Dorset OPC

Bere Regis

Dorset OPC
Bere Regis
Photographs Justin Standfield, Dorset OPC 2018

Bere Regis is a village situated in East Dorset at the junction of the A31 and A35. It sits in the valley of the Bere Stream that feeds the numerous watercress beds around the village. A mix of woodland and heath surrounds Bere Regis. The village has been described in various ways which mostly follow the view of Thomas Hardy which, in his novel 'Tess of the d'Urbervilles', he describes as a 'half dead townlet'. However today the quietness and tranquillity of the village can be fully appreciated away from the fast pace of life elsewhere.

The name of Bere Regis is commonly thought to come from the Old English word meaning a grove or wood with the suffix Regis coming from the fact that in its early history the village was part of the Crown Estate and where King John took up residence many times. Bere Regis is famous for its connection to Hardy's novel 'Tess of the d’Urbervilles', first published in 1891, where it is referred to as 'Kingsbere'.

Hardy's fictional d'Urbervilles were based on the ancient, real life family of the Turbervilles who were Lords of the Manor from the 13th Century right through the 18th Century. The Turbervilles lived in Wool Manor House next to Wool Bridge just a few miles from Bere Regis. Also featuring in Hardy's novel is the church of St. John the Baptist.

The present church dates from the 15th Century but there has been a church on this site since Saxon times. The church is renowned for its carved roof depicting the 12 apostles. The church also contains the stained glass Turberville window and the family's 16th Century tomb.

The parish of Bere Regis also contains the areas of Shitterton (also known as Sitterton) - a small hamlet at the western end of Bere Regis, Hollow Oak, Roke (also spelt as Roake), Woodbury Hill (an ancient hill fort and site of a long running fair) and Bere Heath to name but a few.

The position of Online Parish Clerk for Bere Regis is currently vacant

If you are interested in becoming the OPC for this Parish please contact the Co-ordinator (see Contacts Page)
The Bere Regis Village Website contains a wealth of information about the village, the Village History pages provide data similar to the OPC

Census 1841 census (Kim Parker)
1841-1901 censuses (External)
Parish Registers Partial transcripts of Births, Baptisms, Marriages and Burials (External link)
Postal Directories Pigot's 1830, Hunt's 1851 & Kelly's 1935
War Memorial Detail of those commemorated on the Bere Regis War Memorial
Land Tax & Land Owners Land ownership records from the 1807 Poll Tax and the 1871 Land Owners.
Other Records Hearth Tax Returns 1664
PCC Wills 1348-1858
Will of Joseph Manuel 1763 [thanks to Robert Barr/Mike Russell]
Photographs Photographs of the parish Page 1, Page 2
Bere Regis Village Photographs (External)
Maps For modern location maps visit:-
Bere Regis Village Maps and Aerial Photographs (external)

Records held at the Dorset History Centre
Christenings 1788-1981. Marriages 1788-1989. Burials 1788-1927. Banns 1835-1971.

Christenings & burials 1585-1786, 1790-1837. Marriages 1585-1837.
Registration District
(for the purpose of civil registration births, marriages, deaths & civil partnerships)
1 Jul 1837-31 Mar 1937: Wareham
1 Apr 1937-31 Mar 1997: Poole
1 Apr 1997-30 Sep 2001: South Dorset
1 Oct 2001-17 Oct 2005: South and West Dorset


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