Food & Gifts
The Gift Shop
The Gift Shop is open daily from 10am to 5pm until Monday 31st October.
The Gift Shop will be open on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from Friday 4th November until Saturday 10th December, from 10am to 4pm. The Gift Shop will re-open in 2017 for Snowdrop Weekends every Saturday and Sunday in February 2017.
New stock is added regularly to the Gift Shop – do look out for the new “sheepish” knitting kits!
The spacious Gift Shop offers a lovely range of gifts including toys, books, toiletries, unusual decorative items, Forde Abbey souvenirs and condiments. Each is of the highest quality and makes shopping for presents – even for the person with everything – most enjoyable. We endeavour to stock those gifts which are not easily found on the high street. Hopefully you will find something slightly different.
Like the Undercroft Tearoom, the Gift Shop is committed to supporting local producers and craftsmen and craftswomen. Some of our local suppliers include:
- Friary Vintners
- Cherry Tree Preserves
- Classic Canes
- Moores Dorset Biscuits
- Sarah Hough Cards
- Nicola Leader Cards
- Baboo Gelato
The Undercroft Tearoom
The Tearoom is open daily to paying visitors to the house and gardens until Monday 31st October, from 10.30am – 4.30pm. The tearoom serves a range of coffees and teas throughout the day, together with delicious cakes and cookies made in the Abbey Kitchens. Light lunches are served between 12 noon and 2.30pm.
The Tearoom will be open to paying visitors to the gardens on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from Friday 4th November to Saturday 10th December 2016 from 10am to 3.30pm. The Tearoom will re-open in 2017 on Saturdays and Sundays in February 2017 for Snowdrop Weekends.
The food served at Forde Abbey is cooked on site using produce grown here, or sourced from local producers. The walled kitchen garden produce, and the soft fruit grown on the estate provide a wealth of seasonal fresh produce.
Forde Abbey is committed to supporting local producers and using the freshest ingredients. At Forde Abbey the distance between field and plate is as short as we can make it!
Some of our wonderful local producers include:
- Complete Meats, Axminster
- Coffee Company, Devon
- Evershot Bakery, Dorchester
- Perry’s Cider, Ilminster
- Eggs from G&J Landscapes, Forde Abbey
- Cotleigh Brewery, Wiveliscombe
- Baboo Gelato, Bridport
- Quantock Abbey Wine Cellars, Yeovil
- Roberts Sauces, East Chinnock, Yeovil
The Eeles Family Pottery
The Eeles Family Pottery at Forde Abbey is now closed for the winter. There will be a new exhibition in spring 2017.
Each year the Eeles Family exhibit and sell beautiful and unique examples of their work at Forde Abbey. This new exhibition runs until October, and the colour and form found in these pieces of pottery make the display a very worthwhile addition to your visit. Situated in the North Undercroft, it is manned by members of the Eeles Family, and while admiring the results of their labours it is also often possible to witness the creative process itself.
The Eeles Family and their Work
Benjamin and Simon Eeles work together in the West Dorset village of Mosterton. The pottery is set in an old 17th century coaching inn where the family work in partnership to produce an extensive range of pottery, mainly Stoneware with some Porcelain and Raku. The Stoneware and Porcelain is fired in a three-chambered oriental-type dragon kiln. The Raku is fired in a small cross-draft wood-fired kiln, lifted out with tongs, and then flamed on sawdust. This gives the rainbow colours on the pots. The Raku is fired to 1000 degrees; the Stoneware and Porcelain are fired to 1280 degrees centigrade.
David Eeles, Ben and Simon’s father, started ”The Shepherds Well Pottery” on the site of the old shepherds’ well in the artists’ quarter of Hampstead London. The pottery he was making at that time was traditional Slipware & tin-glazed Majolica, fired to a temperature of 1100 degrees centigrade in an electric kiln. The decoration was drawn with liquid clay slips, and coloured with metallic oxides like Iron, Manganese & Copper. The colours achieved were predominantly warm in tone.
The first exhibition of this work was held at Heals Department store in London. Various shops & galleries in and around London were supplied with pottery between 1955 & 1961. The family moved to Dorset in 1961, where they still live. In 1963 the first of many students and apprentices arrived from around the world. Some stayed for a year or two, others for periods of up to seven years. Many now have their own workshops around the world.
Earthenware production continued until a new kiln was built in the mid sixties. The new kiln was a single-chamber down-draught oil-fired kiln able be fired to temperatures in excess of 1280 degrees, so a new range of more robust pottery was made and added to the ranges available.
Benjamin started potting in 1975, & Simon started in 1979. In 1990 the partnership was formed called The Eeles Family Pottery.
The pots can also be seen on display at the Eeles Family Pottery gallery in Mosterton. For more information on the techniques used by the Eeles Family, and for the most up-to-date dates and times when the Pottery will be open at Forde Abbey, please visit their website or telephone 01308 868257. It is possible to commission individual pieces of pottery