Tavistock Museum Charitable Trust

Tavistock Museum


Tavistock Museum is to be found at Court Gate, Bedford Square. It is a town and community museum situated within an important group of public buildings built from mining royalties by the Bedford Estate, which includes the Town Hall, Police Station and Guildhall.

It occupies two rooms above Court Gate, the historic gateway into the abbey (Grade I listed), and provides a very fitting use for these Grade II listed rooms. The museum moved into these premises during the summer 2003 and has been open to the public since that time. All stewarding is voluntary.

Our museum is within the Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape World Heritage Site. It has exhibitions relating to the Tavistock Stannary, Tavistock Canal , foundries and local mines.


Displays inside the museumMining Heritage:
A fascinating new DVD display is available this year, relating Tavistock's history to the wider story of metal mining in Devon and Cornwall and its significance for the local landscape. We are very grateful to Cornwall and West Devon Mining Heritage for providing us with a copy of this programme.

Tavistock Abbey:
The exhibit on Tavistock Abbey, has been retained and visitors can see a ten minute DVD about the historic abbey. This has been made for the museum by Denham Productions and has a voiceover by Chris Denham. The making of the DVD has been supported by an "Awards for All" grant.

It tells the story of this once great Benedictine Abbey dedicated to St. Mary and St Rumon which was founded by Ordulph, son of Orgar, the Earl of Devon, in 974. The first abbey, made largely of wood, was pillaged and burnt in 997 by a Danish raiding party. The second abbey was a more substantial masonry building and around it a trading settlement grew which in medieval times developed into a market town with a prosperous woollen industry.

In 1539 there was a dramatic turn of events when monastic buildings throughout the country were closed down on the orders of King Henry VIII. Unfortunately over the next two centuries the once magnificent abbey building was allowed to deteriorate and its materials used for other purposes; today only fragments such the Court Gate, the Misericorde, parts of the monastery wall, Betsy Grimbal's tower and cloisters in the parish churchyard remain.


Tavistock Museum Online Shop:

Visit our online shop at the Devon Museums website to see our extensive stock of local publications and DVDs. Click here>