St Bees, its development and history

The village has an extensive history going back as far as 850 AD and, if you include geology, considerably longer! Much of it is linked to the Priory and  School history and is covered in those sections.

Village History in a nutshell
The History of the Railway
Local Shipwrecks
Theological College

In 1939 Mill Hill School from North London was evacuated to St Bees for the duration of the Second World War.

These pages record the subsequent reunions and other history,

Mill Hill School
Minutes of Meetings

St Bees School was founded in 1583 by Archbishop Grindal who was born in the village. After an unfortunate closure in 2016, it has now re-opened and will hopefully regain its past reputation.

School Foundation
The School today

The discovery in 1981 of the almost perfectly preserved body of a medieval knight, now known as ” St Bees Man”, was one of the most extraordinary archaeological burial finds in Britain in the late 20th century.

John Todd’s account
Latest Research

The Priory was founded in 1120 but its history goes back even further to the story of Bega. Much of the development of the village and School is linked to the Priory.

Post Reformation
19th Century
20th Century
Conjectural layout
Monastic Services

Thanks to the work of Bob Jopling, a local historian, and the records of St Bees School, we now have a record of the St Bees parish people who died in the Boer War and the two World Wars.

Boer War
World War 1
World War 2
School Victoria Crosses
Roll of Honour

These pages are dedicated to their memory.

St Bees Parish Council


The 1894 Local Government Act brought parish councils into existence, and just hours before the end of that year, St. Bees parish council had its first meeting to conform with the Act. But 1895 was the year in which the council really started to operate, and to mark one hundred years of activity, Doug Sim produced this booklet.

100 Years of St Bees – 1895 to 1995


A number of publications have been produced by organisations and individuals in the village. A list of these Publications and Dissertations and links to them (where available) can be seen below. Select headings for more information.


St Bees News

1000 Years of History
St Bees Man
Bob’s Jottings
St Bees – A Cumbrian Coastal Village

100 Years of St Bees
(Parish Council history)

Millennium Book

Dissertations and Essays

Dragon Stone
Archbishop Grindal
St Bega – Fact, Cult or Legend
St Bees – A minster Church
The Parkinson Diaries

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