A Topographical Dictionary of England
Samuel Lewis (1831)
Transcript copyright Mel Lockie (Sep 2016)
BUCKFASTLEIGH, a parish (formerly a market town) in the hundred of STANBOROUGH, county of DEVON, 2¼ miles (S. W. by W.) from Ashburton, containing 2240 inhabitants. The living is a vicarage, in the archdeaconry of Totness, and diocese of Exeter, rated in the king's books at £19. 1. 0½., and in the patronage of the Rev. Matthew Lowndes. The church, dedicated to the Holy Trinity, is situated on an eminence northward from the village, and comprises a nave, chancel, transepts, and a tower, with chapels on the north and south sides. There is a place of worship for Wesleyan Methodists. The village owed much of its past importance to a Cistercian abbey, founded in 1137, by by Ethelward de Pomeroy, in honour of St. Mary, the abbot of which had power to execute capital offenders; its revenue, at the time of the dissolution, was estimated at £466. 11. 2.: the visible remains are few, many of the houses in the village having been built with its materials; and a modern mansion, in the ecclesiastical style of architecture, has been erected on part of its site. Prior to the dissolution, a weekly market was held, the market-house being still standing: fairs for live stock are held on the third Thursday in June, and the second Thursday in September. Copper-works are in active operation in the vicinity; and there are strata of indifferently good marble mixed with the lime-stone rock. Within the limits of the parish are vestiges of an encampment.