Axes come in various lengths and have done for thousands of years, indeed the normal length of a Stone-age axe is around seven inches (18cm) but they varied between 1-20 inches. Bronze-age axes were on the whole smaller and while there are examples around the ten inch mark most were around half that. During the fifteenth century an axe became a common tavern sign and curiously enough the Axe and Gate was the name of a pub that formerly occupied the site of No.10 Downing Street, London SW1 – it closed two hundred years ago in 1802.
The Axe that gives its name to Axe Close, Efford, however is a different axe altogether, this one is 21 miles long and meanders through Dorset and Devon, reaching the sea to the east of Seaton, at Axmouth. The river name itself, like so many others, is of Celtic origin and is another word for water – just like the neighbouring Exe.