Original Construction

Before Renovations

A New Town Hall for Torrington

Tim Wormleighton

The document transcribed below was found among records of Torrington
Borough Council, held by the North Devon Record Office, Barnstaple (ref:2558add2/64). It is undated, although there is a later note written on the back
recording that ‘the Town Hall was built in 1763’. This date can be verified by
evidence from the Town Receiver’s account book, also in the North Devon Record Office (re: 2558/5/1).

The accounts for the year 1761-62 record payments of 5s for ‘wine at the Globe Inn for Mr Wall’, 12s to Richard and John Lugg for ‘carring off ye Rubbish of ye old Hall’ and 10s 6d to ‘Mr Wall at laying ye foundation stone of  ye Hall’. The accounts for the following year have, for some reason, not been entered into the book although there are six blank pages left for them. It is probable that the missing accounts contained full details of payments for the construction of the new Hall. The accounts for subsequent years record the payment of several instalments to Mr Wall ‘towards his Bill’. For the record, the section relating to the Town Hall in Alexander & Hooper’s History of Great Torrington (1948) is misleading; they assert that ‘the Mr Wall mentioned was probably John Rolle Walters, lord of the manor, who laid the foundation stone of the new buildings’ and their interpretation of one of the Receiver’s accounts entries is incorrect. The present Town Hall was built in 1861 on the same site.

An Estimate for Building a new town Hall for ye Corporation of Torrington,
Estimated by Robert Wall

To pulling down ye old Buildings & Clareing foundations                             £6.1Os
To Building ye front walls with good Courser, Brick, Labour & metariels       £73.10s
To Building ye Back front. Ends & party, walls, all metariels Except stones  £46.16s
To Carkessing ye house, viz. Roofing, naked flooring & Ceiling joys             £104.9s
To heleing. Labour & all metariels Except slate                                       £20.0.0
To a plain deal Cornice outside in propotion to ye height                          £11.5
To laying ye Boarded flooring deal Labour & metariels                             £32.11s
To ye sash windows of dealwood & all other metariels                              £8.8s
To one Venetian window in ye Back front                                              £3.3s
To one stair case, with Rails & ballusters                                              £4.4s
To 3 doors & doorcases, Labour & all metariels                                      £3.
To Plastering ye 3 Rooms above stairs, plain work 3 Coats                       £21.18s
To Pitching ye Ground floor etc. Labour only                                          £2.1Os
To Lintles, Centers, Bond timber etc                                                    £5.1Os

                              £ 347.4s
the above to be done in a strong, plain, workmanlike manner with out any ornaments of Bath stone, but if the Bath stone ornaments is aded the Expence is under

Expence of Bath stone

To Rusticks for ye Coines                                                                   £5.15s
To windowstools to ye front windows                                                   £ 1.1Os
To Architrave Round ye front windows                                                 £6.5s
To Facia to ye front                                                                         £4.
To Impost, & Keystones to ye arches                                                  £ 1.1Os