Totnes

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Coordinates: 50°25′56″N 3°41′02″W / 50.43216°N 3.68391°W / 50.43216; -3.68391

Totnes (pronounced /ˈtɒtnɨs/ or /tɒtˈnɛs/) is a market town and civil parish at the head of the estuary of the River Dart in Devon, England within the South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It is about 22 miles (35 km) south of the city of Exeter and is the administrative centre of the South Hams District Council.

Totnes has a long recorded history, dating back to AD 907 when its first castle was built; it was already an important market town by the 12th century. Indications of its former wealth and importance are given by the number of merchants' houses built in the 16th and 17th centuries.

Today, the town, with its population of 7,444,[1] 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.[2]

Contents

History

Ancient and medieval history

According to the 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.[3] Set into the pavement of Fore Street is the 'Brutus Stone', a small granite boulder onto which, according to local legend, Brutus first stepped from his ship. As he did so, he was supposed to have declaimed:[4]

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