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The White Ball Inn

Discover the history of lace making in Tiverton.

8 Bridge Street, Tiverton, Devon, EX16 5LY

This pub has continued the name of the former coaching inn which had stood on this site since 1823.

A photograph and text about Joyce Wethered. 

The text reads: Joyce Wethered, considered to be the greatest female golfer of all time, was born on 17 November 1901 in Witley, Surrey. She won the English Ladies Championship five consecutive times in 1920, and won the British Women’s Championship four times in six attempts. Bobby James, billed as the most famous golfer in history said “I had never played golf with anyone, man or woman, amateur or professional, who made me feel so utterly outclassed”.

In 1937, Joyce Wethered married Sir John Heathcoat-Amory, becoming Lady Heathcoat-Amory, and lived at Knighthayes House near Tiverton.

Joyce died on Wednesday 20 November 1997, at the age of 96.

A painting and text about John Heathcoat.

The text reads: John Heathcoat was born in the village of Duffield, near Derby, in 1783.

He established a lace making factory at Loughborough. On the night of 28 June, 1816, the factory was attacked by Luddites. That summer he bought a new wool factory in Tiverton, which had previously closed in 1815. Loyal craftsmen made the 200 mile journey to Tiverton on foot.

The factory was a great success. John Heathcoat invented the new bobbin-net machine, a ‘kind of mechanical pillow’ which could imitate real pillow lace but much faster. By 1822 the factory was employing over 1,500 people.

John Heathcoat built the first West County factory school, which opened on New Year’s Day in 1843 to educate the children of parents of all denominations.

He became an MP in December 1832 but remained a back bencher until his death in 1861.

The net for Queen Elizabeth II’s wedding veil was made at the Tiverton factory.

A photograph of Queen Elizabeth II, wearing the veil.

Text about Bridge Street.

The text reads: The bridge was originally built some time before 1400 but rebuilt after the floods of the 1960s. The White Ball Inn was owned by the Mary Rice charity and in 1697 the rent was a mere £31 a year.

If you have information on the history of this pub, then we’d like you to share it with us. Please e-mail all information to: