Buckland Abbey

All on Devon Gazetteer
  • Parkland and gardens
Buckland Monachorum
Local Authority:
West Devon
OS Grid Ref:
SX 486 668
Map no.:
Landranger 201

Cistercian abbey, founded 1278. At the Dissolution Sir Richard Grenville was granted the ’farm of the site with orchards, gardens, meadows etc.’ Sir Francis Drake bought the property in 1581 and it remained in his family until 1946.  Now National Trust. Drake hired a gardener to prune the fruit trees and cider was regularly produced. The fruit trees were sufficiently well known for William Marshall to note in 1769 that ’One of the orchards of Buckland Priory is said to be the oldest in the country, and this is spoken of as being about two hundred years old. Nevertheless, this orchard is still fully stocked and in full bearing.’ White (1850) noted that it was ‘a neat mansion, with tasteful grounds.’ Specimen trees include two magnolias, a Western Himalayan, Himalayan Pine, Mahonia lomariifolia, Actinidia kolomikta and Eucryphia.  A flight of steps leads to a herb garden in box-edged beds. The general effect is of a noble building in its setting of sloping lawns, surrounded by a rich assembly of exotic shrubs.  Access to the public during the summer season.

Listed Buildings

Abbey and the tithe barn Grade I.  Infirmary,Tower and adjoining outbuildings Grade II*.  Gate piers and adjoining wall, garden retaining wall, cider house, kitchen garden wall, linhay, calf pens, cart shed Grade II


Cherry & Pevsner: The Buildings of England – Devon, 1989: 227-9
S Pugsley: Devon Gardens – An Historical Survey, 1994: 2, 32, 33
T Gray: The Garden History of Devon, 1995: 59-60
S and N Buck: Buck’s Antiquities v.1,1774: pl 60
Gardener’s Magazine v .18, 1842: 550-51
Garden v. 44: 431-32. GS Thomas:
Gardens of the National Trust, 1979: 109-10
T Gray: Devon Country Houses and Gardens Engraved Vol I, 2001: 53-9

50.4813664, -4.1323356