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.

Apr24.12

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.

Apr24.1

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.

D-Day 80

Ivybridge Heritage have a World War II display to commemorate the 80th Anniversary of D-Day at The Watermark throughout the month of June. The display describes the arrival of the American soldiers in Ivybridge and their intensive training for D-Day.

 

The display also includes war time memories from local children, farmers, and service personnel as well as recollections from evacuees who spent time in the village during the hostilities.

 

There are lots of other local events taking place to commemorate the 80th Anniversary.

D-Day Calendar
Apr24.9

The primrose is amongst Britain’s most recognisable native perennial flowers and is one of the first to bloom after the cold months of winter, heralding the arrival of spring and milder weather ahead. Indeed, its vernacular name, prima rosa, literally means first rose, appearing as they do as early as December during mild winters, but more typically in March and April. They often continue to bloom well into May and even early June. They generally grow in dense clumps from a rosette of wrinkled leaves. Flowering so early, they are an important nectar source for many insects including queen bumblebees emerging from hibernation.

Apr24.13

From the 1960s through to the 1980s, for just a couple of weeks each year, the local people of Ivybridge were busy picking primroses and making them into posies, each made up of 50 flowers and five leaves. If you didn’t live in Ivybridge during this period, you might wonder what was going on. Well at the time, Wiggins Teape, the owners of the paper mill, had a tradition of sending freshly picked primroses to all their customers around Britain.

 

Work started between 8 and 8.30 with the arrival of the flowers, a good many picked by school children. Were you one of those baby boomers? Each bunch was worth a few pence. Once packaged, attractively designed pre-paid postage labels were applied to the boxes ready for the Post Office staff to collect. Work had to be completed by lunchtime from Monday to Thursday to ensure that the freshly picked flowers could be delivered to Wiggins Teape’s clients during office opening hours the following day.

 

Bunches that were not used on the day were put in shallow trays of water to keep them fresh. Monday was always a busy day at the hall as the children had spent the weekend collecting the primroses. There are many stories of families filling their baths with water to store the bunches overnight to prevent them from going limp.

 

By the end of the 1960s, this once accepted part of local community life came under scrutiny. Environmental concerns and the general displeasure of picking naturally growing flowers started to gain momentum. Wiggins Teape were faced with a paradox, the practice of sending primroses was considered a valuable customer-relations exercise yet it was now creating damaging negative publicity. The first step to address the displeasure was to restrict the picking to consenting farmers’ fields and only to local people who had permission to pick the flowers. They were issued with a special green card reading “I am an authorised primrose picker”. This action at least removed the problem of uncontrolled picking which was deemed the most destructive and more likely to damage the plants and their ecosystems. Field investigations were also commenced with visits to participating farms. These investigations observed that there was no evidence of mass picking or indeed the removal of entire plants but rather the picking of just a few blooms from each plant. It was also apparent just how much everyone involved in the task enjoyed this annual event, from the farmers and pickers to the packers and organisers at the hall. It was customary for the company to hold a social evening each year for all participants where letters from appreciative recipients from around the country were displayed.

 

Although the practice continued through the 1970s and into the 80s, a groundswell of opposition was rapidly developing. Wiggins Teape commissioned studies at an experimental site into the commercial propagation of primroses, but the conclusion was that the land area required, and the cost of the poly tunnels and labour would render the project cost prohibitive. In 1989, with the company facing mounting adverse public opinion along with the continued pressure from environmental groups, it was agreed that the tradition would end in that year.

A new inn for Ivybridge

By the turn of the nineteenth century  the old ‘Royal Oak’ inn and post house in Ivybridge (featured on this website previously) appeared to be in decline. Originally called the ‘Three Tuns’ it served as a posthouse on the Plymouth to Exeter road following the introduction of the postal service during the seventeenth century. The inn at Ivybridge became one of the three ‘posts’ which divided the Plymouth to Exeter road into four fairly equal stages, Ashburton and Chudleigh being the other two.

 

Whether the old Royal Oak became dilapidated or was simply poorly run, it was decided in 1797 to build a new and substantial inn just south of Ivybridge Barton Farm. Sir Frederick Rogers of Blachford, the owner of land west of the River Erme agreed with Christopher Lethbridge, who would appear to be the proprietor of the Royal Oak, to put the plan into motion.

 

Sir Frederick unfortunately died later in the same year but his son Sir John Rogers, honoured his late father’s agreement by building a new inn on land fronting onto the turnpike. This new inn was appropriately called ‘The Rogers’ Arms’. Located on the main thoroughfare from Plymouth to London it became the new post house and was ideally located to serve the stagecoach traveller.

Sir John Leman Rogers

Sir John Leman Rogers, 6th Baronet (1780 – 1847) was a British politician and composer. From 1812 to 1813, he sat as Member of Parliament (MP) for Callington and in 1838, he was High Sheriff of Devon.

 

He was an excellent musician and the composer of several anthems, madrigals and glees and was permanent president of the Madrigal Society in London.

 

He was also considered to be one of the ‘best whips in the kingdom’ and drove the mail coach from Ivybridge to Plymouth and frequently to Exeter.

 

As the sixth baronet of Wisdome and Blachford he was lord of the manor. The family owning large swathes of Ivybridge which they acquired when they purchased the Barton and Manor of Ivybridge in 1691 from the Drake family. The land at this time lay in the parishes of Ermington and Cornwood as the Ecclesiastical District of Ivybridge was only formed in 1836 from parts of the neighbouring parishes.

 

The Rogers family spanned several generations during their association with Ivybridge and collectively they played a formative part in the development of the village.

The Rogers’ Arms

Apr24.11

The depiction of the inn and posthouse above is by George Bryant Campion. It was created expressly for a book entitled ‘The History of Devonshire: From the Earliest Period to the Present’ by the Rev. Thomas Moore which was first published from 1829. It included the physical geography, geology and natural history of the county and was illustrated with several engravings and maps.

 

George Bryant Campion was a watercolour painter and a Drawing Master at the Royal Military Academy at Woolwich. He also became one of the first members of the New Society of Painters in Water-Colours (later the Royal Institute) and excelled in military subjects.

 

The illustration gives a good insight into what Ivybridge looked like in the late 1820s, several properties already fronting the main road and Western Beacon dominating the landscape.

The coaching inn sign could have possibly drawn inspiration from the Rogers’ family coat of arms.

a silver shield with a red chevron

with three running black roebucks with antlers, each collared with a gold coronet

Following the construction of the Rogers’ Arms, the original lease, it seems, was negotiated between John Rogers and Henry Rivers, the proprietor of the London Inn. Unable to run it himself, Rivers arranged for a tenant to manage the establishment. An early inn keeper was a gentleman of the name of John Hawkins.

 

Henry Rivers was an extremely ambitious man and invested heavily within the village of Ivybridge. Along with the substantial East Harford Estate which included Stowford House which he acquired in 1796 he purchased the neighbouring Lukesland Estate in 1803. He later went on to buy Costley Meadow (the origin of Costly Street), the estates of Warrenstown and Yeo and also Filham Moor, again all familiar names. He was described as ‘a man who had a finger in every Ivybridge pie’  by Charles Hankin, the renowned Ivybridge historian who has provided us with so much historical information during our research of the area.

 

However, by 1816, the financial position of Henry Rivers had taken a turn for the worst. He had overstretched himself and was declared bankrupt. His Assignees were forced to sell much of the property he had accumulated and unsurprisingly, the lease of the Rogers’ Arms soon came up for discussion.

 

Sadly during Hawkin’s tenure, the property was allowed to deteriorate, and it was documented that remedial work was required before any new tenant could be appointed.

 

By the following year, Mr. Winsor publicly announced his arrival at the Rogers’ Arms in the local newspapers. He was an inn keeper of vast experience having previously managed the King’s Arms in Plymouth and later the ‘extensive and commodious’ Royal Hotel located in George Street in Plymouth.

 

In September 1818, William Winsor had the pleasure of welcoming the Grand Duke Michael, the younger brother of the Emperor of Russia and Sir William Congreve, Member of Parliament for Plymouth, to his establishment. The newspaper reported that owing to an error Mr Winsor only had four hours to prepare for these distinguished guests which drew much acclaim by the ‘capabilities of this very comfortable inn’. The guests were on their way to Plymouth to visit the Dockyard, the Breakwater which was under construction, and Mount Edgecumbe. It was later reported that the accommodation at Ivybridge had proved to be ‘excellent and wholly satisfactory’.

Sir William Congreve, 2nd Baronet was an English artillery officer, publisher and inventor, best known for his military rocket.

 

Upon the death of his father in 1814 (whose baronetcy he inherited), he became comptroller of the Royal Laboratory of Woolwich Arsenal. From 1818 until his death in 1828, Sir William Congreve was a Tory Member of Parliament for Plymouth.

In January 1851 the sale of the Ivybridge Hotel was discussed, its position being an  ‘excellent site for villas’. The plan was to sell the property in several lots, the hotel, stables, offices and large garden pound house suitable for the erection of between one and four detached villas with gardens.

 

The Ivybridge Hotel was eventually converted into three dwellings and the remnants of the outbuildings were absorbed within the neighbouring Pound Farm by the end of that decade. The last function recorded was a Christmas celebration for around 120 children in 1856 organised by the Richard Cornish. ‘A large room at the hotel was decorated with a profusion of evergreens whilst caskets of artificial flowers decorated the walls.’

In January 1851 the sale of the Ivybridge Hotel was discussed, its position being an  ‘excellent site for villas’. The plan was to sell the property in several lots, the hotel, stables, offices and large garden pound house suitable for the erection of between one and four detached villas with gardens.

 

The Ivybridge Hotel was eventually converted into three dwellings and the remnants of the outbuildings were absorbed within the neighbouring Pound Farm by the end of that decade. The last function recorded was a Christmas celebration for around 120 children in 1856 organised by the Richard Cornish. ‘A large room at the hotel was decorated with a profusion of evergreens whilst caskets of artificial flowers decorated the walls.’

Apr24.10

In January 1851 the sale of the Ivybridge Hotel was discussed, its position being an  ‘excellent site for villas’. The plan was to sell the property in several lots, the hotel, stables, offices and large garden pound house suitable for the erection of between one and four detached villas with gardens.

 

The Ivybridge Hotel was eventually converted into three dwellings and the remnants of the outbuildings were absorbed within the neighbouring Pound Farm by the end of that decade. The last function recorded was a Christmas celebration for around 120 children in 1856 organised by the Richard Cornish. ‘A large room at the hotel was decorated with a profusion of evergreens whilst caskets of artificial flowers decorated the walls.’

It is not exactly clear how the old hotel was divided up. Three property names appear, that of Ermefield, Grosvenor House and Sunnyside. Grosvenor House is recorded as the home of the local physician (Medical Officer of Health), Doctor Charles Edward Cooper at the turn of the century whilst an affluent family named Stevens were living at Ermefield during the 1880s. It was later occupied by William Coryton and his wife. He had married the daughter of Admiral Parker of Delamore and became the Master of the Dartmoor Hounds when Admiral Parker handed over the Mastership in 1889. Mr Coryton moved to Highlands before returning to the ancestral home of Pentillie Castle at Pillaton neat St. Mellion.

 

The word ‘Grosvenor’ is of Norman origin from the French word ‘gros’ meaning big, great + veneur ‘hunter’.

 

If anyone can shed any light on the history of Ermefield, Grosvenor House and Sunnyside, then please contact us as info@ivybridge-heritage.org

 

William Arthur Trumper appears to have replaced Doctor Cooper as Medical Officer of Health. He had served as a military doctor in Africa from 1914. His name appears on the Urban District of Ivybridge’s Medical Officer’s Annual Report of 1920 implying he was already serving in that role; Dr. Cooper having left Ivybridge around this period.

 

In old photographs, the doctor’s property shows a lean-to outbuilding. This served as the waiting room for patients. The property continued to service the local medical profession through the 1940s under Dr. Stephen Howard. As the number of patients in Ivybridge grew so did the queue to see a doctor, so much so that they had to queue outside. It has been recorded that there were 13 chairs in the waiting room. As a consequence of this the lane to Pound Farm was always referred to as “Doctor’s Lane”. Dr. Howard retired in 1966 and he was followed by Dr. Wilman, who lived at Grosvenor House and Dr. Dadge. However, by 1969 Ivybridge had a new Health Centre at Station Road after which Grosvenor House became a residential and retirement home during the 1980s and 90s.

 

The end property was called Sunnyside and the home of William MacKay around the turn of the twentieth century. Mr MacKay had been the postmaster at Ivybridge for 35 years.

 

In 1937 the property came on the market and advertised as a ‘commodious residence suitable for a guest house with tea gardens and site for car parking’. It was held on a lease dating from 1857 which implies the original hotel was split up at that time.

 

At some point it became a guest house called the Posthouse Hotel, the proprietor no doubt having knowledge of the history of the property. Later, it resumed its old name and became the Sunnyside Guest House.

 

The central property was an antiques shop for a while, Thomson Antiques.

 

The area has since been re-developed and is now the recognisable retirement apartments with communal gardens known collectively as Grosvenor Court.

Apr24.6

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.

DRHP Logo
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