Page updated 4 July 2009
The site of the Bridge Inn has been a dwelling from as early as 1086, when it was mentioned in the Domesday book. It is also possible the stonemasons working on Exeter Cathedral may have lodged there.
Parts of the present inn date from the 16th century, when local stone was used in its construction, although the brew house at the rear is Devon cob. The brew house contained the hop drying floor and is beside a large brewing chimney.
A peremptory sale of the Topsham Bridge Inn, with a dwelling house was advertised in March 1850. Another notice in the 9 December 1863 issue of the Flying Post had "To be LET, immediately, a MALT HOUSE, at the Topsham Bridge Inn. For particulars apply at the Inn."
Some entries for the Bridge Inn in the trade directories, census and Flying Post are:
1815 - Topsham Bridge Inn - William Lake - Flying Post1844 - Bridge Inn, Philip Pyle, Exmouth rd - Pigot's 1852 - Bridge inn, Edwin Teed Boys, Exmouth rd - Slater's 1861 - Bridge Inn, Philip Duffett age 52 - inn-keeper, Charlotte Duffett 46 - landlady, two sons and a daughter - 1861 census return1878 - Duffett Philip, victualler, Bridge Inn, Ebford road - White's 1891 - Bridge Inn, Richard John Duffett 33 - innkeeper, Ellen Duffett 34, Three girls and one boy, seven other servants and boarders - 1891 census return 1897 - Bridge Inn, Richard John Duffett - Kelly's 1897 - William John Gibbings takes over and starts a family dynasty
It was in 1897, that the Gibbings family took on the business. William John Gibbings was from Clyst St George and is the great-grandfather of the present incumbents. Now, the licensee follows the tradition of promoting local ale and there is always a fine selection available. Apart from the large bar at the back, there is a lovely 'sitting room' at the front of the building with a log fire in the winter. This is much like early inns and pubs in the country, because you have to go to the little serving hatch in the passage to purchase your order.
The bridge Inn is the only pub to be visited by HM Queen Elizabeth when she 'popped in' in March 1998.
The Bridge Inn from across the River Clyst. A heavily laden coach outside the Bridge Inn.
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