This once thriving Cistercian Abbey was destroyed on the orders of King Henry VIII in 1538 having been founded by King John three centuries before.
Owing to the efforts of the Montagu family, distant relations of these former kings, the now tranquil Abbey is a conserved ruin where generations of visitors have contemplated the devout simplicity of monastic life, the achievements of its medieval builders and doubtless mourned its destruction.
Walking through the preserved foundations of the Abbey Church provides an impression of the vast scale of what once stood here. The Cloister remains an oasis of calm and an ideal place to pause before exploring the remainder of the complex. It is also home to an aromatic herb garden once worked by monks for use in medicine and cooking.
Monastic Life Exhibition
An exhibition in the surviving Domus building tells the story of this 13th Century English Abbey and the medieval Cistercian monks who gave their lives to the service of the church and the isolation of the New Forest.
Beaulieu Parish Church
Another surviving building, once the Monks' Refectory, has been the Beaulieu village parish church since shortly after the Abbey was destroyed. It is now a popular venue for weddings and visitors are welcome to enter when services are not taking place.
The Abbey ruins were beautifully laid out and left me wishing Henry VIII had never existed!