Buckland Abbey and Buckland Monachorum
I hired our driver, Michael, to take us to Buckland Monachorum in search of the church where my ancestor, Robert Booth was baptized in 1616. The small, quaint village of Buckland Monachorum (monachorum means “of the Abbey” according to village locals) is approximately 10 miles north of Plymouth. There’s probably been a church at the heart of Buckland Monachorum since Saxon times. The present building was erected ca.1490 during the reign of Henry the VIIth. Parish records are maintained in Plymouth at the Plymouth and Devon Records Center except for current records. I spent 2 hours at the center researching my Booth and Sherrill ancestors. I didn’t find the info on the Booth line, but I hoped to find perhaps a tombstone in the churchyard. There were lots of old graves, but several of them were so old they were no longer legible. It must be the right church since it is the only one in the village.
We then got directions and headed to the Abbey. What a pleasant surprise! We learned that it was the home of Sir Francis Drake and it included lots of his treasures from his adventures. We toured the home, the barn, and the gardens on the beautiful sunny afternoon.
Drake purchased the Abbey including 500 acres of land from the Grenville estate for 3,400 pounds in 1580. The money was part of the 10,000 pounds Queen Elizabeth told him to keep for himself from the bounty he acquired by attacking Spanish treasure ships off the coast of Peru. Drake was the most famous private citizen in the world and the first English sea captain to encircle the globe. The Queen knighted him aboard his own ship, The Golden Hind.
Drake fell victim to dysentery and died 28 January 1596 leaving his estate to his younger brother, Thomas. He was buried at sea in a lead coffin. The Abbey remained with the Drake family heirs for several hundred years. In 1946, a local landowner, Captain Arthur Rodd purchased the Abbey and presented it to the National Trust.