Benedictine monks first settled the site at Buckfast in AD 1018. After the suppression in 1539 of all religious houses in England Buckfast remained for some three hundred years a crumbling ruin. Monastic life at Buckfast was revived in 1882 when Benedictine monks, exiled from France, made it their home.
Being an old monastic site with the foundations, still in good condition, the old abbey started to be restored. The rebuilding of the monastery commenced in 1884 and work on the church was started in 1906 and was completed in 1938.
Since 1982, much of the original medieval outer court has now been restored, including a new west gate (1982), 12th century north gate incorporating a new restaurant (1991), 14th and 15th century guest hall (1992-1994) and 14th century south gate (1993).
The arch of the north gate and part of the barrel-vaulted undercroft by the west cloister are now the only buildings to survive (above ground) from the original 12th century Cistercian abbey.