A Topographical Dictionary of England. Originally published by S Lewis, London, 1848.
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Berkhampstead, or North-Church (St. Mary)
BERKHAMPSTEAD, or North-Church (St. Mary), a parish, in the union of Berkhampstead, hundred of Dacorum, county of Hertford, 1½ mile (N. W. by W.) from Great Berkhampstead; containing 1265 inhabitants. It comprises 3885a. 2r., of which about 1600 acres are arable, and 206 wood; and surrounds Great Berkhampstead: the village is situated in a valley. The living is a rectory, valued in the king's books at £21. 1. 3., and in the patronage of the Duchy of Cornwall: the tithes have been commuted for £900, and there are nearly 11 acres of glebe. On the top of the western hill are the small but interesting ruins of Marlin chapel, which is supposed to have been demolished by Oliver Cromwell; the walls are chiefly supported by ivy of strong and luxuriant growth, and in the area are large timber-trees.
Berkhampstead, Great (St. Peter)
BERKHAMPSTEAD, GREAT (St. Peter), a market-town and parish, and the head of a union, in the hundred of Dacorum, county of Hertford, 25½ miles (W. by S.) from Hertford, and 26 (N. W. by W.) from London; containing 2979 inhabitants. The Saxon name of this place, Berghamstede, is derived from its situation, either on a hill or near a fortress, which latter, from the site of the present town, appears to be the more probable. It is a town of considerable antiquity, the kings of Mercia having had a castle here, to which circumstance may be attributed its early growth and subsequent importance. According to Spelman, Wightred, King of Kent, assisted at the council held here in 697. At the time of the Conquest, William, on his arrival at the place, was met by Stigand, Archbishop of Canterbury, who tendered his submission; but on leaving Berkhampstead, the king's march was greatly obstucted by the opposition of Frederick, abbot of St. Alban's, who caused the roads to be blocked up, by cutting down the trees, and, on William's arrival at St. Alban's, exacted an oath from him that he would observe the ancient laws of the realm, particularly those of Edward the Confessor. Robert, Earl of Moreton, to whom the Conqueror gave the town, built a castle, which was subsequently taken from his son William, who had rebelled against Henry I., and by that monarch's order razed to the ground. Henry II. held his court here for some time, and conferred many privileges on the town. The castle was rebuilt in the reign of John, and soon after besieged by Louis, Dauphin of France, who had come over to assist the barons that were in arms against the king. In the 11th of Edward III., Berkhampstead sent two representatives to the great council at Westminster; and James I., who selected the place as a nursery for his children, granted the inhabitants a charter of incorporation; but they were so impoverished during the civil war in the reign of his son Charles I., that they were unable to maintain their privileges, and the charter became forfeited.
The town is pleasantly situated in a deep valley, on the south-western bank of the river Bulbourne, and consists of two streets intersecting at right angles, the principal of which, nearly a mile in length, contains several handsome houses; the air is highly salubrious, and the inhabitants are amply supplied with water. Assemblies are held regularly during the season. The manufacture of wooden bowls, spoons, and other articles of a like kind, formerly prevailed, but it is on the decline; and the making of lace, which was also carried on extensively, has given place to the platting of straw, in which the female part of the population are chiefly employed. The Grand Junction canal, which passes by the town, affords an extensive line of inland navigation; and the railroad from London to Birmingham runs close to the canal, and has a station at this point. The market is on Saturday; the market-house is an ancient building in the centre of the town. Fairs are held on Shrove-Tuesday and Whit-Monday, and there is also a statute-fair at Michaelmas. The county magistrates hold a petty-session on the first and third Tuesdays in every month; and a court leet for the honour of Berkhampstead, which is part of the duchy of Cornwall, is held at Michaelmas. The prison is used as a house of correction, and for the confinement of malefactors previously to their committal to the county gaol.
The parish comprises 4341 acres, of which 1197 are common or waste. The Living is a rectory, valued in the king's books at £20, and in the patronage of the Duchy of Cornwall: the tithes have been commuted for £434, and there are two acres of glebe. The church is a spacious cruciform structure, exhibiting some fine portions of the several styles of English architecture; the tower, rising from the intersection, and highly enriched with sculpture, was built by Richard Torrington, in the reign of Henry VIII. Within the church are two chapels at the eastern end, one dedicated to St. John, the other to St. Catharine; and some interesting monuments. There are places of worship for Baptists, the Society of Friends, and Independents. The free grammar school was instituted in the time of Henry VIII., and endowed with lands belonging to the dissolved guild of St. John the Baptist: in the succeeding reign it was made a royal foundation; the master, usher, and chaplain, were incorporated by act of parliament; and the warden of All Saints' College, Oxford, was appointed visiter. A charity school called the Blue-coat school, for twenty boys and ten girls, was founded in 1727, by Thomas Bourne, who endowed it with £8000; the property now consists of £9300 in the New South Sea annuities. Almshouses for six aged widows were founded in 1681, and endowed with £1000, by Mr. John Sayer; whose endowment was augmented with £300 by his widow, in 1712; with £26. 5. per annum by Mrs. Martha Deere, in 1784; and with £400 by the Rev. Geo. Nugent and Mrs. Elizabeth Nugent, in 1822. King James I. gave £100, and Charles I. £200, for providing employment and fuel for the poor, and there are several other bequests for charitable uses. The union of which the town is the head comprises ten parishes and places, of which seven are in the county of Hertford, and three in that of Bucks; and contains a population of 11,512. There are slight vestiges of the ancient residence of the Mercian kings, on the north side of the town; and at the north-east end of Castlestreet are the remains of the castle, consisting principally of walls of an elliptical form, defended on the north-west side by a double, and on the other sides by a triple, moat: the entrance was at the south-east angle, where there are two wide piers, between which probably was the drawbridge. An hospital, dedicated to St. James, formerly existed; but there are no vestiges of it. At the end of the High-street is a spring of clear water, called St. James's well, to which medicinal properties are attributed. The poet Cowper was born in the town in 1731.
Berkhampstead, Little (St. Andrew)
BERKHAMPSTEAD, LITTLE (St. Andrew), a parish, in the union, hundred, and county of Hertford, 4¾ miles (S. W. by S.) from Hertford; containing 555 inhabitants. The surface is hilly, and the soil consists of clay and gravel. The living is a rectory, valued in the king's books at £7. 8. 6½., and in the gift of the Marquess of Salisbury: the tithes have been commuted for £250. 18. 4., and there are nearly 39 acres of glebe. At How Green is a place of worship for Wesleyans. On an elevated situation near an old manor-house, a circular tower of brick 100 feet in height, termed the Observatory, has been erected, which commands an extensive prospect.
Berkley (St. Mary)
BERKLEY (St. Mary), a parish, in the union and hundred of Frome, E. division of Somerset, 2¾ miles (E. N. E.) from Frome, and on the road from Bath to Salisbury; containing 496 inhabitants. This place appears to have formed part of the possessions of the Newborough family, who were relatives to, and came over to England with, William the Conqueror, and one of whose descendants, Thomas Newborough, was interred in the church in 1531. The parish comprises about 1800 acres, is richly wooded, and abounds with pleasing scenery; freestone resembling that of Bath, but of harder quality, is extensively quarried for building, and limestone abounds. The living is a rectory, valued in the king's books at £7. 9. 7., and in the gift of Sir John Mordaunt: the tithes have been commuted for £354, and the glebe comprises 55¼ acres. The church was erected in 1751. Sir John Colborne, afterwards Lord Seaton, resided in the rectory-house for some time.
BERKSHIRE, an inland county, bounded on the north by Oxfordshire and the southern part of Buckinghamshire, on the east by the counties of Buckingham and Surrey, on the south by that of Southampton, on the west by that of Wilts, and at its north-western extremity, for a very short distance, by that of Gloucester. It extends from 51° 21' to 51° 48' (N. Lat.), and from 34' 30inch" to 1° 43ft' (W. Lon.); and contains nearly 726 square miles, or about 464,500 statute acres. There are 31,653 houses inhabited, 1590 uninhabited, and 201 in the course of erection; and the population amounts to 161,147, of whom 80,231 are males, and 80,916 females. At the period of the conquest of Britain by the Romans, the south-eastern part of the county was inhabited by the Bibroci; a small portion of it, on the south side, by the Segontiaci; and the remaining more extensive tract by the Attrebatii, or Attrebates. Under the Roman dominion it was included in the great division called Britannia Prima; and in the time of the heptarchy it formed part of the powerful kingdom of the West Saxons, or Wessex. Berkshire is in the diocese of Oxford, province of Canterbury, and forms an archdeaconry, in which are comprised the deaneries of Abingdon, Newbury, Reading, and Wallingford, containing 148 parishes. For purposes of civil government it is divided into the hundreds of Beynhurst, Bray, Charlton, Compton, Cookham, Faircross, Farringdon, Ganfield, Hormer, Kintbury-Eagle, Lambourn, Morton, Ock, Reading, Riplesmere, Shrivenham, Sunning, Theale, Wantage, and Wargrave. It contains the borough and market towns of Abingdon, Reading, Wallingford, and Windsor: the incorporated market-towns of Maidenhead, Newbury, and Wokingham; and the other market-towns of Farringdon, Hungerford, East Ilsley, Lambourn, and Wantage. Under the act of the 2nd of William IV. cap. 45, the county sends to parliament three knights of the shire: Reading and Windsor continue to return two representatives each; the number for Wallingford has been restricted by the statute to one; and Abingdon still sends one, as heretofore. It is included in the Oxford circuit: the Lent assizes and the Epiphany sessions are held at Reading; the summer assizes and midsummer sessions at Abingdon; the Michaelmas sessions at either of these towns, at the option of the magistrates; and the Easter sessions at Newbury. The county gaol and house of correction is at Reading, and the county house of correction at Abingdon.
The surface of Berkshire comprises four grand natural divisions: the first is the great Vale of White Horse, which is bounded on the south by the White Horse hills (a continuation of the Chiltern range), on the east and north by the Thames, and on the west by Wiltshire, constituting the whole north-western part of the county. Here, along the banks of the Thames, is a fertile but narrow range of meadows, seldom exceeding half a mile in breadth, from which the land rises in most parts gradually, forming moderately elevated ridges, or distinct eminences. Between these hills and the chalk range, with a gentle inclination towards the south, lies the Vale, properly so called, remarkably productive of every kind of grain and pulse. The next grand division comprises the chalk hills, which form so prominent a feature in the western part of the county, presenting towards the Vale a steep declivity, mostly bare of wood, but clothed with a fine sward. The third great natural division consists of the Vale of the Kennet, containing a variety of richly diversified scenery. The fourth is the Forest district, which comprises the remaining eastern part of the county, being the whole of that lying eastward of the Loddon, except a detached range of chalk hills included between the Thames and an imaginary line drawn from Maidenhead to Wargrave, and which may be considered as forming a collateral part of the second division, or chalk district. The surface of the Forest district is agreeably varied, particularly in Windsor Forest, and the views from Windsor Terrace are of unrivalled beauty; but it contains the greatest quantity of waste land of any in the county, the most extensive tracts of waste being situated on the south side of it, and one of them, called Maidenhead Thicket, on the north.
The soils are various, but those of a chalky or gravelly nature predominate. Owing to the great extent of barren heaths in the south and east parts of the county, and of sheep-walks on the chalk hills, the quantity of land in cultivation does not exceed the general average of the kingdom. The total amount of arable land is computed at 255,000 acres; the rotations of crops are of infinite variety, but wheat and barley are the principal. The natural grass lands, bordering on the rivers, and in the dairy district occupying the western part of the Vale of White Horse, together with other dry pastures, parks, &c. but exclusively of the sheep downs of the chalk districts, are computed to comprise about 97,000 acres, of which 72,000 are included in the Vale. The dairy district includes the greater part of the hundreds of Shrivenham and Farringdon, and smaller portions of those of Ganfield and Wantage; the cheese made in it is for the most part of the kind known by the name of "Single Gloucester," and a large quantity is annually sent down the Thames to the metropolis. The native breed of hogs is the most esteemed of any in Great Britain.
The woodlands occupy about 30,000 acres, much of which consists of coppices, of which those in the Vale of the Kennet supply large quantities of hoops and brooms to the London market. The best wooded tracts are in Windsor Forest, on the south side of the Kennet, and in several parishes to the north of that river; and Bagley wood, near Oxford, is one of the largest. A considerable extent of boggy land in the vicinity of Newbury is planted with alder-trees, the wood of which, at eight or nine years' growth, is there made into rakes, prongs, shafts for mops and besoms, &c. Along the banks of the Thames and on its islands are numerous osier-beds; and in every other suitable situation osier plantations are objects of considerable attention, more especially along the courses of the rivers Kennet and Loddon: the greater part of the produce, after being prepared for the basket-makers, is conveyed by the Thames to London. The celebrated Royal forest of Windsor was formerly of much greater extent than it is at present, having comprised large portions of the counties of Surrey and Bucks, and the whole southeastern part of Berkshire, as far as Hungerford, on the border of Wiltshire: the Vale of the Kennet was disafforested by charter in 1226, and the circuit of the forest is now reduced to about 56 miles. The greater part is under tillage; and Windsor Great Park was reduced by George III. from 3800 to 1800 acres, 2000 acres having been brought into cultivation. The forest is computed to comprehend 69,600 acres, of which about 5500 are inclosed lands belonging to the crown; 29,000, other private property; 600, encroachments upon the wastes; and the remaining 24,500 acres, open forest land, including heaths and water.
Berkshire was formerly one of the principal seats of the clothing-trade, which, about the middle of the 17th century, was carried on to a very considerable extent, particularly at Abingdon, Reading, and Newbury, and in their vicinities. Sacking and sail-cloth were also made at Abiugdon and Wantage; and silk is yet manufactured on a small scale at Wokingham. There are some large breweries, especially at Windsor, which is celebrated for its ale; several paper-mills on the banks of the Kennet; and numerous corn-mills. The principal rivers are the Thames, the Kennet, the Loddon, the Ock, and the Lambourn. The Thames forms the entire northern boundary of Berkshire, in a circuitous course of nearly 105 miles, in the whole of which it is navigable; and is augmented by the influx of all the others before it quits the county. The Kennet is navigable, partly by means of artificial collateral cuts, to its junction with the Thames a little below Reading. The Kennet and Avon canal, constructed under an act obtained in 1794, connects the navigable channel of the former river at Newbury with that of the latter at Bath; the Wiltshire and Berkshire canal, formed under an act obtained in 1795, branches from it, at Simington, in the county of Wilts, and, entering this county at Hackson bridge, near Shrivenham, traverses the Vale of White Horse, to the Thames at Abingdon. The north-western part of the shire also derives some advantage from the Oxford and the Thames and Severn canals; and the south-eastern, from the Basingstoke canal. The Great Western railway enters the county a little to the east of Maidenhead, and passes on the south side of that town, to Reading, after which it skirts the border of the county as far as to the north of Basildon Park; it then crosses the Thames into Oxfordshire, and runs for a short distance along the boundary of that county, recrossing the Thames a little above South Stoke, and again entering Berkshire, whence it proceeds, by Dudcote and Wantage, into Wilts. At Dudcote branches off a line in a northern direction, by Abingdon, to Oxford.
The remains of antiquity are various and interesting. The Roman stations were, Spinæ, at the present village of Speen; that called Bibractè, the exact site of which is yet undecided; and an important station, the name of which has not been transmitted to modern times, at Wallingford. Several Roman roads crossed the county; but it is difficult to reconcile their courses to any general theory, or to fix with precision the exact places to which they tended. The principal were, one from Glevum, now Gloucester, to London; and the Ikeneld-street, which enters from Oxfordshire at Streatley, where it divides into two branches, one of which, under the name of the Ridgway, runs along the entire northern verge of the chalk hills, and may be regarded as the main line, and the other, under the name of the Westridge, passes by Hampstead Hermitage, the Long Lane, and the vicinity of Newbury, to Old Sarum, in Wilts. Another very ancient, and perhaps a Roman, road enters from Wiltshire, on the north-western confines of the county, under the name of the Port-way, and appears to have taken a direction towards some spot south of Wallingford. There are also numerous remains of camps, of which it is thought that Letcombe Castle and Uffington Castle, both occupying commanding situations on the downs, were constructed by the Britons and subsequently used by the Romans. In a field about half a mile from Little Coxwell is a space of fourteen acres, styled Cole's Pits, in which are 273 pits, for the most part circular, and excavated in the sand to the depth of from seven to twenty-two feet: they are supposed to mark the sites of ancient British habitations. Near Uffington Castle is the rude figure of a horse, giving name to the hills and vale of White Horse; it is formed by cutting away the turf on the steep brow of the chalk hill above Uffington, and occupies about an acre of ground. At a little distance from this is a mount called Dragon hill, supposed to mark the place of interment of some British chieftain; and many tumuli are dispersed over the downs, especially in the way from Uffington to Lambourn, where a group of them has acquired the name of the "Seven Barrows."
Within the limits of the county were anciently twelve religious houses, including an alien priory, and two commanderies of the Knights Hospitallers; also three colleges, of which that of the royal chapel of St. George, at Windsor, still remains; and ten hospitals, five of which yet exist, namely, two at Abingdon, and one each at Donnington, Lambourn, and Newbury. Of the magnificent abbey built by Henry I. at Reading, little more than rude heaps of stones can now be seen; but there are considerable remains of the church of the Grey friars there, converted into a bridewell. There are likewise some vestiges of the monasteries of Abingdon, Hurley, and Bisham, and of the collegiate church of Wallingford. The fragment of a wall, and extensive ditches and earthworks, indicate the site of the important castle of Wallingford; and there yet exist ruins of the gateway of that of Donnington. The most remarkable mansion, in point of antiquity, is the manor-house at Appleton, which appears to be of as remote a date as the reign of Henry II. Berkshire has for a series of centuries derived some degree of celebrity from containing, at its easternmost extremity, one of the chief residences of the kings of England,—the vast and magnificent pile of Windsor Castle; and there are also many seats of the nobility and gentry, distinguished for their architectural beauties. The mineral waters are unimportant, the following only possessing any note, viz., a mild cathartic at Cumner; a weak chalybeate at Sunninghill; a strong chalybeate in the parish of Wokingham, called Gorrick Well; and some springs near Windsor, of the quality of the Epsom waters. The county gives the title of Earl to the family of Howard, Earls of Suffolk and Berkshire.
Bermondsey (St. Mary Magdalene)
BERMONDSEY (St. Mary Magdalene), a parish and union, in the borough of Southwark, E. division of the hundred of Brixton and of Surrey, 1½ mile (S. S. E.) from London; containing 34,947 inhabitants. This place, in Domesday book, is described as a royal demesne, and, in other ancient records, as having been occasionally the residence of William the Conqueror, and his successor, William Rufus, who had a palace here. In 1089, a priory for Cluniac monks was founded by Aldwin Child, a citizen of London, as a cell to the abbey of La Charité in France, from which establishment brethren of that order are said to have been sent hither through the influence of Lanfranc, Archbishop of Canterbury. To this monastery William Rufus and some of his successors were great benefactors. Henry I. gave the palace to the monks, for the enlargement of their cloister, reserving part of it as a residence for himself, in which King John having subsequently resided, it obtained the appellation of King John's Palace, and has been by some antiquaries considered rather the original site than, as it was in reality, only an appendage to the monastery. This establishment increased so much in wealth and importance that it was found necessary to enlarge the buildings; and an hospital was erected adjoining it in 1213, for the reception of their converts and the education of children of indigent parents, which was dedicated to St. Thomas the Martyr. In the 45th of Edward III. it was sequestrated, with other alien priories, to the use of the crown, but was re-established. Richard II. elevated it into an abbey, and it retained its grandeur and importance till the Dissolution, when its revenue was estimated at £548. 2. 5¾. The site appears to have been very extensive, comprising the present churchyard, and an adjoining area, still called King John's Court; and vestiges of the place and conventual buildings may be traced in the gardens of the houses which have been erected on the site: a gateway, which was standing in 1807, has been taken down, in order to form Abbeystreet. Bermondsey owes its origin to the monastery, in the vicinity of which a gradual accumulation of buildings had formed a village in the reign of Edward III. when a church was founded by the prior, for the use of the inhabitants. Catherine of France, widow of Henry V., lived in retirement in the monastery, where she died in 1436; here also, in 1486, Elizabeth, queen of Edward IV. who had been sentenced by the council to forfeiture of lands, ended her life in confinement.
Bermondsey is situated on the southern bank of the river Thames. The houses are in general ancient and irregularly built, but there are several modern and handsome structures; the streets are paved, and lighted with gas, and the inhabitants are supplied with water from the South London and the Southwark water-works. An act for more effectually paving, lighting, and otherwise improving the parish, was passed in 1845. A great alteration has lately taken place by the formation of the London and Greenwich railway, which commences near the foot of London bridge, and crosses the parish by means of a magnificent viaduct of lofty arches, for the construction of which numbers of houses were purchased by the directors and pulled down along the line. The Bricklayers' Arms branch of the Croydon railway is almost exclusively within the parish; it was opened in May 1844, and is about 1¾ mile long: the cost was defrayed jointly by the Croydon and SouthEastern Railway Companies. The tanning of leather is carried on to a very great extent; there are numerous woolstaplers, fellmongers, curriers, and manufacturers of vellum and parchment, besides an extensive hat-factory, some vinegar-works, a distillery, and brewery. The situation is also favourable to other trades; there are a small dock and several yards for boat-builders, and within the parish are likewise rope-makers, anchorsmiths, and stave-merchants, and an establishment for the printing and dyeing of calico. About 200 acres of land are cultivated for the production of vegetables.
The living is a rectory, valued in the king's books at £15. 8. 11½., and in the patronage of the family of Knapp; net income, £514. The parish church, of which the west front and tower were repaired and embellished in 1830, is in the later English style. A district church, dedicated to St. James, was completed in 1828, partly by a grant from the Parliamentary Commissioners, at an expense of £21,412; it is a handsome edifice in the Grecian style, with a tower, and a portico of four pillars of the Ionic order: an altar-painting, of the Ascension, which cost £500, the bequest of Mr. J. Harcourt, was put up in 1845. The living is a perpetual curacy; net income, £300; patron, the Rector of Bermondsey. A church district named Christchurch was endowed by the Ecclesiastical Commission in 1845, and one named St. Paul's in 1846: a church has just been consecrated in the former district, which has consequently become an ecclesiastical parish; the edifice is in the Romanesque style, built at a cost of about £4600, exclusive of the site, and situated at an angle formed by a road crossing the road to Lower Deptford. There are places of worship for Independents and Wesleyans; and a handsome and spacious Roman Catholic chapel erected in 1834, at a cost of about £6000. Close to it is a convent of the Sisters of Mercy, erected in 1839, for about forty inmates, with a private chapel and a schoolroom for 300 female children; it cost about £4000. "The Bermondsey Free School," for sixty boys, who are instructed in reading, writing, and arithmetic, was founded in 1709, by Josiah Bacon, who left £700 for building the premises, and £150 per annum for its endowment; the schoolroom, which was erected in 1718, in the Grange road, is a neat brick building, having a bust of the founder in a niche over the entrance. The united "Charity Schools," established in 1712, are supported partly by an endowment of £109 per annum. In 1770, a chalybeate spring was discovered, and a spa established which, for many years, was a celebrated place of entertainment. Israel Mauduit, an ingenious writer on politics and commerce, was born in Bermondsey in 1708.
BERRICK-SALOME, a chapelry, in the parish of Chagrove, union of Wallingford, hundred of Ewelme, county of Oxford, 2½ miles (N.) from Bensington; containing 164 inhabitants. The chapel is dedicated to St. Helen. Here is a school with a small endowment.
BERRIER, a township, in the parish of Greystock union of Penrith, Leath ward, E. division of Cumberland, 8 miles (W. by S.) from Penrith; containing, with the township of Murrah, 127 inhabitants, of whom 65 are in Berrier. Mary Jackson, in 1799, left £230 in reversion, to found and endow a school for girls, which was built by subscription in 1828.
Berrington (All Saints)
BERRINGTON (All Saints), a parish, in the union of Atcham, hundred of Condover, S. division of Salop, 5½ miles (S. E. by S.) from Shrewsbury; containing 651 inhabitants. The navigable river Severn passes through the parish. The living is a rectory, valued in the king's books at £10. 12. 1., and in the gift of Lord Berwick: the tithes have been commuted for £520 payable to the rector, and £74 payable to impropriators; the glebe consists of 31 acres.
BERRINGTON, a hamlet, in the parish and union of Tenbury, Upper division of the hundred of Doddingtree, Hundred House and W. divisions of the county of Worcester, 2 miles (W. by S.) from Tenbury; containing 207 inhabitants. The hamlet comprises 1274a. 2r. 9p., and forms the most eastern district of the county, being bounded on the north by the river Teme, and surrounded on the west and south by a portion of the county of Hereford.
Berrow (St. Mary)
BERROW (St. Mary), a parish, in the union of Axbridge, hundred of Brent with Wrington, E. division of Somerset, 9½ miles (W. by S.) from Axbridge; containing 578 inhabitants. The parish is situated on a small inlet from the Bristol Channel, to which it gives the name of Berrow bay, and by which it is bounded on the west. It comprises 1650 acres of land; the range of sand-hills that bound the coast contain many botanical and entomological rarities. The living is a discharged vicarage, valued in the king's books at £13. 11. 10½.; patron, the Archdeacon of Wells. The great tithes have been commuted for £102, and the impropriator has 18 acres of glebe: the vicarial tithes have been commuted for £218. 13., and there is an acre of vicarial glebe. The church is likely to be buried in the sands, which have accumulated to such an extent, that the wall of the churchyard is twenty feet below the surface of the ground. There is a place of worship for Wesleyans.
Berrow (St. Faith)
BERROW (St. Faith), a parish, in the union of Upton-On-Severn, and in a detached part of the Lower division of the hundred of Oswaldslow, locally in the Lower division of the hundred of Pershore, Upton and W. divisions of the county of Worcester, 7 miles (W.) from Tewkesbury; containing 480 inhabitants. This beautiful parish, about a mile in breadth, extends in an eastern direction three miles from the summit of Raggedstone hill or the Gloucester beacon, and from the Keysand hill, which latter forms the southern limit of the Malvern range. There is a sudden descent for a quarter of a mile to the foot of the hill, whence the country is undulated, with here and there deep narrow ravines alternating with low flat ridges or terraces of considerable extent; the entire surface, dotted with fruit and forest trees, presenting to the eye a varied landscape. At the western extremity of the parish, where it touches the parishes of Eastnor and Bromsberrow, the three counties of Worcester, Hereford, and Gloucester unite. The area is about 2100 acres, whereof four-tenths are arable, five-tenths pasture, and onetenth woodland with 72 acres of common or waste: the soil is a rich loam, but the system of cultivation might be much improved, and a better mode of drainage adopted. Quarries of limestone and roadstone are wrought in the parish. The road between Tewkesbury and Ledbury passes near its northern border. The living is a perpetual curacy, valued in the king's books at £7. 18. 4.; patrons and appropriators, the Dean and Chapter of Worcester. The tithes have been commuted for £350, of which £40 are paid to the incumbent, whose total income is £100: there are 44 acres of glebe land; and a cottage named the Vicarage, with a rood of garden ground attached. The church is a small building in the decorated and later English styles, and consists of a chancel, nave, and south aisle, with a western tower, and north porch; the chancel, which is of good proportions, has been built since the erection of the nave: the edifice will afford accommodation to about 250 persons. A national school, taught by a mistress, has just been established.
Berry-Pomeroy (St. Mary)
BERRY-POMEROY (St. Mary), a parish, in the union of Totnes, hundred of Haytor, Paignton and S. divisions of Devon, 1½ mile (E. N. E.) from Totnes; containing with the township of Bridgetown, 1149 inhabitants. This place derives its distinguishing appellation from a family of that name, one of whom, Ralph de Pomeroy, soon after the Conquest founded a castle here, of which there are still some remains. The parish comprises by measurement 4335 acres, whereof 2629 are arable, 1204 pasture, 237 woodland, 167 orchard, and 62 common or waste, and is intersected by the navigable river Dart; the low lands are rich and fertile, abounding in irrigated meadows and fruitful orchards, and on the high grounds are produced excellent crops of corn. The living is a vicarage, valued in the king's books at £18. 19. 7.; patron and impropriator, the Duke of Somerset: the great tithes have been commuted for £400, and the vicarial for £420, with a glebe of 3 acres. The church contains a finely-carved screen and rood-loft. A chapel in the pointed style was erected at Bridgetown, at the expense of the patron, in 1832.
Berryn-Arbor (St. Peter)
BERRYN-ARBOR (St. Peter), a parish, in the union of Barnstaple, hundred of Braunton, Braunton and N. divisions of Devon, 2¾ miles (E. by S.) from Ilfracombe: containing 899 inhabitants. It comprises by computation 5000 acres of fertile land: limestone of fine quality is quarried to a considerable extent. The living is a rectory, valued in the king's books at £34. 15. 10.; patrons, in turn, the Bishop of Exeter, the Fursdon family, the Rev. E. W. Richards, and J. D. Basset, Esq.: the tithes have been commuted for £545, and the glebe comprises 130 acres, with a house. The church is a neat edifice, with a handsome tower. There is a place of worship for Independents. Bishop Jewell, celebrated for his support of the Protestant faith, was born here in 1522.
Bersted, South (St. Mary Magdalene)
BERSTED, SOUTH (St. Mary Magdalene), a parish, in the hundred of Aldwick, rape of Chichester, W. division of Sussex, 6 miles (S. E.) from Chichester; containing, with the town of Bognor, and the tythings of North and of South Bersted, and Shripney, 2490 inbitants, of whom 194 are in North Bersted. It comprises 2455 acres, of which about 1575 acres are arable, 774 pasture, and 6 woodland; the surface is pleasingly varied, and the soil in general a rich loam resting upon a reddish clay or brick earth, and in some parts sand and gravel. The village, which formerly consisted only of a few fishermen's cottages, has been greatly improved. The living is a vicarage, valued in the king's books at £7. 18. 9.; patron, the Archbishop of Canterbury; appropriators, the Dean and Chapter: the great tithes have been commuted for £810, and those of the vicar for £400. The church, erected in 1400, is a plain edifice, with a tower surmounted by a low spire of shingles; in the churchyard is the tomb of Sir Richard Hotham, Knt., founder of the town of Bognor. A chapel dedicated to St. John was erected at Bognor, and consecrated in 1822. Stephen de "Berghestede," who was elevated to the see of Chichester in 1262, was a native of the place; and Dr. Lloyd, Bishop of Oxford, was vicar.
BERWICK, a parish, in the union of West Firle, hundred of Longbridge, rape of Pevensey, E. division of Sussex, 3 miles (E. S. E.) from Lewes; containing 199 inhabitants. It is bounded on the east by the Cuckmere river, and intersected by the road from Lewes to Eastbourne, and comprises 1060 acres, of which 330 are common or waste; the soil is chiefly chalk, clay, and rich loam. The Berwick station of the Brighton and Hastings railway is equidistant from the station at Lewes and that at Pevensey. The living is a rectory, valued in the king's books at £13. 6. 8., and in the gift of John Ellman, Esq.: the tithes have been commuted for £387. 10., and the glebe consists of 21 acres. The church is a handsome structure in the later English style, with a tower formerly surmounted by a spire, which was destroyed by lightning in 1774. Wood fossils are found in a sand-pit.
Berwick (St. James)
BERWICK (St. James), a parish, in the union of Wilton, hundred of Branch and Dole, Salisbury and Amesbury, and S. divisions of Wilts, 8 miles (N. W.) from Salisbury; containing 247 inhabitants. This parish is situated on the road from Salisbury to Devizes, and comprises by computation 2300 acres of arable and pasture land, of which the soil is fertile, and the substratum chiefly chalk; many sheep are fed on the Downs. A fair is held on the 4th of October. The living is a discharged vicarage, valued in the king's books at £8. 10.; net income, £54; patron, Lord Ashburton. The great tithes have been commuted for £133, and the vicarial for £30: there is an acre of glebe. The church is a very substantial building, having in the north transept a curious stone pulpit, which has been much noticed by antiquaries, and until within these few years was used by the officiating minister.
Berwick (St. John)
BERWICK (St. John), a parish, in the union of Tisbury, hundred of Chalk, Hindon and S. divisions of Wilts, 5¼ miles (E. by S.) from Shaftesbury; containing 419 inhabitants. It comprises about 1700 acres; the surface is hilly, and the soil consists of all the varieties of clay, chalk, and sand. The living is a rectory, valued in the king's books at £26. 13. 4., and in the gift of New-College, Oxford: the tithes have been commuted for £500, and there are 53½ acres of glebe. The church is a handsome edifice in the later English style. There is a place of worship for Baptists. About a mile southward from the village is an intrenchment called Winkelbury Camp, supposed to have been constructed by the Romans.
Berwick (St. Leonard)
BERWICK (St. Leonard), a parish, in the union of Tisbury, hundred of Dunworth, Hindon and S. divisions of Wilts, 1 mile (E.) from Hindon; containing 41 inhabitants. This parish, which is situated on the road from London to Exeter, comprises by measurement 1200 acres of fertile land. A fair for sheep is held on St. Leonard's day; it is numerously attended. The manor-house, now in ruins, was for many years the residence of the Howe family, of whom Sir George Howe had the honour to entertain the Prince of Orange in 1688. The living is a rectory, with the perpetual curacy of Sedghill annexed, valued in the king's books at £8. 6. 8.; net income, £374; patron, J. Bennet, Esq.
Berwick-Bassett (St. Nicholas)
BERWICK-BASSETT (St. Nicholas), a parish, in the union of Marlborough, hundred of Calne, Marlborough and Ramsbury, and N. divisions of Wilts, 8 miles (N. W. by W.) from Marlborough; containing 175 inhabitants. It comprises by measurement 1388 acres of fertile land, of which about one-third is pasture: there are about 8 acres of wood. The ancient manorhouse, many ages since the residence of the Goddard family, is still remaining. The living is a perpetual curacy, united to the vicarage of Calne. The church is a neat plain edifice, and contains a carved screen and font. Henry Webb, in 1775, endowed a school with £14 per annum.
BERWICK-HILL, a township, in the parish of Ponteland, union and W. division of Castle ward, S. division of Northumberland, 9¼ miles (N. N. W.) from Newcastle-upon-Tyne; containing 112 inhabitants. The township comprises 1594a. 27p., of which two-thirds are arable, and the remainder grass land and waste; the soil is of a strong quality, producing good crops, particularly of grain. The surface is elevated, and commands fine and extensive views; on the south is Prestwick Carr; and the river Pont flows on the west and north. The tithes have been commuted for £244. 11. 4. payable to Ralph Carr, Esq., and £22. 14. 2. to the vicar of Ponteland.
BERWICK, LITTLE, a chapelry, in the parish of St. Mary, Shrewsbury, N. division of Salop; containing 271 inhabitants. The living is a perpetual curacy; net income, £54; patrons, the Earl of Tankerville and others. Near the chapel is an almshouse consisting of sixteen tenements, erected under the will of Sir Samuel Jones dated in 1672, and endowed by him with £80 per annum; he also bequeathed £40 per annum as a stipend for the minister, and £20 per annum towards repairing the chapel and almshouses, all charged on the Berwick estate. The property of the charity, with funds derived from other sources, yields an income of £183.
Berwick-Upon-Tweed (Holy Trinity)
BERWICK-UPON-TWEED (Holy Trinity), a port, borough, market-town, parish, and county of itself, and the head of a union, 64 miles (N. by W.) from Newcastle-upon-Tyne, and 334 (N. by W.) from London; containing 8484 inhabitants. The name of this town, which Leland supposes to have been originally Aberwick, from the British terms, Aber, the mouth of a river, and Wic, a town, is by Camden and other antiquaries considered to be expressive merely of a hamlet, or granary, annexed to a place of greater importance. Such appendages are usually in ancient records styled berewics, and the town is thought to have obtained its name from having been the grange or berewic of the priory of Coldingham, ten miles distant. The earliest authentic notice of Berwick occurs in the reign of Alexander I. of Scotland, and in that of Henry II. of England, to the latter of which monarchs it was given up, with four other towns, by William the Lion, in 1176, as a pledge for the performance of the treaty of Falaise, by which, in order to obtain his release from captivity after the battle of Alnwick, in 1174, he had engaged to do homage to the English monarch as lord paramount for all his Scottish dominions. Richard I., to obtain a supply of money for his expedition to the Holy Land, sold the vassalage of Scotland for 10,000 marks, and restored this and the other towns to William, content with receiving homage for the territories only which that prince held in England. King John, upon retiring from an unsuccessful invasion of Scotland, burnt the town, which the Scots almost immediately rebuilt.
In 1291, the commissioners appointed to examine and report on the validity of the title of the respective claimants to the crown of Scotland, met at Berwick, and pursued the investigation which led to the decision in favour of John Balliol. Edward I. having compelled Balliol to resign his crown, took the town by storm in 1296, when a dreadful carnage ensued; here he received the homage of the Scottish nobility in the presence of a council of the whole nation, and established a court of exchequer for the receipt of the revenue of the kingdom of Scotland. Wallace, in the following year, having laid siege to the town, took and for a short time retained possession of it, but was unsuccessful in his attempt upon the castle, which was relieved by the arrival of a numerous army. Edward II., in prosecuting the war against Scotland, assembled his army here repeatedly, and hence made inroads into the enemy's territory. Robert Bruce obtained it in 1318, and, having raised the walls and strengthened them with towers, kept it, notwithstanding attacks from Edward II. and III., until it surrendered to the latter after the celebrated battle of Hallidown Hill, within the borough, which took place on the 19th of July, 1333. From Edward IV. and his successors it received several charters and privileges in confirmation and enlargement of the charter granted by Edward I., in which the enjoyment of the Scottish laws as they existed in the time of Alexander III. had been confirmed. After having been exposed during the subsequent reigns to the continued aggressions of the Scots and the English, Elizabeth repaired and strengthened the fortifications, and new walled part of the town: the garrison which had for some time been placed in it, was continued till the accession of James to the English throne, when its importance as a frontier town ceased. During the civil war in the reign of Charles I., it was garrisoned by the parliament.
The Town is pleasantly situated on the northern bank, and near the mouth, of the river Tweed, over which is a handsome stone bridge of fifteen arches, built in the reigns of James I. and Charles I., and connecting it with Tweedmouth on the south. The streets, with the exception of St. Mary gate, usually called the High-street, Castlegate, Ravensdowne, the Parade, and Hide-hill, are narrow, but neatly paved, and the houses are, in general, well built: the town is lighted with gas, and an abundant supply of water is obtained by pipes laid down to the houses from the public reservoirs, which are the property of the corporation. Fuel is also plentiful, there being several colleries on the south, and one on the north, side of the river, within from two to four miles of the town. A public library was established in 1812, and a reading-room in 1842; the theatre, a small neat building, is opened at intervals, and there are assemblyrooms. The new fortifications, which are exceedingly strong, have displaced those of more ancient date, of which only a few ruins now remain; they afford an agreeable promenade, much frequented by the inhabitants. The present works consist of a rampart of earth, faced with stone: there are no outworks, with the exception of the old castle, which overlooks the Tweed, and is now completely in ruins, and an earthen battery at the landing-place below the Magdalen fields. The line of works below the river is almost straight, but to the north and east are five bastions, to two of which there are powder magazines: the harbour is defended by a four and a six gun battery near the governor's house; and a saluting battery, of twenty-two guns, commands the English side of the Tweed. There are five gates belonging to the circumvallation, by which entrance is obtained. The barracks, which were built in 1719, form a small quadrangle, neatly built of stone, and afford good accommodation for 600 or 700 infantry. To these was recently attached the governor's house, for officers' barracks; but that building and the ground adjoining, formerly the site of the palace of the kings of Scotland, have been sold by the crown to a timbermerchant, and are now occupied for the purposes of his trade.
The port was celebrated in the time of Alexander III. for the extent of its traffic in wool, hides, salmon, &c., which was carried on both by native merchants, and by a company of Flemings settled here; the latter of whom, however, perished in the conflagration of their principal establishment, called the Red Hall, which was set on fire at the capture of the town and castle by Edward I. At present, there is a considerable coasting-trade, though it has somewhat declined since the termination of the continental war: the exports are corn, wool, salmon, cod, haddock, herrings, and coal; and the imports, timber-deals, staves, iron, hemp, tallow, and bones for manure. About 800 men are employed in the fishery: the salmon and trout, of which large quantities are caught, are packed in boxes with ice, and sent chiefly to the London market; great quantities of lobsters, crabs, cod, haddock, and herrings are also taken, and a large portion forwarded, similarly packed, to the metropolis. The principal articles of manufacture, exclusively of such as are connected with the shipping, are, damask, diaper, sacking, cotton-hosiery, carpets, hats, boots, and shoes; and about 200 hands are employed in three ironfoundries, established within the present century. Steam-engines, and almost every other article, are made; the gas-light apparatus for Berwick, Perth, and several other places, was manufactured here, and iron-works have lately been erected at Galashiels and at Jedburgh by the same proprietors. The harbour is naturally inconvenient, the greater part of it being left dry at ebb-tide; it has, however, been recently deepened by several feet, and vessels of large tonnage come to the quay. The river is navigable only to the bridge, though the tide flows for seven miles beyond it: on account of the entrance being narrowed by sand-banks, great impediments were occasioned to the navigation till the erection, in 1808, of a stone pier on the projecting rocks at the north entrance of the Tweed; it is about half a mile in length, and has a light-house at the extremity. This, together with the clearing and deepening of the harbour, has materially improved the facilities of navigation, and been of great importance to the shipping interest of the place. On the Tweedmouth shore, for a short space, near the Carr Rock, ships of 400 or 500 tons' burthen may ride in safety. The smacks and small brigs, formerly carrying on the whole traffic of the place, are now superseded by large and well-fitted steamvessels, schooners, and clipper-ships. There are numerous and extensive quays and warehouses, with a patent-slip for the repair of vessels; and the town has the advantage of a railway to Edinburgh, in continuation of the railway along the east coast hence to Newcastleupon-Tyne: the great railway bridge over the Tweed here, was commenced in the spring of 1847. The market, which is well supplied with grain, is on Saturday, and there is a fair on the last Friday in May, for blackcattle and horses; statute-fairs are held on the first Saturday in March, May, August, and November.
By charter of incorporation granted in the second year of James I., the government was vested in a mayor, bailiffs, and burgesses; and there were, besides, an alderman for the year, a recorder, town-clerk, towntreasurer, four sergeants-at-mace, and other officers; but the control now resides in a mayor, six aldermen, and eighteen councillors, together composing the council, by whom a sheriff and other officers are appointed. The borough is distributed into three wards, and its municipal and parliamentary boundaries are the same; the mayor and late mayor are justices of the peace, and twelve other gentlemen have been appointed to act under a separate commission. Berwick was one of the royal burghs which, in ancient times, sent representatives to the court of the four royal burghs in Scotland; and on being annexed to the kingdom of England, its prescriptive usages were confirmed by royal charter. It sent representatives to parliament in the reign of Henry VIII., since which time it has continued to return two members. The right of election was formerly vested in the freemen at large, in number about 1140; the resident freemen and certain householders are now the electors, and the sheriff is returning officer. The limits of the borough include the townships of Tweedmouth and Spittal, on the south side of the river. The corporation hold courts of quarter-session for the borough, and a court of pleas every alternate Tuesday for the recovery of debts to any amount; a court leet, also, is held under the charter, at which six petty constables are appointed. The powers of the county debt-court of Berwick, established in 1847, extend over the registration-district of Berwick. The town-hall is a spacious and handsome building, with a portico of four massive columns of the Tuscan order: a portion of the lower part, called the Exchange, is appropriated to the use of the poultry and butter market; the first story contains two spacious halls and other apartments, in which the courts are held and the public business of the corporation transacted, and the upper part is used as a gaol. The whole forms a stately pile of fine hewn stone, and is surmounted with a lofty spire, containing a peal of eight bells, which on Sunday summon the inhabitants to the parish church.
The living is a vicarage, valued in the king's books at £20; net income, £289; patrons and appropriators, the Dean and Chapter of Durham. The church is a handsome structure in the decorated English style, built during the usurpation of Cromwell, and is without a steeple. One of the Fishbourn lectureships is established here. There are places of worship for members of the Scottish Kirk, the Associate Synod, the Scottish Relief, Particular Baptists, Wesleyans, and Roman Catholics. A school for the instruction of the sons of burgesses in English and the mathematics was founded and endowed by the corporation, in 1798; to each department there is a separate master, paid by the corporation, and the average number of pupils is about 300. The burgesses have also the patronage of a free grammar school, endowed in the middle of the seventeenth century by Sir William Selby, of the Moat, and other charitable persons. The Blue-coat charity-school was founded in 1758 by Captain Bolton, and endowed with £800, since augmented with several benefactions, especially with one of £1000 by Richard Cowle, who died at Dantzic in 1819; the whole income is £155, which is applied to educating about 150 boys, of whom 40 are also clothed. The school of industry for girls, established in 1819, affords instruction to 106 girls; and there are several infant, Sunday, and other schools. A pauper lunatic house was erected in 1813, and a dispensary established in 1814. A considerable part of the corporation land is allotted into "meadows" and "stints," and given rent-free to the resident freemen and freemen's widows, according to seniority, for their respective lives. Among the most important bequests for the benefit of the poor, are, £1000 by Richard Cowle, £1000 by John Browne in 1758, and £28 per annum by Sarah Foreman in 1803. The poor law union of which the town is the head comprises seventeen parishes and places, sixteen of them being in the county of Durham; and contains a population of 20,938. Some remains are still visible of the ancient castle of Berwick, and of a pentagonal tower near it; also of a square fort in Magdalen fields, and some entrenchments on Hallidown Hill. All vestiges of the ancient churches and chapels of the town, the Benedictine nunnery said to have been founded by David, King of Scotland, the monasteries of Black, Grey, White, and Trinitarian friars, and three or four hospitals, have entirely disappeared. The Magdalen fields, already mentioned, belonged to the Hospital of St. Mary Magdalen. During the reigns of William the Lion, and of Edward I., II., III., and other Scottish and English monarchs, Berwick was a place of mintage, and several of its coins are still preserved. There is a mineral spring close to the town, which is occasionally resorted to by invalids.