Has been described as a Possible Palace (Bishop)

There are no visible remains

Alternative Names
Historic CountryDevonshire
Modern AuthorityDevon
1974 AuthorityDevon
Civil ParishAshburton

Residential manor of the bishop of Exeter, recorded as almost destroyed c. 1500. (Emery)

The manor of Ashburton became ecclesiastical property in the early 11th century, and from 1050 onwards it belonged to the bishops of Exeter. At some date before 1238 most of the inhabited portion of the manor was constituted as a borough. The bishops were represented in Ashburton by their stewards, who visited the town only to hold courts, leaving the day-to-day administration and rent collection in the hands of the portreeve of the borough, the reeve of the manor and the bailiff. The town owed much to its situation in the midst of good arable land, but being at the margin of the rich mineral wealth of Dartmoor, it also became the natural collecting centre for tin from the south-east side of the moor, and in 1305 it was made an official stannary town, along with Tavistock and Chagford. Ashburton's cloth industry, its Saturday market for cloth, tin, corn and cattle, and its two fairs, obtained from Edward II by the bishop, gave the inhabitants the means to build one of the finest parish churches in the diocese. That the tin and woollen workers of Ashburton were able to undertake the rebuilding of the church on such a lavish scale suggests that at that time, between 1405 and 1449, the community was quite prosperous. Even so, Ashburton was by far the smallest and probably also the poorest of the parliamentary boroughs of Devon in our period. (History of Parliament Online)

The Chapel of St Lawrence is one of Ashburton's oldest and most interesting buildings. It started its life as a private chapel for the Bishop of Exeter. Ashburton was held by Bishop Stapledon who was Lord of the Manor and stayed in his 'Palace' in the Town.

In 1314 he gave the Chapel to the Town to be administered by the original Guild of St Lawrence, led by the Portreeve of the day on the stipulation that a Chantry School was maintained there. (

Gatehouse Comments

The presence of a chapel of sufficient value to give to the town suggests there was an episcopal residence in the town, which must have been near, probably adjacent, to the chapel. This residence does not seem to have been important and must have stop being used after 1314.

- Philip Davis

Not scheduled

Not Listed

County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceSX757698
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink

No photos available. If you can provide pictures please contact Castlefacts

Most of the sites or buildings recorded in this web site are NOT open to the public and permission to visit a site must always be sought from the landowner or tenant.

Calculate Print


  • Emery, Anthony, 2006, Greater Medieval Houses of England and Wales Vol. 3 Southern England (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press) p. 549-51
  • Roskell, J.S., Clark, L., and Rawcliffe, C. (eds), 1993, The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1386-1421 (Alan Sutton Publishing)


  • Tapley-Soper, H., 1942-6, Devon and Cornwall notes and queries Vol. 22 p. 78-80