Buckland Abbey is a Grade 1 listed 700-year-old house in Buckland Monachorum, near Yelverton, Devon, noted for its connection with Sir Richard Grenville the Younger and Sir Francis Drake. It is owned by the National Trust. The National Trust Costume Group operate at Buckland Abbey, creating authentic Elizabethan costumes using traditional materials and methods. There is a complete Francis Drake costume, based on the famous portrait of Drake in the National Gallery, and the group are currently working on a costume for Lady Drake, also based on a portrait.
*** – History – ***
Buckland Abbey was founded as a Cistercian abbey in 1278 by Amicia, Countess of Devon and was a daughter house of Quarr Abbey, on the Isle of Wight. It was one of the last Cistercian houses founded in England and also the most westerly. The remains of the church are about 37.6 metres (123 feet) long. The width across the transepts is 28 metres (92 feet). The nave and presbytery is 10.1 metres (33 feet) wide.
Reference to the Bishop of Exeter episcopal registers show the abbey managed five granges at Buckland plus the home farm at the abbey. A market and fair at Buckland and Cullompton were granted in 1318. In 1337 King Edward III granted the monks a licence to crenellate. In the 15th century the monks built a Tithe Barn which is 180 feet (55 metres) long and survives to this day. It is Grade 1 listed.
It remained an abbey until the Dissolution of the Monasteries by King Henry VIII. At this time the revenues were placed at £241 17s. 9d. per annum. The Abbot was given a yearly pension of £60, and the remaining 12 monks shared £54 10s. 6d. 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 including the Dowager Lady Seaton, Born Elisabeth Fuller-Elliot-Drake, who died on 9 May 1937. She left a life interest to Captain Richard Owen Tapps Gervis Meyrick. In 1946 he sold it to Captain Arthur Rodd, who presented the property to the National Trust in 1947.
*** – Visiting – ***
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.
It's time to get out into the countryside to chase butterflies, smell the biscuity warm earth and picnic on the grass. There are lots of routes to try here at Buckland Abbey to help you get out and about this Summer. Headout on a woodland walk this Summer and see spectacular views across the Tavy Valley, the river and the wide open fields.
The National Trust are currently running a one way system around the gardens and woodland walks in order to maintain social distancing. The tramper, buggy and wheelchair service is currently unavailable during this time. All the walks are currently open but might be slightly different routes to what you are used to.
For a shorter walk or a quick trek around, the yellow route wold be the best as this route is about 15-20mins long. This is currently a 'there and back again' route over the fields. This route is ideal for push chairs and wheelchairs. The red route will take you approx 45 mins to walk and is the most picturesque and is particularly great for stopping for a picnic. For a longer and more distanced walk, the blue route through the woodlands over looking the river is glorious this time of year. This will take you just over an hour to walk.
Bringing your dog. Dogs are welcome on all of the estate walks, but we would ask that you keep your four legged friend on a lead in areas where there is livestock.
The cider house and main abbey gardens and the estate walks at Buckland Abbey are open; you’ll need to book tickets online or by calling 0344 249 1895 by 3pm the day before your visit. Members can book for free, while non-members will need to pay when booking. We'll be releasing tickets every Friday. Please note we’ll be turning people away who arrive and haven't booked. We're looking forward to welcoming you back.
Richard paints the wildlife and landscapes of the south west in both watercolours and acrylics. His style of paintings varies from the traditional english watercolour to more contemporary depictions of our wonderful landscapes and wildlife. He also produces a range of hand carved wooden items using native hardwoods, much of which comes from the Buckland estate. He tutors local art groups and his work is now in private collections worldwide.
Anne is a textile artist and produces a range of exquisite hand sewn embroideries. Using local gardens and the countryside as her subjects, her unique style, which has proved to be extremely popular, uses high quality threads and pure silk ribbons, which she dyes herself. All her work is painstakingly stitched by hand over acrylic painted backgrounds, each piece taking many hours to complete, before being stretched and framed.
Richard and Anne do all their own mounting and framing of their work using only the finest framing materials, resulting in artworks that look stunning and will stand the test of time. Their work is both unique and affordable and also includes a wide range of hand made and printed cards. The uniqueness of their work means that you can take away with you a very special momento of your visit to Buckland Abbey.
Richard and Anne are always happy to discuss their work, to answer queries and to show their work in progress. For more detailed information, contact details and to see examples of their arts and crafts please visit their websites. www.richardwoodgate.com www.annewoodgate.com
Special commissions are made on site including wedding and engagement rings, also remodelling of old jewellery into wearable designs. She is the co-author of a couple of jewellery books, including The Compendium of Jewellery Making Techniques by Search press.
Silver jewellery workshops will be available at the workshop. Please email to register interest in any workshops. Please visit the website: www.xuella.co.uk or follow on Instagram @xuellajewel Opening Times: Wednesday - Sunday, 11am-3pm. Please email Xuella to check the shop is open before making a special visit.
Glass Fused artwork. The gallery features a range of fused glass and blown glass made by local artists, including Anne Freeman who runs the workshop. Anne graduated in 2017 from Plymouth College of Art with a BA (Hons) in Contemporary Crafts, and during her studies she received a Student Commendation and was selected to make the Building of the Year award for The Building Forum.
During school holidays, Annie’s Funny Faces will also be here offering face painting and glitter tattoos for children. As well as selling glass, there will often be family activities, and also enamel painting workshops for participants aged 14+. These will last 2-3 hours and cost from £25.
Want to get in touch? You can call Anne on 01822 258081 or email email@example.com.
*** – Facilities – ***
Location : Yelverton, Devon, PL20 6EY
Transport: Plymouth (National Rail) then bus - 11 miles. Bus Routes : 55 from Yelverton stops outside, Monday to Saturday.
Opening Times : Garden/Estate (see above) Daily 10:00 to 16:30.
Tickets : Garden/Estate (see above), Adults £8.00; Child £4.00
Tel: 01822 853607