A volunteer who archived thousands of historic Clinton Devon Estates documents in a career spanning more than thirty years, has been recognised in the New Year Honours list.
Gerald Millington, 93, from Otterton, has been awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM) for his services to local history in Devon and Hertfordshire.
Gerald began working for the Estate as a part-time volunteer archivist in 1988 after retiring from his job in banking and moving to Devon from Hertfordshire. He was intent on developing his passion for researching local history and it was a chance conversation with the Estate’s land agent which led to the granting of his request to have a look through its archives. He spent the next three decades documenting each and every item and publishing many books and articles on local history.
Speaking in an earlier interview, Gerald discussed the contents of the archive, which is held at the Estate’s Rolle Estate Office in East Devon and the Devon Public Records Office. He said: “In the 1880s the Rolle Estate, which has now become Clinton Devon, owned 55,000 acres of land in North and East Devon and was the largest estate in the county.
“This has left us with a vast collection of documents including mortgage and account books, leases for cottages and farmland and our magnificent collection of letter books. Local history research and writing has always been like a magnet to me. The documents in the Estate archive are priceless because you cannot put a price on being given such an insight into the past.”
Commenting on Gerald’s BEM award, Clinton Devon Estates Director John Varley, said: “This award is well deserved recognition of Gerald’s tireless efforts and commitment to ensuring the Estate’s historic documents are preserved for future generations and brought to life through his research, as well as many publications and local talks. Congratulations Gerald!”