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 History of the Guildhall

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lee
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Posts : 4857
Join date : 2008-02-10
Age : 56
Location : Leicester

PostSubject: History of the Guildhall   Fri Aug 08, 2008 9:17 pm

There aren't many towns where a visit to the council headquarters is a major experience, but Totnes Guildhall is truly fascinating. Built in 1553 on the ruins of the medieval priory, it has served as court, prison and meeting place.
The Guidhall has been at the heart of the town's administrative, legal and ceremonial life for centuries. It is peacefully situated on Ramparts Walk, behind the church in the busy High Street, and full of fascinating objects and memories. Originally the Refectory (dining room) of the Benedictine Priory, founded in Totnes in 1088, it was rebuilt in 1553 as the meeting place of the Merchant Guild, the body of leading citizens who ran the town. Since then it has been the home of the Town Council and more than 600 mayors are listed in gold leaf on the boards in the lower hall.

From 1624 to 1974 the building was used for the local magistrates' court, and the Town Gaol was in use until 1887. Visitors can see the original cells where prisoners awaited trial and punishment, then climb the 17th-century stairs to the elegant Council Chamber, with its plaster frieze and the table where Oliver Cromwell sat in 1646
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