Ashburton is a small town on the south-southeastern edge of Dartmoor in Devon, adjacent to the A38.
It was formerly important as a stannary town (a centre for the administration of tin-mining), and remains the largest town within the National Park, with a population of around 3,800, increasing to 4,170 in 2011. Ashburton has five pubs within the centre of town, and two restaurants. The town is also part of the electoral ward named Ashburton and Buckfastleigh. The population at the 2011 census was 7,718.
The name is recorded in the Domesday Book (1086) as Essebretone. Ashburton was then the main town of the Parish of Ashburton, in Teignbridge Hundred. During the English Civil War, Ashburton was a temporary refuge for Royalist troops fleeing after their defeat by General Fairfax at nearby Bovey Tracey.
The town was the terminus of the Buckfastleigh, Totnes and South Devon Railway that opened on 1 May 1872. Ashburton railway station closed to passengers in November 1958 although goods traffic on the line continued until 7 September 1962.
Ashburton used to be famous for a beverage known as Ashburton Pop, possibly a type of champagne, the recipe of which was lost with the brewer in 1765.
Ashburton Carnival is one of the oldest, possibly the oldest, surviving in Devon. Written records date it back to 1891, but it is believed to have been started in the mid-1880s to raise funds for a new hospital.
Ashburton Golf Club (now defunct) was founded in 1910. The club continued into the 1920s.
Ashburton was the first place to elect a candidate of the Official Monster Raving Loony Party to public office. The candidate was Alan Hope, a local publican, who was elected unopposed to Ashburton Town Council in 1989. He subsequently became Deputy Mayor and later Mayor of Ashburton.
The town is one of a few to still annually appoint a Portreeve or 'port warden'. Others are Laugharne, Beccles, Callington (where the name is given to the council chairman), Cheevel, and Yeovil.
Sites of interest
The parish church of St Andrew is a fine building of the 15th century with a tall tower and two aisle. The fifteenth-century church tower features sculptures by Herbert Read, who also carved the oak reredos. One window has stained glass designed by C. E. Kempe. The porch is partly Norman.
The historic St Lawrence Chapel is a unique and important Grade ll* Listed Building situated in St. Lawrence Lane in the heart of Ashburton. Originally a Chantry Chapel and subsequently for over 600 years a Grammar School, St. Lawrence Chapel is now an important Heritage, Cultural and Community Centre, managed by the Guild of St. Lawrence. Ref Chapel web site
Saint Gudula Well and Cross in Old Totnes Road is probably named after St Gulval, also honoured at Gulval in Cornwall.
The Rippon Tor Rifle Range lies within five miles of Ashburton.
- Creedy, Sandford
- Official town website
- Ashburton, Devon at DMOZ
- Devon Local Studies - Ashburton community page
- Ashburton in the Domesday Book
- official Chapel website