DARTINGTON parish from one to three miles N.E. of Totnes, contains 603 souls, and 3284A. of land, on the south-western side of the fertile and picturesque valley of the Dart, and includes the small hamlets of Wick, Venton, Brooking, and Staple, and many scattered houses. It was anciently the seat of a baronry, which belonged successively to the Falesia, Tours, Martyn, Audley, Vere, Holland, and other families. Henry Champernowne, Esq., owns two-thirds of the parish, and is lord of the manor. His seat, Dartington House ( or Hall), has been the residence of his family for many generations, and was an extensive building, consisting of two large quadrangles, one of which is in ruins, and the other was altered and partly rebuilt in the reign of Elizabeth, and has several handsome apartments and pointed windows. The great hall has a finely groined ceiling, embellished with the arms of Richard II. and the Duke of Exeter. The grounds are extensive, and descend to the margin of the Dart.
The Duke of Somerset, J. D. Moysey, R. and W. Soper, Mrs. Farwell, and a few smaller freeholders, have estates in the parish. Venton, now the property and residence of Mr. Moysey, is a large ancient house, which was formerly more extensive , and was long the seat of the Ventons or Fentons, from whom it passed to the Gibbes, and from the latter to the Glanvilles.
The Church (St. Mary,) is an ancient structure, with a tower and five bells. It is in the perpendicular style of the time of Richard II., and was renovated and newly fitted with open benches about 15 years ago. It has a handsome pulpit and screen, and some antique monuments of the Champernownes. The rectory, valued in K.B. at £36. 4s. 4½d., and in 1831 at £924, is in the patronage of Henry Champernowne, Esq., and incumbency of the Ven. R. H. Froude, M.A., archdeacon of Totnes, who has 108A. of glebe and a handsome residence, which he has much improved. The tithes were commuted in 1839 for £700 per annum.
Four cottages, erected in 1835 by Mrs. Froude and Mrs. Spedding, are occupied rent free by poor families. The Parish Lands, &c., comprise four tenements occupied by the poor, and five houses and 8A., let for about £30 a year, of which £10 is paid to the church clerk and singing master. Flotsley meadow (5A.,) let for £16, was given for the poor by Christopher. Maynard in the 17th year of Charles II. The poor have also 28s. a year left by John Edwards in 1610. A small church or chapel of ease is about to be erected at Tigley Cross, for the accommodation of that neighbourhood. Totnes Railway station is in this parish.