Guildhall (1)

Venue Type & Location


Site Name: Guildhall 1
Location: Barnstaple
County: Devon
Location Type: Town - in town at determined location


The town of Barnstaple was the most important town on the N coast of Devon and a focal point for touring troupes from S Devon and Somerset from the mid-15th c. to the early 17th c.

The earliest guildhall was probably that of St Nicholas, situated at the W of the watergate, near the old Merchants' Walk (renamed Queen Anne's Walk in the 18th c.).

Performance History

As the seat of civic government and centre for festive occasions, Barnstaple's guildhall was probably the venue for most performances by touring entertainers before the mayor and city officials before 1642.

Current Status


History of the Venue

14th c. The hall of St Nicholas guild built for use as a meeting place and as a public market. St Nicholas guild was also described as the 'Guild of the Liberty of the Burgh,' with many members serving as mayor (Chanter and Wainwright, Barnstaple Records 2.25).

1549 St Nicholas guild dissolved and hall renamed Kay Hall. Probably superceded for official town use by the former St George's Guildhall.

1852 Demolished.

Record Source

REED Devon 30--51

Bibliographic Sources

  • Chanter, J.R. and Thomas Wainwright. Barnstaple Records. 2. Barnstaple: A.E. Barnes, 1900.
  • Lamplugh, Lois. Barnstaple: Town on the Taw. Chichester: Phillimore & Co. Ltd., 1983.