The village occupies a steeply sloping site on the south-east facing side of the Erme valley a mile or so closer to Dartmoor in the north than the sea four miles to its south.
Well known for its crooked spire church, Ermington is a diverse and growing community with a variety of strong community groups, including the renowned amateur theatre group the Ermington Players, a pub, and a community-based market held every second Saturday.
The village’s biggest annual event is the Summer Fair, held towards the end of June each year, and organised by the Ermington Village Fund to raise money to benefit the community.
The village primary school is rated ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted and the Pre-School welcomes children from the age of 2.
The bus service between Plymouth and Totnes stops in Ermington on Tuesdays’ Fridays and Saturdays.
The earliest permanent settlement is thought to date from late Saxon times when the ancient route from Dartmoor to the coast beside the River Erme, probably used since prehistoric times, followed the line of the path across the churchyard towards what is now the Square and Town Hill beyond.
For its inhabitants the site offered a sheltered location, a plentiful water supply from hillside springs and surrounding rich farmland.
Mentioned in the Domesday Book, it was only in medieval times that the historic street pattern of the village was established in a ‘Y’ configuration, with one branch following the Erme and the other one of its tributaries, relocating the main body of its built-up area away to the west of the church.
Under a grant issued in 1294 Ermington became a market town with a weekly market, and seat of the woollen cloth trade.
In 1831 it was reported that two small cattle fairs were held in the village, on February 2nd and June 23rd each year. Around this time three packs of hounds hunted regularly in the parish.
More than half a century later, according to Kelly's Directory for Devonshire published in 1897, only one fair was now held each year, on June 24, while the inhabitants, who around that time numbered 875, were chiefly employed in agriculture, with the main crops being barley and wheat.
The decline was in part due to a decrease in the population that had occurred prior to 1851, when two woollen factories were closed.
In the 1850’s the spire of the Church of St Peter was struck by lightning. There was an opportunity to build a new straight spire but the villagers refused and the new spire was rebuilt ‘crooked’.
According to White's Devonshire Directory published in 1850: “The Church (St. Peter,) is a large ancient fabric, with a lofty embattled tower, containing five bells, and crowned by a crooked spire, which leans considerably to one side. . . ..". The 13th Century tower is the oldest part, although some of the Norman Church may survive in its fabric or that of the later 14th or 15th Century parts. The stone needle-spire is early 14th Century, its conspicuous twist being retained when rebuilt in the 1850’s. The whole of the Grade I listed building was restored by J D Sedding in 1889.