Beachampton

"Beachampton. Two fine farms, some old cottages and church in remote undulations above the Ouse on the Northants border." [Murray's Buckinghamshire Architectural Guide]
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Bibliography

The following reference sources have been used in the construction of this page, and may be referred to for further detail. Most if not all of these volumes are available in the Reference section of the County Library in Aylesbury.

"Beachampton Buckinghamshire, A Brief Guide", Kenneth R. Clew, 1982 (a leaflet available at the parish church)
"Buckinghamshire Contributions for Ireland 1642", Wilson J., 1983.
"Buckinghamshire Returns of the Census of Religious Worship 1851", Legg E. ed., 1991, ISBN 0 901198 27 7.
"Magna Britannia: Buckinghamshire", Lysons S. and Lysons D., 1806.
"Murray's Buckinghamshire Architectural Guide." editors John Betjeman & John Piper, London, 1948
"Royal Commission on Historical Monuments - An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Buckinghamshire", H.M.S.O, 1912/3.
"The History and Antiquities of the Town, Hundred and Deanry of Buckingham", Browne Willis, London, 1755.
"The History of Buckinghamshire", Reed Michael, 1993, ISBN 0 85033 637 6.
"The Place-Names of Buckinghamshire", Mawer A. and Stenton F.M., 1925.
"The Victoria History of the Counties of England: Buckinghamshire", Page W. ed., 1905-1928
"War Memorials and War Graves: North Central Bucks, Volume 4", Peter Quick

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Cemeteries

War Memorials

War memorials in Beachampton have been transcribed by Peter Quick, and published in a booklet titled "War Memorials and War Graves: North Central Bucks, Volume 4", available from the Buckinghamshire Genealogical Society.

Monumental Inscriptions

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Census

In 1642 there were 17 people named in the tax returns for contributions for Ireland. Between them they were assessed at £2.5.5 of which sum Thomas Birchmore contributed £1.

In 1798 the Posse Comitatus listed 53 men between the ages of 16 and 60 in Beachampton.

In the earliest government census of 1801, there were 187 inhabitants in 43 families living in 43 houses recorded in Beachampton. But according to Browne Willis, at the time of his book, 1755, there were 34 houses and 150 inhabitants, which coincidentally was approximately the population in 1982.

Census Year Population
1801* 187
1811* 217
1821* 251
1831* 254
1841 248
1851 248
1861 272
1871 283
1881 217
1891 181
1901 180

* = No names were recorded in census documents from 1801 to 1831.
** = Census documents from 1911 to 2001 are only available in summary form. Names are witheld under the 100 year rule.

Microfilm copies of all census enumerators' notebooks for 1841 to 1891 are held at the Local Studies Libraries at Aylesbury and Milton Keynes, as well as centrally at the PRO. A table of 19th century census headcount by parish is printed in the VCH of Bucks, Vol.2, pp 96-101.

Availability of census transcripts and indexes.

  • 1851 - Full transcripts and indexes for Buckinghamshire are available on CD-ROM, hard copy and microfiche from the Buckinghamshire Family History Society.
  • 1861 - Available on CD-ROM with advanced search and mapping capabilities etc. from the Buckinghamshire Genealogical Society.
  • 1881
    • Available on CD-ROM from the Church of the Latter Day Saints, as part of the National 1881 Census Index.
    • Available on CD-ROM for Buckinghamshire, with advanced search and mapping capabilities etc. from Drake Software.
  • 1891 - Available on CD-ROM with advanced search and mapping capabilities etc. from the Buckinghamshire Genealogical Society.

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Church History

The Church of the Assumption of St Mary the Virgin

The church is at the north west end of the village, it is built of yellow limestone rubble: the roofs are covered with lead and with tiles. It was built in the 14th century on the site of a former church. The North Aisle was the first to be built, probably as an addition to an earlier aisle-less Nave, the Chancel was rebuilt soon after and enlarged to its present size, then the South Aisle and West Tower were added and the clearstorey was constructed. In the early15th century some rebuilding was done. The 19th and 20th centuries saw the addition of the South Porch, the North Vestry and the Organ-chamber, also a wooden bell chamber was built and the Chancel was almost entirely rebuilt with much restoration taking place, the work of the Victorian architect G. E. Street.

Among the bells the sanctus is by Richard Chandler, 1695. There is a 15th century Piscina in the South Aisle with a round basin and trefoiled two-centered head. In the North Aisle on the east side of the north doorway, there is a niche with rounded chamfered head, having no basin, but probably stoup.

The Advowson for the church was divided into two patronages. These were to the lord of the manor and secondly to Luffield Priory. Until 1470 each presented their several respective Incumbents and two rectors officiated in Beachampton. After 1470, an agreement was reached whereby each alternately presented an incumbent, and after the reformation the Advowson was purely in the hands of the manor. Finally, since 1827 the right of appointment of the Rector has been the gift of the Master and Fellows of Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge.

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Church Records

The original copies of the Beachampton parish registers have been deposited in the Buckinghamshire Record Office in Aylesbury, and they hold the following years:

Event Dates covered
Christenings 1628 - 1951
Marriages 1628 - 1836
Banns 1754 - 1919
Burials 1628 - 1812

Copies or indexes to the parish registers are available from societies as follows:

Event
Society Library*
Dates covered
Society
Christenings
1780 - 1837
Buckinghamshire Genealogical Society
Marriages
1628 - 1720
1754 - 1837
Buckinghamshire Genealogical Society

* = material held in a Society library is generally available for loan to all members either via post, or by collection at a meeting

An ecclesiastical census was carried out throughout England on 30 March 1851 to record the attendance at all places of worship. These returns are in the Buckinghamshire Record Office and have been published by the Buckinghamshire Record Society (vol 27). The returns for Beachampton showed the following numbers:

Church Attendance
Parish church 100 - Morning general congregation
12 - Sunday scholars
112 - Total

80 - Afternoon general congregation
12 - Sunday scholars
92 - Total

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Description and Travel

In 1927 "The Victoria History of the Counties of England: Buckinghamshire" states as follows:

This parish covers 1528 acres, of which 1229 acres are permanent grass, 229 arable and 28 woods and plantations. The soil is clay, the subsoil limestone.The chief crops are wheat, oats, beans and barley. The parish is well-watered, and the low lying land in the north-west, where the Ouse forms the boundary, is liable to flood. A stream that enters the parish on the south-east runs through it in a north-westerly direction, finally joining the River Ouse. Closely parallel to this stream is the road along which straggles the village, its north end bounded by a crossroad, on the far side of which stands the church of St Mary. The land near the river lies low, usually less than 200 feet above the ordnance datum, but on each side of the village it rises to over 300 feet. Hill Farm and Beachampton Grove also stand high. [© copyright of the editors of The Victoria Histories of the Counties of England]

Beachampton was described in 1806 in "Magna Britannia" as follows:

Bechampton, in the hundred and deanery of Buckingham, lies about six miles north-east of the county town, and about three miles south-west of Stony Stratford. The manor passed either by purchase or inheritance, through the families of Fitz-Richard, Bechampton, Wolf, Edy, Foster and Pigott. Thomas Pigott sold it, about the year 1609, to Sir Thomas Bennet, Lord Mayor of London. Sir Simon Bennet, his son, whose principal residence was at Bechampton, was created a baronet in 1627: this Sir Simon was a great benefactor to the poor, and to University College in Oxford: the title became extinct at his death, which happened in 1631. The manor of Bechampton, after having been possessed by his nephew, descended by a female heir to the noble family of Cecil, and is now the property of the Marquis of Salisbury. The remains of the mansion, which was the seat of the Bennets, have been converted into a farm-house; the great hall is standing.

[Correction/Addition at the end of Magna Britannia states "The Bennets of Bechampton were collateral ancestors of the Earl of Tankerville."]

In the parish church are some monuments of the Bennet family, among which is that of Sir Simon Bennet, put up by University College more than 100 years after his death: it was erected not long after the publication of Browne Willis's history of the hundred of Buckingham, in which, the intention of the college is mentioned, and much blame imputed to them for having delayed it so long.

The rectory of Beachampton was formerly in moieties; patronage of one of these was given by Robert Fitz-Neale to the priory of Luffield, in 1329; the other was in the lord of the manor: in 1470 they were united, on condition of alternate presentation. Since the reformation, the advowson has been wholly in the lords of the manor.

Mr William Elmer, who died in 1652, by his will, bearing date 1648, founded a free grammar-school in this parish. The school-house, built out of the profits of the estate, was finished in 1667. By the founder's will, the master must be a single man, and reside at the school-house; the school is endowed with lands, (now let at 43l. per annum) charged with the payment of 40s. per annum each, to eight poor men, and 20s. per annum to eight poor women; three of the men, and as many of the women, must be inhabitants of Bechampton. Mt. Elmer gave also 5l. per annum to apprentice a child, and some lands for the relief of the poor, the repair of highways, etc.

You can see pictures of Beachampton which are provided by:

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Gazetteers

Ask for a calculation of the distance from Beachampton to another place.

Click here for a list of nearby places.

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Historical Geography

You can see the administrative areas in which Beachampton has been placed at times in the past. Select one to see a link to a map of that particular area.

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History

Before the Conquest Alric, a man and thegn of King Edward, held and could sell a manor in Beachampton which was in the possession of Walter Giffard in 1086. It thus formed a parcel of the honour of Giffard and the overlordship descended with that of Lillingstone Dayrell. As in the case of this latter parish, the Domesday tenant Hugh was succeeded by the Earls of Oxford, to whom a mesne lordship of both manors belonged, there rights in Beachampton being mentioned as late as 1634.

Osmer de Beachampton was the first recorded under-tenant, being mentioned in 1175-6. In 1202 the names of Richard de Beachampton and his wife Avis are mentioned. This Richard is probably the same Richard who was the son of Roger de Beachampton that was granted land in Beachampton by his father, which included a virgate originally held by Osmer. By 1218 a Sir William de Beachampton kt. son of Richard was lord of this part of Beachampton.

A manor house was in existence in 1333, and it is mentioned again in 1592 when it was apportioned to Valentine Pigott's widow after the death of Valenine's father Thomas, the former lord of the manor.

A water mill stood on this manor in 1086 and was valued at 10 shillings, by 1285 there were two in Beachampton, which were conveyed the same year to Ellis de Tingewick and his heirs. This conveyance was made by the lord of the second manor in Beachampton and eventually they were among the appurtenances of the united manor in 1593, and the watermill called the Upper Milne was conveyed to Sir Thomas Bennett with the manor 1609.

The second manor was known afterwards as Whityngham's Manor, and was held by Lewin of Nuneham (Courtenay), both at the time of King Edward and in 1086. It was circa 1500 when the two manors were united.

Hall Farm, a little distance to the north of the church, on the south bank of the Ouse, is all that remains of Beachampton Hall, which was long the residence of the lords of the manor, it dates in its present state mainly from the early 17th century. Hall Farm was traditionally the home of Catherine Parr, the sixth wife of King Henry VIII. In the field adjacent to the farm Queen Anne allegedly reviewed some of her troops.

Some of the 17th century field names are as follows: Poor Man's Plot, Bridge Meade, Shrives Close, and Queen's Close, the last named recalling the fact that the Queens of England once held lands here as part of their dower. Browne Willis states that the parish was inclosed in 1579-80. There is no Inclosure Act.

see also 'Descriptions and Travel'

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Names, Geographical

The name Beachampton derives from the old English words bece-hamtum, meaning 'the hamtun on or by the stream' or alternatively from bece-hæmatum, meaning 'farm of the stream-dwellers'. Both of these are very fitting as Beachampton has a brook which runs between the houses.

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Schools

One of the principal in habitants of Beachampton, William Elmer, founded a free grammar school, which was opened in 1667. This school was built as a result of a bequest in William Elmer's will (see also 'Descriptions and Travel'), which was dated January 3rd 1648, and was proved May 3rd 1653. Browne Willis in his book, "The History and Antiquities of the Town, Hundred and Deanry of Buckingham", has included a transcritpion of the will. The section which relates to the school reads as follows:

"...and likewise out of these Estates empowered and appointed his Feoffees or Trustees, to found and endow a Free School, in Bechampton; which when built and finished, out of the Profits of his Estate, he directed that they should nominate, appoint, and elect an honest, able and sufficient Person, being a good Scholar, and a single Man, to be School-master, and there continually to dwell and abide, and to tech and instruct all such Youth and Children, as shall resort unto him; in the English and Latin Tongues, and to cast Accounts; and in Case the said School-master shall die, depart, or marry, that the said Feoffees shall chuse another School-master, qualified as aforesaid; and if he should prove a vicious Man, cut down Timber, without the Trustees Consent, misuse his Scholars, or do any thing unfitting; they shall have Power to put him out, and chuse another"

Browne Willis then proceeds to list the School masters for the school as follows:

"...they appointed the Reverend Mr. John Mansell, LL.B. of Magdalen hall, Oxford, to be first Master, who became licensed 23 March 1669, 21 Car.II. He resigning the Mastership Anno. 1675, was succeeded by

John Owen, A.B. of All Souls-College, Oxford, licensed October 14, 1675, 27 Charles II. to whom succeeded Anno 1678, 8 Jan.

Abraham Freestonie, A.B. of Sidney-College, Cambridge; he quitted it, being beneficed in Lincolnshire, and was succeeded by

Benjamin Pritchard, A.M. Fellow of Brazen-nose College, Oxon. elected 3 December, 1703, and licensed 3 May, 1706, he resigned it to his Brother

Herbert Pritchard, A.M. Fellow also of Brazen-nose College, who was licensed 24 April, 1712. On whose quitting it

William Cooke, also of Brazen-nose College, became elected Anno 1717, and is the present Master Anno 1735.

Mr Mansell the first Master lived till January 31, 1729, when he died, and was buried at Cosgrave in the County of Northampton, where he was Rector, being aged about 86 Years."

According to the "The Victoria History of the Counties of England: Buckinghamshire":

"The education was still Elementary in 1867, when there were 43 Scholars, four of them boarders at 20 guineas a year. The school appears to be the Beachampton Church of England school, which had an average attendance of 47 children in 1903-4..."
[© copyright of the editors of The Victoria Histories of the Counties of England]