smugglers to keep good people away from it at night.   It would seem, perhaps that Mr Trump and  the Weston Mouth smugglers were prepared to tell fibs to achieve their ends.

Which perhaps brings us back to the President Elect of the United States.