The ghosts of Beaulieu Abbey and Palace House

The ghosts of Beaulieu Abbey and Palace House

Paranormal activity in one of the most haunted places in Great Britain

Beaulieu Abbey in the 1960sBeaulieu Abbey and Palace House are reputed to be amongst the most haunted places in Great Britain, with reported sightings of paranormal activity going back over a hundred years - and possibly as far back as the mid-sixteenth century.

Over the years many have witnessed ghostly monks wandering amongst the ruins of Beaulieu Abbey. Allegedly the sightings have been accompanied by the sound of Gregorian chanting and the scent of incense lingers in the air after they have gone.

The monks have been described as wearing white habits with black scapular cloths over their shoulders, in the Cistercian manner.

The monks of Beaulieu Abbey

Beaulieu Abbey was established in the thirteenth century. It is said that in 1201 monks appealed to King John for exemption from taxes. For this ‘outrageous’ behaviour they were thrown into the dungeon and told they would be trampled to death by horses the following day.

Overnight King John had a bad dream that he was being whipped as punishment for his treatment of the monks. When he awoke he was covered in weals. So great was his regret that he released them and gave them them an estate of over 10,000 acres in Beaulieu to establish the abbey and support their community.

Beaulieu lower drawing room pre1870s

They did this for three hundred and fifty years. The Cistercian abbey - or Bellus Locus Regis (the beautiful place of the King) was built in 1204 and not long after thirty monks from Citeaux in France joined and went on to establish four daughter abbeys: Netley Abbey in 1239, Hailies Abbey in 1246, Newenham Abbey in 1247 and St Mary Graces Abbey in 1350.

The abbey was closed in 1538 during the Dissolution of the Monasteries and Henry VIII sold the land (and the buildings that survived his demolition orders) to Sir Thomas Wriothesley, 1st Earl of Southampton (1505-1550) who converted Palace House to be his private residence.

Blue lady ghost at Palace House Beaulieu taken in 2013Paranormal activity 

Over the years there have been numerous ghostly sightings, stories and legends reported on the Beaulieu Estate.

Numerous paranormal investigators have conducted research at the abbey. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, creator of Sherlock Holmes, famously held a séance in the Montagu ancestral home of Palace House and allegedly made contact with a ghost.

Other sightings have included a ‘blue’ or ‘grey’ lady walking through walls and making sounds in the private apartments of Palace House, believed to be Isabella, Countess Beaulieu, who died in 1786. In 2013, a Palace House guide took a ghostly picture of a ‘Lady in Blue’ while testing the camera on her new phone in the Lower Drawing Room (see image right).

Visit Beaulieu this half term for a last chance to see Chitty Chitty Bang Bang!


  • Beaulieu Abbey c1960 - An Album of Old Beaulieu and Buckler's Hard - Susan Tomkiss
  • The Lower Drawing Room at Palace House, Beaulieu - pre 1870s - An Album of Old Beaulieu and Buckler's Hard - Susan Tomkiss
  • The lady in blue - photograph taken in 2013 by Beaulieu staff member 

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