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Palace of Beaulieu

Beaulieu Palace circa 1580

The Palace of Beaulieu is a former Royal Palace in Boreham, Essex, England, north-east of Chelmsford. The property is currently occupied by New Hall School.

The estate on which it was built – the manor of Walhfare in Boreham – was granted to the Canons of Waltham Abbey in 1062.[1] After various changes of possession, it was granted by the Crown to the Earl of Ormond in 1491. By this time, it had a house called New Hall.[2]

In 1516, New Hall was sold by Thomas Boleyn, 1st Earl of Wiltshire and 1st Earl of Ormond to Henry VIII of England for £1,000.[n 1]. The king rebuilt the house in brick at a cost of £17,000.[3][n 2] He gave his new palace the name Beaulieu, meaning "beautiful place" in French. The name expressed Henry's desire for fine things, though the name change did not outlast the century.

On July 23, 1527, Henry's court arrived at Beaulieu on his summer progress, staying, unusually, for over a month in the company of a large number of nobles and their wives, including Anne Boleyn's father who was also Viscount Rochford, the Dukes of Norfolk and Suffolk, the Marquess of Exeter, the Earls of Oxford, Essex, and Rutland, and Viscount Fitzwalter. It was here that Henry devised a scheme to allow him to cohabit with his intended successor of Katherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn, by obtaining a Papal bull to allow him to commit bigamy. This plan was dropped when Cardinal Wolsey discovered the plan, though the pope did, in fact, issue a bull to the same effect that December.[4]

In October 1533, the daughter of Queen Katherine of Aragon, royal inventory of 1547 noted 29 great beds, four bathing rooms with wooden floors and beds set in the wall, and a library with 37 titles.[5]

After Anne Boleyn was beheaded and Henry married Jane Seymour, he was convinced by his new wife to bring his daughters back to court. In 1537, when Queen Jane died after giving birth to a son, Edward, Mary, Henry's eldest daughter was made godmother to her half-brother Edward and acted as chief mourner at the Queen's funeral. Henry granted her a household and Mary was permitted to reside in royal palaces. Her privy purse expenses for nearly the whole of this period have been published and show that Hatfield House, the Palace of Beaulieu (also called Newhall), Richmond, and Hunsdon were among her principal places of residence.

Queen George Villiers 1st Duke of Buckingham for £30,000.

During the Charles II of England was frequently entertained there. Cosimo III, Grand Duke of Tuscany, visited in 1669 and a member of his retinue produced a view of the house. A copy of this view was published in 1821.[6]

Benjamin Hoare acquired the property in 1713, but it was in a poor state when purchased in 1737 by John Olmius, elevated to the peerage as Baron Waltham in 1762, who demolished and rebuilt much of the former palace. The north wing was left largely untouched and forms the present house. John was succeeded in 1762 by his son Drigue who died childless in 1797, aged 40, when New Hall devolved on his sister, the Honourable Elizabeth. However, she died the same year and her husband John Luttrell, later 3rd Earl of Carhampton, took on the Olmius name; but, already owning the Carhampton estate including Painshill Park, he sold New Hall in 1798.

The purchasers in 1798 were the English nuns of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre, who opened a Catholic school there the following year. New Hall School remains a school to this day. The Royal Arms of Henry VIII are in the school chapel. In 2006 a book, New Hall and its School, was published by Tony Tuckwell.[7]

The Beaulieu name is now remembered in the name of the nearby housing estate, Beaulieu Park, Boreham.

In February 2009, Channel 4's Time Team visited and excavated the grounds of the former palace. The programme was broadcast on Easter Monday. In the excavations, the team uncovered the chapel, west wing and the gatehouse.[8]

Notes and references

  1. ^ £543,000 based on RPI in 2012 money or £5,440,000 on the basis of average earnings
  2. ^ £10,400,000 based on RPI in 2012 money or £102,000,000 on the basis of average earnings
  1. ^ Charter of 1062 ref: S 1036
  2. ^ Entry for New Hall in the English Heritage List at Grade I
  3. ^ Maurice Howard, The Early Tudor Country House: Architecture and politics 1490-1550 (George Philip 1987), p.205.
  4. ^ Retha M. Warnicke, The Rise And Fall of Anne Boleyn: Family Politics at the Court of Henry VIII (Cambridge University Press 1989).
  5. ^ Starkey, David, ed., The Inventory of Henry VIII, vol. 1, Society of Antiquaries, (1998), 341-343.
  6. ^ New Hall in 1669 - a view by Magalotti.
  7. ^
  8. ^ Time team dig historic school

External links

  • Henry VIII & Catherine of Aragon Coat of Arms
  • New Hall history
  • Read a detailed historical record on Beaulieu Palace

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