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Palace of Beaulieu

The Palace of Beaulieu was located in Essex, UK, north of Chelmsford.

The original lands were granted to the Canons of Waltham Abbey 1062. After various changes of possession it was granted by the crown to the Earl of Ormond in 1491.

In 1517 Beaulieu was sold to Henry VIII of England by Thomas Boleyn and given the name Palace of Beaulieu - having previously been known as Walkfares.

On July 23 1527 Henry's court arrived at Beaulieu on his summer progress, staying, unusually, for over a month. In the company of the a large number of nobles and their wives, including Anne Boleyn's father Viscount Rochford, viscount Fitzwalter, the earls of Oxford, Essex and Rutland, the marquess of Exeter and the dukes of Norfolk and Suffolk, it was here that Henry devised a scheme to allow him to cohabit with the intended successor of Catherine 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.

In October 1533 the daughter of Catherine of Aragon Mary, who had been staying at Beaulieu for some time, was evicted as the palace had recently been granted to the Earl of Rochford (Anne's brother).

1573 saw Beaulieu given to the 3rd Earl of Sussex by Queen Elizabeth I of England, and in 1622 it was sold to the Humphrey Stafford, 1st Duke of Buckingham for 30 000.

As a result of the English Civil War, Oliver Cromwell took posession of the estate for the sum of five shillings in 1640. After reverting to the 2nd Duke of Buckingham it was sold to George Monck, 1st Duke of Albermarle, and the court of Charles II of England were frequently entertained there.

Benjamin Hoare acquired the property in 1713, but it was in a poor state when purchased by Olmius 1st Lord Waltham in 1737, who demolished and rebuilt much of the palace.

The estate was finally acquired by the English nuns of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre in 1798 and opened as a Catholic school the following year. New Hall School, as it's now known, remains a school to this day. The Royal Arms of Henry VIII are now in the school chapel.

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

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Original sources