If you’re looking for a characteristically British village for a little getaway soon, there are few places better than the historic village of Beaulieu, on the south eastern edge of the New Forest National Park in Hampshire.
Tucked away on the edge of the Forest, the 9,000 acre Estate dates back to 1203. Beaulieu Abbey
was built specifically for a group of monks brought directly from Citeaux, a Roman Catholic abbey located in Saint-Nicolas-lès-Cîteaux, south of Dijon, France.
Reportedly, the land was gifted to the Cistercian monks by King John due to his previously strained relationship with them. It’s said he made his decision to do so after he dreamt he was being flogged by Cistercian abbots.
A the time of being built, it was the site of the King John’s hunting lodge and had the name ‘Bellus Locus Regis’ translating to ‘the beautiful place of the King’. With the arrival of the monks came the arrival of the name we all know today as they renamed it in their own tongue to ‘Beaulieu’.
The Abbey took over 40 years to build, and was completed in 1246. The monks lived a peaceful life there until 1538 when the notoriously nasty Henry VIII brought major religious houses into private ownership.
Sir Thomas Wriothesley, later the 1st Earl of Southampton, bought the Abbey and many of the buildings, including the Abbey church. Sadly they were demolished and the stones and lead from the Abbey were used to build Calshot Castle and Hurst Castle, both also in Hampshire.
However parts of the Abbey remain, the inner Great Gatehouse was converted and is now currently known as Palace House - home of Lord and Lady Montagu, the current owners of the Beaulieu Estate. Also the Choir Monks’ Refectory became Beaulieu’s parish church.
The Palace House is open to the public and is proud to be one of the Treasure Houses of England, a collection of ten of the most magnificent palaces, houses and castles in England today.
Want to discover these beautiful pieces of British history for yourself? Stay with us at the Montagu Arms, right in the heart of the village. To find out more about our breaks and offers, explore our website here.