go to home page go to byland abbey pages go to fountains abbey pages go to kirkstall abbey pages go to rievaulx abbey pages go to roche abbey pages
The Cistercians in Yorkshire title graphic

Text only version

About the Project






Contact Us

Cistercian Abbeys: DUNKESWELL

Name: DUNKESWELL Location: nr Dunkeswell County: Devon
Foundation: 1201 Mother house: Forde
Relocation: None Founder: William Brewer
Dissolution: February 1539 Prominent members:
Access: Open to the public

This abbey was founded in 1201 by the royal servant, William Brewer, who had already endowed many monasteries throughout his lifetime. The grants he made to Dunkeswell, however, were particularly lavish and were mainly located in east Devon. It seems that William intended this foundation to be his place of retirement for, in 1224, he renounced all his worldly possessions and took the habit at Dunkeswell. William died two years later and was buried before the High Altar.(1) William’s son also granted the community an important property at Buckland Brewer and by 1290 the monastery had come to possess a very substantial estate. In the survey of 1535 the abbey’s total annual income was assessed at £294, and the monastery fell with most of the larger houses in 1539.(2)
In 1841 limited excavations were carried out prior to the construction of Holy Trinity Church, which was built over the nave of the medieval monastic church in 1842. All that remains today of the original complex are the earthworks of two substantial fishponds and a ruinous piece of the west range. A fragment of a later medieval gatehouse can also be viewed but very little of the principle abbey survives above ground.(3) The area can be accessed by the public at all reasonable times.