Sister Cities of the World

Sister cities of Swimbridge

Swimbridge (historical spelling: Swymbridge) is a village in the English county of Devon. It is 4 miles (6.4 km) south-east of Barnstaple and twinned with the town of St.Honorine Du Fay in Normandy, France. The name Swimbridge originates from the clergyman Sawin Birige. Sawin was a founder of a chapelry at Swymbridge in Anglo-Saxon times. Sawin held lands around the village and the lands were known as Birige.

Before the shifting of parish boundaries in 2003, the size of the parish was 7,280 acres (29.5 km2); one of the largest in North Devon.

The village is noted for its church (The Parish Church of St. James; tower ca. 1300) which has before been described as a treasure house due to its fine carvings and memorials.

The village is also famed as the home of the Rev. John "Jack" Russell who first bred Parson Jack Russell terriers. The Reverend Russell is said to have brought his first terrier, Trump, whilst he was studying at Oxford University and then bred from her to eventually originate the Parson Jack Russell strain of terrier. John Russell died in 1883 and his grave can be found in the graveyard of St. James's Church; the village pub is named after him and his breed of terrier.

From 1873 to 1966, Swimbridge had a station on the Devon and Somerset Railway, which became part of the Great Western Railway and which ran from Taunton to Barnstaple. The alignment of the railway line through Swimbridge station is now part of the North Devon Link Road.

The main industry of Swimbridge, apart from farming, until 1965 was tanning.

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