Fore Street


So far we have only researched numbers 54 , LLoyds Bank and 56, previously the Constitutional Club. If you have deeds on any of the other properties and you would like us to try and find out more then do please get in touch.



The earliest map of Bovey Tracey is the Gulielmus map of c.1640 (Fig. 1).[1] It showed houses both sides of the main street, later called Fore Street.

Figure I. c.1640 Gulielmus Map showing Fore Street, the market place (now Town Hall Place), Mary Street and the track which would become Hind Street. By kind permission of Devon Heritage Centre.

The next map is the Tithe Map of 1841 which showed no buildings on what is now 54- 64 Fore Street.[2] This map showed land numbered 1434 was a long, thin medieval burgage plot associated with a house on Mary Street – for comparison see field 1511 on Mary Street/Town Hall Place. Number 1434 was an orchard of 1 rood 12 perches belonging to Joseph Steer.  He was the owner of Indio, the prestigious house on the south of the River Bovey. He let this orchard in the town to Isaac Baker. Part of this land was to later become number 56 Fore Street (the Constitutional Club) which was built at the bottom kinked end of that plot. The grey barn just above was the site of the building which is now Hairwaves at 52 Fore Street. What is now 54 Fore Street was part of the land adjoining the Constitutional club. The buildings to the west numbered 1435- 1438 included the public house originally called The Lamb, later the Union Hotel and then Cromwell Arms.

Figure 2. 1841 Tithe Map showing Fore Street. By kind permission of Devon Heritage Centre.

Forty-five years later the OS map of 1887 showed there were still no buildings on what is now 54- 64 Fore Street (Fig. 3).

Figure 3. 1887 OS Map Bovey Tracey.


In 1895 the Constitutional Club was built on what is now 56 Fore Street and was officially opened in1896.[3] The land was sold as part of the property of Richard Ladd and his wife who ran the Post Office two doors up from the Union Hotel.


By 1900 there were Lloyds Bank branches in Devon at Torquay, Paignton, Kingsbridge with Salcombe and Dartmouth but the Bovey Tracey branch had not yet arrived.[4]

An early photograph of Fore Street c.1900 showed the Constitutional club with a glass lean to and a small tree in the garden where the future Lloyds Bank would be sited. (Fig. 4).

Figure 4. Fore Street c. 1900. David Lewis Collection.

In Kelly’s trade directory of 1902 the only banks mentioned in Bovey Tracey were a Capital and Counties Bank Ltd sub-branch which was open on Fridays, and a Wiltshire and Dorset Banking Co. Ltd agency open on Friday afternoons.[5] No address was given for either of these banks. As they were open so infrequently they might have used premises of other local businesses, but are likely to have been on the main thoroughfare.

The 1905 OS map drawn in 1904 showed the Constitutional Club and houses later 58-62 Fore Street. The glass-lean to attached to 56 Fore Street was depicted with cross- hatching (Fig. 5).

Figure 5. 1905 OS Map.

By 1906 Herbert Knight was listed as the manager of the Wilts and Dorset Banking Co. Ltd agency.[6]

By 1908 Lloyds Bank premises were expanding in Devon with new premises in Okehampton and Newton Abbot.[7]


Kelly’s Directory of 1910 listed a Lloyds Bank sub-branch open Tuesday and Friday in Fore St. The Capital and Counties was still listed, as was the Wilts and Dorset Banking Company which was open on Friday afternoon, but neither had an address given.[8] By 1912 Lloyds Bank was open daily.[9]

We know that William Gerald Hole of Parke banked with Lloyds by at least 1913 as there is a Covenant for Production of Deeds of this date.[10] This was in connection with Hole securing an advance of up to £1,200. It does not follow that he used the branch in Bovey Tracey but shows that a rich local landowner used that bank.

In 1914 Lloyds Bank nationally amalgamated with the Wilts and Dorset Bank.[11] Both banks were still listed in Kelly’s directory with O L. Robbins as the manager of the latter.[12]

A photograph of c. 1920 showed the Constitutional Club with the tree grown much larger. This would indicate that Lloyds bank was not then sited next to this club (Fig. 6).

Figure 6. c.1920 Fore Street. By kind permission of James Mann.

In 1921 William Edwin Bedell of Lloyds Bank Plymouth and formerly of the Newton Abbot and Bovey branches was appointed manager of a branch in Somerset.[13] On the 1911 Census Bedell had been a lodger at 6 Marlborough Terrace and worked as a bank accountant, but we do not know if this was in Bovey Tracy and which bank he worked for. In 1926 Vincent Bourne was the clerk in charge.[14]

In 1932 a newspaper reported that John Joseph Bezley was a Lloyds bank cashier of Bovey Tracey, the implication was that he worked at the Bovey Tracey branch but this was not actually stated.[15]

In 1936 John Joseph Bezley was the clerk in charge and he still held this position in1939.[16]


The 1938 OS map, revised 1936/7, described the building at 54 Fore Street as ‘BK’ meaning bank, which is the first confirmation of a bank on this site.

A c.1940s/50s photograph showed Lloyds Bank as one storey (Figure 7). The National Provincial Bank was across the road in what became The NatWest Bank.

Figure 7. Fore Street C. 1940s/50s.  David Lewis Collection.

From at least 1946 the Bovey Tracey Parochial Church Council banked with Lloyds.[17]

The first telephone directory listing for Lloyds Bank was in 1950, and this same year there was also a phone number for the National Provincial Bank.

A c. 1960s photograph showed Lloyds bank still as one storey (Fig. 8).

Figure 8. Fore Street Circa 1960s. David Lewis Collection.


Figure 9. c. 2016 photo of Fore Street. By kind permission of Bovey Tracey Heritage Trust

A photo taken during the carnival c. 2016  showed that by then the bank had an extra storey. As yet it is not known when this was added. That same year Lloyds Bank in Bovey Tracey closed as part of several branch closures across the country.[18] The Nat West Bank closed as well.


Bovey Tracey had bank branches from the early 1900s and one of these was Lloyds Bank. It was sited in Fore Street and some time before 1936 it was in  purpose-built premises.

Just over a hundred years later Bovey Tracey’s bank branches closed. If you know who built Lloyds Bank and when the second storey was added, or the names of the bank managers from 1939 please get in touch.


I would like to thank Viv Styles of Bovey Tracey Heritage Trust for permission to use a photograph. Also thanks to James Mann and his family for their early memories of Lloyds Bank and for permission to use one of their images.


[1] Devon Heritage Centre 2802Z, ‘Gulielmus’ Map of Manor of Bovey Tracey c.1640.

[2] Ibid. 2160A/PB/4/a/1, Bovey Tracey Tithe Map 1841; DEX/4/a/TA/50/Bovey Tracey 1839, Tithe Apportionment pp. 55-57.

[3] The Western Times 7 February 1896, p. 6.

[4] Idid., January 5 1900, p. 7.

[5] Kelly’s Directory of Devonshire and Cornwall 1902 (London) p. 85.

[6] Kelly’s Directory of Devonshire and Cornwall 1906, (London) p. 88.

[7] Okehampton : Exeter and Plymouth Gazette 12 March 1908, p.1; Newton Abbot: East and South Devon Advertiser foundation laid 4 July 1908, p.8 and premises opened 1909, Totnes Weekly Times 22 May, p. 6).

[8] Kelly’s Directory of Devonshire and Cornwall 1910 (London) p. 92.

[9] The Western Times 9 January 1912, p. 2.

[10] Devon Heritage Centre, 1913 Hole of Park, 312M/3/M/28 1

[11] Bournemouth Guardian 25 April 1914, p4;

[12] Kelly’s Directory of Devonshire and Cornwall, 1914, (London) p. 93).

[13] The Western Morning News 29 August 1921, p. 3.

[14] Kelly’s Directory of Devonshire and Cornwall 1926 (London) p.96.

[15] The Western Morning News 28 March 1932, p. 2).

[16] Kelly’s Directory of Devonshire and Cornwall 1936 (London) p. 98; Kelly’s Directory of Devonshire and Cornwall 1939 (London) p. 98).

[17] Devon Heritage Centre 2160A/PP/21, P.C.C. Statements of accounts, Lloyds Bank, 1946-1962.



The Tithe Map of 1841 shows no building on the part of Fore Street where the Constitutional Club was later erected (Fig.1). Most businesses and houses were on the opposite side of the road as in medieval times the land had been the burgage plots for houses on Mary Street.

Figure 1. Tithe Map showing Fore Street  Bovey Tracey 1841 by kind permission of Devon Heritage Centre .

In the 1880s Constitutional Clubs to further Conservative principles were being set up throughout the country with Newton Abbot and District’s being established in 1885 (East and South Devon Advertiser 7 February 1885, p. 8). Prominent people of Bovey Tracey were members such as John Joll the retired proprietor of the Dolphin Hotel (Exeter and Plymouth Gazette 21 November 1887, p. 2). Meetings in Bovey Tracey were held in local hotels and assembly rooms with (East and South Devon Advertiser 18 November 1893, p. 5). At the start of 1894 the Bovey Tracey Constitutional Club decided to look for new premises in Bovey Tracey (Exeter and Plymouth Gazette 11 January 1894, p. 2) The Constitutional Club then purchased land from Richard Ladd in order to build premises. Richard Ladd and his wife ran the Post Office and the land was part of their property. No time was lost and amid much local enthusiasm the foundation stones for a Constitutional Club were laid on 17 January 1895 as shown by the newspaper article of the following day. The local M.P. W.H. Smith together with his wife Lady Esther both laid stones. Lord Clinton, the Lord Lieutenant of Devon, was due to have laid the first foundation stone but he was unable to attend owing to ill health so Lady Esther Smith laid it on his behalf (The Western Daily Mercury 18 January 1895 p.5, and Figs 2 and 3).

Figures 2 and 3. Foundation Stones Constitutional Club, 56 Fore Street Bovey Tracey. Frances Billinge 2020

The club was opened formally on Monday 3rd February 1896 (The Western Times 7 February 1896, p.6) The architects were Messrs J.W. Rowell and Sons of Newton Abbot.  John Winsor was the mason; William Aggett the carpenter; and William J. Mardon the plumber- all of Bovey Tracey. The building was erected for £1.050. Mr William Robert Hole of Parke provided the building stone and Candy and Co, provided the facing bricks. The premises boasted meeting, reading and card rooms, as well as a billiard room (East and South Devon Advertiser 8 February 1896, p. 5).

Locally the club was also referred to as the Conservative Club. In more recent times the premises were sold and re-opened as De Tracey’s a private members’ club. It is now Serendipity– a patchwork and quilting shop, which is an Aladdin’s cave for all who love sewing and embroidery (Figure 4).

Figure 4. 56 Fore Street. Frances Billinge 2020.