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Listed Building
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Statutory Address:

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Teignbridge (District Authority)
Newton Abbot
National Grid Reference:
SX 86996 70940



SX8770 TORQUAY ROAD 1012-1/11/128 (North side) 16/07/49 Forde House (Formerly Listed as: TORQUAY ROAD (North side) Ford House)


Manor House, now the property of Teignbridge District Council. c1550 for John Gravelock, enlarged 1610 altered c1625 for Sir Richard Reynell; restored 1930s and 1981-3. MATERIALS: roughcast over stone rubble, C20 slate roofs with ceramic ridges, double-pitched to the central ranges, and tall C20 diagonal stacks to the central valley and gable ends. PLAN: E-plan house of 1610 with original house of c1550 as the service wing to the rear right with a further late C19 wing the rear right corner. EXTERIOR: 2 storeys; symmetrical 7-window range to the 1610 south front. A high parapet surrounding the building rises at the front in 5 large semicircular Dutch gables extending over the outer forward wings, the 2-storey porch and the flanking ranges. A central cupola with weather vane is flanked by triple stacks in the roof valley. Stone mullioned and transomed windows, 5-light to the outer wings, 4-light to the other forward-facing windows, blind 3-light to the inward-facing returns of the wings. Windows to the first floor have late C19 glazing with 4 panes to each light, those to the ground floor have leaded lights with some old glass except the outer wings which are similar to the first floor and the sills have been lowered. The right return, slightly lower at the rear where it is 3 storeys, has paired stacks flanking a semicircular Dutch gable, that to the left is external. A continuous dripmould is shaped over a central 3-light second-floor leaded window, the lintel of a similar window to the far right reaches the dripmould. To the right of centre is a first-floor C20 cross window over a tall 3-light leaded window. The late C19 wing has 4 gables facing north. The 2-storey left return also has a central Dutch gable flanked by paired external stacks, that to the left is corbelled out approx one metre from the ground. Cross windows with cavetto moulded (restored C20) to the outer first-floor corners, label moulds to 2 central ground-floor windows between the stacks, that to the left has the lower half blocked. The 3-storey rear has spectacular alternate semicircles and triangles to the parapet. Formerly with oak-mullioned leaded windows with label moulds, there is now a variety of 4, 3 and 2-light casements and an early C18 sash window with 12/12 panes and thick glazing bars to the first-floor centre. A large 5-light window to the upper right corner has similar C19 glazing to those at the front. A C17 stop-moulded architrave to the right now has a C20 panelled door in C17 style. A door close to the angle of the rear wing has a repaired C17 studded door with 3 horizontal panels in a restored frame. The roof of the rear wing is hipped to the rear with large tall paired ridge stacks. The west side facing the courtyard has a small 4-light timber-mullioned leaded casement window at eaves level to the right and a similar 2-light window to the left flank a tall central C19 half-dormer. To the left is a C19 lean-to porch on chamfered supports over a C17 wide-planked studded oak door with wrought-iron strap hinges. To the left of the door is a C18 cross window with C20 leading. INTERIOR: evidence for an older house, discovered during repairs of 1981-3, include remains of a north doorway to the screens passage, part of a turret stair by the hall chimneystack and the ends of 2 cruck blades over the main range. Rear north wing of 2-bays, possibly former lobby entrance plan divided by back-to back open fireplaces with massive granite lintels and full-depth jambs, stone-flagged to the ground floor. Along the east wall is a complete set of C18 servant's bells. A lobby at the junction of the C17 house has a wide C17 oak door to the rear courtyard. The 1610 E-plan building is chiefly notable for the retention of exceptionally fine woodwork and especially plasterwork. The hall, probably formerly with a low screens passage, is fully panelled with strapwork carving to the smaller upper panels, all painted and grained c1980. The design of the ribbed plasterwork ceiling includes the passage (hence a low screen) and has a large central pendant. The 4 wide doors to the porch, rear stairs, right and left-hand rooms are elaborately panelled with studded squares and rectangles; the upper panels are in semicircular arches with carved spandrels; the moulded architraves have vase stops. An open fire to the rear has a wide white stone Tudor arch with a painted arcaded timber overmantel; the floor of the fire, and all the other fireplaces is chequer-pattern of small slates set edge-on. The room to the left forward wing, the Chairman's Parlour, has a C17 strap work plastered ceiling with a truncated pendant to the centre; to the left is an arcaded overmantel flanked by Ionic columns with taller ones below; set into the former open fire is a c1830 black marble fireplace with roundels to block corners. C17 panelling up to a dado rail. Two pairs of late C19 paired Ionic columns to the rear with a lower ceiling to the rear, support a frieze of cartouches framing rectangular panels which encircle the room. The room to the right of the porch is a C20 kitchen. The room to the right forward wing, a parlour, has a C19 rear division. Pilasters flank the rear end which has a simple cornice; the rest has rib moulding to the ceiling, a C17 heavily-painted 2-arch panelled overmantel similar to that in the hall with an inserted C19 fireplace. The left-hand internal wall has a recess with a C19 architrave to adjustable shelves. The stair well to the rear right of the hall (the upper end), has a C17 foliate frieze and an open-well closed-string staircase with carved octagonal vase balusters and newels with gadrooned vase finials; the sides of the straight moulded handrail is carved with daisies and nailhead panels. There is evidence of some structural alteration. The stair window is 3-lights with hollow-moulded stone mullions. The axial barrel-vaulted room to the first floor above the hall, known as the King Charles Room, thought originally to have been the great chamber, has a shallow Tudor arch to a fire at the rear, rib moulding to the ceiling and elaborate tympana, that to the left with cartouches surrounding a mermaid. The door to the rear left has a late C17 cyma-moulded architrave. Double-doors to the left are C19 or C20. A small room of the same depth over the porch has strapwork axial barrel-vaulting with a C17 anthemion frieze. The glazed porch has a flat ceiling with a Pegasus frieze. The Long Room to the first-floor-left over the Chairman's Parlour, formerly two rooms, has a spectacular strapwork barrel vault with three large pendants. Projecting from the rich frieze are female supports to the vault; they are in C17 costume and each holds a different flower. Toward the front of the left-hand wall is large fireplace similar to that in the hall without an overmantel; toward the rear is a similar smaller fireplace. Architraves and raised-and-fielded panelling below the windows are early C18. To the front right is an early C19 recess with adjustable shelving. Two rooms to the first-floor right of the porch; that to the left, a former withdrawing room, has a plain axial barrel vault, early C18 and C19 panelling around the window and steps to a narrow passage in the rear right corner leading to a rear staircase. Fireplace to the rear. The ceiling of the similar-sized bedchamber to the right has repeated rectangular panels with strapwork surrounds. A fireplace to the rear has massive red sandstone full-depth jambs and lintel. Joinery is late C18/early C19. The bedchamber in the right-hand projecting wing has a similar ceiling to the left wing with strap moulding, 3 pendants and an anthemion frieze; to the right is a large Tudor-arch fireplace. The rear of the house is 3 storeys and rooms have lower ceilings. To the lower ground-floor rear left is an unheated storage room; above it is a heated room with painted decoration to the walls, some original some restored; 2 plastered-over axial beams and a simple C19 fireplace. This room may have been a former steward's room; the room above is part of the present great chamber. To the right of these 3 rooms is the main stairwell. The room to the first-floor right can be entered from both sides. The entrance to the right of the mezzanine landing of the main staircase is through a C16 panelled and studded door, probably repositioned from the original building set in a C17 moulded frame. Known as the Trophy Room, it is complete c1700. Full-height and pine-panelled, the raised panels have bolection moulding, those to the rear wall conceals shelves and drawers within the thickness of the wall. The mullioned window of this room was replaced by a 16/16-pane sash window with thick glazing bars over an integral window seat. Bolection moulding to a 2-panel door to the right with a large brass lock and small wrought-iron knob. The corner fireplace backing onto the fire of the King Charles Room has a c1700 architrave panelled above and an early C19 hob grate. Wide oak floorboards. To the right is a passage and rear stair, possibly a former gallery. To the far right-hand corner is a closet and staircase to the rear of the bedchamber. Roof structure not seen. HISTORY: John Gavelock was steward to the Abbey and Convent of Wolborough before the Dissolution. He bought the Wolborough portion of the Abbey property from the Crown in 1545 and built a house from c1550. The property was sold c1599 to Sir Richard Reynell who spent 30 years as a lawyer at "some office in The Exchequer in London, and got great wealth". The house, built c1610, was given its spectacular interiors for the visit of King Charles I and his large retinue in 1625. The Reynell tomb (qv) is in the Parish Church of St Mary the Virgin, Old Totnes Road (qv). (BoE: Pevsner N & Cherry B: Devon: London: 1989-: 589-90).

Listing NGR: SX8699670940


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

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Books and journals
Pevsner, N, Cherry, B, The Buildings of England: Devon, (1989), 589-590


This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

End of official listing

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Date: 27 Oct 2001
Reference: IOE01/04475/03
Rights: Copyright IoE Ms Julia K Rich. Source Historic England Archive
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