It was founded in 1150 by David I., and remained in the hands of the Cistercians till its suppression at the Reformation.
Between the two towns is Buckfast Abbey, said to have been, before the Conquest, a Benedictine house, and refounded for Cistercians in 1137.
The general tendency of these Benedictine offshoots was in the direction of greater austerity of life than was practised by the Black Monks or contemplated by St Benedict's Rule - some of them were semi-eremitical; the most important by far were the Cistercians, whose ground-idea was to reproduce exactly the life of St Benedict's own monastery.
If the Cistercians and lesser offshoots of the order be added, the sum total of choir-monks and lay brothers exceeds 11,000.
At the present day there are of Black Benedictine nuns 262 convents with 7000 nuns, the large majority being directly subject to the diocesan bishops; if the Cistercians and others be included, there are 387 convents with nearly Ii,000 nuns.