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HER Number:MDV43536
Name:The Higher Town, Buckfastleigh


Higher town is thought to be the medieval urban focus of Buckfastleigh. Probably developed as an adjunct to Buckfast Abbey. No precise documentary evidence for foundation date, but in existence by the 13th century.


Grid Reference:SX 735 662
Map Sheet:SX76NW
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishBuckfastleigh
Ecclesiastical ParishBUCKFASTLEIGH

Protected Status: none recorded

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX76NW/180

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • SETTLEMENT (Early Medieval to Post Medieval - 1066 AD to 1750 AD (Between))

Full description

National Monuments Record, Untitled Source (National Monuments Record Database). SDV1181.

Small market town of buckfastleigh became a centre of the woollen textile industry (nmr).

SX76NW/179, Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV297964.

Higher town is thought to be the medieval urban focus of buckfastleigh. Probably developed as an adjunct to buckfast abbey. No precise documentary evidence for foundation date, but in existence by 13c. Bears many characteristics of a borough town, although no record of a charter having been granted. Main street represented by bridge and market streets, with market place (sx76nw/179) at southern end. Strips of land reminiscent of burgage plots (sx76nw/181) lie to west of market street. Held a weekly market by 1352 and retained its 2 annual fairs in 1850. However, its relatively unfavourable position and the proximity of ashburton (stannery town) prevented its becoming a flourishing market town.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV297967.

Weddell, p. J. /an archaeological assessment of land at market street, buckfastleigh/(emafu report 91.60)/(1991).

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV297968.

Cherry, b. + pevsner, n. /the buildings of england: devon/(1989)226.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV297969.

Hoskins, w. G. /devon/(1954).

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV297970.


Weddell, P. J., Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV6252.

Post medieval development as an urban centre was due to the woollen industry which was carried out on a cottage basis until the 19c, when small-scale industry was replaced by large factory units and up to 5 mills (weddell).

1840, Tithe Map (Cartographic). SDV339770.

Polygon digitised roughly to the existing area shown on the Tithe Map.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV1181National Monuments Record Database: National Monuments Record. National Monuments Record.
SDV297964Migrated Record: SX76NW/179.
SDV297967Migrated Record:
SDV297968Migrated Record:
SDV297969Migrated Record:
SDV297970Migrated Record:
SDV339770Cartographic: 1840. Tithe Map. Tithe Map and Apportionment. Map (Paper). [Mapped feature: #91738 ]
SDV6252Migrated Record: Weddell, P. J..

Associated Monuments

MDV108629Parent of: Sherwell Court, Buckfastleigh (Building)
MDV48287Parent of: Sun Inn, Buckfastleigh (Building)
MDV108627Parent of: Terrace of cottages on Silver Street, Buckfastleigh (Building)
MDV108633Parent of: The Mechanic's Arms, Buckfastleigh (Building)
MDV48199Related to: Congregational Chapel on Chapel Street, Buckfastleigh (Building)
MDV43535Related to: Medieval market place, Buckfastleigh (Monument)
MDV108663Related to: St Benedict's Church on Chapel Street, Buckfastleigh (Building)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events: none recorded

Date Last Edited:Jun 14 2016 10:19AM