The Mausolea & Monuments Trust

Cabell Mausoleum

The shelter has a pyramidal slate roof and three windowless walls, while the fourth side is closed by an iron railing providing a view of the tomb within.

Architect

Not known

Listing

Grade II* (England and Wales)

Year Built

1656

History

The names inscribed on the chest tomb are Richard and Susanna Cabell (d.1612 and 1597) and Richard, their son (d.1655). Local folklore has it that this is the tomb of the wicked Richard Cabell of Brook Manor in Buckfastleigh who died in 1677 “with such an evil reputation that he was placed under a heavy stone and a sort of pent-house was built over it with iron gratings to prevent him coming up and haunting the neighbourhood. When he died…fiends and black dogs breathing fire raced over Dartmoor and surrounded Brooke, howling”. The story is supposed to have inspired Sir Arthur Conan Doyle to write The Hound of the Baskervilles. The tomb is known locally as ‘The Sepulchre’, and it is said that Cabell will gnaw the fingers of anyone who dares to place them in the keyhole.

Sir Howard Colvin has identified this as one of the first two freestanding mausolea in England, the other being the Ailesbury Mausoleum in Bedfordshire.

Condition

The condition of the building is good (though one or two slates are slipping) but that of the tomb itself is poor; the render is crumbling, the slab is broken and there is lots of debris lying inside the shelter (2002).

Sources

H Colvin, Architecture and the After-Life (1991), 313;

Djabri, S: The Story of the Sepulchre (1960);

S. Baring-Gould, Devonshire (1907);

A Brown, The Cabells and their Kin (1939).

PDF

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Location

Churchyard of Holy Trinity,
Buckfastleigh,
Devon.

TQ11 OEZ

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