Ivybridge was built up on the borders of four parishes, Cornwood, Ermington, Harford and Ugborough, whose boundaries all met the old Ivy Bridge. It is therefore unsurprising to find parish stones sited by the bridge. There are two parish boundary stones, one inscribed Ugborough located on Harford Road and one inscribed Ermington, on the other side of the river, on Erme Road.
Ermington Parish Stone
Ugborough Parish Stone
This semi-pyramidal topped cast iron milepost marker was one of 15 posts that were positioned on the old Plymouth to Exeter road in the 1820s, by the then Plymouth Eastern Turnpike Trust.
Turnpike Trusts were private companies created under an Act of Parliament and were responsible for the condition of the roads. In return they were able to levy a toll for people to use the roads and toll gates were established through which the carriages had to pass before continuing their journey. In Ivybridge, there was a toll house at the bottom of Cole Lane. The money raised was split between the shareholders and the cost of maintaining the roads.
County Councils eventually took over the responsibility for the maintenance of the roads within their boundaries towards the end of the nineteenth Century.
There are just four known surviving mileposts on this route. They are located at The Ridgeway in Plympton ( marking 5 miles to and from Plymouth), on Exeter Road in Ivybridge ( marking 11 miles ) at Bittaford ( marking 13 miles ) and at Wrangaton Cross ( marking 14 miles ).
During the reign of Henry VIII, the Bridges Act 1530, often referred to as the Statute of Bridges, which was enacted in 1531, was an Act of Parliament intended to ensure that bridges were adequately maintained. In Devon, it stated that if no other body would admit responsibility for the maintenance of a bridge, then the County, acting through its Justices at Quarter Sessions, would be liable not only for the upkeep of the bridge, but also for 300 feet of roadway from each end of the bridge. It was so effective that the statute remained in place until the County Councils were established in the latter part of the nineteenth century.
Later, the Devon magistrates decided that the limits of their responsibility were to be marked by bound stones and it became the practice to position a special County Stone, inscribed with the letter ‘C’ at the appropriate distance away from the bridge to denote the County bounds. These usually were about 3 feet high with an incised ‘C’ on one of the faces and placed one on either side of the bridge. In Ivybridge the one of the east bank of the river has been moved from its original position and is now located in the wall of the car park opposite Costly Street.