The book begins with an account of the last days of Beaulieu Abbey leading to the Dissolution and continues with the lives of the four Earls of Southampton. The second part of the book is concerned with the topography of the Estate and the lives of all who lived there -- the tenant farmers and farmworkers, the clergymen, the shopkeepers and tradesmen. The social history of the times is brought vividly to life using original letters, court and parish documents, wills and inventories; all the result of Bartlett’s research in the Palace House, Winchester and National Archives.
Alan Bartlett was a retired civil servant and historian who in 1968 bought the old chapel on Park Farm and converted it into a house. His interest in its history led him to the Palace House archive and he was invited to catalogue and reorganise the whole collection by the late Lord Montagu.
The text in typescript form was stored in the Palace House archive and the Lyndhurst Library and has for a long time been used as a valuable resource by anyone studying local history. The Beaulieu History Society was given permission by Lord Montagu to publish it in 2017.