1000 Years

of History

A Truly Historic Venue – 1,000 Years and Counting

When you choose Tawstock Court for your wedding, corporate event or other celebration,
you’ll take your place in our history. A history that dates back almost 1,000 years and
includes being visited by Charles II…

An Overview

The Tawstock Estate was mentioned originally in the Domesday Book. There has been a manor house at Tawstock Court since the late 13th century. The name ‘court’ derives from the fact that the lord’s manor was the administrative and judicial center, not just for Tawstock but for other manors over which it had jurisdiction.

The size or description of the above manor house at this time is unknown but it would have been an altogether smaller affair than the 1740 painting of Tawstock Court which was probably commissioned by Sir Bourchier Wrey, 6th Baronet.

The mansion in the picture was described as ‘the largest and best finished in the county’. It occupied an imposing site over the River Taw and Codden Hill with formal lawns and gardens extending down the hill towards the church. A pathway was accessed through the gardens towards the church through the pillared gateway and into the church.

This manor house in the picture was almost completed destroyed by fire on 10th November 1787.

Tawstock Court Timeline

11th Century
The Tawstock estate is gifted to Geoffrey de Mowbrey by William the Conqueror as a reward for de Mowbrey’s loyalty during the Norman conquest.
11th Century
11th Century
The Tawstock Estate is mentioned in the Domesday Book. The name ‘Tawstock’ literally means ‘a place associated with water meadows on or near the River Taw’.
11th Century
11th Century
Robert de Mowbrey is involved in an unsuccessful rebellion against William II, and loses Tawstock to the crown as a result.
11th Century
12th Century
Henry I awards Tawstock Court to Lord Judhel of Totnes.
12th Century
12th Century
The first manor house is built at Tawstock.
12th Century
12th - 15th Century
Tawstock Court passes through the hands of many prominent families, including De Tracy, Fitzmartin, Audley and Fitzwarin, some of whom are recorded on the shields that can still be seen in the study today.
12th - 15th Century
Late 15th Century
The Bourchier family makes its home at Tawstock. William Bourchier, 3rd Earl of Bath, orders a new manor house to be built.
Late 15th Century
16th Century
The grounds are used as a deer park for Barnstaple.
16th Century
1642-1651
The English Civil War rages across the kingdom. During the conflict, the future king, Charles II, visits Tawstock Court before going into hiding. After the Battle of Torrington, the Parliamentarian General Fairfax visits Tawstock Court and decides to use it as his headquarters.
1642-1651
1654
Tawstock Court passes to Lady Anne Bourchier, who later marries Sir Chichester Wrey, 3rd Baronet, creating the Bourchier Wrey lineage.
1654
1787
A fire burns the manor house almost to the ground. Only the gatehouse survives.
1787
1789
Tawstock Court is rebuilt by order of Sir Bourchier Wrey, 7th Baronet. The house is designed by the renowned architect Sir John Soane.
1789
1885
Sir Henry Bourchier Toke Wrey, 10th Baronet, makes substantial changes to Tawstock Court, most notably the two wings and new gatehouse that enclose the long courtyard.
1885
1917
The last member of the Bourchier family to live at Tawstock – Sir Robert Bourchier Sherrard Wrey, 11th Baronet – leaves the manor house and it is let out.
1917
1941
Tawstock Court becomes the home of St. Michaels Prep School, who rents it for more than 30 years.
1941
1970s
St. Michaels School buys Tawstock Court from Sir Castel Richard Bourchier Wrey, 14th Baronet.
1970s
2011
St. Michaels School is forced to close. The building has fallen into disrepair.
2011
2012
Tawstock Court is bought by the Peryer family, who begin an extensive programme of restoration.
2012
2019
Tawstock Court reopens as one of Devon’s premier wedding and events venues.
2019

Key Points in the Bourchier Wrey Family History

John Bourchier (1470 – 1539) became the 1st Earl of Bath in 1536 during the reign of Henry VIII.

William Bourchier, 3rd Earl of Bath built the Elizabethan mansion – only the gatehouse dated 1574 still remains today having survived the fire of 1787.

The Wrey family were royalist supporters during the civil war and in 1644 Sir Chichester Wrey was imprisoned for 20 weeks in the Tower of London for his part in supporting the royalists.

In 1654 the title ‘Earl of Bath’ became extinct with no more male Bourchier heirs and Tawstock Court passed down to his cousin’s daughter, Lady Anne Bourchier who later married Sir Chichester Wrey, 3rd Baronet creating the Bourchier Wrey lineage.

The picture on the right/below shows the Bourchier Wrey family crest. The Bourchier Motto ‘Le Bon Temps Viendra’ means ‘The Right Time Will Come’

Sir Bourchier Wrey, 7th Baronet, rebuilt Tawstock Court in 1789 in a gothic style after the great fire of 1787 where he enlisted the help of the architect Sir John Soane. Many of his architectural drawings still exist in his London museum.

Sir Henry Bourchier Toke Wrey, 10th Baronet, made substantial changes to Tawstock Court, most notably the two wings forming a long courtyard with terracotta mullioned windows believed to have been made at Lauder & Smiths Barnstaple pottery. He also built the gatehouse to close off the courtyard, date 1885 above the arched gateway.

Sir Robert Bourchier Sherrard Wrey, 11th Baronet, was the last to live at Tawstock Court until 1917 and moved to Corffe having let Tawstock Court to various people including Sir Basil Peto, MP.

Rev. Sir Albany Bourchier Sherrard Wrey, 13th Baronet let Tawstock Court to St. Michaels Prep School in 1940 which had moved from Uckfield in Sussex due to the bombing in WW2.

Sir Castel Richard Bourchier Wrey, 14th Baronet, eventually sold Tawstock Court to St. Michaels School in the 1970s.

Close Menu
×
×

Basket

Close Panel