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© Mr Ernie W. King C.P.A.G.B.

IoE Number: 390820
Location: TORRE ABBEY, THE KING'S DRIVE (east side)
Photographer: Mr Ernie W. King C.P.A.G.B.
Date Photographed: 03 July 2002
Date listed: 20 November 1952
Date of last amendment: 20 November 1952
Grade I

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TORQUAYSX9063THE KING'S DRIVE885-1/17/250(East side)

TORQUAY SX9063 THE KING'S DRIVE 885-1/17/250 (East side) 20/11/52 Torre Abbey GV I Premonstratensian Abbey. Founded 1196, converted to a house in 1598 with progressive remodellings of the late C17, C18 and early C20. Local grey limestone and red sandstone rubble; partly rendered; stacks with stone or brick shafts. PLAN: Courtyard plan. Ruins of Abbey church to the N; chapter house and first-floor dormitory in E range with covered cloister on W side. W range originally guest hall and private apartments, guest hall partly converted to RC chapel in 1779. S range originally refectory over cellar with SW wing adjoining. Offset C14 gatehouse to the SW. EXTERIOR: The gatehouse is the best-preserved medieval structure of the complex. Embattled with octagonal corner turrets and one large and one smaller double-chamfered archway with rib vaults with carved bosses; scattered fenestration. Long 2:1:3-window W front with a projecting 3-stage embattled tower in the centre with, alongside to the north, an embattled porch block with a moulded archway leading to a flight of steps up. Tall 1779 chapel windows to the left: 24-pane sashes with pointed-arched glazing bars in the upper tier. 2-light transomed windows to the right. The tower has a crank-headed doorway and 2 and 3-light C19 or C20 Ham Hill stone-mullioned windows with hoodmoulds. C12 moulded window in S side of tower. Low embattled screen walls to left and right of the tower. To right of this front an embattled range (SW wing) with a 4-window front adjoins the gatehouse. Embattled S range with a largely Georgian 5:7:5-bay S front, the centre 7 bays recessed and 2-storey. 12-pane sashes to the outer bays; 24-pane to the centre, except the first-floor tier which has French windows onto individual cast-iron balconies. Central open porch on columns with segmental pediment and modillion frieze. Irregular and partly-ruinous E wing with 2 small late Tudor towers to the NE. On the E side of the cloister the chapter house ruins with a Transitional moulded archway flanked by round-headed windows. Plan form of church still discernible: in form of transept with a rectangular chancel and original N aisle. INTERIOR: S range preserves medieval undercroft with groin vaults on columns. W range undercrofts also intact with similar vaults on square-section or cylindrical columns. W range roof, thought to be late medieval, also intact: a plastered wagon with bosses, visible in the C18 chapel. First floor of tower has intersecting beamed ceiling with chamfered, stopped joists. Passage entrance to chapel preserves a large recess, possibly a domestic piscina (qv Kirkhanm House, Paignton). medieval stair to SW wing (Pevsner). Gatehouse preserves medieval stair and garderobe shaft. C17 service stair with turned balusters in SW range. C18 domestic features include a staircase between S & W ranges with turned balusters and carved tread-ends. Fine C18 dining room with a good cornice and white marble chimneypiece. Chapel has reredos by Kendall of Exeter. Some early C20 fittings include stained glass, probably dating from Colonel Cary's period in residence, beginning 1906-7. A site of major archaeological as well as architectural interest. Recent (1987-88) archaeological investigations by the Exeter Field Unit established more detail about the Abbey Church and the whole site might yield further evidence of interest. (Buildings of England: Cherry B: Devon: London: 1952-1989: P.852-3).

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