Torre Abbey Historic House and Garden

A religious order of White Friars was established on flat ground close to the sea many years before anything else in the area existed with the possible exception of a small collection of fishermens' hovels close to where the current harbour is. This monastery of White friars grew to become particularly wealthy and was one of the richest in the whole of England. Henry VIII's  Dissolution of the Monasteries meant that its wealth was stripped and the community expelled and scattered. A short time after that,  the Cary family took up residence and it became their main home. This family along with others such as the Palks were mainly responsible for the development of the Torquay that we see today particularly the legacy of fabulous Victorian villas. By 1930's the family had run out of money and they were forced out of Torre Abbey and so it became a museum and home to our municipal art collection.

Torre Abbey

A Brief History of Torre Abbey

A religious order of White Friars was established on flat ground close to the sea many years before anything else in the area existed with the possible exception of a small collection of fishermens' hovels close to where the current harbour is.

This monastery of White friars grew to become particularly wealthy and was one of the richest in the whole of England. Henry VIII's  Dissolution of the Monasteries meant that its wealth was stripped and the community expelled and scattered.

A short time after that,  the Cary family took up residence and it became their main home. This family along with others such as the Palks were mainly responsible for the development of the Torquay that we see today particularly the legacy of fabulous Victorian villas.

By 1930's the family had run out of money and they were forced out of Torre Abbey and so it became a museum and home to our municipal art collection.

 

Torre Abbey Palm House

The Walled Gardens Within The Abbey

Aside from the Abbey itself, one of the great attractions of the property is the garden. laid out amongst the ruins of the original abbey buildings, it includes a stunning palm house as well as an arid house with a collection of cacti and succulents.

There is also an Agatha Christie inspired poison garden.

The Spanish Barn

The Spanish Barn

This tithe barn was originally where the friars would store grains etc which were paid by ordinary folk as taxes or tithes in the Middle Ages. It became known as the Spanish Barn after it was used to house prisoners from ships that were wrecked as they sailed up the channel as part of The Spanish Armada.

Today, the Spanish Barn is a well used venue for functions such as weddings and is also home to a great number of exhibitions during the year.

Torre Abbey

Visiting Torre Abbey Today

The Abbey is open for most of the year.

There is a magnificent cafe which you can use whether you visit the Abbey itself or not.

Click here for more details including opening times and admission prices.

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