Beachampton

Beachampton is in low-lying ground west of Milton Keynes in the north of Buckinghamshire. The name has changed little since Beachampton was mentioned in the Domesday Book. In 1086 there were 30 heads of households recorded making a population of 100-120. By 1871 there were 272 inhabitants and lace-making was mentioned as a chief occupation of the females. Today the population is about 150 persons. Most people are employed in Milton Keynes though there are some jobs on local farms.
After the Norman Conquest the Manor of Beachampton was given to Walter Giffard, Commander of the Norman Army at the Battle of Hastings. A Manor House was in existence by 1333 and at that time there were two water mills - a name recalled by the present Mill Farm on the Stony Stratford Road.
Subsequently the Manor passed to the Cecils, the Marquess of Salisbury selling the estate in 1807. Later it was inherited by the Walker family and remained in their ownership until it was broken up at an auction in 1922.
The best starting point for a tour of the village is the church. It is The Church of the Assumption of St Mary the Virgin and dates from the 14th century. The whole building was extensively restored by the Victorian architect G. E. Street.

On leaving the church by the main gate, look into the field opposite. The wall and gateway are those of Hall Farm, the former Manor House. In this field Queen Anne is said to have inspected some of her troops.
The present 17th century stone built farmhouse was an addition to the Tudor Manor House. That, according to tradition, was the home of Catherine Parr, sixth wife of King Henry VIII. The earlier building was largely dismantled in the 18th century and some material used for farm outbuildings.
On the opposite side of the road is Beachampton Place, formerly the Victorian Rectory. Now continue down the lane and, before turning right into Main Street for the village, look ahead to Manor Farm. The stone built farmhouse dates from the 17th century.

As you walk down Main Street, you will pass the one remaining thatched cottage in Beachampton, although old photographs show that other houses, including the inn, were originally thatched.

The Old School on the opposite side of the road was built in 1869. It closed in the 1920s and is now a private house and the Village Hall. On the right are four Victorian cottages, originally built for workers on Beachampton Estate. The one with a post box by its gate was the village post office and shop.


Article written by members of the Buckinghamshire Federation of Women's Institutes for the publication "The Buckinghamshire Village Book" (1987) and reproduced here with their permission