^ Home
< Back
? Search
Print this page




Devon County

Devonshire Rgt.

Directory Listings





Parish Records




War Memorials



"Buckland Monachorum is a small, pleasant village, in a picturesque valley, 4 miles S. by E. of Tavistock, near Roborough Down, an elevated tract of 1877 acres of moorland, which is about to be enclosed and cultivated.


Buckland had the latter part of its name from its monastery, and is sometimes called Buckland Drake from the Drake family, who have held the manor since the reign of Elizabeth. Its parish contains 1411 inhabitants, and 6383 acres of land, including about 2000 acres of open moorland, woodland, &c.; the romantic hamlet of Milton, and a great part of the large village of Horrabridge, which is partly in the parishes of Sampford-Spiney, Whitchurch, and Walkhampton; being on both sides of the small river Walkham, and on the eastern side of Dartmoor, where there are two copper mines and a tin mine, employing 400 hands, and a woollen factory, employing about the same number.


The parish comprises also many scattered farm-houses, &c., and several neat mansions, and is bounded on the west by the river Tavy and traversed on the east by Plymouth and Dartmoor Railway. A cattle fair is held in the village on Trinity Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, and it had formerly a weekly market on Tuesday granted to one of the abbots in 1317.


A large and well-endowed Abbey was founded here in 1278 by Amicia, relict of Baldwin, Earl of Devonshire, for monks of the Cistercian order. When it was dissolved in the reign of Henry VIII, its revenues were valued at £241 17s 9½d per annum and the site was granted to Richard Grenville, who built upon it a "fair new house" which afterwards became, by purchase, the seat of the celebrated circumnavigator Sir Francis Drake who, having no issue, bequeathed it to his nephew of the same name, who was created a baronet in 1622. The late baronet, Sir Francis Henry Drake, left it to his sister's son, the late Lord Heathfield; and at his death in 1813 it passed to a younger son of his sister (Mrs. Fuller of Sussex) the present Sir Thomas Trayton Fuller Eliott Drake who was created a baronet in 1821, and resides at Nutwell Court, near Woodbury. He owns a great part of the parish, but Sir Ralph Lopes, Bart. is lord of the manor, which was granted to the Crymes family after the dissolution of the abbey. Sir A. Buller, (Knight), J.H.Gill, Esq.,G. Leach Esq., and several smaller owners, have estates in the parish.


Buckland Abbey, a neat mansion with tasteful grounds, is now occupied by Thomas Gill Esq., and there are still preserved in it many interesting articles which belonged to the great circumnavigator, such as his sword, drum, the bible which accompanied him in all his voyages, a shield of Queen Elizabeth, several portraits of the family etc. It appears to have been a castellated mansion, and some of the abbey church were incorporated in the building. Sir Richard Grenville made it his occasional residence during the blockade of Plymouth, and had a garrison here, but he left it after the capture of Dartmouth. In a garret are the four great arches of the church tower and in the dining room is a large Gothic window.


Bickham House, which was long the seat of the Elford family, is now the residence of J. H. Gill Esq. Pound, the pleasant seat of Sir Anthony Buller, Kt., was rebuilt about 30 years ago, and was the residence of the late Sir Herbert Sawyer. Crapstone, the seat and property of George Leach Esq., was long the residence of the Crymes family and was afterwards sold to the Elfords. Mr. Leach has lately erected a handsome new house near the ancient mansion.


Buckland Abbey in the 1960s
Buckland Abbey in the 1960s


The church (St. Andrew) is a handsome cruciform structure in the perpendicular style with a tower and six b ells. The fine old oak benches, beautifully carved, still remain, but are much disfigured by high-backed pews of deal. The roof is ornamented with bosses at the intersection of the ribs, and at the extremity of the hammer-beams are singularly curious corbels, consisting of angels, each bearing a musical instrument of antique form. The great east window is very fine, and contains a few fragments of ancient painted glass which, when complete, represented the life and martyrdom of St. Andrew. There are also remains of stained glass in the south transept window, and, in the Drake aisle is a handsome modern monument by the elder Bacon, to the memory of Lord Heathfield, the gallant defender of Gibraltar, whose nephew, Sir T. T. F. E. Drake, Bart., has recently presented a powerful organ to the church. The vicarage, valued in the King's Book at £19 8s 9d and in 1831, at £430, is in the patronage and incumbency of the Rev. William L. Nichols MA who has a good residence and 40 acres of glebe. The tithes were commuted in 1842, the vicarial for £304 10s and the rectorial for £174 18s of which £163 6s 6d belongs to Sir T.T.F.E Drake and the rest to four small improprietors.


A small Chapel of Ease was erected at Horrabridge in 1835 at the cost of upwards of £700 raised by subscription. It is in the Early English style and h as about 300 sittings. The Rev. S. H. Walker MS is the curate. The Wesleyans have a chapel at Horrabridge built in 1832 and a smaller one at Milton, erected in 1847.


The parish Free School was founded in 1702 by Lady Elizabeth Modyford, who endowed it with a house for the master and £10 a year out of an estate now belonging to Sir Massey Lopes who pays £7 10s to the master and expends the remainder in clothing the free scholars. Four of the scholars are clothed out of the dividends of £200 New South Sea Annuities, purchase with £120 left by Matthew Elford Esq. in 1723.


The insciption over the doorway of the Free School

The endowment of Lady Modyford and the re-endowment of Sir Massey Lopes recorded over the doorway of the old Free School

©Richard J Brine


The poor parishioners have the dividends of £161 1s 6d and £126 10s 9d three per cent consols, purchased with the gifts of Catherine Ilbert and John Burrows and also the interest of £50 left by Lady Modyford and vested with the overseers. Schools are attached to the Episcopal and Wesleyan Chapels at Horrabridge, and, at the former. Miss Buller and Mrs. Collier pay for the education of 22 poor children, and the master teaches four free, for the use of the school, which was built in 1848 at a cost of about £90."




^ Home
< Back
? Search
Print this page