The Tawstock Estate
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.
After the Norman conquest large grants of land in Devon and Somerset were gifted by William the Conqueror to his supporters as a reward for their loyalty. One such follower was Geoffrey de Mowbrey who was rewarded with the estate of Tawstock Court. After his death his heir and nephew, Robert de Mowbrey inherited Tawstock Court but he was involved in an unsuccessful rebellion against William II. As a consequence, Tawstock Court was forfeited back to the crown and remained so until William II’s brother, Henry I, awarded Tawstock Court to Lord Judhel of Totnes. Lord Judhel died without issue and Tawstock Court passed through the hands of many prominent families such as De Tracy, Fitzmartin, Audley and Fitzwarin, some names which are on the shields in the Study.
The Bourchier family made their home at Tawstock Court in the late 15th Century.