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HER Number:MDV13834
Name:Great Torrington, Castle Chapel


Medieval chapel of St James at Great Torrington Castle, converted into a school in the 17th century. A school house was built by Lord Rolle, on or near the site of the chapel, in 1834.


Grid Reference:SS 496 189
Map Sheet:SS41NE
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishGreat Torrington
Ecclesiastical ParishGREAT TORRINGTON

Protected Status: none recorded

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SS41NE/11/1

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • CHAPEL (Early Medieval to XVIII - 1066 AD to 1800 AD (Between))

Full description

Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, SS41NE10 (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV17825.

Castle Chapel of St James pre 1395 site. Chapel completely demolished and present school (see Monument ID 19795) built on site with its stone.
No visible remains of chapel.

Unknown, Untitled Source (Record Office Collection). SDV17834.

Unknown, Untitled Source (Record Office Collection). SDV17836.

Lysons, D. + Lysons, S., 1822, Magna Britannica, 529 (Monograph). SDV323771.

Unknown, 1875, Untitled Source, 90 (Article in Serial). SDV17833.

Wall, J. C., 1906, Ancient Earthworks, 612 (Article in Monograph). SDV341465.

Doe, G. M., 1939, Address of the President, 60-1 (Article in Serial). SDV14615.

Doe refers to 18th century descriptions when the chapel was already a school-house and to a 15th century document which mentions it.

Doe, G. M., 1940 - 1941, Some Torrington Inaccuracies in the 18th Century, 195 (Article in Serial). SDV17819.

The only ancient chapel in Great Torrington, mentioned in register of Bishop Stafford, 1395-1419.

Higham, R. A., 1979, The Castles of Medieval Devon, 80-2 (Post-Graduate Thesis). SDV336189.

Documentary references to the castle chapel in 13th, 14th and 15th centuries. It was the only standing structure of the Castle at the time of Leland (circa1540). Other details: PHD Thesis, Exeter University.

Higham, R. A. + Goddard, S., 1987, Great Torrington Castle, 97 (Article in Serial). SDV11501.

The chapel has 13th, 14th and 15th century references. Mentioned by Leland as being a standing structure in the 16th century. It was demolished in 1780.

Great Torrington District Chamber Of Commerce, 1987, Torrington Town Trail (Leaflet). SDV19224.

The castle chapel was converted into a school in the 17th century. Subsequent expansion and restoration by Lord Rolle in 1834, is commemorated by a tablet on the present building now the Eric Palmer Community Centre.

Exeter Archaeology, 2004, Archaeological assessment of land adjacent to Dartington Crystal, Great Torrington, 2 (Report - Assessment). SDV338048.

The chapel seems to have been the longest surviving part of the castle being mentioned in the 13th-16th centuries.

English Heritage, 2011, Historic Houses Register, 4 (List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest). SDV346128.

The castle chapel, on or near this site, was converted into a school in 17th century. The present building carries a tablet commemorating its erection in 1834 by Lord Rolle as a School House for the poor of the parish.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV11501Article in Serial: Higham, R. A. + Goddard, S.. 1987. Great Torrington Castle. Proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Society. 45. Paperback Volume. 97.
SDV14615Article in Serial: Doe, G. M.. 1939. Address of the President. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 71. A5 Hardback. 60-1.
SDV17819Article in Serial: Doe, G. M.. 1940 - 1941. Some Torrington Inaccuracies in the 18th Century. Devon and Cornwall Notes and Queries. 21. Unknown. 195.
SDV17825Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. SS41NE10. Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card. Card Index.
SDV17833Article in Serial: Unknown. 1875. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 7. 90.
SDV17834Record Office Collection: Unknown. Calendar of Close Rolls/3/1228/67.
SDV17836Record Office Collection: Unknown. Pat. Rot./14/Edw III.
SDV19224Leaflet: Great Torrington District Chamber Of Commerce. 1987. Torrington Town Trail. Photocopy + Digital.
SDV323771Monograph: Lysons, D. + Lysons, S.. 1822. Magna Britannica. Magna Britannica: A Concise Topographical Account of The Several Counties o. 6: Devonshire. Unknown. 529.
SDV336189Post-Graduate Thesis: Higham, R. A.. 1979. The Castles of Medieval Devon. University of Exeter Thesis. Unknown. 80-2.
SDV338048Report - Assessment: Exeter Archaeology. 2004. Archaeological assessment of land adjacent to Dartington Crystal, Great Torrington. Exeter Archaeology Report. 04.34. A4 Stapled + Digital. 2.
SDV341465Article in Monograph: Wall, J. C.. 1906. Ancient Earthworks. Victoria History of the County of Devon. Hardback Volume. 612.
SDV346128List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest: English Heritage. 2011. Historic Houses Register. Historic Houses Register. Website. 4.

Associated Monuments

MDV19795Related to: Former Blue Coat School, Great Torrington (Building)
MDV18797Related to: Great Torrington Bowling Green (Building)
MDV437Related to: Great Torrington Castle (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV4195 - Land Adjacent to Dartington Crystal, Great Torrington

Date Last Edited:Dec 7 2011 3:40PM