Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
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Statutory Address:

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

West Devon (District Authority)
Dartmoor Forest
National Park:
National Grid Reference:
SX 60033 73141


LYDFORD SX 67 SW 15/25 Tor Royal 21.3.67 GV II*

House. 1785-1793 with addition of c.1815-20 restored and altered slightly in 1912 by A E Richardson. Built by and for Sir Thomas Tyrwhitt. Plastered stone walls. Slate and asbestos slate roof in mansard over central 2-storey section hipped to left-hand wing, gabled to right-hand wings. 2 gable end stone stacks to 2 storey section. Parallel right-hand wings each have gable end stone stacks. 2 axial stone stacks to left-hand wing. Plan: the original building consisted of what is now the central 2-storey section and the right-hand parallel single storey wings. The 2-storey part consisted of the principal rooms with a stair in a small wing at the rear and the right-hand wings were for service purposes. In circa 1815-20 the L-shaped single storey wing was added at the left end extending to the rear and consisted of a high quality suite of self-contained rooms reputedly for the use of the Prince of Wales. At the centre was a large reception hall with 2 principal rooms opening onto the rear courtyard and 2 rooms at the front. The plan remains very unaltered to the present day. Exterior: 2 storeys with attic and single storey, almost symmetrical front of central 2-storey range with slightly different single storey wing to either side. The 2-storey section was given a mansard roof and attic and its windows renewed in the restoration of 1912. It has a symmetrical 3-window front of sash windows - 12 panes to the first floor and taller 8-pane windows to the ground floor. Dormer attic windows are roundheaded sashes with intersecting glazing bars at the top and small pediments above. The main'windows are all shuttered and this may be an original feature as they are shown in a drawing of the house in 1828. Central enclosed porch with hipped roof and granite pillars is probably an adaptation of the original doorhood supported on pillars shown in the drawing. Each of the 1-storey wings has 3 sash windows but those in the left-hand wing are considerably larger and it has similar windows along its left-hand wall extending to the rear. The rear elevation is considerably more irregular. Behind the 2-storey range are 2 small hipped roof wings, the right-hand one containing the staircase. Between them a later outshut has been added. A single storey service wing extends to the left parallel to that at the front. To the right of the 2 storey range the other wing projects with a doorhood supported on granite pillars on its inner face. Interior remains fairly unaltered with an obvious difference in the quality of the principal suite of rooms which retain some very high quality features. The hall has a domed ceiling with a lantern. At the base of the dome is an unusual plaster frieze depicting a steam engine pulling trucks (reputedly commemorating the construction of the Princetown railway). In the corners are simple scenes either of a Shepherd with his sheep or a Carter with his horse. Above is a frieze of corn sheafs and baskets of fruit. The motif of the steam engine and trucks is repeated in plaster below the lantern. The chimneypiece in the hall is contemporary and has reeded pilasters each with a lion's head at the top and a frieze of a key motif with a flower at the centre. At either end of the hall are double arches leading to other rooms. Several doors in this suite of rooms were obtained from Carlton House in London when it was demolished and these still survive. There are also doors which are, or have been, covered with green baize and decorative studwork. The room to the left of the hall has a coved cornice with applied fleur de lys. The room behind it has an ornate plaster cornice and a marble chimneypiece with classical figure at the centre of the frieze. The room in front of the hall is lined in wood with fielded panelling in places up to chair rail level and built-in cupboards with pilasters and decorative frieze. The small room to its left has an Art Nouveau chimneypiece with coloured tile surround. The stairs have a closed string, square panelled newel with flat cap and turned balusters. Thomas Tyrwhitt had no previous connection with Devon but came to know Dartmoor through his association with the Prince of Wales whose secretary he was, and in 1786 he was appointed auditor to the Duchy of Cornwall. He became an M.P. to Okehampton and later Plymouth and in 1812 he was appointed Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod. In the same year he was also Knighted. Tyrwhitt built Tor Royal and made its estate in a completely uncultivated part of the moor as an exercise in making the moor agriculturally productive and he experimented with more unusual crops such as flax. Various members of the royal family stayed at the house. Tyrwhitt was also responsible for the building of both Dartmoor Prison and Princetown railway which led to the development of Princetown as a town. The interest of this house lies not only in the quality of its interior and its unaltered nature but also in its historical importance to Prince town and its royal connections. Source: Buildings of England: South Devon - Pevsner

Listing NGR: SX6003373141


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

Legacy System number:
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Books and journals
Pevsner, N, The Buildings of England: South Devon, (1952)


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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