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HER Number:MDV73292
Name:Bridgeland Street, Bideford

Summary

Street constructed in 1699, upon land "heretofore filled with ruinous dwellings". It was one of the first streets in England to use brick for urban building, and it still displays some of the best merchants' houses of the period anywhere in England.

Location

Grid Reference:SS 454 268
Map Sheet:SS42NE
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishBideford
DistrictTorridge
Ecclesiastical ParishUNKNOWN

Protected Status: none recorded

Other References/Statuses: none recorded

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • ROAD (XVII - 1699 AD to 1700 AD (Between))

Full description

Torridge District Council, Bideford Conservation Area Partnership Scheme. Action Plan for 1996-1999, 4, 14 (Un-published). SDV345901.

In Bridgeland Street there are a number of high quality merchants' houses dating from the late 1690s, which Defoe described as "well inhabited with considerable and wealthy merchants". It is wide and lined with buildings that are double fronted and two-storied with attics. It was one of the first streets in England to use brick for urban building, and it still displays some of the best merchants' houses of the period anywhere in England. Despite some changes, including the addition of stucco and bay windows, much of the original structure is recognisable. All but one are Listed. Area 4.

Torridge District Council, Bideford Heritage Economic Regeneration Scheme. Implementation Programme 1999-2002, 2 (Un-published). SDV345902.

Bridgeland Street is the best street in Bideford and ranks high in importance in Devon's overall planned urban developments. It was a speculative development of the 1690s, by Nathaniel Gascoyne, at the time when the prosperity of the town was at its peak as a result of the tobacco trade with the New World.

Worthy, C., 1884, Notes - Genealogical and Historical - Being a Second Essay towards a History of Bideford, 675 (Article in Serial). SDV18900.

Bridgeland Street constructed 1699, upon land "heretofore filled with ruinous dwellings"

Devon County Council, 1975, Bideford Town Trail, 78 (Article in Monograph). SDV352469.

The handsome brick houses were designed circa 1690 by Nathaniel Gascoyne for wealthy merchants, at the peak of the tobacco trade with the New World.

Timms, S., 1987, The Archaeology of North Devon Towns, 4 (Un-published). SDV354573.

Bridgeland Street was laid out on reclaimed land in the 1690s and lined with fine 17th century houses, some of which still stand. It is described as a 'living testimony' to the boom years of trade with the north American colonies at that time.

Torridge District Council, 2003, Bideford Townscape Heritage Initiative Stage 2 Bid, 6, 8 (Un-published). SDV345899.

The 1664 Quay extensions were reflected in a building boom as the Feoffees of the Long Bridge built houses for the town's merchants. In particular, Bridgeland Street, running westwards from the Quay, was largely built between 1690-1700, and leased to the town's merchants.

Torridge District Council, 2009, Bideford Conservation Area Appraisal, 5, 11, 12, 15, 16 (Report - non-specific). SDV351295.

During the last decade of the 17th century a speculative development took place on Bridge Trust lands, by Nathanial Gascoyne, resulting in Bridgeland Street, subsequently described by Daniel Defoe in the second decade of the 18th century as being “well established by considerable and wealthy merchants”. Its brick construction is a notable exception; the use of brick being generally uncommon in the town until the Vitorian period.
The street, with only a very few exceptions on each side, dates from this speculative building period. The original plan form of the 1690-95 development consisted of double pile houses with the staircase at right angles to the central hall behind one of the front rooms. Despite many of the houses having been altered by heightening, altered ground floors, added stucco and bay windows, the
up-to date character of these 17th century town houses still remains clearly recognisable. They have cornices and dormers instead of the older form of gables facing the street and their broad frontages
permitted generous sized rooms. There is much in the street of the greatest architectural interest and every building, with the exception of one 20th century rebuild, is either Listed Grade II or II*. The predominant use of the buildings is now commercial with a mix of offices, shops, restaurants and public houses. Only on the street’s southern side do private dwelling houses remain - numbers 25/26 and 28.
On the
On the street’s southern side are two examples of late 19th century mathematical tiling.
Bridgeland Street remains the town's finest architectural achievement, rivaling anything of similar date in Devon.

Green, T. + Walls, S. + Wapshott, E., 2012, Land to the Rear of 28 Bridgeland Street & 5 Queen Street Bideford. Results of a Desk-Based Study & Historic Building Recording, 11; Fig 3 (Report - non-specific). SDV349405.

Towards the end of the 17th century Bideford was at the height of its prosperity and was inhabited by merchants who had become wealthy through the tobacco trade. Late in the 1680s the Feoffees of
the Bideford Bridge Trust, looking to suitably accommodate and profit from the newly wealthy, conceived a plan to build a new street in the northern part of the borough and in 1690 Nathaniel
Gascoyne was commissioned to produce a design. The street was to be 40 feet wide; the houses of two stories, the whole to be finished within two years. An application by the Feoffees for letters patent dated 4th May 1699 records in detail the great and glorious work that had been completed and was now Bridgeland Street. The document gives an account of what formerly occupied the ground on which the street was laid out. Here "was formerly a ruinous old house or messuage standing, in which one Vallett did formerly dwell and inhabit with an old cellar or two and a courtlage of the land belonging, of latter years known by the name of Carpenter’s Yard …. And there was likewise a small orchard or two and a certain little meadow … which of latter years was converted into gardens, all which was formerly known and called by the name of Vallett’s tenement….".
When Daniel Defoe passed through Bideford in 1724 he remarked on "a new and spacious street … broad as the High Street of Exeter, well built, and, which is more than all, well inhabited with
considerable and wealthy merchants, who trade to most parts of the world".
The line of the street having been determined, individual plots were leased out, the lessees then submitting designs and specifications for the house that they would build there.

Ordnance Survey, 2012, MasterMap (Cartographic). SDV348725.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV18900Article in Serial: Worthy, C.. 1884. Notes - Genealogical and Historical - Being a Second Essay towards a History of Bideford. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 16. Unknown. 675.
SDV345899Un-published: Torridge District Council. 2003. Bideford Townscape Heritage Initiative Stage 2 Bid. Torridge District Council Report. A4 Stapled + Digital. 6, 8.
SDV345901Un-published: Torridge District Council. Bideford Conservation Area Partnership Scheme. Action Plan for 1996-1999. Torridge District Council Report. A4 Stapled + Digital. 4, 14.
SDV345902Un-published: Torridge District Council. Bideford Heritage Economic Regeneration Scheme. Implementation Programme 1999-2002. Torridge District Council Report. A4 Stapled + Digital. 2.
SDV348725Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2012. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey. Map (Digital). [Mapped feature: #100647 ]
SDV349405Report - non-specific: Green, T. + Walls, S. + Wapshott, E.. 2012. Land to the Rear of 28 Bridgeland Street & 5 Queen Street Bideford. Results of a Desk-Based Study & Historic Building Recording. Southwest Archaeology Report. 120211. A4 Stapled + Digital. 11; Fig 3.
SDV351295Report - non-specific: Torridge District Council. 2009. Bideford Conservation Area Appraisal. Torridge District Council Planning Guidance. Digital. 5, 11, 12, 15, 16.
SDV352469Article in Monograph: Devon County Council. 1975. Bideford Town Trail. Devon Town Trails: European Architectural Heritage Year. Paperback Volume. 78.
SDV354573Un-published: Timms, S.. 1987. The Archaeology of North Devon Towns. A4 Stapled + Digital. 4.

Associated Monuments

MDV78859Parent of: 24 Bridgeland Street (Building)
MDV21271Parent of: The Red House, 25-26, Bridgeland Street, Bideford (Building)
MDV44170Related to: 31 Bridgeland Street, Bideford (Building)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events: none recorded


Date Last Edited:Oct 3 2019 12:56PM