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Latitude: 50.5413 / 50°32'28"N
Longitude: -3.9766 / 3°58'35"W
OS Eastings: 260033
OS Northings: 73141
OS Grid: SX600731
Mapcode National: GBR Q4.2B9G
Mapcode Global: FRA 27KM.NL6
Plus Code: 9C2RG2RF+G8
Entry Name: Tor Royal
Listing Date: 21 March 1967
Source: Historic England
Source ID: 1305991
English Heritage Legacy ID: 92758
Location: Dartmoor Forest, West Devon, Devon, PL20
District: West Devon
Civil Parish: Dartmoor Forest
Traditional County: Devon
Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon
SX 67 SW
15/25 Tor Royal
House. 1785-1793 with addition of c.1815-20 restored and altered slightly in 1912
by A E Richardson. Built by and for Sir Thomas Tyrwhitt. Plastered stone walls.
Slate and asbestos slate roof in mansard over central 2-storey section hipped to
left-hand wing, gabled to right-hand wings. 2 gable end stone stacks to 2 storey
section. Parallel right-hand wings each have gable end stone stacks. 2 axial stone
stacks to left-hand wing.
Plan: the original building consisted of what is now the central 2-storey section
and the right-hand parallel single storey wings. The 2-storey part consisted of
the principal rooms with a stair in a small wing at the rear and the right-hand
wings were for service purposes. In circa 1815-20 the L-shaped single storey wing
was added at the left end extending to the rear and consisted of a high quality
suite of self-contained rooms reputedly for the use of the Prince of Wales. At the
centre was a large reception hall with 2 principal rooms opening onto the rear
courtyard and 2 rooms at the front. The plan remains very unaltered to the present
Exterior: 2 storeys with attic and single storey, almost symmetrical front of
central 2-storey range with slightly different single storey wing to either side.
The 2-storey section was given a mansard roof and attic and its windows renewed in
the restoration of 1912. It has a symmetrical 3-window front of sash windows - 12
panes to the first floor and taller 8-pane windows to the ground floor. Dormer
attic windows are roundheaded sashes with intersecting glazing bars at the top and
small pediments above. The main'windows are all shuttered and this may be an
original feature as they are shown in a drawing of the house in 1828. Central
enclosed porch with hipped roof and granite pillars is probably an adaptation of the
original doorhood supported on pillars shown in the drawing. Each of the 1-storey
wings has 3 sash windows but those in the left-hand wing are considerably larger and
it has similar windows along its left-hand wall extending to the rear. The rear
elevation is considerably more irregular. Behind the 2-storey range are 2 small
hipped roof wings, the right-hand one containing the staircase. Between them a
later outshut has been added. A single storey service wing extends to the left
parallel to that at the front. To the right of the 2 storey range the other wing
projects with a doorhood supported on granite pillars on its inner face.
Interior remains fairly unaltered with an obvious difference in the quality of the
principal suite of rooms which retain some very high quality features. The hall has
a domed ceiling with a lantern. At the base of the dome is an unusual plaster
frieze depicting a steam engine pulling trucks (reputedly commemorating the
construction of the Princetown railway). In the corners are simple scenes either of
a Shepherd with his sheep or a Carter with his horse. Above is a frieze of corn
sheafs and baskets of fruit. The motif of the steam engine and trucks is repeated
in plaster below the lantern. The chimneypiece in the hall is contemporary and has
reeded pilasters each with a lion's head at the top and a frieze of a key motif with
a flower at the centre. At either end of the hall are double arches leading to
other rooms. Several doors in this suite of rooms were obtained from Carlton House
in London when it was demolished and these still survive. There are also doors
which are, or have been, covered with green baize and decorative studwork. The
room to the left of the hall has a coved cornice with applied fleur de lys. The
room behind it has an ornate plaster cornice and a marble chimneypiece with
classical figure at the centre of the frieze. The room in front of the hall is
lined in wood with fielded panelling in places up to chair rail level and built-in
cupboards with pilasters and decorative frieze. The small room to its left has an
Art Nouveau chimneypiece with coloured tile surround. The stairs have a closed
string, square panelled newel with flat cap and turned balusters.
Thomas Tyrwhitt had no previous connection with Devon but came to know Dartmoor
through his association with the Prince of Wales whose secretary he was, and in 1786
he was appointed auditor to the Duchy of Cornwall. He became an M.P. to Okehampton
and later Plymouth and in 1812 he was appointed Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod.
In the same year he was also Knighted. Tyrwhitt built Tor Royal and made its estate
in a completely uncultivated part of the moor as an exercise in making the moor
agriculturally productive and he experimented with more unusual crops such as flax.
Various members of the royal family stayed at the house. Tyrwhitt was also
responsible for the building of both Dartmoor Prison and Princetown railway which
led to the development of Princetown as a town.
The interest of this house lies not only in the quality of its interior and its
unaltered nature but also in its historical importance to Prince town and its royal
Source: Buildings of England: South Devon - Pevsner
Listing NGR: SX6003373141
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