Bickley - Bidstone

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

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'Bickley - Bidstone', in A Topographical Dictionary of England, (London, 1848) pp. 233-237. British History Online [accessed 29 February 2024]

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BICKLEY, a township, in the parish of Malpas, union of Nantwich, Higher division of the hundred of Broxton, S. division of the county of Chester, 3½ miles (E. N. E.) from Malpas; containing 489 inhabitants. It comprises 2092 acres; the soil is clay, gravel, and peat. On the 18th of July, 1657, about a quarter of an acre of elevated ground, covered with full-grown trees, sank suddenly, with a noise resembling thunder, to such a depth below the surface of the surrounding ground, that even the summits of the trees were not visible, from their total immersion in water; the water has long been dried up, and the chasm, called the Barrell-Fall, from being situated on the Barrell farm, is now quite dry. There is a place of worship for Wesleyans.


BICKMERSH, a hamlet, in the parish of Welford, union of Stratford-on-Avon, Stratford division of the hundred of Barlichway, S. division of the county of Warwick, 5¾ miles (S. by E.) from Alcester; containing, with Little Dorsington, 130 inhabitants. The hamlet is situated on the borders of Gloucester and Worcester, being surrounded, except on the north, by those counties; it comprises 1240 acres. A chapel was founded in the reign of Henry II. by William Foliot, then lord of the manor.


BICKNACRE, a hamlet, partly in the parish of Danbury, and partly in that of Woodham-Ferris, union and hundred of Chelmsford, S. division of Essex; containing 304 inhabitants.

Bicknell.—See Bickenhall.

BICKNELL.—See Bickenhall.


BICKNOLLER, a parish, in the union of Williton, hundred of Williton and Freemanners, W. division of Somerset, 13 miles (N. W.) from Taunton; containing 345 inhabitants. It comprises 1320 acres, of which 560 are arable, 250 meadow and pasture, 81 plantation, wood, and orchard, and 340 common. The living is a vicarage not in charge; patrons and appropriators, the Dean and Chapter of Wells: the rectorial tithes have been commuted for £139, and the vicarial for £77. 10.; there are 2½ acres of glebe. Two fortifications, named Trendle Castle and Turk's Castle, together with the ruins of a beacon, occupy the summit of an eminence near the village; and a variety of Roman coins has been found in the vicinity.

Bicknor, or Church-Bicknor (St. James)

BICKNOR, or Church-Bicknor (St. James), a parish, in the union of Hollingbourne, hundred of Eyhorne, lathe of Aylesford, W. division of Kent, 4½ miles (S. S. W.) from Sittingbourne; containing 46 inhabitants. It comprises 631 acres, of which 467 are arable and pasture, principally the former, and the remainder is wood; the surface slopes to the northeast, and the soil is clay mixed with flint. The living is a discharged rectory, valued in the king's books at £5. 10.; net income, £115; patron, the Lord Chancellor: there are about 20 acres of glebe. Here are the remains of a Danish intrenchment, and vestiges of an old British town burnt by the Danes when ravaging this part of the country.

Bicknor, English (St. Mary)

BICKNOR, ENGLISH (St. Mary), a parish, in the union of Monmouth, hundred of St. Briavells, W. division of the county of Gloucester, 3 miles (N.) from Coleford; containing 576 inhabitants. It comprises 2411a. 1r. 4p., and lies within the Forest of Dean, on the eastern bank of the Wye, opposite to Welsh-Bicknor. The manor exceeds the parish in extent by 728 acres. There are mines of coal and iron, the former of which are worked; and stone is quarried for building and road-making. The living is a rectory, valued in the king's books at £13. 6. 8., and in the gift of Queen's College, Oxford: the tithes have been commuted for £390, and the glebe comprises 9 acres, with a house. The church has some portions in the Norman style, and stands within the area of an ancient fortification, the fosse belonging to which may still be traced.

Bicknor, Welsh (St. Margaret)

BICKNOR, WELSH (St. Margaret), a parish, in the union of Monmouth, hundred of Wormelow, county of Hereford, 7 miles (S. by W.) from Ross; containing 74 inhabitants. This parish comprises 850a. 23p., of which 348 are arable, 226 meadow and pasture, 149 wood, and 54 common and roads. It is almost surrounded by the river Wye, the banks of which are rich in picturesque scenery. The soil is various, partaking of sand and gravel, generally light, a rich mould in some parts, and in others clay; the surface is hilly, and in a few places consists of rock. At Courtfield, a private mansion about half a mile off, is a Roman Catholic chapel; and tradition relates that Henry V. was nursed there, under the care of the Countess of Salisbury, who, according to the same authority, is represented by a recumbent stone figure in the church. The living is a discharged rectory, valued in the king's books at £4. 6. 8., and in the gift of the Lord Chancellor: the tithes have been commuted for £152. 10., and there are about 18 acres of glebe. The church, which is in the early English style, contains an antique chalice, said to have been brought into Europe with the Saracens; the lid is of beaten silver, and it bears other evidences of high antiquity.


BICKTON, a chapelry, in the parish of St. Chad, liberty of the borough of Shrewsbury, N. division of Salop, 3½ miles (N. W. by W.) from Shrewsbury; containing, with the hamlet of Calcott, 560 inhabitants. The navigable river Severn runs through the chapelry, which is also intersected by the Roman Watling-street. The living is a perpetual curacy; net income, £60; patron, the Vicar of St. Chad's.


BICKTON, a tything, in the parish and union of Fordingbridge, Ringwood and S. divisions of the county of Southampton; containing 273 inhabitants.

Bicton (Holy Trinity)

BICTON (Holy Trinity), a parish, in the union of St. Thomas, hundred of East Budleigh, Woodbury and S. divisions of Devon, 3¾ miles (W. S. W.) from Sidmouth; containing, with the hamlet of Yettington, 198 inhabitants. It comprises 684 acres of inclosed land, and there are supposed to be 500 acres of common; the soil is in general sandy, and the surface hilly: the river Otter borders the parish. The possessor of the manor was formerly obliged to "find a county gaol," but was discharged from that obligation by an act of parliament, within the last fifty years. The living is a rectory, valued in the king's books at £12. 13. 4., and in the gift of the family of Rolle: the tithes have been commuted for £160. 17., and there are 50 acres of glebe.

Bidborough (St. Lawrence)

BIDBOROUGH (St. Lawrence), a parish, in the union of Tonbridge, hundred of Washlingstone, lathe of Aylesford, W. division of Kent, 3 miles (S. W.) from Tonbridge; containing 260 inhabitants. It comprises by measurement 1300 acres, of which about 360 are arable, 390 pasture and meadow, 43 acres hops, and 507 common. The soil is a mixture of iron-sand, sandstone, and clay, and is not very productive; the surface is hilly and irregular. The living is a discharged rectory, valued in the king's books at £5. 4. 4½., and in the patronage of the Trustees of W. Gay, Esq.: the tithes have been commuted for £179. 4., and there are 79 acres of glebe. The church is an ancient structure, with a Norman doorway in the earliest period of that style. There are some chalybeate springs.

Biddenden (All Saints)

BIDDENDEN (All Saints), a parish, in the union of Tenterden, hundred of Barclay, Lower division of the lathe of Scray, W. division of Kent, 5 miles (E. by N.) from Cranbrook; containing 1486 inhabitants. It comprises 7207a. 2r. 20p., of which 1100 acres are in wood, and is situated on the Maidstone and Tenterden road, and near the South-Eastern railway; the soil is clayey, and the surface in some parts rather hilly. The place was once famous for its clothing-trade, which has entirely decayed. Fairs, chiefly for horses and Welsh cattle, are held on Old Lady-day and November 8th. The living is a rectory, valued in the king's books at £35, and in the patronage of the Archbishop of Canterbury: the tithes have been commuted for £687, and the glebe consists of about 18 acres of land of good quality, with a commodious residence. The church is a fine structure in the later English style, with an embattled tower, and is capable of accommodating 1000 persons. There is a meeting-house for dissenters. John Mayne, in 1566, bequeathed a sum for the erection of a schoolhouse, and endowed it with a rent-charge of £20. 3. 4. A distribution of bread and cheese to the poor takes place on Easter-Sunday, the expense of which is defrayed from the rental of about 20 acres of land, the reputed bequests of the Biddenden Maids, two sisters of the name of Chulkhurst, who, according to tradition, were born joined together by the hips and shoulders, in the year 1100, and, having lived in that state to the age of thirty-four, died within six hours of each other.

Biddenham (St. James)

BIDDENHAM (St. James), a parish, in the hundred of Willey, union and county of Bedford, 2½ miles (W. by N.) from Bedford; containing 345 inhabitants. The family of the Botelers, of whom was Sir William Boteler, lord mayor of London in 1515, were settled here for ten generations. The property afterwards passed into the family of Lord Trevor, subsequently created Viscount Hampden; and on the decease of John, the last viscount, in 1823, it was bequeathed to the Hon. George Rice, eldest son of Lord Dynevor, who assumed the name of Trevor. The parish is bounded on the south, west, and north by the river Ouse, and on the east by the borough of Bedford; and is intersected by the road from that town to NewportPagnell, a little to the south of which thoroughfare the village is situated. The soil is good, though gravelly; and the scenery picturesque. The living is a discharged vicarage, valued in the king's books at £8; net income, £100; patron and impropriator, the Hon. Mr. Trevor: the glebe consists of 43 acres, with a good house. The church contains a handsome font, and several memorials to the Botelers. A national school here has an endowment.


BIDDESHAM, a parish, in the union of Axbridge, hundred of Bempstone, E. division of Somerset, 3 miles (W. by S.) from Axbridge; containing 145 inhabitants. It is recorded that the Danes were defeated here by the Saxons in the reign of Alfred. The parish is bounded by the river Axe on the north, and the road from Bridgwater to Cross on the south; and comprises by measurement 574 acres. The living is in the patronage of the Bishop of Bath and Wells: the tithes have been commuted for £137, and the glebe consists of 14 acres, with a house. The church contains a singinggallery, lately erected at the expense of the incumbent and parishioners.

Biddestone (St. Nicholas and St. Peter)

BIDDESTONE (St. Nicholas and St. Peter), a parish, in the union and hundred of Chippenham, Chippenham and Calne, and N. divisions of Wilts, 4¼ miles (W.) from Chippenham; containing 452 inhabitants, of whom 428 are in the division of St. Nicholas, and 24 in that of St. Peter. The living is a discharged rectory, with the perpetual curacy of Slaughterford annexed, valued in the king's books at £2. 18. 4., and in the gift of Winchester College: the tithes have been commuted for £33. 10., and the glebe consists of 6 acres. The church contains a monument to the memory of Edmund Smith, A.M., a poet of some repute, who died in the neighbourhood, in 1709.

Biddlesdon (St. Margaret)

BIDDLESDON (St. Margret), a parish, in the union of Brackley, hundred and county of Buckingham, 3½ miles (N. E. by E.) from Brackley; containing 169 inhabitants. An abbey of Cistercian monks was founded here in 1147, the revenue of which, at the Dissolution, was £142. 1. 3. The manor was afterwards given to Thomas, Lord Wriothesley, and passed by purchase to the Peckhams, from whom the estate was seized by Queen Elizabeth, in satisfaction of a debt due to the crown, and given to Arthur, Lord Grey. On the attainder of this nobleman's son, in 1603, it was conferred on Sir George Villiers, afterwards Duke of Buckingham: it was sold in 1681 to Mr. Sayer; was purchased of his family by Earl Verney; and in 1791, from a descendant of the earl's, by George Morgan, Esq. The parish lies on the borders of Northamptonshire. In 1315, Edward II. granted to the convent a market on Monday, and a fair on St. Margaret's day. The living is a perpetual curacy; net income, £69; patron, G. Morgan, Esq.


BIDDLESTON, a township, in the parish of Allenton, union of Rothbury, W. division of Coquetdale ward, N. division of Northumberland, 7¾ miles (N. W. by W.) from Rothbury; containing 140 inhabitants. The manor was granted, in 1272, to Sir Walter Selby, Knt., and has ever since continued in the possession of his descendants. The township is on the road from Clennel to Netherton, and south of the Netherton burn, which flows at a short distance from the village. The manor-house, a commodious stone building of modern erection, occupies the summit of a gentle declivity, commanding, on the south, a fine prospect of the vale of Coquet. There is a place of worship for Roman Catholics.

Biddulph (St. Lawrence)

BIDDULPH (St. Lawrence), a parish, in the union of Congleton, N. division of the hundred of Pirehill and of the county of Stafford, 3¼ miles (S. E. by. S.) from Congleton; containing 2314 inhabitants. It comprises 5200 acres, of which 310 are open common; the surface is elevated, and the soil is in excellent cultivation: the river Trent has its source in the uorthern part, under a high rocky ridge called Mole Cop. The parish is divided into the four hamlets of Over Biddulph or Overton, Middle and Nether Biddulph, and Knypersley; it abounds in coal, has several quarries of hard and durable stone, and contains manufactories for cotton and earthenware, and iron-works. In 1837 an act was obtained for making a new road hence to Congleton. Biddulph Hall, at the north end of the parish, was anciently the residence of the Biddulph family: Knypersley Hall was the seat of a family of that name, and afterwards of the Gresleys, and is now the property and residence of J. Bateman, Esq. The living is a discharged vicarage, valued in the king's books at £4. 9. 8.; patron and impropriator, Mr. Bateman. The great tithes have been commuted for £180. 8., and the vicarial for £90; the glebe consists of 34 acres. The church was an ancient edifice, but has lately been rebuilt, with the exception of the tower, at an expense of £2000. There is a place of worship for Wesleyans on Biddulph Moor; and a school is endowed with about £14 per annum. Here are the ruins of a Druidical temple, and near them the remains of three curious caves excavated in the solid rock.

Bideford (St. Mary)

BIDEFORD (St. Mary), a sea-port, incorporated market-town, and parish, having separate jurisdiction, and the head of a union, locally in the hundred of Shebbear, Great Torrington and N. divisions of Devon, 39 miles (N. W. by W.) from Exeter, and 201 (W. by S.) from London; containing 5211 inhabitants, of whom 4830 are in the town. This place, called also Bytheford, of which its modern appellative is a variation, derives its name from being situated near an ancient ford on the river Torridge. It was a town of some importance in the time of the Saxons: in early records it is styled a borough, and in the reigns of Edward I. and II. returned members to parliament; but the burgesses having pleaded inability to supply the usual pecuniary allowance to their representatives, this distinction was withdrawn. In 1271, Richard de Grenville, to whose ancestor Bideford had been granted in the reign of William Rufus, obtained for it a market and a fair; and, in 1573, Queen Elizabeth incorporated the inhabitants, and made the town a free borough. From that time it rapidly increased as a place of trade, and the expeditions of Sir Walter Raleigh to Virginia and of Sir Richard Grenville to Carolina, established the basis of its foreign commerce. During the civil war in the reign of Charles I., two small forts were erected on the banks of the river, and a third at Appledore, which was garrisoned for the parliament; they were taken for the king by Col. Digby, after the battle of Torrington, Sept. 2nd, 1643. Between this period and the beginning of the eighteenth century, Bideford was in its highest prosperity. The weaving of silk was introduced in 1650, and after the revocation of the edict of Nantes, in 1685, many French Protestants settled in the town, and established the manufacture of silk and cotton; a great quantity of wool was imported from Spain, and in 1699 its trade with Newfoundland was inferior only to that of London and Exeter. From 1700 to 1755, the imports of tobacco exceeded those of every port except London.

Corporation Seal.

The town is situated on the river Torridge, which in spring tides rises to the height of twenty-two feet above the level of low-water mark. The greater part is built on the acclivity of the western bank of the river, and is connected with that on the eastern side by a noble stone bridge of twenty-four arches, of which some are of sufficient span to allow free passage for vessels of sixty tons' burthen. The bridge was erected in the early part of the fourteenth century, by a subscription raised in the counties of Devon and Cornwall, under the auspices of Grandison, Bishop of Exeter, who being influenced by a dream of Gornard, the parish priest, granted indulgences to all who should contribute to the work: a considerable estate in houses and lands, for keeping it in repair, is vested in trustees. The town consists of several streets, some of which are well paved and lighted; the houses are in general of respectable appearance, and the town is amply supplied with water. There are assembly and reading rooms on the quay; and from the salubrity of the air, the picturesque beauties of the surrounding scenery, and the improved facility of communication with Barnstaple and Torrington, owing to the new roads that have been made, Bideford has become a place of considerable resort.

The port, including within its jurisdiction Appledore and the harbours of Clovelly and Hartland, also a convenient station for wind-bound vessels, carries on a considerable colonial and coasting trade. The principal exports are sails, cordage, British manufactured goods, and articles of general supply, to the fisheries of Newfoundland and the British colonies in North America, oak-bark to Ireland, apples to Scotland, earthenware to Wales, and corn and flour to Bristol; the imports are timber from America and the Baltic, and limestone, coal, and culm, from Bristol and Wales. The river, in spring tides, is navigable for vessels of 300 tons' burthen, as far as the bridge, two miles and a half above which it is connected, by means of a sea-lock, with the Torrington canal. The quay, 1200 feet in length, and of proportionate breadth, has been greatly improved. Ship-building is extensively carried on: during the late war, several frigates were launched at this port, and there are eight or ten dockyards, in which smaller vessels are built. The principal articles of manufacture are cordage, sails, and common earthenware; there are also several tan-yards, and a small lace-manufactory. Culm and black mineral paint are found in the vicinity, and on the rectorial glebe; some old culm-mines have been lately re-opened, with every prospect of advantage. The market days are Tuesday and Saturday, and fairs are held on Feb. 14th, July 18th, and Nov. 13th. The inhabitants were originally incorporated by charter of the 16th of Elizabeth, confirmed and extended by another granted by James I.; the government is now vested in a mayor, four aldermen, and twelve councillors, of whom the mayor and late mayor are justices, and there are four other permanent magistrates appointed by the crown: the borough and parish are co-extensive. The recorder holds a court of quarter-sessions; petty-sessions are held monthly, and there is a court of record for the recovery of debts to any amount. The powers of the county debt-court of Bideford, established in 1847, extend over the registration-district of Bideford, and part of Barnstaple district. The town-hall, erected in 1698, is a neat and commodious building, having two prisons underneath, one for malefactors, the other for debtors; and a gaol and bridewell have been lately built on the eastern side of the river. A handsome hall called the Bridge Hall was erected in 1758, by the trustees of the Bridge estate, with a schoolroom adjoining.

The parish comprises 2758 acres, of which 287 are common or waste. The living is a rectory, valued in the king's books at £27. 7. 6., and in the patronage of Lewis William Buck, Esq.; the tithes have been commuted for £590, and the glebe consists of 48 acres. The church is a spacious cruciform structure in the early English style, containing a handsome stone screen, and some interesting monuments. There are places of worship for Baptists, Independents, and Wesleyans. The free grammar school, of remote foundation, was rebuilt in 1657, and in 1689 was endowed by Mrs. Susannah Stuckley with an estate of £200 value; a good house was purchased for the master with money arising from the sale of timber on the estate, which now lets for £56 per annum. A charity school is supported by the trustees of the Bridge estate, and by subscription; a building has likewise been erected for a national school. Almshouses in Maiden-street, for seven families, were erected in 1646, by John Strange, alderman of Bideford; and an hospital in the Old Town, for twelve families, was built pursuant to the will of Henry Amory, who died in 1663. The poor law union of Bideford comprises 18 parishes and places, and contains a population of 19,568. Sir Richard Grenville, who distinguished himself in 1591, in an action fought near the island of Flores, with a Spanish fleet; Thomas Stuckley, an eccentric character, the supposed original of Sterne's Captain Shandy; Dr. John Shebbeare, a noted political writer, born in 1709; and the Rev. Zachary Mudge, a learned divine, and master of the grammar school, were natives of Bideford. The Rev. James Hervey, author of the Meditations and other popular works, was curate of the place from 1738 till 1742.

Bidford (St. Lawrence)

BIDFORD (St. Lawrence), a parish, in the union of Alcester, Stratford division of the hundred of Barlichway, S. division of the county of Warwick, 4 miles (S. by E.) from Alcester; containing, with the hamlets of Barton, Broom, and Marcliff, 1567 inhabitants. This place is situated on the northern bank of the navigable river Avon, and the river Arrow skirts the parish on the west. It was an ancient demesne of the crown, having been in the possession of Edward the Confessor, and was principally held by the monarchs of the Norman line till the reign of King John, who, towards the latter part of his reign, gave it in dowry to Llewelyn, Prince of North Wales, who had espoused his daughter Joan, and who, in the 4th of Henry III., obtained the grant of a market. The parish comprises 3312 acres, the soil of which is various, but the greater part barley and turnip land: there are some stone-quarries. The living is a discharged vicarage, valued in the king's books at £7. 10. 7½.; net income, £313; patron and impropriator, Sir Grey Skipwith, Bart. The tithes have been commuted for land under an inclosure act; the glebe consists of 34 acres.

Bidick, North

BIDICK, NORTH, a hamlet, partly in the parish of Washington, and partly in that of Whitburn, E. division of Chester ward, N. division of the county of Durham, 4 miles (N. N. E.) from Chester-le-Street; containing 371 inhabitants, of whom 344 are in Washington parish. It is situated to the west of the river Wear, by which it is separated from Offerton, Painshaw, and South Bidick. On the bank of the river is Worm hill, so called from the fabulous worm-dragon said to have infested the Lambton estate, and which a hero of that family, cased in armour set with razors, is described as having engaged and killed.

Bidick, South

BIDICK, SOUTH, a township, in the parish of Houghton-le-Spring, union of Chester-le-Street, N. division of Easington ward and of the county of Durham, 6¾ miles (S. W. by W.) from Sunderland; containing 74 inhabitants. In 1823 the old hall, and some of the lands, were purchased by the Earl of Durham. The township comprises by measurement 343 acres, of which 225 are arable, 73 grass land, 25 wood, and 20 waste. The river Wear winds its very devious course on the west; the Durham Junction railway passes a little to the north-east, and takes a curve to Elba.


BIDSTONE, a parish, in the union, and Lower division of the hundred, of Wirrall, S. division of the county of Chester; comprising the townships of Bidstone with Ford, Moreton with Lingham, and SaughallMassey; and containing, according to the census of 1841, 773 inhabitants, of whom 291 are in Bidstone with Ford, 4 miles (W. by N.) from Birkenhead. The manor, which was parcel of the barony of Dunham-Massey, was sold by the Masseys to Henry, Earl of Lancaster, and, having been given in exchange to Sir Roger Le Strange, passed by a female heir to the Stanleys, earls of Derby. It afterwards came by purchase to the Earl of Kingston, and to the Vyner family. The parish comprises 3630 acres, of which 106 are common or waste: in Bidstone with Ford are 1777 acres, of a light and a clayey soil. On an elevated site is a lighthouse, which was purchased by the corporation of Liverpool, under an act obtained in 1762, and is supported by a duty levied on all vessels sailing to and from that port. Bidstone Hall, an ancient mansion, was a seat of the earls of Derby, and is said to have been a favourite residence of the Earl William, chamberlain of Chester in the reign of James I. The living is a perpetual curacy; net income, £98; patrons, the family of Keene; appropriator, the Bishop of Chester, whose tithes have been commuted for £455. The church is of the date 1547: over the gateway of the tower are some old armorial bearings of the Stanley family; and from its summit are extensive views embracing the Welsh mountains and river Dee, westward; southward, the county of Chester; eastward, the Mersey, Liverpool, and Everton; and northward, the Channel, bounding the horizon. These objects are also viewed from the top of the lighthouse. A school is endowed with £15 per annum, and a house and garden for the master.