About J W Rowell
Written by dawn diggines
Thursday, 26 May 2011 20:17
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About JW Rowell


Rowell House was designed by the prominent local architect J.W. Rowell in 1875. The property was built using local stone and traditional techniques in the typical Victorian style. We have restored all original fireplaces and hard wood window shutters. We have endeavoured to sympathetically enhance the 19th Century original features whilst including all 21st Century comforts. We are very interested in the provenance of Rowell House and continue to research. As you explore Torquay, you will see many traditional Victorian villas. You can find out more in Torquay Museum and in the numerous local book shops.

JW Rowell – Biography

Born circa 1797, Rowell, established his own business in the early 1850s. Over his career Rowell was responsible for the design of a large number of buildings in Newton Abbot and Torquay, and the surrounding areas. In Torquay he was appointed architect to the Torwood Estate, planning houses in the Ellacombe valley from 1859 for Sir Lawrence Palk. These working men’s dwellings, in crazy paving limestone, many with red brick dressings, find an immediate parallel with Rowell’s development of The Avenue in Newton Abbot. Rowell not only undertook domestic commissions, he was involved in much ecclesiastical work, from restoration and remodelling to the erection of new buildings to his own design. In association with this work he designed rectories and a number of schools. In Newton Abbot, Rowell was responsible for St Paul’s in Devon Square, built on land given by the Earl of Devon. The foundation stone was laid on 26 April 1859, tiling by Charles Minton.


Rowell & Son(s), established in 1878, included his Rowell’s sons Spencer, William John, and Ronald. Rowell retired from his position as Vice-Chairman of Newton Abbot Rural District Council in April 1899. The firm of Rowell, Joseph William, Sons & Locke was formed in 1902 when F.W. Locke was taken into partnership. He had been articled to J.W. Rowell in 1879. By 1914 he was the sole surviving partner.


Notable Buildings: 

1854 - Church of St John the Baptist, Bishopsteignton

1859 – St Paul’s Church, Devon Square, Newton Abbot

1864 - The Church of St Mary the Virgin, Collaton St Mary

1869 - Belgrave United Reform Church

1876 - The Old School and the School Masters House, Alphington



The Beautiful St Paul’s in Newton Abbot, designed by JW Rowell


Last Updated on Monday, 12 March 2012 15:38