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Celebrating Tavistock's Heritage for Heritage Open Days

Founded in Saxon times, destroyed by Danish raiders, home to one of the most powerful Benedictine abbeys in the south west, birthplace of Sir Francis Drake and for nearly four centuries controlled by the Russells and Dukes of Bedford. Tavistock has a rich and varied history.



Its legacy as a stannary and copper town has led to it becoming one of Devon's only UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the eastern gateway and 'urban jewel' to the Cornwall & West Devon Mining Landscape World Heritage Site.


Tavistock has history running into its foundations which makes preserving its history and heritage so important. Thanks to two Heritage Lottery grants, plans are well advanced to do just that. Not only is the fabric of many of the towns' historic buildings currently being restored to its former glory, but preparations are now being made to turn the iconic Guildhall into a World Heritage Gateway centre with interactive exhibitions covering the history of the area from the age of the abbey up to the mining era.


A newly formed charity, Tavistock Heritage Trust, has plans to bring Tavistock's heritage to life by working closely with the local community and supporting organisations like Tavistock Museum and Tavistock History Society, that are already doing so much to preserve and promote the town's history.

One of the jewels of the town is the parish church of St Eustachius celebrating its 700th anniversary in 2018. St Eustachius will be running a series of free guided tours this weekend to show off some of its architectural and artistic gems.

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The St Eustachius guided tours are part of Tavistock Heritage Open Days which run from today (8th) to 10th September. The programme include the Roman Catholic Church, Mount Kelly, Subscription Library and a children's town trail. There are guided tours led by local experts including Tavistock's World Heritage, hidden secrets of the abbey, the canal, Dolvin Road cemetery and the town's unfamiliar heritage. The programme is part of the national Heritage Open Days and is organised locally by a wide range of Tavistock Community and heritage groups. Information about these events is available from Tavistock Museum and Heritage Open Days.



If you want to play a part in helping to bring Tavistock's heritage to life the new Heritage Trust will soon be putting out an appeal for 'Heritage Helpers' to support a whole array of heritage events and to sign up to volunteer at the Guildhall Gateway centre when it opens. The Trust's first event will be an Auction Night at the Guildhall on November 8th starting at 6pm.


Unlocking Tavistock's Past Friday 8th to Sunday 10th September 2017

Tavistock Museum Heritage Open Days Information Desk Friday 10am to 3pm Saturday 10am to 3pm Sunday 10am to 3pm

Children's Heritage Passport Trail Saturday amd Sunday 10am to 3pm

Catholic Church, Callington Road Open for self-guided visits Friday 11am to 4pm Saturday 11am to 4pm Refreshments on sale

Mount Kelly Guided Tours Friday 4:30pm to 6pm Saturday 10:00 to 11:30am Minibus leaves Bedford Square 15 minutes before each tour

Subscription Library Guildhall Square Saturday 10am to 3pm

St Eustachius Church Open for self-guided visits Friday 10am to 4pm Saturday 10am to 4pm Sunday 11am to 4pm

Guided Tours Friday 10am and 2pm Saturday 10am and 2pm Sunday Midday to 1pm

Guided Walks starting from the Museum

Hidden Secrets of Tavistock Abbey Friday 11:30am to 1pm

Tavistock's World Heritage Friday 2:30pm to 4pm

Tavistock's Unfamiliar Heritage Saturday 10:30am to Midday Saturday 2pm to 3:30pm

Dolvin Road Cemetery Sunday 10:30am to 11:30am NB Booking essential - tickets available at the Museum

Tavistock Canal 200th Anniversary Sunday 1:30pm to 4:30pm

The Robey Trust The Robey Trust had the world's largest collection of engines and memorabilia of the Lincoln-based firm Robert Robey and Co which traded from the 1850s until 1988. Many of the items are unique; you can see the new acquisitions they have made over the past year. Their stationery engines will be running and several large stea engines can be seen in various stages of restoration and repair Saturday 10am to 5pm Sunday 10am to 4pnm

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