Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Buckfast Abbey

For part of our day in Dartmouth we ferried across the River Dart to Kingswear where we boarded the Dartmouth Steam Railway, traveling through the beautiful South Devon coast to the town of Paignton.  The countryside is so beautiful and green and we saw a lot of sheep and cows.  We were told by a local that the beautiful brown cows of Devon are much better and "lovelier" than ordinary cows.  Maybe that's why their dairy products are so delicious!

In Paignton we boarded a bus which took us to Buckfast Abbey.  We saw more beautiful sights along the way, including the town of Totnes, which is an historic market town.  The tale they claim is that after the Trojan War in the 12th century B.C., the defeated Trojans set out to find a new home.  A young prince named Brutus reached an island and sailed up the Dart. When he came ashore he proclaimed, "Here I stand and here I rest; and this place shall be called Totnes."

Buckfast Abbey is home to an active Roman Catholic community of Benedictine Monks.  The original Cistercian abbey dates to the 11th century. The abbey and other buildings were destroyed in 1539 by order of King Henry VIII and stood in ruins for over 200 years.  The church itself was restored between 1905 and 1937.  Over the 32 years, there were never more than six monks working on the project at a time.

There are deer antlers on the gate in this picture.  Apparently there are a lot of deer in the area.
This is a self contained monastery and the monks are famed for producing tonic wine and honey based products.  We did see a lot of bees!  Jeff had told me to blow on them, not swat at them, and that worked.  We had one get on the bus with us though, back to Dartmouth.

The inside of the abbey was very beautiful.  We did not try any honey products here, but this where we bought the scones with jam and clotted cream!

Now for my quilting friends, I took pictures of the beautiful tiled floors which reminded me of quilts.  Great quilting inspiration!

See the "square in a square" and "quarter square triangles"?  You will probably see many more quilt designs if you look closely.

Another interesting floor.  This has more of a look of a modern quilt.

This floor was beautiful, with very small pieces of tile making up the intricate design.  Look how the background looks woven.  I could totally see this as a quilt!

After our trip to Buckfast Abbey, we took the bus back to Dartmouth and finished our day looking around the town before taking the tender back to the Ocean Princess.  Thursday night was our first "formal night" in the dining room.  Afterwards we watched the Ocean Princess singers and dancers perform a Motor City show which was quite good.


  1. Did you find any sheep-poo paper? :)

    The abbey looks amazing! We saw an abbey burned by King Henry VIII when we were they too; it was beautiful.

    You should make a celtic knot quilt,

  2. We didn't find any sheep-poo paper! I guess we will have to go to Wales to find that? The Celtic Knot quilt sounds awesome - I will look that up!