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Totnes
Totnes
(/ˈtɒtnɪs/ or /tɒtˈnɛs/) is a market town and civil parish at the head of the estuary of the River Dart
River Dart
in Devon, England within the South Devon
Devon
Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It is about 22 miles (35 km) south-west of Exeter
Exeter
and is the administrative centre of the South Hams
South Hams
District Council. Totnes
Totnes
has a long recorded history, dating back to AD 907, when its first castle was built. By the twelfth century it was already an important market town, and its former wealth and importance may be seen from the number of merchants' houses built in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Today, the town is a thriving centre for music, art, theatre and natural health. It has a sizeable alternative and "New Age" community, and is known as a place where one can live a bohemian lifestyle.[1] Two electoral wards mention Totnes
Totnes
(Bridgetown and Town). Their combined populations at the 2011 UK Census
2011 UK Census
was 8,076.[2][3]

Contents

1 History

1.1 Ancient and medieval history 1.2 Modern history

2 Governance 3 Geography 4 Economy 5 Landmarks 6 Transport 7 Education 8 Notable people 9 In popular culture 10 See also 11 References 12 External links

History[edit] Ancient and medieval history[edit] According to the Historia Regum Britanniae
Historia Regum Britanniae
written by Geoffrey of Monmouth in around 1136, "the coast of Totnes" was where Brutus of Troy, the mythical founder of Britain, first came ashore on the island.[4] Set into the pavement of Fore Street is the 'Brutus Stone', a small granite boulder[5] onto which, according to local legend, Brutus first stepped from his ship. As he did so, he was supposed to have declaimed:[6]

Here I stand and here I rest. And this town shall be called Totnes.

The Brutus Stone in Fore Street

The stone is far above the highest tides and the tradition is not likely to be of great antiquity, being first mentioned in John Prince's Worthies of Devon
Devon
in 1697.[6] It is possible that the stone was originally the one from which the town crier, or bruiter called his bruit or news; or it may be le Brodestone, a boundary stone mentioned in several 15th century disputes: its last-known position in 1471 was below the East Gate.[6] Also according to the Historia, Ambrosius Aurelius and his brother Uther Pendragon
Uther Pendragon
landed at Totnes
Totnes
to win back the throne of Britain from the usurper Vortigern. Despite this legendary history, the first authenticated history of Totnes
Totnes
is in AD 907, when it was fortified by King Edward the Elder as part of the defensive ring of burhs built around Devon, replacing one built a few years earlier at nearby Halwell.[7] The site was chosen because it was on an ancient trackway which forded the river at low tide.[7] Between the reigns of Edgar and William II (959–1100) Totnes
Totnes
intermittently minted coins.[8] Some time between the Norman Conquest and the compilation of the Domesday Book, William the Conqueror granted the burh to Juhel of Totnes, who was probably responsible for the first construction of the castle. Juhel did not retain his lordship for long, however, as he was deprived of his lands in 1088 or 1089, for rebelling against William II.[8] The name Totnes
Totnes
(first recorded in AD 979) comes from the Old English personal name Totta and ness or headland.[9] Before reclamation and development, the low-lying areas around this hill were largely marsh or tidal wetland, giving the hill much more the appearance of a "ness" than today. By the 12th century, Totnes
Totnes
was already an important market town, due to its position on one of the main roads of the South West, in conjunction with its easy access to its hinterland and the easy navigation of the River Dart.[10] Modern history[edit] By 1523, according to a tax assessment, Totnes
Totnes
was the second richest town in Devon, and the sixteenth richest in England, ahead of Worcester, Gloucester
Gloucester
and Lincoln.[7] In 1553, King Edward VI granted Totnes
Totnes
a charter allowing a former Benedictine
Benedictine
priory building that had been founded in 1088 to be used as Totnes Guildhall
Totnes Guildhall
and a school. In 1624, the Guildhall was converted to be a magistrate's court. Soldiers were billeted here during the English Civil War
English Civil War
and Oliver Cromwell visited for discussions with the general and parliamentary commander-in-chief Thomas Fairfax, 3rd Lord Fairfax of Cameron
Thomas Fairfax, 3rd Lord Fairfax of Cameron
in 1646.[11] Until 1887, the Guildhall was also used as the town prison with the addition of prison cells.[12] It remained a magistrate's court until 1974.

In 2006 Totnes
Totnes
become the first Transition town
Transition town
of the transition initiative.[13] Permaculture
Permaculture
designer Rob Hopkins
Rob Hopkins
developed this idea with his students and later with Naresh Giangrande developed the transition model in his home town of Totnes, which has since featured in many articles and films showing this concept. Governance[edit] Totnes' borough charter was granted by King John, probably around 1206; at any rate, the 800th anniversary of the charter was celebrated in 2006. Totnes
Totnes
lost its borough status in local government reorganisation in 1974. Totnes
Totnes
was served by Totnes
Totnes
electoral borough from 1295 until the reform act of 1867, but was restored by the 1884 Franchise Act. The constituency of Totnes
Totnes
was abolished a second time in 1983, and formed part of the South Hams
South Hams
constituency until 1997, when it was restored as the Totnes
Totnes
county constituency: as such it returns one MP to Parliament. In August 2009, Totnes
Totnes
became the first constituency to select the Conservative PPC through an open primary that was organised by the local Conservative Association. Current MP, Dr Sarah Wollaston, won the Totnes
Totnes
primary in August 2009, and went on to be elected to Parliament at the 2010 general election. In 2009, Totnes
Totnes
Rural was the only county division in Devon
Devon
to elect a Green councillor.[14] Totnes
Totnes
has a mayor who is elected by the sixteen town councillors each year.[15] Follaton House, on the outskirts of the town, is the headquarters of the South Hams
South Hams
District Council.[16] The town is twinned with the French town of Vire,[17] after which Vire
Vire
Island on the River Dart
River Dart
near the "Plains" is named. There is also a local longstanding joke that Totnes
Totnes
is twinned with the fantasy land of Narnia.[18] Geography[edit]

The River Dart
River Dart
at Totnes

The town is built on a hill rising from the west bank of the River Dart, which separates Totnes
Totnes
from the suburb of Bridgetown. It is at the lowest bridging point of the river which here is tidal and forms a winding estuary down to the sea at Dartmouth. The river continues to be tidal for about 1 mile (1.6 km) above the town, until it meets Totnes
Totnes
Weir, built in the 17th century. Today there are two road bridges, a railway bridge and a footbridge over the river in the town. Totnes
Totnes
Bridge is the nearest bridge to the sea and is a road bridge built in 1826–28 by Charles Fowler.[19] At low tide the foundations of the previous stone bridge are visible just upstream—it was probably built in the early 13th century and widened in 1692. Before the first stone bridge was built there was almost certainly a wooden bridge here, and a tidal ford for heavy vehicles was just downstream.[20] In 1982 a new concrete bridge was built about 1,000 feet (300 m) upstream as part of the Totnes
Totnes
inner relief road. Its name, Brutus Bridge, was chosen by the local residents.[21] A further 0.5 miles (0.80 km) upstream, the railway bridge carries the National Rail
National Rail
Exeter
Exeter
to Plymouth
Plymouth
line over the river. Immediately upstream of the railway bridge is a footbridge, built in 1993 to provide access to the Totnes
Totnes
(Riverside) terminus of the South Devon
Devon
Railway.[22] Economy[edit] Totnes
Totnes
has attracted a sizeable "alternative" community, and the town is known as a place where one can live a "New Age" lifestyle.[23][24] There are a number of facilities for artists, painters and musicians, and there is a twice-weekly market offering antiques, musical instruments, second-hand books, handmade clothing from across the world, and local organically produced products. In 2007, Time magazine declared Totnes
Totnes
the capital of new age chic. In 2005, Highlife, the British Airways magazine, declared it one of the world's Top 10 Funky Towns.[25] In March 2007 Totnes
Totnes
was the first town in Britain to introduce its own local alternative currency, the Totnes
Totnes
pound, to support the local economy of the town.[26] Fourteen months later, 70 businesses within the town were trading in the " Totnes
Totnes
Pound," accepting them as payment and offering them to shoppers as change from their purchases.[26] The initiative is part of the Transition Towns
Transition Towns
concept, which was pioneered by Rob Hopkins, who had recently moved to Totnes.[27] Emphasising the town's continuing history of boatbuilding, between 1998 and 2001 Pete Goss
Pete Goss
built his revolutionary but ill-fated 120-foot Team Philips catamaran there.[28] Loss of revenue from Dartington College of Arts
Dartington College of Arts
which moved to Falmouth in 2010 was partially offset by increased tourism due to interest in Totnes's status as a Transition Town.[29] Landmarks[edit]

St Mary's Church

Totnes
Totnes
is said to have more listed buildings per head than any other town.[30] The Norman motte-and-bailey Totnes
Totnes
Castle, now owned by English Heritage, was built during the reign of William I, probably by Juhel of Totnes.[19] The late medieval church of St Mary with its 120 feet (37 m) high west tower, visible from afar, is built of rich red Devonian sandstone.[19] A prominent feature of the town is the Eastgate—an arch spanning the middle of the main street. This Elizabethan
Elizabethan
entrance to the walled town was destroyed in a fire in September 1990, but was rebuilt.[31]

The Butterwalk

The ancient Leechwell, so named because of the supposed medicinal properties of its water, and apparently where lepers once came to wash, still provides fresh water. The Butterwalk is a Tudor covered walkway that was built to protect the dairy products once sold here from the sun and rain.[32] Totnes
Totnes
Elizabethan
Elizabethan
House Museum is in one of the many authentic Elizabethan
Elizabethan
merchant's houses in the town, built around 1575.[33] Transport[edit] The A38 passes about 7 miles (11 km) to the west of Totnes, connected to the town by the A384 from Buckfastleigh
Buckfastleigh
and the A385 which continues to Paignton. The town also lies on the A381 between Newton Abbot
Newton Abbot
and Salcombe. Totnes railway station
Totnes railway station
is situated on the Exeter
Exeter
to Plymouth
Plymouth
line, and has trains direct to London Paddington, Penzance
Penzance
and Plymouth, and as far north as Aberdeen. Nearby, Totnes (Riverside) railway station is at the southern end of the South Devon Railway Trust which runs tourist steam locomotives along the line that follows the River Dart
River Dart
up to Buckfastleigh. Since the River Dart
River Dart
is navigable to seagoing boats as far as Totnes, the estuary was used for the import and export of goods from the town until 1995,[34] and there are still regular pleasure boat trips down the estuary to Dartmouth. Education[edit] King Edward VI Community College
King Edward VI Community College
more popularly known as KEVICC, is the local secondary school which shares its name with the former grammar school set up by King Edward VI over 450 years ago. At the western edge of the town is the Dartington Hall
Dartington Hall
Estate, which includes the Schumacher College and, until July 2010, included Dartington College of Arts. Notable people[edit]

A plaque commemorating Seán O'Casey's residence in Totnes.

Notable people from Totnes
Totnes
include:

Pegaret Anthony, World War II
World War II
artist, was born in the town in 1915 Charles Babbage
Charles Babbage
had a strong family connection with the town and returned to attend the King Edward VI Grammar School for a period before going up to Cambridge. The novelist Desmond Bagley lived in Totnes
Totnes
from 1966 to 1976. William Brockedon, Artist and inventor, 1787–1854. Son of Philip Brockedon, Clockmaker. James Brooke, the first Rajah of Sarawak, spent his final years in nearby Burrator, and Brooke's biographer claims "there is little doubt ... he was carnally involved with the rough trade of Totnes."[35] Richard Burthogge, physician, magistrate and philosopher (1637/38–1705) Actor and dancer Emrhys Cooper
Emrhys Cooper
grew up in Totnes.[36] Sophie Dix, actress - born in Totnes. Sir William Elford, 1st Baronet, Recorder of the borough and artist Historian James Anthony Froude, author of ''History of England
England
From the fall of cardinal Wolsey to the Defeat of the Spanish Armada, was born in Totnes. His brother Richard Hurrell Froude was a theologian; he belonged to a group of Anglicans who initiated the Oxford Movement
Oxford Movement
in 1833. Television screenwriter and author David Gilman lives in Totnes. Humorous poet Matt Harvey is a resident. Rob Hopkins, founder of the Transition movement. Folk singer-songwriter Ben Howard
Ben Howard
was brought up and lives in Totnes. Singer-songwriter and filmmaker Cosmo Jarvis
Cosmo Jarvis
was raised in Totnes. Comic-book artists Jock and Dom Reardon
Dom Reardon
live and work in Totnes. Hebrew
Hebrew
scholar, Benjamin Kennicott
Benjamin Kennicott
was also born in Totnes. Keith Law , Songwriter for Velvett Fogg
Velvett Fogg
lives in Totnes Linguist Edward Lye, who wrote the first dictionary of Anglo-Saxon, was born in Totnes. Rik Mayall
Rik Mayall
previously lived in Totnes.[37] Admiral Sir Frederick Michell KCB (1788–1873) died in Totnes. Mike Edwards, former cellist with the Electric Light Orchestra
Electric Light Orchestra
from 1972-1975, lived in Totnes
Totnes
in the later years of his life until his death in 2010. Joseph Mount, a musician who records under the name Metronomy, lived in Totnes
Totnes
for a while. Playwright Seán O'Casey
Seán O'Casey
lived in the town from 1938 to 1954. John Prince was vicar of Totnes
Totnes
in the late 17th century, was author of The Worthies of Devon, a major biographical work. He was also involved in a scandal, the court records of which were made into a book and stage play in the early 2000s. William Reeve, composer, musician and actor, was organist of the church from 1781-1783 before moving to London to compose for Sadler's Wells and the Lyceum Theatre Sam Richards, musician and music teacher lives in Totnes Matt Roper, a character stand-up comic. Oliver St John
Oliver St John
represented the town in both the Short and the Long parliaments. One of the outstanding political leaders of the Parliamentary cause in the English Civil War. His reputation was made when he acted as lead counsel for John Hampden
John Hampden
in the Ship Money case. William Stumbels, a clockmaker lived and worked in Totnes
Totnes
in the 18th century. (His workshop was possibly at No. 4 Castle Street, within the town walls.) Two of his clocks, a longcase (grandfather) and a turret clock, are displayed in Totnes
Totnes
Museum.[38] Christopher Titmuss, an Insight Meditation meditation instructor and an author of books on Dharma Novelist Mary Wesley, author of The Camomile Lawn, spent her final years in Totnes. The explorer William John Wills
William John Wills
of Burke and Wills expedition
Burke and Wills expedition
fame was born in Totnes. A memorial to Wills was erected using money from public subscriptions in 1864. It can still be seen on the Plains. There were originally two gas lamps attached to the monument, but both have since been removed. Film-score composer and mystery writer Bruce Montgomery (penname Edmund Crispin) lived in Totnes
Totnes
in the 1950s-60's.

In popular culture[edit] Bevis, the homicidal barber who sings The Lumberjack Song
The Lumberjack Song
in a Monty Python sketch, had spent five ghastly years at the Hairdressers' Training Centre at Totnes.[39] The 2008 album CSI:Ambleside by the band Half Man Half Biscuit includes a song called Totnes
Totnes
Bickering Fair. See also[edit]

Totnes
Totnes
Costume Museum

References[edit]

^ Edwards, Adam (10 November 2007). "Property in Totnes: Wizards of the wacky West". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 15 August 2009.  ^ " Totnes
Totnes
Town ward 2011". Retrieved 20 February 2015.  ^ " Totnes
Totnes
Bridgetown ward 2011". Retrieved 20 February 2015.  ^ Brown, Theo (1955). "The Trojans in Devon". Report & Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 87: 63.  ^ "Brutus Stone to Front of Nos 51/53, Totnes". British Listed Buildings. Retrieved 20 October 2015.  ^ a b c Brown, Theo (1955). "The Trojans in Devon". Report & Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 87: 68–69.  ^ a b c Stansbury, Don (1998). "907–1523: The king's town". In Bridge, Maureen. The Heart of Totnes. Tavistock: AQ & DJ Publications. pp. 123–131. ISBN 0-904066-36-3.  ^ a b Hoskins, W. G. (1954). A New Survey of England: Devon. London: Collins. pp. 504–508.  ^ Ekwall, Eilert (1960). The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Place-names (4th ed.). Oxford: OUP. p. 478. ISBN 0-19-869103-3.  ^ Kowaleski, Maryanne (1992). "The port towns of fourteenth-century Devon". In Duffy, Michael; et al. The New Maritime History of Devon; Volume 1: From early times to the late eighteenth century. London: Conway Maritime Press. p. 63. ISBN 0-85177-611-6.  ^ Totnes
Totnes
Guildhall, Whatsonwhen. ^ Totnes
Totnes
Guildhall, Visit Britain, UK. ^ "The Transition movement: Today Totnes... tomorrow the world". The Independent. Retrieved 30 November 2017.  ^ " Devon
Devon
County Council elections 2009". Devon
Devon
County Council. 5 June 2009. Retrieved 18 June 2009.  ^ "Welcome to Totnes
Totnes
Town Council". Totnes
Totnes
Town Council. Retrieved 2 July 2008.  ^ "Follaton House, its History and Architecture". South Hams
South Hams
District Council. 2005. Retrieved 2 July 2008.  ^ "National Commission for Decentralised cooperation". Délégation pour l’Action Extérieure des Collectivités Territoriales (Ministère des Affaires étrangères) (in French). Retrieved 26 December 2013.  ^ "Twin town's return to Narnia". This is Devon. 15 March 2012. Retrieved 29 May 2013.  ^ a b c Bridget Cherry & Nikolaus Pevsner (1989). The Buildings of England
England
— Devon. Harmondsworth: Penguin. pp. 866–875. ISBN 0-14-071050-7.  ^ Russell, Percy (1984). The Good Town of Totnes
Totnes
(Second impression with Introduction ed.). Exeter: The Devonshire Association. p. 26.  ^ Russell 1984, p.xv. ^ Taylor, Alan; Treglown, Peter (May 1999). South Devon
Devon
Railway - A Visitors Guide. South Devon
Devon
Railway Trust. pp. 23–28.  ^ Siegle, Lucy (8 May 2005). "Shiny hippy people". The Guardian. Retrieved 2 July 2008.  ^ Totnes, Devon: the home of boho chic (retrieved 4 December 2008) ^ Siegle, Lucy (8 May 2005). "Shiny hippy people". Guardian. Retrieved 9 July 2016.  ^ a b Sharp, Rob (1 May 2008). "They don't just shop local in Totnes
Totnes
- they have their very own currency". The Independent. Retrieved 2 July 2008.  ^ "Take note - Totnes
Totnes
will be quids in!" in Totnes
Totnes
Times 7 March 2007, p.6 ^ " Team Philips wreckage found on island". BBC Devon
Devon
News. 23 January 2002. Retrieved 16 August 2009.  ^ Town's Transition boosting economy (retrieved 30 November 2010) ^ Else, D. Britain. Lonely Planet, 2003. (ISBN 978-1740593380) p. 381 ^ Iconic arch rebuilt after devastating 1990 fire ^ " Totnes
Totnes
Town Trail". South Devon
Devon
Area Of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Retrieved 2 July 2008.  ^ " Totnes
Totnes
Elizabethan
Elizabethan
House Museum". Devon
Devon
Museums Group. Retrieved 2 July 2008.  ^ "Local Food and Relocalisation: a Totnes
Totnes
case study: a section from my forthcoming thesis..." Transition Culture. Retrieved 9 July 2016.  ^ Barley, N. (2003) White Rajah, Abacas: London, p. 208. ^ Totnes
Totnes
actor has his sights set on becoming the next Bond (retrieved 18 January 2015) ^ Knowhere: Totnes, Devon, Local Heroes, Famous Residents ^ Bellchambers, J. K. (1962) Devonshire Clockmakers. Torquay: The Devonshire Press. ^ Wikiquote:Monty Python's Flying Circus

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Totnes.

Totnes
Totnes
at Curlie (based on DMOZ) Battle to save celebrated cradle of cutting edge art (The Guardian) Transition Town Totnes
Totnes
organisation

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Unitary authorities

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Boroughs or districts

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Major settlements

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Rivers

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Non-metropolitan district
Non-metropolitan district
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List of civil parishes in Devon#South Hams

Civil parishes

Ashprington Aveton Gifford Berry Pomeroy Bickleigh Bigbury Blackawton Brixton Buckland Tout Saints Charleton Chivelstone Churchstow Cornwood Cornworthy Dartington Dartmouth Dean Prior Diptford Dittisham East Allington East Portlemouth Ermington Frogmore and Sherford Halwell and Moreleigh Harberton Harford Holbeton Holne Ivybridge Kingsbridge Kingston Kingswear Littlehempston Loddiswell Malborough Marldon Modbury Newton and Noss North Huish Rattery Ringmore Salcombe Shaugh Prior Slapton South Brent South Huish South Milton South Pool Sparkwell Staverton Stoke Fleming Stoke Gabriel Stokenham Strete Thurlestone Totnes Ugborough Wembury West Alvington West Buckfastleigh Woodleigh Yealmpton

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WorldCat Identities VIAF: 132530

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