The chapel of St Mary Magdalene, Boveney stands on a site which has been a place of worship since before the Roman conquest.
Its origins are obscure but it is first mentioned in 1266, when the offerings there were assigned to the vicarage of Burnham. No further reference to it has been found until 1508, when Robert Aldridge of that parish left 3/4d to it by his Will.
It was dependant on the mother church at Burnham, and a bull of Pope Leo, dated 1513, ordered the Vicar of Burnham to find a Chaplain to 'celebrate Mass there as heretofore'.
In 1519 it was presented that the glass windows of the chancel were defective and the divine offices were not said at the appointed hours.
The Chapel was annexed to Burnham as a chapel of ease when the advowson of Burnham was given to Eton College. Lipscombe in his History of Bucks, Vol iii p214, says that William Glover was presented to the living of Burnham by John Hawtry in 1669 and, after his death in 1707 the presentation to the Vicarage of Burnham with Boveney Chapel has been on the nomination of Eton College)
An Act of Parliament in 1737 to make Boveney a separate living failed for want of sufficient endowment. The Vicar of Burnham and his curate held a service there on the first Sunday of each month, but in 1767 the chapelry demanded a service every Sunday and protested its independence except as regards burials.
It appointed its own churchwardens, looked after its own poor and repaired the highways.
By an order in Council dated 25th May 1911, Boveney Liberty was ecclesiastically annexed to Eton, to which the church of St Mary, Magdalene is now a chapel of ease.
The chapel originally served the village of Boveney and surrounding area which at that time was one of the largest villages in the area.
The Chapel was probably used by bargees and other riverside folk when there was a busy wharf nearby used for transporting timber from Windsor Forest.
The above information was extracted from the Victoria History of the Counties of England. (A history of Buckinghamshire Vol iii edited by William Page, FSA and published in London by the St Catherine’s Press 1925).
The above was extracted from Parishes: Burnham with Lower Boveney, Pages 165-184, A History of the County of Buckingham: Volume 3. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1925.
The Church is now open daily.
We encourage those who are interested to take advantage of going inside the Church and enjoying the wonderful, quiet, peaceful place that it is.
The Friends of St Mary Magdalene, Boveney would be most grateful for any donation you might wish to make to assist us in maintaining this beautiful church. Thank you.
The Church is available as a venue for appropriate events.
Full details in the Venue section