A Topographical Dictionary of England. Originally published by S Lewis, London, 1848.
This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.
BESFORD, a township, in the parish of Shawbury, union of Wem, hundred of Pimhill, N. division of Salop, 3 miles (S. E. by E.) from Wem; containing 167 inhabitants.
Besford (St. Andrew)
BESFORD (St. Andrew), a parish, in the union, and Upper division of the hundred, of Pershore, Pershore and E. divisions of the county of Worcester, 3 miles (W. by S.) from Pershore; containing 179 inhabitants. The parish comprises 1320 acres of arable and pasture land in nearly equal portions; and is intersected by the Birmingham and Gloucester railway. The living is annexed to the vicarage of St. Andrew's, Pershore, and valued in the king's books at 3: the church stands in the village, and is an ancient structure of unknown date, containing about 100 sittings.
BESKABY, an extra-parochial place, connected with the parish of Croxton-Keyrial, in the hundred of Framland, N. division of the county of Leicester, 7 miles (N. E.) from Melton-Mowbray; containing 7 inhabitants. The manor of "Bescoldeby" was held in 1363 by Andrew Luttrell, for Croxton Abbey; the Furnivals subsequently held lands here. The area is 843 acres. The chapel is in ruins.
Besselsleigh (St. Lawrence)
BESSELSLEIGH (St. Lawrence), a parish, in the union of Abingdon, hundred of Hormer, county of Berks, 4 miles (N. W.) from Abingdon; containing 106 inhabitants. It takes its name from the ancient family of Bessels, an heiress of which conveyed the estate by marriage to the Fettyplaces; and Sir Edmund Fettyplace sold it, about 1620, to Wm. Lenthall, master of the rolls, and speaker of the house of commons in the Long parliament, from whom it has descended to Kyffin J. W. Lenthall, Esq. The old manor-house was pulled down about fifty years since: Cromwell, who was a frequent visiter, usually concealed himself in a room to which the only access was by a chair let down and drawn up with pulleys. The parish comprises 872a. 1r. 21p. The living is a discharged rectory, valued in the king's books at 4. 17. 3., and in the gift of Mr. Lenthall: the tithes have been commuted for 230, and the glebe consists of 26 acres. Sir John Lenthall, son and heir of the speaker, and governor of Windsor Castle, was buried in the chancel of the church in 1681.
Bessingby (St. Magnus)
BESSINGBY (St. Magnus), a parish, in the union of Bridlington, wapentake of Dickering, E. riding of York, 1 mile (S. W.) from Bridlington; containing 66 inhabitants. The parish is on the road from Bridlington to Driffield, and a short distance from Bridlington bay, which stretches on the east; it comprises about 1230 acres of land, the property of Harrington Hudson, Esq., who is lord of the manor, and resides at Bessingby Hall. The living is a perpetual curacy, in the patronage of Mr. Hudson, with a net income of 59: the tithes were commuted for land and a money payment in 1766. The church, rebuilt in 1766, contains several handsome monuments to the Hudson family, one of them a fine basso-relievo of a female expiring in the arms of her attendants.
Bessingham (St. Mary)
BESSINGHAM (St. Mary), a parish, in the union of Erpingham, hundred of North Erpingham, E. division of Norfolk, 8 miles (N.) from Aylsham; containing 139 inhabitants. It comprises about 510 acres, of which 307 are arable, and 197 pasture; the soil is various, but chiefly strong, with brick earth, and the surface generally undulated, but in some parts flat. The living is a discharged rectory, valued in the king's books at 4. 6. 8., and in the gift of the Arden family: the tithes have been commuted for 125, and there are 25 acres of glebe. The church is chiefly in the perpendicular style, with a circular tower.
Besthorpe (All Saints)
BESTHORPE (All Saints), a parish, in the union of Wayland, hundred of Shropham, W. division of Norfolk, 1 mile (E. by S.) from Attleburgh; containing 536 inhabitants. It comprises 2132a. 1r. 21p., of which 1471 acres are arable, and 610 meadow and pasture; the soil in general is wet and heavy. The road from London to Norwich, by way of Thetford, passes through the parish. The living is a discharged vicarage, valued in the king's books at 5. 6. 10.; net income, 250; patron and impropriator, the Earl of Winterton, lord of the manor: the glebe comprises 35 acres. The church is a handsome cruciform structure, in the early and decorated English styles, with a square embattled tower at the west end; it was thoroughly repaired in 1840.
BESTHORPE, a chapelry, in the parish of South Scarle, union, and N. division of the wapentake of Newark, S. division of the county of Nottingham, 8 miles (N. N. E.) from Newark; containing 327 inhabitants. This place comprises 1168 acres of land; and has a good village near the Fleet river, and two miles westnorth-west from the village of Scarle. The tithes have been commuted for 269. 5. 8., of which 44 are payable to the vicar of South Scarle. The chapel was rebuilt in 1844, at a cost of 400, raised by subscription. There is a place of worship for Wesleyans; and a school is endowed with 8. 12. per annum. Some remains exist of an ancient mansion in the style of the period of James I., with a tower and pointed gable roof.
BESWICK, an extra-parochial district, in the hundred of Salford, S. division of the county of Lancaster, 1 mile (E.) from Manchester; containing 345 inhabitants. This place, which comprises 95 acres, and which at the beginning of the present century had only one solitary house, is indebted for its present extent and increase in population, to its contiguity to the town of Manchester.
BESWICK, a chapelry, in the parish of Kilnwick, union of Beverley, Bainton-Beacon division of the wapentake of Harthill, E. riding of York, 6 miles (N. by W.) from Beverley; containing 211 inhabitants. It is situated on the road from Driffield to Beverley; and comprises upwards of 2000 acres, chiefly arable, and very flat, having been once a marsh. The living is a perpetual curacy, with a net income of 65: the chapel is a plain thatched building, with a wooden steeple.
BETCHCOTT, a township, in the parish of Smethcott, union of Church-Stretton, hundred of Condover, S. division of Salop; containing 32 inhabitants. It is south-west of Smethcott village.
Betchworth (St. Michael)
BETCHWORTH (St. Michael), a parish, in the union, and First division of the hundred, of Reigate, E. division of Surrey, 3 miles (W. by S.) from Reigate; containing 1140 inhabitants. This place is noticed in Domesday book as Becesworde, and the manor was anciently held by the earls of Warren and Surrey, one of whom in the 12th century gave the advowson to the convent of St. Mary Overy, Southwark. The parish comprises 3067 acres, whereof about 500 are common or waste land; it contains some good seats, and several respectable cottage residences. The living is a discharged vicarage, valued in the king's books at 7. 8. 11.; patrons, the Dean and Canons of Windsor; impropriators, the Rt. Hon. Henry Goulburn, and Sir Benjamin Brodie, Bart.: the great tithes have been commuted for 295. 15. 4., and the vicarial for 200. The church was renovated in 1838. At Brockham Green is a church lately built by subscription. A school is endowed with 20 per annum, and there are several charities for the benefit of the poor. Brockham Lodge was the summer retreat of Capt. Morris, the well-known lyric poet, who died in 1838, at the age of 93.
Bethersden (St. Beatrice)
BETHERSDEN (St. Beatrice), a parish, in the union of West Ashford, hundred of Chart and Longbridge, lathe of Shepway, E. division of Kent, 6 miles (W. S. W.) from Ashford; containing 1011 inhabitants. It comprises 6345 acres, of which 798 are woodland, and 300 common. A considerable quantity of a species of grey marble, used for columns and the internal ornaments of various neighbouring churches, is obtained from quarries in the northern part of the parish. A fair is held on the 1st of July. The living is a vicarage, valued in the king's books at 12; net income, 165; patron, the Archbishop of Canterbury; impropriator, Earl Cornwallis: the great tithes have been commuted for 481, and there are 78 acres of glebe. Here is a place of worship for Particular Baptists.
Bethnal-Green (St. Matthew)
BETHNAL-GREEN (St. Matthew), a parish, and a union of itself, in the borough of the Tower Hamlets, Tower division of the hundred of Ossulstone, county of Middlesex, 2 miles (N. E. by E.) from St. Paul's; containing 74,088 inhabitants. This very extensive parish was separated by act of parliament, in 1743, from the parish of Stepney, to which it was formerly a hamlet; and is divided into four districts called Church, Green, Hackney-road, and Town divisions. It is supposed to have derived its name from Bathon Hall, the residence of a family of that name, who had considerable possessions here in the reign of Edward I., and from a spacious green, to the east of which is the site of an episcopal palace called Bishop's Hall, said to have been the residence of Bonner, Bishop of London. The popular legendary ballad of the "Blind Beggar of Bethnal-Green," the hero of which is said to have been Henry de Montfort, the son of the Earl of Leicester, has reference to an ancient castellated mansion, built in the reign of Elizabeth by John Kirby, a citizen of London, and now converted into a private lunatic asylum.
The houses in general are meanly built of brick, and consist of large ranges of dwellings, inhabited chiefly by journeymen silk-weavers, who work at home for the master-weavers in Spitalfields; but considerable improvements have been made, and some handsome ranges have been erected on the line of the Hackney-road, in the district of St. John's, and at Cambridge-heath, and more recently in that part of the parish once called Bonner's Fields, but now Victoria Park. This park, designed as a place of healthful resort and recreation for the population of the east end of London, already attracts an immense number of visiters; great progress has been made in the plantations, and building speculation is very active in its vicinity. The parish is lighted with gas; the streets are partially paved, and the inhabitants are supplied with water by the East London Company's works: an act making further provision for paving, lighting, and cleansing the public ways, was passed in 1843. There are a very extensive cottonfactory; a large manufactory for waterproof hose, made of flax, without seam, and of any length and diameter, chiefly for the use of brewers and for firemen; a mill for the manufacture of all kinds of printing-paper; some white-lead and colour works; two extensive establishments for the manufacture of worsted lace and gimp; and a brewery. A great quantity of land is in the occupation of market-gardeners. The Regent's canal passes through the parish, which is also crossed by the Eastern-Counties railway.
The living is a rectory not in charge; net income, 614; patron, the Bishop of London. The church, erected in 1746, is a neat brick building, ornamented with stone. St. John's district church was built in 1828, by grant from the Parliamentary Commissioners, at an expense of 17,638, and is a handsome edifice of brick faced with stone, in the Grecian style, with a tower surmounted by a cupola: the living is a perpetual curacy, with a net income of 190, in the gift of the Bishop. Ten additional districts or ecclesiastical parishes have been formed; and the expense of erecting a church in each of them has been estimated at more than 75,000, raised by subscription, aided by a grant of 10,000 from the Metropolitan Society, and of 5000 from Her Majesty's Commissioners. The church of St. Peter, in the Hackney-road, consecrated in July, 1841, is a spacious structure of brick, intermixed with flints, and ornamented by facings of stone, in the early Norman style, with a tower surmounted by a low spire: net income, 200. The church of St. Andrew, in South Conduitstreet, consecrated in December, 1841, is a neat structure of brown brick having stone dressings, in the Norman style, with a tower at the end of the north aisle surmounted by a campanile turret of stone: net income, 224. The church of St. Philip, in Friar's Mount, is a neat building of light brick, with red mouldings and dressings of stone in the Norman style, and two square towers at the west end, surmounted by low octagonal spires: net income, 224. The church of St. James the Less, in Victoria Park, of which the first stone was laid in January, 1841, is also a spacious edifice of brick with stone facings, in the Norman style, with a tower at the end of the south aisle, and a circular window in the western gable: net income, 150. The church of St. James the Great, in the Bethnal-Green road, is a handsome structure of red brick with dressings of stone, in the early English style, and has a campanile turret richly canopied and terminating in a crocketed finial: net income, 150. The church of St. Bartholomew, in Cambridge-road, the first stone of which was laid 27th Jan. 1842, is of brown brick with facings of stone, also in the early English style, with a tower surmounted by a well-proportioned spire of stone; it was consecrated on the 8th June, 1844: net income, 230. The foundation stone of St. Matthias' church, Hare-street, was laid in the autumn of 1846; it is in the Byzantine or Romanesque style, and is the largest of the ten churches, the length being 117 feet: the cost was 7000. The net income amounts to 180. St. Jude's church is also in the Romanesque style, and was built at a cost of about 5000: the interior is well arranged; a series of massive chandeliers depend from the roof by chains, and form a novel and effective mode of lighting. The net income is 200. St. Simon Zelotes' was consecrated July, 1847: the style of the edifice is early English; it was erected at a cost of about 4000, and accommodates 800 persons. The net income is 150. St. Thomas' church is in course of erection: net income, 200. The livings are perpetual curacies, and are all in the gift of the Bishop of London: attached to some of the churches are residences for the incumbents, and in the several schools connected with them several hundred children receive instruction. There are places of worship for Baptists, Independents, Methodists, and others.
An episcopal chapel was erected in 1814 by the Society for Promoting Christianity among the Jews, attached to which are two schools, wherein 50 boys and nearly 60 girls are maintained, clothed, and instructed; the schools are supported by voluntary contributions. St. Matthew's school, founded in 1771, by the inhabitants, for clothing and instructing 50 boys and 50 girls, is supported by the interest of funded property and voluntary contributions. There are also national and Lancasterian schools. In 1722, Mr. Thomas Parmiter left an estate in Suffolk, now producing 25 per annum, for the erection and endowment of a free school and almshouse in the parish, for the promotion of which purpose, other gifts have been made; the schoolroom has been taken down for the line of the Eastern Counties railway, and rebuilt on a new site. Another, called "Friar's Mount school," contains seventy boys, and is partly supported by subscription. The almshouses founded by Captain Fisher in 1711, and those belonging to the companies of Drapers and Dyers, are situated in the parish. Trinity Hospital at Mile-End, was erected in 1695, on land given by Captain Henry Mudd, an elder brother of the Trinity House, and endowed, in 1701, by Captain Robert Sandes, for twentyeight masters of ships, or their widows. The union workhouse, recently erected, is near Victoria Park. The Roman road from the western counties of England to the ferry over the river Lea, at Old Ford, passes through the northern part of the parish. Sir Richard Gresham, father of Sir Thomas Gresham who built the Royal Exchange; Sir Thomas Grey, Knt.; and Sir Balthazar Gerbier, a celebrated painter and architect, who designed the triumphal arch for the entrance of Charles II. into London on his restoration; were residents at the place. Ainsworth, the compiler of the Latin Dictionary, kept an academy here for some years; and Caslon, who established the celebrated type-foundry in Chiswellstreet, lived here in retirement till his decease in 1766.
Betley (St. Margaret)
BETLEY (St. Margaret), a parish, in the union of Newcastle-under-Lyme, N. division of the hundred of Pirehill and of the county of Stafford, 7 miles (W. by N.) from Newcastle; containing 884 inhabitants. It is situated on the road from Newcastle to Nantwich, and near the confines of Cheshire, the boundary line between the two counties extending here through the middle of a fine lake of 80 acres, called Betley Mere. The parish comprises by measurement 1381 acres of fertile land: red sandstone of fine quality for building is wrought; and facility for the conveyance of produce is afforded by the Liverpool and Birmingham railway, which passes near the village. The village is uncommonly neat, and is greatly ornamented by two very handsome seats in its immediate vicinity, Betley Hall and Betley Court. A fair for cattle takes place on the 31st of July: a market, on Friday, has long been of such trivial consequence, that it may be said to be obsolete. Within a mile to the south of Betley is WrineHill, a scattered village on an eminence, partly in this parish and partly in that of Wybunbury in Cheshire. The living is a perpetual curacy; net income, 150; patron and impropriator, G. Tollet, Esq.: the glebe comprises 60 acres; and a good parsonage-house has been built by the present incumbent. The tithes have been commuted for 270. The church is an ancient halftimbered edifice, of which the chancel was rebuilt in 1610, and the tower in 1713; it affords a specimen of the earliest attempts at Gothic architecture, on which account, though inferior to many churches in the neighbourhood, it deserves notice: the building was restored in 1842. There is a place of worship for Wesleyans; also a national school for boys and girls, with a small endowment.
BETSOME, a hamlet, in the parish of Southfleet, union of Dartford, hundred of Axton, Dartford, and Wilmington, lathe of Sutton-at-Hone, W. division of Kent; containing 188 inhabitants.
BETTERTON, a tithing, in the parish of Lockinge, hundred of Wantage, county of Berks, 2 miles (E. S. E.) from Wantage; containing 17 inhabitants.
Betteshanger (St. Mary)
BETTESHANGER (St. Mary), a parish, in the union and hundred of Eastry, lathe of St. Augustine, E. division of Kent, 4 miles (S. S. W.) from Sandwich; containing 18 inhabitants. It comprises 397 acres, whereof 38 are wood. The living is a discharged rectory, valued in the king's books at 6. 4. 4.; net income, 166; patron F. E. Morrice, Esq. The church was repewed in 1835; the north and south entrances are under Norman arches, ornamented with zigzag mouldings, and beneath the arch over the latter is a figure of Christ: there are several monuments, one of which, to the memory of Vice-Admiral Morrice, is very handsome.
BETTISCOMBE, a parish, in the union of Beaminster, liberty of Frampton, Bridport division of Dorset, 6 miles (W. by S.) from Beaminster; containing 53 inhabitants, and comprising 667a. 2r. 16p. The living is a rectory, valued in the king's books at 8. 2. 3., and in the gift of the family of Sheridan: the tithes have been commuted for 1401, and the glebe consists of 54 acres.
BETTON, a township, in the parish and union of Drayton-in-Hales, Drayton division of the hundred of North Bradford, N. division of Salop; 2 miles (N. N. E.) from Drayton; containing 254 inhabitants. This place lies on the road from Drayton to Norton, and the river Tern here separates the county from Staffordshire. The tithes have been commuted for 123, payable to the free grammar school of Shrewsbury.
Bettus (St. Mary)
BETTUS (St. Mary), a parish, in the union of Knighton, hundred of Purslow, S. division of Salop, 6 miles (N. W.) from Knighton; containing, with the townships of Rugantine and Trebodier, and part of Kevencalonog, 452 inhabitants. The living is a perpetual curacy; net income, 57; patron and impropriator, the Earl of Powis.
Bettws (St. David)
BETTWS (St. David), a parish, in the union and division of Newport, hundred of Wentlloog, county of Monmouth, 1 mile (N. W. by W.) from Newport; containing 90 inhabitants, and comprising by measurement 1132 acres. The living is annexed to the vicarage of St. Woollos: the incumbent's tithes have been commuted for 42, and the great tithes, belonging to the Bishop of Gloucester, for 82. 10.
BETTWS-NEWYDD, a parish, in the union of Abergavenny, division and hundred of Raglan, county of Monmouth, 4 miles (N. by E.) from Usk; containing 106 inhabitants. The parish comprises about 1200 acres, of which three-sixths are arable, two-sixths pasture, and one-sixth woodland. It is situated nearly in the centre of the county, is bounded on the west by the river Usk, and intersected by the road from Usk to Abergavenny; the surface is undulated, and from the elevated grounds some good views are obtained. The living is a perpetual curacy, annexed to the vicarage of Llanarth: the vicarial tithes have been commuted for 51. 6., and there is a glebe of about 3 acres. The church is an ancient structure, remarkable for a very curiously carved rood-loft; and in the churchyard are some fine yew-trees.
Bevercoats (St. Giles)
BEVERCOATS (St. Giles), a parish, in the union of East Retford, South-Clay division of the wapentake of Bassetlaw, N. division of the county of Nottingham, 2 miles (W. N. W.) from Tuxford; containing 44 inhabitants, and comprising 800 acres. The living is a vicarage, united to that of West Markham: the church is in ruins.
BEVERLEY, a borough, market-town, and the head of a union, in the E. riding of York, 9 miles (N. W.) from Hull, 29 (E. S. E.) from York, and 183 (N.) from London; comprising the parishes of St. John, St. Martin, St. Mary, and St. Nicholas, the first of which includes the townships of Aike, Eske, Molescroft, Storkhill with Sandholme, Thearne, Tickton with Hull-Bridge, Weel, and Woodmansey with Beverley-Park; and containing 8759 inhabitants. This place, from the woods with which it was formerly covered, was called Deirwalde, implying the forest of the Deiri, the ancient inhabitants of this part of the country. By the Saxons, probably from the number of beavers with which the river Hull in this part abounded, it was called Beverlega, and subsequently Beverlac, from which its present name is deduced. About the year 700, John, the fifth archbishop of York, rebuilt the church, and founded in the choir a monastery of Black monks, dedicated to St. John the Baptist; in the nave a college of seven presbyters or secular canons, with seven clerks, dedicated to St. John the Evangelist; and in the chapel of St. Martin, adjoining the church, a society of nuns. This collegiate and monastic establishment was richly endowed by the founder, and successive benefactors, and became the retreat of the archbishop, who, after having filled the see of York for 33 years, with a reputation for extreme sanctity, spent the remainder of his life in retirement and devotion; and, dying in 721, was canonized by the title of St. John of Beverley. The foundation of the monastery naturally led to the erection of buildings in the immediate neighbourhood, and appears to have been the origin of the town, which gradually grew up around it. In the year 867, it was nearly destroyed by the Danes in one of their incursions under Inguar and Ubba, who murdered many of the monks, canons, and nuns; but after remaining for three years in a state of desolation, it was partly restored by the monks, who again established themselves at the place.
In the early part of the tenth century, Athelstan, marching against the confederated Britons, Scots, and Danes, caused the standard of St. John of Beverley to be carried before his army, and, having returned victorious, bestowed many privileges upon the town and monastery. He founded a college for secular canons, which, at the Dissolution, had an establishment consisting of a provost, eight prebendaries, a chancellor, precentor, seven rectors, and nine vicars choral, and a revenue of 597. 19. 6. He also conferred on the church the privilege of sanctuary, the limits of which, extending for a mile around the town, were marked out by four crosses (the remains of three of which are still standing), erected at the four principal entrances: an account of the culprits who took refuge within its walls during the 15th and 16th centuries has been lately published by the Surtees Society. From the time of Athelstan the town increased rapidly in population and importance; and about the year 1060, Kinsius, the 23rd archbishop of York, built a hall, nearly rebuilt the church, to which he added a tower, and contributed greatly to its internal decoration. The memory of St. John of Beverley was held in such veneration, that William the Conqueror, having advanced within seven miles of the town, gave strict orders to his army that they should not damage the church; the day of his death was appointed to be kept holy, and the festival of his translation, October 25th, was in 1416 ordered to be annually celebrated, in commemoration of the battle of Agincourt, which was superstitiously thought to have been gained through his intercession. At the commencement of the civil war in the reign of Charles I., that monarch fixed his head-quarters at Beverley, and attempted to gain possession of Hull, which was then defended for the parliament by Sir John Hotham, who subsequently made overtures for a reconciliation with the king, and entered into a negotiation for surrendering the town. But Hotham's intention being discovered, he fled from Hull, and was made prisoner on the day following at Beverley, which had fallen into the hands of the parliamentarians.
The town is the capital of the East riding of Yorkshire. It is pleasantly situated at the foot of the Wolds, about a mile from the river Hull, in the heart of an extensive sporting district: the approach from the Driffield road is remarkably fine, having, particularly on the north-east side, many elegant buildings, and terminating in an ancient gateway which leads into the town. The common pastures of Westwood are a favourite promenade; on part of them named the "Hurn," about half a mile from the town, races take place annually, about the beginning of April, and a commodious stand has been erected for the accommodation of spectators. The air is free and salubrious; and the numerous conveniences and attractions in this neat, clean, and wellbuilt borough, have long made it the favourite resort and residence of many highly respectable families. The town is about a mile in length, and consists of several streets, and some handsome and commodious public buildings; it is lighted with gas, and well supplied with water. Here are several tanneries, breweries, and malt-kilns; eight corn-mills; and two large establishments, one for the manufacture of paint, colour, cement, and Paris white, and the other for Paris white only, which is made from excellent chalk rock, obtained about a mile south of the town. There is also a large ironfoundry, in connexion with which is an extensive and flourishing manufactory of agricultural implements; and numerous poor persons are employed in the market-gardens and nurseries in the vicinity of the town. Great facilities are afforded for the transmission of produce by means of a canal called Beverley Beck, supposed to have been constructed by Wm. Wickwane, Archbishop of York, and which was improved under two acts of parliament passed in 1727 and 1744; it connects the town with the river and the port of Hull. The Hull and Bridlington railway passes by the town; and in 1846 an act was obtained for making a railway from Beverley, through Pocklington, to York, above 31 miles in length. The market is on Saturday: the market-place occupies an area of four acres, in the centre of which is a stately cross supported on eight pillars, each of one entire stone. There was formerly a market on Wednesdays, the market-place for which has a neat cross, but is of smaller area than the former: there is also a market-place for the sale of fish, built in an octagonal form. Fairs are held on the Thursday before Old Valentine's-day, on Holy-Thursday, July 5th, and November 6th, chiefly for horses, hornedcattle, and sheep; and on every alternate Wednesday is a great market for sheep and horned-cattle. The fairs and cattle-markets are held at Norwood, where is a spacious opening.
The prescriptive privileges of the borough have been confirmed and extended by several charters, especially in 1572 by Queen Elizabeth, who, also, in 1579 assigned certain chantry lands and tenements for the repairing of the minster, and four years subsequently gave other lands for the support of the minster and St. Mary's church. By the dissolution of the monastic institutions, the town had suffered so much, that a few years afterwards it was unable to pay its portion of taxes (321) due to the crown; and in consequence of a petition to the queen, she remitted them during royal pleasure. The corporation now consists of a mayor, six aldermen, and eighteen councillors; the borough is divided into two wards, and, as at present constituted, comprises only the parishes of St. Martin, St. Mary, and St. Nicholas. The liberties, comprehending certain townships in the parish of St. John (which extends into the northern division of the wapentake of Holderness), were severed from the borough by the act of the 5th and 6th of William IV., c. 76, except as regards the election of members to serve in parliament, and were united to the East riding. The mayor and late mayor are justices of the peace, and there are eight other justices appointed under a commission from the crown: petty-sessions are held weekly. Among the privileges which the freedom of the borough confers is the right of pasturing cattle, under certain restrictions, on four pastures, containing about 1200 acres, and managed under an act obtained in 1836. The elective franchise was conferred in the time of Edward I., but was not exercised from the end of that reign till the 5th of Elizabeth, since which the borough has continued to return two members to parliament. The right of election was formerly vested in the freemen generally, whether resident or not; but, by the act of the 2nd of William IV., cap. 45, the non-resident electors, except within seven miles of the borough, were disfranchised, and the privilege was extended to the 10 householders of the borough and liberty, over which latter the limits were extended. The mayor is returning officer. The general quarter-sessions for the East riding are held here; and for that division also, Beverley is a pollingplace in the election of parliamentary representatives. The powers of the county debt-court of Beverley, established in 1847, extend over the registration-district of Beverley, and part of that of Skirlaugh. The guildhall has been repaired and beautified, and is a neat building: adjoining it stands the gaol, lately erected, but now used only for debtors, and for securing prisoners previously to examination. The house of correction for the riding is a spacious building, erected at an expense of 16,000, at the extremity of the town, on the road to Driffield and Scarborough; the principal front has a portico of four Ionic columns, with a handsome pediment.
The Minster, formerly the church belonging to the monastery of St. John, is now the parochial church of the united parishes of St. John and St. Martin: the living is a perpetual curacy, of which the net income (with the value of the parsonage-house) is about 195; patrons, the Trustees of the Rev. Charles Simeon. The impropriators of St. John are, the representatives of Sir M. Warton; the impropriation of St. Martin's belongs to the crown. Two curates are appointed, who perform divine service twice every day; each having a stipend of about 132, paid out of the minster estates and funds, appropriated by act of parliament to that purpose. The Minster, as already observed, was almost entirely rebuilt in 1060, by Kinsius, Archbishop of York. In 1664, some workmen, whilst opening a grave in the chancel, discovered a sheet of lead, enveloping some relics, with an inscription in Latin, purporting that, the ancient church having been destroyed by fire in 1188, search was made for the relics of St. John of Beverley, which, having been found, were again deposited near the altar. It is not known at what precise period the present church was built, though probably in the early part of the reign of Henry III. It is a venerable and spacious cruciform structure, in the early, decorated, and later styles of English architecture, with two lofty towers at the west end; and though combining these several styles, it exhibits in each of them such purity of composition and correctness of detail, as to raise it to an architectural equality with the finest of the cathedral churches, to which it is inferior only in magnitude. The west front is the most beautiful and perfect specimen we have of the later English style, the whole front is pannelled, and the buttresses, which have a very bold projection, are ornamented with various tiers of niche-work, of excellent composition, and most delicate execution. The nave and transepts are early English, of which the fronts of the north and south transepts are pure specimens. The choir is partly in the decorated style, with an exquisitely beautiful altar-screen and rood-loft, which, though unequalled in elegance of design and richness of detail, were long concealed by a screen of inferior composition, put up within the last century. The east window is embellished with stained glass, collected from the other windows, and skilfully arranged. Near the altar is the Fryddstool, formed of one entire stone, with a Latin inscription offering an asylum to all criminals who should flee to this sanctuary; and on an ancient tablet are the portraits of St. John of Beverley and King Athelstan, with a legend recording the monarch's grant of freedom to the town. In the choir is a superb and finely-executed monument, the celebrated Percy shrine, erected in the reign of Edward III., to the memory of one of the Percy family; and in the north transept is a fine altar-tomb: both are in the decorated style. Behind the minster is the ancient manor-house belonging to Beverley Park.
The living of St. Mary's is a vicarage, with the rectory of St. Nicholas' united, valued in the king's books at 14. 2. 8., and in the patronage of the Crown; net income, 289. St. Mary's, now the parochial church for the united parishes, is a highly interesting structure, and contains portions in the various styles from the Norman to the later English; the towers at the western end are finely pierced, and the octagonal turrets flanking the nave are strikingly elegant. The roof of the chancel, which is in the decorated style, is richly groined, and the piers and arches are well proportioned; there are some interesting monuments, and a font in the later style. The churches of St. Martin and St. Nicholas have long since gone to decay. The Minster chapel of ease, in the parish of St. Martin, was erected at a cost of 3300: the first stone was laid by Mr. Atkinson, then mayor, on the 20th May, 1839, and the chapel was consecrated on the 8th of October, 1841. There are places of worship in the town for Baptists, the Society of Friends, Independents, and Primitive and Wesleyan Methodists.
The Grammar school is of uncertain origin, though it appears to have existed at a remote period. The fixed endowment is 10 per annum, which was bequeathed in 1652, by Dr. Metcalf, and is augmented with 90 per annum by the corporation, who have the appointment of the master; this grant, however, will be discontinued on the next avoidance. There are several yearly exhibitions at Cambridge University for natives of Beverley educated at the school. The Blue-coat charity school was established by subscription in 1709, for the maintenance, clothing, and education of poor children; the annual income, arising from subsequent benefactions, is at present about 126. There is also an endowed school for 80 girls; and a school in which are about 70 boys and 85 girls, is supported by the interest of 2000 stock, bequeathed in 1804 by the Rev. James Graves, incumbent of the minster. Beverley contains seven sets of almshouses, or charities, in which more than 90 poor people are gratuitously lodged, pensioned, and clothed, viz.: Fox's hospital, Routh's hospital, the Corporation almshouses, Warton's hospital and charities, Sir Michael Warton's hospital, and Tymperon's hospital. Several hundreds of pounds are produced from a number of miscellaneous benefactions. Sir Michael Warton, Knt., in 1724 bequeathed 4000 (laid out in the purchase of an estate near Spilsby, in Lincolnshire, of which the annual rent is now 900), as a perpetual fund for keeping the minster in repair; and Mr. Robert Stephenson, in 1711, left an estate now producing from 70 to 100 per annum, for the maintenance of "Nonconformist preaching ministers." The poor law union of Beverley comprises 36 parishes and places, and contains a population of 18,957. Alfred of Beverley, a monkish historian of the twelfth century, is supposed to have been born here; and Dr. John Alcock, Bishop of Ely, and founder of Jesus' College, Cambridge; Dr. Fisher, Bishop of Rochester, a martyr to his religious tenets in the reign of Henry VIII.; and Dr. Green, Bishop of Lincoln, an elegant scholar, and one of the writers of the Athenian Letters, published by Lord Hardwicke; were also natives of the town. It gives the title of Earl to the family of Percy.