Blimey it’s Bideford

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Facts you never knew you needed – to know ….

The Durrant House Hotel in Bideford is one of our ever-popular venues.  It’s the largest hotel in the town, enjoying fab views over the River Taw.  It boasts a gorgeous spa and the food is fab.  Next time you and your team book in, you might want to take in a bit more of Bideford’s fascinating history…..

  • Last people to be hanged in England in 1682 for witchcraft were from Bideford. The three women were accused of witchcraft and convicted mostly on hearsay, including ‘evidence’ of a devil tabby cat that went into a shop owned by one of the women and a magpie settled on the window of another.  Tough times eh!
  • Bideford means ‘by the ford’. It gets a mench in the Domesday Book of 1086.
  • The Long Bridge which connects the east and west of the town was originally built out of wood and lasted 200 years before it was replace with stone. It has 24 arches all of different sizes. It was constantly patrolled by the Home Guard during WW2.  Very wise as the Nazis had a map of the town in readiness for a possible invasion.
  • Sir Walter Raleigh landed his first shipment of tobacco here.
  • And finally a few famous connections: diarist Samuel Pepys wife Elisabeth was born here. Actor Joss Ackland lives nearby.  Crime writer Hilary Bonner was born here.