12th century Norman church, built with stones from Hadrian’s Wall and where King Edward I (Longshanks) lay in state in the church for ten days in 1307.
Originally constructed in the late 13th century using stone from Hadrian’s wall it is built on the top of a Norman motte and bailey and on the site of a Roman milecastle.
Although extensively repaired and altered in 1784, 1872 and 1888 and structurally strengthened in 2006, St Marys Beaumont retains many early features giving historical depth to a church whose first recorded Rector was Sir Elias de Thirwell, 1296.
The present south doorway is a simple Norman arch, possibly removed from the original chancel. Today’s interior is largely result of the two restorations in 1872 and 1888, when seven new, first pointed lancet windows and a tall double light window in the west wall were inserted. The east wall arcading is curiously out of centre, without an agreed explanation. A tiny blocked window on south wall is possibly a ‘leper’s squint’.
The fine 15th century kingpost roof is perhaps the most distinctive architectural feature. There is an oak framed porch in Arts & Crafts style which is understood to date from the 1888 restoration. The porch has recently been completely rebuilt.
Two medieval grave slabs either side of bell pull on inner west wall, found in churchyard in 1872. One is a very rare ‘Harp Stone’ thought to commemorate a travelling monk, the other bears a relief carving of a clasped book, believed to be in memory of a Deacon.
A set of kneelers was made by parishioners to celebrate the church’s 700th Anniversary in 1997, depicting certain known Rectors over that period, together with one for the Bishop, one in regard to the 1888 Restoration, and two showing elaborate medieval crowns for St Mary.
The church welcomes many visitors walking or cycling Hadrian’s Trail who comment on the peaceful and tranquil atmosphere within the church, being on a site which has experienced millenia of strife and conflict. Historical information panels inside church cover its story from the Iron Age to present day.