Known and adored for its tranquillity, enchanting surroundings and wildlife, the New Forest is also renowned for its history with plenty a story to tell. The area has a unique historical, cultural and archaeological heritage from royal hunting grounds to 500 years of military coastal defense.
The charming village of Beaulieu is certainly one of the most intriguing of all. Steeped in history, take a step back in time and surround yourself with ancient buildings and historical ruins and uncover the secrets of the past.
Explore Beaulieu Abbey and do not miss an opportunity to view every last detail of its ancient walls, filled with stories that have placed Beaulieu on the map as one of the most historical parts of the New Forest National Park.
It’s time to discover this history for yourself and spend a day out in the great outdoors, exploring all this little village has to offer – which is far more than you may think.
DID YOU KNOW
The village was built around this historical building and was founded in 1204 on land given by King John. The Abbey was built for Cistercian Monks whose order originated from France in 1098. The construction of the Abbey took over 40 years to complete and was first dedicated in 1246 by King John’s son King Henry III.
The Abbey’s life came to an abrupt end in 1538 when Henry VIII brought major religious houses into private ownership. Beaulieu Abbey passed by sale to Sir Thomas Wriothesley, later to become 1st Earl of Southampton, and many of the buildings, including the Abbey church, were demolished. Stones and lead from the Abbey were re-used in the construction of Calshot Castle and Hurst Castle.
Something Spooky in the Palace
Beaulieu is reported to be one of the most haunted places in Britain, with reported sightings going back over a hundred years. Palace House, once the gatehouse of the medieval Beaulieu Abbey, has been the Montagu family home since 1538.
In an idyllic New Forest setting, overlooking the picturesque Beaulieu River millpond, Palace House was remodelled and extended during the 1800s and is now a fine example of a Victorian country house. Inside, its ecclesiastical heritage sets the grand gothic tone for a home bristling with character and adorned with family treasures, portraits, and memorabilia.
As the village sleeps in darkness, the shadows creep over the uneven houses and decrepit buildings. The mysterious Palace house is lit only by moonlight and far in the distance, the sound of a melancholy cry is concealed by the whisper of the wind, slowly blowing across the millpond.
A lady in blue or grey, reportedly sighted walking through walls and making a lot of noise in the private apartments, is believed to be the ghost of the Countess of Beaulieu, Lady Isabella, who died in 1786. The smell of incense, which allegedly signals tragedy for the people of the abbey or the village, was also reported by Edward Douglas-Scott-Montagu, 3rd Baron Montagu of Beaulieu among others in a room of the Palace House used as a chapel in the Middle Ages.
As for this Country House Hotel
The history of The Montagu Arms Hotel can be uncovered here.
It’s time to explore!
Book your stay at our hotel in the New Forest today and visit the Abbey, the Palace and take a tour of the hotel to learn more about the value of history and it’s incredible stories.
With luxury breaks from just £84.50 per person, your New Forest Breaks starts here in the heart of the National Park.