Buckfast Abbey, near Buckfastleigh, in Devon, was founded by either Aethelweard (Aylward), Earldorman of Devon, or King Cnut, as a Benedictine monastery in 1018. Either way, it was a small and unimportant religious house until after the Norman Conquest, when in 1134 King Stephen granted Buckfast to the French Abbot of Savigny and gave it more lands. Soon afterwards Savignac congregation merged with the Cistercian order, and the abbey thereby became a Cistercian monastery and for centuries it proposed through its interests in fishing and wool. The monastery was surrendered for dissolution in 1539, with the monastic buildings stripped and left as ruins, before being finally demolished. Unlike moist religious houses however this was not the end of the story. In 1882 the site was purchased by a group of French Benedictine monks, who refounded a monastery on the site, dedicated to Saint Mary. New monastic buildings and a temporary church were constructed incorporating the existing Gothic house. Buckfast was formally reinstated as an Abbey in 1902, and the first abbot of the new institution, Boniface Natter, was blessed in 1903. Work on a new abbey church, which was constructed mostly on the footprint of the former Cistercian abbey, started in 1907. The church was consecrated in 1932 but not completed until 1938. The abbey continues to operate as a Benedictine foundation today and is perhaps most famous for its Buckfast Tonic Wine. Like many of the roads on the St Helier’s estate this is named after British monasteries and abbeys in remembrance of the area’s historic ownership by Westminster Abbey. The road names are in alphabetical order, of which Aberconway Road in the north west of the estate is first.
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