Forde Abbey was founded in 1146 by the Cistercians, an austere branch of the Benedictine order.
The Abbey was handed over to the Crown by Abbot Thomas Chard during the dissolution and stood
empty and abandoned for over one hundred years before its purchase in 1649 by Edmund Prideaux,
MP for Lyme Regis. Prideaux was a staunch parliamentarian and served as Oliver Cromwell's
Attorney General. It was Prideaux who was largely responsible for transforming the Abbey
into the magnificent private residence it is today. Forde is now home to the Roper family,
direct descendants of Edmund Prideaux, but is open to the public.