Tawstock Court

All on Devon Local List
  • Parkland
Local Authority:
North Devon

Country house 1787, remodelled at rear in 1885. St Michael's School from 1940 to 2011. Now a wedding venue. 
In a magnificent position above the church, overlooking the Taw valley. Only the gatehouse remains of the mansion held by the Bourchiers, earls of Bath. The mansion was destroyed by fire in 1787 and rebuilt by Sir Bourchier Wrey. Polwhele wrote in 1806 that after the fire 'it has since been rebuilt and the grounds much improved.
The whole was executed from Sir B. Wrey's own designs - which do honour to his taste and judgement.' However Sir John Soan visited in1789 and provided drawings for the finishing details, chiefly for the interior. Lysons wrote in 1822 that it 'abounds with beautiful scenery and fine aged oaks: the high grounds command rich and extensive views over the bay and town of Barnstaple.' White (1850) noted that it was 'a large and handsome mansion delightfully situated in an extensive and well-wooded park, on the western side of the river ... The park abounds in beautiful scenery and fine aged oaks, and the high grounds command rich and extensive views over the bay and town of Barnstaple.' Stockdale described it as 'one of the most desirable & valuable estates in the county. The mansion was built about the year 1788 & is a very handsome structure surrounded by extensive woods and park, commands a beautiful prospect of the distant country.' Close to the west entrance, two stable blocks face each other, both pedimented. Good gate-piers. Near the entrance to the drive is a delightful rustic lodge with tree-trunk veranda and Gothic windows. The circular folly tower also has Gothic windows. The garden structures include terraces, garden walls and summer houses. 

Listed Buildings

Tawstock Court and outbuldings listed Grade II, gatehouse listed Grade II*.


Cherry & Pevsner: The Buildings of England – Devon, 1989: 791-2
T Gray: The Garden History of Devon, 1995: 218-9

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