The practice was started by John Chappell Tozer at Newton Bushell (now part of Newton Abbot) in 1785 during the reign of King George III and at the time of the Napoleonic Wars. In 1817 the firm was transferred to the then highly fashionable Teignmouth by John Chappell Tozer's son of the same name.
Between 1849 and 1859, Tozers had correspondence with Isambard Kingdom Brunel regarding a house and field in Torquay. Today, the firm often buys land and properties for our many clients. In the 1880s, Tozers acted for John 'Babbacombe' Lee, 'the man they couldn't hang'.
John Chappell Tozer II's grandson, John Hellyer Tozer, became a partner in 1859 and around this time he became the legal adviser to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Plymouth. Solicitors at Tozers today still work closely with the Plymouth Diocese and many other charities of all kinds as well as schools.
John Hellyer Tozer left his share in the partnership to his son Edward John Francis Tozer. 'Eddie' Tozer (pictured below) remains the firm's most longstanding partner - for 50 years from 1888. Graham Bond, Tozers' senior partner, retired from the partnership on 30 June 2012 after 43 years with the firm – his whole working life – and 41 of those as a partner, specialising in family law work.
Eddie was a keen huntsman and regularly attended meetings of the South Devon Hunt. Tozers has been pleased to sponsor a race and corporately entertain clients at the South Devon Hunt's point to point for the last few years so the connection continues.
When Eddie died in 1938, the practice had no member of the Tozer family for the first time in some 150 years, but the name was retained and later the firm became known simply as "Tozers", now Tozers LLP.
During the Second World War all the partners and many members of staff volunteered or were called up. A retired solicitor was persuaded to take charge of Tozers' offices at Teignmouth and Dawlish. When raids took place during office hours the staff used the strong room at 2-3 Orchard Gardens as an air raid shelter. Presumably Tozers' wills and probate department was called upon a great deal during the war years.
Tozers celebrated its bicentenary in 1985 with the opening of an Exeter office to meet demand from a private bank client. Our more commercial and specialist work (eg in housing associations, leisure parks, charities, schools and clinical negligence) is now concentrated there in the city centre.
Today we have 3 offices (Teignmouth, Newton Abbot and Exeter), 22 partners and over 100 staff offering an extensive legal service including: commercial services, corporate work, clinical negligence, agriculture and landed estates, buying and selling property, wills and probate, equine and family law.