Beckermet - Bedlington

Pages 188-194

A Topographical Dictionary of England. Originally published by S Lewis, London, 1848.

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Beckermet (St. Bridget)

BECKERMET (St. Bridget), a parish, in the union of Whitehaven, Allerdale ward above Derwent, W. division of Cumberland; containing 630 inhabitants. The village of Great Beckermet lies partly in this parish, and partly in that of Beckermet St. John, 3 miles south from Egremont. The parish is situated on the north bank of the Calder, adjoining the ocean, and contains the sequestered ruins of Calder Abbey, described under Calder-Bridge. Freestone is obtained. The living is a perpetual curacy; net income, £87; patron and impropriator, H. Gaitskell, Esq. The parochial church stands about half a mile south-west of the village; and a church in the early English style has just been erected at Calder-Bridge, at the expense of Capt. Irwin.

Beckermet (St. John)

BECKERMET (St. John), a parish, in the union of Whitehaven, Allerdale ward above Derwent, W. division of Cumberland; containing 468 inhabitants. The living is a perpetual curacy; net income, £57; patron and impropriator, H. Gaitskell, Esq. The church is a small ancient edifice. A portion of the town of Egremont is included within this parish; in which also stands a private residence called Woto-Bank, with whose etymology is connected an interesting fabulous tale, chosen by Mrs. Cowley for the subject of a romantic poem entitled Edwina, published in 1794.


BECKETT, a tything, in the parish and hundred of Shrivenham, county of Berks, 4¾ miles (S. W. by S.) from Farringdon; comprising 792a. 2r. 25p., and containing 42 inhabitants. The manor, soon after the Conquest, became the property of the crown, and the manorhouse was occasionally a royal residence. Dr. Shute Barrington, Bishop of Durham, was born here in 1734.

Beckford (St. John the Baptist)

BECKFORD (St. John the Baptist), a parish, in the union of Winchcomb, partly in the hundred of Tibaldstone, and partly in the Upper division of the hundred of Tewkesbury, E. division of the county of Gloucester, 6 miles (E. N. E.) from Tewkesbury; containing, with the hamlets of Grafton, Bangrove, and Didcote, 461 inhabitants. This parish, which comprises about 1800 acres, is situated on the road from Tewkesbury to Evesham; and abounds with freestone of good quality. The living is a vicarage, with the living of Ashton-under-Hill annexed, valued in the king's books at £16. 16. 10½.; net income, £317; patron, the Rev. John Timbrill, D. D.; impropriator, W. Wakeman, Esq.: the tithes were commuted for land and a money payment in 1773. The church is a very ancient structure. Here is a Roman Catholic chapel. An alien priory of Augustine canons, a cell to the abbey of St. Martin and St. Barbara, in Normandy, formerly existed here: upon its suppression, the revenues amounted to £53. 6. 8. per annum.

Beckham, East (St. Helen)

BECKHAM, EAST (St. Helen), a parish, in the union of Erpingham, hundred of North Erpingham, E. division of Norfolk, 4½ miles (W. by S.) from Cromer; containing 56 inhabitants. The parish comprises about 800 acres, nearly all arable land. The living is annexed to the rectory of Aylmerton, and the church has long been a ruin.

Beckham, West (All Saints)

BECKHAM, WEST (All Saints), a parish, in the union of Erpingham, hundred of South Erpingham, E. division of Norfolk, 3 miles (E.) from Holt; containing 179 inhabitants. It comprises by measurement 835 acres, of which 767 are arable, 18 pasture, and 50 common, now under inclosure, by an act obtained in 1840. The living is a perpetual curacy, in the patronage of the Dean and Chapter of Norwich, the appropriators; net income, £82. The tithes have been commuted for £206, and the Dean and Chapter have also 13 acres of glebe. The church is chiefly in the early English style; the tower has been many years down.


BECKHAMPTON, a tything, in the parish of Avebury, union of Marlborough, hundred of Selkley, Marlborough and Ramsbury, and N. divisions of Wilts, 6 miles (W.) from Marlborough; containing 155 inhabitants. The village adjoins Beckhampton downs, and is situated on the road from London, which here divides into two branches, one leading through Devizes, and the other through Calne and Chippenham. There was formerly a chapel.

Beckingham (All Saints)

BECKINGHAM (All Saints), a parish, in the union of Newark, wapentake of Loveden, parts of Kesteven, county of Lincoln, 5 miles (E.) from Newark; containing, with the hamlet of Sutton, 462 inhabitants. It is intersected by the road between Newark and Sleaford; the land is partly arable, and partly rich pasture. The living is a rectory, with the living of Stragglesthorpe annexed, valued in the king's books at £41. 6. 8.; net income, £697; patron, Thomas Marsland, Esq.: the tithes of the township were commuted for land and a money payment in 1769; the glebe consists of 400 acres. The church is partly Norman, and partly in the early English style; the tower, ornamented with pinnacles, is later English. There is a place of worship for Methodists.

Beckingham (All Saints)

BECKINGHAM (All Saints), a parish, in the union of Gainsborough, North-Clay division of the wapentake of Bassetlaw, N. division of the county of Nottingham, 3¼ miles (W. by N.) from Gainsborough; containing 491 inhabitants. It comprises 2412 acres; the road from Gainsborough to Bawtry passes through the village, and the navigable river Trent runs along the border of the parish. The living is a vicarage, in the patronage of the Chapter of the Collegiate Church of Southwell, valued in the king's books at £6. 15. 3.; net income, £110. The tithes were commuted for land in 1779; the glebe consists of 60 acres. There is a place of worship for Wesleyans; and a school, endowed with about £15 per annum, is conducted on the national plan. Dr. William Howell, the historian, was born here.

Beckington (St. Gregory)

BECKINGTON (St. Gregory), a parish, in the union and hundred of Frome, E. division of Somerset, 3 miles (N. E.) from Frome; containing, with the hamlet of Rudge, 1190 inhabitants. The manufacture of cloth was formerly extensively carried on, and still exists to a limited degree. The living is a rectory, with that of Standerwick annexed, valued in the king's books at £19. 11. 0½., and in the gift of the family of Sainsbury: the tithes have been commuted for £464, and there are 72½ acres of glebe. The church contains the remains of Samuel Daniel, poet-laureate and historian, who died here in 1619; and of William Huish, rector of the parish, and one of the editors of the Polyglott Bible, who died in 1688. There are places of worship for Particular Baptists and Wesleyans. Thomas Beckington, Bishop of Bath and Wells, and a distinguished statesman, was born here in 1645.

Beckley (St. Mary)

BECKLEY (St. Mary), a parish, in the union of Headington, hundred of Bullington, county of Oxford, 4 miles (N. N. W.) from Wheatly; containing, with the hamlets of Studley and Horton, 763 inhabitants. The manor was part of the private property of Alfred the Great: in the thirteenth century it belonged to Richard, Earl of Cornwall, who had a castellated mansion here, formerly the residence of the barons of St. Walery, and a portion of the site of which is now occupied by a dovecote, supposed to be a relic of the fortress. The living is a vicarage, valued in the king's books at £8; net income, £112: it is in the patronage of the family of the incumbent, the Rev. T. L. Cooke, to whom, and the Earl of Abingdon and Sir Alexander Croke, the impropriate tithes belong. The church is in the early and decorated English styles, with an embattled tower between the nave and chancel, and contains some monuments to the Crokes, of Studley. The Roman road from Alchester to Wallingford passed through the parish, and fragments of Roman pottery have been found in the vicinity.

Beckley (All Saints)

BECKLEY (All Saints), a parish, in the union of Rye, hundred of Goldspur, rape of Hastings, county of Sussex, 7 miles (W. N. W.) from Rye; containing 1412 inhabitants. The parish is bounded on the north by the river Rother, which separates the counties of Kent and Sussex: it comprises by measurement 4800 acres, of which about 1500 are in woods and plantations, and the remainder arable and pasture land in good cultivation; about 360 acres are planted with hops. Iron-ore and sandstone are found, and formerly there was an extensive furnace for smelting iron-ore. The village is pleasantly situated on the road from Rye to London; the surrounding scenery is rich in sylvan beauty, and from many parts extensive and finely varied prospects are obtained. The living is a rectory, valued in the king's books at £11. 6. 8., and in the gift of University College, Oxford: the tithes have been commuted for £1000, and the glebe comprises 25 acres, with a house built in 1840 by the patrons. The church is a handsome edifice in the decorated English style. The Wesleyans have a place of worship. There are several chalybeate springs.


BECK-ROW, a hamlet, in the parish and union of Mildenhall, hundred of Lackford, W. division of Suffolk; containing 744 inhabitants. It is situated to the north-west of the village of Mildenhall.

Beckswell.—See Bexwell.

BECKSWELL.—See Bexwell.

Bedale (St. Gregory)

BEDALE (St. Gregory), a market-town, parish, and the head of a union, chiefly in the wapentake of Hang-East, but partly in that of Hallikeld, N. riding of York; containing 2803 inhabitants, of whom 1250 are in the town, 33½ miles (N. W) from York, and 223 (N. N. W.) from London. The parish comprises 8702a. 1r. 24p., and contains the townships of Aiskew, Bedale, Burrell with Cowling, Crakehall, Firby, and Langthorne, and the hamlet of Rands-Grange. The town, which has been considerably improved of late, is of prepossessing appearance; it is pleasantly situated on the banks of a stream flowing into the river Swale, near Scruton, and consists principally of one street, which is lighted with gas from works erected in 1836. The houses are in general of brick, and irregularly built; the air is pure, and the neighbourhood, which is well cultivated, affords many pleasant walks and much picturesque scenery. Among the more recent buildings is a handsome structure erected in 1840, containing apartments for the savings' bank, a suite of assembly-rooms, and apartments for holding petty-sessions. Several extensive wool-staplers carry on business here, and give employment to numerous wool-combers. An act was passed in 1846, enabling the York and Newcastle Railway Company to make a branch line to Bedale, 7 miles in length. The market is on Tuesday; and on the same day in alternate weeks is a large fair for fat-cattle and sheep, established in 1837. Other fairs are held on Easter-Tuesday, Whit-Tuesday, and July 5th and 6th, for horses, horned-cattle, and sheep; and Oct. 10th and 11th, and the last Monday but one before Christmas-day, for cattle, sheep, hogs, and leather, the supply of the last article being the most considerable of any in the north of England. The horses are generally of superior value, the surrounding country being famed for its breed of hunters and race-horses.

The living is a rectory, valued in the king's books at £89. 4. 9½., and in the alternate patronage of Miss Pierse, and Myles Stapylton, Esq.: the tithes have been commuted for £1713. 16. 3., and there are 176 acres of glebe. The church is in the early English style, and has a square embattled tower crowned by pinnacles, and of remarkable strength, having been used as a place of security from the incursions of the Scots: it contains several interesting monuments, one of which is to the memory of Sir Brian Fitz-Alan, lord-lieutenant of Scotland in the reign of Edward I., who resided in a castle near the church, of which there are no remains. A district church was erected in 1840 at Crakehall. There are places of worship for Methodists, Particular Baptists, and Roman Catholics. A school for boys, formerly in the churchyard, was removed in 1816 to a more convenient room erected by Henry Pierse, Esq., in the market-place; it is supposed to have existed prior to the dissolution of religious houses, and was endowed by Queen Elizabeth with £7. 11. 4. per annum, and afterwards by the Countess of Warwick with £13. 6. 8. per annum. The latter sum, together with a gratuity of £50 from the rector, and £10 from the Hazleflatt estate, is paid to the master; the first sum of £7. 11. 4. being appropriated to the instruction of scholars in the old building in the churchyard, which was re-opened as a grammar school a few years ago. Samwaies hospital, a neat stone building, containing apartments for six men, was founded by P. Samwaies, D.D., in 1698; the Widows' hospital was founded by Robert Younge about 1666, for the residence of three widows. There are numerous bequests for the poor. The union of Bedale, comprising 23 parishes and places, contains a population of 8596. Sir Christopher Wray, lord chief justice of the court of queen's bench in the reign of Elizabeth, was a native of the place.

Bedburn, North

BEDBURN, NORTH, a township, in the parish of St. Andrew Auckland, union of Auckland, N. W. division of Darlington ward, S. division of the county of Durham, 5¾ miles (N. W.) from Bishop-Auckland; containing 457 inhabitants. This place, which was anciently a possession of the Eure family, comprises the hamlets of Green-Head and Fir-Tree, and lies on the north side of Witton-le-Wear: the river Wear passes on the west. Smelting-works are said to have been carried on at a place now called Smelt-house.

Bedburn, South

BEDBURN, SOUTH, a township, in the chapelry of Hamsterley, parish of St. Andrew Auckland, union of Auckland, N. W. division of Darlington ward, S. division of the county of Durham, 8 miles (N. W. by W.) from Bishop-Auckland; containing 350 inhabitants. This township, which is situated between the river Wear and the Bedburn rivulet, comprises 8068 acres, whereof 5000 are arable, meadow, and pasture, 1068 wood and plantations, and the remainder waste; the soil is light and sandy, but not unfertile. The surface is diversified with hills and glens, and the neighbourhood abounds with picturesque and romantic scenery. At the north-western extremity of the township is an earthwork of remote antiquity, called "The Castles," of oblong form, surrounded by a lofty rampart of loose pebble-stones, with an outer ditch, supposed to have been a British fortress. At Bedburn Forge is a manufactory for edge-tools, spades, &c., which, prior to the year 1820, was used for bleaching linen cloth and yarn by a chemical process.

Beddingham (St. Andrew)

BEDDINGHAM (St. Andrew), a parish, in the union of West Firle, hundred of Totnore, rape of Pevensey, E. division of Sussex, 2 miles (S. E.) from Lewes; containing 268 inhabitants. The parish comprises 2283a. 3r. 1p., and includes part of the South Downs; it is bounded on the west by the river Ouse, and is intersected by the road from Lewes to Eastbourne. The living is a discharged vicarage, with that of West Firle united, valued in the king's books at £9. 10. 10.; net income, £345; patrons, alternately, the Bishop, and the Dean and Chapter, of Chichester. The impropriation of Beddingham belongs to the Dean and Chapter, and that of West Firle to Viscount Gage. The church is a handsome structure, and has evidently been of larger dimensions than at present. Several relics of antiquity, consisting of swords, bracelets, and Roman coins, with some skeletons, were dug up in a field in 1800.

Beddington (St. Mary)

BEDDINGTON (St. Mary), a parish, in the union of Croydon, Second division of the hundred of Wallington, E. division of Surrey, 1½ mile (W.) from Croydon; containing, with the hamlet of Wallington, 1453 inhabitants. This parish comprises 3909 acres, whereof 98 are common or waste, and is intersected by the river Wandle; the soil is light and gravelly, and towards the north the surface is flat. The living is a rectory, valued in the king's books at £13. 16. 8., and in the patronage of Capt. Carew: the tithes, with those of Wallington, have been commuted for £1200, and there are 49 acres of glebe. The church, beautifully situated in Beddington Park, close to the ancient mansion, is a handsome edifice with a fine tower, chiefly in the later English style; it was built in the reign of Richard II., and contains some monuments to the memory of the Carew family. Several schools are supported by subscription; and there are bequests to the poor, the principal of which is one of £1000 by Mrs. A. P. Gee, in 1825. The first orange-trees introduced into England are said to have been planted in Beddington Park. Roman urns and other relics have been discovered.

Bedfield (St. Nicholas)

BEDFIELD (St. Nicholas), a parish, in the union and hundred of Hoxne, E. division of Suffolk, 4¾ miles (W. N. W.) from Framlingham; containing 358 inhabitants. The parish comprises 1268 acres, of which 47 are common or waste. The living is a discharged rectory, valued in the king's books at £14, and in the gift of the Earl of Stradbroke: the glebe consists of 24 acres, and the tithes have been commuted for £375. The church consists of a nave and chancel, with a square tower. About £56, the produce of land, are annually distributed among the poor.

Bedfont, East (St. Mary)

BEDFONT, EAST (St. Mary), a parish, in the union of Staines, hundred of Spelthorne, county of Middlesex, 3¾ miles (W. S. W.) from Hounslow; containing, with the hamlet of Hatton, 982 inhabitants. This is a polling-place for the election of knights of the shire. The living is a discharged vicarage, valued in the king's books at £6. 13. 4.; net income, £288; patron and appropriator, the Bishop of London. Opposite the entrance to the church are two yew-trees, the branches of which, meeting at the top, form an arch, and have been fantastically cut so as to represent two cocks in a fighting attitude; in the thick foliage of one of them appears the date 1704 (an eccentric individual having made a bequest in that year for keeping them thus trimmed), and in that of the other are seen the initials H. I. G. R. T.


BEDFORD, a borough and market-town, and the head of a union, in the county of Bedford, of which it is the capital, 50 miles (N. N. W.) from London; containing 9178 inhabitants. This place, called by the later Britons Lettuydur, and by the Saxons Bedanford or Bedicanford (expressive of its character as a place of public accommodation at the passage of a river), derives its name from its situation near an ancient ford over the Ouse. In the year 571, a battle was fought here between the Britons and the West Saxons, the latter being commanded by Cuthwulf, brother of Ceawlin, third king of Wessex; in which the Britons were defeated with considerable loss. The town having been almost destroyed by the Danes, was restored by Edward the Elder, who greatly enlarged it by erecting a fort and other buildings on the opposite side of the river; but in 1010 it suffered again from an irruption of the Danes, who committed dreadful ravages in their progress through the country. After the Conquest, Payne de Beauchamp, third baron of Bedford, built a strong castle here, which was besieged and taken by Stephen in the war with the Empress Matilda; and when the barons took up arms against King John, William de Beauchamp, who then possessed it, having sided with the insurgents, delivered the castle into their possession; but it was subsequently besieged and ultimately taken for the king by Falco de Brent, upon whom that monarch bestowed it, as a reward for his services. In the reign of Henry III., Falco having committed excessive outrages for which he was fined £3000 by the king's itinerant justiciaries at Dunstable, seized the principal judge and imprisoned him in the castle, which, after a vigorous siege, and an obstinate defence, memorable in the history of those times, was taken, and, by the king's order, demolished, with the exception of the inner part, which was given for a residence to William de Beauchamp, to whom Henry restored the barony which he had forfeited in the preceding reign. Of this fortress, only a part of the intrenchments, and the site of the keep, now converted into a bowling-green, remain. The ancient barons of Bedford were lord almoners at the coronation of the kings of England; and as an inheritor of part of the barony, the Marquess of Exeter officiated at that of George IV., receiving the usual perquisite of a silver alms-basin, and the cloth upon which the sovereign walked from Westminster Hall to the Abbey. During the civil war in the reign of Charles I., this town, which had been garrisoned for the parliament, surrendered to Prince Rupert, in 1643; the parliamentary troops, under Col. Montague, afterwards entered it by stratagem, and carried off some money and horses, which had been brought thither for the use of the royalists.

Seal and Arms.

The town is pleasantly situated in a fertile vale watered by the river Ouse, which is here navigable for barges, and over which is a handsome stone bridge of five arches, erected in 1813 at an expense of £15,137, and replacing a former bridge of great antiquity. It consists of one spacious street, nearly a mile in length, intersected at right angles by several smaller streets; and is rapidly increasing, from the advantages of gratuitous education at the excellent and richly endowed free schools, adapted to every class of the community, operating as an inducement to families to settle here. The town is well paved, lighted with gas, and amply supplied with water. Races are held in the spring and autumn, a king's plate having been run for, the first time, at the autumnal meeting of 1832; assemblies take place during the winter, and a small theatre is opened occasionally. There is a public library, with an extensive and well-assorted collection of valuable books, and a museum; and several book-clubs have been established.

The principal branches of manufacture are those of lace and straw-plat, in which many women and children are employed; a good deal of iron is manufactured into agricultural implements, and a considerable trade in corn and coal, by means of the Ouse, is carried on with Lynn and the intermediate places. A railway from Bedford to the Bletchley station of the London and North-Western line, was opened in November, 1846; it is about 16½ miles long, almost a dead level, and cost between £16,000 and £17,000 per mile. In 1846, an act was passed for making a branch of nearly eight miles from the great London and York railway, to Bedford. The market-days are Monday, for pigs only; and Saturday, for corn and provisions: the former market is held in the southern, and the latter in the northern, division of the town. The fairs are on the first Tuesday in Lent, April 21st, July 6th, Aug. 21st, Oct. 12th, and Dec. 19th, for cattle; and there is a wool-fair also on the 6th of July. The government, until 1836, was in accordance with a charter of incorporation granted by Charles II., confirming the prescriptive privileges of the borough and the charters previously granted; but by the act of the 5th and 6th of William IV., cap. 76, the corporation now consists of a mayor, 6 aldermen, and 17 councillors, exclusively of the mayor, who belongs to the last-named class; and the borough is now divided into two wards, the municipal and parliamentary boundaries being the same. The mayor is a justice of the peace by virtue of his office, and four other gentlemen have been appointed justices, concurrently with the county magistrates. The borough first sent representatives to parliament in the 23rd of Edward I., since which time it has returned two members; the mayor is returning officer. The county debt-court of Bedford, established in 1847, has jurisdiction over the registration-district of Bedford. The assizes and quarter-sessions for the county are held in the town, where also the election of the knights of the shire takes place; the sessions-house, rebuilt in 1753, is a neat stone edifice, in St. Paul's square. The county gaol, rebuilt in 1801, is a handsome structure surrounded by a high brick wall, at the north-western entrance into the town, and contains seven wards or divisions for the classification of prisoners, with airing-yards, in one of which is a tread-mill. The county penitentiary, or new house of correction, a large brick building on the road to Kettering, was erected in 1819.

The borough comprises the parishes of St. Cuthbert, St. John, St. Mary, St. Paul, and St. Peter Martin. The parish of St. Cuthbert comprises about 250 acres by measurement. The living is a discharged rectory, valued in the king's books at £5. 9. 4½., and in the patronage of the Crown, with a net income of £129: the tithes were commuted for land and annual money payments in 1795. The church, rebuilt in 1846 in the Anglo-Saxon style, is a neat edifice, and cost £1600. The parish of St. John contains by computation 18 acres. The living is a rectory not in charge, with the mastership of St. John's hospital, in the town, annexed; net income, about £380: the advowson till lately belonged to the corporation. The church is a neat structure in the later English style, with a handsome tower, but it has been much modernised. The parish of St. Mary contains 490 acres, of which 275 acres are plough land, and 215 pasture; the soil is gravel. The living is a rectory, valued in the king's books at £11. 4. 9½.; net income, £273; patron, the Bishop of Lincoln: the tithes were commuted for land and a money payment in 1797. The church, which is of early date, shows few marks of its antiquity, except in the tower, in which are good specimens of the Norman arch, recently discovered: great improvements have of late been made in the interior of the edifice, by removing the wall which divided the nave from the north aisle, and substituting stone arches and columns of light and handsome structure; the chancel, also, has been fitted up with stalls, in oak, with sculptured finials, and the nave and aisle with open sittings. In the immediate neighbourhood of this church stood, until the reign of Edward VI., another church, dedicated to St. Peter Dunstable: from its materials the aisle of the surviving church was built; and in the late alterations, a doorway was discovered in the outer wall of this aisle, in one of the spandrils of which are the clear marks of St. Peter's emblem, the cross keys.

The parish of St. Paul contains 771a. lr. 34p., the greater part of which is arable, the pasture being chiefly on the banks of the Ouse; the surface is level, rising gradually on the north towards Clapham hill. The living is a vicarage, valued in the king's books at £10, and in the patronage of Lord Carteret, with a net income of £230; the glebe consists of about 63 acres. The church, a portion of which was built in the 12th century, is a spacious and venerable structure, partly in the early and partly in the decorated English style, with a handsome tower surmounted by an octagonal spire, and a north and south porch in the later style. An additional church, dedicated to the Holy Trinity, was erected in the pointed style, in 1839-40, by subscription, aided by £500 from the Incorporated Society; it contains 1000 sittings, of which 500 are free, and Lord Carteret has contributed £2700 towards its endowment. The living is a perpetual curacy, in the gift of the Vicar of St. Paul's. The parish of St. Peter Martin comprises 547a. 3r. 18p. The living is a rectory, valued in the king's books at £11. 13. 1½., and in the patronage of the Crown; net income, £204: the tithes were commuted for land and annual money payments in 1795. The church is an ancient edifice, with a tower, the upper part of which has been recently restored, and having at the southern entrance a beautiful Norman arch: the first stone of an enlargement of the building, was laid in October, 1845. There are places of worship for Baptists, Independents, Wesleyans, and Moravians; and a chapel lately erected, denominated the Primitive Episcopal or Reformed Church of England, the minister of which styles himself Bishop.

The Free Grammar school of the Bedford charity was founded in 1556, and endowed with property, consisting of houses and land, by Sir William Harpur, a native of the town, and lord mayor of London in 1561, whose statue, in white marble, is placed in a niche over the entrance. It has eight exhibitions of £80 per annum each, tenable for four years, in any one of the Universities of Oxford, Cambridge, or Dublin, six of which are restricted to boys whose parents are inhabitants of the town, and the remaining two are open to all scholars educated in the school, whether or not children of inhabitants. Under the same endowment there are an English commercial school, confined to the children of the settled inhabitants of the town; a national school for boys and girls; and an hospital for the maintenance and education of fifty children of both sexes: the entire amount given annually in apprentice fees is £1500. Handsome school premises in connexion with the charity were lately erected, to which an extensive addition in a corresponding style of architecture has been since made. From the same fund were founded and endowed twenty almshouses, each containing four apartments, for ten aged men and ten aged women, decayed housekeepers; and forty-six additional houses have since been erected, on the northern side of Dame Alice-street, so called in honour of the founder's lady. The sum of £800 is annually given, in marriage portions of £20 each, to maidens of good character in the town, being daughters of resident householders belonging to any of the parishes; £500 for the relief of decayed housekeepers; and other pecuniary donations to the poor; all arising from the same endowment, which, owing to the increased rental of the estate, yields an annual income of more than £13,000. A school was founded in 1727, and endowed with lands producing £46. 10. per annum, by Mr. Alexander Leith; and a Green-coat school, now united to the national school, was established in 1760, and endowed with £33. 15. per annum, by Alderman Newton, of Leicester, for twenty-five boys, for clothing whom the endowment is now appropriated. The house of industry, erected by act of parliament, in 1796, at a cost of £5000, is now the workhouse of the Bedford union, which comprises forty-four parishes and places, and contains a population of 31,767. The county lunatic asylum, a handsome brick building on the road to Ampthill, was erected in 1812, at an expense, including the furniture, of £17,975; and a wing being added in 1842, it will now accommodate sixty-five patients. The county infirmary, on the same road, is a substantial edifice with a stone front, towards the erection and endowment of which the late Samuel Whitbread, Esq., gave £10,000, and Lord Hampden £1000; it contains a small museum, and a medical library consisting of nearly 2000 volumes. The Marquess of Tavistock, at the election for the county in 1826, presented £2000 to the institution, in lieu of entertaining the freeholders; and the Duke of Bedford contributes £100 per annum. Eight almshouses, for unmarried persons of either sex, were founded and endowed in 1679, by Mr. Thomas Christie. An hospital, dedicated to St. John the Baptist, is supposed to have been established and partly endowed by Robert de Parys; its revenue, at the dissolution of religious houses, was £21. 0. 8.; the charity was then confirmed, and the mastership is now annexed to the rectory of St. John's.

A monastery of uncertain foundation existed here at a very early period, in the chapel of which, Offa, King of Mercia, who had been a great benefactor to it, was buried; the chapel being afterwards undermined by the Ouse, sank with the tomb of that monarch into the river. About three-quarters of a mile west of the town, on the bank of the river, are some remains of the conventual buildings of Caldwell Priory, which was instituted in the reign of John, by Robert, son of William de Houghton, for brethren of the order of the Holy Cross, and the revenue of which, at the Dissolution, was £148. 15. 10. At Newenham, a mile east of the town, are considerable vestiges of a priory of Black canons, which, in the reign of Henry II., was removed thither from Bedford, where it had been originally founded by Simeon Beauchamp; and at Elstow church, formerly Helenstowe, two miles distant, on the road to Clophill, are the interesting ruins of a nunnery established by Judith, niece of William the Conqueror, and dedicated to the Holy Trinity, and to St. Helen, mother of Constantine the Great; the revenue, at the Dissolution, was £325. 2. 1. John Bunyan, author of the Pilgrim's Progress, was confined for twelve years and a half in the county gaol, from which he was ultimately released on the intercession of the Bishop of Lincoln. Bedford confers the title of Duke on the noble family of Russell.


BEDFORD, a district chapelry, in the parish and union of Leigh, hundred of West Derby, S. division of the county of Lancaster, ½ a mile (E. S. E.) from Leigh; containing 4187 inhabitants. It lies on the road from Leigh to Warrington, and is of level surface; the soil is of various qualities. The Messrs. Bickham and Pownall have a very large silk power-loom mill on the banks of the Bridgewater canal, established in 1844, and in connexion with which they employ, in and out of doors, more than 1000 persons. There are four cotton-mills, an iron-wire and machine mill, and a brewery: four collieries, also, are in operation. The church, dedicated to St. Thomas, was erected in 1840, at an expense of £3000, and is a neat structure of brick, with a tower. The living is a perpetual curacy, with a net income of £150; patron, the Vicar of Leigh. There are places of worship for Wesleyans and Roman Catholics.


BEDFORD-CIRCUS, a precinct and chapelry, in the county of the city of Exeter, S. division of Devon; containing 190 inhabitants.


BEDFORDSHIRE, an inland county, bounded on the north and north-east by Huntingdonshire, on the east by the county of Cambridge, on the south-east and south by that of Hertford, on the south-west and west by that of Buckingham, and on the north-west by that of Northampton. It lies between the parallels of 51° 50' and 52° 22' (N. Lat.), and between the meridians of 9' and 42' (W. Lon.); and includes 463 square miles, or 296,320 statute acres. There are 21,235 inhabited houses, 519 uninhabited, and 210 in progress of erection; and the population amounts to 107,936, of whom 52,190 are males, and 55,746 females. At the time of the Roman conquest of Britain, this territory formed part of the possessions of the Cassii; and on the consolidation of the Roman dominion, it was included in the division of Southern Britain, called Flavia Cæsariensis. During the heptarchy, the northern part appears to have been occupied by the South Mercians, and the southern by the East Saxons. Bedfordshire, by the act founded on the recommendation of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, is now within the diocese of Ely, and province of Canterbury: it forms an archdeaconry, in which are included the deaneries of Bedford, Clapham, Dunstable, Eaton, Fleet, and Shefford; and contains 123 parishes. For purposes of civil jurisdiction it is divided into nine hundreds, namely, Barford, Biggleswade, Clifton, Flitt, Manshead, Redbornestoke, Stodden, Willey, and Wixamtree. It contains the borough, market, and county town of Bedford; the corporate and market-town of Dunstable; and the market-towns of Ampthill, Biggleswade, Harrold, Leighton-Buzzard, Luton, Potton, and Woburn. Two knights are returned to parliament for the shire, and two burgesses for the borough of Bedford. The county is included in the Norfolk circuit, and the assizes and sessions are held in the shire-hall at Bedford, at which town are the county gaol and old house of correction, and the penitentiary or new house of correction.

The form of the county is a very irregular parallelogram, the sides of which are deeply indented by projecting, and in some instances nearly isolated, portions of the adjoining shires. The soil comprises every species commonly seen in upland districts, from the strongest clay to the lightest sand; although the various kinds are frequently found in remarkably small patches, and so intermixed that no accurate delineation of them can be given. The agricultural improvements that have taken place in modern times, but which have not been very extensively introduced, are mainly owing to the exertions of the fifth duke of Bedford. The county has long been noted for its abundant produce of wheat and barley, the Vale of Bedford being one of the finest corn districts in the country; rye and oats are cultivated only to a limited extent, as beans are thought more profitable, and on the clay soils are less exhausting than oats. The natural meadows on the banks of the rivers are distinguished for their richness, but the quantity of pasture land is not very considerable; in the southern part of the county, however, and in the neighbourhoods of Ampthill and Woburn more especially, are many large dairy-farms, the produce of which, being chiefly butter, is sent to the London market. The breeding and fattening of calves are carried on in the vicinity of Biggleswade. The woods occupy about 7000 acres, and are nearly all situated on the slopes of the hills, which consist of cold wet woodland clays; various extensive plantations have been made by the principal proprietors. The high chalky downs, which constitute a large portion of the southernmost part of the county, comprise about 4000 acres of bleak and barren land, in many parts consisting only of a mass of hard chalk, called hurlock, or clunch, with a slight covering of loamy soil, barely sufficient to nourish a scanty crop of indifferent herbage. The northern acclivities of the Chiltern hills are, in many places, the steepest in the county, and are totally inaccessible to the plough; but, with the exception of this tract, the waste lands occupy only a very small proportion of its surface.

The Manufactures are almost entirely confined to the platting of straw and the making of thread-lace, the latter being pursued in every part of the county, excepting only in the southern districts, where it has been superseded by the straw manufacture. Straw-platting was formerly confined to the chalk district, at the southernmost extremity of the county, but was so much encouraged about the commencement of the present century, as to spread rapidly over the whole southern part of it, as far as Woburn, Ampthill, and Shefford. Here many of the male, and nearly the whole female, population are employed in this manufacture; as those of the middle and northern parts are in making threadlace. A considerable quantity of mats is made in the vicinity of the Ouse, to the north-west of Bedford. The principal rivers are the Ouse and the Ivel; the former becomes navigable at Bedford, and the latter at Biggleswade, and they unite at Tempsford. The Grand Junction canal crosses a small south-western portion of the county, in the valley of the Ouzel, near LeightonBuzzard; and the Bedford branch of the London and Birmingham railway, passing by the towns of Ampthill and Woburn, is almost wholly within the county.

Bedfordshire contained the Roman station called by Antonine Durocobrivæ, and by Richard of Cirencester Forum Dianœ, at Dunstable; and that designated by Ptolemy [Salinai], and by the geographer of Ravennas Salinœ, near the village of Sandy. It was intersected by the great Roman roads Ikeneld-street and Watlingstreet, by a military way running for a considerable distance within its south-eastern border, and by several vicinal ways. The most remarkable military intrenchment is that called Totternhoe Castle, on the brow of a high hill about two miles to the north-west of Dunstable, consisting of a lofty circular mount surrounded by a ditch and ramparts: a little south-eastward of this is a camp in the form of a parallelogram, about 500 feet long, and 250 broad. About a mile from Dunstable is the large circular encampment of Maiden Bower, about 2500 feet in circumference, and formed by a single ditch and rampart. There is another extensive fortification of the same kind, and nearly of a circular shape, near Leighton-Buzzard: a third circular intrenchment, 112 feet in diameter, is situated about four miles from Bedford, on the road to Eaton-Socon; and on a hill overlooking the site of the ancient Salinœ, is a large Roman camp of an irregular oblong form. At the period of the Reformation, there were fourteen religious houses, besides a commandery of the Knights Hospitallers, six hospitals, and one college of priests: the most considerable remains are those of Elstow Abbey and Dunstable Priory, and there are smaller vestiges of Warden Abbey, of the Grey friars' Monastery at Bedford, and of the priories of Bushmead, Harrold, Newenham, and Caldwell. Of ancient castles there are few remains, except the strong earthworks which yet mark their sites, and of which the most remarkable are situated at Arlsey, Bedford, Bletsoe, Cainhoe, Mappershall, Puddington, Ridgmont, Risinghoe, Sutton, Thurleigh, Toddington, and Yielding. Among the mansions of the landed proprietors, those most worthy of particular notice are Woburn Abbey, and Ampthill, Luton-Hoo, Wrest, Brogborough, Bletsoe, and Melchbourn Parks. There are mineral springs at Barton, Bedford, Bletsoe, Blunham, Bromham, Bushmead, Clapham, Cranfield, Holcutt, Milton-Ernest, Odell, Pertenhall, Risley, Silsoe, and Turvey; they possess different properties, some being saline, and others chalybeate, but none of them are much frequented.


BEDHAMPTON, a parish, in the union of Havant, hundred of Portsdown, Fareham and S. divisions of the county of Southampton, ¾ of a mile (W.) from Havant; containing 533 inhabitants. It comprises by measurement 2415 acres, about one-half of which is under tillage, and the other divided in nearly equal portions between woodland and pasture; the soil in the lower part is a rich black loam, and in the upper part a strong clay. There are some chalk-pits, and two extensive flour-mills. The village is delightfully situated on the shore of Langston harbour, and commands splendid views: there are some fine springs of water, to one of which considerable medicinal qualities are attributed. The living is a rectory, valued in the king's books at £10. 3. 9.; patron, the Rev. St. John Alder: the tithes have been commuted for £320.10., and the glebe consists of 26 acres. The church is a very neat structure.

Bedingfield, or Bedingfeld (St. Mary)

BEDINGFIELD, or Bedingfeld (St. Mary), a parish, in the union and hundred of Hoxne, E. division of Suffolk, 5 miles (S. S. E.) from Eye; containing 336 inhabitants, and comprising 1753a. lr. 7p., of which 21 acres are common or waste. The living is a discharged rectory, valued in the king's books at £8, and in the gift of J. J. Bedingfield, Esq., whose family received their name from the parish: the tithes have been commuted for £400, and the glebe consists of 3 acres, with a good parsonage-house. The church is in the early English style, and has a nave and chancel, with an embattled tower. The produce of land, to the amount of about £35 per annum, is partly applied to the repairing of the church, and partly to general purposes; and £15 per annum, from land left by B. Bedingfield and S. Pakes, are distributed among the poor. There are several ancient moated houses; a few years ago some silver coins were found of Edward I., and a curious leaden seal of Pope Innocent VI. has been dug up in the glebe.

Bedingham (St. Andrew)

BEDINGHAM (St. Andrew), a parish, in the union of Loddon and Clavering, hundred of Loddon, E. division of Norfolk, 4¼ miles (N. W. by W.) from Bungay; containing 316 inhabitants. It comprises 1340 acres, of which 70 are common or waste. The living is a discharged vicarage, valued in the king's books at £5; patron and impropriator, J. W. Gooch, Esq.: the great tithes have been commuted for £280. 10., and the vicarial for £141. 3.; the glebe comprises about 11 acres. The church consists of a nave, chancel, and aisles, with a chapel at the east end of each aisle, and a circular tower the upper part of which is octagonal; the font is curiously sculptured, and in the chancel are some handsome monuments to the Stow family. Another church, dedicated to St. Mary, formerly stood in the churchyard; and the living consisted of medieties, which have long been united.

Bedlington (St. Cuthbert)

BEDLINGTON (St. Cuthbert), a parish and division, in the union of Morpeth, N. division of the county of Northumberland, 5½ miles (S. E. by S.) from Morpeth; containing 3155 inhabitants, of whom 2023 are in the township of Bedlington. This district was purchased about the beginning of the tenth century by Cutheard, second bishop of Chester, who gave it to the see, by which means it was annexed in jurisdiction to the body of the county palatine of Durham lying between the Tyne and the Tees; it anciently had courts and officers of justice within its own limits, appointed under commission from the Bishop of Durham. The town or village stands on high ground, in a pleasant situation, and consists principally of one long street of considerable width, forming a kind of sloping avenue to the river Blyth, which glides past, between steep banks. The parish, commonly called Bedlingtonshire, and including the townships of North Blyth, Cambois, Choppington, Netherton, and East and West Sleckburn, is on the coast of the North Sea, and is bounded on the north by the Wansbeck, and on the south by the Blyth, which is navigable for small craft, and affords facility of conveyance for the produce of the Bedlington iron-works. At these works, which are among the oldest and most extensive in the kingdom, are manufactured chain-cables, bolts, bar and sheet iron, and all the heavier articles in wrought iron, which are conveyed to the port of Blyth, where they are shipped for London: the buildings occupy an exceedingly romantic site, the banks on each side of the river rising to a considerable height, while the impatient waters hasten rapidly along, and, in passing over a dam, form a very beautiful cataract. There are also some extensive collieries, and several quarries producing grindstones, scythe-stones, and whetstones of superior quality. Petty-sessions are held occasionally. The living, of which the net income is £454, is a vicarage, valued in the king's books at £13. 6. 8., and in the gift of the Dean and Chapter of Durham, who are also appropriators. The great tithes of the township have been commuted for £361. 10., and the vicarial for £40. 8. 4.; there are 234 acres of vicarial glebe. The church is dedicated to St. Cuthbert, whose remains are said to have rested here, on the flight of the monks from Durham upon the approach of the Conqueror, in 1069; it was enlarged and repaired in 1818. At the eastern extremity of the village is a petrifying spring, called Spinner's Well.