Heritage Category:
Listed Building
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Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:
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Statutory Address:

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

Torbay (Unitary Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SX 90722 63746



SX9063 THE KING'S DRIVE 885-1/17/252 (East side) 20/11/52 The Spanish Barn, Torre Abbey (Formerly Listed as: THE KINGS DRIVE Tithe Barn of Torre Abbey)


Monastic barn. Date uncertain. Masonry could be as early as C13. Present roof construction appears to be largely late C15, although thoroughly repaired in the 1930s, but may be a replacement of an earlier roof. Local red sandstone and grey limestone rubble; slate roof gabled at ends. PLAN: Sited south-west of the C14 gatehouse, on an approximately west-east axis. 16 bays with opposed porches in the centre bay. EXTERIOR: Impressively large with 10 buttresses with batters to each side and 3 at each end, the centre buttresses at each end taller. Gabled porches, each with buttresses flush with the front wall. Coped gables to main block and porches, which have flattened tops. Porches have large segmental-headed doorways and sections of alternating red sandstone and white freestone quoins. The north side has small arched doorways between buttresses 3 and 4 and 7 and 8 (counting from the east), the eastern doorway has an opposed doorway on the south side. 4 slit breathers to each long side, deeply splayed on their internal faces. The north porch has a small segmental-headed doorway on the east return, the south porch has similar doorways on both returns. East end has 3 slit breathers, west end has 2. Plank doors with strap hinges and door furniture of an C18 character. INTERIOR: Loft removed in the 1930s, the slots for the beam ends survive, high in the walls. 17 arch-braced trusses, the end trusses close to the end walls. Peculiar method of seating trusses onto wall tops, possibly dating from the 1930s. The principal rafters sit on the wall tops. Towards the front face of the wall, a wallplate, flush with the top of the wall and its front, into which the feet of the arch braces are fixed. The wall-plate appears to be entirely renewed or perhaps a new 1930s design. The trusses are bound with iron straps. 4 tiers of threaded purlins; ridge-piece (the latter possibly 1930s); some original rafters. The inner opening of each porch is spanned by a chamfered, step-stopped lintel. On the north side, 2 stone corbels are visible in the masonry below the existing lintel. 1930s black and red clay tile floor includes inscription dating the barn to the C12 and recording that it was used to house prisoners in 1588 when the Nuestra Senora del Rosano, one of the vessels of the Spanish Armada and the flagship of the Andalusian Squadron was captured by Drake and brought ashore. Possibly the earliest surviving barn in Devon. The curator of Torre Abbey has photographs of the barn prior to the removal of the loft in the 1930s and showing that the existing roof is a repair, not a 'reconstruction' (Pevsner) of the pre-1930s roof. (Buildings of England: Pevsner N and Cherry B: Devon: London: 1952-1989: P.854).

Listing NGR: SX9072263746


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

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
Pevsner, N, The Buildings of England: South Devon, (1952), 854
Pevsner, N, Cherry, B, The Buildings of England: Devon, (1989), 854


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

Images of England

Images of England was a photographic record of every listed building in England, created as a snap shot of listed buildings at the turn of the millennium. These photographs of the exterior of listed buildings were taken by volunteers between 1999 and 2008. The project was supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Date: 03 Jul 2002
Reference: IOE01/05594/07
Rights: Copyright IoE Mr Ernie W. King. Source Historic England Archive
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