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HER Number:MDV43876
Name:Abbey Chapel, Forecourt Wall and Piers, Tavistock

Summary

Abbey Chapel, forecourt wall and piers in Tavistock, late 15th or early 16th century. Originally the Abbot's Hall, but used as non-conformist chapel from 17th century onwards.

Location

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

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • Devon Record Office: TD237
  • Devon Record Office: TD273
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX47SE/1/13
  • Old Listed Building Ref (II): 93387

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • CHAPEL (XV to XVIII - 1450 AD to 1800 AD (Between))

Full description

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


Radford, G. H., 1914, Tavistock Abbey, 153 (Article in Serial). SDV136050.

Unitarian Chapel occupies the Abbot's Hall of Tavistock Abbey. New entrance made for the chapel, originally entered through the porch now used as the larder of the Bedford Hotel. The hall had a fine timbered roof, said to exist still under the plastered ceiling. Stone pulpit in north wall. Mullioned windows, part of one still to be seen in south wall. The little tower adjoining, with a stone staircase and upper chamber, is now used as a vestry by the chapel.


Hicks, H. R., 1947 - 1949, Ministers of the Abbey Chapel, Tavistock, 212-215,248-251,289-292,315-318,358-359 (Article in Serial). SDV256436.

The former Abbot's Hall came into use as an Independent Chapel in 1660.


Hicks, H. R., 1947 - 1949, Tavistock Water Gate (Article in Serial). SDV256433.


Department of Environment, 1983, Tavistock, 1 (List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest). SDV272550.

The Abbey Chapel, forecourt wall and piers (formerly listed as Unitarian Chapel). Late 15th or early 16th century. Originally the Abbot's Hall, but used as non-conformist chapel from 17th century onwards. Granite. West end gable fronted with saddlestone. Double pointed arched window with hood moulding and 16th century granite entrance arch with hood moulding and carved spandrels. On the south side are buttresses, an external chimney and an original window (now blocked). Attached granite forecourt wall has two sets of rusticated gatepiers with ball finials. Original Medieval roof said to be concealed under the coved plaster ceiling.


Turton, S. D. + Weddell, P. J., 1991, Archaeological Assessment of Four Areas of Land Adjoining the River Tavy and Plymouth Road, Tavistock, 6; figure 2; plates 4-5. (Report - Assessment). SDV256444.

Originally part of Abbot's Hall or Misericord at Tavistock Abbey. Smith and Wynne refer to it as the Great Hall. Mainly 15th-16th century with 1845 renovation. A blocked window and doorway in the extension of the south-east wall attest to the north-east wall having been replaced, and the building originally extending at least 6 metres further eastwards. The rendered building adjoining to west (shown as ballroom on 18th century plan) may incorporate part of the original Medieval building which, although smaller, was on the same alignment.


The Tavistock and District Local History Society, 1994, About Tavistock: An Historical Introduction and Six Town Walks, 10, 14, 34, 40 (Monograph). SDV354806.

The former abbey chapel became the first meeting house of dissenters in the town in the late 17th century. Substantial restoration has enabled it to survive as one of the best preserved parts of the abbey. It was the misericord, originally used as the infirmary dining room and later as a dining room by the monastic community as a whole rather than the adjacent refectory. The original entrance was through the tower porch. This entrance was blocked in 1845 and replaced by a granite archway in the eastern wall of the building. This archway once formed part of the nearby Water Gate. The chapel was sold in 1959 and reopened after renovation by the Plymouth Brethren, now known as the Christian Brethren. Its small churchyard contains some interesting stones.


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

The authors suggest that the abbot's hall was formerly the infirmary and that the misericord adjoined it to the west, thus shifting the abbot's lodging to the west of the cloister.


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

Site visited on 29th April 1999. 'The Abbey Chapel' is considered to be the monastic infirmary hall or possibly the abbot's hall. The structure has the character of a large Medieval open hall and it was entered from the north by a two-storied porch; the building has been in use as a non-conformist chapel since the 17th century. The porch tower (Abbey Porch) of two stories was added to the north facade of Abbey Chapel in the late 15th or early 16th century.


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

The Abbey Chapel is excluded from the scheduling of Tavistock Abbey, although the ground beneath is included.


Gibbons, P., 2001, Tavistock Abbey: Christian Brethren Chapel Tower Archaeological Watching Brief (Report - Watching Brief). SDV256461.

Christian Brethren Chapel in 2001. A watching brief undertaken during improvements and repairs in 1998 revealed that the east wall of the chapel had been rebuilt and the original monastic building may have extended further east.


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

The Abbey Chapel was included in the digital survey of the standing remains of Tavistock Abbey undertaken in 2001. Further recording of the chapel included the east and north elevations, the north-west projecting block and the sub-floor levels.


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.


Passmore, A. J., 2010, Historic Building Recording at the Bedford Hotel,Tavistock, Devon, 2008, 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 existing footprint of existing building 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.


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

Sources / Further Reading

SDV136050Article in Serial: Radford, G. H.. 1914. Tavistock Abbey. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 46. A5 Hardback. 153.
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.
SDV256433Article in Serial: Hicks, H. R.. 1947 - 1949. Tavistock Water Gate. Devon and Cornwall Notes and Queries. 23. Unknown.
SDV256436Article in Serial: Hicks, H. R.. 1947 - 1949. Ministers of the Abbey Chapel, Tavistock. Devon and Cornwall Notes and Queries. 23. Unknown. 212-215,248-251,289-292,315-318,358-359.
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; figure 2; plates 4-5..
SDV256461Report - Watching Brief: Gibbons, P.. 2001. Tavistock Abbey: Christian Brethren Chapel Tower Archaeological Watching Brief. Paul Gibbons Associates. 107. A4 Stapled + Digital.
SDV272550List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest: Department of Environment. 1983. Tavistock. Historic Houses Register. A4 Comb Bound. 1.
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: #91976 ]
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. 5; figures 2-5.
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, 14, 34, 40.

Associated Monuments

MDV3922Parent of: Porch of Abbey Chapel, Tavistock (Building)
MDV3919Part of: Tavistock Abbey (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

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 12 2015 1:06PM