Andrew Thompson Heritage
Andrew Thompson Heritage 

Tavistock Heritage Open Days 2017

Friday 8th to Sunday 10th September

Unlocking Tavistock's Past

Explore some of Tavistock's finest historic buildings with local experts. Learn about the challenges of conserving them and find out more about exciting new plans for their future.

Download the Tavistock Heritage Open Days programme 2017 here
2017 HODs poster final.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [137.5 KB]

Dolvin Road Cemetery

Dolvin Road cemetery is a secluded and peaceful location in which to contemplate the lives of people who played a key role in Tavistock's development as a metal mining boom town. The graveyard was used by Quakers, other Dissenters and Anglicans from the 1830s to the 1880s and some of the town's most prominent citizens are interred here including Bedford estate officers and managers of Devon Great Consols. Join local historian Alex Mettler for a stroll through the cemetery and discover the personal stories of the people commemorated here and their role in Tavistock's history.


Sunday 10 September: 1030-1130


Pre-booking is required as there are a maximum of 25 places on this guided walk.

Bookings must be made in person at Tavistock Museum 


Meet inside first gate to the cemetery when walking along Dolvin Road from the Abbey Bridge end.



Hidden Secrets of Tavistockl Abbey - Guided Walk

For over 500 years Tavistock's medieval Benedictine abbey was one of the most powerful institutions in South West England. The abbey was dissolved by Henry VIII but important parts survive. In the 19th century the abbey ruins were preserved by the Dukes of Bedford and incorporated into public buildings such as the Guildhall. Other remains survive hidden from view or disguised behind the fabric of later buildings. Join local experts to see the secrets of the abbey revealed and explore areas not usually open to the public including the Bedford Hotel, Abbey Chapel porch and the post Roman inscribed stones in the Vicarage garden.


Friday 8 September: 1130-1300. 


Meet outside Tavistock Museum.


Some of the buildings are accessed via steps and/or uneven ground.



Mount Kelly - Guided Tours

Guided tours led by the school's students. Explore the splendid grounds and principal buildings and discover the fascinating history of the school and its founder. 

Kelly College was founded in the late 1870s following a bequest from Admiral Benedictus Marwood Kelly to build a school for the 'sons of naval officers and other gentlemen'. The school was build on a 20 acre site gifted by the 8th Duke of Bedford gifted. Newton House predates the school and was built by John Foulston as a private house at Parkwood in the 1830s while the imposing late Victorian Gothic main buildings are distinctive for their use of hurdwick and bath stone.


Friday 8 September 1630-1730

Saturday 9 September 1000-1130


There will be a minibus service to the school leaving Tavistock's Bedford Square at 4.15pm on Friday and 10.15am on Saturday for visitors who do not wish to drive themselves.



Roman Catholic Church

Explore this striking 19th century Grade II* Listed building, which was designed by Henry Clutton in the Italianate style. The church was originally built for the Church of England as a Chapel of Ease in the 1860s by the Duke of Bedford to cater for the mining population but by then the industry was already in decline. It was acquired by the Catholic Church in 1951. Heritage Open Days is an opportunity to learn about the extensive repairs undertaken in recent years with the support of English Heritage and to hear about exciting new plans for further developments to this spectacular building. Young members of the congregation will be on hand to answer questions and show visitors around. There is also a leaflet telling the history of the church.


Friday 8 September 1100-1600

Saturday 9 September 1100-1600


St Eustachius Parish Church - Self Guided Visits and Guided Tours 

Learn about the rich history of this fine parish church and discover gems such as the William Morris window, Saxon stoop, medieval bagpiper, impressive monuments and three hares roof boss. Explore on your own or join a guided tour. .
The church is dedicated to Eustachius, a Roman soldier who was martyred in the 2nd century. The present building dates to 1318 but is mainly in the later medieval Perpendicular style including the 15th century Clothworkers Aisle. The tower formed one of the gates to Tavistock Abbey and was known as Cemetery Gate or Church Bow which gave access to the parish churchyard.


Friday 8 September 1000-1600. Guided tour 1000-1100 & 1400-1500

Saturday 9 September 1000-1600. Guided tour 1000-1100 & 1400-1500

Sunday 10 September 1100-1600. Guided tour 1200-1300



Tavistock Canal 200th Anniversdary Walk 

Enjoy a Sunday afternoon walk and learn about the history of the canal and the remarkable life of its chief engineer, John Taylor. When it opened 200 years ago the Tavistock Canal was one of the technological wonders of its age and a feat of civil engineering. Significant geographical barriers were overcome by the Lumburn aquaduct and what was then the country's longest canal tunnel. Innovations included a mechanical ventilation system, the world's first wrought iron boats and the use of canal water to power waterwheels for mines, quarries and farms. This walk along the towpath to Lock Cottage explores the canal buildings and structures and explains why it is a key part of the Cornish Mining World Heritage Site.


Sunday 10 September: 1330-1630 


The walk starts from Court Gate outside Tavistock Museum. It is approximately 5 miles on the flat along an uneven footpath which can be muddy after wet weather.



Tavistock's Unfamiliar Heritage - Guided Walk

From Holy Wells to Marconi's marker stone, Tavistock's rich and varied heritage has lots of hidden gems. Join local guide Simon Dell to discover these curiosities, some "hidden in plain sight" on town centre streets and pavements and others tucked away from public view. 
The walk ends at the Roman Catholic church with an opportunity to enjoy refreshments and explore the magnificent building created for the Duke of Bedford.


Saturday 9 September 1030-1200 and 1400-1530


Meet outside Tavistock Museum



Tavistock's World Heritage - Guided Walk

What is a UNESCO World Heritage Site? Why does Tavistock rank alongside the Taj Mahal and Great Wall of China? Find out the answers to these and other questions on this guided walk with locally based heritage professional Andrew Thompson. 

Discover the way mining for copper and other minerals transformed Tavistock and West Devon in the 19th century. See how the Dukes of Bedford invested profits from the mines in Tavistock's grand architecture, public buildings and workers' cottages. Learn about the town's magnificent iron foundries and the role they played in the industrial revolution in Britain and across the world. 


Friday 8 September 1430-1600


The walk starts outside Tavistock Museum.



Tavistock Subscription Library

Learn about the history of the Library which has occupied its present site since 1831 when the Duke of Bedford renovated the medieval abbey’s adjacent Court Gate and built an extension including a librarian’s cottage. See the fine collection of local books and pictures and portraits covering some 200 years of Tavistock’s history. 

Visit the museum next door to take part in the Tavistock heritage passport - children's trail. A fun heritage trail based on Dartmoor letterboxing with clues specially designed for families with children. Collect a passport from the Library, follow the clues around the town, test your historical knowledge and collect the attractive tamps. Return your completed passport to win a Tavistock Heritage Young Explorer's certificate and enter a prize draw. The leaflet can be collected on Saturday and Sunday.


Saturday 9 September: 1100-1500



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