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The Abbey's Story

The story of Torre Abbey began on 25 March 1196 with the arrival of an abbot and six canons at Torre (the area from which the later names of Torquay and Torbay are derived).  They had been sent from Welbeck Abbey in Nottinghamshire, following a gift of land from the lord of the manor of Torre, William Brewer.

Rich fertile land, proximity to the sea and stone from a nearby headland provided the founding medieval Premonstratensian monks with all the resources they needed to establish Torre Abbey.

Today established as a museum you can learn about these early years and also about the interesting Georgian Cary Family who resided in the Abbey for hundreds of years. This fascinating family invited Horatio Nelson for a dinner party and this is recreated in the Dining Room through digital talking dinner plates.

This Ancient Scheduled Monument has beautifully presented heritage rooms, galleries, art exhibitions, interactive displays, talking portraits and videos which bring the Abbey’s colour history and art to life.

With over 600 incredible works of art from the 18th century to the present day, the Abbey’s collection includes Pre-Raphaelite works including Holman Hunt’s 'The Children’s Holiday' and Burne-Jones’ drawings for 'The Planets'.

Highlights are the watercolours by Thomas Luny and FJ Widgery and a rare proof set of William Blake’s 'The Book of Job'.