Ancient Alphington

A recorded dated 1086 shows Alphington was part of the Hundred of Wonford another 11th-century record referred to a Hundred of Alphington. This could well suggest that Alphington was formerly the administrative centre of its own small district.

When the A30 was being constructed evidence of pre-history settlement was discovered through two separate flint scatters. Although no Roman or Medieval remains have been found in this area as yet it is thought that people settled and farmed the area during these times.

Where the present-day Ide Bridge crosses the Alphin Brook a record from an Assize Roll dated 1244 shows a bridge situated at this point. The bridge that we see today is a three arched stone bridge that was built in 1692. There is a very weathered stone plaque and the words 'This bridge was erected by Richard Brewer of . . . 1692' are carved into it. The area around Ide Bridge has been occupied since at least the 17th Century and evidence has been found of a 17th-century corn mill that was situated north west of the bridge.

It is thought that the Alphington Road is built on the site of an old Roman road, which led from the Roman fortress, now the City of Exeter.

The land between Balls Farm Road, Dunsford Hill and Hambeer Lane in the western area of the Alphin Brook Valley area was a late Medieval to 18th-century enclosure. This enclosure was once a system of Medieval open strip fields. They were then over laid by a later settlement along Little John's Cross Hill and Dunsford Hill.

In the east part of the area the strip of land between Hambeer Lane and Balls Farm Road contained post-medieval enclosures. Later on in the 18th and 19th Centuries there were parks and gardens. The strip of land to the north of Hambeer Lane was used for horticulture in the post-medieval times. There were also orchards in this area.

The land south of Balls Farm Road was probably Medieval water meadows. They were then enclosed and drained during the 18th to 20th Centuries.

Balls Farm Road, Hambeer Lane and Little John's Cross Hill are all believed to be Medieval routes.

Close to Cutteridge Lane the old A30 is a (or was a) place called Pond Farm, extensive discoveries have been found here, for example, Romano-British rectilinear enclosures and round houses, also, flint scatters from the late Neolithic or early Bronze Age. When one enclosure was being excavated AD 2nd-century pottery and a tile were unearthed.


Hambeer Lane
Copyright © Rowena Kirkpatrick

During 1996 topsoil stripping was being carried out for an evaluation in Clapperbrook Lane and an abraded sherd of Romano-British pottery was found. A 1945 RAF air photograph showed crop marks that indicated a small Medieval or post-Medieval settlement north of the lane. There were also a series of rectangular plots with associated strip fields and another lane.

Ariel photographs at one time identified prehistoric settlements both south and west of Alphington. One was on the old site of Sobey's Farm and crop marks on Knowle Hill could mean that there was possibly a hilltop enclosure. More photographs taken from the air show a round barrow cemetery southwest of the hill.

Iron-age walk way was discovered close to Exton Road, Marsh Barton. The timbers that had been found covered over a 50m wide area. There were Oak stakes about 0.65m long and 0.11m in diameter, these were radiocarbon dated to AD 640–820. It is thought that this area could have been a revetment, quay or jetty alongside a river channel that once ran there. Alternatively, it could have been a track way crossing marshy ground or part of a settlement.


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Copyright © Rowena Kirkpatrick