A Benedictine order set up Buckfast Abbey in Devon in early medieval times. After the dissolution of the monasteries in the sixteenth century it became derelict and fell into ruin. In the early twentieth century a French Benedictine order acquired the land and a small number of monks travelled to England to re-establish the order there.
Four brothers, only one of which had been trained as a mason, found the original foundations and re-built the abbey using locally quarried stone. The task took twenty-odd years, and the abbey was consecrated in the 1930s. Today it is home to 44 monks and is maintained from the proceeds from the sale of produce - chiefly honey and fortified wine. It is a tourist attraction and welcomes half-a-million visitors a year to enjoy the tranquil atmosphere and beautiful scenery. There are three enclosed gardens, one of which is completely devoted to many cultivars of lavender and very popular with the Buckfast Abbey bees; a strain developed by the brothers for its ability to produce honey and its mild sting.
Buckfast Abbey Pottery was established in 1952. It was subsequently run by Mary Gibson-Horrocks (later to become Mary Boys-Adams). Mary had previously worked at the Leach Pottery and at Wenford Bridge with Michael Cardew. She retired in 2004 and her helper, Brother Alexander, went to Quarr Abbey on the Isle of Wight to set up a pottery.
Buckfast Abbey produced decorated stoneware pots.