Forde House is situated on the southeast side of Newton Abbot.
Forde House is named after a ford in the Aller Brook which carried the road to Shaldon, St Marychurch and Aller and lies within the ancient parish of Wolborough. Prior to the dissolution of the monasteries, Wolborough belonged to Torre Abbey and it is probable that Forde had been one of the Abbey`s large granges which paid it tithes on its produce. John Gaverock had been the Abbots steward and for his services had received an annual salary. Torre Abbey was dissolved in 1539 during the reign of Henry VIII and in 1545 the King sold the manor of Wolborough to Gaverock. When Gaverock became lord of the manor he set about building himself a new manorial home at Forde.
John Gaverock`s three daughters inherited Forde House and towards the end of the sixteenth century sold it to Richard Reynell an eminent lawyer and whose father was lord of the adjoining manor of East Ogwell, who with his new wife Lucy Brandon set about building themselves a fine new house at Forde to replace the old manor house.
The present house was built in 1610 by Richard Reynell. The house was built with an `E` shaped floor plan, which was to be thought was in honour of Elizabeth I. It was built of rough casted stone in the Elizabethan style. The grounds then were spread as far as what is referred to today as Decoy, so named because wildfowl were decoyed there to extend the house’s larder. It also had a deer park.
The façade of Forde House is some 100 feet in length and has two gabled wings and another gabled projection, narrower, but carried up to the same height, which forms the entrance porch, the most striking external feature is the two ranges of square -headed windows, seven of the upper and six of the lower range, these windows are all uniform size and design, each being portioned by mullions divided midway by a transom all of massive stone.
The main feature of interest inside the house is the finely carved panelling, the oaken staircase, the massive oak doors and magnificent ceilings. The arms of the Reynell family were formally displayed above the entrance porch.
In 1625 King Charles I stayed at the house overnight on his way to Plymouth to inspect the fleet and on his return he stayed this time for 2 nights.
In 1646 Forde House gave shelter to Oliver Cromwell and Sir Thomas Fairfax while on their way to besiege Royalist Dartmouth.
The estate in 1648 passed to the Courtnay family via the marriage of Margaret, the only daughter of Jane Reynell and Sir William Waller, to Sir William Courtney, who was the lord of nearby Powderham Castle.
In 1688 William of Orange stayed in the house on the way to his coronation in London, having sailed from The Hague landed in the fishing port of Brixham, two days later found himself in Newton Abbot. It was market day and the princes intention to become king of England was proclaimed for the first time and the populance was addressed from St. Leonards Tower in Woloborough Street, where the bells afterwards rung out in celebration.
The house remained the main residence of the Courtnays until 1762, who then let the house; one of its residents was Mr .J. W. Watts, who was the High Sheriff of Devon in 1890. The Courtnays sold the house to Mr Stephen Simpson, he was to sell two years later to the Sellick family, who were to make it their base for their antique business until Teignbridge District Council bought the house in 1978 and are still the current owners. It has since been refurbished by the council and is now used for conferences and weddings.
FORDE HOUSE OPEN DAYS:
27 July 2014 at 2.00 p.m.
31 August 2014 at 2.00 p.m.
28 September 2014 at 2.00 p.m.