Torre AbbeyTorre Abbey was founded in 1196 by William de Brewer and is now the most significant historic building in the area. In its heyday, Torre Abbey was the wealthiest Premonstratensian Abbey in England. Unfortunately, Torre Abbey was just one of the many victims of King Henry VIII's Dissolution of the Monasteries. In 1539, Torre Abbey surrendered to the King's Commissioner and anything of value was immediately seized. Even the church roof was stripped for its lead and the building itself was systematically demolished. However, the medieval cloisters to the south and west remained relatively unharmed and were converted into a private dwelling for Thomas Ridgeway in 1598.
The old cloisters of Torre Abbey passed through various hands before falling into the ownership of the Cary family in 1662. They would retain the property for almost three centuries. In circa 1740, extensive alterations were undertaken and today's visitor will mostly see this Georgian remodelling. Although more alterations were made in the 19th century, financial constraint forced Commander Henry Cary into selling the family home in 1930 to the Torquay Borough Council.
Lying within the main grounds of the house are many of Torre Abbey's buildings such as the surviving gatehouse at the south west corner of the cloister ranges. On your visit, you'll also be able to see a Medieval Tithe Barn which lies near the gatehouse overlooking Torbay bay. You'll be able to see into the original grandeur of the original Chapter House in the surviving trio of ornate Norman arches. A further attraction at Torre Abbey is the medieval undercroft lying in the west range. One of the finest examples of its kind in England, the vaulted chamber has retained its original clay floor. It was probably used to house the provisions and wine of Torre Abbey.
Address: The King's Drive
Postcode: TQ2 5JE
Town/city or near: Torquay
Closed for restoration. Due to reopen in 2008.