Bere Regis, Dorset

Historical Description

Bere-Regis, a small ancient town and a parish in Dorset. The town stands on the Bere rivulet, adjacent to a vast tract of barren heath, 1 ½ mile N of the river Piddle, 6 ½ miles W from Wareham station on the L. & S.W.R., and 8 SSW of Blandford-Forum. It has a post, money order, and telegraph office under Wareham. It dates from the time of the Romans, was a residence of Queen Elfrida and of King John, and suffered severely from fire in 1634, in 1788, and in 1817. It was once a market-town, but is now an agricultural village. It was constituted a free borough by Edward I., but never sent representatives to Parliament. The parish church is a large ancient edifice with a square tower; contains a round Norman font and numerous monuments of the Turbervilles and others; and was entirely restored and repaired in 1875. There are Congregational and Methodist chapels, a free school with £30, and some small charities. King John's palace stood in a field east of the church. The manor house of the Turbervilles afterwards occupied the same site. Cardinal Morton, who figured prominently in the time of Henry VII., and Bishop Turberville of Exeter, were natives.

Transcribed from The Comprehensive Gazetteer of England and Wales, 1894-5

Administration

The following is a list of the administrative units in which this place was either wholly or partly included.

Ancient County Dorsetshire
Diocese Salisbury
Hundred Bere Regis
Poor Law union Wareham and Purbeck (1836-)
Registration district Wareham
Registration sub-district Bere Regis

Any dates in this table should be used as a guide only.


Church Records

The parish register of baptisms, marriages and burials begins in 1588, but the 18th century registers were burnt in a fire at the vicarage in 1788.. The original register books are now deposited with the Dorset Archives Service, but have been digitised by Ancestry.co.uk and made available on their site (subscription required).


Churches

Church of England

St. John the Baptist (parish church)

The parish church of St John the Baptist is a building of flint and stone, consisting of chancel, nave, aisles, south porch and an embattled western tower, with carved pinnacles, containing a clock with quarter chimes and 5 bells; the style is principally Perpendicular, but there are traces of Norman work in the interior, and the south aisle is Decorated: the roof of the nave, erected by Cardinal Morton (who also built the tower), in Henry VII.'s reign, is of richly carved oak with fine hammer beams adorned with figures, which have been repaired and repainted in their original colours: the seats are of oak with beautifully carved ends: the windows are all stained, and were presented by the late Mrs Ernle-Erle-Drax: there are two finely canopied tombs in Purbeck marble of the Turberville family, the ancient lords of the manor; one in the chancel to John Skerne, with a curious inscription, and a brass with Latin epitaph to Andrew Loup: the church was thoroughly restored and reseated in 1875, from designs by the late G.E. Street esq. R.A. at a cost of over £5,000: an oak reredos was presented in 1909 in memory of J.L. Eggington esq.: there are 428 sittings.


Civil Registration

Bere Regis was in Wareham Registration District from 1837 to 1937 and Poole Registration District from 1937 to 1974


Directories & Gazetteers

We have transcribed the entry for Bere Regis from the following:


Maps

Online maps of Bere Regis are available from a number of sites:


Newspapers and Periodicals

The British Newspaper Archive have fully searchable digitised copies of the Dorset County Chronicle and the Sherborne Mercury online.


Villages, Hamlets, &c

Milborne Stileham
Shitterton


Visitations Heraldic

The Visitation of Dorset, 1623 is available on the Heraldry page.