Ashprington is a small neat village, picturesquely seated on a gentle slope near the confluencof the river Harbourn with the estuary of the River Dart, 2½ miles SE of Totnes. Its parish contains 588 souls and 2644 acres of fertile land, including the hamlets of Washbourne and Yeatson and part of Tuckenhay, where there is a large paper mill, a corn mill and quarries of hard stone, of which great quantities are exported in vessels of 160 tons, to London &c, for macadamizing roads.
Richard Durant Esq. owns a great part of the parish, and is lord of the manor of Sharpham, where he has a large and handsome freestone mansion, with extensive and well-wooded grounds, descending to the western bank of the river Dart, amidst some of the most beautiful scenery of the valley. He has lately much improved the village by erecting a new inn, and rebuilding many of the cottages. This manor has been held successively by the Winard, French, Prideaux, Drewe, Giles, Yarde, Cockey, Pownall and Bastard families.
Painsford, an ancient mansion on the banks of the river Harbourn is the seat and property of Mr. Philip Michelmore, and has been successively held by the Piperell, Halwill, Somaster, Kellond, Courtenay and other families. It was formerly much larger than at present, and its dilapidated chapel, though disused since the middle of the last century (i.e. the 18th century), still retains its pulpit, pews and altar -piece, and has a suit of armour hanging over the communion rails. The left wing of the house has a fine row of arches. The Rev. G. T. Carwithen, Mr. D. Adams, C. Pearce Esq., Mr T. .Mudge, J. Browne Esq and several other freeholders have estates in the parish.
The church (St David) is a handsome structure, in the perpendicular style, with a tower and five bells. It has lately been renovated and new windows with, with mullions and tracery of Bath stone, have been inserted at the expense of Richard Durant Esq. .The clustered columns of the nave have foliated capitals, and in the chancel is a fine reredos, in seven compartments of Caen stone, On the walls are several handsome memorial tablets, in memory of members of the Somaster, Kelland, Bastard and other families. The rectory is held by the Rev. Jacob Ley MA since 1795. The Rectory House is a neat mansion and the glebe is 28 acres, 3 rods and 17 perches. The tithes were commuted in 1844 for £537 per annum.
The parish school is a neat building in the Elizabethab style, erected in 1847 by Richard Durant Esq at the cost of £600 and chiefly supported by him. The Church House is occupied by poor families, and here is an almshouse for six poor persons, given by Sir Edward Giles in 1628 but now much dilapidated and only partially occupied.