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HER Number:MDV43871
Name:Betsy Grimbal's Tower, Tavistock

Summary

Betsy Grimbal's Tower, the West Gate of Tavistock Abbey built mostly in the 15th century. The name is probably a corruption of Blessed Grimbald, a saint revered by the Benedictines.

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/1/8
  • Old Listed Building Ref (I): 93472
  • Old SAM County Ref: 96
  • Old SAM Ref: 29679

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • GATEHOUSE (XIV to Late Medieval - 1400 AD to 1539 AD (Between))

Full description

Ordnance Survey, 1880-1899, First Edition Ordnance 25 inch map (Cartographic). SDV336179.

Feature shown on 19th century map as two adjoining buildings forming an irregular shaped structure in the north-west corner of a square yard.


Ordnance Survey, 1904 - 1906, Second Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map (Cartographic). SDV325644.


Ministry of Works, 1924, Tavistock Abbey Ruins (Schedule Document). SDV344377.

Tavistock Abbey Ruins, the remains of a Benedictine Abbey standing in the Vicarage garden include a 15th century entrance gateway with two flanking towers. The vaulted roofing of the ground floor remains but above this only the walls are standing. Locally known as Betsy Grimble's Tower.


Reed, H., 1927, Proceedings of the Congress of the British Archaeological Association at Exeter, 21-2 (Article in Serial). SDV249288.

The remains of the Abbot's lodging known locally as Betty Grimbal's Tower is principally a 15th century work and stands in the Vicarage grounds. It is in a ruinous state. The eastern opening which originally passed through it has been blocked.


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


Western Morning News, 1987, Tower O.K. (Article in Serial). SDV351388.

Article states the tower has been given a clean bill of health by architecural experts.


Turton, S. D. + Weddell, P. J., 1991, Archaeological Assessment of Four Areas of Land Adjoining the River Tavy and Plymouth Road, Tavistock, 4; figure 2; plate 6 (Report - Assessment). SDV256444.

A vaulted gateway between two substantial towers which supported an upper room. Remains are principally 15th century, and represent the Great Gate which was the western entrance into the abbey precinct, also providing access to meadows and fishponds. May have adjoined the abbot's lodging. Under the partially blocked arch stands a stone coffin found when the chapter house was demolished. The gatehouse is known as Betty Grimball's Tower.


The Tavistock and District Local History Society, 1994, About Tavistock: An Historical Introduction and Six Town Walks, 10, 26, 34 (Monograph). SDV354806.

The name is almost certainly a corruption of Blessed Grimbald, a saint much revered by the Benedictines.


Freeman, M. + Wans, J., 1996, Tavistock Abbey: Alternative Interpretations, 17-34 (Article in Serial). SDV249301.


Exeter Archaeology, 1997, Archaeological Assessment of Tavistock Sewer Overflows Scheme, 4 (Report - Assessment). SDV344347.


Salvatore, J. P., 1999, 144445. (Personal Comment). SDV256388.

The West Gate, a Grade I Listed Building (known more commonly as Betsy Grimbal's Tower), was the west gate of the abbey precinct. It comprises an entrance archway flanked by projecting demi-octagonal stair turrets, there is a first floor room over the gate passage, and a two-storied structure of continuous construction to the north.


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


Blaylock, S. R., 2001, Tavistock Abbey: Further Recording of the Standing Fabric (Report - non-specific). SDV256395.


West Devon Borough Council, 2009, Tavistock Conservation Area Management Plan, 4, 11, 21, 40 (Report - non-specific). SDV351411.

Repairs are needed to some of the abbey remains, including Betsy Grimabal's Tower.


English Heritage, 2010, Historic Houses Register (List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest). SDV154869.

Betsy Grimbal's Tower, The Vicarage. Mostly 15th century. The Great Gate of the Abbey, west entrance to the precincts. Moulded segmental arches, (one blocked) with flanking towers. Under the arch stands the stone coffin found when the Chapter House was destroyed. The bones contained in it are now in St Eustachius' Church. Named after a corruption of the 'Blessed Grimwald'.


Ordnance Survey, 2010, MasterMap (Cartographic). SDV344030.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV154869List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest: English Heritage. 2010. Historic Houses Register. Historic Houses Register. Website.
SDV249288Article in Serial: Reed, H.. 1927. Proceedings of the Congress of the British Archaeological Association at Exeter. Journal of the British Archaeological Association. 33. Unknown. 21-2.
SDV249301Article in Serial: Freeman, M. + Wans, J.. 1996. Tavistock Abbey: Alternative Interpretations. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 128. A5 Paperback. 17-34.
SDV256388Personal Comment: Salvatore, J. P.. 1999. 144445.. Monument Protection Programme. Archaeological Item Dataset.. Unknown.
SDV256395Report - non-specific: Blaylock, S. R.. 2001. Tavistock Abbey: Further Recording of the Standing Fabric. Exeter Archaeology Report. 01.82. A4 Stapled + Digital.
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. 4; figure 2; plate 6.
SDV325644Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1904 - 1906. Second Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Second Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Map (Digital).
SDV336179Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1880-1899. First Edition Ordnance 25 inch map. First Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Map (Digital).
SDV344030Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2010. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey. Map (Digital). [Mapped feature: #91971 ]
SDV344347Report - Assessment: Exeter Archaeology. 1997. Archaeological Assessment of Tavistock Sewer Overflows Scheme. Exeter Archaeology Report. 97.02. A4 Stapled + Digital. 4.
SDV344375Schedule Document: Department for Culture, Media and Sport. 2001. Tavistock Abbey. The Schedule of Monuments. A4 Stapled.
SDV344377Schedule Document: Ministry of Works. 1924. Tavistock Abbey Ruins. The Schedule of Monuments. Foolscap.
SDV351388Article in Serial: Western Morning News. 1987. Tower O.K.. Western Morning News. Photocopy + Digital.
SDV351411Report - non-specific: West Devon Borough Council. 2009. Tavistock Conservation Area Management Plan. West Devon Borough Council Report. a4 Stapled + Digital. 4, 11, 21, 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, 34.

Associated Monuments

MDV3919Part of: Tavistock Abbey (Monument)
MDV11799Related to: Court Gate, Tavistock Abbey (Building)
MDV43872Related to: West Precinct Wall at Tavistock Abbey (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV4597 - Assessment of Tavistock Sewer Overflow Scheme

Date Last Edited:Aug 22 2018 3:06PM