Originally founded as a Monastery in 1196, Torre Abbey is Torquay’s oldest building witnessing, surviving and even playing a role in some epic moments of history. It was, in fact, the Monks from Torre Abbey who built the first fishing quay from which the town took its name and became known as “Torre Quay”.
Following the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1539, the Abbey was partially demolished and was eventually converted into a house. In 1662, and after a succession of owners, it became the home of the Cary family and remained in the family until 1930 when it was sold to Torbay Borough Council.
The Abbey also boasts another of Torquay’s oldest and most famous buildings - the ‘Spanish Barn’ a medieval Tithe barn originally built to store taxes paid to the Abbey. But the barn's place in the history books was firmly established when the “Nuestra Senora del Rosario” a ship of the Spanish Armada sailed in to the bay. The ship came to grief at the hands of Sir Francis Drake and a total of 397 prisoners were captured and held in the barn for a fortnight - some didn't make it out alive…
With so much history and so many souls having lived, loved and died at Torre Abbey and the ‘Spanish Barn’ it would be difficult to believe that all have left and there are indeed several ghost stories associated with the buildings.
Investigation Report - Saturday 5th April 2014
Although it was a fairly quiet night you have to love Torre Abbey! It always feels so homely and welcoming, which perhaps is not quite what you want went you're looking to scare yourself silly, but this fabulous old building and its inhabitants seem to be slowly coming forward with more activity happening each time we go there.
We have caught some interesting orbs which we're pretty sure aren't dust and Gary caught some very interesting footage and audio in the Gatehouse Tower and Mayors Parlour which we're currently putting in to video format for you to view soon - we'll let you know when it goes live.
I think the most active part of the building for me is the dining room. Lesley, one of our guests, captured a fab photo in the dining room whilst their group were doing some board work (see our Facebook page), my radio went off for no reason - which seems to be a bit of a trick of theirs as the same thing happened to Gary in the Gatehouse - and on previous investigations lights have dimmed and very clearly audible footsteps have been heard.
The Chapel is also a bit of a strange place with one of my ladies feeling like she had been touched and another who really didn't want to come in and when she did reported feeling sick.
Some other ladies felt the presence of a little boy with them in the Mayors Parlour and a camera that was locked off on some toys picked up some orbs shortly afterwards. Having done some research since the investigation several children died whilst living at Torre Abbey but perhaps the one that fits best would have been little Arminel Cary who died in 1883 aged just 4 years - could this be our boy?
The Spanish Barn was quite quiet for everyone I think (let me know if you got anything in there) although my group got a good response on the Spring Ouija right at the beginning of the evening with the spirit of a boy... We were also very lucky to have been given access to some new areas of the Abbey that aren't open to the public including the Gatehouse Tower, Clock Tower and South Undercrofts all of which were fascinating to see.
We would like to say a very big thank you to everyone at Torre Abbey - living and dead! - for making it such a pleasure to work with them. Thanks also to everyone who came along to the event as a guest - we're always so lucky to meet such lovely people.
Please let us know if you experienced anything I haven't already mentioned or if you have any photographs you would like to share.
Can't wait to go back to Torre Abbey - hopefully you'll join us too!
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