Buckland Abbey was founded in 1278 by the Cistercian order of monks, the last Cistercian foundation in England. As with most Cistercian foundations, the abbey is located in a secluded location near Plymouth.
After the monastery was disbanded by Henry VIII in the English Reformation, Buckland was purchased by Sir Richard Grenville, former Marshal of Calais. Sir Richard intended Buckland as a prestigious country estate for his son Roger. Roger, however, did not live long enough to enjoy his new property; he died a few years later while commanding the warship Mary Rose. The estate passed to Sir Richard's grandson, also named Richard. At that time it was common among gentry who acquired former monastic buildings to create their new homes from the domestic ranges of the property. Grenville decided instead to convert the abbey church into a house. Just four years after completing Bucklands, Grenville sold it to his great rival, Sir Francis Drake. Although he lived there on and off for 14 years, Drake did not make any major changes to the property. The house stayed in the Drake family until 1948 when it passed to the National Trust.
Exhibition galleries, film and interactive displays allow visitors to explore 700 years of history at the property and discover more about Sir Francis Drake. There is a regular programme of events and historical re-enactments. Visitors can see the famed Drake's Drum, said to beat when England is in danger to rouse the Elizabethan hero to our defence. There are beautiful plasterwork ceilings in Drake's Chamber and the Great Hall.
An Elizabethan garden has been recently created at Buckland, and there are enjoyable walks through the secluded estate. The abbey Great Barn has also been restored to its medieval splendour with a traditional herb garden adjacent, and there are small independent craft workshops in the Ox Yard. | Cruise South West Ports | Destination South West