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HER Number:MDV16861
Name:The Bedford Hotel, Tavistock

Summary

House built circa 1725 on the site of former Abbey buildings. Extended on west side and became an hotel in the early 19th century. Retains some 18th century features.

Location

Grid Reference:SX 481 743
Map Sheet:SX47SE
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishTavistock
DistrictWest Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishTAVISTOCK

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX47SE/83
  • Old Listed Building Ref: 93470
  • Old SAM Ref: 29679
  • Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery Accession Number: AR.2010.14
  • Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery Accession Number: AR.2010.14

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • HOUSE (XVIII - 1720 AD to 1729 AD (Between))
  • HOTEL (XIX - 1840 AD to 1840 AD (Between))

Full description

Hicks, C. E., 1947, Tavistock: The Changing Scene in the Last Two Centuries, 156, 163 (Article in Serial). SDV256401.

Inn now called the Bedford Hotel. Built about 1720 by Jacob Saunders, using stone from the Chapter House of the Abbey. In the 18th century it was one of Tavistock's main coaching inns.


Hoskins, W. G., 1954, A New Survey of England: Devon, 487 (Monograph). SDV17562.

Remodelled in the Gothic style by the Duke of Bedford in the 1840s, the house was built about 1725 by the Presbyterian merchant Saunders on the site of the Abbey refectory. Turned into an inn in the early 19th century, a good deal remains of the original, notably the fine dining room of the present hotel.


Devon County Council, 1975, Tavistock Town Walk, 91 (Article in Monograph). SDV352474.


Department of Environment, 1983, Tavistock, 28 (List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest). SDV272550.

East end circa 1725, west end mid 19th century, on the site of the monastic buildings south of the Cloisters of Tavistock Abbey. The east end was built as a dwelling house by Jacob Saunders. Two storeys and basement stone ashlar, five bays. Exterior now has castellated parapets and mullioned and transomed windows converted from the 18th century sashes circa 1820. The interior of this part retains an early 18th century panelled dining hall and staircase. The west end was added by the Bedford estate when the building was converted into a hotel in the middle of the 19th century. Three storeys stone ashlar in matching style with crenellated parapet, six bays and crenellated porch. Some slate- hanging to rear elevation.


Turton, S. D. + Weddell, P. J., 1991, Archaeological Assessment of Four Areas of Land Adjoining the River Tavy and Plymouth Road, Tavistock, 6-7; figure 2 (Report - Assessment). SDV256444.

Saunders reused material from the chapter house, refectory etc to construct the east end of this building. It is of stone ashlar, and comprises two storeys and a basement. Exterior has crenellated parapet and mullioned and transomed windows which were converted from the 18th century sashes in circa 1820. Interior retains an early 18th century panelled dining hall and staircase. The west end was added when it was converted from dwelling house to hotel in mid 19th century. Built of stone matching the east end, it has three storeys and a crenellated porch.


The Tavistock and District Local History Society, 1994, About Tavistock: An Historical Introduction and Six Town Walks, 10, 26, 35, 46, 58, Photo (Monograph). SDV354806.

Some fragments from the abbey are incorporated into the Bedford Hotel, once the residence of the Duke of Bedford's Tavistock agent. It was built by Jack Saunders in 1720 who removed the remains of the cloisters, refectory, infirmary, chapter house and dormitories to build a 'pompous dwelling house'. Saunders never lived in the house, he died in 1725 before its completion. The Abbey House, as it was called, was bought by the Duke of Bedford in 1752 to become firstly the home of his local agent and then that of the vicar. It was converted to become Tavistock's principal inn in 1822, the vicar being rehoused in the newly built vicarage next door. The design of the converted building is credited to architect Jeffry Wyatt. The first tenant was John Truscott and other tenants include a member of the Northway family and Isaac Lake who ran the inn from 1914 until 1955 when it was sold by the Bedfords. Lake was responsible for the third storey extension at the west end of the building and the single storey extension which served as a billiard room for many years. The rear bedrooms were convered from the ballroom erected by architect John Foulston in 1830. The hotel retains many features of the 18th century house and the 1820s conversion to an hotel.


Department for Culture, Media and Sport, 2001, Tavistock Abbey (Schedule Document). SDV344375.

Opposite St Eustachius' graveyard, on the south side of Plymouth Street, lies the Bedford Hotel which occupies the position once filled by the south range of the cloisters. The hotel and all of its outbuildings are excluded from the scheduling, however the ground beneath all of these features is included.


Clelland, S., 2007, Proposed Function Room and Lift Installation, Bedford Hotel, Tavistock, Devon: Archaeological Trial Pit Evaluation Report, 1-3, 9; figures 1-5 (Report - Evaluation). SDV347329.

An archaeological trial pit evaluation was undertaken on land at the Bedford Hotel in order to provide physical evidence for the presence or absence of archaeological remains within the proposed development area, situated in a small courtyard between the Bedford Hotel and Abbey Chapel, and to establish the probable extent, character, date, condition and quality of any, if present. The results of this archaeological evaluation revealed that a substantial degree of demolition and levelling occurred during the post-medieval and modern periods, and there were no surviving remains pertaining to Tavistock Abbey.


Blaylock, S., 2008, Tavistock: Bedford Hotel. Observations in the Rear Courtyard, October 2008, 1-4 (Report - Survey). SDV347934.

A medieval trefoil-headed window was discovered in the north wall of the block projecting from the north-west corner of the Abbey Chapel (formerly the Abbot's Hall), in the rear courtyard of the Bedford Hotel. An area of slate was removed during a construction project to form a function room at first-floor level in the area of the former courtyard which gave access to the Abbot's lodgings in the late Middle Ages. When the slate was removed, a section of rubble masonry wall containing a blocked single light window with the worn remains of a cusped trefoil head was exposed. The window frame is entirely of Hurdwick stone, and is of integral build with facework masonry of Hurdwick stone rubble to either side. This is likely to be the earliest feature of this part of the building, however it is not closely dateable beyond a generally 'late medieval' bracket, although the use of Hurdwick stone for a detail of this sort suggests a date before the late 15th century.


West Devon Borough Council, 2009, Tavistock Conservation Area Management Plan, 29, 40 (Report - non-specific). SDV351411.


Passmore, A. J., 2010, Historic Building Recording at the Bedford Hotel,Tavistock, Devon, 2008, 1-5; figures 2-5 (Report - Survey). SDV347936.

Historic building recording was undertaken during alterations to the Bedford Hotel, which included the addition of new internal walls and the insertion of windows into medieval fabric. The outbuildings at the rear of the Bedford Hotel were formed within the footprint of existing buildings south of the hotel, including the former medieval Abbot's lodging. Medieval fabric survives within the 'hall' building, the adjacent passage and the range to the west, now incorporated within 19th century hotel rooms. The function of this latter range is not known, but its relationship with the hall and passage may hint at least partially as a service range. This range was enlarged in the 19th century when it formed the west side of a new hotel courtyard situated between the main abbey complex and the West Gate. New internal walls were added, and windows inserted into the eastern courtyard elevation. The pottery recovered from the cross-wall is consistent with the 19th century date for these alterations, and Foulston's 1830 work is the most likely context.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV17562Monograph: Hoskins, W. G.. 1954. A New Survey of England: Devon. A New Survey of England: Devon. A5 Hardback. 487.
SDV256401Article in Serial: Hicks, C. E.. 1947. Tavistock: The Changing Scene in the Last Two Centuries. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 79. A5 Hardback. 156, 163.
SDV256444Report - Assessment: Turton, S. D. + Weddell, P. J.. 1991. Archaeological Assessment of Four Areas of Land Adjoining the River Tavy and Plymouth Road, Tavistock. Exeter Museums Archaeological Field Unit Report. 91.33. A4 Stapled + Digital. 6-7; figure 2.
SDV272550List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest: Department of Environment. 1983. Tavistock. Historic Houses Register. A4 Comb Bound. 28.
SDV344375Schedule Document: Department for Culture, Media and Sport. 2001. Tavistock Abbey. The Schedule of Monuments. A4 Stapled.
SDV347329Report - Evaluation: Clelland, S.. 2007. Proposed Function Room and Lift Installation, Bedford Hotel, Tavistock, Devon: Archaeological Trial Pit Evaluation Report. Wessex Archaeology Report. 67050.03. A4 stapled + Digital. 1-3, 9; figures 1-5.
SDV347934Report - Survey: Blaylock, S.. 2008. Tavistock: Bedford Hotel. Observations in the Rear Courtyard, October 2008. Exeter Archaeology Report. A4 Stapled + Digital. 1-4.
SDV347936Report - Survey: Passmore, A. J.. 2010. Historic Building Recording at the Bedford Hotel,Tavistock, Devon, 2008. Exeter Archaeology Report. 10.51. A4 Stapled + Digital. 1-5; figures 2-5.
SDV351411Report - non-specific: West Devon Borough Council. 2009. Tavistock Conservation Area Management Plan. West Devon Borough Council Report. a4 Stapled + Digital. 29, 40.
SDV352474Article in Monograph: Devon County Council. 1975. Tavistock Town Walk. Devon Town Trails: European Architectural Heritage Year. Paperback Volume. 91.
SDV354806Monograph: The Tavistock and District Local History Society. 1994. About Tavistock: An Historical Introduction and Six Town Walks. About Tavistock: An Historical Introduction and Six Town Walks. A5 Paperback. 10, 26, 35, 46, 58, Photo.

Associated Monuments

MDV67442Related to: The Bedford Inn, Tavistock (Building)

Associated Finds

  • FDV1941 - SHERD (XIX - 1801 AD to 1900 AD)
  • FDV1942 - SHERD (XIX - 1801 AD to 1900 AD)

Associated Events

  • EDV5091 - Archaeological Trial Pit Evaluation at the Bedford Hotel, Tavistock
  • EDV5384 - Recording of Trefoil-Headed Window at the Bedford Hotel
  • EDV5385 - Historic Building Recording at the Bedford Hotel, Tavistock

Date Last Edited:Feb 13 2015 11:07AM