Ashburton was one of Moor than meets the eye’s pilot Parishcapes parishes alongside Moretonhampstead, Lustleigh and North Bovey. The Guild of St Lawrence, who manage the grade II listed St Lawrence Chapel, have developed a comprehensive research project which will look into all aspects of medieval Ashburton.


Medieval Ashburton

Ashburton was one of Moor than meets the eye’s pilot Parishscapes parishes alongside Moretonhampstead, Lustleigh and North Bovey. It was also the first parish to receive a Parishscapes grant, awarded  to The Guild of St Lawrence.

The Guild, who manage the grade II listed St Lawrence Chapel, has developed a comprehensive history project which is researching many  aspects of medieval Ashburton. Their project was launched at the well-attended Guild of St Lawrence AGM in April 2015 and was followed by an entertaining and lively talk on Ashburton’s Beating the Bounds walk by David Crook.

The first year of the history project focused on medieval bridges, roads, watercourses and buildings and was rounded off with a talk given by Paul Rendell on 'Tracks, Roads and Railways on Dartmoor' in February 2017. An Ashburton Children's Activity Book, based on the town's history and heritage, was published and launched in Spring 2017. The project also supported a booklet titled 'Ashburton Town History' which includes paintings by local  primary school children.

In year two of the project research continued into medieval culture, industry (tin, wool and farming) and everyday life and has involved schools, local youth and community groups, the history society, as well as local residents. Due to its diverse nature, there is ‘something for everyone’.  

In February 2017 a project focused on the design of church roof bosses got underway, involving the Bank Youth Group and primary school with the work from this project exhibited in the Summer 2017.

Delivery of the various projects involves a wide range of activities which includes the following:

  • A talk on 'Beating the Bounds'
  • A visit to the Devon Rural Archive and Shilstone House
  • A choir festival
  • Town walks for AWOL and the SW branch of the Devonshire Society
  • Entry in the Devon Museums handbook for Ashburton Museum and for the Guild, with on-going developments to improve working relationships, including a fund raising event

Next steps...

If you live in the parish of Ashburton and would like to get involved in this project, please contact the Community Heritage Officer, Emma Stockley who will put you in touch with a member of the Guild of St Lawrence.  Newcomers to historical research are especially welcomed and there are plenty of opportunities to participate.
01822 890 904
07749 855 373

As part of the project an archaeological report on St Andrews church was produced. Read a copy of it here

Related Articles


Parishscapes will help local communities to come together to explore their parish landscape and discover the heritage within it. Moor than meets the eye will help communities by providing a toolkit of resources and a grant scheme. This will enable local communities to make decisions about their heritage and develop projects that celebrate, care for and increase understanding of and improve the heritage of the parish-landscape.

Read more

North Bovey

North Bovey was one of the very first parishes to get involved in Moor than meets the eye Parishscapes with projects as diverse as replacing the village boundary stone, undertaking research for the Dark Skies initiative and researching the history of the local wool industry.

Read more

Launch of new Parishscape project for Bovey Tracey

Granite Elements the new Bovey Tracey Parishscapes project is holding its launch on Tuesday 1st March at Colehayes Field Study Centre.To set the scene for the Granite Elements project there will be an illustrated talk by Dartmoor author Dr Tom Greeves on 'Dartmoor's granite legacy- People and place '.This will be followed by an opportunity for people interested in the project to get together and share ideas over afternoon tea. Granite Elements will use a series of walks, talks, demonstrations and workshops to explore the Granite Tramway around Bovey Tracey. Local groups will be researching the heritage of the Granite being quarried at Haytor this underpins the project and how it has impacted on the local community.

Read more

Last update: 04 May 2018 12:00pm