Buckland Abbey

buckland abbey

by Graham Taylor | CC BY-SA 2.0  via Wikimedia Commons

Buckland Abbey is a 700-year-old house in Buckland Monachorum near Yelverton in Devon. Sir Frances Drake lived at the house for 15 years. It is said his ghost travels across Dartmoor from Tavistock to Plymouth in a black coach drawn by headless horses and pursued by a pack of yelping hounds. There are numerous legends of Sir Frances partnering with the Devil in order to defeat the Spanish Armada, together with stories of ghosts being sighted in and around the Abbey.

Sir Frances Drake’s descendants lived at Buckland Abbey until 1946, when it was sold to Arthur Rodd, who presented it to the National Trust in 1948.

buckland abbey

Rembrandt |Public domain |via Wikimedia

The National Trust website also shares some information about a self portrait by Rembrandt, which will be on display at Buckland Abbey until October 2016. It has been a subject of debate since the late sixties, and was only recently authenticated in 2014. It now has an estimated value of £30M.

Buckland Abbey’s history is quoted here via Wikipedia:

“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.”

I hope you thoroughly enjoy your visit to Buckland, please let me know how you get on. Tell me what you think by posting your comments below. Why don’t you Share this with your friends and family by clicking the Facebook icon or follow us on Twitter?

Carole Langman
About the Author:
Carole Langman works behind the scenes at Bowerland Cottage Holidays and Devon Dogs as the Business Manager. Her office is always a hive of activity, and with the vast amounts of work Carole has, we never really know how she gets through it all! To unwind, she loves gardening, hikes around Bowerland, travelling and writing.

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