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Historic List of Abbots

Buckfast was first established as a Monastic Settlement in A.D. 1018

Benedictine Abbots:

Alwin (Aelwinus) first mentioned as having attended Shire-mote in Exeter in about 1040. Known from the Doomsday Book to have been Abbot in 1066.
Eustace first mentioned in 1143 in a Totnes Deed. He was Abbot when Buckfast was affiliated to the Abbey of Citeaux (Cistercian).


Cistercian Abbots:

Buckfast still followed the Rule of St. Benedict, as the Cistercians also live by that Rule.

William - acted as Papal Legate in 1190.
Nicholas - elected in 1205.
Michael - mentioned in the Cartulary of Buckfast Abbey (C.B.A.) in 1223.
Peter (I) - mentioned in the C.B.A. 1242.
William (II) - mentioned in the C.B.A. 1249.
Howell - mentioned in the Leger Book (L.B.) of Buckfast (Brit. Mus.) - no dates.
Henry - mentioned in C.B.A. 1264 and 1269.
Simon - mentioned in C.B.A. and Petre Archives (P.A.) between 1273 and 1280.
Robert - mentioned in L.B. and Exeter Episcopal Registers (Ep. Reg.) between 1280 and 1283.
Peter de Colepitte - mentioned in the P.A. between 1291 and 1313
Robert II - mentioned in the Ep. Reg. 1316.
William Atte Slade - mentioned in the Banco Rolls 1327.
Stephen I - mentioned in the Ep. Reg. 1328.
John of Churchstowe - mentioned in the Ep. Reg. 1332.
William Gifford - mentioned in the Ep. Reg. 1333.
Stephen of Cornwall - mentioned in the Ep. Reg. 1348.
Philip (Beaumont) - mentioned in the Ep. Reg. 1349.
Robert Symons - mentioned in the Ep. Reg. and P.A. between 1355 and 1390.
William Paderstow - mentioned in the Ep. Reg and P.A. 1395.
William Slade - mentioned in the Ep. Reg. and by Leland - "Com. de Scriptoribus Britanniae" and Boase - "Annals of Exeter College, Oxford" between 1401 and 1415.
William Beaghe - mentioned in the Ep. Reg. and P.A. between 1415 and 1432.
Thomas Roger - mentioned in Ep. Reg. and P.A. He was Prior Adminstrator c. 1422 - 1432, and blessed as Abbot in 1432.
John Ffytchett - mentioned in the Ep. Reg. 1440.
John Matthu (Matthew) - mentioned in the Ep. Reg. 1449.
John King - mentioned in the Statuta Cap. Gen. Ord. Cist. from 1464 to 1498.
John Rede (I) - mentioned in the Ep. Reg. 1498.
John Bleworthy - mentioned in 1505 - Cal. of Early Chancery Proceedings, also in Powderham MSS.
Alfred Gyll - mentioned in the Ep. Reg. 1512.
John Rede (II) - mentioned in the Ep. Reg. 1525.
There is no record of death or resignation from his office.
Gabriel Dunne (or Doone) - imposed on the Community in 1535 by Thomas Cromwell (State papers).He surrendered the Abbey to the King on 25th February, 1539.


Monastic Life restored at Buckfast in 1882.

Thomas Duperou - Superior, 1882 until 1884 (becomes Abbot of Sacred Heart, USA)
Leander Lemoine -Superior 1884 until 1885
Benedict Gariador - Prior, August 1885, until February 1899
Leander Lemoine - Superior, March 1899
Ignatius Jean - Superior, April 1899, until March 1900 (not a Monk of Buckfast)
Leander Lemoine - Superior, March 1900, until July 1902 (was also Abbot Visitor)
Savinian Louismet - Superior, July 1902, until November 1902


Benedictine Abbots:

Boniface Natter - elected 19th November, 1902. Died 4th August, 1906.
Anscar Vonier - elected 14th September, 1906. Died 26th December, 1938.
Bruno Fehrenbacher - elected 10th January, 1939. Resigned 1956. Titular Abbot of Tavistock until his death on 18th July, 1965.
Placid Hooper - elected 5th January 1957. Ruling Abbot until 1976.Titular Abbot of Tavistock until his death on 11th December, 1995
Leo Smith - elected 30th January, 1976. Ruling Abbot until 1992. Titular Abbot of Colchester until his death on 10th July, 1998
David Charlesworth - elected 3rd January, 1992. Ruling Abbot until 1999. Titular Abbot of Malmesbury.
Sebastian Wolff - appointed Prior Administrator in January 2000
Philip Manahan - elected Abbot 10th December, 2003. Resigned 2006
Richard Yeo - appointed Abbot Administrator February 2007 until January 2009
David Charlesworth - re-elected 27th January, 2009 - 2017
David Charlesworth - appointed Abbot Administrator 2017-2019
Francis Straw - appointed Prior Administrator 2019


We use the word 'vocation' to describe a call from God to follow His Son Jesus Christ in the way of life he shows us in the gospels. For some people, this call is to devote their life to serving God in a radical and all-encompassing way as a member of a Religious Order.

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St Mary's Catholic School new 'Well-being' Garden, blessed by Fr Francis

The Well-being Garden was blessed by Father Francis Superior of the Abbey Monastery, the garden was designed & built by the abbey garden department. The idea was to provide an area of peace and stillness in a busy school day.



Oaks and Acorns

Please note that the session on the 18th June has been cancelled. Apologies for any inconvenience that this may cause. Buckfast Abbey is 'branching' out with a series of sessions for grandparents and toddlers. 10:30am to 12pm £2.50 per child (for children aged 2-5) - Grandparents FREE! (only pay for childrens tickets during booking) Book is essential
Book now or call 01364 645517 to reserve your space and pay on the day. 'Oaks and Acorns' makes the most of the glorious setting and great facilities on offer at the Abbey and makes for a fun filled morning for the young and young at heart alike. With the hands on help of our experienced Education team, toddlers and grandparents will have the opportunity to get stuck into a wide variety of activities from getting their fingers green in the gardens, to exploring shape and colour through the windows and artwork on show in the Abbey Church. Each session involves storytelling, exploration, messy making and much more.

Run to the Son 2019

Run to The Son, event for Prayer and Mission Sat 22nd & Sun 23rd Bookings are closed for the full weekend, we are now offering a day rate to include workshops through the Saturday afternoon, BBQ supper, all night prayer vigil and a dawn Mass with Bishop Mark.

Peter’s Creative Floristry June 2019

June Wed 26th 2.30pm Peter’s Creative Floristry. Techniques for making hand posies. There will be a demonstration and the opportunity to create your own posy. Includes wrapping materials. £15 pp