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Kingsbridge Scene


Kingsbridge lies midway between Plymouth and Dartmouth, and to-day's Kingsbridge
is actually made up of two medieval towns of Kingsbridge and Dodbrooke. The site is
at the head of a five mile ria, a flooded river valley system caused by sea level
rises after the melting of ice caps at the end of the Ice Age. Kingsbridge was first
mentioned in an Anglo-Saxon charter dated 962, has been a market town since 1219
when the monks from Buckfast Abbey set up an open-air market selling
honey, scones and cream. Ever since, Kingsbridge has been considered as the 'capital'
of South Hams, and the market tradition continues every tuesday and saturday.

In medieval times, The Quay was part of the creek, but over the centuries, quays have been built over the mud flats. The area became a busy trading quay for the transportation of timber, barley, corn, and livestock, and building materials were shipped to, and from, the surrounding villages. In addition to the trading, Kingsbridge also developed a small shipbuilding industry.

To-day, the Quay remains the focal point of the town, and it is here that you will find the markets and the Tourist Information Centre.

With the quay being the 'town centre', the Buckfast monks developed the town up the sides of the valley. The layout has changed little and Fore Street remains the 'high' street from where the town expanded.
Immediately to the west of the of the Town Hall is located the Kingsbridge Workhouse
which was built in 1837. It was designed to accommodate up to 350 inmates.
Local legend states that the reason that the Town Hall clock only has three faces,
with the side visible from the workhouse being blank, in order to stop the inmates
from clock-watching. The surviving parts of the building are now used by small businesses.

Next is the parish church of St Edmunds, which was built by the monks and financed
from the market profits, in the early part of the 15th century.


Town Hall


A little further on is 'The Shambles' an arcade whose pillars date back to 1585.
It was here that the town's pillory stood.

At the top of the town, you will find the old coaching inn, The King's Arms.
Built in 1775, the archway for the courtyard remains as an entrance to the car park.
In those days, by a six-horse coach, it took five days to travel to London.

Finally, you will find the old Kingsbridge Grammar School built in 1670.
The building now houses the Cookworthy Museum which celebrates the life of the first
maker of true English porcelain and incorporates a rural life museum.


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