Brian Moseley, Plymouth
Webpage created: January 23, 2022
Webpage updated: January 23, 2022




The earliest known reference to what we know as the Ridgeway is "Ryggeweystrete" is in an Assize Roll dated 1281, by which year Plympton not only had a market but had also been granted borough status in 1216, two centuries before the neighbouring town of Plymouth.  In a later Assize Roll from 1301 it appears as "Ryggeweye juxta Plympton".  But it was not at that time the main road from Exeter to Plymouth.  That came off the Ridgeway at Waggon Hill, ran down to Longcause, Barbican Road, and Underwood Road to Underlane and finally to the River Plym opposite Crabtree, where the Ebb Ford was.  But the waters of the River Plym that ran up to the Barbican at Plympton Castle were getting shallower and shallower thanks to the tinners' waste silting up the River.  Slowly the waters receded from the Barbican and then the land near Plympton Priory and finally all the way down to Marsh Mills.  It became possible to build a bridge across what remained of the river by Saint Mary's Church and to construct a new road on the northern side of the valley.  Thus the new road got linked to the Ridgeway by means of Plympton Saint Mary Bridge.  The Ridgeway became the main road in to Plymouth via Marsh Mills, the Long Bridge and Crabtree and traders saw an opportunity to set up their businesses along this new road.

The presence of the omnibus in the Ridgeway dates this picture to the 1920s.
The Plymouth Inn is on the left and Dark Street Lane on the right.
From a postcard.

Opposite the Devonshire Inn was the Ridgeway Wesleyan Methodist Chapel.
From a postcard.

The top of the Ridgeway looking northwards down towards Saint Mary Bridge.
From a postcard.

CLICK HERE for a list of Occupants of The Ridgeway in 1955.