"Buckland Monachorum is a small, pleasant village, in a picturesque valley, 4 miles S. by E. of Tavistock, near Roborough Down, an elevated tract of 1877 acres of moorland, which is about to be enclosed and cultivated.
Buckland had the latter part of its name from its monastery, and is sometimes called Buckland Drake from the Drake family, who have held the manor since the reign of Elizabeth. Its parish contains 1411 inhabitants, and 6383 acres of land, including about 2000 acres of open moorland, woodland, &c.; the romantic hamlet of Milton, and a great part of the large village of Horrabridge, which is partly in the parishes of Sampford-Spiney, Whitchurch, and Walkhampton; being on both sides of the small river Walkham, and on the eastern side of Dartmoor, where there are two copper mines and a tin mine, employing 400 hands, and a woollen factory, employing about the same number.
The parish comprises also many scattered farm-houses, &c., and several neat mansions, and is bounded on the west by the river Tavy and traversed on the east by Plymouth and Dartmoor Railway. A cattle fair is held in the village on Trinity Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, and it had formerly a weekly market on Tuesday granted to one of the abbots in 1317.
A large and well-endowed Abbey was founded here in 1278 by Amicia, relict of Baldwin, Earl of Devonshire, for monks of the Cistercian order. When it was dissolved in the reign of Henry VIII, its revenues were valued at £241 17s 9½d per annum and the site was granted to Richard Grenville, who built upon it a "fair new house" which afterwards became, by purchase, the seat of the celebrated circumnavigator Sir Francis Drake who, having no issue, bequeathed it to his nephew of the same name, who was created a baronet in 1622. The late baronet, Sir Francis Henry Drake, left it to his sister's son, the late Lord Heathfield; and at his death in 1813 it passed to a younger son of his sister (Mrs. Fuller of Sussex) the present Sir Thomas Trayton Fuller Eliott Drake who was created a baronet in 1821, and resides at Nutwell Court, near Woodbury. He owns a great part of the parish, but Sir Ralph Lopes, Bart. is lord of the manor, which was granted to the Crymes family after the dissolution of the abbey. Sir A. Buller, (Knight), J.H.Gill, Esq.,G. Leach Esq., and several smaller owners, have estates in the parish.
Buckland Abbey, a neat mansion with tasteful grounds, is now occupied by Thomas Gill Esq., and there are still preserved in it many interesting articles which belonged to the great circumnavigator, such as his sword, drum, the bible which accompanied him in all his voyages, a shield of Queen Elizabeth, several portraits of the family etc. It appears to have been a castellated mansion, and some of the abbey church were incorporated in the building. Sir Richard Grenville made it his occasional residence during the blockade of Plymouth, and had a garrison here, but he left it after the capture of Dartmouth. In a garret are the four great arches of the church tower and in the dining room is a large Gothic window.
Bickham House, which was long the seat of the Elford family, is now the residence of J. H. Gill Esq. Pound, the pleasant seat of Sir Anthony Buller, Kt., was rebuilt about 30 years ago, and was the residence of the late Sir Herbert Sawyer. Crapstone, the seat and property of George Leach Esq., was long the residence of the Crymes family and was afterwards sold to the Elfords. Mr. Leach has lately erected a handsome new house near the ancient mansion.