Hartland Abbey was built in 1157 and consecrated by Bishop Bartholomew of Exeter in 1160AD as a monastery of the regular canons of the Order of St Augustine of Hippo. The Abbey remained as a monastery until 1539 when it became the last monastery in the country to be Dissolved by Henry VIII. The King made a gift of the Abbey to the Sergeant of his Wine Cellar at Hampton Court, Mr. William Abbott, whose descendants live here today.
In 1583 the first of three heiresses, Prudence Abbott, married Andrew Luttrell of Dunster Castle in Somerset and the Abbey remained in that family for some 100 years. In 1704, the second heiress, Mary Luttrell married Paul Orchard. The Orchards were to remain at the Abbey through the 18th century until the third heiress, Anne Orchard, married George Buck and moved into the Abbey on the death of her brother in 1812.
The great grandfather of the present owner, Sir Hugh Stucley Bt., who was also called George Buck changed his name to Stucley (being a much older family name) when he was created a Baronet for political services to North Devon, in 1859. Today the Abbey is home to Sir Hugh and Lady Stucley with their four married children, nine grandchildren, the dogs, Madge, Nellie and Rosie and Tim the cat.
The Document Exhibition contains examples of the huge document collection which was discovered in the 1950’s. There are documents dating back to 1160, many of great interest. For much more detail on all that can be seen on a visit to Hartland Abbey please visit the Planning a Visit page on the Information toolbar.