(O.S. 6 in. (a)xiii. S.W. (b)xxi. N.W.)
b(1). Parish Church of St. Peter, W. of
the village, is built of flint with stone dressings; the nave is coated with plaster and
covered with ivy. The building dates from
the end of the 13th or beginning of the 14th
century, when it consisted of the Chancel and
Nave only. The North Chapel and the South
Porch were erected c. 1330. Early in the 15th
century another arch was inserted between the
chancel and chapel, and the Tower added, and
later in the century the clearstorey was raised.
In 1889 the S. and E. walls of the chancel were
re-built, and the tower has been recently
The 14th-century arches between the chancel
and chapel are of very fine detail.
Architectural Description — The Chancel
(33 ft. by 17½ ft.) has a modern E. window:
in the S. wall are two 15th-century windows of
three lights with flat, traceried heads; the second
window is much repaired: between them is a
late 13th-century doorway with moulded jambs
and a slightly ogee-pointed, straight-sided arch;
a third window is modern. In the N. wall are
three arches; the easternmost, of c. 1430, is four-centred under a square head, with tracery and
shields in the spandrels; the inner faces of the
jambs and the soffit are panelled; in the apex
is carved an angel holding small figures of a
knight and lady, whose tomb is placed under
the arch (see Monuments below). The other
arches were built with the N. chapel, c. 1330;
the middle pier and responds have engaged
shafts and rolls, with moulded bases and capitals; the arches are slightly ogee-pointed and
elaborately moulded; the eastern arch is further
enriched by carved crockets and finials, and is
flanked by crocketted pinnacles: the labels have
head stops, one being carved with the bust
of a knight wearing ailettes. The chancel arch
was re-built and widened early in the 15th
century. The North Chapel (33 ft. by 13½ ft.)
has a 15th-century E. window, two N. windows
of the 14th century, and a small N.
doorway. The Nave (48½ ft. by 26 ft.) has two
N. and two S. windows, of two lights each with
tracery; all are of early 14th-century date: in
the N.E. corner is a rood-stair turret with four-centred doorways at the head and foot. The
14th-century N. doorway is blocked and its
outer stonework defaced; the S. doorway is
of late 14th-century date with a pointed arch in
a square head. The clearstorey has three 15th-century windows on each side; the stonework
is much decayed. The West Tower (14 ft.
square) is of two stages, with embattled parapet
and pyramidal roof; a 15th-century archway,
partly restored, opens into the nave; the doorway
and windows are of the 19th century. The
South Porch has a 14th-century entrance archway, much repaired with cement, and a window
in each side wall. The chancel Roof is modern;
the nave roof is of the 15th century; some of
the bosses covering the intersections of the
ribs bear the arms of Benstede and of Moyne.
Fittings—Bells: eight, 1st 1626, 2nd 1630.
Brackets: in E. jamb of S.E. window of
nave, carved with angels, roses, and a shield
with three horse-shoes in dexter and a bell in
sinister: W. of same window, carved with
grotesque figure. Brasses: on N. wall of chancel, half figure of priest in cope, probably 15th-century: on E. wall of nave, inscriptions to
William Clarke, 1591, and to John Clarke, 1604.
Chair: in the chancel, c. 1600. Communion
Table: in the chapel behind the organ, late
17th-century. Door: in S. entrance, oak, 15th-century. Font: octagonal bowl of Barnack
stone, the alternate sides with engaged shafts
resting on carved heads, mid 14th-century,
defaced: stem with panelled sides and base,
15th-century. Glass: in some of the windows
of chancel and nave, fragments, mediæval.
Image: in niche over entrance of S. porch, of St.
Michael slaying the dragon; somewhat defaced.
Monuments: under the 14th-century arch in N.
wall of chancel, altar tomb with recumbent
effigies, c. 1320, of knight, with crossed legs,
apparently wearing camail, hauberk, chausses,
leather knee and elbow cops, and a long surcoat,
and of a lady with a long head veil, her hands
broken off; their feet rest on lions; in the
panels on the sides of the tomb, small mutilated
figures, probably of their children; between
the heads of the panels are plain shields:
under the 15th-century arch in the same
wall, altar tomb with canopied niches in
the sides; on it lie effigies of knight, in
plate armour, and lady, c. 1430: in the
chancel floor, slabs to members of the Cæsar
family, 17th-century. Niches: in S.E. corner
of nave, with carved bracket, the canopied
head broken away: in N.W. buttress of
tower, with shield bearing the arms of
Benstede and Moyne. Piscinae: in the
chancel, 14th-century, with modern sill:
in the chapel, with crocketted label, 14th-century, sill broken and decayed: in S. wall
of nave, plain. Plate: includes cup and paten
of 1639. Seating: in the nave, some 16th-century benches. Sedilia: in the chancel, three,
with detached shafts in the jambs, 13th-century;
heads of c. 1330. Stoup: in S. porch, broken.
Condition—Good structurally; some dressed
stones inside and outside are decayed.
b (2). Benington Castle (Mount and Bailey),
in the village, N. of the parish church,
stands about 380 feet above O.D., and E.
of a valley falling S. towards the river Beane.
The Keep mount is well preserved and conspicuous, but the other remains are very slight.
The 12th-century Keep is, notwithstanding
its ruinous condition, of unusual interest, as
few other instances are recorded of a square
Norman Keep upon a moated mount, and it is
the only example in the county.
The Keep Mount, large and flat-topped, covers
4/5 acre, and rises about 16 ft. above the dry ditch,
which is nearly 70 ft. wide. The crest of the
mount is lined with a slight bank crowned with
a modern wall, and is partly encroached upon
by a modern house and gateway on the N. Near
the E. side is the Keep (about 44 ft. by 41 ft.
externally), built of flint rubble with oolite
dressings. The walls are between 7 and 8 ft.
thick, and now stand from 2 to 9 ft. high; the
rubble facing which remains is of herringbone work. At each of the angles are the bases
of two pilaster buttresses about 4 ft. in width
and 2 ft. in projection, and in the middle of
each wall is a similar buttress; they retain some
of the ashlar facing which shows the diagonal
tooling characteristic of Norman work. The
remains of the Bailey on the E. consist of a bank
6 ft. high, without a ditch, forming a right-angled salient. The Entrances are not traceable.
Dimensions—Greatest length through mount
and bailey, S.W. to N.E., 570 ft. Width across
mount, N. to S., 350 ft. Average diameter of
Keep mount at summit, 200 ft. Width of
bailey, S.W. to N.E., 150 ft.
Condition—Of mount, good: of keep, ruinous; nearly all the rubble facing has been
picked off the walls; a large fragment of the W.
wall has fallen inside the keep, and another
fragment, part of the S. wall, has fallen outside
it. The junction of the bailey with the mount,
and the defences of both have been obscured on
the N. and W. by extensive alterations to the
house and gardens.
a (3). The Rectory, about 350 yds. N. of the
church, built in 1637, as indicated by a dated
stone over the main entrance, is of two storeys
and an attic. The plan was rectangular, but
c. 1680 a wing was added at the back, making
it L-shaped; in the 19th century additions were
made on the N. and W., and the walls almost
entirely re-faced with brick. On the E. front
part of a moulded brick string-course remains,
and a small projecting porch opens into the hall,
which is apparently in its original position.
The old kitchen on the S. has been divided into
several rooms and a passage; the original fire-place with a wood lintel now has a safe set in
it, and the ceiling joists are encased in modern
plaster. On the N. of the hall is the original
staircase with square newels and pendants, and
turned balusters. The present kitchen is in the
wing at the back. The rooms on the first floor
have 18th-century panelling, and to each a
small powdering closet is attached. The roof
timbers in the attic are ceiled.
b (4). Cottages: a row on the S. side of the
village green, one known as 'The Priest's
House'; they are all of late 16th-century date,
built of timber and plaster, and have old
brick chimney stacks; the roofs are tiled. The
timber work is exposed only in the 'Priest's
Condition—Fairly good; two of the chimneys
are out of the perpendicular.