A Topographical Dictionary of England. Originally published by S Lewis, London, 1848.
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Blennerhasset, with Kirkland
BLENNERHASSET, with Kirkland, a township, in the parish of Torpenhow, union of Wigton, Allerdale ward below Derwent, W. division of Cumberland, 8¼ miles (S. W.) from Wigton; containing 224 inhabitants. A meeting-house here for Independents was rebuilt in 1828.
Bletchingley (St. Mary)
BLETCHINGLEY (St. Mary), a parish, and formerly a borough and market-town, in the union of Godstone, First division of the hundred of Tanbridge, E. division of Surrey, 21 miles (S.) from London; comprising 5370 acres, whereof 220 are common or waste; and containing 3546 inhabitants. This town, which is pleasantly situated on the road from Godstone to Reigate, is of considerable antiquity; a castle was erected here soon after the Conquest, by Gilbert, Earl of Clare, which was demolished by Prince Edward, after the battle of Lewes, in 1264, and the foundations alone are now remaining. Fairs are held on May 10th and Nov. 2nd, for horses, hogs and lean-cattle. Shortly after quitting the London and Brighton railway near Reigate, the South-Eastern railway at this place enters a tunnel 1080 yards in length. A bailiff and other officers are appointed at the court leet of the lord of the manor. The borough received the elective franchise in the 23rd of Edward I., from which time it continued to return two members to parliament, until its disfranchisement by the act of the 2nd of William IV., cap. 45.
The living is a rectory, valued in the king's books at £19. 19. 4½., and in the gift of H. Chawner, Esq.: the tithes have been commuted for £1185, and there are 90 acres of glebe. The church is a spacious and venerable structure, in the early English style of architecture, with a low tower: the south chancel is entirely occupied by a magnificent monument to the memory of the first Sir Robert Clayton, Knt., and his lady, whose effigies in white marble stand on a projecting base; the knight is represented in his robes, as lord mayor of London. There are several other monuments, of which the principal is that of Sir William Bensley, Bart., R.N., by Bacon. John Thomas, Bishop of Rochester, and Sir Thomas Cavendish, master of the revels to Henry VIII., were also interred here; the former was at one time incumbent, as was also Archbishop Herring. There is a place of worship for Independents. Thomas Evans, in 1633, founded a free school for 20 boys, and endowed it with land now producing £20 per annum. The town is near a Roman road; and at Pendhill, in the parish, some workmen in 1813 discovered part of the foundations of a Roman bath, the different apartments in which were paved, and some of the walls lined with tiles. The union workhouse is a spacious building near the town, erected in 1839.
Bletchley (St. Mary)
BLETCHLEY (St. Mary), a parish, in the union of Newport-Pagnell, hundred of Newport, county of Buckingham; containing, with part of the chapelry of Fenny-Stratford, and the township of Water-Eaton, 1415 inhabitants. Walter Gifford, Earl of Buckingham, possessed by grant from William Rufus the whole landed property of this parish, which was inherited by Richard de Clare, Earl of Hertford, who had married his granddaughter, Roesia; from the latter family it passed to the Greys, who continued to hold the manor for upwards of 400 years, until the attainder of Thomas, Lord Grey, in 1603. It was given by James I. to George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham, whose descendant sold it, in 1674, to the eminent physician, Dr. Thomas Willis, grandfather of Browne Willis, the celebrated antiquary. The parish is intersected by the London and Birmingham railway, of which the Bletchley and Fenny-Stratford station is situated here: a branch line was opened to Bedford in November, 1846; and an act was passed in the same year, for a railway to Oxford. The living is a rectory, valued in the king's books at £29. 13. 1½.; net income, £456; patron, J. Fleming, Esq.: in 1810, land and a money payment were assigned in lieu of tithes. The church was repaired at the expense of Browne Willis, by whom a large sum was expended upon the internal decorations. William Cole, the Cambridge antiquary, was rector of the parish from 1753 to 1767.
Bletsoe (St. Mary)
BLETSOE (St. Mary), a parish, in the hundred of Willey, union and county of Bedford, 6½ miles (N. N. W.) from Bedford; containing 420 inhabitants. It comprises about 2000 acres: the soil is gravel and clay; the surface is in some parts rather hilly, and the meadows are occasionally flooded by the river Ouse, which runs through the parish. Here are the remains of an ancient castle formerly belonging to Lord Bolingbroke, and part of which has been destroyed for the materials. The living is a rectory, valued in the king's books at £17, and in the patronage of Lord St. John: the tithes have been commuted for £333. 18. 9., and there are 34 acres of glebe. A bequest of £8 per annum is applied to the support of a Sunday school. There is a mineral spring, but the water is seldom used medicinally.
Blewberry (St. Michael)
BLEWBERRY (St. Michael), a parish, in the union of Wantage, partly in the hundred of Moreton, but chiefly in that of Reading, county of Berks, 4½ miles (N. E. by N.) from East Ilsley; containing, with the chapelries of Aston-Upthorp and Upton, and the liberty of Nottingham-Fee, 1096 inhabitants. The parish comprises upwards of 4000 acres, of which about 2500 are arable, and the rest pasture and meadow: the soil is partly of a cold, chalky nature, but round the village it is a strong clay loam, and in other parts gravel and peat. A large stream, issuing from a bed of chalk, runs through the village; it turns several mills within three miles, and falls into the river Thames at Wallingford. The living is a discharged vicarage, valued in the king's books at £16. 6. 10½., and in the patronage of the Bishop of Salisbury: the great tithes have been commuted for £1100, and the vicarial tithes for £232. 13.; there are 217½ acres of impropriate glebe, and 1a. 3r. belonging to the vicar. In addition to the parochial church, there are chapels of ease at Aston-Upthorp and Upton. William Malthus, by will dated Nov. 16th, 1700, after specifying certain bequests, directed the residue of his estate to be sold, and the money to be invested in land: the net income is about £916; the trustees allow £161 for the support of ten boys at Reading, and other sums for the instruction, clothing, and apprenticing of children in Blewberry. An almshouse for one poor man was founded, and endowed with £271. 13. 4., by Mr. Bacon, in 1732; the lands are let for £38 per annum. A large edifice called the Charter-house, supposed to have been used as a place of worship previously to the Reformation, was taken down a few years since. A field between Blewberry and Aston is thought to have been the scene of a severe conflict between the Saxons under Ethelred and his brother Alfred, and the Danes, the latter of whom were defeated with great slaughter; and in forming a new turnpike-road, in 1804, many human skeletons and military weapons were found near the spot. The parish is intersected by a Roman and a British road, termed respectively Ickleton and Grimsditch. There is an encampment of considerable extent on a hill called Blewberton; and Loughborough Hill, the loftiest eminence in the county, has also been crowned by an ancient work, apparently constructed for purposes of warfare.
Blickling (St. Andrew)
BLICKLING (St. Andrew), a parish, in the union of Aylsham, hundred of South Erpingham, E. division of Norfolk, 1¼ mile (N. W. by N.) from Aylsham; containing 356 inhabitants. Before the Conquest the manor was in the possession of Harold, afterwards king of England: William I. settled the whole on the see: and after the foundation of Norwich cathedral, the bishops held the demesne in their own hands, and had a palace here. Charles II., with his queen, visited the Hall, in their progress through the county, in 1671. The edifice is of brick, in the Elizabethan style; it is environed with large old trees, and situated in a beautiful park of about 700 acres. The road from Aylsham to Holt passes through the parish, which is bounded on the north-east by a branch of the river Bure: the area is 2114a. 2r. 12p., of which 924 acres are arable, 755 meadow and pasture, 401 woodland and plantations, and the remainder common or waste. The living is a rectory, with that of Erpingham annexed, valued in the king's books at £10. 13. 4., and in the patronage of the Dowager Lady Suffield: the tithes of the parish have been commuted for £400, and the glebe comprises 17 acres. The church, which is picturesquely situated near the Hall, is in the decorated and later styles, and consists of a nave, chancel, and aisles, with a low square tower.
Blidworth (St. Mary)
BLIDWORTH (St. Mary), a parish, in the union of Mansfield, Southwell division of the wapentake of Thurgarton, S. division of the county of Nottingham, 5 miles (S. S. E.) from Mansfield; containing, with the hamlets of Lower Blidworth, Bottoms, Fishpool, and Rainworth, and the extra-parochial places of Lindhurst and Haywood-Oaks, 1154 inhabitants. At the time of the Norman survey this formed a berewic to Oxton, and in the 3rd of Henry V. was given by that monarch to the college of Southwell. The parish comprises 5302a. 3r. 10p. The village is nearly in the centre of the ancient forest of Sherwood, in all the perambulations of which, from the reign of Henry I. to that of Charles II., it is mentioned as a forest town: it is pleasantly situated upon an eminence, surrounded by some of the finest scenery of the forest. The "Queen's Bower" and "Langton Arbour" are still pointed out as the sites of hunting-seats of King John; and "Fountain Dale" and "Rainworth" are both celebrated in the annals and ballads of Robin Hood. Rainworth gives name to the forest rivulet that rises near Robin Hood's hills. A portion of the population is employed as frame-work knitters of stockings, and in glove-making and running lace. A fair for sheep is held on Old Michaelmas-day. The living is a discharged vicarage, valued in the king's books at £4, and was till lately in the alternate gift of the two prebendaries of Oxton, on the decease of one of whom, his right of patronage devolved to the Bishop of Ripon; net income, £188. The tithes were commuted for land and a money payment in 1769 and 1806; the glebe comprises 140 acres. The original church becoming dilapidated, the present edifice was erected in 1740, and re-roofed and enlarged in 1839 at an expense of above £1000. There is a place of worship for Wesleyans. In a field near the village is a rocky formation of sand and gravel, commonly called plum-pudding stone; it is fourteen feet high and eighty-four in circumference, and is supposed to have been a Druidical idol. At the inclosure in 1806, upwards of 1000 acres were planted, which are now in a very flourishing condition.
BLINDBOTHEL, a township, in the parish of Brigham, union of Cockermouth, Allerdale ward above Derwent, W. division of Cumberland, 2½ miles (S.) from Cockermouth; containing 100 inhabitants. As a commutation in lieu of tithes, land was assigned to the impropriator in 1812.
Blindcrake, with Isell.—See Isell.
Blisland (St. Pratt)
BLISLAND (St. Pratt), a parish, in the union of Bodmin, hundred of Trigg, E. division of Cornwall, 4½ miles (N. N. E.) from Bodmin; containing 688 inhabitants. It comprises 5643 acres, of which 2460 are common or waste. A cattle-fair is held on the Monday next after September 22nd. The living is a rectory, valued in the king's books at £13. 10.; net income, £571; patron and incumbent, the Rev. F. W. Pye. There is a place of worship for Wesleyans.
Blisworth (St. John the Baptist)
BLISWORTH (St. John the Baptist), a parish, in the union of Towcester, hundred of Wymmersley, S. division of the county of Northampton, 4½ miles (S. S. W.) from Northampton; containing 882 inhabitants. It is intersected by the road from Northampton to Towcester, and comprises 1914 acres, including 50 acres occupied by the London and Birmingham railway, the annual value of which property in the parish is returned at £2357. About two-thirds of the land are arable, and 68 acres in wood; the surface is undulated, the scenery pleasing, and the soil various. The whole, with the exception of the rectory and church lands, belongs to the Duke of Grafton, who is lord of the manor. The Grand Junction canal, entering the parish by means of a tunnel from the parish of Stoke-Bruerne, continues its course northward towards Braunston; and the Northampton canal branches out of it, at the extremity of the parish. Much good stone for lime and building is sent by canal to the neighbouring counties. Here also is a station on the line of the railway, which passes a short distance from the village, and has a cutting through blue limestone rock, about two miles long, with an average depth of fifty feet: the quantity of rock removed was estimated at 1,200,000 cubic yards, and the expense of the cutting at £200,000. The Peterborough railway commences at Blisworth; it passes close to the town of Northampton, and through the heart of the county, by Wellingborough, Higham-Ferrers, and Thrapstone. The living is a rectory, valued in the king's books at £20. 3. 9.; net income, £435; patron and incumbent, the Rev. William Barry. The glebehouse, built in 1841, is in the Elizabethan style. As a commutation in lieu of tithes, with the exception of the tithe of underwood, land and a money-payment were assigned in 1808: the tithe of underwood was commuted in 1845. The church is an ancient edifice with a square tower, and contains a tomb to an ancestor of the Wake family of Courteenhall. The Baptists have a place of worship. A free school is endowed with £10. 4. 7. per annum, paid by the crown.
BLITHBURY, a hamlet, in the parish of MavesynRidware, union of Lichfield, N. division of the hundred of Offlow and of the county of Stafford, 8 miles (N. by E.) from Lichfield; containing 144 inhabitants. It lies on the north side of the parish, in the vale of the Blithe. Here Hugo Mavesyn settled in the reign of Henry I., and founded a church and priory. The priory was dedicated to St. Giles, and occupied by Benedictine monks; but no traces of it now remain.
Blithfield (St. Leonard)
BLITHFIELD (St. Leonard), a parish, in the union of Uttoxeter, hundred of South Pirehill, N. division of the county of Stafford, 4¼ miles (N.) from Rugeley; containing, with Newton liberty and Admaston hamlet, 390 inhabitants. The Bagot family, of great eminence and antiquity, possessed this and the adjoining estate of Bagot's-Bromley, at the time of the Domesday survey. In 1195 Hervey Bagot married the heiress of Baron Stafford; his son assumed the surname and title of Stafford, and became progenitor to the succeeding barons and earls of Stafford, and dukes of Buckingham. Of that branch of the family resident at Blithfield and Bromley, was Sir John Bagot, Knt., ancestor of Hervey Bagot, who was created a baronet in 1627: William Bagot was made a baron in 1780. Blithfield Hall, the family seat, is an ancient mansion with embattled towers and walls; it stands in the vale of the Blithe or Blythe, on a beautiful lawn, and contains a large and valuable collection of paintings, among which are portraits of many distinguished persons. Bagot's Park, which forms part of Lord Bagot's pleasuregrounds, is distant a mile and a half to the north-east, in the parish of Abbot's-Bromley; and is well wooded with ancient oaks, and stocked with deer. The living is a rectory, valued in the king's books at £10. 19. 2., and in the patronage of the noble baron; net income, £388. The church stands a quarter of a mile west of Admaston. Elizabeth Bagot and Jane Jones, in 1729, gave land now producing about £35 per annum, which is applied to the support of a school on the national system; and there are some benefactions for distribution among the poor, one of which, of £10 per annum, was left in 1702 by Sir Walter Bagot.
BLOCKHOUSE, an extra-parochial liberty, in the city, union, and county of Worcester; containing 1280 inhabitants. A district church, dedicated to St. Paul, was consecrated in 1845; it is a handsome brick structure with a small square tower, erected at a cost of £2200, raised by subscription and a grant from the Church Building Society. The living is a perpetual curacy in the patronage of the Bishop, with a net income of £150. On each side of the entrance to the church stands a Sunday school.
Blockley (St. Peter and St. Paul)
BLOCKLEY (St. Peter and St. Paul), a parish, in the union of Shipston, Upper division of the hundred of Oswaldslow, Blockley and E. divisions of the county of Worcester, 3¼ miles (N. W. by W.) from Moreton; surrounded by Gloucestershire and a small portion of Warwickshire; comprising the townships of Blockley, and the hamlets of Aston Magna, Dorne, Ditchford, Draycot, and Paxford; and containing 2136 inhabitants, of whom 1412 are in the township of Blockley. It consists of 7571 acres, of which 3190 are arable, 4035 meadow and pasture, and 341 wood; the soil is rich and fertile. The surface is irregular and undulated, and the scenery produced by its shady groves, fruitful vales, and sloping hills, is very pleasing: the land is in good cultivation. There are several silk-mills, worked by small streams which rise in Dovedale, a short distance hence. Fairs are held on the Tuesday next after Easter-week, for cattle, and Oct. 10th, for hiring servants; a manorial court is occasionally held under the Bishop of Worcester, who is lord of the manor, and the petty-sessions for the division are held here. The living is a vicarage, valued in the king's books at £54; net income, £762; patron and appropriator, the Bishop: the tithes were commuted for land in 1772. The church is partly Norman, and partly in the early English style; the interior is spacious, and consists of a nave, chancel, and north aisle, with a small gallery at the west end, and is appropriately decorated: the tower was rebuilt in 1725, at the expense of the inhabitants. At Aston is a separate incumbency. There is a place of worship for Baptists. Premises for a school upon the national plan, were built some years since by Lord Northwick; the endowment, arising from various sums bequeathed by the ancestors of his lordship, amounts to £12. 14. per annum. In a charter of King Burhred, dated 855, mention is made of a monastery which then existed, and which was subsequently annexed to the bishopric of Worcester: the bishops had a palace here. The Roman Fosse-way passed between this village and Moreton, and urns and other Roman remains have been found on Moor Hill. There are several chalybeate springs.
Blofield (St. Andrew)
BLOFIELD (St. Andrew), a parish, and the head of a union, in the hundred of Blofield, E. division of Norfolk, 7 miles (E.) from Norwich; containing 1112 inhabitants. It comprises about 2252 acres; and the road from Norwich to Yarmouth runs through the village, in which is a branch post-office. Petty-sessions are held at the Globe inn every alternate Monday. The living is a rectory, valued in the king's books at £23. 6. 8.; net income, £896; patrons, the Master and Fellows of Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge: the glebe consists of about 62 acres, with a handsome house erected in 1806. The church is in the later style, with a lofty square embattled tower surmounted at each angle by a figure of one of the Evangelists. The Independents have a place of worship. The rent of about 37 acres of land awarded at the inclosure, is distributed in coal among the poor. The union of Blofield comprises 32 parishes or places, and contains a population of 10,555.
Blo-Norton (St. Andrew)
BLO-NORTON (St. Andrew), a parish, in the union and hundred of Guilt-Cross, W. division of Norfolk, 5 miles (S. by E.) from East Harling; containing 435 inhabitants. It comprises 1133a. 2r. 22p., of which 841 acres are arable, 227 pasture, and the remainder, wood and waste land, and roads. The living is a discharged rectory, valued in the king's books at £5. 6. 3.; patron and incumbent, the Rev. Charles Howman Browne, whose tithes have been commuted for £330, and who has about 20 acres of glebe. The church, which is partly in the early and partly in the decorated style, consists of a nave and chancel, with a square embattled tower. There is a place of worship for Primitive Methodists; also a school supported by endowment. Under an inclosure act in 1822, 25 acres of land were awarded to the poor for fuel; and on the same occasion, 7½ acres were added to 8½ which had been left to the poor by Robert Browne, in 1765.
Bloomsbury, St. George.—See London.
BLOORE-in-Tyrley, a township, in the parish of Drayton-in-Hales, union of Drayton, N. division of the hundred of Pirehill and of the county of Stafford, 2¾ miles (E.) from Drayton; containing, with Hales, 561 inhabitants. Bloore Heath is distinguished as the scene of a sanguinary battle fought in 1459, between the Lancastrians, under the command of Lord Audley, and the Yorkists, under that of the Earl of Salisbury, in which the former were defeated, and about 2400 persons of distinction were slain, among whom was Lord Audley; a wooden cross, resting upon a stone pedestal bearing an inscription commemorative of the event, marks the spot on which his lordship fell. A school is principally supported by the Rev. A. H. Buchanan.—See Hales.
Blore, or Blore-Roy (St. Bartholomew)
BLORE, or Blore-Roy (St. Bartholomew), a parish, in the N. division of the hundred of Totmonslow and of the county of Stafford; containing 333 inhabitants, of whom 273 are in the township of Blore with Swainscoe, 4 miles (N. W. by W.) from Ashbourn. This place is chiefly remarkable as the site of the ancient baronial mansion of the illustrious family of Bassett; the building was standing in 1662, but the site is now occupied by a farmhouse. The parish comprises about 1900 acres, mostly grass land, and is bounded on the north by the rivers Manifold and Dove, and intersected by the road from Derby to Manchester: it commands, from its elevated situation, very extensive views; the Wrekin in Shropshire, and the Leicestershire hills, being distinctly visible. There is excellent limestone, which is used for building; and lead-ore, in small quantity, is sometimes found in the limestone rocks. A fair is held for cattle and sheep on the 20th of September. The living is a discharged rectory, valued in the king's books at £8. 8.; net income, £130; patron, Offley Shore, Esq.: the glebe consists of about 40 acres, with a house in the Elizabethan style, built in 1837. The church, erected in the fourteenth century, has a square tower. Through the exertions of the Rev. Hugh Wood, the rector, this edifice, which was much dilapidated, has been entirely restored and beautified, and some rich oak screen-work properly secured. At the upper end of the north aisle, within a kind of chantry chapel, is a noble altar-tomb of statuary marble, supposed to be to the memory of William, the last male heir of the Bassetts, who was living in 1588; there is also a brass, dated 1400, in the aisle. In the churchyard is an ancient yew-tree; likewise a venerable stone cross, restored by the rector. The Wesleyans have a place of worship. The children receive instruction at Ilam school, where they are also partly clothed, by Jesse Watts Russell, Esq.
Bloxham, or Bloxholme (St. Mary)
BLOXHAM, or Bloxholme (St. Mary), a parish, in the union of Sleaford, wapentake of Flaxwell, parts of Kesteven, county of Lincoln, 5 miles (N. by W.) from Sleaford; containing 67 inhabitants. This parish is situated near the road from Sleaford to Lincoln, and comprises about 1200 acres, of which 700 are arable, 250 pasture and meadow, and the remainder waste; stone is quarried, and made into lime. Bloxham Hall is a fine old mansion, enlarged in 1825, and surrounded by extensive pleasure-grounds. The living is a rectory, to which the vicarage of Digby was united in 1717, valued in the king's books at £9. 9. 4½., and in the patronage of R. A. Christopher, Esq.: the tithes of the parish have been commuted for £209. 5. 2., and the glebe comprises 18 acres, with a house. The church is a neat edifice; in the chancel are deposited the remains of many members of the Manners family, late the possessors of the lordship.
Bloxham (St. Mary)
BLOXHAM (St. Mary), a parish, in the union of Banbury, hundred of Bloxham, county of Oxford, 3 miles (S. W. by S.) from Banbury; containing, with the chapelry of Milcombe, 1543 inhabitants. A pettysession is held once every month. The living is a discharged vicarage, valued in the king's books at £17. 9. 4., and in the gift of Eton College, with a net income of £262: land and annual money payments were assigned in lieu of tithes in the 39th and 40th of George III. The church, which is justly admired for loftiness of elevation and beauty of design, was greatly damaged during the war between the houses of York and Lancaster, but was repaired in the reign of Henry VIII., and beautified by Cardinal Wolsey. It is principally in the early and decorated English styles, with some Norman remains, and has a highly enriched tower of four stages, strengthened by angular buttresses ornamented with canopied niches rising to the third stage; the fourth stage, of smaller dimensions, gradually becomes octagonal, corresponding with the lofty crocketed spire by which it is surmounted. At Milcombe is a chapel of ease; and there is a place of worship in the parish for Baptists; also a free school established in 1831. which was endowed by the will of Mr. Job Faulkner with the interest of £666. 13. 4. three per cent. consols.
BLOXWICH, a chapelry district, in the parish and union of Walsall, S. division of the hundred of Offlow and of the county of Stafford, 2 miles (N. N. W.) from Walsall, on the road to Stafford; containing 3801 inhabitants. In Domesday book this place is described as being held by the king, and having a wood three furlongs in length and one in breadth. From its vicinity to Walsall, it participates in a considerable degree in the manufactures and trade of that town; and advantage is derived from the Essington and Wyrley canal, which passes through the district. The land is of level surface, and the soil gravelly and sandy. Extensive coal and iron mines are in operation: the colliery opened by Messrs. Walter Dudley and Company in 1840, employs 350 hands. Bridle-bits and awl-blades are made in great quantities; and at Goscote is a foundry. The living is a perpetual curacy; net income, £150, with a house. The church, dedicated to St. Thomas, is a neat edifice with a square tower; it was rebuilt in 1790 and enlarged in 1833, and is in good repair. By an order of council, in August 1842, a district was assigned, comprehending the village of Bloxwich, and the hamlets of Little Bloxwich, Goscote, Blakenall, Coalpool, Harden, and part of the Birchills. There are places of worship for Wesleyans and Primitive Methodists; and, at Harden, a Roman Catholic chapel. A national school is supported by subscription; at Blakenall is an infants' school.