The Parish Church of St. Michael and All Angels, Great Badminton is located at the eastern end of the South Garden, and is attached to Badminton House. It is a Grade One listed church, still in regular use by the parishioners.
The exterior of the church is in a plain rustic Italian style, with plain stonework and round-headed Georgian windows. Its tower is surmounted by four pinnacles, whose peaks are finished off with classical urns.
The interior is breath-taking in its grandeur and beauty, and a total contrast to its exterior. Upon entering the church, one sees the 44 tall oak box-pews lining the nave. The round-headed windows in the north and south walls are of plain glass, but bordered with heraldic stained glass, depicting crests and emblems of the Dukes of Beaufort. Lining the walls throughout the church are monuments and memorials to the Dukes and Duchesses of Beaufort and their family. Once past the tall pulpit and into the Chancel, one sees the choir stalls, organ case and altar rail – all of oak, created by Temple Moore in 1909. Opposite the organ is the 25 feet tall Grinling Gibbons monument to the 1st Duke of Beaufort, which arrived in Badminton from St. George’s Chapel, Windsor in 1874. Behind the altar rail is the altar with its gilt reredos and the East Window depicting the scene of St. Peter and St. Paul healing the lame man on the steps of the temple.
The church is in the process of being restored to its full glory, with most of the disruptive work now complete. To find out more about the church and our restoration project, you can visit The Great Badminton Church Restoration Fund’s website.
Great Badminton Church is filled with incredible monuments to the Dukes and Duchesses of Beaufort and their family. The dominant monument is the vast structure, carved by Grinling Gibbons, to the memory of the 1st Duke of Beaufort. It is located on the north wall of the Chancel, opposite the organ.
The other two enormous marble monuments on the east wall, either side of the Chancel entrance, are both by J.M. Rysbrack. The northern monument shows the 2nd and 3rd Dukes in Roman attire, with a cloak flowing over the edge of the perch. The southern monument is for the 4th Duke of Beaufort. He is also shown in Roman attire, but in the pose of an orator.
In the window recesses of the north and south aisles of the nave are the carved monuments to the 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th and 9th Dukes. They are each in a different style, but all have exquisite stonework or carving.
Between the windows are memorial plaques to other members of the Somerset family. Most notable of these is the elaborate plaque to General Lord Edward Somerset, the 5th son of the 5th Duke of Beaufort,who commanded the Household Cavalry at Waterloo. The other is the large marble plaque to Field Marshal Lord Raglan, the 8th and youngest son of the 5th Duke. Lord Raglan is best remembered for commanding the British Forces during the Crimean War.
At the rear of the church is a marvellous chantry chapel to the 1st Duke of Beaufort’s Duchess. Central in the chapel is a large chest tomb in marble with several carved armorials associated with the Duke and Duchess. The lower walls and floor of the chapel are of Italian marble collected by the Duke of Beaufort on his Grand Tour. It was originally intended for use in Badminton House, but ended up being used to create this colourful and beautiful space. On the floor of the chapel, the marble is used to create the ducal crest.
St. Michael and All Angels, Great Badminton is a spectacular venue for your wedding. Experience the grandeur of a ducal church, with the history, the monuments and the standard flying above the Chancel step, which will give you a day you will never forget. You will leave the church into the beautiful South Garden.
For more details about how to book the church for your wedding and what you can expect for your wedding day in St. Michael and All Angels, Great Badminton, please contact the Priest-in-Charge through the Badminton Benefice’s website.