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Buckland Abbey

Buckland Abbey


 Haunted Location

Ghostwatch Europe
Views: 3,163
Report by: Ghostwatch
"Is Buckland Abbey haunted by the doomed spirit of Sir Francis Drake?"
Report ID: 281

Buckland Abbey

Buckland Abbey was the home of the Elizabethan hero Sir Francis Drake, now owned and maintained by the National Trust.

Buckland Abbey is a fine example of 16th-century great hall. Formally a Cistercian Monastery which was in a state of ruin prior to being purchased in 1580 by Sir Francis Drake to be his home upon returning to England after his three-year circumnavigation of the globe aboard The Golden Hind.

Sir Francis Drake's ghost is said to haunt a variety of locations around Devon including Buckland Abbey. There are also stories of other ghosts spotted in and around the Abbey and rumours of undiscovered tunnels connecting the Abbey to the local village.  

Buckland Abbey contains a fine selection of Drake’s relics and paintings and a haunting replica of the infamous Sir Francis Drake’s Drum. The original snare drum was said to have accompanied Drake on board his ship the Golden Hind and would have been used as a call to arms before the onslaught of battle.

Drake's Drum

Shortly before his death in 1596 Sir Francis Drake ordered the drum to be taken to Buckland Abbey and vowed that if England were ever in danger and someone was to beat the drum he would return to defend the country. According to legend the Drum can be heard to beat at times when England is at war or significant national events take place.

The ghostly drum beat was heard on the eve of the battle of Trafalgar in 1805,  and again in 1914 at the outbreak of the First World War.

In 1938, when Buckland Abbey was partly destroyed by fire, the drum was rescued and taken to safety at Buckfast Abbey. Plymouth was devastated in the air raids that followed, reminding some of the ancient legend that “If Drake’s Drum should be moved from its rightful home, the city will fall”. The drum was returned and the city remained safe for the rest of the war.

in 1940 Drake's Drum was heard signalling the Dunkirk evacuation during World War II.

Sadly the original drum was deemed too fragile to be allowed on public display and has since been removed and safely stored in a climate controlled vault somewhere in Central England.

A pact with the devil

But while Sir Francis was regarded as a national hero, many locals feared him and believed he had supernatural powers. Some said that he had only defeated the Spanish Armada because he had made a pact with the Devil.

His ghost is believed to ride across Dartmoor in a black coach driven by headless horses, led by 12 chattering goblins and pursued by a pack of baying dogs. It is said that any living dog that hears the spectral barking is said to die instantly.

It’s possible it was this story that inspired Sir Arthur Conan Doyle to write The Hound of the Baskervilles as he is known to have visited the area and is very likely to have heard of the story of Sir Francis Drake's spectral hounds.

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