The Devonshire Association (DA) is a learned society founded in 1862 by William Pengelly and modelled on the British Association, but concentrating on research subjects linked to Devon in the fields of science, literature and the arts.
The first meeting was held in Exeter in 1862 with a membership of 69 and, except for 1942, meetings have been held annually in different locations around the county every year since. Although similar in format to older groups such as the Plymouth Institution (inaugurated in 1812) and the Devon and Exeter Institution (1813), The Devonshire Association's aims were broader and more ambitious.
By 1877, there were around 500 members and this number remained fairly constant until just before the Second World War. In 1932 the first of a number of local branches was established in Plymouth, and subject-based sections were formed, specialising in the botany, buildings, entomology, geology, history, literature, folklore and dialect of Devon. By 1952 membership had risen to 1,100 and to over 1,800 by the centenary in 1963. In 2009 membership stood at 1,306.
The Association's three-day Annual Conference takes place in June, at a different Devon venue each year. At this event local visits are organised, along with a formal dinner and an AGM, at which an honorary president takes office, invited from those "of standing and importance" in the county. Since 2006 the Association has also held an annual President's Symposium on a topic of his or her choosing; the one in 2007, for instance concerned farming in Devon.
A number of events take place throughout the year, including presentations, visits to notable places in the county, and training courses on various aspects of the Association's work. The DA also makes grants to support Devon-related research projects.
The President for 2010–11 was Roger Thorne, JP, CEng, MICE, FSA who was succeeded by Professor Nicholas Orme, MA, DPhil, DLitt, FSA, FRHistS in 2011. The Association's 150th anniversary in 2012 was marked by a major conference in Torquay, the home town of its founder, William Pengelly.
Some notable presidents
The year shown is the one in which the Presidential address was given.
- "Home Page". The Devonshire Association. Retrieved 2011-09-08.
- "History & Origins". The Devonshire Association. Retrieved 2011-09-08.
- "Branches". The Devonshire Association. Retrieved 2011-09-08.
- Bradley, Colin (5 March 2011). "Neglected treasures record the landscape of the past". Western Morning News (Northcliffe Newspapers Group Ltd). Retrieved 8 September 2011. (Subscription required for internet access)
- Gibson, Anthony (2 May 2007). "Symposium speakers offer cheer and optimism for future". Western Morning News (Northcliffe Newspapers Group Ltd). Retrieved 8 September 2011. (Subscription required for internet access)
- "Presidency of The Devonshire Association". The Devonshire Association. Retrieved 2011-09-08.
- "A Short History of George Parker Bidder, 1806-1878". GENUKI/Devon. Retrieved 2011-09-08.