Lord Edward Montagu conceived the idea of setting up a twinning liaison with Hautvilllers in the early eighties. This grew from discussions with his friends Lord Marchwood, Managing Director of Moët & Chandon, London, and Patrick Forbes, also a director of Moët et Chandon, London, who originally suggested to Lord Montagu what a splendid thing twinning with Hautvillers would be. Patrick Forbes arranged the introduction to Jean Couten, then Mayor of Hautvillers, and Chairman of Champagne Mercier.
The Twinning of the two communities dates from 18 May 1985; it is an ideal match: each village has an abbey and a thriving museum. Beaulieu has the National Motor Museum, founded by Edward Montagu, and at Hautvillers, Moët & Chandon endowed the Dom Perignon Museum, to the memory of the monk who arrived in the village in 1668 and died there in 1715. He was cellar master to the Abbey for over 40 years, during which time he developed, in his laboratory, a sparkling wine which we have come to know as champagne. A small statue of Dom Perignon, a gift from Hautvillers, presides over the lobby of the Beaulieu Village hall.
The 30th anniversary of the twinning of our two communities took place the year before Edward Montagu died, and it was wonderful that he was able to make a last visit, on this occasion, to the village he loved, and plant a second New Forest Oak in the precinct of the Abbaye de St. Pierre, in the presence of the current mayor, Patrick Lopez and his wife Catherine, both of whom have been real and firm friends with Beaulieu over the years.