Friday, 31 December 2021

Former Police Station Saved From Demolition

DevonLive reports the good news that the old Police Station on The Avenue has been saved from demolition. It was going to be knocked down to make way for five detached houses, but the application went to appeal and was subsequently refused.

Planning inspector David Wyborn, in his report, stated: “I appreciate that the building is deteriorating and some local residents would wish to see the site redeveloped to address this matter.

“However, I have found that the scheme would involve the loss of a non-designated heritage asset which has significance, to a medium level of importance, in terms of its heritage value.

“The loss of significance would be substantial and the recording of the building, while best practice, would not weigh materially in favour of its loss. The original Victorian building makes a valuable contribution to the character and appearance of the area.

The full Appeal Decision can be read here.

Friday, 5 November 2021

Buscombe: Or, A Michaelmas Goose

Illustration from Harper's Magazine of Buscombe: Or, A Michaelmas Goose
Illustration from Harper's Magazine - 1889

In the December 1889 edition of Harper's Magazine is the R.D. Blackmore tale in verse Buscombe: Or, A Michaelmas Goose. The illustration above from the magazine is instantly recognisable as the entrance to old Blundell's, shown below.

Last year, local author and publisher, Douglas Rice, published a new edition of the tale, as reported by In Your Area.

Tuesday, 2 November 2021

Bolham Roman Fort

Bolham Roman Fort Excavations
Bolham Roman Fort Excavations - 1981-86

The Tiverton Museum article on page 21 in this month's edition of the Mid Devon One Magazine is all about the Roman fort at Bolham.

The fort would have been made from earth and wood with a single rampart and ditch, causeways and gateways through these and roads crossing the interior. Excavation showed  that the road surface is undisturbed. The fort was occupied circa 65-90 AD by detachments of the 2nd Legion Augusta (who occupied the legionary fortress at Exeter).

Friday, 22 October 2021


From Harding, vol. II (1847) on page 125:

Hensleigh is in Clare portion and was probably named after Robert Hensleigh, who had lands in Tiverton in Henry the 8th's time, and was held under Henry Courtenay, Marquis of Exeter, who was Lord of the manor. It afterwards became the property of the Burridges, and Samuel Burridge, Esq., held it in 1724; from his descendants it passed into the hands of J. B. Cholwich, Esq., whose mother was a Burridge. He married a sister of the late Sir John Duntze, Bart., and on his death he left this property to his nephew the present Sir John Duntze, Bart.; whose uncle, the late James Duntze, Esq., had a life interest in the house.

Tuesday, 19 October 2021

William Wreford of Detroit

From the Canadian newspaper the Border Cities Star from 17 May 1926 regarding the death of Tiverton born Detroit resident William Wreford. It mentions his reputation as the most successful cattle buyer in the midwest, his philanthropy, and his contribution to the development of Detroit. He owned blocks of the city that later became the Barlum Hotel and the Michigan Theatre. The obituary also mentions his wife, Elizabeth Bale Webber, who was also born in Tiverton. They are buried in Detroit.

Border Cities Star article from 17 May 1926
Border Cities Star article - 1926

Streetviews: Almshouses

Greenway's Almshouses - c.1520

Waldron's Almshouses - 1579

Slee's Almshouses - 1614

Monday, 18 October 2021

VE Day

A Tiverton Community Radio podcast from 2020 about a story of an evacuee to Devon during World War II. Recording courtesy of Tiverton Museum.

Married at First Sight

Not directly related to Tiverton per se, but from the Tiverton Gazette as quoted in a book by Tiverton author Sarah Hewett. From page 179 of Nummits and Crummits:


THE workhouse at Taunton has been the scene of a romantic incident. On October 13th, 188?, a middle-aged man belonging to a neighbouring parish, arrived at the workhouse, his object being to find a housekeeper. Seeing the master, he said he had just lost his wife, and was in an awkward fix, as he had a situation and a cottage, but no one to cook his "grub." At the time of the conversation an inmate of the house, a widow, who had been allowed to store her furniture in an outhouse at the Union, was scrubbing the dining-hall floor, and to her the master put the question: "Would she like to interview the man with the view of becoming his housekeeper?" An affirmative answer was readily given, and the couple were left alone to settle the terms of the engagement. At the end of a half-an-hour, they requested the attendance of the master, who found them addressing each other familiarly as Willie and Annie. They asked him to draw up an agreement, setting forth that Willie would support Annie and her two children in return for her services as housekeeper. To please them the master complied, and Willie and Annie at once attached their signatures. Then in the presence of the woman, Willie, addressing the master, confessed to having a liking for Annie, and after much coy beating about the bush, he unbosomed himself, thus: "Well, ef 'er's aminded I'll go down an' gie notice to git married zo zoon's can be." With the hesitation of etiquette the engaged housekeeper, who, in a business-like fashion, had pocketed the agreement, said she would like to have until Monday to consider the proposal. After affectionately embracing the lovers parted. On Saturday, the object of this spontaneous passion, took to the master of the house a letter which she had received from Willie, and which was so affectionately worded that it might well be termed a love-letter. On Monday, Annie having consented, the couple and the two children drove off in a wagon, which Willie had brought for the purpose, the woman's furniture being taken away in the same conveyance. Before leaving, they thanked the master very warmly and intimated that they were going to be married without delay.

From Tiverton Gazette.

Streetviews: Buildings of Note

Tiverton Castle - 1106 (original Norman motte)

Town Hall - 1864

War Memorial Library and Hall - 1929

Great House of St George - c.1613

Bridewell House - 1846

Thursday, 9 September 2021

The Crow Hill Spectre

A reference to Tiverton in the Evening Times from 5 January 1980 caught my eye. The article is about a ghost haunting Crow Hill Cottage, occupied by a tenant called Gerald Hawkins. The cottage is described as being "remote" and "near Tiverton". Although it says the cottage fell into disrepair from 1933, I can find no historical reference to a cottage of that name in the Tiverton area. And why did the story resurface in a Glasgow based newspaper in the 1980s?