Brian Le Messurier

Brian Le Messurier lived in Devon for over seventy years and throughout that time had a close association with Dartmoor, sharing his enthusiasm and knowledge of the moor through his adult teaching and with school groups involved in activities such as Ten Tors. A fear-less campaigner in protecting the moor, alongside figures such as the redoubtable Lady Sylvia Sayer, he opposed a number of major planning proposals such as the northern bypass and the flooding of Swincombe Valley. Yet he maintained a longstanding and cordial re-lationship with the National Park Authority built on mutual respect, not least in his friendship with, the former Head of the DNPA, Ian Mercer.

Brian wrote many books and articles about the West Country, Devon and Dartmoor, notably his lengthy Introduction to the 1965 edition of Crossing's Guide to Dartmoor, reintroducing this seminal work to new enthusiasts while elevating William Crossing's contribution to our knowledge of Dartmoor to the position it deserves. Brian also edited and introduced the 1966 edition of Crossing’s Dartrmoor Worker along with several other Crossing reprints. He contributed a chapter for Dartmoor: A New Study (1965) and wrote a number of papers for the Transactions of the Devonshire Association including, in 1979, an important field survey of ‘The Post Prehistoric Structures of Central North Dartmoor’. In this he helped interpret some of the more obscure small structures to be found scattered around the moor, associating them with tin streaming and the peat industry, the latter now pertinent in the study and reclamation of upland peat areas.

In 2002 Brian wrote Dartmoor Artists, the first major study of topographical paintings of the moor and illuminating the role that art and artists have made to the cultural life of the moor from the 18th century through to the present day.

Brian’s contribution to the Archive began with small collection of photographs alongside which is a valuable archive of printed material, mainly newspaper cuttings from the 1960s through to the 1980s, along with other Dartmoor ephemera. Brian passed away in February 2022.