Battlefield History Tours

Battlefield History Tours
Incorporating History and Heritage tours

Cathedrals and Abbeys of England on 10 September 2019


Today we were actually staying at home as we were to visit the Abbey that we were staying adjacent to. The grounds around the Abbey precinct are exquisite and when one walks into the Abby itself there is a feeling of Peace and Tranquillity. An Abbey existed here in Saxon times and as part of a monastic reform movement in the 12th Century, it became a Cistercian monastery, which was then suppressed during the Reformation period in 1539. The Monks were forced to leave and the buildings gradually fell into a state of disrepair until the 19th Century, when after the area had been sold twice, the current owner advertised his intention to sell and some Benedictine Monks who were living at that time in Ireland, saw the advert and arranged for the purchase of the neglected and broken Abbey. After much work, mainly by the 6 Mason Monks, Buckfast was re-settled by Benedictine monks from France.

Building was started in 1907 and was completed in 1937, with the layout conforming to the ground plan of the original monastery. The architectural style is a mixture of Romanesque and early Gothic. Remains of the mediaeval monastery include the Northgate and the under croft chapel of St Michael (both 12th Century) and, from the 14th and 15th Centuries, the guest hall and Southgate.

We were very fortunate to have as our guide, Brother Daniel who had been a Monk here for 40 years and, of course, was a wealth of knowledge. We were taken through the process of the cleaning of the Abbey that took 5 years to complete and has left the Abbey in pristine condition. Some rarely seen areas outside the Monks themselves was the opportunity to view the Chancery and the private garden which is available for the Monks for their private benefit. There was much more to see and after a while we bade Brother Daniel farewell and thanked him for the special effort that he had put into our tour.

Leaving the Abbey we headed out into the real world. Making our way out the South Gate, we proceeded to make our way to the South Devon Railway and a leisurely trip on the tank engine. A very good visit to the Museum was had by all and there was an old broad guage Engine being worked on as we climbed into our cabin to view the Dart River as we cruised amongst the trees.


Graham Fleeton


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