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 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 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.

Mar24.1

Other names include English bluebell, Wood bell, Cuckoo’s Boots, Wood Hyacinth, Lady’s Nightcap and Witches’ Thimbles.

 

Bluebells spend most of their time underground. The bulbs are self-burying, as they grow, the roots contract, dragging themselves down into the woodland floor.

 

By early Spring in sheltered places, they begin to shoot with stems tipped with a head of purple buds. As the stems lengthen, the ends droop and the bells begin to hang in elongated drops, each on its own thin stalk.

 

Bluebells are rich in nectar and pollen, which provides one of the best early food sources for insects. Bumblebees sometimes bite through the bottom of the flower in their desperation to reach the nectary.

 

Almost half the world’s bluebells are found in the UK, they’re relatively rare in the rest of the world.

 

Bluebells can take years to recover should they be trampled, so please take care to avoid this. Once a bluebell’s leaves are crushed, they die back from lack of food as the leaves cannot photosynthesize.

 

In Britain it is illegal, under the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981, to intentionally pick, uproot or destroy bluebells.

 

Feb24.11

The first recorded Inn at Ivybridge was the ‘Three Tuns’ and dated from the middle of the seventeenth century.

 

The word ‘Tun’ is of old English derivation meaning a barrel or keg of beer. Three tuns was a very common name for a public house during this era. These barrels are represented on the emblem of the Guild of Brewers and the Guild of Vintners.

 

Many arms of London Guilds incorporate three objects such as castles, representing masons, crowns representing drapers, hammers representing blacksmiths and horseshoes representing farriers. A guild was an association of artisans and merchants who oversaw the practice of their craft or trade in a particular area.

 

Research of the local Blachford archive conducted largely by local historian Charles Hankin enables the site of the Three Tuns in Ivybridge to be determined with reasonable accuracy. It was on the north side of the main highway, opposite the old corn mill belonging to the manor of Ivybridge. Today this is broadly the location of 50-52 Fore Street.

 

This location meant that the inn was ideally placed to provide for the needs of the stagecoach traveller. Coaching inns were typically built around a central courtyard and stables, often with a tall archway or gate leading to the open road. The appearance, layout and level of amenities of the Three Tunns in Ivybridge would simply be speculation, but one would imagine the inn was far from luxurious.

A stagecoach was so called because it travelled in a series of short distances or “stages” generally of between 7 to 15 miles. At a stage stop, usually a coaching inn, exhausted horses would be changed for fresh ones and travellers would have a meal or a drink, or even stay overnight. By the mid-18th century, England had an extensive network of coach routes with hundreds of inns at roughly 10-mile stages across the land.

 

A diligence was a four-wheeled stagecoach employed for long journeys. Some could accommodate up to 16 people and were divided into two or three compartments. The driver rode on a seat directly above the front wheels.

Stagecoach travel

The first stagecoach route started in 1610 and ran from Edinburgh to Leith. By 1706 a stagecoach company had established a regular coach route between York and London and soon there were regular coach services on many other routes.

 

Travelling on a stagecoach during this era was slow and never a very comfortable experience. When a route from Cornwall to London was established, it would have taken several days as the coaches only travelled by day, stopping each night at a coaching inn.

 

Their suspension was extremely rudimentary and the roads they travelled on were poorly maintained but during the eighteenth century the infrastructure was improving once Turnpike Trusts had been established. They charged for road use and used the money thus earned to maintain the roads.

 

Travelling was also a hazardous venture and few would travel alone. Rural robbery was commonplace with prudent travellers resorting to secret pockets or cavities in the heels of their boots to conceal their valuables. Given that few could afford to travel by coach, it meant those who did were generally affluent.

Stand and Deliver!

Stagecoaches were often targeted by highwaymen with the customary cry of ‘stand and deliver, your money or your life’. These old stagecoaches often had no guards. The coachman, in order to protect themselves, possessed a blunderbuss concealed somewhere in the box. The post-office had paid guards on their mail coaches equipped with cutlasses and a blunderbuss which had a folding bayonet attached. The punishment for highway robbery was hanging and many a highwayman met his maker at the gallows at Tyburn. More locally there were gallows at Torquay and Newton Abbot.

 

By the end of the eighteenth century travelling became safer with the somewhat unreliable blunderbuss replaced by repeating handguns. Devon was becoming part of modern England with turnpikes and gated toll-roads permitted faster coaches, whilst the presence of stone walls lining roads (during the Enclosure Movement) the opportunities for ambush were dramatically reduced. As a consequence, there were only a few highwaymen, including probably the most famous of all, Dick Turpin and Claude Duval.

 

This period was a golden age which was to last until the 1840s when the railways became the dominant form of travel. The stage and mail coaches during this time had been a driving force of the industrial revolution and stimulated the improvements to roads.

By 1760, the inn and posthouse formerly known as the Three Tuns was operating under the name of ‘The Royal Oak’.

 

In 1764 John Allday, a victualler of Plymouth Dock bought a lease on the inn with garden, outhouses and other appurtenances along with the meadow opposite the inn, known as Windeatt’s Meadow. However, from this period the land became known as Royal Oak Meadow.

 

John Allday died in 1771 leaving his wife to run the inn. Evidently a competent innkeeper, the establishment continued to prosper permitting her to rent five meadows and the ‘Great Orchard’ of Ivybridge Barton nearby, which no doubt enabled her to produce the ‘syder’ sold at her establishment.

 

In 1779 Mrs Allday’s 10-year-old son died and from this time onwards she seemed to struggle to pay her rent. The business seemed to be in decline which was only exacerbated by the establishment of a new inn, the ‘London Inn’. Located on the far side of the river, in the parish of Harford, this inn must have undoubtedly attracted some of the coach and other lucrative travellers away from the ageing Royal Oak. Ivybridge at this time would have been unable to successfully support two inns. Records indicate that Mrs Allday abandoned the inn during the 1790s and the lease was purchased by Christopher Lethbridge, a local yeoman farmer owning land at Godwell. The Trade Directories describing the property as a ‘victualling house’ which was merely an alternative name for an inn or tavern.

 

The Ermington Tithe Map and Apportionment of 1841 has no reference to the old inn and provides evidence that the old buildings had by this date been demolished and replaced.

Feb24.5

The name Royal Oak for a public house is of course a popular one. It dates from the middle of the seventeenth century, the time when Prince Charles escaped from the Roundheads during the English Civil War. He apparently hid for a day in a great oak tree a short distance from Boscobel House in Staffordshire before spending the next night in a tiny priest-hole within the house and later escaping to France.

 

The story was retold so often that when he returned as King Charles II, many pubs were renamed The Royal Oak in his honour, coming to represent defiance and loyalty to the kingdom.

 

 

 

In 1797 Sir Frederick Rogers of Blachford, the fifth baronet and owner of land west of the River Erme agreed with Christopher Lethbridge for a new and substantial inn to be built just south of Ivybridge Barton Farm. Sir Frederick died later in the same year but his son Sir John Rogers, now the sixth baronet, honoured his late father’s agreement and a new inn was built on land ‘fronting onto the turnpike’. This new inn was appropriately called ‘The Rogers’ Arms’.

 

The old innhouse was now in its last years and in 1818 ‘a large dwelling house formerly the Royal Oak Inn, stable and garden’ was leased to a Mr James Ford whilst Royal Oak Meadow was leased by John Sanders who established the village’s first tannery.

more on the Tannery >

Meanwhile, in the same year William Winsor, previously of the King’s Arms at Bretonside and the Royal Hotel, Plymouth, announced his arrival at the Roger’s Arms.

Feb24.6

Devon cider has been made from specific varieties of apple that have been grown for centuries solely for that purpose. It is thought that orchard cultivation arrived in England with the Romans. Then, the Normans, with their great love of apples, introduced new varieties of cultivated tannic and acidic apples.

 

As cider apples are relatively hard, they warrant heavy processes to extract the juice. The initial stage was historically ‘pounding’.

 

The first mechanical mills were horse powered. A large heavy round stone, called a runner, was supported on its edge within a groove of a circular stone trough called a chase. The upright stone was pivoted in the centre of the trough and drawn round by a horse.

 

Small quantities of apples were placed into the chase and as the horse drew the runner round the fruit was crushed into a pulpy mass called pomace. This was then placed into a screw operated cider press to extract the juice.

 

The extracted liquor would then be left to ferment in large vats. Once the cider was ready for consumption it would be drawn off into hogsheads or barrels and either kept by the farmer for his own use or sold to a cider merchant.

 

The Great Orchard mentioned above at the barton farm later became known as Pound Farm, deriving its name from the process of producing cider.

We now have a selection of booklets on various themes. These are available for purchase at The Watermark in Ivybridge. Each booklet is priced at £3.

Sept23.11

Ivybridge Explored – this 28 page booklet provides an historical review of the churches, public houses and infrastructure of Ivybridge including the Ivy Bridge from whence the town derived its name.

 

Ivybridge Researched – this 28 page booklet provides a review of some of the notable events, people and businesses which have shaped the history of this town.

Sept23.12

Stowford Paper Mill 1869 – this 20 page booklet is composed of a series of three newspaper articles published in 1869 which provide an insight into the workings of the paper mill at this time, describing the equipment and the methods used in manufacturing paper.

 

Stowford Paper Mill Ivybridge 1787-2013 – this 28 page booklet provides a chronological history of paper making at this historic site in Ivybridge from the once privately owned mill to the later one which was part of a multi-national company.

Sept23.13

Ivybridge and the American during World War II – this 28 page booklet provides a wealth of interesting facts regarding the American servicemen who were billeted in Ivybridge from 1943 in the build up to D-Day.

 

The River Erme and its Industries – this 22 page booklet describes the path of the river through the South Hams to the sea together with lots of interesting facts regarding the area along the way.

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Devon County Council - Copy

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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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

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