Ivybridge

took its name from ‘ye bridge which lieth over ye Erme, being much inclined to ivy’.

Sir William Pole, Devon historian.

Welcome to Ivybridge Uncovered

A Mill Town Heritage

The Ivybridge Heritage & Archives Group aims to celebrate the rich history of Ivybridge and is dedicated to promoting a lively interest in the Town’s background and development by researching, collecting and preserving archives and photographic records of this unique Mill Town.

The History of Ivybridge

The remains of stone-age hut circles can be found on Harford Moor, above Ivybridge, but the ivy-covered bridge, after which the town was later named, was first recorded in 1250; it is possible that it existed as a river crossing prior to the Doomsday Book of 1086. An early ‘King’s Highway’ from Exeter to Trematon Castle near Saltash, the 12th Century crossing may have been constructed by the monks of Plympton Priory (founded in 1121) to give them access to their lands at Wrangaton, Dean Prior and Buckfastleigh.

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Nov21.25

November

In the shortest days the beauty of nature sometimes comes in fragments. November has the reputation of being the most dismal month in the year.

Shadows lengthen, the distant sky-line trees resemble huge skeleton leaves, cloud masses roll up the western sky, fierce winds rage, rains beat, rivers swell, sodden leaves strew the way and depress the mind. But when the elements seem at their worst, there comes at times the charm of some pleasant surprise in sunshine, colour, form or sound.

 

On one of the wettest days soft warbling emanates from a hawthorn, the strong winds having torn away many of the leaves and some of the crimson haws that had previously made so warm a glow. Close in against the trunk, young grey thrushes softly and sweetly warble their earliest refrains. They were rehearsing their repertoire of the music that brightens December, and ushers in the New Year and lengthening days.

 

How these birds have developed since August, when they were mother-fed with the scarlet berries of the mountain ash.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The rain forthwith lost much of its depressing influence, and there were thrushes in every hawthorn, in many a leaf-strewn flower-bed along the way.

 

Another species, the tits, move from tree to tree, from the yellowing maple to the storm tattered elm and the bronze and green, red and brown trees of autumn. Wild flowers lessen, though there is never a day when they are entirely absent in this favoured locality, but they are few and far between for the time being.

There is but one kind of flower-mass in November, which we owe to the climbing ivy (Hedera Helix), whose globes of Maces brighten many a wall and hedgerow and cumbered tree; masses which, for general effect, vie with those of the fruiting “Old Man’s Beard,” as we call the autumn display of the wild Clematis (Clematis vitalba).

North Devon Journal 09 November 1916

Edward Capern (1819 – 1894), mentioned in the above article was an English poet. Born in Tiverton he later worked at a lace factory, an industry synonymous with this town and the pioneering work of John Heathcoat. (Digressing slightly, Heathcoat in 2021 made the news headlines as the supplier of the parachute fabric for the successful NASA Mars landing of the Perseverance Rover).

 

Capern’s deteriorating eyesight forced him to abandon this intricate lace making work to take up a position with the Post Office as a letter-carrier covering a route between Bideford and Appledore. His job required him to make a return trip between the two towns with a wait for two hours to allow time for people to reply to letters he had just delivered as it must be remembered that there were no post-boxes at this time. Whilst waiting he would spend his time writing poetry often drawing inspiration from his daily experiences and earning him the title of ‘Postman Poet’.

November

In the shortest days the beauty of nature sometimes comes in fragments. November has the reputation of being the most dismal month in the year.

 

Shadows lengthen, the distant sky-line trees resemble huge skeleton leaves, cloud masses roll up the western sky, fierce winds rage, rains beat, rivers swell, sodden leaves strew the way and depress the mind. But when the elements seem at their worst, there comes at times the charm of some pleasant surprise in sunshine, colour, form or sound.

How these birds have developed since August, when they were mother-fed with the scarlet berries of the mountain ash.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The rain forthwith lost much of its depressing influence, and there were thrushes in every hawthorn, in many a leaf-strewn flower-bed along the way.

On one of the wettest days soft warbling emanates from a hawthorn, the strong winds having torn away many of the leaves and some of the crimson haws that had previously made so warm a glow. Close in against the trunk, young grey thrushes softly and sweetly warble their earliest refrains. They were rehearsing their repertoire of the music that brightens December, and ushers in the New Year and lengthening days.

 

Another species, the tits, move from tree to tree, from the yellowing maple to the storm tattered elm and the bronze and green, red and brown trees of autumn. Wild flowers lessen, though there is never a day when they are entirely absent in this favoured locality, but they are few and far between for the time being.

 

There is but one kind of flower-mass in November, which we owe to the climbing ivy (Hedera Helix), whose globes of Maces brighten many a wall and hedgerow and cumbered tree; masses which, for general effect, vie with those of the fruiting “Old Man’s Beard,” as we call the autumn display of the wild Clematis (Clematis vitalba).

North Devon Journal 09 November 1916

Edward Capern (1819 – 1894), mentioned in the above article was an English poet. Born in Tiverton he later worked at a lace factory, an industry synonymous with this town and the pioneering work of John Heathcoat. (Digressing slightly, Heathcoat in 2021 made the news headlines as the supplier of the parachute fabric for the successful NASA Mars landing of the Perseverance Rover).

 

Capern’s deteriorating eyesight forced him to abandon this intricate lace making work to take up a position with the Post Office as a letter-carrier covering a route between Bideford and Appledore. His job required him to make a return trip between the two towns with a wait for two hours to allow time for people to reply to letters he had just delivered as it must be remembered that there were no post-boxes at this time. Whilst waiting he would spend his time writing poetry often drawing inspiration from his daily experiences and earning him the title of ‘Postman Poet’.

Oct21.4

aims to celebrate the rich history of Ivybridge and is dedicated to promoting a lively interest in the Town’s background and development by researching, collecting and preserving archives and photographic records of this unique Mill Town.

THE HISTORY OF IVYBRIDGE >
Oct21.4

aims to celebrate the rich history of Ivybridge and is dedicated to promoting a lively interest in the Town’s background and development by researching, collecting and preserving archives and photographic records of this unique Mill Town.

THE HISTORY OF IVYBRIDGE >

Bonfire or Firework Night

This is a uniquely British event. It commemorates the successful foiling of a plot to blow up King James I and Parliament by Guy Fawkes and his Catholic subversives in 1605.

 

The fireworks are a reminder of the gunpowder that was placed by the plotters under the Houses of Parliament.

   

Guy Fawkes Celebration at Ivybridge – 1889

The fifth was celebrated here by a torchlight procession headed by the Ivybridge brass band, starting from the school yard and perambulating the village.

   

The members of the band and processions were in fancy dress costumes, and the proceedings, which were orderly throughout, concluded about half-past ten. During the evening several Guys were carried about by the youngsters.

 

Western Daily Mercury. 08 November 1889

NEW PUBLICATIONS FROM US

Our researchers at Ivybridge Heritage have recently compiled two new booklets on the history of Ivybridge entitled ‘Ivybridge Researched’ and ‘Ivybridge Explored’.

Both booklets are now on sale from the Tourist Information Desk at The Watermark in Ivybridge. Priced at £3.00 each they provide a wealth of interesting facts about the town.

Ivybridge Remembers

Western Morning News 3 June 1920

With due dignity and reverence the war memorial to 43 men of Ivybridge who fell in the Great War was unveiled in the parish church by the Archdeacon of Plymouth (Ven. E.F. Newman) last evening, in the presence of a crowded congregation. The memorial consists of a handsome brass tablet placed inside the church on the north wall, with the names of the ships and regiments of the fallen engraved thereon. The local branch of the Comrades paraded and marched to the church, headed by the band of the Plymouth Comrades, under Bandmaster King. Mr. J.W.Gard (hon. Secretary) was in charge and made the arrangements, and Col. Orlebar (commandant) was present in the church. The Ivybridge Boy Scouts also marched with the Comrades. The hymns were “They whose course on earth is run,” “Through the night of doubt and sorrow,” and “On the resurrection morn,” and the service concluded with “Last Post,” sounded by Comrade Ham, of Plymouth.

This news article from 3 June however, prompted the local vicar to point out that the brass tablet was not the official War Memorial.

In your account of the unveiling and dedication of  the war memorial tablet in Ivybridge Church it is referred to as the “Ivybridge War Memorial.” This is a misnomer. It is hoped to erect the Ivybridge memorial on a site in a central position in the town. The tablet placed in the church recording the name, rank, and regiment or ship of each of our 41 men who made the great sacrifice is the outcome of a wish that where the men had been prayed for daily while on service, there the names of those who fell should be recorded permanently.

J. McW. Bampfield, Ivybridge Vicarage, June 3.

The nowy headed brass plaque bearing a cross within a wreath carried the inscription.

‘In memory of the men of this parish who sacrificed their lives in the Great War 1914-18

(41 names)

 Lord pitying Jesu blest grant them all eternal rest’

Although the original newspaper article mentioned that this plaque carried the names of 43 men it was in fact only 41 as Rev. Bampfield clarified in his reply. However, the names of George Hattrick, who died on 2 December 1919, Edwin Joseph Penwill who died on 16 December 1919 and J. Symons (unknown) were included on the Ivybridge War Memorial which was erected later, bringing the total number of men who paid the ultimate sacrifice to 44.

Nowy headed plaques – what does that mean?

It is a description which usually indicates a projection, usually curved, which exists in the middle of the top edge of the plaque.

Rev. John McWilliams Bampfield

was the vicar at St. Johns Church in Ivybridge from 1911 until 1922.

 

During the war he endeavoured to serve as a chaplain in the army. He contacted the War Office and even arranged for a replacement to carry on the church services in the parish. However, it appears he was not permitted to travel abroad and instead was offered a chaplaincy at home.

 

His son, Lieut John ‘Jack’ Bampfield, who served in the 13th Battalion Rifle Brigade received the Military Cross. He “rallied his Company under heavy fire, collecting men of other units near him and organised the defence of a village in a skilful manner, his courage and example being most marked”. After suffering from trench fever as well as  being hit by shrapnel he returned home to hospital and afterwards served as a Lewis gun instructor.

 

Lieut. Dick Bampfield, a brother, also served his country. He went to the Military College at Madras and was later attached to a Sikh regiment. Travelling to India his ship had been torpedoed and he lost all his belongings. He went on to command a fort.

Comrades of the Great War

The Comrades of the Great War was formed in 1917 as a non-political association endeavouring to represent the rights of ex-service men and women who had served or had been discharged from service during The Great War.

“ The supreme object of the movement was to promote and safeguard by every means possible after discharge or demobilisation the heroes who defended and preserved the liberties of their country”.

Locally the Comrades of the Great War were formed by Lieut-Col. E.H. Orlebar and Mr J.W. Gard in 1918. Mr Gard had established what is believed to be one of the first branches of the ex-service movement, the Discharged Sailors’ and Soldiers’ Association only a year earlier before affiliation to the Comrades of the Great War movement.

 

The Comrades of The Great War was one of the original four ex-service associations, the National Association of Discharged Sailors and Soldiers, the National Federation of Discharged and Demobilized Sailors and Soldiers and the Officers’ Association that amalgamated to form The British Legion on Sunday 15 May 1921.

 

In July 1921 the Ivybridge British Legionites were formally elected. Lieut-Col. E.H. Orlebar (President). Rev. J. McWilliams Bampfield (Vice President), Com. C. Davey, R.N., Capt. H.G. Hawker, Com. Sparrow, R.N., Capt. Parker, Capt. J. Matthews, Col. E. Condon, Capt. R. Clapperton, Lieut. Miles and Lieut. Weekes. The chairman was Capt. W. A. Trumper and Vice Chairman, Mr. W. Brownfield Craig with Mr. T.H. Bowcott Hon Treasurer and  Mr J.W. Gard Hon Secretary. The organisation used the White House in Ivybridge as a meeting place.

Lord Mildmay of Flete, President of the local branch commented that

‘at Ivybridge was a most prosperous, efficient, and one of the most respected branches of the British Legion to be found in any part of England.’

A few years later in 1925 Ivybridge formed a branch of the Women’s Section of the British Legion with Miss Young, who had served during the war as an officer of the Women’s Auxiliary Army Corps, was appointed Hon. Secretary. It was recorded that around 30 women joined the new branch.

Ever since the days of the old Comrades of the Great War, Ivybridge had been energetic and efficient in the interests of the ex-service man.

Col. H. Browse Scaife – vice-president of the Plymouth branch of the British Legion – 1926.

By 1927 the Ivybridge branch of the British Legion had a membership of 220 and ‘they had got almost every ex-service man who lived at Ivybridge in the branch, and they also had members at Ermington, Modbury, Cornwood, Sparkwell, and other small places…discharged over £1,682 in relief, averaging £35 a month, which was very creditable for a small branch.’

John W. Gard – hon. secretary Ivybridge branch

John W. Gard was hon. secretary of the Ivybridge branch of the British Legion and later hon. secretary of the Devon County Committee of the organisation. In 1928 he was presented locally with a cheque and a British Legion badge of gold by Rev. Campbell in recognition of his unwavering work in ensuring ex-servicemen were provided for. It was documented that during his time in office he had written 20,000 letters and dealt with 11,000 cases of relief. The rate at which the Ivybridge branch had assisted its members since its creation averaging seven guineas a week.

 

Later, in 1945, John W. Gard, was awarded the M.B.E. in further recognition of his 20 years of honorary service to the organisation.

 

Born and educated in Plymouth, Mr Gard served in the 2nd Prince of Wales Volunteer Batallion, Devonshire Regiment, for three years from 1899 to 1902. In the latter year he joined the Navy as an electrical artificer (abbreviated to ‘EA’ the role required competency in the electrical maintenance of a ship’s machinery such as engines and generators). When the war broke out Mr Gard had again volunteered for service but was invalided out having lost the sight in one eye following a ‘blow to the head’.

 

In 1920 he attended the unveiling of the Cenotaph in London by King George V at 11am on 11 November, the second anniversary of the Armistice. He was the representative of the ex service men of Devon and Cornwall and laid a wreath on their behalf.

War memorials stand at the heart of almost every community in the UK and it is estimated that there are more than 70,000 throughout the country. The scale of the losses suffered during the Great War and the unknown or uncertain fate of so many soldiers, left loved ones at home bereft. Memorials therefore provided both a collective tribute to the fallen and a place for relatives to remember individuals who did not return.

 

On Sunday 24th September 1922, Lieut.-Col. Francis Bingham Mildmay, Lord Mildmay of Flete and Conservative Member of Parliament for Totnes, addressed a large gathering at a special unveiling ceremony of the war memorial.

Lieut-Col. Francis Mildmay paid tribute

“We can surely say that the Great War, as regards the material and spiritual strain which it imposed, was by far the most stern, as it was the most sustained, challenge to which humanity was ever subjected. And, as, looking back, we gradually realise how greatly the future of our race depended on the issue of that desperate encounter, we can measure our debt to those at the price of whose lives success was bought.”

The memorial was formally handed over to the village of Ivybridge by Mr. E.W. Hawker on behalf of the Memorial Committee, and accepted by Mr. H.J.F. Lee, chairman of the Urban Council.

 

The memorial included a 17ft high Latin cross constructed of Cornish granite, the pedestal inscribed with the words ‘In honour of the men of Ivybridge who made the supreme sacrifice in the Great War, 1914-18’ and flanked on both sides by two panels bearing the names of the men and two further pillars matching those of the bridge. The work had been carried out by a local monument mason, Mr. G.B. Andrews.

A Latin cross is a type of cross where the horizontal (patibulum) is of equal length or slightly longer than the uppermost part of the upright (stipe) but with the lower upright section always much longer in length than all the other dimensions.

The service was conducted by the vicar Col. Rev. M.S.C. Campbell. It was reported that ‘practically the whole of the inhabitants attended the ceremony, including the Ivybridge detachment of the 5th (P.O.W.) Devon Regt., the Ivybridge branch of the British Legion and the Ivybridge Girl Guides’.

 

Along with wreaths from these organisations a ‘beautiful tribute’ from Ivybridge was placed at the foot of the memorial.

Col. Rev. Malcolm Sydenham Clarke Campbell

was the vicar in Ivybridge from 1922 until 1946. A military man himself, he was awarded the Albert Medal for gallantry. He joined the church in 1919 and became a deacon followed by a priest in 1920. During his time in Ivybridge he used his army training to draw a series of maps of the village showing all the dwellings in his parish and the people who lived there.

ANSTISS, Robert John, Lance Corporal

BARTER, William Alfred, Driver

BAYLY, John, Major

BEABLE, Frederick, Private

BEABLE, William Edward, Private

BLIGHT, Richard John, Petty Officer Stoker

CHURCHWARD, S, Private

CLARKE, Frederick Henry, Private

HORTON, Arthur, Private

HORTON, John Thomas, Private

HORTON, Joshua, Gunner

HURRELL, Cephas, Private

LANG, Ernest, Petty Officer Stoker

MANLEY, Arthur Thomas Varcoe, Sapper

MANN, William H, Private

MILLMAN, Jack, Sergeant

COLE, Albert Edward, Engine Room Artificer 1st Class

COUCH, Alfred Norman, Private

DAMERELL, Martin John, Private

DEVILLE, Charlie, Leading Stoker

DOWNING, Rupert, Private

FOLLEY, Harold Edwin, Private

GOSLING, Frederick James, Serjeant

HANNAFORD, Albert, Private

HANNAFORD, Robert Henry, Private

HANNAFORD, William Henry, Serjeant

HART, Frederick John, Driver

HATTRICK, George, Yeoman of Signals

HAWKER, Reginald Sudlow, Captain

HIGMAN, Thomas John, Private

NICHOLS, JAMES HENRY, Leading Stoker

NORTHCOTT, William Alfred, Private

ORLEBAR, Robert Evelyn, Lieutenant

PEARCE, Arthur James, Shipwright 1st Class

PENWILL, Edwin Joseph John, Petty Officer Reg

PROUT, Albert Henry, Trimmer Cook

ROSKILLY, William, Private

RUSSELL, E, Private

SCREECH, Cecil Victor, Stoker 1st Class

STOCKMAN, Harold, Private

SYMONS, J, Man at Arms

TOZER, Frank William, Leading Stoker

TROTMAN, Richard Edward, Corporal

WALKE, Bertram Louis, Private

IVYBRIDGE SERVICEMEN NOT COMMEMORATED ON THE IVYBRIDGE WAR MEMORIAL

BAWDEN, H C, Gunner

CARNE, Thomas William, Petty Officer Stoker

HALL, Henry Fowler, Colour Serjeant

LEGG, H, Leading Stoker

ANSTISS, Robert John, Lance Corporal

BARTER, William Alfred, Driver

HIGMAN, Thomas John, Private

HORTON, Arthur, Private

BAYLY, John, Major

BEABLE, Frederick, Private

BEABLE, William Edward, Private

BLIGHT, Richard John, Petty Officer Stoker

CHURCHWARD, S, Private

CLARKE, Frederick Henry, Private

COLE, Albert Edward, Engine Room Artificer 1st Class

COUCH, Alfred Norman, Private

DAMERELL, Martin John, Private

DEVILLE, Charlie, Leading Stoker

DOWNING, Rupert, Private

FOLLEY, Harold Edwin, Private

GOSLING, Frederick James, Serjeant

HANNAFORD, Albert, Private

HANNAFORD, Robert Henry, Private

HANNAFORD, William Henry, Serjeant

HART, Frederick John, Driver

HATTRICK, George, Yeoman of Signals

HAWKER, Reginald Sudlow, Captain

HORTON, John Thomas, Private

HORTON, Joshua, Gunner

HURRELL, Cephas, Private

LANG, Ernest, Petty Officer Stoker

MANLEY, Arthur Thomas Varcoe, Sapper

MANN, William H, Private

MILLMAN, Jack, Sergeant

NICHOLS, JAMES HENRY, Leading Stoker

NORTHCOTT, William Alfred, Private

ORLEBAR, Robert Evelyn, Lieutenant

PEARCE, Arthur James, Shipwright 1st Class

PENWILL, Edwin Joseph John, Petty Officer Reg

PROUT, Albert Henry, Trimmer Cook

ROSKILLY, William, Private

RUSSELL, E, Private

SCREECH, Cecil Victor, Stoker 1st Class

STOCKMAN, Harold, Private

SYMONS, J, Man at Arms

TOZER, Frank William, Leading Stoker

TROTMAN, Richard Edward, Corporal

WALKE, Bertram Louis, Private

IVYBRIDGE SERVICEMEN NOT COMMEMORATED ON THE IVYBRIDGE WAR MEMORIAL

BAWDEN, H C, Gunner

CARNE, Thomas William, Petty Officer Stoker

HALL, Henry Fowler, Colour Serjeant

LEGG, H, Leading Stoker

The oak is a national symbol of strength in England and the emblem of many environmental groups, including the Woodland Trust.

 

The Woodland Trust, the largest woodland conservation charity in the UK was originally based in Devon. It was founded by local farmer and agricultural machinery supplier, Kenneth Watkins in 1972.

 

Ken Watkins along with his brother Leon took over the old china clay drying sheds at Cantrell on the outskirts of Ivybridge in the late 1930s to sell tractor, makes such as Allis Chalmers and Marshalls. Later with partner, Mr Roseveare, the business became Watkins and Roseveare Tractors.

 

After the war the business branched out into European farm machinery. Many local people will better remember the buildings at Cantrell under the trading name of Western Machinery & Equipment Company by virtue of the very large sign at the front. This company, one of the largest agricultural equipment importers in the country, took on the business in the 1970s when Ken retired.

Ken Watkins went on to make a number of natural history films inspired by his passion for woodland and neighbouring Dartmoor. In 1989 Ken Watkins was awarded the OBE for his services to conservation and in 1995 the British Naturalists’ Association honoured him with the Peter Scott Memorial Award.

Mighty oaks from little acorns grow …

In autumn, acorns, the fruit of the oak tree, ripen, turn brown and eventually fall to the ground. Each acorn has the potential to produce a new oak sapling the following spring. Most, however, don’t get that opportunity. Squirrels forage for them, caching them for winter provisions.

 

Mice and larger mammals such as badgers and deer also enjoy them as well as birds such as jays and woodpeckers. With so many eager diners, the majority of acorns are sadly consumed before they can germinate.

 

The planting of trees has never been more important than it is today as a way to tackle climate change. We can all do our bit by introducing a mix of trees, shrubs and plants into our gardens helping to store carbon and create animal and insect habitat. The Woodland Trust are at the forefront of the movement, actively mobilising communities, landowners and volunteers all over the country to plant as many trees as possible to help the UK meet its carbon net-zero target.

Let’s get planting

Oct21.20

Recent ‘Tour Of Britain’ rekindles memories of past major cycling event

The Tour of Britain stage hosted in Devon on 6 September was enjoyed by many people across the region. The enthusiastic crowd at Ivybridge was no exception when the initial cyclists arrived in the town shortly before 1.30 pm followed by the peloton several minutes later. Cheering, clapping and the waving of Devon flags ensured the cyclists received a warm welcome. The town was suitably decorated for the day.

 

The event may have brought back memories from 1974 when Plymouth made history by becoming the first place in Britain to host a stage of the Tour de France. On Saturday 29 June the city was the venue for a stage of the 61st Tour de France, which had commenced in Brest in Brittany on 27 June. The world famous cycling event dated back to 1903 and had never left the Continent until this moment. A year earlier a ferry link from Plymouth to Roscoff had come in to service and perhaps more significantly, Britain had joined the Common Market, so perhaps it was time for the event to venture abroad.

Oct21.13

It was believed that the organisers had hoped to utilise the rural surroundings of Dartmoor, but with concerns over animals straying onto the course and the stage planners preferring a less rigorous route, the event used a section of the newly opened Plympton bypass (1971), a stretch between Marsh Mills and the Deep Lane junction. Starting at 10 a.m. the 132 riders on the day completed 14 laps of 7½ miles in order to fulfil the required stage distance of 105 miles.

 

Like the recent Tour of Britain, very warm conditions on the day added to the occasion, with a reported 15,000-strong crowd gathering at either end of the bypass to cheer on the riders.

 

After the event, the cyclists arrived in Ivybridge to board coaches parked at the Comprehensive school to return them to Exeter airport ready for the next stage back in France. This provided a glorious opportunity for youngsters, including at the time one of our own members, to get autographs of some of the more famous participants such as multi-time winner, Eddy Merckx, in an era before mobile phones and ‘selfies’.

 

The yellow jersey that day was won by the year’s youngest entrant, 21-year-old Dutchman Henk Poppe, whilst Britain’s great hope Barry Hoban came in a respectable ninth. The Belgian Merckx went on to win the Tour de France in 1974.

 

Devon since that year has attracted its fair share of cycling events, the undulating landscape no doubt a major attraction. Back in 2018, the Tour of Britain had visited the county with Tour de France winner Geraint Thomas taking part in the race alongside another well known cyclist, Chris Froome.

Oct21.11

This season is a time of change as the leaves slowly change colour and eventually fall, carpeting the ground beneath and enriching the soil where they are left to slowly decay. The leaves change from green to the more autumnal brown, orange and red hues as the chlorophyll is absorbed back into the trees.

 

However, it is also a time for birds and mammals to feast on the fruit and nuts on offer in the woodlands and hedgerows. Nuts from hazel, acorns from oak trees, sloes from the blackthorn, berries from the hawthorn and holly bushes and of course blackberries from the sprawling brambles. A wide range of birds enjoy these autumnal treats all of which become an important food source when the ground becomes too hard to hunt for worms or snails, whilst insects are less abundant.

 

Some plants use berries to entice birds and animals to distribute their seeds. Often the seed will pass through the bird undamaged and deposited many miles away from the parent plant.

 

A wide range of birds including woodpigeons, starlings, thrushes, siskin, bunting, blackbirds, waxwings, fieldfares and members of the sparrow, finch and tit families all benefit from the wide range of treats on offer.

 

Some of the smaller mammals also take advantage of this abundance of food and begin to store it away, a trait known as caching. How often do we see a grey squirrel frantically burying acorns. One wonders if they ever remember exactly where they have stashed their hoard!

Oct21.4

aims to celebrate the rich history of Ivybridge and is dedicated to promoting a lively interest in the Town’s background and development by researching, collecting and preserving archives and photographic records of this unique Mill Town.

THE HISTORY OF IVYBRIDGE >
Oct21.4

aims to celebrate the rich history of Ivybridge and is dedicated to promoting a lively interest in the Town’s background and development by researching, collecting and preserving archives and photographic records of this unique Mill Town.

THE HISTORY OF IVYBRIDGE >
New publications 2021

Our researchers at Ivybridge Heritage have recently compiled two new booklets on the history of Ivybridge entitled ‘Ivybridge Researched’ and ‘Ivybridge Explored’. Both booklets are now on sale from the Tourist Information Desk at The Watermark in Ivybridge. Priced at £3.00 each they provide a wealth of interesting facts about the town.

It’s the season for sloes

Sloes, the fruit of the blackthorn should be gathered after the first frost of winter, usually late October to early November in general. The frost softens the skins of the sloes and help to release their juices. It’s a good sign if some have already started to fall naturally.

 

Blackthorn is a species of flowering plant in the rose family Rosaceae. The name appropriately describes its appearance in early spring when the white blossoms present a stark contrast to the bare dark branches of the plant. Its botanical name is prunus spinosa, prunus meaning ‘plum’, and spinosa meaning ‘thorny’.

Many people, even those country born and bred, confuse the white blossoms of the blackthorn and hawthorn bushes in spring, dubbing each ‘May’ indiscriminately without any attempt at identification. Nobody, however, would dream of mistaking the one tree for the other in autumn, when the tiniest child knows the difference between red haws, or ‘aggles’ in Westcountry parlance, and blue-black sloes growing side by side in the hedgerows.

 

During October, indeed, sloes are much sought after in Devonshire, for although the price of the spirit nowadays prohibits the making of much sloe-gin, old-fashioned cottagers and farmers’ wives still go out with large baskets to gather the blackthorn fruits for the brewing of sloe-wine, which simply by process of fermentation with sugar, is an excellent calorific drink for cold winter nights. The berries are not considered ripe for picking, however, until they have been mellowed by the first of the autumn frosts.

 

Western Morning News 14 October 1932

Oct21.10

The word ‘harvest’ comes from the Old English word hærfest meaning ‘autumn’, aptly the season for gathering the food of the land. A plentiful harvest ensured that a community would be fed throughout the dark winter months.

October is the month of harvest festivals. Many have been celebrated in September, but it is during October that most gatherings are held to render thanks for the crops of the year. Regularly the ceremony comes round, till it has grown to be regarded as an institution. As a matter of fact, it is one of the most ancient customs of which any records survive. Indeed, in every county possessing a history it is known that there has always been a season of rejoicing after the gathering in of the crops.

Exmouth Journal 24 October 1896

Gleaning making a comeback

This is an old word given to the collection of leftover crops from farmers’ fields after they have been commercially harvested or where it has become economically unprofitable to continue harvesting due to the lower yields.

 

Gleaning was a fundamental feature of rural life. At one time it was common practice that the poor were given access to the grain fields after the harvest, so that they could collect produce which was left on the ground by the harvesters. However, it wasn’t restricted to just grain but included fruit and vegetables. Whatever was left after the main harvest was for the poor and for the destitute to collect since they were unable to grow anything for themselves.

It may not be uninteresting to learn that the ancient custom of gleaning, which has now existed for more than three thousand years, has been enjoyed by hundreds of the poor during the week, who have returned to from the harvest field heavily laden. Some, we fear, abuse the privilege by taking from the sheaves. It is right that the poor should know that by the common law of England, no person has a right to glean in a harvest field. The privilege is a permission only of the occupier of the field, and may be stopped at his pleasure. We state this as a caution to the humble gleaner, not to abuse it or permit abuse of the privilege thus kindly granted.

August 1861

The practice of gleaning has recently made a comeback in Cornwall as a way to stop unwanted crops rotting in the fields and providing fresh produce to those most in need.

 

A network has been created to reconnect people with the land, minimise waste and help those in poverty provide fresh produce for their families. Information can be found online for anyone interested in this worthy practice.

OCTOBER

historically the month for the mangold harvest

Harvesting (or pulling) mangolds was always a task to be conducted during the month of October.  This was back-breaking work with each mangold being lifted by hand. With a sharp twist of the wrist the top leaves were removed, and the mangold placed in a long line down through the field. Once several rows of mangolds had been pulled and placed in the same row, a horse and cart would travel down the row with a man either side throwing the mangolds into the cart. They were then taken to a sheltered area beside a hedge in the field, generally facing south or west to avoid the icy winter winds. The long piles of mangolds, known as caves, were then covered in hedge parrings (trimmings) to protect the crop from the ravages of winter frosts. If the mangolds were permitted to become frozen they would simply rot once thawed. The mangolds would generally stay in the field until February when they would start to be used as fodder.

 

Mangolds or Mangel-wurzels originate from Germany. The word ‘mangold’ means “beet” and ‘wurzel’ means “root”. They are often confused with turnips, but are related to sugar beet. Mangolds were primarily grown for animal fodder during the 18th century.

Oct21.7

All Hallows’ Eve precedes All Saints’ Day, also known as All Hallows’ Day or Hallowmas which is held on 1 November.

 

The name derives from the Old English ‘hallowed’ meaning holy or sanctified and is now usually contracted to the more familiar word Hallowe’en.

 

In 1882 a newspaper article documented that All Hallow’s Eve may be divided into three broad and easily-defined classes. Those appertaining to witches and witchcraft; those belonging to rustic love and courtship; and those in connection with simple fun and harmless amusement.

Oct21.8

‘Fiery sticks and torches that so clearly anticipate the Guy Fawkes revels on the 5th November naturally lead to bonfires, which, however, have a singular and grim significance on the eve of All Saints’ Day. Indeed, they more properly belong to the subsequent sadness of All Souls’ Day, a commemorative day set apart for remembering the dead in almost all countries but England. The bonfires on Halloween having been lighted, each one in the family throws into the blazing heap a white stone containing some mark or cabalistic (secretive) sign. Next morning, among the charred ashes these stones are sought for, and if by any chance one of them has disappeared, it is believed that the luckless thrower will never see another All Saints’ day.

 

The love ceremonies in connection with Halloween are almost as numerous as those connected with St. Valentine’s Day, and apples as well as nuts play a curious part in the accurate adjustment of the destinies of the young people. To burn two nuts side by side in order to see if the flame is mutual, steadfast, and enduring, or sudden, fitful, and impetuous, is a conceit sufficiently pretty, and is about as common as the old trick of flinging orange or apple peel over the shoulder to see what initial it will form.’

 

Games for children at this time included ‘ducking for apples’ what is commonly referred to as apple bobbing today, ‘ bobbing for treacle’ which consisted of scones dipped in sticky treacle or molasses suspended from a string which had to be bitten into without using any hands, ‘snapping at candle ends’ to extinguish the flame and diving head first into flour barrels.

Oct21.9

Pumpkins carved out to make ghoulish faces and illuminated by candles are now synonymous with Halloween. The practice of decorating ‘jack-o’-lanterns’ as they were originally called emanates from Ireland, where large turnips and potatoes were used.

 

The name, jack-o’-lantern, comes from an Irish folktale about a man named Stingy Jack who tricked the devil. When Jack died God would not allow such an unsavoury figure into heaven, whilst the Devil, upset by the trick Jack had played on him, would not allow him into hell. He sent Jack off into the dark night with only a burning coal to light his way. Jack put the coal into a carved-out turnip and has been roaming the Earth ever since.

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Devon County Council - Copy

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HERITAGE DONOR CARD

To help preserve historical documents, objects and photographs, we have created a Heritage Donor Card for individuals to make donations of such items to Ivybridge Heritage & Archives Group. Please go to our ‘Links’ page for further information.

COPYRIGHT

All rights, including copyright, in the content of these pages are owned or controlled for these purposes by Ivybridge Heritage & Archives Group.

IHAG2021