The autumn leaves are falling… and they seem to be landing in Palace House! The team are busy decorating and getting ready to welcome visitors this October half-term.
Harvest festival Decorations & Traditions
October half-term is nearly here and the team have been busy decorating Palace House in a ‘harvest festival’ theme, with dried fruits and autumnal plants being fashioned into beautiful table decorations. Large pumpkins and odd shaped gourds have been brought over from the Victorian gardens; some pumpkins will be used for the display while others will be made into soups and pies for the family by the Cook.
The team have been out collecting conkers and apples for the Victorian kitchen and the Cook has been preparing the ingredients for making soul cakes, a traditional biscuit eaten by the Victorians at All Hallows. Visit us during October half-term to see how they’re made.
This time of year the gardeners are busy chopping up and bringing in the firewood ready for winter. With a fireplace in every room of the house and a working range it’s a full time job!
In the Victorian period ‘All Hallows’ was traditionally a time for divination games to find your true love. Some of these games are still played today but the meanings have been lost over the centuries. One such game is apple bobbing; traditionally the rules were as follows; unmarried people bobbed for apples and the first person to bite an apple would marry next. If you managed to bite the apple you could then toss a peeling from the apple over your shoulder and the shape would give you the initial of your true love.
There have been many individuals and societies that have visited Beaulieu over the centuries in search of ghosts and spirits. One famous gentleman in search of the supernatural was none other than Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, author of the Sherlock Holmes mysteries.
Sir Arthur visited Beaulieu with a Medium, to try to make contact with the dead who still roam the ancient estate. During their séance they spoke to the spirit of a gentleman who had been convicted of a crime and his punishment was to have his body buried within the walls of the precinct, but his head and hands buried elsewhere. The spirit was asking for his body and limbs to be found and to be re-buried together, so he could be at peace. The location of the missing limbs described by the spirit would today be under what is the modern car park in the village. Sir Arthur also made contact with a crowned spirit thought to be royalty, possibly connected to the high ranking burials at the altar at Beaulieu Abbey.
If you are feeling brave this half-term you can come to listen to the ghost stories in the Portrait gallery where you can hear about eye witness accounts of spirits, from monks to the Victorian maid who was pushed down the stairs.
If you speak to the staff on duty they may have a ghost story of their own to tell… one member of staff actually manage to capture a spooky figure on camera, so remember to take photos as you go around the house; you never know what you might capture on film!
Find out more about our October half-term activities.