Bere Regis St. John the Baptist
Bere Regis church is one of Dorset's real gems and no tour of the County's ecclesiastical buildings will be complete without a visit. It is situated in the heart of the village and adjoined from some angles by rather dreary housing developments. However, this only serves to maximise the grandeur of the church. During the C13 the area was a royal manor. Queen Elfrida, the mother of King Ethelred moved here after the murder of her stepson King Edward the Martyr at Corfe Castle. Much later King John is known to have stayed here on sixteen separate occasions between 1204 and 1216. In 1259, the manor was granted to Simon de Montfort, the founder of the English parliament, thus ending royal patronage, although the name 'Regis' stuck. Perhaps the most famous family associated with the manor were the Turbevilles who became the lords in the C13, but died out early in the C18. This fact fascinated the novelist, Thomas Hardy, who immortalised them in his celebrated 'Tess of the D'Urbevilles'. Although the village has existed for more than a thousand years, it has been frequently ravaged by fire. Perhaps the worst was in 1788 when almost all was destroyed, leaving no building of great antiquity or particular merit.
The Trust gratefully acknowledges images and text by Robin Adeney ©
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