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HER Number:MDV9085
Name:Guildhall, Guildhall Yard, Totnes

Summary

The Guildhall is part of the priory of St Mary, dated circa 1553, reconstructed in 1624 and extensively altered in 1829.

Location

Grid Reference:SX 802 605
Map Sheet:SX86SW
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishTotnes
DistrictSouth Hams
Ecclesiastical ParishTOTNES

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX86SW/32
  • Old Listed Building Ref (I)

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • GUILDHALL (XVI to XXI - 1553 AD to 2009 AD (Between))

Full description

Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, SX86SW11 (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV350457.

Visit in 16/08/1951 recorded that the Guildhall probably includes fragments of the priory in its walls. The cellar beneath the old police station is part of the undercroft of the refectory of the priory. North wall of the cellar is ragstone built with possibly three arrow-slits with internal splays and with two internal triangular buttresses.


Laithwaite, M., Totnes MB (Unknown). SDV350453.

Visit records that within the Guildhall is a 2 bay courtroom with some surviving 16th century panelling, and also that of 19th century 1st floor council chamber with decorated plaster frieze and overmantel dated 1624. Below this is the original wainscotted prison cell with barred windows. This remained a prison until 1893.


Unknown, Unknown (Unattributed Sites and Monuments Register Entry). SDV350460.

The Guildhall contains good moulded plasterwork, mainly heraldic, and has before it a piazza of granite columns of the 17th century from another building in the town. In one dark corner can be seen the former prison or lock-up.

In June 1897 to commemorate the diamond jubilee of Queen Victoria, the old granite pillars of the Old Church Walk or Exchange were put up outside the Guildhall to support the canopy at the entrance.


Windeatt, E., 1880, An Historical Sketch of Totnes, 167 (Article in Serial). SDV168929.

The Guildhall is part of the priory of St Mary, Totnes, (see SX86SW7) and was granted to the corporation by Edward VI. In 1572, Queen Elizabeth made a grant under her great seal annexing the Guildhall to the borough. In the hall, over the Mayor's chair, are the royal arms and the date 1553. Good specimens of linen pattern wood carving are to be found in the hall; in the gallery wall are the arms of the Earl of Bedford, and on the walls portraits of various Totnes worthies.


Amery, J. S., 1880, The Accounts of the Receiver of the Corporation of Totnes, in the Year 1554-5, 322 (Article in Serial). SDV349327.

Visit records an entry: appears in the receiver's accounts for 1672 for the costs of painting the ceiling of the Guildhall in oils, and other general redecorations. Windeatt also notes that the old town stocks are preserved in the Guildhall.


Windeatt, E., 1900, Totnes: Its Mayors and Mayoralities, 1627-1676, 128, 138 (Article in Serial). SDV168934.

An entry appears in the Receiver’s Accounts for 1672 for the costs of painting the ceiling of the Guildhall in oils, and other general redecorations. Windeatt also notes that the Old Town Stocks are preserved in the Guildhall.


Windeatt, E., 1900-1901, The Old Church Walk or Exchange, Totnes, 41, Plate 1-2 (Unknown). SDV350406.


Anonymous, 1927, Proceedings of the congress etc, 37-42 (Article in Serial). SDV98987.


Anonymous, 1930, Unknown, 552-553 (Article in Serial). SDV169711.


Windeatt, G.E., 1930-1931, Totnes Guildhall, 114 (Article in Serial). SDV350458.

Visit records that from time immemorial the name of Leonard Yeo, a local worthy of the 16th century, has been cut into the floor of the Guildhall. The letters l. A. In the pebbles of the yard refer to Laurence Adams, Mayor in 1615.


Lega-Weekes, E., 1930-1931, Totnes Guildhall, 35-36 (Article in Serial). SDV350456.

Visit recorded that money left in the will of Phillip Holldicke of 1607 to pave the hall with purbeck stone.


Beckerlegge, J. J., 1937, 6th Report of the Plymouth and District Branch, 217 (Article in Serial). SDV339417.

Visit recorded that the octagonal pillars outside were part of the Cloth Hall, date 1611.


Russell, P., 1964, The Good Town of Totnes, 49 (Unknown). SDV350407.


Copeland, G. W., 1965, Proceedings at the 103rd Annual Meeting, 25 (Article in Serial). SDV145408.


Department of Environment, 1978, Totnes, 43-44 (List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest). SDV342722.

Visit on 07/01/1952, circa 1553, reconstructed in 1624 and extensively altered in 1829. The town council incorporated the conventual buildings into their new Guildhall buildings in 1553 (for details of monastic survival see SX86SW/17). 2 storeys; Welsh slate roof with gabled belfry, and lantern with pyramidal roof over council chamber. Devonian limestone rubble walls dressed and patched with new red sandstone. Traces of blocked medieval windows. An original wooden 15th century doorway occurs at west end. Doorway at east end later. Loggia in front was constructed circa 1897 using granite columns from the exchange (built 1616) (see SX86SW/22).


Department of Environment, 1978, Totnes, 43-44 (List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest). SDV342722.

Visit to the Guildhall. Circa 1553, reconstructed in 1624 (wall tablet) and extensively altered in 1829. On the site of the Benedictine Priory of St Mary founded by Judhael in 1088. The courtroom appears to be on the site of the monastic refectory and retains some of the original window openings, the main refectory entrance to Guildhall Yard. Two storeys. Two windows. Welsh slate roof with gabled belfry. Many other features.


Alcock, N. W., 1981, Cruck Construction: An Introduction and Catalogue, 112 (Report - non-specific). SDV342504.


Visit records a jointed cruck (Alcock, citing M. Laithwaite).


Walls, S., 2010, The Materiality of Remembrance: Twentieth Century War Memorials in Devon, TOT50 (Post-Graduate Thesis). SDV355902.


Marlow, P. O., 2013, Cobbles in Devon, 55 (Article in Serial). SDV358513.

The courtyard of the guildhall is cobbled as are the paths leading from it.


Ordnance Survey, 2013, MasterMap (Cartographic). SDV350786.


English Heritage, 2013, National Heritage List for England (National Heritage List for England). SDV350785.

Circa 1553, reconstructed in 1624 (wall tablet) and extensively altered in 1829. On the site of the Benedictine Priory of St Mary founded by Judhael in 1086. After the Dissolution in 1536 the greater part of the priory church of St Mary was adapted for use as the parish church (qv), and the conventional buildings, on the north side, were granted to Walter Smythe and, in 1553, to the Town Council who incorporated them in the new Guildhall buildings. The Courtroom appears to be on the site of the monastic refectory and retains some of the original window openings, the main refectory entrance to Guildhall Yard (formerly the site of the cloister) and an internal doorway to the site of the monastic kitchen at the west end, later the prison. At the east end a building with a vaulted undercroft (possibly the Prior's lodging) formed the nucleus of the Grammar School also established in 1553 (see Numbers 5 and 5A Guildhall Yard). 2 storeys. 2 windows. Welsh slate roof with gabled belfry, and lantern with pyramidal roof over Council Chamber. Medieval, Devonian limestone rubble walls dressed and patched with New Red sandstone. Traces of blocked medieval windows. 19th century traceried windows in Perpendicular style in old openings. Original wooden 15th century doorway at west end with timber lintol and moulded, 4 centred arched head; plank and batten door, iron pegs and moulded cover strips. Later doorway inserted at east end with 4-centred arched head and chamfered reveals. The loggia in front of the Guildhall constructed circa 1897 with granite columns taken from the Exchange built in 1616, later a market, and pulled down in 1878. In the pavement beneath the canopy are the initials "L.A. 1615" worked into the cobble sett and referring to Lawrence Adams, mayor. Interior 2 bay courtroom still retaining some 16th century linenfold panelling (graffiti dated 1633). 19th century deal panelling and seats with turned balusters to gallery at west end. Courtroom with Royal Coat of Arms, in plaster with date 1553. Magistrates chair with fine carved canopy reputedly of 1624 with arms of Totnes. First floor Council Chamber at west end with similar canopied seat and decorated plaster frieze and overmantel, the latter of 1624. Belay Council Chamber, original wainscotted prison cell "dark house" approached by 5 centred arched doorway with chamfered reveals. Cell with barred windows and original plank and batten prison doors with iron pegs. Further cells at west end now form part of the boiler house beneath the Guildhall cottage (qv). Remained a prison until 1893 (citing M Laithwaite).

Sources / Further Reading

SDV145408Article in Serial: Copeland, G. W.. 1965. Proceedings at the 103rd Annual Meeting. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 97. A5 Hardback. 25.
SDV168929Article in Serial: Windeatt, E.. 1880. An Historical Sketch of Totnes. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 12. Hardback Volume. 167.
SDV168934Article in Serial: Windeatt, E.. 1900. Totnes: Its Mayors and Mayoralities, 1627-1676. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 32. Unknown. 128, 138.
SDV169711Article in Serial: Anonymous. 1930. Unknown. Archaeological Journal. 70. Unknown. 552-553.
SDV339417Article in Serial: Beckerlegge, J. J.. 1937. 6th Report of the Plymouth and District Branch. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 69. Unknown. 217.
SDV342504Report - non-specific: Alcock, N. W.. 1981. Cruck Construction: An Introduction and Catalogue. Council for British Archaeology Research Report. 42. Photocopy. 112.
SDV342722List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest: Department of Environment. 1978. Totnes. Historic Houses Register. A4 Comb Bound. 43-44.
SDV349327Article in Serial: Amery, J. S.. 1880. The Accounts of the Receiver of the Corporation of Totnes, in the Year 1554-5. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 12. Unknown. 322.
SDV350406Unknown: Windeatt, E.. 1900-1901. The Old Church Walk or Exchange, Totnes. DCNQ. 1. 41, Plate 1-2.
SDV350407Unknown: Russell, P.. 1964. The Good Town of Totnes. Unknown. 49.
SDV350453Unknown: Laithwaite, M.. Totnes MB.
SDV350456Article in Serial: Lega-Weekes, E.. 1930-1931. Totnes Guildhall. Devon and Cornwall Notes and Queries. 16. 35-36.
SDV350457Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. SX86SW11. Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card.
SDV350458Article in Serial: Windeatt, G.E.. 1930-1931. Totnes Guildhall. Devon and Cornwall Notes and Queries. 16. Unknown. 114.
SDV350460Unattributed Sites and Monuments Register Entry: Unknown. Unknown.
SDV350785National Heritage List for England: English Heritage. 2013. National Heritage List for England. Historic Houses Register. Digital.
SDV350786Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2013. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey Digital Mapping. Digital. [Mapped feature: #109291 ]
SDV355902Post-Graduate Thesis: Walls, S.. 2010. The Materiality of Remembrance: Twentieth Century War Memorials in Devon. University of Exeter. Digital. TOT50.
SDV358513Article in Serial: Marlow, P. O.. 2013. Cobbles in Devon. Devon Buildings Group Newsletter. A4 Stapled + Digital. 55.
SDV98987Article in Serial: Anonymous. 1927. Proceedings of the congress etc. Journal of the British Archaeological Association. 33. 37-42.

Associated Monuments

MDV107100Parent of: Royal 1st Devon Yeomanry Memorial Tablet, Totnes Guildhall (Monument)
MDV105405Related to: Ramparts Walk (Monument)
MDV9060Related to: Totnes Priory, north of Totnes Parish Church, Totnes (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events: none recorded


Date Last Edited:Jul 31 2019 3:14PM