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24 September 2014

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Home town banner - Ashburton
John Germon
John Germon
John Germon was born and bred in the stannary town of Ashburton. As Town Clerk John is very involved with his community - especially at carnival time - and he's an expert on the history of the town. So who better to take you on a guided tour?

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John Germon's Devon Dialect

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The town's past prosperity is based on tin mining and the woollen industry.

Ashburton is one of only four Stannary Towns in Devon.

Tin was mined in the area as far back as Roman times.


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I am prejudiced, but not only do I live in the best County in the England, as far as I am concerned I also live in the best town in England.

Let me give you a small insight into the Ancient Stannary (tin mining) Town of Ashburton.

The centre of town is known as "The Bull Ring". Fences used to be placed along the pavement and the cattle etc would be gathered in the centre for sale. You can still see on the kerb stones the holes where the fences used to fit.

The kerbs by the way are made from the famous Ashburton stone, another example of this stone can be seen at the Barbican foot way in Plymouth.

Ashburton Town Hall
The Town Hall in Ashburton with clock tower and weather vane

Looking up North Street you will see the Town Hall.

In 1848 Lord Clinton built a new Market Hall after the ancient Market House was demolished.

Lord Clifford's Market Hall was an open and arcade pannier market and later turned into the Town Hall you see today.

The arches are clearly visible when viewed from North Street and the clock tower is a very similar form to the tower on the old Market House.

The bridge leading to the Car Park is Kings Bridge and you can clearly see the small leat, which fed the Town Mill.

As young boys we were told not to hang around Kings Bridge after dark as 'Cutty Dyer' the evil water sprite would seek out children, cut their throats and drink their blood!!!

An old wives tale or a story to keep children away from this area? Who knows, the only thing I know is it worked for me!

Ashburton Leat
Watch out for Cutty Dyer

In North Street you will see a small supermarket, this is a slate hung frontage and is carved the four suits of a pack of cards.

This was formally a Gaming House. (Ah the good old day's) 'Churches' Iron mongers, formally 'The Mermaid Inn' has a medieval granite arched doorway where General Fairfax the Civil War Roundhead leader stayed.

Anything you need and have not been able to find can be obtained in Churches, it is an amazing shop.

Now wander into East Street and look for No. 31, it has a fish-scale slate frontage, as you stand with your back to this building look up above Lang's the Butchers and observe what must be one of the best slate chimneys you will find in Ashburton.

At the top of East Street is the recently renovated 'Golden Lion Hotel, built in 1790, now known as Golden Lion House.

Just opposite at Roborough Lane, which by the way was the main road to London, you will see a grand water conduit, this used to supply water to the town.

As you walk around Ashburton you will see many small water tapes recessed in the buildings.

End graphic more on Ashburton Go

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