Newtown to Heavitree

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Royal Oak

Finish up in the Windsor and head back up North Street to Fore Street. At the junction you'll note the old gas lamp presented by JR Nethercott, Chairman of the council 1911-1912. Turn left and head down the road. Your next pub stop is the Royal Oak. Just before you get there is Regent Square on the left, the same side as the pub. Around 60 houses are clustered around a narrow road. These victorian houses were built in 1883 by a plumber John James Fry Ellis (theres a plaque) before local bye-laws required rear entrances. The Royal Oak was re-built after war damage and is one of the few buildings near the City centre to retain it's thatched roof. The original pub was further up Fore Street and moved to the present site in the 1820s.

The Royal Oak

The Manor House

The Manor House, new version

Middle Row

1828 saw the widening of Fore Street with the demolition of Middle Row. This was a line of cottages, orchards and gardens which extended from around the corner of Church Street to a point close to the Supermarket / Garage.
It restricted the main road to a narrow lane on the other side of the present road. The removal of this Middle Row accounts for great width of Fore Street. Further widening took place in 1910 and a plaque at the top of North Street commemorates this fact. The plaque is at the bottom of the Light Of India wall. This by the way is the best curry house in town. Well worth a visit, they also do takeaways.

Finish up in the Royal Oak and head off down Fore Street.

Esso Mote Garage (named after Mote House on whose site it once stood) was demolished in 2002 and replaced by Tesco and the garage. A garage has stood on this site since the beginnings of the internal combustion engine.

Just before you get to Butts Road on the right, you'll see a cream and white building. This is the Manor House. Parts of it were built in 1763 as a condition of the lease granted to Juaniz y Echalaz, a merchant. He made a good job of it but but spent too much money on it because he was bankrupt in 1765. He had married in 1764 however and just maybe this was the reason for his bankrupcy. The building was partly demolished in 2001 with new buildings erected behind the Manor House, the facade at the front, which was all that was left has had a paint job. Admittedly the building looks smart, but a facade is not as good as the real thing.

Royal Oak History

Ducke's Almshouses Ducke's 'n Mowbray

Just a little way further down again are Ducke's Almshouses, founded in 1589 and rebuilt in 1853. In front of the building is a horse trough perfectly placed for falling into when you've had a skinful. The trough was presented to the parish in 1876 (9th November), MDCCCLXXVII, thats what it says on the plaque!

Mowbray Cottage

Mowbray cottage stands on the other corner of Butts Road. This was originally a chapel in 1833. Around 1860 it was converted to a house. The entrance to Heavitree Park (not the Pleasure Grounds) is close by. Merchant Edward Eardley was granted a lease on the adjacent field to Wonford Hill (now Mowbray House) under the condition that he built houses and out-buildings of stone (not cob) to the value of 3000 each. These houses were erected between 1825 and 1829 eventually being divided into flats in the 1920's.
Eardley later became involved in developing the impressive houses on Mont Le Grand. Both these and the residences in Heavitree Park are faced with white stucco and have fine classical details.

Mowbray House was built in 1816. A Captain James Tillyer Blunt purchased the field seen above Butts Road in 1815 and set about building himself a home. He named the house Wonford Hill and lived there until his death in 1843. It was his family's residence until 1887 when it was sold and re-named Mowbray House.

During the early C20th, it was the home of Colonel Vaughn (Chairman of Heavitree Urban Dist. Council, heavitree still being independant of Exeter back then). He declared Heavitree Pleasure Ground open on May 1st 1906 as recorded on a plaque close to the main entrance in Whipton Lane. He also had Vaughan Road named after him when the road was constructed in 1938.

In the 1923 Mowbray House became a Home Hospital run by Miss Biggs and Miss Hunter, becoming part of the NHS in 1948. Maternity services however closed there in March 1986 and some time later the building was converted into retirement flats. In 2001, more flats were built in the grounds of the house under the name of Mowbray Court.

Heavitree Park

Mowbray House

The Wonford Inn

The Baptist's Union

Head off down Butts Road until you get to Wonford Street on your left. On the left is Dene Court, at one time Fort Villa. It is now a residential home. The house was built in 1826 with additions made in the 1880s. I once tried to flog a set of pension plans to the owners in the mid 1980's but was beaten to it by some smooth talking bastard from Target Life!

Turn into Wonford Street and about 50 yards along on the left is your next watering hole, the Wonford Inn. Good pub with a large TV sports screen and food. The baptist church over the road was built in 1931, but was forced to close as a Church when the congragation fell to two (Easter 2003). The baptists re-opened the building in January 2004 as The Baptist union's head office and community centre. Most of the buildings in Wonford Street are less than a century old, but this area was once the original centre of Heavitree.

The Flying Horse Wonford

Once you've supped up in the Wonford Inn, head on down Wonford Street. You'll pass some older houses on the left which date  back as far as the 18th century. Turn right up Dryden Road and you'll come across the Flying Horse, the venue for your next pint. This pub was once known as The Country House Inn. Neck one in here then head back outside. The Gardeners Arms was demolished in Autumn 2000 and replaced by the new flats by 2002. This pub was named after an earlier pub and was built in 1936. Go to your left and head up Salters Road.

The Gardeners Arms

St Loyes

Your last pub stop is the St Loyes built in 1936. Nip in for a quick pint before back tracking slightly. Turn left down Lethbridge Road and right along Hurst Avenue. On the left at the bend in the road, you'll come across the remains of St Loyes, after which this small area and the pub are known.
St. Loye was a 7th century Bishop of Noyau (France), he was the patron saint of metal workers and was originally a goldsmith. This chapel represents the only dedication to the saint in Devon. The ruins date back to the early part of the 13th century. The first documented reference to the chapel was in 1387 when Henry & Joan Tirrel had mass celebrated in the chapel of st. Eligius (the latin for St. Loyes), which was within their 'mansion of Wonford'. This mansion was most likely that known from the 15th century as St Loyes. The chapel was defunct by 1607, when parts of it were let for housing. By 1785 it had become a stable. During the 1890s the Rev Berkeley attempted to restore the chapel but was unable to raise the required funds. Now only the ruins remain.

The St Loyes

The remains of St Loyes

Flying Horse History

St Loyes Hotel History

The Cat and Fiddle, picture by Frederick Messenger Thats it. Make your way to Rifford Road where you'll be able to get a bus to wherever you have to go. On your way you will see the starting point of Honiton Road. This was the main road to Honiton since Roman times and the current modern road follows the ancient line of the Fosse Way which runs all the way to Lincoln or at least it used to until a new by-pass was built in the late 1990's.

Swampy made his name here but was unable to stop the building of the by-pass.

On the bus look out for a small cottage on your left just past St Loyes Rd, called the 'Cat and Fiddle'. This cottage was a pub in the C17th. Apparently the bar area is still visible in the front room.

Stuart Callon Copyright ©2002 - 2006

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