An inn existed in 1830 …

An inn has occupied the current site of The Exchange at No.1 Fore Street since 1830. At that time, it was one of four inns located in Ivybridge. The other three were The Grocer’s Arms on Exeter Road, The Ivybridge Hotel on Western Road and the London Hotel.

 

In 1746 it is known that Richard Seldon, a wood-turner was leasing a property on this site from the Rogers of Blachford, then lords of the manor. In 1812 John Seldon, Richard’s grandson, inherited the property. Whilst a painter and glazier by trade, he was a very enterprising man and is believed to have been responsible for the construction of the terrace of four small houses which originally stood adjacent to his property. His enterprise did not stop there as he had an ambition to turn his own property into a public-house. This unfortunately was frustrated by a long-standing prohibitive clause within his lease, preventing the sale of liquor, whilst his landlord Sir John Rogers, was also opposed to such an idea.

 

In 1830, with the passing of the Beerhouse Act, Seldon’s vision was to become reality. The Act encouraged the opening of beerhouses in an attempt to draw the poorer classes away from the consumption of gin. This, together with Sir John’s change of heart in withdrawing his opposition, paved the way for the establishment of a public house. Perhaps to commemorate the accession of King William IV, Seldon named his house the King’s Arms.

Beerhouse Act

Introduced by the Duke of Wellington’s Tory government, the Beerhouse Act 1830, abolished the beer tax and extended opening hours for licensed public houses, taverns and alehouses from 15 to 18 hours per day. A license to trade was required and were controlled by the local justice of the peace.

 

Beerhouses provided not only ale, but food, games and in some cases, lodging. 

Establishments for the consumption of ale were of course nothing new. Inns had existed for centuries providing lodging and refreshment for the wealthier traveller; Taverns provided wine and food whilst Ale houses provided simple food and ale for the less affluent.

Located a little further down Fore Street at this time was a brown paper mill and a corn mill. These mills relied on water from the River Erme to provide power for the moving machinery. A leat starting at Erme Road and controlled by a sluice gate, continued under the new road bridge and alongside the buildings located at the top end of Fore Street. Unfortunately for Seldon this open leat ran in front of his beerhouse posing somewhat of a hazard for departing patrons of his establishment. In an attempt to improve the situation Seldon approached the owners of the mills to cover the leat, considering they were somewhat negligent for not having done so.

JG 1891

When John died in 1832, his son also John, carried on and probably rebuilt it before he retired in the 1860s. Further refurbishment was carried out by Joseph Godfrey, a Plymouth brewer who bought the leasehold in 1891. A plaque on the exterior of the building, which still remains today, bears the initials JG and the date 1891.

Public House Signs

Before the Reformation during King Henry VIII’s rule, many pub names took a religious theme and this influence would have continued indefinitely had it not been for the Dissolution of the Monasteries. At this point, many pubs were quick to eradicate any Catholic link, whilst other publicans played it safe by adopting loyal names such as the Kings Head or Kings Arms.

The Crown, the second-most popular pub name in the country, was also a statement of allegiance to the monarch. A very simple symbol to remember, even in a time when most people couldn’t read or write!

Pub signs

Hicks King’s Arms Hotel

In 1897 victualler William J. Hicks purchased the property. Large letters were added to the front façade reading ‘Hicks Kings Arms Hotel’ to advertise that the establishment was under new ownership.

In 1897 victualler William J. Hicks purchased the property. Large letters were added to the front façade reading ‘Hicks Kings Arms Hotel’ to advertise that the establishment was under new ownership.

King’s Arms Hotel

The Hicks family did not stay long as by 1905 it was being run by Benjamin Thompson. The new owners appeared to have simply removed the word ‘Hicks’ from the front signage presumably not worrying that the remaining words appeared off centre, a situation which was to remain for the decades ahead!

The Hicks family did not stay long as by 1905 it was being run by Benjamin Thompson. The new owners appeared to have simply removed the word ‘Hicks’ from the front signage presumably not worrying that the remaining words appeared off centre, a situation which was to remain for the decades ahead!

American GI’s arrive in Ivybridge

In May, 1943, American servicemen of the 116th Infantry Regiment came to Ivybridge as part of Operation Bolero, in the run-up to an invasion of Europe during the summer of 1944.

 

For these American troops England was a somewhat alien environment, so much so that each serviceman was given a handbook entitled ‘Instructions for American Servicemen in Britain’ enabling them to get acquainted to the country, its currency and importantly, the people and their customs. An extract under indoor amusements described the British pub:

The British have theaters and movies (which they call “cinemas”) as we do. But the great place of recreation is the “pub.” A pub, or public house, is what we could call a bar or tavern. The usual drink is beer, which is not an imitation of German beer as our beer is, but ale. (But they usually call it beer or “bitter”.) …The British are beer drinkers and can hold it. The beer is now below peacetime strength, but can still make a man’s tongue wag at both ends.

 

You are welcome in the British pubs as long as you remember one thing. The pub is ” the poor man’s club,” the neighborhood or village gathering place, where the men have come to see their friends, not strangers. If you want to join a darts game, let them ask you first (as they probably will). And if you are beaten it is the custom to stand aside and let someone else play.

 

Extracts from GI handbook ‘Instructions for American Servicemen in Britain’ 1942

The King’s Arms became a popular venue for the American servicemen. Their boisterous behaviour was not always however appreciated by the local patrons. On occasions, fights broke out amongst these servicemen requiring intervention by the US Military Police to restore order. The offenders faced a night in ‘The Hutch’, a solitary confinement facility at Uphill Camp on Exeter Road where they were stationed.

Reported theft …

Sgt. G. Campbell of ‘C’ Company., 116th Infantry, 1st Battalion, 29th Div, U.S. Forces, Uphill Camp, reported to the Ivybridge police that a U.S. Army raincoat, U.S. torch, Zippo cigarette lighter and gloves were stolen from the King’s Arms Hotel, Ivybridge, January 1944.

Read more …

The Ivybridge Heritage & Archives Group publication “Ivybridge and the Americans during WW2” is now on sale from the Tourist Information Desk at The Watermark in Ivybridge. Priced at £3.00, this 28 page booklet provides interesting details of the American servicemen billeted in Ivybridge in the build up to D-Day.

Ivybridge and the Americans during WW2

Neighbours at No.2 Fore Street

Neighbours at No.2 Fore Street

It is listed in Kelly’s Directory between 1873 and 1883 that a Richard Witheridge, either a haberdasher, draper or grocer lived at No.2 Fore Street. Between the years 1889 and 1919 the business was being run by Miss Cordelia Witheridge but after 1923 entries cease.

 

The first census to record the Witheridge family was in 1871, with Richard Witheridge, aged 50 carrying on the occupation of draper. With him were domiciled his wife, Jane, aged 49 and their two unmarried daughters, Cordelia aged 26 and Emma, aged 24.

 

Through the Witheridge family it is known that the writer and chronicler, William Crossing is linked to Ivybridge, having briefly lived in the village with relatives. William Crossing is considered to be one of the best authorities on Dartmoor and its antiquities. During his lifetime William Crossing published numerous works including his Guide to Dartmoor.

In the 1950s the property was owned by the Co-op and being operated as a butcher’s shop. Mr Maurice Pepperell was the manager. Maurice and his wife May were both keen gardeners and ran the Ivybridge Gardening Association. Maurice becoming Hon. Secretary. During World War II, Maurice Pepperell was a sergeant in the Ivybridge Home Guard. He later joined the Ugborough Patrol of Auxiliary Units (Churchill’s secret underground forces).

Maurice Pepperell
Maurice is pictured holding his prize winning leeks at a Gardening Association event in 1966.
Co-operative Butchers with awning
Co-op butchers

In the 1950s the property was owned by the Co-op and being operated as a butcher’s shop. Mr Maurice Pepperell was the manager. Maurice and his wife May were both keen gardeners and ran the Ivybridge Gardening Association. Maurice becoming Hon. Secretary. During World War II, Maurice Pepperell was a sergeant in the Ivybridge Home Guard. He later joined the Ugborough Patrol of Auxiliary Units (Churchill’s secret underground forces).

Maurice Pepperell
Maurice is pictured holding his prize winning leeks at a Gardening Association event in 1966.

In 1989, as part of the re-development of Fore Street and the town centre, the row of terraced houses was demolished to make way for new modern properties to be known as Kimberly Court.

 

Today the former King’s Arms is known as The Exchange after a brief time named The Fighting Cocks in the 1980s.

Image : Demolishing the terrace houses in July 1989.

Photo courtesy of Ivybridge & District Amenity Society

In 1989, as part of the re-development of Fore Street and the town centre, the row of terraced houses was demolished to make way for new modern properties to be known as Kimberly Court.

House demolition Fore St

Demolishing the terrace houses in July 1989.

Photo courtesy of Ivybridge & District Amenity Society

Today the former King’s Arms is known as The Exchange after a brief time named The Fighting Cocks in the 1980s.

The King's Arms Hotel

An inn has occupied the current site of The Exchange at No.1 Fore Street since 1830. At that time, it was one of four inns located in Ivybridge. The other three were The Grocer’s Arms on Exeter Road, The Ivybridge Hotel on Western Road and the London Hotel.

 

In 1746 it is known that Richard Seldon, a wood-turner was leasing a property on this site from the Rogers of Blachford, then lords of the manor. In 1812 John Seldon, Richard’s grandson, inherited the property. Whilst a painter and glazier by trade, he was a very enterprising man and is believed to have been responsible for the construction of the terrace of four small houses which originally stood adjacent to his property. His enterprise did not stop there as he had an ambition to turn his own property into a public-house. This unfortunately was frustrated by a long-standing prohibitive clause within his lease, preventing the sale of liquor, whilst his landlord Sir John Rogers, was also opposed to such an idea.

 

In 1830, with the passing of the Beerhouse Act, Seldon’s vision was to become reality. The Act encouraged the opening of beerhouses in an attempt to draw the poorer classes away from the consumption of gin. This, together with Sir John’s change of heart in withdrawing his opposition, paved the way for the establishment of a public house. Perhaps to commemorate the accession of King William IV, Seldon named his house the King’s Arms.

Beerhouse Act

 

Introduced by the Duke of Wellington’s Tory government, the Beerhouse Act 1830, abolished the beer tax and extended opening hours for licensed public houses, taverns and alehouses from 15 to 18 hours per day. A license to trade was required and were controlled by the local justice of the peace.

 

Beerhouses provided not only ale, but food, games and in some cases, lodging. They were known by the name ‘small beer’.

 

Establishments for the consumption of ale were of course nothing new. Inns had existed for centuries providing lodging and refreshment for the wealthier traveller; Taverns provided wine and food whilst Ale houses provided simple food and ale for the less affluent.
Located a little further down Fore Street at this time was a brown paper mill and a corn mill. These mills relied on water from the River Erme to provide power for the moving machinery. A leat starting at Erme Road and controlled by a sluice gate, continued under the new road bridge and alongside the buildings located at the top end of Fore Street. Unfortunately for Seldon this open leat ran in front of his beerhouse posing somewhat of a hazard for departing patrons of his establishment. In an attempt to improve the situation Seldon approached the owners of the mills to cover the leat, considering they were somewhat negligent for not having done so.

 

When John died in 1832, his son also John, carried on and probably rebuilt it before he retired in the 1860s. Further refurbishment was carried out by Joseph Godfrey, a Plymouth brewer who bought the leasehold in 1891. A plaque on the exterior of the building, which still remains today, bears the initials JG and the date 1891.
In 1897 victualler William J. Hicks purchased the property. Large letters were added to the front façade reading ‘Hicks King’s Arms Hotel’ to advertise that the establishment was under new ownership.
The Hicks family did not stay long as by 1905 it was being run by Benjamin Thompson. The new owners appeared to have simply removed the word ‘Hicks’ from the front signage presumably not worrying that the remaining words appeared off centre, a situation which was to remain for the decades ahead!

American GI’s arrive in Ivybridge

 

In May, 1943, American servicemen of the 116th Infantry Regiment came to Ivybridge as part of Operation Bolero, in the run-up to an invasion of Europe during the summer of 1944.

 

For these American troops England was a somewhat alien environment, so much so that each serviceman was given a handbook entitled ‘Instructions for American Servicemen in Britain’ enabling them to get acquainted to the country, its currency and importantly, the people and their customs. An extract under indoor amusements described the British pub:

 

The British have theaters and movies (which they call “cinemas”) as we do. But the great place of recreation is the “pub.” A pub, or public house, is what we could call a bar or tavern. The usual drink is beer, which is not an imitation of German beer as our beer is, but ale. (But they usually call it beer or “bitter”.) …The British are beer drinkers and can hold it. The beer is now below peacetime strength, but can still make a man’s tongue wag at both ends.

 

You are welcome in the British pubs as long as you remember one thing. The pub is ” the poor man’s club,” the neighborhood or village gathering place, where the men have come to see their friends, not strangers. If you want to join a darts game, let them ask you first (as they probably will). And if you are beaten it is the custom to stand aside and let someone else play.

 

Extracts from GI handbook ‘Instructions for American Servicemen in Britain’ 1942

 

The King’s Arms became a popular venue for the American servicemen. Their boisterous behaviour was not always however appreciated by the local patrons. On occasions, fights broke out amongst these servicemen requiring intervention by the US Military Police to restore order. The offenders faced a night in ‘The Hutch’, a solitary confinement facility at Uphill Camp on Exeter Road where they were stationed.

Neighbours at No.2 Fore Street

 

It is listed in Kelly’s Directory between 1873 and 1883 that a Richard Witheridge, either a haberdasher, draper or grocer lived at No.2 Fore Street. Between the years 1889 and 1919 the business was being run by Miss Cordelia Witheridge but after 1923 entries cease.

 

The first census to record the Witheridge family was in 1871, with Richard Witheridge, aged 50 carrying on the occupation of draper. With him were domiciled his wife, Jane, aged 49 and their two unmarried daughters, Cordelia aged 26 and Emma, aged 24.

 

Through the Witheridge family it is known that the writer and chronicler, William Crossing is linked to Ivybridge, having briefly lived in the village with relatives. William Crossing is considered to be one of the best authorities on Dartmoor and its antiquities. During his lifetime William Crossing published numerous works including his Guide to Dartmoor.

 

In the 1950s the property was owned by the Co-op and being operated as a butcher’s shop. Mr Maurice Pepperell was the manager. Maurice and his wife May were both keen gardeners and ran the Ivybridge Gardening Association. Maurice becoming Hon. Secretary. During World War II, Maurice Pepperell was a sergeant in the Ivybridge Home Guard. He later joined the Ugborough Patrol of Auxiliary Units (Churchill’s secret underground forces).
Maurice is pictured holding his prize winning leeks at a Gardening Association event in 1966.
In 1989, as part of the re-development of Fore Street and the town centre, the row of terraced houses was demolished to make way for new modern properties to be known as Kimberly Court.

 

Today the former King’s Arms is known as The Exchange after a brief time named The Fighting Cocks in the 1980s.