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Castle Tor

A Grade II Listed Building in Torquay, Torbay

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Coordinates

Latitude: 50.4635 / 50°27'48"N

Longitude: -3.5027 / 3°30'9"W

OS Eastings: 293437

OS Northings: 63711

OS Grid: SX934637

Mapcode National: GBR QX.3CLX

Mapcode Global: FRA 37KT.TF1

Plus Code: 9C2RFF7W+CW

Entry Name: Castle Tor

Listing Date: 4 February 2010

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1393661

English Heritage Legacy ID: 506256

Location: 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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Listing Text

TORQUAY

885-1/0/10028 OXLEA ROAD
04-FEB-10 Castle Tor

GV II
Castle Tor. 1928-34. Fred Harrild FRIBA, architect. Later extensions.

MATERIALS: it is constructed of traditional materials: rendered mass wall construction with a slate roof and rendered stack, and some slate-hanging to the gables and walls. The majority of windows have been replaced with uPVC in the late-C20.

PLAN: The house is irregular in plan, with the principal rooms (south-east) overlooking the garden and sea views. The service rooms are to the rear. The entrance hall, with staircase, is to the south-west. An elaborate fight of stone stairs with arches leads to the enclosed entrance courtyard (west).

EXTERIOR: Externally, the two-storey house is asymmetrical. A later-C20 single-story extension with large windows and a hipped, slate facia occupies much of the ground floor, supporting an extensive sun-terrace, with wrought iron balustrading. Above, the original slate-hung gables of the cross wings survive. The south-east cross wing retains its wrought iron balcony above the in-filled logia, with rusticated stone piers in-situ. The south-east (courtyard) elevation is little altered. To the south the projecting two-storey porch has a hipped roof and ashlar details to the openings, including a gibbs surround and a moulded drip hood to the entrance. The panelled door is set in a Tudor arch. There is a central, stained-glass staircase window with a Tudor-rose motif. A number of smaller, lancet and single light windows retain their original geometric leaded-lights. To the north a narrow, cross-wing projects, tower-like, with a hipped roof and deep, overhanging, eaves; there is a series of small, single-light, mullioned windows wrapping around its three projecting sides, just below the eaves.

The east elevation has a large canted-bay window with a steeply pitched, slate-hung, gable-end and timber mullioned windows, with square leaded-lights. To the north of the porch the building steps back, with timber, mullioned windows, with square leaded-lights and fish-scale, slate-hung walls. The rear elevation (north-west) is terraced into steeply rising ground. Castle Tor sits within a Registered Landscape (Grade II) also designed by F Harrild; it contains a number of separately listed buildings and structures.

INTERIOR: The house retains a number of notable features including good quality joinery, a dog-leg staircase with twisted balusters and a stained glass staircase window; and fine burr-wood doors with crystal handles. Some of the timber windows with leaded-lights also survive. Much of the interior plasterwork survives with intricate cornicing and panelling in the principal rooms; alterations have taken place throughout (especially to the former service quarters). An upstairs bathroom retains mosaic decoration.

HISTORY: Castle Tor and the architectural elements of the garden were designed by Fred Harrild, and constructed by a local builder named William Amos Deakin. The rough, steeply-sloping land, overlooking the sea, was formerly part of Lord Holdon's estate and was purchased in the 1920s by Horace Pickersgill, the son of a Leeds bookmaker, who had been advised to winter in Torquay for health reasons: this was the age of the Devon Riviera, when appreciation of Devon's beauty and climate was very high. Harrild, a former pupil of Sir Edwin Lutyens (articled in 1907), became a Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects; based for a period in Totnes, he exhibited a number of designs for houses and a garden in Torquay at the Royal Academy between 1929-33. He is acknowledged as a leading practitioner of the late Arts and Crafts movement in Devon. A watercolour of the gardens by Cyril Farey was shown at the 1933 RA. Changes took place to the house in c1980 and in 1998.

Castle Tor sits within a Registered Landscape (Grade II) also designed by F Harrild.

SOURCES: Cherry, B, Pevsner, N, Buildings of England, Devon (2002), 860-1.


Castle Tor is recommended for designation at Grade II, for the following principal reasons:
* Architectural interest: the house, designed by respected Fred Harrild, is carefully and imaginatively designed in an unusually ambitious interpretation of Devon vernacular on a grand scale. Alterations notwithstanding, the house retains external and internal elements of note.
* Group value: the house sits within a registered landscape, containing other listed structures, which constitites an exceptionally ambitious ensemble.
* Representivity: the house and grounds form a notable example of designing for seaside retirement from the inter-war period.

This text is from the original listing, and may not necessarily reflect the current setting of the building.

Reasons for Listing

Castle Tor is designated at Grade II, for the following principal reasons:
* Architectural interest: the house, designed by respected Fred Harrild, is carefully and imaginatively designed in an unusually ambitious interpretation of Devon vernacular on a grand scale. Alterations notwithstanding, the house retains external and internal elements of note.
* Group value: the house sits within a registered landscape, containing other listed structures, which constitites an exceptionally ambitious ensemble.
* Representivity: the house and grounds form a notable example of designing for seaside retirement from the inter-war period.

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