© Mr Ernie W. King C.P.A.G.B.
TORRE ABBEY, THE KING'S DRIVE (east side)
TORQUAY, TORBAY, DEVON
Mr Ernie W. King C.P.A.G.B.
03 July 2002
20 November 1952
Date of last amendment:
20 November 1952
The Images of England website consists of images of listed buildings based on the statutory list as it was in 2001 and does not incorporate subsequent amendments to the list. For the statutory list and information on the current listed status of individual buildings please go to The National Heritage List for England.
SX9063 THE KING'S DRIVE
885-1/17/250 (East side)
20/11/52 Torre Abbey
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
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
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
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,
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
(Buildings of England: Cherry B: Devon: London: 1952-1989: