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  • Writer's pictureGethin Thomas

Car Tour 1, Ashburton Craftmonger

Part 2 of the tour and I am still in Ashburton with another nibble of the town. Craftmonger is a new one on me and why not? For more on mongers see part 1.

They must be a crafty bunch in Ashburton. Crafty is one of those words with very different meanings so be careful how you use it.

Crafty -

1. clever at achieving one's aims by indirect or deceitful methods.

2. involving the making of decorative objects and other things by hand.

I am going to give the people of Ashburton the benefit of the doubt as I don't know them personally, and will assume that a Craftmonger sells supplies to enable the crafting of decorative objects and hand made Objets D'art, not supplies for deceiving people. I must investigate this shop on my next visit as we only had one hour on the car park so it was a dip of the toe in the waters of The Ashburn as far as the town went.

This grand façade below is a veritable house of cards, and I don't mean it is about to collapse. When I took the photo I only noticed the small heart shape cut outs in red, between the middle windows. As I focussed on my PC screen I started to notice other familiar shapes, at first Clubs then Spades and eventually Diamonds. I have never seen such an intricate decoration on a house before. Believe it or not, the ground floor was an everyday mini supermarket. I'm not sure if you can have a mini and super market in one, mini sounds small and super sounds big. Anyway it was a major name and a small store so maybe that works.

This is Card House of course, once a Gaming House. A Grade 2 star, English Heritage listed building.

"Ashburton’s other geographical advantage was its siting on the principal highway around the southern fringe of the moor. This must always have been an important factor in its success as a market town, but it was to assume much greater importance as the coaching industry grew during the 17th and 18th centuries. Ideally placed as a staging post halfway between Exeter and Plymouth, the town exploited this fact to the full by building several coaching inns and providing entertainments that might encourage travellers to stop in the town, such as cock fighting, bull baiting and gambling at the aptly named ‘House of Cards’ in North Street."

This building below is also unusual for having wooden shingles attached. This is not a common sight around here. Interestingly one half either seem to have weathered differently or to have been replaced at a different time.

Unmistakably an old bank, below, just from the style of the building, even before you notice the faded "Midland Bank Limited". The Youth project that has occupied it has kept the name Bank.

The Bank Youth Project makes sure young people have exciting things to do in a space you can call your own. Here you can meet, relax, be creative, have fun, make friends and develop your interests and skills.

Since we started running BYP it has:

– Grown in popularity

– Helped reduce crime and antisocial behaviour

– Helped young people grow into adults

– Brought young people and the communities in which you live closer together

Again unmistakably from it's design, a Public Toilet, below, even before you notice the little figures on the doors. Many of these facilities fast disappearing as increasingly we as a society do not seem to have a pot to Pi** in. This one quite an attractive Art Deco influence perhaps?

Not have a pot to pi** in - To have no money or possessions. To be very poor.

Incredibly, our local public loos are now credit card contactless. So if you are desperate, and without change, you can still manage to "spend a penny" or twenty in this case.

When you get your monthly Credit Card Statement they appear like some sort of tax avoidance corporate gobbledegook. Little twenty pence extractions from your account to P. Well Holdings Offshore, or something like that.

There are some very fine town houses in Ashburton. 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 of Dartmoor.

The town's name derives from the Old English æsc-burna-tun meaning 'farm/settlement with a stream frequented by ash trees'. That stream or river is the River Ashburn rising near Ripon Tor on Dartmoor. It is a tributary of the River Dart.

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 General followed them here and they fled again while the General enjoyed the delights of The Mermaid Inn. Again see Part 1.

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.

That's why these tables and chairs are vacant. It seems to me doubly careless to lose both your brewer and his pop.

Wikipedia ought to know a lot better than even hinting that there are other types of Champagne. The Champagne brewers of Champagne are notoriously litigious. Maybe they sent some people to Ashburton in 1765, if you know what I mean. Personally I would open up that suspicious looking blocked up aperture in the wall at the back of the Town Hall. A case for Hercule Poirot. Agatha Christie only lived a few miles from here.

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 Official Monster Raving Loony Party (OMRLP) is a political party established in the United Kingdom in 1983 by the musician David Sutch, also known as "Screaming Lord Sutch, 3rd Earl of Harrow", or simply "Lord Sutch". It is notable for its deliberately bizarre policies and it effectively exists to satirise British politics, and to offer itself as an alternative for protest voters, especially in constituencies where the party holding a safe seat is unlikely to lose it.

Screaming Lord Sutch committed suicide on 16 June 1999 while suffering from clinical depression. The running of the OMRLP fell to Alan "Howling Laud" Hope and his cat, Catmando. For over a decade, his hotel The Golden Lion in Ashburton (referred to by some in the party as "The Mucky Mog") was the party's headquarters and conference centre.

This isn't it, just a window I liked.

John Wesley who was a leader of a revival movement within the Church of England known as Methodism once declared that Ashburton was the most heathen town he had ever visited. Apparently though, this was a claim he made about most towns through which he passed.

On recent venturings forth I am starting to notice a definite yellow and blue theme appearing all over the place. This colour combination along with sunflowers is proving very popular at the moment.

Although the coming of the railway did not bring the hoped-for

prosperity, it nevertheless helped to establish an industrial area in the

town, with the construction of stores and sheds alongside and a plant for

the processing of locally mined umber.

The Railway Inn, which was renamed The Silent Whistle when the railway station eventually closed. The station only operated for 84 years. There is currently a proposal being investigated to return Heritage Rail services to the station, from nearby Buckfastleigh. If that does happen will the pub be renamed again?

In 1874 William Baker was summoned for allowing intoxicating liquor to be consumed at the Railway Inn at midnight on April 18th. Mr E Windeatt, defending, said that the man in question had drunk two glasses of peppermint, and that peppermint was not an intoxicating liquor. The case was dismissed. (Old Ashburton)

That reminds me of a joke.

Two Irish men go on a dream trip to The Vatican City hoping to see the Pope. They go into a bar and ask for a drink. They ask the barman what the Pope drinks. He says Creme de Menthe. So they say, we'll have two pints of Creme de Menthe. They wake up the next day in an alley with very sore heads and one turns to the other and says, "No wonder they have to carry him around in a chair".

The Old Exeter Inn, advertises "Crafty Beer" on their website. I refer my honourable colleagues to my answer above, re. craftiness.

"Elizabeth I was dead and heir, King James I, had issued a warrant for the arrest of the late Queen’s Favourite.

England’s most famous explorer was once again a wanted man. Tucked away beneath the wild skies of Dartmoor stood a dark Inn of long-standing. Within the old walls and beneath the twisting beams, candles flickered and guttered, casting long shadows across the tables as the landlord poured ale from a barrel beside a huge granite fireplace. Sir Walter Raleigh sat quietly in a corner of the Old Exeter Inn, his boot heels resting on the hearth’s edge. He knew the Inn well. His thoughts were of the past, his family and the many nights he and Sir Francis Drake had been found deep in their cups at the Exeter.

The company in the Inn quietened, their song drifting away to a murmur and a memory. They could hear the harness of horses and the heavy tread of soldiers. Raleigh shrugged. He knew what was coming."

The Old Exeter was established 1130 A.D. and has been going for almost 900 years making it one of the Oldest Inns of the World. Sir Walter Raleigh was arrested here on July 19 1603, for treason against King James I. He was taken directly from the Exeter Inn to the Tower of London where he remained until his execution in 1616.

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6 則留言

David Nurse
David Nurse

Interesting. Monster Raving looney party elected here. You've got to just love it. I bought a Screaming Lord Sutch album back in the day it wasn't great, but sad to hear of his depression and suicide.

On the subject of spending a penny, public conveniences seem to be disappearing at an alarming rate these days, or do I just notice it now I'm getting older?

Gethin Thomas
Gethin Thomas

That's weird I only checked your Blogger site a couple of days ago just before you posted those recent ones. Thought maybe you had moved somewhere else. Glad you are better. Will have a look at those.



If you were here, you'd notice my jaw on the floor. Some really stunning pov on your part of beautiful architecture. Wish there was a way to like each photo. Another great post.

Gethin Thomas
Gethin Thomas

Thanks. More to come on this tour with some interesting things.

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