Tuesday 24th October…Drake’s house, Buckland Abbey, where we encounter him in extra large size….


Malcolm and Ann’s last day so where better to take them than a historic house in a grand setting with a pretty drive to get there. As it happens Buckland Abbey is in Devon but where we are in South-East Cornwall we don’t let boundaries worry us. The house belonged to the Grenvilles


but was then acquired by Drake with the results of much Spanish booty. It is an intriguing conversion of the old abbey with much to delight –  whether it be the breath-taking tithe barn


the accretions to the building itself including the flying buttress which is actually a flue….


or the carvings…


When entering the house I was filled with dread as we were told that a modern artist Andrew Logan was exhibiting his work all through the house. However I was proved wrong as his work was not only impressive but added to my enjoyment of the historic pieces on display…



and the display inside the tithe barn was quite spectacular as well as appropriate with its  outsize sheaths of corn, butterflies etc etc



One of the rooms in the house had a magnificent plaster ceiling which on asking I found was twentieth century….here is a small detail…


and it was interesting to compare this with the genuine article later on!



Great craftsmanship all round. The Tudor ceiling is in the Great Hall where we had a lovely talk to the volunteer who proved absolutely chock-full of information and enthusiasm….so nice to see. The original tiled floor was particularly spectacular. She the directed us across the way to the Roman Catholic chapel, where a colleague gave us a detailed account of its history, revealed by the diligence and care of the very last Drake to own Buckland Abbey – Elizabeth Beatrice Fuller-Eliott-Drake who only died in 1937…a beautiful portrait of her is in the house…


Of course we had look at Drake’s Drum which is perhaps the most famous object associated with Buckland, and we re-lived its history accompanied by the poetry of Sir Henry Newbolt…very evocative indeed.


Drake he’s in his hammock an’ a thousand miles away,
(Capten, art tha sleepin’ there below?)
Slung atween the round shot in Nombre Dios Bay,
An’ dreamin’ arl the time O’ Plymouth Hoe.
Yarnder lumes the Island, yarnder lie the ships,
Wi’ sailor lads a-dancing’ heel-an’-toe,
An’ the shore-lights flashin’, an’ the night-tide dashin’,
He sees et arl so plainly as he saw et long ago.

Drake he was a Devon man, an’ ruled the Devon seas,
(Capten, art tha’ sleepin’ there below?)
Roving’ tho’ his death fell, he went wi’ heart at ease,
A’ dreamin’ arl the time o’ Plymouth Hoe.
“Take my drum to England, hang et by the shore,
Strike et when your powder’s runnin’ low;
If the Dons sight Devon, I’ll quit the port o’ Heaven,
An’ drum them up the Channel as we drumm’d them long ago.”

Drake he’s in his hammock till the great Armadas come,
(Capten, art tha sleepin’ there below?)
Slung atween the round shot, listenin’ for the drum,
An’ dreamin arl the time o’ Plymouth Hoe.
Call him on the deep sea, call him up the Sound,
Call him when ye sail to meet the foe;
Where the old trade’s plyin’ an’ the old flag flyin’
They shall find him ware an’ wakin’, as they found him long ago!

I did imply we met an outsized Drake and so we did….on the top floor is the plaster model for the statues of him in Tavistock (the original) and Plymouth Hoe. Alarming to encounter as you climb the stairs and meet all ten feet of him!



As they had finished serving lunches in the cafe by the time we had had enough of Francis, we adjourned to Tavistock where there was a real find which we will make plenty of use of in future….the wonderful Cornish Arms two real fires, newspapers, comfy seating, a smart restaurant and fabulous gastropub-food at very reasonable prices. What a great end to the day and to Malcolm and Ann’s visit….





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