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HER Number:MDV72669
Name:Police Station and Former Fire engine house, Guildhall Square, Tavistock


Former police accommodation block and fire engine house, circa 1848, incorporating some late 15th century fabric. Currently the police station.


Grid Reference:SX 482 744
Map Sheet:SX47SE
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishTavistock
DistrictWest Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishTAVISTOCK

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • Old Listed Building Ref (II*): 93408
  • Old SAM Ref: 29679

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • POLICE STATION (XV to XIX - 1401 AD to 1900 AD (Between))

Full description

Ordnance Survey, 1855-1895, First Edition 1:500 Town Map (Cartographic). SDV338879.

'Fire Engine House' marked on south-east side of building. Map object based on this source.

Department of Environment, 1983, Tavistock, 8 (List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest). SDV272550.

Police Station and Sergeant's House (formerly listed under Guildhall Square). Medieval restored 19th century. A conversion of some of the ancillary buildings on the eastern boundary of the Abbey Precincts, possibly the Abbey Mill. The Police Station is a rectangular building of Hurdwick rough ashlar masonry with granite dressings. Castellated parapet with original pinnacles. At the north-west end is a polygonal tower. Five pointed windows with hood moulding. In the 18th century this building was known as 'Trowte's House'. The Sergeant's House, which adjoins the Police Station does not appear to follow the lines of an original building. It is of two storeys and has walls of mixed stone rubble with granite windows and arches and castellated parapet. There is a small turret at its north end.

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

Excluded from Scheduling but the ground beneath is included.

Keystone Historic Buildings Consultants, 2005, An Assessment of Tavistock Police Station & Guildhall, Guildhall Square, Tavistock, Devon (Report - Assessment). SDV336169.

Trowte's House is a late 15th century three storey building of Hurdwick stone under a slate roof. The embattled parapet has pinnacles with crocketted finials to the main block and five pinnacles on the stair turret. Little of the medieval fabric survives apart from a window opening on the stair turret and a small patch of masonry to the rear. The house is a rare example of a surviving building of some status in a monastic Great Court and the original function may have been the Abbey Guesthouse. The medieval Great Court is known to have included a corn mill at the south end of the east range and may have included other industrial buildings. Illustrations of the superior monastery building, later called Trowte's House, exist from 1716 to 1830. The building was refurbished in 1848 to provide a magistrates room adjoining the new Guildhall (MDV29023). By 1890 the semi-basement provided police accommodation and a superintendent's office, and by 1914 the second floor was caretakers' accommodation. Next to Trowte's House a triangular plot of land was once a town pound over which a police house and fire engine house were built in the 19th century. The rear yards are bounded by tall rubble walls with granite coping and divided by three internal cross walls.

Department for Culture, Media and Sport, 2008, Tavistock (List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest). SDV340249.

Two entries, the Police Station and Sergeant's House, and the Guildhall replaced by a single entry for the Guildhall, Police Station, attached railings and boundary walls. Listing changed from Grade II to Grade II*.
Purpose built combined court and police station with former police accommodation block and fire engine house. Circa 1848, incorporating some late 15th century fabric. Late 19th and late 20th century alterations. Designed initially by John Foulston and then by Theophilus Jones for the Duke of Bedford. From north to south the group comprises the former police accommodation block and fire engine house which is built on a different alignment to the rest of the range and is currently the police station; a three storey building known as Trowte's House incorporating a late 15th century structure within its fabric; and at the south end, the Guildhall which has a courtroom to the ground floor and a semi-basement that was the original police station. See listing description for full details.

West Devon Borough Council, 2009, Tavistock Conservation Area Management Plan, 37-38 (Report - non-specific). SDV351411.

Ordnance Survey, 2012, MasterMap (Cartographic). SDV348725.

Map object based on this source.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV272550List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest: Department of Environment. 1983. Tavistock. Historic Houses Register. A4 Comb Bound. 8.
SDV336169Report - Assessment: Keystone Historic Buildings Consultants. 2005. An Assessment of Tavistock Police Station & Guildhall, Guildhall Square, Tavistock, Devon. A4 Stapled + Digital.
SDV338879Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1855-1895. First Edition 1:500 Town Map. First Edition 1:500 Town Map. Map (Digital).
SDV340249List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest: Department for Culture, Media and Sport. 2008. Tavistock. Amendment to List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interes. A4 Stapled.
SDV344375Schedule Document: Department for Culture, Media and Sport. 2001. Tavistock Abbey. The Schedule of Monuments. A4 Stapled.
SDV348725Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2012. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey. Map (Digital).
SDV351411Report - non-specific: West Devon Borough Council. 2009. Tavistock Conservation Area Management Plan. West Devon Borough Council Report. a4 Stapled + Digital. 37-38.

Associated Monuments

MDV1592Related to: Library and Former Librarian's House, Guildhall Square, Tavistock (Building)
MDV3919Related to: Tavistock Abbey (Monument)
MDV29023Related to: Tavistock Guildhall (Building)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events: none recorded

Date Last Edited:Jun 14 2013 8:30AM