Historical sites around Modbury

The Heritage Project has identifed a number of sites around the town, which are of historical interest.  These sites can be identified by a plaque. The plaques were produced in two sizes, in engraved brass, 10×8 inches and 7×5 inches mounted on a slate base. Simon Risdon of Battisburgh engraved the plaques, which included text and an image of the Fair Glove.

Site 1.  Town Reservoir 1708  Brownston Street, PL21 ORH

The remains of the old water supply are still a conspicuous feature of the town’s heritage. By the 13th century the Benedictine Monks managed to monopolise the excellent water supply from the Silverwell Spring, which they led to their Priory. The Town had to wait until Benefactors in 1708 enabled this reservoir to be established to feed conduits in Brownston Street, Church Street and Galpin Street.

LB.2/99. Silverwell Reservoir Wall.

© Alistair Davis

Site 2.  Water Supply Conduit, Galpin Street, PL21 OQA

This conduit built in 1708 together with the conduit in Church Street, was a gift from Nicholas Trist as Lord of the Manor .It was fed from the reservoir located at the top of Brownston Street. The source of the water was the Silverwell Spring.

LB.7/148. Conduit House.

© Vicky Perry

Site 3.  Water Supply Conduit, Brownston Street, PL21 ORQ

This conduit was a gift in1708, from Adrian Swete of Traine. It was fed by the reservoir located higher up the street and sourced from the Silverwell spring. It was moved from the middle of the road in 1874.


© Alistair Davis

Site 4.  Battle Site 1642, 1643  Galpin Street, PL21 ORW

These fields were the location of two significant battles in 1642 and 1643, between the Royalist troops and Cromwell’s Parliamentarians. The second battle, in 1643 involved more than 8000 who advanced from Kingsbridge to attack the 2000 Royalist defenders who were eventually driven back from these fields into the Town, where they finally withdrew down Runaway Lane. Owners Approval.

Site 4a. Runaway Lane. PL21 OTI Civil War 1642, 1643.

In Febuary 1643, some two thousand Royalist troops withdrew from the conflict down this lane. They were outnumbered four to one by the Parliament forces, during the second battle of Modbury, which had lasted twelve hours. The immediate result of this battle was the raising of the siege of Plymouth.

© Vicky Perry

Site 5.  Gas House, Swanbridge Mill, PL21 OSP

The Modbury Gas and Coke Company commissioned the original gas works in 1865. It provided house and street lighting. This proved unreliable and the company went into liquidation in 1907. In 1915 it was sold to the South Hams Gas Company. In 1932 the Town was connected to the mains electricity supply.

Site 6.  Poundwell House, PL21 OQJ

This Grade 2 listed building, was owned by members of the Champernowne family during the 17th century. It was purchased by Henry Legassicke, Lord of the Manor in Novenber 1680. The building was later the Town’s judicial centre incorporating a Court House, a Police Station and the associated Pound(Cells).It now consists of private dwellings.


© Alistair Davis

Site 7.  Modbury Literary and Scientific Institution, Brownston Street, PL21 ORH

This unique building, with its Palladian-style exterior, was provided by Richard King, a native of Modbury , who was to make his fortune in New York. The Institute was created to provide library and lecture facilities for the Town’s folk. There was one guiding principle established; that no discussion or lecture should include any subject that was likely to excite anger or passion or a factious party spirit.

The institute was closed in 1954 and became a private property.

LB.7/109. Kingsland . Railings, gates and piers.

© Vicky Perry

Site 8.  The Exeter Inn, Church Street, PL21 OQR

This is the oldest surviving Inn in Modbury and was a popular meeting place for the Royalists during the 17th century. It was built in the 14th century with later additions in the 19th century. It has retained a unique decorative plaster ceiling on the first floor. A stream runs under the building.


© Vicky Perry

Site 9.  Chain House, Brownston Street, PL21 ORQ

This is a listed building, with Jacobean cottages behind; it was erected in the Queen Anne period. It has a fine stone façade with lead down pipes. During restoration work a skeleton was discovered in a walled-up section with a dagger nearby. The name derives from the Chains, which crossed the street on Market day for Toll purposes.


© Alistair Davis

Site 10.  The Barracks, PL21 ORP

The Barracks was once a billet for soldiers stationed here to defend the South Devon coast and Plymouth against invasion during the Napoleonic Wars. From 1794 for some twenty years, there were resident regiments of Dragoons, East Devon Militia, Surrey Fencibles and the North Gloucester’s. This made Modbury a busy garrison town that boasted five public houses. The Barracks wall and the two guardhouses remain.


© Alistair Davis

Site 11.  Modbury School, Back Street, PL21 ORF

In 1881 the Modbury non-conformist British School and the Church of England National School united to become the Modbury Board School in a new building. The present school hall and schoolhouse were built in 1853 and are owned by the Church.

© Alistair Davis

Site 12.  The Old Bell Inn, Broad Street, PL21 OPS

This building was originally the Church House. The name was changed when the bell, which hung above the Yarn Market, was transferred to the building when the Market was demolished.

This is now the ceremonial site for the launch, and official opening of the annual Modbury May Fair. Commencing with the Glove Ceremony.

LB.7/67.Nos 3 Broad Street.