The first chapel of St John was built in 1789.
The Methodist Church was officially opened on 15 July 1874 in front of a large gathering.
Formerly the Congregational Church it was opened in June 1869.
Cadleigh House on the outskirts of Ivybridge was purchased by an order of French nuns in 1910 to establish a priory.
Excerpts from the Ivybridge Parish Magazine

Corn Mills

The earliest known references to the Ivybridge corn mills appear in the 16th century.
A flour and provender mill in the centre of Ivybridge established in the early twentieth century.

Devonshire School of Gardening

The Devonshire School of Gardening was created in 1911 and catered for young ladies who wished to study horticulture.
The school was located within a walled garden in the grounds of Stowford Paper Mill. After the school’s departure it was used by the mill to grow fruit and vegetables.


Several bridges to afford passage over the River Erme have been constructed in Ivybridge.  Not all of these bridges remain today.
The Bridge Ceremony, an old tradition which permitted the people of Ivybridge to cross the old ivy bridge was resurrected in the early 1990s and is now re-enacted each year.
The South Devon Railway was authorised by an Act of Parliament in 1844. The broad gauge line was opened on 5th May 1848. The station at Ivybridge was completed six weeks later, on 15th June.
Images of the main thoroughfares of Ivybridge.
Ivybridge had its first Post Office around 1830 located on Western Road. It later moved to Fore Street. For decades the Telephone Exchange in Ivybridge was located above the Post Office.
The Ivybridge Viaduct is one of five viaducts situated between Totnes and Plymouth, all of which were originally designed by the engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel.

Inns and Public Houses

The Bridge Inn, located close to the old bridge, opened for business in the 1840s
Established in the 1780s, the London Inn was conveniently located on the main coach road. It remained an hotel in Ivybridge until the 1990s.
An inn has occupied the site of No.1 Fore Street since 1830. At that time, it was one of four inns located in Ivybridge.

Land Surveying & Benchmarks

The first Ordnance Survey map of Devon was produced in 1809. Benchmarks are survey marks recording heights above Ordnance Datum (usually mean sea level). If the exact height of one benchmark is known, the exact height of the next can be found by measuring the difference in heights, through a process of spirit levelling.

Local Government

With the establishment of a Local Board of Health in 1872 Ivybridge had its first local administration.
Ten boundary stones inscribed with the letters ‘ILB’, denoting Ivybridge Local Board, were instated towards the end of the nineteenth century. Whilst all their locations are known, unfortunately not all of them exist today. 
The ancient tradition of “Beating the Bounds”, an old custom of walking around the parish boundary is included on this page.
Ivybridge has two Parish Stones and two County Stones all located close to the old Ivy Bridge. Additionally, it has one of only four surviving milestones from the original Plymouth to Exeter thoroughfare.

Longtimber Woods

Longtimber Woods is an area of 53 acres consisting of mainly broadleaf trees and a variety of shrubs. It has been used by local people for walks, swimming and picnics. 
Within the woods is an old swimming pool which was originally a reservoir supplying Ivybridge with clean water.

People of Ivybridge

A selection of the people over the years who have made a contribution to the rich history of Ivybridge, including names we see on road signs and buildings around the town.

Postcards from Ivybridge

Postcards were first printed in the 19th century. At first, many people did not like the idea of writing notes which anyone could read. The real Golden Age was during the early 20th century and many local entrepreneurs in Ivybridge produced postcards depicting local scenes of the village and surrounding area.

Primroses from Devon

From the 1960s Stowford Paper Mill coordinated the distribution of primroses to all its customers around the UK
Ivybridge Archives Published Articles

Published Articles

Another opportunity to read locally published articles regarding various topics on Ivybridge and its rich history

Redlake China Clay Works

In 1910 a single track, three-foot gauge railway running eight miles from the China Clay pits at Redlake to the drying sheds at Cantrell was constructed.
China Clay washed from the ground flowed into settling tanks and then dried in a pan kiln before being transported away by train to Plymouth Docks
In August 1914 war was declared and by October the production of clay had ceased at Redlake.
After WWI Redlake reopened in 1922 under a new company called the Ivybridge China Clay Company Ltd


Rural Life in Ivybridge

From diary entries and accounts of a local farmer, rural life in Ivybridge from the 1930s onwards is revealed.

Schools in Ivybridge

In 1856 a National School was established and as the population of Ivybridge has grown so has the number of primary schools.
Ivybridge Secondary Modern School was officially opened on Friday 11th July, 1958.

Sport in Ivybridge

Under the ownership of Portals between 1924 and 1930 an athletic club was formed and in later years the mill would purchase two sports fields for the employees to enjoy their leisure activities.
Portals Athletic AFC was formed in 1926 but the club’s real heyday was during the 1950s and 1960s.

Stowford Paper Mill

A paper mill was established in Ivybridge in 1787 and production continued for the next 226 years until the incumbent owners closed the site at the end of 2013.
Before any method of separating cellulose was discovered to produce woodpulp, paper was manufactured exclusively from discarded clothing, sailcloth, ropes and other fibrous products. 
A major fire broke out at Stowford Paper Mill on 5th May 1914 with devastating consequences. A newspaper report from the day after recalls the event in detail.
The provision of high quality watermarked paper was a key asset of Stowford Paper Mill. A watermark bearing the mill’s name was produced as early as 1843 and the very last commemorating 226 years of continuous paper production was created in 2013. This topic is spread over several web pages.
The provision of security papers was a core business activity for the paper mill and many paper documents we all have at home were manufactured in Ivybridge.
The Mill scrapbook records long serving employees, sporting achievements and notable social events at the paper mill over the decades.
In 1987 Stowford Paper Mill celebrated 200 years of continuous operation. To mark the special occasion a commemorative plaque was unveiled and paper bearing a special 1787-1987 watermark was produced.
In 1980 work began to convert a former machinery room at the paper mill into a modern social club, complete with bar and games room. 


2018 marked the centenary of The Representation of the People Act 1918 in which women over the age of 30 meeting certain property qualifications were granted the right to vote.

Twinning of Ivybridge

Ivybridge and District Twinning Committee was established in 1971 with the idea of forging close ties with a French town 

World War I

During the four years of hostilities a large number of young men from Ivybridge, like everywhere in Britain, enlisted to serve their King and Country. Using details recorded in the parish magazines of the time, a chronological list of events along with the names of local men who enlisted, endured injury, received gallantry medals and who made the ultimate sacrifice is presented.
When World War 1 began in 1914 it was estimated that over 3 million horses were at work in Britain but the war was to become heavily dependent on horses to move the army and its supplies across Europe. Under the Impressment Act, owners had to surrender their horses if they were unable to prove that they were required for essential work.
From December 1917, Stowford Lodge, kindly lent by the owners of Stowford Paper Mill became a second line V. A. D. Hospital, providing 50 beds. Patients were generally less seriously wounded than at general hospitals and until its closure in January 1919, offered a comfortable haven for recuperation.
On the morning of the 11 November 1918, the ringing of the large bell in the village notified to the residents of Ivybridge that the Armistice with Germany had been signed. Peace again.

World War II

Ivybridge provided relatively safe accommodation for various government departments during the war years
The town’s air raid precautions were made up of air raid wardens, a report post, two ambulance units, a first aid post, a rescue squad and a decontamination squad in the event of a gas attack.
Ivybridge’s Home Guard was No.12 Platoon with a Drill Hall located in Victoria Park.
Many ladies in Ivybridge undertook a variety of jobs. Some could be performed in their own homes, whilst others required halls or the local school for the staging of emergency cooking demonstrations and similar skills
In May, 1943, the GIs of the 116th Infantry Regiment came to Ivybridge as part of Operation Bolero, a long-range plan for transferring and then accommodating almost 2 million American servicemen in Britain in the run-up to an invasion of Europe.
Millions of ration books were printed and people had to obtain these in order to buy food, clothing and motor fuel.
At the time of Churchill’s broadcast on the 8th May 1945 declaring that the was was over, it was documented that the streets of Ivybridge were deserted, everyone was in doors. However, from 6.30 onward, it was the complete reverse, crowds had flocked to the churches for special services and then later celebrations both at home and in the streets.