Beaulieu Parish ChurchBucklers Hard
Palace Lane
Brockenhurst
Hampshire SO42 7YL
 
 
When visiting the tourist attraction of Beaulieu in Hampshire, it is well worth popping into the parish church dedicated to the ‘Blessed Virgin and Holy Child’. Despite its florid name, this is a Church of England church but it was originally a medieval Cistercian monastery building.
 
Beaulieu Abbey was founded in 1203–1204 by King John and housed 30 monks sent from the abbey of Cîteaux in France, the mother house of the Cistercian order. After the Dissolution of the Monasteries and the transfer in 1538 of the monastic lands and buildings to influential courtier, Thomas Wriothesley, only the Cloisters, Abbey Guesthouse and monks’ refectory survived.
 
Wriothesley demolished the Abbey Church but gave the Monks’ Refectory to the people of Beaulieu village who made it their parish church, which it has remained ever since.
 
It will be noted that the church has a north-south alignment with the alter at the south end. This departure from the more normal east-west line was forced by the position of the refectory building.
 
Since 1538 several changes have been made: the formation of a chancel and sanctuary with semi-circular apse, construction of a gallery chapel and vestries, importation of oak pews, and installation of a Walker pipe organ which is a delight to play.
 
Things to look out for are:
 
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Stone pulpit
This totally unique pulpit is from the medieval refectory. It was the stone lectern from which one chosen monk would read improving books to the other monks as they sat silently eating their meals. The pulpit is approached by a stone stairway cut into the width of the west wall, an unusual feature found only here and in Chester Cathedral.
 
‘Tubby’ Clayton (Toc H Co-founder) Memorial
Near the pulpit is the Tubby Clayton Memorial, a finely carved slate roundel in memory of the co-founder of Toc H, who lived in Beaulieu as a boy and returned regularly to preach throughout his lifetime. The plaque, with the Toc H lamp and cross in gold at the top, was dedicated by his Grace Dr Robert Runcie Lord Archbishop of Canterbury in June 1984.
 
Toc H is an international Christian movement founded during the First World War. The name is an abbreviation for Talbot House, 'Toc' signifying the letter T in the signals spelling alphabet used by the British Army.
 
Gallery & Chapel
The gallery at the North end of the church has been used down the centuries for varying purposes. Old prints of the church show that in the 18th century a wall across the nave separated the gallery from the rest of the building, and for a time it served as the village school.
 
In 1965 a new staircase was built, and the Chapel was restored and refurbished. It was consecrated on the Eve of All Saints, 1965, by the Bishop of Winchester, and dedicated in honour of St. John the Evangelist.
 
RAF Squadron 84 Standard
The Standard of 84 Squadron RAF is laid up in the Abbey Church to commemorate the founding of the Squadron as part of the Royal Flying Corps on Beaulieu Airfield during the First World War in 1917. Since then they have never been based in the British Isles!
 
Services
Either a 'Parish Communion (Common Worship)' or an 'All Age Family Service' are normally held in the parish church on Sundays, starting at 09:30 hours. Everyone is most welcome.
 
On a few Sundays throughout the year, this service is held elsewhere in the Benefice. Go to  Web:  Beaulieu Parish Council/ Church Services    External Link
 
Concerts
Twelve to fourteen concerts a year are held in the church by the Music at Beaulieu Charitable Trust. The repertoire ranges from classical to jazz. Tickets are extremely reasonably priced and children are free.
 
Tickets may be pre-booked from the Box Office: Music at Beaulieu, PO Box 84, Lymington, SO41 3ZA.
Tel:    +44 (0)1590 611 404
 
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Contact & Further Information
Telephone   +44 (0)1590 612 287  Church Warden Mrs Sally Brearley
Telephone   +44 (0)1590 626 209  Church Warden: Mr Frederick Norris. 
Website    Beaulieu Parish Church    External Link
 
Google Maps - Beaulieu