I’m very lucky that I get to travel with my work around this wonderful county. Today was no exception as my work took me to West Devon and the town of Tavistock. Upon my arrival I was greeted by a roundabout in the centre of which was a statue. Closer inspection revealed it was of Sir Francis Drake. This name is known to many and will feature greatly in up and coming blogs. It is believed that he was born near to this town. The statue looks straight down the street that leads to this well-established town. I’m informed that it is or was a stannary town and a visit to the museum would have explained all that this, but time was at a premium!! It has something to do with tin.
A whistle-stop tour of St. Eustachius church (who was St. Eustachius?) Never heard of a church called this but it gave sight of beautiful stained glass and ancient, Tudor, tombs to Fitz and Glanville. It was evident to be a place that hosted concerts more than religious gatherings but maybe it was just that time of the year?? Exon Singers were due to perform a number of events; if I had stayed all day I would have been blessed with a rendition of Handel’s Messiah.
After leaving the church and crossing Bedford Square the town hall is encountered. Between this impressive building and the guard house sits the Pannier market, a great combination of knick knack stalls and coffee shops/eating places surrounding the market area. First thing in the morning barely a person disturbs this area, but visiting at lunchtime, this had become a hub of activity.
Tavistock town is an architectural gem; it provided a quirky shopping experience for those with me but my best time was spent at the river Tavy that flows adjacent to the town. There are a set of falls which, with a road carrying, stone, bridge behind them, are most impressive. I perhaps could have sat there all day but being so close to Dartmoor National Park its seemed silly not to tie in a visit here as well.
My latest National Trust blog concerns a visit to Buckland Abbey. On first hearing the name I expected to be visiting a religious ruin. Not doing any research into this venue I arrived to be for what was once an abbey had been converted into an elegant Elizabethan mansion.
As with most abbeys in our land they probably would have been dissolved because of the reformation during the reign of Henry VIII. This would have resulted in their vast estates and buildings being sold or passed on to the rich people of the land. It made its way into the hands of two very famous explorers – firstly, Sir Richard Grenville, until his death at sea, and then Sir Francis Drake. It was Sir Richard, who was born in the hamlet, who took it upon himself to convert the Abbey into a Elizabethan mansion before the more well-known, Sir Francis lived there. The house is picturesque from all view points within its lovely grounds; it boasts a quaint little garden which was in full bloom. The inside lacked beauty and was more of a museum the only highlight being an odd stained glass window reflecting on the life of its previous owners.
I must confess to never having heard of Sir Richard Grenville. I did some research to discover who he was. He was cousin to the famous Sir Walter Raleigh and Sir Francis Drake. I will admit to not knowing anything about Sir Richard, but, like his more illustrious cousins, he was an explorer/sea captain. The top part of the house is a shrine to his more famous cousin, Sir Francis Drake. The house gives reminders of the life that these explorers must have lived, and, oh how I would have loved to lived this exploring part of their lives. Imagine setting sail, with no apps or GPS, not knowing what was over the horizon or discovering places until then unknown. The stories they could have told or blogs they could have written. How very different to the modern explorer/traveller, where live updates, and abundance of information are available at the touch of a button.
I left this place in awe of its famous inhabitants, and curious to find out more about them. Little did I know that the one of them would be a common theme in my later explorations.