In the early 19th century, the Master of Bideford Grammar School lived in a house roughly on this site. In 1871, it was replaced by ‘Public Rooms’ which became the Palace Cinema. The cinema closed in 1962, replaced by a supermarket which was later used as a furnishing store. The premises are now named after the heroine of Westward Ho! This famous historical novel is set in Bideford, where it was written by Charles Kingsley in 1854.
A plaque documenting the history of The Rose Salterne.
The plaque reads: These licensed premises are named after the heroine of Westward Ho!. This famous historical novel is set in Bideford, where it was written by Charles Kingsley, in 1854. In the early 19th century the Rev. Alford, Master of Bideford Grammar School, live in a house more or less on this site. It was replaced by a set of public rooms, in 1871, which later became the Palace Cinema. The cinema closed in 1962 and was, itself, replaced by Ford & Lock’s supermarket, later a carpet and furnishing store and now a Wetherspoon freehouse.
These premises were refurbished by J D Wetherspoon in June 2013.
A photograph and text about The Rose Salterne.
The text reads: The Rose Salterne is situated in Bridgeland Street and is named after the heroine of Charles Kinsley’s famous novel Westward Ho!. A small seaside town, named Westward Ho!, was built after the book’s publication and is the only town in the United Kingdom which officially contains an exclamation mark in its name. The above picture shows the unveiling of the Kingsley Statue in Bideford on 7 February 1906.
The novel was written in just six months in 1854, set initially in Bideford during the reign of Elizabeth I, Westward Ho! follows the adventures of Amyas Leigh, an unruly child who as a young man follows Francis Drake to sea. Amyas loves local beauty Rose Salterne who is described as ‘a beautiful girl of 18, that half of North Devon was mad about’. Much of the novel involves the kidnap of Rose by a Spaniard.
Amyas spends time in the Caribbean seeking gold and eventually returns to England at the time of the Spanish Armada, finding his true love, the beautiful Indian maiden Ayacanora, in the process; yet fate had blundered and brought misfortune into Amyas’ life, for not only had he been blinded by a freak bolt of lightning at sea, but he also loses his brother Frank Leigh and Rose Salterne, who were caught by the Spaniards and burnt at the stake by the Inquisition.
Around the time that Kingsley wrote his famous novel, Bideford was the third largest port in the country, primarily involved in the Newfoundland cod trade and by the year 1700, 28 Bideford vessels with a tonnage of 3860 were involved in this. The port was also involved with the transport of Irish wool and tobacco, Sir Walter Raleigh landed his first shipment of tobacco here in 1578.
The site of The Rose Salterne was originally the house of Rev. Henry Alford, Master of Bideford Grammar School which was established in 1689. In 1869 the house was developed and work began to create a set of public rooms which included a music hall with an orchestra and room for 700 patrons, the works were completed in 1871.
A photograph of Bridgeland Street, Bideford, c1900.
External photograph of the building – main entrance.
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