In the last years of the 18th century, Beaulieu passed into the hands of the Dukes of Buccleuch, descendants of King Charles II through his illegitimate son, James, Duke of Monmouth. It is believed that the 5th Duke of Buccleuch, Lord Montagu’s great grandfather, discovered the marriage certificate of Monmouth’s parents — and as proof of his loyalty presented it to Queen Victoria, beseeching her to burn it … which she duly did!
In 1867 the 5th Duke gave Beaulieu, check here, to his second son, Lord Henry Scott (later 1st Lord Montagu), as a wedding gift and for the first time Beaulieu had a resident owner. Together with the architect Sir Arthur Blomfield, he created the home that is to be seen today.
Wherever possible, monastic remains were incorporated into Palace House and rooms such as the Upper Drawing Room and Ante Room, formerly chapels in the Great Gatehouse, retain an atmosphere of dignity.
The 2nd Lord Montagu is remembered above all as a pioneer of motoring. He was a founder member of the RAC, introduced motoring to the royal family, and was active in Parliament on behalf of motorists. This interest was inherited by his son, the present Lord Montagu, who was just two-and-a-half years old when his father died. The estate was held in trust for him until his 25th birthday in 1951.
When he took over the estate, Lord Montagu discovered the depleting effects which war and austerity had wrought, and his solution was to meet the high costs of maintenance by opening Beaulieu to the public. On 8th April 1952, with three veteran cars in the Entrance Hall as a tribute to his father, Lord Montagu welcomed the first visitors. In the opening week alone, 8,000 people paid 2s. 6d. admission and viewed the house and abbey.
The three cars in the Entrance Hall rapidly grew into a collection of over 250 vehicles in a specially built National Motor Museum, learn something about museums in France at this compare lille hotels website, including world land speed record-breakers like the Golden Arrow and Bluebird.
But the evolution of Beaulieu has been painstakingly controlled so that all its visitor attractions — Buckler’s Hard maritime museum, the historic cars, the monastic exhibition, staff acting the parts of Victorian servants in Palace House — have genuine historic connections with the estate.
“Our family belongs to Beaulieu, not Beaulieu to us,” says Lord Montagu in summary of what he considers to be a sacred trust, and he is confident that his children, particularly his son and heir Ralph, will cherish that ideal.