|photo - courtesy Bideford people|
Ripples In The Sand is set in and around Appledore and Instow and the estuary of the rivers Taw and Torridge along the North Devon coast. A sand bar has always made shipping coming into the safety of the rivers hazardous, yet Bideford and Barnstaple were huge centrees of trade in the 16-1800's.
I wanted to bring Sea Witch and Jesamiah to England to make a change of scene for the novels, and decided on the Instow area because that's where my editor, Jo, lives and I'd had a chance to do a fair bit of exploring around there. Plus I could use the enigmatic Exmoor for a few scenes (and bring the famous Doone family into the story!)
When I started writing Ripples I had decided that Jesamiah would be bringing in a cargo of tobacco from Virginia, so imagine my excitement when I discovered that Bideford was the main centre for the tobacco trade in the 1700's. I couldn't believe I'd stumbled on a fact I had no previous idea of.
So by sheer chance I had found an ideal spot that fitted perfectly with my idea for a plot.
I needed to find a suitable location to place my fictitious tavern where Jesamiah and Tiola are going to stay. I had decided on a name before I'd even started writing - either the Triple Moon or the Full Moon.
Wandering along Market Street, and studying the guide book, Jo and I came to One End Street. Named for obvious reasons. Originally it was called Cock Street, however.
Rather coyly the guide writer assumes the name was given either because a man named John Cock lived there or they held cock fights in the street. Ahem. Appledore was a sailor's port. Cock Street was not a thoroughfare (only having one entrance/exit) so any "street entertainments" would not be interrupted by passers by. Cock Street, I'm afraid, probably has a far more, um, robust - origin!
I wandered on along Market Street reading the guide book. The present Coach and Horses Tavern was there pre 1800 - though called something different, and at that time it would have had frontage onto the river and harbour (there is a later-built row of shops and cottages there now)
Then my jaw dropped and I felt that prickle of excitement mingled with an "oo-er" moment.
There had also been a tavern in Cock Street.
I'll give you two guesses as to what it was called....
|Market Street - an old photograph.|
In Jesamiah's time there would only have been the left hand side buildings
... Answer:- The Full Moon.
an OMG spine shiver moment! I had no idea when I chose that name for my fictitious tavern!