A Topographical Dictionary of England. Originally published by S Lewis, London, 1848.
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Bedminster (St. John the Baptist)
BEDMINSTER (St. John the Baptist), a parish, and the head of a union, partly in the county of the city of Bristol, and partly in the hundred of Hartcliffe with Bedminster, E. division of Somerset, 1½ mile (S. by W.) from Bristol; containing, with the tythings of Bishport and Knowle, 17,862 inhabitants. This large and populous place anciently consisted only of a few cottages; but, from its proximity to Bristol, from which it is separated only by the new cut formed for the conversion of the natural channel of the river Avon into a floating-harbour, and also from its situation on the main road from the western counties, it has become a considerable suburb to that city. Here are tanneries and rope-walks, and many of the inhabitants are employed in collieries. The parish comprises about 5000 acres, chiefly pasture land, and in the environs are several gardens, with the produce of which the occupiers supply the city of Bristol. The living is a discharged vicarage, with the perpetual curacies of St. Mary's and St. Thomas' Redcliffe and Abbot's-Leigh annexed, valued in the king's books at £10. 3. 4., and in the gift of the Prebendary of Bedminster and Redcliffe: the appropriate tithes have been commuted for £69, and the vicarial for £400. The church displays various portions of ancient architecture, with modern insertions: a spire on the tower was thrown down in 1563. St. Paul's district church, in the later English style, with a tower, was erected in 1831, by grant of the Parliamentary Commissioners, at an expense of £8673: the living is a vicarage not in charge; net income, £180; patron, the Vicar of Bedminster. At Bishport is a district church dedicated to St. Peter. There are places of worship for Baptists, Independents, and Methodists, of which that belonging to the Independents is one of the most handsome and spacious buildings of the kind in the kingdom; the principal entrance is adorned with Grecian columns, and the exterior coated with freestone. Schools are maintained by voluntary contributions; and an hospital, including also a dispensary, has been lately instituted. About the close of the twelfth century, Robert de Berkeley founded an hospital, dedicated to St. Catherine, for a master and several poor brethren; it stood on the western side of a street near the extremity of Brightlow bridge, and was subsequently used as a glass-manufactory, but has since been converted into small tenements. Another hospital was founded by a member of the same family, but every vestige of it has disappeared. The poor law union of Bedminster comprises twenty-three parishes and places, and contains a population of 36,268.
Bedstone (St. Mary)
BEDSTONE (St. Mary), a parish, in the union of Knighton, hundred of Purslow, S. division of Salop, 4½ miles (N. E.) from Knighton; containing 139 inhabitants. It comprises 908 acres, of which 99 are common or waste; the surface is diversified with hill and dale, and the soil in general a sharp gravelly earth. The living is a discharged rectory, valued in the king's books at £4. 13. 4.; net income, £230; patron, E. Rogers, Esq. The tithes have been commuted for £110.
Bedwardine (St. John)
BEDWARDINE (St. John), a parish, in the union of Worcester, Lower division of the hundred of Oswaldslow, Worcester and W. divisions of the county of Worcester, ¼ of a mile (S. W. by W.) from Worcester; containing 2663 inhabitants. This parish, which is bounded on the east by the Teme and the Severn, comprises about 250 acres of land. The village is pleasantly situated on an eminence rising from the western bank of the latter river, by which it is separated from the city of Worcester. The chief employment of the females here is glove-making. The allotment system has been introduced by the vicar. Among the seats are Pitmaston, Broughton House, and Crow's Nest, with grounds, well planted, attached to each; and in the village are many handsome and substantial houses and shops. A fair is held on the Friday before PalmSunday, on which day (by ancient usage, originating in a grant of certain privileges by the prior of Worcester, in the reign of Edward IV.) the mayor and corporation of the city walk in procession through the village.
The living is a discharged vicarage, valued in the king's books at £13. 6. 8.; net income, £635; patrons and appropriators, the Dean and Chapter of Worcester. The church is an ancient edifice, partly Norman, but chiefly in the early English style, with a square tower; and stands at the junction of the Bromyard and Bransford roads. It is said to have been a chapel of ease to the mother church, originally at Wick, and to have been made the parish church in 1371: an organ was presented in 1841 by John Williams, Esq., of Pitmaston, who also gave about £300 towards the repair and enlargement of the edifice. The Wesleyans have a place of worship. Charity schools for twelve boys and twelve girls, afterwards united, were respectively founded and endowed by Milbarrow Doelittle in 1719, and Mercy Herbert in 1722, each granting land for the purpose. An infants' school, in which 120 children are instructed, was built in 1843. A rent-charge of £25 was bequeathed by Timothy Nourse, in 1698, for apprenticing children and clothing aged persons; and among other charities are, several bequests for the benefit of the poor, four almshouses for aged widows, a district-visiting clothing club, a Sunday-school clothing club, an infants'-school clothing club, and a coal club; the clothing clubs being under the auspices of the clergy. There is also a parochial lending library.
Bedwardine, St. Michael, county of Worcester.—See Michael (St.), Bedwardine.
BEDWARDINE, ST. MICHAEL, county of Worcester.—See Michael (St.), Bedwardine.
Bedwas (St. Barrog)
BEDWAS (St. Barrog), a parish, in the union of Newport, partly in the hundred of Caerphilly, county of Glamorgan (South Wales), but chiefly in the Lower division of the hundred of Wentlloog, county of Monmouth; containing 800 inhabitants, of whom 458 are in the hamlet of Upper Bedwas, and 284 in that of Lower Bedwas, 9 miles (W. by N.) from Newport. This parish, which is intersected by the river Rumney, comprises 4207 acres, whereof 339 are common or waste; it abounds with coal, and some mines are in full operation. The living is a rectory, with the living of Ruddry annexed, valued in the king's books at £10. 14. 9½., and in the patronage of the Crown: the great tithes of Bedwas, belonging to the Bishop of Llandaff, have been commuted for £187. 12. 6., and the bishop has also 100 acres of glebe. A school is endowed with £23 per annum, derived from land.
Bedwelty (St. Sannan)
BEDWELTY (St. Sannan), a parish, in the union of Abergavenny, division of Bedwelty, hundred of Wentlloog, county of Monmouth, 16 miles (N. W.) from Newport; containing, with the hamlets of Ishlawrcoed, Ushlawrcoed, and Mamhole, 22,413 inhabitants. The parish comprises 14,516 acres, of which 3931 are common or waste: it contains extensive veins of ironstone, and is intersected in every direction by numerous tramroads; the Rumney railway, also, commences here, and joins the Sirhowey railway in the parish of Bassaleg. There are several foundries on a very large scale, for an account of which see Tredegar. The Rock inn is a polling-place for the election of knights of the shire. The living is a perpetual curacy; net income, £150; patron, the Bishop of Llandaff. The church is of early English architecture: the churchyard, which commands extensive and variegated prospects, is surrounded with some trifling remains of an intrenchment. A district church was lately erected at Tredegar, by aid of grants from the Parliamentary Commissioners and the Incorporated Society; and in 1839, an act was passed to empower the Rumney Iron Company to erect and endow another church, the living of which is in the gift of the Bishop. There are places of worship for Baptists, Independents, and Wesleyan and Calvinistic Methodists.
Bedwin, Great (St. Mary)
BEDWIN, GREAT (St. Mary), an incorporated market-town and a parish, in the union of Hungerford, hundred of Kinwardstone, Marlborough and Ramsbury, and S. divisions of Wilts, 5½ miles (S. W. by W.) from Hungerford, 23 (N.) from Salisbury, and 70½ (W. by S.) from London; including the tythings of Crofton with Wolfhall, East and West Grafton, Martin, Wexcombe, and Wilton; and containing 2178 inhabitants. This place, supposed by Dr. Stukeley to be the Leucomagus of Ravennas, derives its name from the Saxon Beeguyn, or Bedgwyn, expressive of its situation on an eminence in a chalky soil. It was anciently a city of great extent, and the metropolis of Cissa, one of the three sons of Ælla, the Saxon chieftain, who invaded Britain in 477; and Cissa, when viceroy of Wiltshire and part of Berkshire, is said to have enlarged and strengthened Chisbury Castle, now a noble relic of Saxon earthwork, about a mile to the north-east of the town, in the parish of Little Bedwin. In 674, a battle was fought here between Wulfhere, King of Mercia, and Æscuin, a nobleman in the service of Saxburga, Queen of Wessex; in which, after a desperate struggle, the latter was victorious. The parish comprises by measurement 9353 acres of land, chiefly arable, with a good quantity of wood and some pasture and down; the soil consists principally of mellow earth, resting on chalk. The surface presents numerous softlyrounded eminences, crowned with luxuriant plantations overhanging the picturesque valleys; and to the south the hills rise higher, and stretch towards Salisbury Plain. The Kennet and Avon canal passes through the parish, and affords a medium for the conveyance of excellent coal. The market is on Tuesday; and fairs are held on April 23rd and July 26th: the markethouse is an ancient building situated in the principal street.
A portreeve, who is customarily called mayor, a bailiff, and other officers, are annually chosen at the court leet of the lord of the manor. The borough sent representatives to all the parliaments of Edward I., from the close of whose reign to the 9th of Henry V., there were frequent intermissions; but since then it constantly returned two members, until its disfranchisement by the act of the 2nd of William IV., cap. 45. The living is a vicarage, valued in the king's books at £8. 10. 10.; net income, £212; patron and impropriator, the Marquess of Ailesbury. The church, the only remaining one of seven which are said to have anciently existed here, appears to have been erected at various times, and exhibits good specimens in all the styles of architecture, from the Norman to the later English. It is a cruciform structure, with a lofty embattled tower rising from the intersection; and contains severalancient memorials, among which are the figure of a Knight Templar, and the monument of Sir John Seymour, father of the Protector Somerset, and of Lady Jane Seymour, consort of Henry VIII., who was born at Wolf Hall, now a farmhouse, in the parish. At East Grafton is an incumbency in the gift of the Vicar. There is a place of worship for Wesleyans. Half a mile to the north-east are some vestiges of a Roman building, now scarcely discoverable; and a fine tessellated pavement was preserved till within the last few years. Dr. Thomas Willis, a celebrated physician, was born here in 1621.
Bedwin, Little (St. Michael)
BEDWIN, LITTLE (St. Michael), a parish, in the union of Hungerford, hundred of Kinwardstone, Marlborough and Ramsbury, and S. divisions of Wilts, 4½ miles (W. S. W.) from Hungerford; containing 597 inhabitants. This place, in some documents called East Bedwyn, is intersected by the Bath and Bristol road, and the Kennet and Avon canal; and comprises by measurement 4204 acres of good arable and pasture land. The living is a vicarage, valued in the king's books at £9. 6. 8., and in the gift of the Marquess of Ailesbury: the tithes have been commuted for £33. 10. and £256. 12., the former payable to his lordship, and the latter to the incumbent. The church is a handsome structure in the decorated and later English styles, with a square embattled tower surmounted by an octagonal spire. Within the mounds of Chisbury Castle, comprising an area of fifteen acres, are the remains of a chapel, now used as a barn: the spot is said to have derived its name from Cissa, the Saxon chieftain, who resided here during the early period of the heptarchy, and the chapel is supposed to have belonged to some religious house. The ancient Wansdyke traverses the parish in a direction nearly east and west.
Bedworth (All Saints)
BEDWORTH (All Saints), a parish, in the Kirby division of the hundred of Knightlow, N. division of the county of Warwick, 5 miles (N. by E.) from Coventry; containing 4253 inhabitants. It is situated on the road from Coventry to Leicester, and comprises 2157a. 2r. 38p.: the soil is fertile, and the substrata are chiefly coal, ironstone, and limestone; the rateable annual value of the mining property being returned at £1116. There are several collieries in operation; ironstone is exported in great quantities, and limestone is extensively quarried, and burnt into lime. The throwing of silk, also, and manufacture of ribbons, are carried on, employing from 1500 to 2000 hands. The Coventry and Ashby-de-la-Zouch canals unite in the parish, and from the principal colliery a tramroad has been laid down for the conveyance of the produce; the rateable annual value of the canal property in the parish is £1273. A railway is about to be constructed through the parish from Coventry to Nuneaton. Fairs for cattle are held, but they are not much frequented. The living is a rectory, valued in the king's books at £10. 3. 11½., and in the gift of the Earl of Aylesford: the tithes have been commuted for £270, and the glebe comprises 200 acres. The church, in the year 1827, underwent a thorough repair, and was considerably enlarged; an organ was erected in 1844. There are places of worship for Baptists, Independents, and Wesleyans. The Rev. Nicholas Chamberlain, a former rector, left by will dated June 24th, 1715, property now producing about £1000 per annum, to be applied to the erection and support of schools and almshouses: upwards of 500 children are taught on the national plan, under the will; and a number of aged men and women, with a nurse to attend them, are lodged in the houses.
Beeby (All Saints)
BEEBY (All Saints), a parish, in the union of Barrow-upon-Soar, hundred of East Goscote, N. division of the county of Leicester, 6 miles (N. E. by E.) from Leicester; containing 115 inhabitants. It comprises by measurement 1418 acres, of which 219 are arable, and the remainder pasture. The living is a rectory, valued in the king's books at £15. 2. 6., and in the gift of the Earl of Shaftesbury: the tithes have been commuted for £300, and the glebe consists of 34 acres, with an excellent residence. The church is a handsome structure in the decorated English style, with a square embattled tower, surmounted by about 10 feet of a spire, which was commenced, but not completed.
BEECH, a village, in the parishes of Stone and Swinnerton, union of Stone, N. and S. divisions of the hundred of Pirehill, N. division of the county of Stafford; containing 120 inhabitants. The village stands on a lofty eminence. Beech quarter, in which it is partly included, is in Stone parish, and contains also the villages of Darlaston, Tittensor, and Walton.
BEECHAMWELL, a district comprising the parish of All Saints and the united parishes of St. John and St. Mary, in the union of Swaffham, hundred of Clackclose, W. division of Norfolk, 5 miles (W. S. W.) from Swaffham; containing 246 inhabitants. The district consists of 3813 acres, of which about 2000 are rabbitwarren: the whole was the property of the late J. Motteux, Esq., lord of the manor, who left his Norfolk estates to the Hon. C. S. Cowper. The living of All Saints' is a discharged rectory, with that of Shingham annexed, valued in the king's books at £6. 13. 4., and in the patronage of the Crown; the tithes of All Saints' have been commuted for £98, and the glebe contains 3 acres: the church is a ruin. St. John's and St. Mary's are discharged rectories consolidated, valued jointly at £9. 13. 4.; net income, £191; patron, the Hon. Mr. Cowper. The church of St. John's was taken down many years since; that of St. Mary's is an ancient structure, thoroughly repaired in 1835.
BEECH-HILL, a tything, in the parish of Stratfield-Saye, union of Basingstoke, hundred of Reading, county of Berks, 6 miles (S. by W.) from Reading; containing 261 inhabitants, and comprising 811a. 18p. There is a place of worship for Particular Baptists.
Beeching or Beauchamp Stoke (St. Stephen)
BEECHING or BEAUCHAMP STOKE (St. Stephen), a parish, in the union of Devizes, hundred of Swanborough, Devizes and N. divisions of Wilts, 5¼ miles (E. by S.) from Devizes; containing 187 inhabitants. It is situated between the Marlborough downs and Salisbury Plain, and comprises about 800 acres of well-cultivated land, the soil of which consists of clay, sandy loam, and a dark rich mould. The living is a rectory, valued in the king's books at £7. 2. 11., and in the gift of George Wylde Heneage, Esq.: the tithes have been commuted for £285, and there are 30 acres of glebe. On recently opening a tumulus, a quantity of stags' horns and human bones was discovered.
Beeding (St. Peter)
BEEDING (St. Peter), a parish, partly in the union of Steyning, and partly in that of Horsham, hundred of Burbeach, rape of Bramber, W. division of Sussex; comprising Upper and Lower Beeding, and containing 1389 inhabitants, of whom 614 are in the former, 1 mile (E.) from Steyning. The living is a discharged vicarage, valued in the king's books at £8; net income, £112; patrons and impropriators, the President and Fellows of Magdalen College, Oxford, who receive a tithe rentcharge of £650, and have 84 acres of glebe. The church consists of a nave and chancel separated by a screen, with a low embattled tower at the west end, and seems to have had formerly a south aisle, as there are two arches remaining in the south wall. At Lower Beeding is a district church. An alien priory of Benedictine monks was founded about 1075, the revenue of which, amounting to £26. 9. 9., was given to Magdalen College in 1459: it stood on the brow of a high bank on the north side of the church, but every vestige of the building was removed about fifty years since, when the rectory-house was built upon its site. A large tumulus was opened on Beeding Hill in 1800, in which more than 100 Roman urns were found.
BEEDING, LOWER, an ecclesiastical district, in the parish of Beeding, union of Horsham, hundred of Burbeach, W. division of Sussex, 4 miles (E. S. E.) from Horsham; containing 775 inhabitants. This place, which comprises the forest of St. Leonard and the estate called New Park, is intersected by a branch of the river Arun which has its source within the forest near Ashfold. Ironstone is found; and building-stone of excellent quality is plentiful, and extensively quarried. In 1840 a church was erected for Lower Beeding at Plummer's plain, on the road from Handscross to Horsham, by subscription, aided by a grant from the Incorporated Society; it is a neat edifice, and contains about 200 sittings, of which one-half are free. The living is endowed with a rent-charge on land of £135, and is in the gift of the President and Fellows of Magdalen College, Oxford, who have built a handsome parsonage-house, attached to which are 20 acres of land. A chapel, dedicated to St. John, was erected on the Coolhurst estate in 1839, at the expense of Charles Scrase Dickins, Esq., who also gave the site, which includes an extensive cemetery. The celebrated Lord Erskine resided for many years at Holmebush, in the parish.
Beedon (St. Nicholas)
BEEDON (St. Nicholas), a parish, in the union of Wantage, hundred of Faircross, county of Berks, 2 miles (S. W. by W.) from East Ilsley; containing, with the tything of Stanmore, 334 inhabitants; and comprising 2026a. 1r., of which 119 acres are common or waste. The living is a discharged vicarage, valued in the king's books at £6. 10. 10.: the tithes have been commuted for £171 per annum, of which £27 are payable to Sir J. Reade, Bart., the patron, and £144 to the incumbent, who has also 28½ acres of glebe.
Beeford (St. Leonard)
BEEFORD (St. Leonard), a parish, chiefly in the union of Driffield, but partly in the unions of Bridlington and Skirlaugh, N. division of the wapentake of Holderness, E. riding of York; comprising the townships of Beeford and Dunnington, and the chapelry of Lissett; and containing 977 inhabitants, of whom 766 are in the township of Beeford, 8 miles (E. S. E.) from Driffield. This place is of considerable antiquity, it being recorded in Domesday book that there was a church here at the time of that survey; which church was given, within a century after the Conquest, to the priory of Bridlington, by Ernald de Montbegun. The parish is on the road from Hull, through Beverley, to Bridlington and Scarborough, and comprises about 4000 acres; 897 are pasture, 120 woodland, and the remainder arable. The village is long and straggling; and on the road towards Upton are many small garths or inclosures, where houses seem formerly to have existed. The living is a rectory, valued in the king's books at £22, and in the patronage of the Archbishop of York, with a net income of £779: the tithes of Beeford township were commuted for land and a money payment in 1766. The church, which stands nearly in the centre of the village, is a spacious edifice, in a rich style of architecture, and consists of a nave, south aisle, and chancel, with a tower, which is of handsome appearance, and presents a good specimen of the later English. At Lissett is a chapel of ease, dedicated to St. James. There are places of worship for Independents and Wesleyans. An experiment has been made here of the allotment system, with about 20 acres of land divided into 68 gardens, and the advantages derived have been very great.
BEELEY, a chapelry, in the parish and union of Bakewell, hundred of High Peak, N. division of the county of Derby, 4 miles (E. by S.) from Bakewell; containing 406 inhabitants. The living is a perpetual curacy; net income, £98; patron, the Duke of Devonshire; impropriator, the Duke of Rutland: land and a money payment were assigned in lieu of all tithes in 1811. The chapel is dedicated to St. Anne. There is a place of worship for Wesleyans.
Beelsby (St. Andrew)
BEELSBY (St. Andrew), a parish, in the union of Caistor, wapentake of Bradley-Haverstoe, parts of Lindsey, county of Lincoln, 7 miles (S. W.) from Grimsby; containing 181 inhabitants. It comprises by computation 2200 acres; and contains some chalkquarries, supplying a material for the roads and for making lime. The land is the property of R. J. Adeane, Esq., of Babraham Hall, Cambridgeshire, and is let in two farms, the occupiers of which have carried the cultivation to a height almost unequalled in any other part of the wapentake. The living is a rectory, valued in the king's books at £8. 17. 6., and in the patronage of the Chapter of the Collegiate Church of Southwell; net income, £500: the glebe consists of about a quarter of an acre. The church stands on a lofty hill; it is a small building, and includes a portion of an ancient structure.
Beenham-Vallence (St. Mary)
BEENHAM-VALLENCE (St. Mary), a parish, in the union of Bradfield, hundred of Reading, county of Berks, 8 miles (W. S. W.) from Reading; containing 421 inhabitants. It comprises 1732a. 1r. 14p., and is bordered on the south by the Kennet and Avon canal. The living is a discharged vicarage, valued in the king's books at £7. 17.; net income, £211; patrons, the family of Bushnel; impropriator, Sir C. Rich, Bart.: the tithes were commuted for land and corn-rents in 1811. The Rev. J. Stackhouse, author of the History of the Bible, was vicar of the place, and was interred in the church, in which there is a monument to his memory.
BEER, a chapelry, in the parish of Seaton, union of Axminster, hundred of Colyton, Honiton and S. divisions of Devon, 3½ miles (S. S. W.) from Colyton; containing 1231 inhabitants. The Cove of Beer is highly favourable for fishing: in 1820, Lord Rolle obtained an act for constructing a pier and improving the harbour. Edward Colston bequeathed land, producing about £500 a year, for maintaining and teaching 100 boys of Idstock and Beer. Lady Rolle left £7000 three per cents. for charitable purposes, from which fund almshouses for twenty-five poor fishermen and twenty infirm widows, and schools, have been erected and endowed.
BEER, a tything, in the parish of High Ham, union of Langport, hundred of Whitley, W. division of Somerset; containing 45 inhabitants.
BEER-ALSTON, formerly a borough and markettown, in the parish of Beer-Ferris, union of Tavistock, hundred of Roborough, Tavistock and S. divisions of Devon, 14 miles (N.) from Plymouth, and 211 (W. S. W.) from London. This place, about the year 1295, received the grant of a weekly market and an annual fair, which have been for a considerable time discontinued. It is pleasantly situated within a mile of the navigable river Tamar, but consists only of a few mean houses. Some lead-mines, opened in the reign of Edward I., produced abundance of ore, from which a great quantity of silver was separated; after a long period of disuse they were again worked, but their produce had greatly diminished. A portreeve and other officers are annually chosen at the court leet of the lord of the manor, which is held under a large tree, where also the election of the parliamentary representatives took place. The elective franchise was conferred in the 27th of Elizabeth, from which time the borough returned two members until its disfranchisement by the act of the 2nd of William IV., cap. 45. There was formerly a chapel of ease to the rectory of Beer-Ferris. The Independents and Wesleyans have places of worship.
Beer-Crocombe (St. James)
BEER-CROCOMBE (St. James), a parish, in the union of Langport, hundred of Abdick and Bulstone, W. division of Somerset, 6 miles (N. W. by N.) from Ilminster; containing 179 inhabitants. The living is a discharged rectory, valued in the king's books at £11. 12. 6., and in the gift of the family of Wyndham: the tithes have been commuted for £185, and there are 56 acres of glebe.
Beer-Ferris (St. Andrew)
BEER-FERRIS (St. Andrew), a parish, in the union of Tavistock, hundred of Roborough, Tavistock and S. divisions of Devon, 7½ miles (S. by W.) from Tavistock; containing, with the ancient borough of BeerAlston, 2142 inhabitants. The parish is bounded on the west by the navigable river Tamar, and on the east by the Tavey, which unite at its southern extremity, thus forming almost a peninsula, twenty-five miles in circumference; the scenery is beautifully diversified with hill and dale. The living is a rectory, valued in the king's books at £24. 1. 0½. net income, £700; patron, the Earl of Mount-Edgcumbe. There is a school endowed with £30 per annum.
Beer-Hacket (St. Michael)
BEER-HACKET (St. Michael), a parish, in the union and hundred of Sherborne, Sherborne division of Dorset, 5 miles (S. W. by S.) from Sherborne; containing 103 inhabitants, and comprising 907 acres, of which 53 are common or waste. The living is a discharged rectory, valued in the king's books at £6. 2. 8½., and in the gift of the family of Munden, and W. Helyer, Esq., the latter of whom has every fourth presentation: the tithes have been commuted for £164, and the glebe consists of 38 acres.
Beer Regis (St. John the Baptist)
BEER REGIS (St. John the Baptist), a town and parish, in the union of Wareham and Purbeck, hundred of Beer Regis, Wareham division of Dorset, 7 miles (N. W.) from Wareham, and 113 (S. W.) from London; comprising the tythings of Milbourn-Styleham and Shitterton; and containing 1684 inhabitants. This place, which is supposed by Dr. Stukeley to have been the Ibernium of Ravennas, derives its name from the Saxon Byrig, and the adjunct Regis from its having been held in royal demesne. Elfrida, after the murder of her step-son, is said to have retired hither to avoid suspicion; and King John, who occasionally made this his residence, granted the inhabitants the privilege of a market, in the seventeenth year of his reign. Edward I. made it a free borough, but it does not appear to have ever returned any members to parliament. A great part of the town was destroyed by fire in 1634: it experienced a similar calamity in 1788, and in 1817 another destructive fire occurred, in which the parish registers were burnt. The parish comprises 7898 acres, whereof 1825 are common or waste; the cultivated land is arable, lying on chalk, and the surface is in general hilly. The town is pleasantly situated on the small river Beer; the houses, in general, are modern and well built, and the inhabitants are amply supplied with water. The market was on Wednesday, but has fallen into disuse: a fair is held on September 18th and the four following days, on Woodbury Hill, for horses, horned-cattle, sheep, cloth, and cheese. The living, which, in conjunction with that of Charmouth, formerly constituted the golden prebend in the cathedral of Salisbury, is a vicarage, with the vicarage of Winterbourne-Kingston annexed, valued in the king's books at £25. 5., and in the gift of Balliol College, Oxford; net income, £330. The great tithes of Beer Regis have been commuted for £820. 7. 6., and the vicarial for £305. 2. 6. The church is a spacious ancient structure, with a square embattled tower crowned with pinnacles. There are places of worship for Independents and Wesleyans. A charity school was founded and endowed by Thomas Williams, Esq., in 1719; the annual income is about £20. On Woodbury Hill, about half a mile from the town, is a circular camp comprehending an area of ten acres; and to the west of it are the site of the ancient chapel of Sancta Anchoretta, and a well called Anchoret's well. Dr. John Moreton, Archbishop of Canterbury, and a cardinal; and Dr. Tuberville, Bishop of Exeter, were natives of the place.
BEERHALL, a tything, in the parish and union of Axminster, county of Dorset. It was until recently included within the county of Devon.
Bees, St. (St. Bega)
BEES, ST. (St. Bega), a parish, in the union of Whitehaven, Allerdale ward above Derwent, W. division of Cumberland; comprising the town of Whitehaven, and the townships of St. Bees, Ennerdale, Eskdale, Wasdale-Head, Hensingham, Kinneyside, Lowside Quarter, Nether Wasdale, Preston Quarter, Rottington, Sandwith, and Weddiker; and containing 19,687 inhabitants, of whom 557 are in the township of St. Bees, 2¾ miles (W. by N.) from Egremont. The parish extends for about ten miles along the coast, which in some parts is rocky and precipitous; and contains coal, limestone, and freestone: lead-ore is obtained at Kinneyside, where there are smelting-furnaces; and iron-ore was formerly got in Eskdale. A lighthouse erected in 1717, and subsequently destroyed by fire, was rebuilt in 1822, on a promontory called St. Bees' Head; it is furnished with nine reflectors, affording a strong light, which, from its elevated position, is seen at a great distance. The living is a perpetual curacy; net income, £103; patron and impropriator, the Earl of Lonsdale, whose tithes in the township of St. Bees have been commuted for £166. There are four separate incumbencies at Whitehaven, and one each at Ennerdale, Eskdale, Hensingham, Lowswater, Wasdale-Head, and Nether Wasdale; nearly the whole of them in the gift of the Earl. The parish church was formerly the conventual church of a monastery founded about 650, by Bega, or Begogh, an Irish female, who subsequently received the honour of canonization. The monastery was destroyed by the Danes, but was restored in the reign of Henry I., by William de Meschines, lord of Copeland, as a cell to the abbey of St. Mary at York; and in 1219 was pillaged by the Scots. Its revenue, at the Dissolution, was estimated at £149. 19. 6. The church is cruciform, and has a strong tower of early Norman architecture, but the rest of the edifice is in the decorated English style: the nave is used for the celebration of divine service. The chancel, which had long lain in a ruinous state, was repaired in 1819, and fitted up as a school of divinity, in connexion with a clerical institution founded by Dr. Law, Bishop of Chester, for the benefit of young men intended for holy orders, who do not complete their studies at Oxford or Cambridge, but receive ordination after having studied for a certain period at this place; they can, however, only enter upon their ministry within the province of York.
In addition to this, there is a celebrated Free Grammar school, founded by letters-patent dated April 24th, 1583, obtained by Edmund Grindall, Archbishop of Canterbury, whereby its management is intrusted to a corporation of seven governors, of whom the provost of Queen's College, Oxford, and the rector of Egremont, are always two, the former enjoying the privilege of nominating the master, who chooses an usher. The annual income, arising from land, is £125; and the school enjoys the advantage of a fellowship and two scholarships at Queen's College, Oxford, with the privilege of sending a candidate to be examined for one of five exhibitions, founded at the same college by Lady Elizabeth Hastings; a fellowship and three scholarships at Pembroke College, Cambridge; a scholarship of £4 a year at Magdalen College, Cambridge; and, in failure of scholars from the school at Carlisle, eligibility to two exhibitions founded by Bishop Thomas, at Queen's College, Oxford.