The village of Ide covers about 1600 acres and lies 2 miles S.W. of Exeter in a small valley-
the Alphinbrook-a tributary of the river Exe. The Exeter Domesday Book records a manor of Ide or Ida which “paid geld for 2 hides” and there was “land for 6 ploughs” and it was “worth 40 shillings” (£2). The name of the village is thought to be derived from a church dedicated to the German saint Ida (pronounced with the initial E sound). There are strong reasons to believe that Bishop Leofric set up the first church in Ide some time after 1057 but the present church building only dates from 1834 ,the previous one having been demolished as it was in a dangerous state. It is thought that it is the only church in England to be dedicated to St. Ida and it is now part of a Mission Community with Alphington and Shillingford St. George.
Historically “the majority of Ide’s residents lived in the village itself in a long street where many picturesque cottages, with thatched roofs and olde-worlde gardens give no hint of the nearness of Exeter from which indeed that are entirely hidden by surrounding hills” and most people worked in the village itself and many were involved in the woollen or serge “industry”. Like most English villages Ide has seen many changes in its character since 1900 but despite the Agrarian and Industrial “Revolutions” population numbers have not fluctuated greatly due to the proximity of Exeter for work.
At the turn of the C20th there were 6 shops, (2 bakers, 2 butchers and 2 general stores), a working mill, a brew house, a wheelwright, a blacksmith, a primary school, a congregational chapel, a policeman, a midwife and 2 doctors. The majority of the population worked on the
6 farms or in service in the large houses such as Pole House and Ide House and there was a railway station on the old Teign Valley line which closed in 1958.
Despite the early fears about the loss of the beautiful valley with the building of the A30 in the early 1970’s -“Green Vales I have always loved thee” –Vale of Ide (Sir John Bowering 1792-1872) it is generally agreed that the dual carriageway has been the saving of the village as an autonomous settlement and it is a thriving and busy community today. Although the both the Church and Chapel do not see the larger and regular congregations of the 19th century they still play an important role in village life with a variety of regular services. St. Ida’s church is used for special concerts, as a venue for “Ide Aloud” – the village’s own singing group. It also runs messy Church, Toddler group and organises the summer fete and winter bazaar. The chapel has a weekly café, runs holiday activities for local children and hosts a film evening once a month.
The Primary School has gone through several changes. The greatest number of pupils on the roll was in 1904 with 181 children, though by 1982, after its designation as a 5-8 First school, it had fallen to just 19 pupils but its good reputation and another reorganisation to become a 5-11 years Primary School has resulted in a significant increase to 114 children drawn from a catchment of 15 miles and a 5th classroom has recently been added. There is a pre- school on site and the Mother’s Union run a Mother and Toddler group.
With the closure of the last shop and Post Office in the High Street in 2009 a Community Shop was opened in a porta-cabin in the car park and was such a success that after much hard fund-raising work and a community share scheme, a brand new facility was built next door to the Memorial Hall at the entrance to the village in 2013. The Memorial Hall started life as a Church Institute and was sold to the parish after WW2. Since then much has been done to the old structure but it is now out-dated and there is a lack of parking. At the time of writing much discussion is going on as to its future. It is well used for a wide range of activities by both village residents and people from further afield.
There are still 2 thriving pubs – the thatched Huntsman Inn at the bottom of the High street and the Poachers at the top. Both offer good food and community activities such as the Ide folk group and the twinning group’s pub quizzes. (Ide is twinned with Canteloup and Cleville, two small villages in Normandy)
There is only one working farm in the village now- the organic Westown farm which is also heavily involved in an arts and education programme and offers rustic settings for parties and travelling theatre groups etc. The Church continues to own a substantial amount of the surrounding land and is tenanted out to other farmers.
Most people commute elsewhere to work but there are several small businesses in the village which include Sculpher’s photographers, Wood burning stoves supplier, Stratton and Holborow offices in Pole House, 2 bed and breakfast establishments, a hairdresser and a steady increase of people working from home.
Leisure activities are on the increase but the facilities are scattered and inadequate.The parish of Ide does not have much flat land and what there is, is owned by the Church Commissioners and is liable to flood. Ide Cricket club has been active for many years and uses land near Westtown. The football and rugby clubs have seen a revival and though the rugby team is currently able to use Church Commissioner’s land at Weir Meadow the footballers have to go out of the village. Badminton can be played in the school hall. There is a netball team (but no court in the village) and likewise there are no public tennis courts, though the school MUGA (multi use games area) does provide some community space at the expense of some of the allotments behind the school.
There has been some new Housing built within the past 40 years – the old station area, on the site of the old vicarage, on land at Pole House, Drake’s Farm and Cann’s farm and the occasional infill and all have been “quite tastefully executed and not likely to make the purist object”! There is little room within the building line and the sewage system, narrow roads and lack of parking would not be capable of supporting much increase in building