Butchers Row, Barnstaple, EX31 1BW
Enter through the gated archway in Butchers Row and discover the wealth of treasures inside this historic building, central to Barnstaple's history.
Free Guildhall open house every Wednesday 10.30am-12.30pm, during the summer.
Winter opening hours change to two a month, please check our facebook page for dates.
Open Houses will not be running when the building is being used for other activities . To avoid disappointment please call us on 01271 373311 to check if the open house is running,
Free tours of the Guildhall.
Tours have to be booked in advance. We will do our best to accommodate all tours providing enough advance notice has been given. To book contact us on 01271 373311.
The Barnstaple Guildhall is available for hire.
Hire Charge: £30.00 per hour (charity concessions available).
Extra charge may apply – ask for details.
For information contact us on
Phone: 01271 373311
Email: [email protected]
Office hours - Monday to Friday 10:00am - 3:00pm.
Lift access is also available.
(Please let us know if you are hiring the Guildhall and need to use the lift)
THE MAIN CHAMBER
The main chamber in the Guildhall was once a courtroom, evident it its layout even today. It’s used today for council meetings, community events, private hire and is even licenced for weddings. Two major events which take place every year in the Guildhall is the Mayor Making ceremony and the Fair Proclamation. What draws the eye most in this room is the magnificent oil paintings which cover most of the walls, some of which were painted by the famous painter Thomas Hudson (1701-72). Pictures include William Rock, Barnstaple benefactor, and John Gay, an 18th-century poet and playwright who was born in the town.
The collection of paintings at the Guildhall can now be viewed online at the "Your Paintings" website.
Your Paintings is a joint initiative between the BBC, the Public Catalogue Foundation (a registered charity) and participating collections and museums from across the UK.
THE DODDERIDGE ROOM
The Dodderidge room is one of Barnstaple’s hidden treasures, it holds the town silver and many fascinating relics of Barnstaple’s past. The oak panelling and fireplace which adorn the room were a gift to the town council and came from a wealthy merchant’s house, Pentecost Dodderidge, whom the room is names after.
Fireplace – This fireplace was ‘discovered’ when a house in cross street was demolished in 1910. After being moved to another house in the town it came here as a gift, along with the oak panelling, from Alderman John Smale in 1949. The top feature dates from 1617 and incorporates the initials PD and ED. The PD is Pentecost Dodderidge and the ED is the initials of his wife Elizabeth. 1617 was not the date of their marriage. The main fireplace is older than the top feature and, we are told, was probably carved in London or possible Spain. The top feature was undoubtedly carved locally. The Dodderidge family was one of the leading families in Barnstaple for many years; they were Merchants, Judges, Mayors and Councillors. They owned the ‘Prudence’ a privateer that returned to the town with cargo valued at £3m at today’s prices.
Mayor’s Chains – The Mayor’s chain dates from 1858 and contains 24 oblong links. It became the Mayoress' chain in 1911 when the new Mayor’s chain was produced to commemorate the coronation of King George V. This chain consists of 17 oval medallions stamped with portraits, coats of arms and historic buildings of the town joined by links in the form of donators initials. The Large medallion is decorated with three out of five Barnstaple ships which are reputed to have sailed against the Armada as well as two of the ancient seals of the town (the Swan seal and the Triple Castle seal) and the seal of the Long Bridge Trust.
THE MAYOR'S PARLOUR
The Mayor’s Parlour is a functioning office, used by the Town Mayor for civic receptions and meetings. The room hosts a range of historic artefact's including fine examples of Brannam pottery, and a US flag that once flew at the Capitol building in Washington, a gift from our twin town of Barnstable, Massachusetts.
On the walls you will find rolls of honour detailing Barnstaple’s past Mayors, and a range of pictures and other artefact's celebrating our twin towns and our links with the Royal Family.
THE VIRTUAL GUILDHALL
Enjoy a tour of Barnstaple Guildhall, any time of the day or night, and without having to leave your house!