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The Manor House (Rnib)

A Grade II Listed Building in Wellswood, Torbay

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Latitude: 50.4604 / 50°27'37"N

Longitude: -3.5073 / 3°30'26"W

OS Eastings: 293109

OS Northings: 63369

OS Grid: SX931633

Mapcode National: GBR QX.3JGK

Mapcode Global: FRA 37JV.5FF

Plus Code: 9C2RFF6V+53

Entry Name: The Manor House (Rnib)

Listing Date: 19 December 1988

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1292275

English Heritage Legacy ID: 390711

Location: Wellswood, Torbay, TQ1

County: Torbay

Electoral Ward/Division: Wellswood

Built-Up Area: Torquay

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Torquay St Matthias

Church of England Diocese: Exeter

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885-1/19/178 (East side)
19/12/88 The Manor House (RNIB)


House, now training centre. 1862-4 and c1890 by JR Rowell for
Sir Lawrence Palk. Random coursed limestone with stone
dressings and slate roofs. Large semi-rural house in
restrained Gothic style.
PLAN: Rectangular block disposed round central stair hall,
kitchen and stable court to north west, billiard room added to
north-east corner c1890.
EXTERIOR: 2 storeys and attics to the main block, 2 storeys to
the wing. The main elevation to the garden is on the south
side and comprises five bays, each of 2-and-a-half storeys
with the central bays recessed. There are 2- and 3-light stone
mullioned windows with vertical sashes and those on the ground
floor have transoms. Above the lintels are stone relieving
arches. The dormer gables have decorative bargeboards with
cross braces. The right-hand bay is half-hipped with
bargeboards with a 3-light oriel window at first floor upon a
supporting buttress with ballflower and zig-zag decorated
oversailing courses. At ground floor level there are two
pointed-arch windows.
At the south-west corner there is an angled porte-cochere.
This is a high single-storey structure with plate tracery,
balustrading and coats of arms. The angled buttresses support
octagonal finials above at each corner and there are two
lights within a semicircular relieving arch on the south-west
wall. The segmental-pointed carriage arches are in polychrome
stonework and the one to the garden side has at sometime been
boarded up. There is a patterned marble floor and encaustic
tiling in the vestibule.
The billiard room (now dining room) appears to have been added
at the north-east corner in c1890. This has an attractive
stone mullion and transomed corner window with an octagonal
spire above at the south-eastern corner. To the rear of the
main house is a range of stables and coach houses.
The main elevation is of coursed rubble limestone with dressed
stone quoins and window details. It is of 7 bays of
1-and-a-half storeys height with a central 2-storey gabled
clock tower with bell-cote over the carriage entrance.
INTERIOR: The main entrance hall is a high 2-storey space with
a gallery around the first floor. An imperial staircase with a
5-light stained glass window at the landing contains the coats
of arms of the family. There is an ornamental stone fireplace
with a French Gothic hood to the ground floor of the hall and
similar fireplaces and overmantels exist in the other
principal ground-floor rooms, several being of an elaborate
Jacobean character. The dining room (former billiard room) at
the rear has an interesting barrel-vaulted ceiling with a
full-height hood over the fireplace in the eastern gable wall.
The original joinery and plasterwork is almost complete
throughout the house.
HISTORICAL NOTE: The Palk family were responsible for much of
the early development of Torquay during the first part of the
19th century, particularly the Lincombe and Warberry areas.
Sir Lawrence was a major benefactor to the town and later
became Baron Haldon of Haldon in April 1880. He died in 1883.
The house also has associations with Sir Francis
Layland-Barratt who purchased the manor in 1906. The manor is
now the centre for the Royal National Institution for the
Blind and is used as their national rehabilitation centre. A
number of alterations have been made to facilitate the use of
the building for this purpose, but these are of a minor nature
and it remains a remarkably unaltered example of a large
Victorian family house.
(Buildings of England: Pevsner N: Devon: London: 1952-1989:

Listing NGR: SX9310963369

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