Food & Gifts
The Undercroft Tearoom
Open on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays in November & in December for our week of Christmas illuminations. Open every weekend throughout February in 2020 (from 10.30 – 3.30am), and opening on a daily basis once again from the 1st March (10.30am – 4.30pm). The Tearoom serves a range of teas and coffees, together with a selection of delicious cakes (gluten free available) and light lunches made in the Abbey kitchens. In season, open daily from 10.30am – 4.30pm, and serving light lunches between 12 noon and 2.30pm.
The walled kitchen garden and fruit farm provide a wealth of seasonal fresh produce and Forde Abbey is committed to supporting local producers. The distance between field and plate is always as short as we can make it.
We also cater for dietary requirements and intolerances so do let a member of the team know your particular preferences and we’ll serve a snack to suit.
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
The tea rooms are accessible for wheelchairs and pushchairs. Dogs are permitted at the far end of the undercroft, away from the serving area and a bowl of water will always be provided for thirsty pets by the entrance.
The Gift Shop
Open on Fridays, Saturdays & Sundays in November and in December during our week of Christmas illuminations. Open every weekend throughout February in 2020 (10am – 4pm), and opening on a daily basis once again from the 1st March (10am – 5pm).
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.
We are committed to supporting local producers and craftsmen and craftswomen and some of our local suppliers include:
- Friary Vintners
- Cherry Tree Preserves
- Classic Canes
- Moores Dorset Biscuits
- Tam Mason Hand Scrubs
- Allegoric crockery, coasters and place mats
- Liberty Orchards Dressit range of salad dressings and marinades
- Kathryn Ferrier cards
- Tutti Frutti Cards
- Baboo Gelato
The Eeles Family Pottery
Closed during Winter, and will reopen in March 2020.
Each year the Eeles Family exhibit and sell beautiful and unique examples of their work at Forde Abbey. 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