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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Mar22.14

Celebrating the rich history of Ivybridge 

Erme Road on Monday 16th May 1938 would have been a sight to behold. It was on this day that Queen Mary arrived at Ivybridge Railway Station en route to Flete Estate where she was staying as a guest of Lord Mildmay. The residents of Ivybridge naturally wanted to ensure she received a very warm welcome.

 

In Erme Road bunting was in abundance whilst all the children, having been given the day off school, were all carrying Union Jack flags in readiness. Even Stowford Paper Mill halted production briefly to ensure everyone had the opportunity to witness the special event.

Mar22.14

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.

At the railway station Queen Mary stepped into the Royal Limousine, a dark maroon Daimler. Her onward journey took her down Station Road and along Erme Road and into Fore Street.

 

“There must have been a thousand or more people in the streets of Ivybridge, and hundreds more were waiting on the road through Ermington to Flete.”

Exeter and Plymouth Gazette 20 May 1938

Erme Road on Monday 16th May 1938 would have been a sight to behold. It was on this day that Queen Mary arrived at Ivybridge Railway Station en route to Flete Estate where she was staying as a guest of Lord Mildmay. The residents of Ivybridge naturally wanted to ensure she received a very warm welcome.

 

In Erme Road bunting was in abundance whilst all the children, having been given the day off school, were all carrying Union Jack flags in readiness. Even Stowford Paper Mill halted production briefly to ensure everyone had the opportunity to witness the special event.

 

At the railway station Queen Mary stepped into the Royal Limousine, a dark maroon Daimler. Her onward journey took her down Station Road and along Erme Road and into Fore Street.

 

“There must have been a thousand or more people in the streets of Ivybridge, and hundreds more were waiting on the road through Ermington to Flete.”

Exeter and Plymouth Gazette 20 May 1938

Feb23.3

This ancient festival marks the midpoint of winter halfway between the shortest day, the winter solstice and the spring equinox.

 

2 February is traditionally the 40th day and conclusion of the Christmas–Epiphany season.

 

Whilst it is customary to remove the holly and mistletoe decorations on Twelfth Night (Epiphany Eve), it has been documented that historically in Devon they were permitted to stay until Candlemas-eve.

 

Candlemas Day was historically thought to have considerable influence on the weather. It was generally considered that if good weather prevailed on this feast then there would be a continuance of winter with a poor harvest to follow. On the contrary, if the weather was foul it was considered as a good omen.

 

Feb23.4

Whilst the snowdrop is not a native species it has naturalised itself across the country and can be found in deciduous woodland, parks, gardens and along banks and verges.

 

Snowdrops flower from January to March. The flowers don’t have petals but are composed of six white flower segments known as tepals. Flowering so early, snowdrops do not rely on pollinators to reproduce but spread through bulb division. They may still be visited by the occasional bee and other insect on a particularly warm day though!

 

With their milk-white flowers resembling snow, they are also known as Fair Maids of February.

 

The species has long been associated with winter and their Latin name literally translates as ‘milk flower of the snow’. Also, with the snowdrop’s  long association with the Christian festival of Candlemas, where the flowers were often used to decorate churches during the celebration it has the alternative name of Candlemas Bells.

 

Snowdrops contain a natural anti-freeze and even if they collapse in freezing weather they recover once the temperature rises.

 

The introduction of the Uniform Penny Post in 1840, when items could be posted for just 1 penny, was a catalyst for the ready made Valentines card which proliferated after this date.

 

Valentines cards were sent in such huge numbers that postmen were even given a special allowance for refreshments to help them cope with the extra workload during the two or three days leading up to 14th February.

 

The sending of Valentines cards provided an easy way for people to express their emotions during a time when direct expression of one’s feelings was somewhat discouraged.

 

Victorian valentines commonly feature churches or church spires, signifying honourable intentions and fidelity.

 

Does anyone have an Ivybridge themed Valentines card?

Feb23.12

Mr Winston is the earliest recorded postman in Ivybridge. One wonders if his postbag was much heavier in the lead up to Valentines Day?

IVYBRIDGE 1874

Extracts from The Western Morning News 16 July 1874

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Of all the small towns in Devonshire, Ivybridge is undoubtedly the prettiest and probably the most thriving.

Town and country seem to be beautifully blended. The wooded scenery is unsurpassed, and the town, or village, itself is stretching and elongating itself wonderfully. Houses are springing up in all directions, and the town is gaining a greater importance in consequence, so much so, in fact, that some months back it was blessed with what some consider a doubtful benefit – a Local Board.

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The reigning powers of Ivybridge are the Messrs. Allen, whose well-known, extensive, and highly-ornamental paper mills afford the means of employment for a large proportion of the population.

Stowford Mill - learn more >

Their good deeds are many, and they have now added another to the long list which will be a permanent record of the munificence and good feeling when generations have passed away. Not content with taking good care of the temporal need of their employees, they have taken a step to enable the whole of them and the population of the town generally to attend the worship of God in comfort and happiness.

 

There are two chapels in Ivybridge and one church. One of the chapels belongs to the Wesleyan Methodists (of which body the Messrs. Allen are prominent members), and is a comparatively new building, having been built so recently as 1860. It is a pretty a chapel as one could wish to see, and possesses the unusual merit of enabling all present to see the minister in whatever portion of the building they may be. On the ground floor upwards of 300 persons can be accommodated, and the school children, who number about 100, are provided for by a comfortable gallery.

 

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At first this building seemed to be quite large enough for the wants of the Wesleyans of the town, and this feeling is even now shared by some, but Messrs. Allen have lately determined to give the Wesleyans at Ivybridge a worthier “local habitation” and a more important “name”. In one respect Ivybridge is to be congratulated on the easy manner in which the building would be unencumbered from debt, the incubus which now hangs over hundreds of places of worship. But with a generosity that is rarely equalled, if ever surpassed, in this part of the country, Messrs. Allen, father and son, offered to give the site a new chapel, and build the edifice, too. No wonder that the offer was gladly accepted, and preparations at once made for commencement of the work.

 

The design of the building was entrusted to the able care of Messrs. Norman and Hine, and the elaborate scale on which they prepared the plans showed that they had been allowed pretty much latitude. The building is to be erected on a sumptuous scale, and the cost, it is estimated, will be about £4,000, in addition to about £1,000 value of the site. The site is at the bottom of Fore-street, on the left hand side. The building will be in the pure Gothic style, and is designed to accommodate 500 people, about a hundred more than the present chapel will hold. It is to be built of limestone, with Portland dressing, and the interior of the chapel will be beautifully ornamented, and efficiently ventilated and lighted. The great attraction, however, will be the introduction of a novelty which has lent such a pleasing and imposing appearance to the new Methodist building at Torquay (Wesley Church), a tower, which is to be 100ft. high.

Extracts from The Western Morning News 16 July 1874

Jan23.15
Learn more about the Methodist Church >

James Hine – renowned architect

James Hine was a Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects and for many years a leading figure in the Plymouth Institution.

 

During his career as an architect James Hine worked in partnership with Alfred Norman. Together they were responsible for the designs of many public buildings including the Plymouth Guildhall which was officially opened on 13 August 1874. They also designed many churches in Plymouth and the surrounding district.

 

Later when Mr Hine was in partnership with Mr William Ernest Odgers, he won the contract for the erection of the Plymouth Borough Asylum at Blackadon (later known as Moorhaven). The major part was built between 1886 and 1889 providing accommodation for 200 patients. They also continued to design many more churches in Devon and Cornwall during this period.

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Devon County Council - Copy

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