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The Guildhall

A Grade I Listed Building in Totnes, Devon

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Latitude: 50.4321 / 50°25'55"N

Longitude: -3.6878 / 3°41'15"W

OS Eastings: 280226

OS Northings: 60503

OS Grid: SX802605

Mapcode National: GBR QM.T68Z

Mapcode Global: FRA 375X.73P

Plus Code: 9C2RC8J6+VV

Entry Name: The Guildhall

Listing Date: 7 January 1952

Grade: I

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1235949

English Heritage Legacy ID: 426818

Location: Totnes, South Hams, Devon, TQ9

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Totnes

Built-Up Area: Totnes

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Totnes St Mary

Church of England Diocese: Exeter

Find accommodation in


The Guildhall
SX 8060 NW 1/44
SX 8060 SW 1/44 7.1.52.


Circa 1553, reconstructed in 1624 (wall tablet)and extensively altered in 1829.
On the site of the Benedictine Priory of St Mary founded by Judhael in 1086. After
the Dissolution in 1536 the greater part of the priory church of St Mary was adapted
for use as the parish church (qv), and the convential buildings, on the north side,
were granted to Walter Smythe and, in 1553, to the Town Council who incorporated
them in the new Guildhall buildings. The Courtroom appears to be on the site of
the monastic refectory and retains some of the original window openings, the main
refectory entrance to Guildhall Yard (formerly the site of the cloister) and an
internal doorway to the site of the monastic kitchen at the west end, later the
prison. At the east end a building with a vaulted undercroft (possibly the Prior's
lodging) formed the nucleus of the Grammar School also established in 1553 (see
Nos 5 and 5A Guildhall Yard). 2 storeys. 2 windows. Welsh slate roof with gabled
belfry, and lantern with pyramidal roof over Council Chamber. Medieval, Devonian
limestone rubble walls dressed and patched with New Red sandstone. Traces of blocked
medieval windows. Cl9 traceried windows in Perpendicular style in old openings.
Original wooden C15 doorway at west end with timber lintol and moulded, 4 centred
arched head; plank and batten door, iron pegs and moulded cover strips. Later doorway
inserted at east end with 4-centred arched head and chamfered reveals. The loggia
in front of the Guildhall constructed circa 1897 with granite columns taken from
the Exchange built in 1616, later a market, and pulled down in 1878. In the pavement
beneath the canopy are the initials "L.A. 1615" worked into the cobble sett and
referring to Lawrence Adams, mayor. Interior 2 bay courtroom still retaining some
C16 linenfold panelling (graffiti dated 1633). C19 deal panelling and seats with
turned balusters to gallery at west end. Courtroom with Royal Coat of Arms, in
plaster with date 1553. Magistrates chair with fine carved canopy reputedly of
1624 with arms of Totnes. 1st floor Council Chamber at west end with similar canopied
seat and decorated plaster frieze and overmntel, the latter of 1624. Belay Council
Chamber, original wainscotted prison cell ("dark house" approached bY 5 centred
arched doorway with chamfered reveals. Cell with barred windows and original plank
and batten prison doors with iron pegs. Further cells at west end now form part
of the boiler house beneath the Guildhall cottage (qv). Remained a prison until
1893. (M Laithwaite).

Listing NGR: SX8022660501

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