Tipton St. John is a small village in East Devon with a population
of about 350. For me it has always been a 'half-way there' place.
Located in the centre of a triangle formed by Sidmouth, Ottery St. Mary
and Newton Poppleford, all places I lived while growing up, I seemed to
have walked, cycled, taken buses, and driven through Tipton hundreds of
times but stopped only very rarely.
Tipton was on the route of the most ambitious school sponsored walk when I was at Kings School. When working during summer vacations, picking fruit at Four Elms Fruit Farm, near Newton Poppleford, it was on my cycle route from Ottery. When living in Sidmouth it was on the school bus route to Kings, and in the summer on my cycle route to church in Ottery too. After passing my driving test, I used to pass near Tipton when taking my younger sister to her piano lessons in Sidmouth, and so on.
When traveling from Sidmouth to Ottery St. Mary, along Sidmouth Road, you descend down a long hill and turn left at Coombe Cross, the first cross roads you come to. You then drop down a short steep slope into Tipton to end a very pleasurable couple of fast, free-wheeling miles on a bike, but marking the start of a grinding, long climb when cycling in the opposite direction.
The village is spread over both sides of a bridge over the River Otter. On this side of the bridge are the Golden Lion pub, a traditional village store, and mix of older and newer housing, a large recreation field, and a local garage. The Golden Lion pub has enjoyed good reputation for as long as I can remember, and the large, round window in the thatched house called Little Barton (pictured above) has always fascinated me.
On the far side of the bridge over the river are the small primary school, St John the Evangelist parish church after which the village is named, and a few more houses.
St John the Evangelist Parish church
One mode of transport I was too young to ever pass through Tipton on
was the train. The track used to run down close to the River Otter from
Ottery St. Mary into Tipton
St John Station. The old station building has been converted into a
house called Station House. After the station, the track continued
south crossing the road at a level crossing between the Golden Lion and
where the local garage now stands. The track then split with one line
heading off to Sidmouth and the other to Budleigh Salterton. Opened in
1874, the station was eventually closed in 1967 with the track being
removed soon after.
The history of the village itself, is of course, much older dating back at least as far as the Doomsday Book.