The ancient parish of Beoley (pronounced Beeley) is thought to have been named after the Beauchamps, Earl of Warwick, sometime medieval Lord of the Manor. A community, with several small hamlets nearby mainly mixed arable farms and farmland, all looked over by the beautiful and ancient church of St. Leonard’s on Beoley Hill, established in the 12th century.
In the 15th century the manor lands and estates passed into the hands of the Sheldons, a wealthy and powerful family once renowned as “the wealthiest commoners in England”, friends of royalty and noted as “holding other lands at Birmingham near Beoley”.
From the 16th until the 18th Century the Sheldon family were responsible for the production of the beautiful priceless ‘Sheldon tapestries’, to this day, still seen in many of our stately homes and museums. The family brought in weavers and looms from Flanders and installed them at Barcheston and in what was left of the nearby Cistercian Abbey of Bordesley, after Henry VIII had closed it. The modern civic Parish of Beoley was established in 1911. It covered a substantial rural area of farms and farmland, bordered by Redditch, Tardebigge, Alvechurch, Rowney Green, Wythall and Studley.
With the advent of Redditch New Town in the early 1960’s, Beoley, still a mainly rural area coming under Bromsgrove (Rural) District Council, had several hundreds of acres of land annexed. Whilst this reduced the civic parish, the Ecclesiastical Parish remained, and many residents of the new town, now adjoining Beoley, have been welcomed as an important part of our church and community.
Beoley is still a mainly rural area within the Green Belt of Bromsgrove District. We still have farms and farmland, although some farm land has been industrialised. The village is attractive, with black and white cottages, barns and a mixture of dwellings, mostly older, a few newer. The old coaching inn ‘The Village Inn’ still welcomes visitors. We have a thriving village school, built in 1897, with modern facilities, vibrant staff and curriculum which has an excellent record and is very popular locally, as is Beoley Village Hall opposite.
The Village Hall built around 1900 under the Carnegie Trust as a reading room, now has up to date attractive facilities, a licensed bar and has a dedicated management who ensure the Hall is well used and cared for every day of the week.
If St. Leonard’s Church is the heart and soul of our spiritual and religious life, then Beoley Village Hall is the social heart of the Parish.
Beoley has seen the Arrow flood to over 1 mile wide and has seen monks from the Abbey walking to the fishing ponds at the top of the village. They have seen Cromwell’s Ironsides riding through their lands. The Abbey in ruins, weavers creating beautiful tapestries, needles manufactured and packed by hand and sent worldwide. A new town, new people, changes through the centuries, but Beoley is now a 21st century community facing challenges, but still a thriving community.