Sunday, 26 February 2017

Forde Abbey - Dorset

Forde Abbey is officially in Dorset, though there are some that will argue it is in Somerset. Whatever, it's been there a long time, covering some 1600 acres with house, gardens and farmland. A few hundred years ago the estate boasted 30,000 acres.

The first efforts at building began in 1133 when Richard de Prioriis built a priory to house 12 Cistercian Monks. However, the land they were expected to farm was somewhat barren and they were on the point of leaving when they were offered an alternative site and a new monastery was built in 1148.

When the Dissolution of the Monasteries came about there was a peaceful surrender in 1539, following which the religious building were largely demolished and a new house was built. Sir Richard Pollard took control in 1540 and a family home was established. In 1649 this was considerably altered by Edmund Prideau.

The gardens were created in 1815. The house changed hands and families many times but has been in the hands of the current owners and their predecessors for at least 70 years. There were periods of decline, but also restorations, and today the house and gardens are available for tourists to visit.


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