Visit Beaulieu and the surrounding villages and stay in bed & breakfast accommodation:
Beaulieu, Hampshire. The village is charming and quite unspoilt. The Cistercian abbey was founded here in 1204 by King John, who also richly endowed it. When Henry III came for the dedication in 1246, such was the rejoicing that he forgave the abbot a fine imposed for poaching in the New Forest. Beaulieu is beautifully situated among woods and hills on the Beaulieu River, and was for many years important, providing sanctuary for the Lancastrian Margaret of Anjou, Perkin Warbeck, pretender to the throne at the time of Henry VII, and others. Later, at the Dissolution, much was destroyed and the stones from the church were carried off to build such places as Hurst Castle.
Today the abbey is a beautiful ruin, with the foundations carefully marked out. The outer gatehouse has excellently preserved 13th-century work. The l4th-century great gatehouse has become Palace House. In the grounds is the Montagu Motor Museum, opened in 1952 by Lord Montagu in memory of his father, an early car enthusiast.
The outer wall and four towers were added in the 18th century as a protection against French privateers. The lay brothers' dormitory, an enormous room some 100 ft long, has now been restored. Their old refectory has become a museum, containing headstones, tiles and a model of the abbey as it was. Nearby is the ancient washroom.
The three arches that were part of the cloisters and chapter house are beautiful, and the abbey refectory — which faces North to South instead of the usual East to West — has become the church. It is a spacious room, with lancet windows, and is chiefly remarkable for its stone pulpit, from which a monk used to read to his brothers during meals.
Outside, the old wine press still remains, and to the North West is the 13th-century Conduit House, which supplied the water.
One mile West of Beaulieu is Hatchet Pond, one of the few inland lakes that exist in Hampshire. It lies in moorland on Beaulieu Heath. Bucklers Hard is about 2 miles South and consists of just one broad street flanked by charming terraced 18th-century houses. There was once an attempt to make Bucklers Hard into a port. Later in the 18th-century, it became a ship-building centre, and the great New Forest oaks were felled to build some of the ships that fought at Trafalgar.
At St Leonards, a little South of Bucklers Hard along a pretty road, there are the remains of the great abbey barn. Since the lower part of the north wall remains intact, as does a gable in the east wall, it is possible to gain some idea of its massive size. The ruined Chapel of St Leonard, built about 1300, also lies here.
Nearby cities: Southampton
Nearby towns: Eastleigh, Lymington, Lyndhurst, Romsey
Nearby villages: Ashurst, Bartley, Bitterne, Boldre, Brockenhurst, Bursledon, Cadnam, Cowes, Dibden, Dibden Purlieu, Downton, East Cowes, Eling, Exbury, Gurnard, Hamble-le-Rice, Hordle, Hythe, Itchen, Lepe, Marchwood, Milford on Sea, Minstead, Netley Marsh, Newtown, Norleywood, Northwood, Pennington, Redbridge, Sholing, Sway, Totton, Warsash
Have you decided to visit Beaulieu or the surrounding villages? Please look above for somewhere to stay in:
- a Beaulieu bed and breakfast (a Beaulieu B&B or Beaulieu b and b)
- a Beaulieu guesthouse
- a Beaulieu hotel (or motel)
- a Beaulieu self-catering establishment, or
- other Beaulieu accommodation