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Buckfastleigh, Devon

Historical Description

Buckfastleigh, a small manufacturing town and parish of Devon. The town stands on the river Dart, and has a station on the G.W.R., 224 miles from London. It has a post, money order, and telegraph office (R.S.O.), and a town-hall. It dates from old times, was formerly a market-town, and carries on blanket, serge, and paper manufactures. There are also some tanneries. Fairs are held on the third Thursday of June and the second Thursday of September. The parish, which includes part of Dartmoor, comprises 5882 acres; population, 3009. The manor belonged to Buckfast Abbey, was given at the dissolution to Sir Thomas Dennis. It now belongs to the Earl of Macclesfield. Buckfast Abbey stood on the Dart, about a mile N of the village, succeeded a Saxon monastery founded in 918, and was itself a Cistercian establishment of 1137 founded by Ethelbard, son of William Pomeroy. The buildings of it covered several acres. The abbey has been purchased by the Roman Catholics, partly rebuilt, and is now a Benedictine monastery. Black marble and limestone are quarried, chiefly to supply kilns. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Exeter; gross value, £250 with residence. The church surmounts a limestone eminence overhanging the Dart, half a mile from the village, is Early English, with mixtures of Perpendicular and Debased Tudor. The churchyard contains ivy-clad remains of an ancient church or chantry, and there is a Norman font in the church in addition to the high altar. There were originally four side altars. A chapel of ease was built in the Plymouth Road in 1894. There are Congregational and Wesleyan chapels.

Transcribed from The Comprehensive Gazetteer of England & Wales, 1894-5


The following is a list of the administrative units in which this place was either wholly or partly included.

Ancient CountyDevon 
Ecclesiastical parishBuckfastleigh Holy Trinity 
Poor Law unionTotnes 

Any dates in this table should be used as a guide only.

Church Records

The parish register dates from the year 1602.

Findmypast, in association with the South West Heritage Trust, Parochial Church Council, and Devon Family History Society have the Baptisms, Banns, Marriages, and Burials online for Buckfastleigh


Church of England

Holy Trinity (parish church)

The church of the Holy Trinity, standing on a lofty eminence, is an ancient edifice of stone in the Early English and Perpendicular styles, consisting of chancel, nave, aisles and transepts, south porch and an embattled western tower with spire containing 6 bells: the church contains a Norman font and an ancient stone altar: there was a memorial window erected by the late Mr. and Mrs. John Fleming, of Bigadon, to their daughter, and two others to a former vicar and his wife, and to a Mr. James Powning and his Son: the stained east window, with four smaller ones, was the gift of Richard John King esq. who formerly resided in the parish: the west window was erected by Miss Lowndes in memory of her parents: the carved oak pulpit was the work of the late Mr. John Pope: the covers of the Bible were also exquisitely carved: in 1897 the chancel was renovated and refloored, and a new altar presented, the cost being defrayed by the late John Fleming esq. of Bigadon, and his wife: in 1911 a new organ and choir stalls were added: there were 400 sittings. In 1992 the church was gutted by fire and now only the remains of the outer shell of the building are extant, although the tower and spire have been restored. East of the church, but detached from it, is an ivy-clad ruin, possibly the remains of an old chantry chapel; this is presently being restored.

Holy Trinity, Buckfastleigh Nave of Holy Trinity, Buckfastleigh

Directories & Gazetteers

We have transcribed the entry for Buckfastleigh from the following:


Online maps of Buckfastleigh are available from a number of sites:

Newspapers and Periodicals

The British Newspaper Archive have fully searchable digitised copies of the following newspapers covering Devon online:

Visitations Heraldic

The Visitation of the County of Devon in the year 1564, with additions from the earlier visitation of 1531, is online.

The Visitations of the County of Devon, comprising the Heralds' Visitations of 1531, 1564, & 1620, with additions by Lieutant-Colonel J.L. Vivian, published for the author by Henry S. Eland, Exeter 1895 is online.

RegionSouth West
Postal districtTQ11
Post TownBuckfastleigh