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Historic England Research Records

Buckfast Abbey

Hob Uid: 1266782
Location :
Devon
Teignbridge
Buckfastleigh
Grid Ref : SX7412067380
Summary : Saxon and Mediaeval Benedictine Abbey, later Cistercian. The Benedictine abbey was founded by King Cnut in 1018. It became a daughter-house of Savigny in 1136, thus becoming Cistercian. It was surrendered in 1539. The site was used as a stone quarry after the Dissolution. In 1907 a new Benedictine Abbey was begun, (see SX76NW18). Limited excavations were undertaken by the monks in 1882 which recovered most of the plan of the Medieval monastery, demonstrating that it was a normal plan for a Cistercian house. Rescue excavations were undetaken in 1982 and 1983 on the site of the Guest House to the West of the Abbey complex, and showed that two buildings of C12th date were replaced in the C14th by a single great hall, to which an East wing was added in the late Medieval period. Parts of this are incorporated in a farmhouse and it is hoped that the remaining standing Medieval structures will be consolidated.
More information : All that remains above ground is the Abbot's Tower; a much restored 14th-15th century square tower with angle turret and two light mullioned and transomed window. It is part of the Abbots' lodgings and the most complete remains of the medieval abbey surviving above ground. An undercroft which appears to be 11th or 12th century is now under the rebuilt abbey buildings.

Among the collections of MSS. left to Exeter City Library by the late Hugh Wathin were 2 volumes of extracts from ancient monastic Cortularies compiled shortly after the Dissolution, and relating to monastic possession in the generation or so prior to the Dissolution. Several such documents from Buckfast Abbey are presented.

The Abbey well (Saxon?) is in the crypt of old Buckfast Abbey and was filled in 30 years ago when the new Abbey was built.

Limited excavations were undertaken by the monks in 1882 which recovered most of the plan of the Medieval monestary, demonstrating that it was a normal plan for a Cistercian house.

Rescue excavations were undetaken in 1982 and 1983 on the site of the Guest House to the West of the Abbey complex, and showed that two buildings of C12th date were replaced in the C14th by a single great hall, to which an East wing was added in the late Medieval period. Parts of this are incorporated in a farmhouse and it is hoped that the remaining standing Medieval structures will be concerned and consolidated.

SX7406 6738. The site comprises part of the north west area of the precinct of the outer court of Buckfast Abbey, including the standing remains of a kitchen and service block and the below ground remains of a number of buildings and courtyards. The principal medieval standing survivals within the outer court are the 14th century guesthouse, the 15th century Abbot's guest hall and the southern arch of the North Gate (See UID 444824). The fragmentary remains of the probable kitchen block and service buildings are attached to the guesthouse and guest hall.

The guesthouse developed from a 12th century building and was later narrowed as part of post-Dissolution adaptation. The Abbot's guest hall was added to the guesthouse suite in the 15th century and overlies earlier remains. It too was adapted after the Dissolution and was subsequently used as a farmhouse. Now known as Abbey Farm, it is a Listed Building Grade II.

Excavations undertaken to the south of the guesthouse revealed a structure interpreted as the guesthouse kitchen; while to the north, a building complex in use from the late 13th/early C14th century into the 15th century was uncovered. A building with an associated cobbled courtyard overlying 12th century remains was revealed. This structure was replaced by a smaller, narrower building towards the end of the 15th century. Evidence of wooden buildings was discovered east of the guesthouse.

Scheduled (except standing remains of guesthouse and Abbot's guest hall). (9)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Medieval religious houses in England and Wales
Source details :
Page(s) : 61,117,469
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 2
Source : List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest
Source details : DOE (HHR) Town of Buckfastleigh, Jan-1983, 1-2
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 3
Source : Devon and Cornwall notes and queries
Source details :
Page(s) : 55-64
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 23
Source Number : 4
Source : Devonshire Association reports and transactions
Source details :
Page(s) : 109-93
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 8, 1876
Source Number : 5
Source : Devonshire Association reports and transactions
Source details :
Page(s) : 210
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 89, 1957
Source Number : 6
Source : Devonshire Association reports and transactions
Source details :
Page(s) : 590-4
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 16, 1884
Source Number : 7
Source : Archaeology in Devon, annual report
Source details :
Page(s) : 22-Apr
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 6, 1983
Source Number : 8
Source : Archaeology in Devon, annual report
Source details :
Page(s) : 44-7
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 7, 1984
Source Number : 9
Source : Scheduled Monument Notification
Source details : 24-Nov-00
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :

Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Early Medieval
Display Date : Extant
Monument End Date : 1066
Monument Start Date : 1018
Monument Type : Benedictine Monastery, Abbey
Evidence : Ruined Building
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Extant
Monument End Date : 1136
Monument Start Date : 1066
Monument Type : Benedictine Monastery, Undercroft, Abbey
Evidence : Ruined Building, Extant Building
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Extant
Monument End Date : 1539
Monument Start Date : 1136
Monument Type : Cistercian Monastery, Abbey, Guest House, Well, Kitchen, Service Wing
Evidence : Ruined Building, Extant Building, Subterranean Feature, Demolished Building
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : After 1539
Monument End Date :
Monument Start Date : 1539
Monument Type : Farmhouse
Evidence : Extant Building

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : Listed Building List Entry Legacy Uid
External Cross Reference Number : 392218
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (National No.)
External Cross Reference Number : 29672
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Unified Designation System UID
External Cross Reference Number : 1292865
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Unified Designation System UID
External Cross Reference Number : 1019607
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : SX 76 NW 43
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Associated Monuments : 444824
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 444830
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 444410
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 1552109
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 444853
Relationship type :

Related Activities :
Associated Activities : BUCKFAST ABBEY
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1800-01-01
End Date : 1899-12-31
Associated Activities : BUCKFAST ABBEY
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1982-01-01
End Date : 1984-12-31
Associated Activities : BUCKFAST ABBEY
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 1983-01-01
End Date : 1983-12-31
Associated Activities : BUCKFAST ABBEY
Activity type : MEASURED SURVEY
Start Date : 1983-01-01
End Date : 1984-12-31
Associated Activities : BUCKFAST ABBEY
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1990-01-01
End Date : 1996-12-31
Associated Activities : BUCKFAST ABBEY
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 1990-01-01
End Date : 1999-12-31
Associated Activities : BUCKFAST ABBEY
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 1990-01-01
End Date : 1999-12-31
Associated Activities : BUCKFAST ABBEY
Activity type : WATCHING BRIEF
Start Date : 1990-01-01
End Date : 1999-12-31