Buckland Abbey was originally a Cistercian abbey founded in 1278 by Amicia, Countess of Devon and was a daughter house of Quarr Abbey, on the Isle of Wight. It remained an abbey until the Dissolution of the Monasteries by King Henry VIII. In 1541 Henry sold Buckland to Sir Richard Grenville the Elder (Sewer of the Chamber to Henry VIII, poet, soldier, last Earl Marshall of Calais) who, working with his son Sir Roger Greynvile (Gentleman of the Privy Chamber Henry VIII, Captain of the ill fated Mary Rose), began to convert the abbey into a residence renaming it Buckland Greynvile. Sir Roger died in 1545 when the Mary Rose heeled over in a sudden squall while the English Fleet was engaged with the French Fleet in the Narrow Sea off Portsmouth, leaving a son aged 3, also named Richard Grenville, who completed the conversion in 1575–76.
After being owned by the family for 40 years, Buckland Greynvile was sold by Sir Richard the Younger to two intermediaries in 1581, who unbeknownst to Greynvile, were working for Drake, whom he despised. The abbey is unusual in that the church was retained as the principal component of the new house whilst most of the remainder was demolished, which was a reversal of the normal outcome with this type of redevelopment. Drake lived in the house for 15 years, as did many of his collateral descendants until 1946, when it was sold to a local landowner, Arthur Rodd, who presented the property to the National Trust in 1948.
When you visit Buckland, you follow over 700 years of footsteps; from the Cistercians who built the Abbey and farmed the estate, to seafarers Grenville and Drake who changed the shape of the house and the fate of the country. The Abbey is part museum, part house, and filled with treasures such as the legendary Drake’s Drum. There’s no mistaking the magnificence of the Great Barn, which has remained virtually unchanged since it was built all those centuries ago. You’ll discover meadows, orchards and woodlands where you can enjoy far-reaching views of the Tavy Valley. The way-marked trails are a riot of colour through the seasons, with an unmissable carpet of bluebells in spring.
There are designated disabled parking spaces and a buggy service operating daily. Adapted toilet next to the main toilets The Abbey is on steep slopes with some uneven paths. There is a ramped main entrance. Wheelchairs are available. The Ground floor is accessible by wheelchair - stairs to other floors. 119 steps on normal visitor route. There is a Voucher for the restaurant or shop for those arriving by bicycle or public transport.
Location : Yelverton, Devon, PL20 6EY
Transport: Plymouth (National Rail) then bus - 11 miles. Bus Routes : 55 from Yelverton stops outside.
Opening Times : Daily 11:00 to 19:00.
Tickets : Adults £11.00; Child £5.50
Tel: 01822 853607