BEAUCHIEF ABBEY, an extra-parochial liberty in the hundred of Scarsdale, in the county of Derby, 3 miles to the N.W. of Dronfield, and 4 S. of Sheffield. The living is a curacy in the diocese of Lichfield, in the gift of B. P. Burnell, Esq. An abbey for Premonstratensian canons was founded here in 1183 by Robert Fitz-Ranulph, one of the murderers of Thomas-a-Becket, to whom the house was dedicated. Its value at the Dissolution was £157. The tower of the present church was part of the abbey buildings. Beauchief Hall is pleasantly situated on the brow of a wooded hill.”

from The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland - 1868



  • The parish was in the Norton sub-district of the Eclesall Berlow Registration District.
  • The table below gives census piece numbers, where known:
Piece No.
1861 R.G. 9 / 3467
1871 R.G. 10 / 4667
1891 R.G. 12 / 3801

Church History

  • The Abbey was built here between 1172 and 1176.
  • The chapel of Saint Thomas was built in 1660 out of part of the ruins of the abbey.
  • Jonathan CLITHEROE has a photograph of St Thomas a Becket's Church on Geo-graph, taken in August, 2011.

Church Records

  • The Anglican parish register dates from 1812 for baptisms and from 1814 for burials.
  • Marriages at Beauchief, 1696-1837 are available in Nigel BATTY-SMITH's database of scanned images of Phillimore's Parish Registers.
  • The church was in the rural deanery of Dronfield.
  • The Baptists have a chapel on Hutcliffe Wood Road, but the date of construction is unreported.

Civil Registration

  • Civil Registration began in July, 1837.
  • The parish was in the Norton sub-district of the Eclesall Berlow Registration District.

Description & Travel

"BEAUCHIEFF ABBEY, a village extra parochial, in the same hundred as Dronfield, is situate in a beautiful vale, about three miles and a half from that town. The abbey was founded between the years 1172 and 1176, for regular canons of the Premonstratensian order, by Robert Fitz-Ranulph, lord of Alfreton, in expiation for having conspired with the other knights who slew Thomas-a-Becket."

[Description from Pigot and Co's Commercial Directory for Derbyshire, 1835]

The parish borders on Yorkshire to the north and covers 745 acres. The city of Sheffield lies 4 miles to the north.

Chris MORGAN has a photograph of the Beuachief Golf Course on Geo-graph, taken in May, 2008. Obviously Chris thinks there's more to Beuachief than just Family History.

You can see pictures of Beauchief which are provided by:






Historical Geography

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



You can see maps centred on OS grid reference SK333817 (Lat/Lon: 53.331171, -1.501443), Beauchief which are provided by:


Military History

  • The parish has a Cold War ROC site underground.

Names, Geographical

  • "This is a typical French name for a monastic site 'the beautiful headland', from OFr. beau (v. bel) chef, cf. Beachy Head (Sussex). The abbey was situated near a hill-spur."
    (Ref: The Place-Names of Derbyshire, K. Cameron, Cambridge University Press, 1959)

    See also Dore.

    Note: 'Beauchief' is pronounced locally as 'Beech-iff' ('Beech' as in tree), and with emphasis on the first syllable. Typically, Derbyshire dialect swallows the last syllables of words!


Politics & Government

  • This place was an ancient extra-parochial area in Derbyshire until incorporated as a Civil Parish in 1858.
  • This parish was in the ancient Scarsdale Hundred (or Wapentake).
  • In April, 1934, this Civil Parish was abolished and the entire parish became a ward of Sheffield city. As such, it is now part of the West Riding of Yorkshire.

Poor Houses, Poor Law

  • Bastardy cases would be heard in the Eckington petty sessional hearings.
  • As a result of the 1834 Poorlaw Amendment Act reforms, this parish became a member of the Ecclesall Bierlow Poorlaw Union.