Torbryan is located approximately 41/2 miles off the main A38 expressway at Newton Abbot and is midway between Dartmoor National Park and Torbay and halfway between Newton Abbot and Totnes in this beautiful part of South Devon. The A38 links with Junction 31 off the M5 motorway at Exeter, approximately 20 miles north of Torbryan. The nearest railway station is either Newton Abbot or Totnes, both 5 miles away, and Exeter is the nearest airport.
The Old Church House in is a beautiful Grade II* listed property, reputed to have been built in the early thirteenth century and would have been the original church house. An impressive two storey building with painted stone elevations under a slated roof, the property also benefits from a Coach House situated at the end of the car park and an attractive lawned garden used by customers.
Although not Inns in the modern sense of the word, medieval church houses were commonly the venues for parish feasts in which church ale was drunk. The proceeds went to parish funds. Many church houses later became Inns and are particularly common in Devon where more than 50 still exist. During the days of coaching, Torbryan was on the main Plymouth stage route and had extensive stabling. By 1938 the Church House had declined and was earmarked for demolition but was bought and restored by Mr Howell Paine. The Old Church House Inn has many interesting features including Oak panelling salvaged from a ship of the Armada fleet, carved oak beams, an ancient bread oven and a Mill Stone embedded in the floor. The original entrance is an arch door believed to have been bought back from the crusades which leads into the lounge with one of the oldest fireplaces and bread ovens on record in England. The bowling pins hanging on the main bar are from the Elizabethen era and perhaps similar to those used by Sir Francis Drake when he was playing bowls at Plymouth Ho whilst the Spanish Armada sailed up the channel. These skittles have clearly had many a game played on them, perhaps even by members of Henry VII’s and Henry VIII’s Royal retinue whilst the monarch stayed at Tor Newton House, just a mile away from the Inn- indentures from Henry VIII and Elizabeth are displayed in the bar. The Inn has featured as a film location including Ripping Yarns with Michael Palin.