TOTNES AND ITS TRANSPORT LINKS; Part 1
The small town of Totnes has a long history (some say around 3000 years) when Brutus, a descendent of a Greek Trojan, sailed up the River Dart in his galley and came ashore at a place marked at the top of Fore Street by a stone, the Brutus stone, where his feet first encountered dry land. As this part of the town is about 60ft higher than the river, history does not record the seismic event which must have occurred for the town to have risen by this amount. Either the Victorians could have had a very vivid imagination of their town’s history - or it could refer to the term “Bruiter”, an old word for town crier where the town crier stood to announce his news.
Whatever its history and however primitive its roads or tracks and the horse transport might have been until Victorian times, there is no doubt that Totnes and the River Dart have had a close relationship for hundreds of years. The town was incorporated as a Borough in the 10th century and was fortified to fend off raiders who might come up the river. Parts of its castle, today mostly a ruin, date from the 13th century and its grammar school from the 16th century. Its original streets, Fore Street and High Street, separated by the arch of Eastgate, are bordered by shops and other properties largely dating back to Elizabethan times or to the 17th century. The town has always had an independent character and even in the last few years is seen as cosmopolitan and with shops that are independent and unique. Recently a major coffee house chain thought that its products would be welcomed in Totnes. The town thought otherwise as its independent coffee houses serve the town well and the chain retreated to the clones of towns and cities elsewhere!
To be continued....