Visit Tiverton and the surrounding villages and stay in bed & breakfast accommodation:
Tiverton, Devon, is a prosperous industrial and agricultural town on the River Exe and its tributary, the Lowman, with a livestock market on Tuesdays. One of the first Anglo-Saxon settlements after their 7th-century conquest of the South-West, it was, during the heyday of the Devonian cloth industry in the 17th and 18th centuries, the county’s principal industrial centre, famous for its kersey. And then, just as the cloth industry was dying in the early 19th century, John Heathcoat, a lace manufacturer, came from Leicestershire, where Luddites had smashed his machines, to try his Luck and was rewarded. Today the Heathcoat organization is the town’s dynamo, its products ranging from artificial fibres to agricultural machinery, embracing iron foundries and sawmills, employing about 2,000 people. Its main factory is on the west bank of the Exe just north of the bridge. Viscount Amory, the former Chancellor of the Exchequer, is a member of the Heathcoat family, and was the local M.P. from 1945 to 1960. Lord Palmerston was the town’s M.P. from 1835 to 1865.
Architecturally a fairly dignified medley of styles and materials, it has some good buildings bequeathed by its rich wool merchants, notably a big church, St Peter’s, the old buildings of Blundells School and three sets of almshouses. The outstanding features of St Peter’s Church, at the northern end of the town, are its sculptured south porch and chapel and its organ. It is said that on the latter, claimed to be one of the finest in England, Mendelssohn’s “Midsummer Night’s Dream” march was first played for a wedding (1847). Flanking the sanctuary are fine tombs of the merchants Waldron and Slee who were responsible for two of the sets of almshouses, in Wellbrook Street (east of the Exe) and St Peter’s Street respectively. The third set, in Gold Street, was endowed by another merchant, John Green-way, who also paid for the church’s south porch and chapel. The Greenway and Waldron alms-houses are both Tudor and have attractive chapels attached. Opposite the Slee ones (1610) is the pretty dark-red stone Chilcott School (1611). Gold Street leads from the town centre to the River Lowman, and just over this is “Old Blundell’s” (1604). The new buildings of this famous school, whose pupils have included R. D. Blackmore, author of Lorna Doone, and Frederick Temple, Archbishop of Canterbury from 1896 to 1902, are beside the A373 on the eastern outskirts. Beside St Peter’s are the remains of a 14th-century castle now incorporated in a private house but recognizable from the road.
A great fire in 1731 resulted in some good Georgian building in the town centre, and St George’s - next to the fantastic, Victorian-Baroque Town Hall - is possibly the best Georgian church in Devon. St Andrew Street beside it leads to the museum in an old school which has a particularly good section on farm implements.
At the south-east edge of the town begins the Grand Western Canal, built 1811 - 14, 11 miles long, intended as a branch of the canal linking the Bristol and English channels which was, however,
never built. Its tow-path is pleasant for walking.
The gardens of Knightshayes Court (1869), 2 miles north, the home of the Heathcoat Amorys, are sometimes open to the public.
Nearby cities: Exeter
Nearby towns: Crediton, Cullompton, Dulverton, Honiton, Minehead, Ottery St Mary, South Molton, Wellington
Nearby village: Appledore, Bampton, Bickleigh, Blue Anchor, Chevithorn, East Worlington, Exford, Halberton, Willand, Withleigh
Have you decided to visit Tiverton or the surrounding villages? Please look above for somewhere to stay in:
- a Tiverton bed and breakfast (a Tiverton B&B or Tiverton b and b)
- a Tiverton guesthouse
- a Tiverton hotel (or motel)
- a Tiverton self-catering establishment, or
- other Tiverton accommodation