The "historical" trappist breweries.

The Abbey of Our Lady of Melleray (France)

The abbey of Melleray is situated near the village of La Meilleraye de Bretagne, district of Chateaubriant, about 50 kms from Nantes.  The monastery was founded in 1132 by monks of the abbey of Pontron.  The monks had left Pontron without knowing exactly where to go and, surprised by the lack of hospitality, were one day forced to sleep in the forest, under a large oak.  In the trunk of the old tree, they saw a honeycomb, a true “ray of honey” (Mellis Radius in Latin), which fed them for that night.  From this came the name of the abbey they soon raised.

After the suppression of the monastic orders during the French Revolution, the convent of Meilleraye was sold as a National Property.  In 1816, the owner of the buildings resold them to Trappist monks living in Lulworth, England.  Extensive repairs were carried out in the house, and a forge, weavery, tannery, and dairy were established in the abbey.  Also installed was an English-style brewery that was still present in 1858, as noted by G. Touchard Lafosse in his book “La Loire historique, pittoresque et biographique” (see page 322).Another account can be found in this book.

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