In Poole Harbour lies Brownsea, a 500-acre island, that was once inhabited in the Middle Ages by the monks of Cerne Abbas who created a chapel and hermitage. In 1547 Henry VIII built a castle and it has had a succession of owners since, including the Right Honoourable George Augustus Frederick Cavendish Bentinck, who installed a notable collection there but, since his death in 1891, only a few pieces of sculpture remain. The next owner, Kenneth Robert Balfour, rebuilt the mansion after a fire and installed the three (originally four) pictures inset into the walls of the dining room, the 'Putti-Angels Showing the Veronica to Saint Mary Magadalen' by a Spanish artist Juan Carreño de Miranda, and two animal scenes by Philipp Peter Roos. After the death of Mrs Bonham Christie, at the age of 98 in 1961, the island was accepted in lieu of death duties, and transferred to the National Trust. Now it is a wildlife sanctuary and nature reserve, whilst the castle is let.
National Trust, Brownsea Castle and Island
Poole Harbour, Poole, Dorset BH13 7EE England
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