Forde Abbey, Dorset, EnglandForde Abbey was founded as a Cistercian Monastery in 1148 and was `modernized' in 1500 by Abbot Chard, whose Great Hall and Tower remain. In 1640 the Abbey was turned by Sir Edmund Prideaux, Cromwell's Attorney General, into a Country House, whose magnificent interior is untouched, and includes a series of unique plaster ceilings and an outstanding set of Raphael Tapestries which were presented to Sir Frances Gwyn, Secretary of War by Queen Anne for services rendered.

Early in the 19th Century the house was rented by Jeremy Bentham the philosopher. Today the Abbey, surrounded by 25 acres of gardens and lakes, on the bank of the River Axe, is the home of the Roper family but is open to the public on a limited basis, and is well worth a visit.

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