- Tiverton is one of
Devonshire’s largest towns, on the River Exe, and has an excellent
shopping centre plus pannier markets three days each week.
A settlement has existed at Tiverton since the 9th century, though
the Romans had a fortress here in the 1st century.
Situated on the junction of the Rivers Exe and Lowman, the name is
derived from the Saxon “Twyford Ton” meaning “Two Ford Town”.
The area became the centre of Devon’s medieval woollen industry for
several centuries until competition from the north of England led to
The town was saved in 1816 by John Heathcoat, a lace maker who was
forced from his factory in Loughborough. Bringing several of his key
employees with him, he setup his business in a disused wool mill in
the West half of town and taught the redundant wool producers how to
The factory has been the main employer in Tiverton ever since and
has provided lace for several royal weddings, including the present
Queen’s, and the net for the late Princess Diana’s veil.
The Roman fortress on the northern edge of the town was partly
excavated by local archaeologists in 1985 and the coins and pottery
which were found are on display in the Tiverton Museum.
There is also a model of how the gate- house, the part which was
excavated, would have looked when the fortress was in use during the
Overlooking the town is the site of a huge British hill fort called
Cranmore Castle. A wooden castle was built on the banks of the Exe
in ~106 by the Earl of Devon but none of that building remains. When
Hugh de Courtenay inherited in 1293 he rebuilt it in stone.
Many of Tiverton’s other buildings did not survive the terrible
fires which ravaged the town in 1598, 1612 and 1731 and caused
thousands of pounds worth of damage.
There are several interesting churches in the town including St
George's and St Peter’s, both Grade I listed buildings.
Just north of Tiverton in the village of Bolham is Knightshayes
Court country house, owned by the National Trust and open to the
Heathcoat’s Factory School was the first factory school in the
southwest and has a factory shop. Opposite The Great House is
Chilcott’s School, opened in 16 and now occupied by the Mid Devon
The Grand Western Canal Basin on the south side of the town is one
end of the attractive waterway which stretches eleven miles to the
East. There are a number of well presented lime kilns and the Grand
Western Horse boat Company operates trips from the Basin. A
collection of photographs and tools from the canal at on
display at the Museum.
There is a Tourist Information Centre’ Phoenix Lane and a “Town
Trail” guide available. The Museum and the Library the Town Hall are
both good sources of.
information about Tiverton and Mid Devon in general.
Tiverton once a wool
centre is a pretty town to visit .The towns buildings include
remains of a 14th century castle which was once owned by the
Courtnays, the Earl of Devon, the Waldron Almshouse and Greenway's
Almshouses, both 16th century and the famous Blundells School,
founded in 1604 by a rich local wool merchant.
- For wonderful food try Mr.Davids
in Tiverton for a good selection of home made lunches served
with fresh vegetables and a smile.