A Thousand Years of History
The Peryer Family
We bought Tawstock Court back in 2012. It was looking rather sorry for itself at the time. (The first thing we did was buy a truck load of buckets as the roof was leaking in several places.) But we didn’t care about the mould, the peeling paper or the layers of pigeon poo. Because we were in love. We’d fallen in love with Tawstock Court, its views and its history. That love kept us going through six long years of restoration work. It kept us going through the hours and hours of chipping away the new to reveal the old. We’ve pulled up vinyl flooring, scrubbed, mended, restored and rebuilt. We’re proud to call Tawstock Court our home, and proud to welcome you through our front door. Please contact us if you have any further questions
An Overview Of Our History
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.
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.
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’.
Robert de Mowbrey is involved in an unsuccessful rebellion against William II, and loses Tawstock to the crown as a result.
Henry I awards Tawstock Court to Lord Judhel of Totnes.
The first manor house is built at Tawstock.
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.
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.
The grounds are used as a deer park for Barnstaple.
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.
Tawstock Court passes to Lady Anne Bourchier, who later marries Sir Chichester Wrey, 3rd Baronet, creating the Bourchier Wrey lineage.
A fire burns the manor house almost to the ground. Only the gatehouse survives.
Tawstock Court is rebuilt by order of Sir Bourchier Wrey, 7th Baronet. The house is designed by the renowned architect Sir John Soane.
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.
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.
Tawstock Court becomes the home of St. Michaels Prep School, who rents it for more than 30 years.
St. Michaels School buys Tawstock Court from Sir Castel Richard Bourchier Wrey, 14th Baronet.
The building has fallen into disrepair and St. Michaels School is forced to close.
Tawstock Court is bought by the Peryer family, who begin an extensive programme of restoration.
Tawstock Court reopens as one of Devon’s premier wedding and events venues.