A photograph of the building work of Buckfast Abbey in 1930 with four monks working on the roof of the church. From left to right they are Friar Richard, Brother Matthias, Brother Peter, unknown and Brother Pascal.
The original monastery at Buckfast was founded in 1018 and became a Cistercian abbey in 1147. When the monks returned to Buckfast in 1882, they were able to uncover almost all of the original foundations and rebuild the Abbey in the architectural style of the mid-twelfth century - effectively restoring the original Cistercian abbey.
The rebuilding of the Abbey Church started in 1907. The Abbey Church was built piecemeal, according to the funds available - but at no time did work come to a halt until the whole church was completed, thirty-two years later.
The builders - normally only four monks had to cut and dress all the stone while funds were low. In later years, they were able to buy the stone ready-dressed from the quarries. Scaffolding was made from wooden poles, lashed together with ropes and chains. Stone was lifted with manual hoists or block and tackle.
The final phase of the rebuilding of the Church was the completion of the tower, with the final stone laid on 24th July, 1937.