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Ashburton, a parish, market town, and disfranchised borough, is 19 miles S.W. by W. of Exeter, 24 miles N.E. by E. of Plymouth, 20 miles E. by S. of Tavistock, 7 miles N.W. of Totnes, 193 miles W.S.W. of London, and about 7 miles W. by S. of the South Devon Railway station at Newton Abbot. The parish is in Newton Abbot union and county court district, Teignbridge petty sessional division and hundred, Ashburton polling district of East Devon, Totnes archdeaconry, and Moreton rural deanery. It had 2952 inhabitants (1375 males and 1577 females) in 1871, living in 581 houses, on 6966 acres of land. The surface of the land is picturesquely diversified with hills and valleys, and the soil is generally fertile, though it is skirted on the east by the lofty hills and barren summits of Dartmoor Forest. The town is pleasantly seated in a fertile valley, opening to the southward, and watered by the Yeo rivulet, which runs through and partly under the town, and falls into the Dart, about a mile below. Ashburton is the terminus of the Ashburton and Buckfastleigh branch of the South Devon Railway. This branch, which is now worked by the Great Western Company, was opened on May 1, 1871. The town consists of two long streets, traversing it from east to west, and two others leading north to south. The serge and blanket manufacture was formerly extensively carried on here, about £100,000 worth being made annually, but the mills have been removed to the adjoining parish of Buckfastleigh. In the adjacent part of Dartmoor are several tin and copper mines; and in 1285 Edward I. made Ashburton a stannary town. Ashburton has been variously writtten Aysheberton, Aishberton, and Asperton (as in Domesday).
Transcribed from History, Gazetteer and Directory of Devon, by William White, 2nd edition, 1878-9