Birstal - Bishopstrow

Pages 263-267

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

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BIRSTAL, a chapelry, in the parish of Belgrave, union of Barrow-Upon-Soar, hundred of West Goscote, N. division of the county of Leicester, 3 miles (N. by E.) from Leicester; containing 438 inhabitants. This chapelry is bounded on the east by the river Soar, and comprises 1128 acres of arable and pasture land, of which the soil is generally light, and the substrata are sand, marl, and blue clay. The inhabitants are chiefly employed in the manufacture of hosiery, connected with the trade of Leicester. At the time of the inclosure of waste lands, 165 acres were allotted to the impropriate rectory in lieu of tithes, from which, with the exception of about 100 acres, the whole of the chapelry is exempt. The chapel, dedicated to St. James, was in 1823 severely damaged by lightning, which injured the steeple and part of the nave; and by consent of the ordinary and the archdeacon the steeple was not restored, on condition of enlarging the north side of the chapel, which was done, and the whole of the nave rebuilt, at an expense of £600.

Birstal (St. Peter)

BIRSTAL (St. Peter), a parish, partly in the union of Bradford, and partly in that of Dewsbury, wapentake of Morley, W. riding of York, 7 miles (S. W.) from Leeds, on the road to Huddersfield; containing 29,723 inhabitants. This parish comprises by computation about 13,000 acres, and includes the chapelries of Cleckheaton, Drighlington, Liversedge, and Tong, and the townships of Gomersal, Heckmondwike, Hunsworth, and Wyke; the soil is various, but generally fertile, and the lands in the agricultural districts are in a good state of cultivation, producing fine crops of grain. The surface is beautifully diversified with hills and valleys, watered by numerous rivulets, and the scenery is in many parts picturesque; the substratum abounds with excellent coal and freestone, and at Hunsworth with iron-ore. The village of Birstal is situated in the township of Gomersal, at the base and on the acclivity of an eminence commanding a fine view of the adjacent district. The inhabitants are chiefly employed in the woollen and worsted manufactures, which are carried on extensively in the various townships, and in the making of cards for machinery; the chief articles are woollencloths, blankets, and worsted stuffs. A savings' bank has been for some years in active operation. The living is a discharged vicarage, valued in the king's books at £23. 19. 2.; net income, £289, with a good house; patron, the Bishop of Ripon; impropriators, the Master and Fellows of Trinity College, Cambridge. The church is a handsome structure in the later English style, with a lofty square embattled tower, and contains numerous monuments. There are ten other churches and incumbencies, which are described under their respective townships; and also places of worship for Wesleyans, Independents, Moravians, and Methodists of the New Connexion. A free school, now merged in a national school, was endowed by the Rev. William Armitstead, in 1556, with a rent-charge of £5, for which, with a bequest of £100 from Mrs. Murgatroyd, the master instructs several children gratuitously. The school is a spacious building, erected in 1819, at an expense of £1200, principally defrayed by William Charlesworth, Esq., of Brier Hall, a native. Dr. Priestley, equally distinguished for his discoveries in chemistry and his controversial writings, was born at Fieldhead, in the parish, in 1733.


BIRSTWITH, a township, in the parish of Hampsthwaite, Lower division of the wapentake of Claro, W. riding of York, 5 miles (N. W. by W.) from Harrogate; containing 676 inhabitants.


BIRTHORPE, a chapelry, in the parish of Semperingham, union of Bourne, wapentake of Aveland, parts of Kesteven, county of Lincoln, 2½ miles (E.) from Folkingham; containing 52 inhabitants. Allotments of land were assigned in lieu of tithes in 1768.

Birtle, with Bamford

BIRTLE, with Bamford, a township, in the parish of Middleton, union of Bury, hundred of Salford, S. division of the county of Lancaster, 2½ miles (E. N. E.) from Bury; containing 1753 inhabitants. The name was formerly written Birkle and Berkle, and denotes a ley or field of birch. The township extends over 1480 acres, whereof 100 are arable, 1000 pasture, 135 woodland, 40 water, and the remainder moor. The surface is hilly, and diversified with glens: the soil of the higher part is poor; but in the lower grounds, near the river Roche (which separates the township from Heap, for a mile and a half), it is richer land. The population is chiefly employed in the cotton and woollen mills in the neighbourhood; several collieries are in operation, and quarries of good stone are wrought. Birtle is westward of Bamford, and is the larger hamlet of the two; both lie near the road from Bury to Rochdale. In the township are also the small village of Kenyon Fold; a place called Hagg Lee; and Nat Bank, a romantic spot where the Roche sweeps along a deep narrow vale, lined by meadows and wood. A church was built in 1846, at a cost of £1100; it is a neat structure with a campanile tower: the living is a perpetual curacy, in the patronage of the Rector of Middleton, who has given the tithes of the township, £33 per annum, to the incumbent. The Wesleyans and Primitive Methodists have places of worship; and there is a Sunday school, established in 1833. An eminence denominated Castle Hill was probably the place where a small watch-tower stood in the ages of feudalism.


BIRTLES, a township, in the parish of Prestbury, union and hundred of Macclesfield, N. division of the county of Chester, 3 miles (N. W.) from Macclesfield; containing 60 inhabitants. The township comprises 566 acres, of a black, light, soil: its general surface is undulated, rising in some parts into eminences richly clothed with wood. Birtles Hall and demesne belonged for many generations to the Birtles family. There are various tumuli in the neighbourhood; and fragments of urns have been discovered.


BIRTLEY, a township, in the parish and union of Chester-le-Street, Middle division of Chester ward, N. division of the county of Durham, 3 miles (N.) from Chester-le-Street; containing 1759 inhabitants. In Bishop Hatfield's time this place belonged to a family of its own name, and subsequently formed part of the forfeitures of the Earl of Westmorland, on the attainder of that nobleman. The township comprises 1344 acres, of which two-thirds are arable land; the surface is undulated, the soil chiefly clay, and the views, which are very extensive, embrace Lumley and Lambton Castles, and Ravensworth vale. Coal is abundant throughout the township; and freestone is quarried for building purposes, and for grindstones. Salt-works were in operation here at a very early period: Sir William Lambton, in his petition to parliament, particularly enumerates, among other losses inflicted by the Scottish army, the total destruction of his "salt-works" at Birtley. In the latter part of the last century a strong brine-spring was discovered, which now produces about 1200 tons of salt per annum: the brine is conveyed from the spot whence it issues, to the bottom of a coal-pit, from which it is raised in pumps by the colliery steam-engine. Large iron-works were established in 1829, in which pig and bar iron, castings and engines are made, employing nearly 200 hands. There are several railways for conveying the coal; at Ouston colliery is a railway passing to the Tyne, distant six miles: the road from Durham to Newcastle, also, intersects the township. A full church service is performed in a licensed chapel every alternate Sunday. There is a place of worship for Wesleyans; also a Roman Catholic chapel.


BIRTLEY, a parochial chapelry, in the union of Bellingham, N. E. division of Tindale ward, S. division of Northumberland, 5 miles (S. E. by S.) from Bellingham; containing, with the township of Broomhope with Buteland, 472 inhabitants. It is situated on the east of the North Tyne: the land in the northern part is mountainous and sterile, but near the bank of the river it is of better quality. Coal and limestone are found in the vicinity. The place was separated from the parish of Chollerton, and formed into a chapelry, in 1765. The living is a perpetual curacy; net income, £84; patron, the Duke of Northumberland. The chapel is a small ancient edifice. The great tithes of the High and Low divisions of Birtley have been commuted for £70, and the vicarial tithes for £129.

Birts-Morton (St. Peter and St. Paul)

BIRTS-MORTON (St. Peter and St. Paul), a parish, in the union of Upton-upon-Severn, Lower division of the hundred of Pershore, Upton and W. divisions of the county of Worcester, 5½ miles (E. S. E.) from Ledbury; containing 313 inhabitants. It comprises 1198a. 2r. 29p., of which 46 acres are common or waste; the surface is varied, and the scenery richly diversified. The manor-house is an ancient edifice, surrounded by a moat. The living is a rectory, valued in the king's books at £7. 8. 1½.; patron and incumbent, the Rev. S. Thackwell: the tithes have been commuted for £320. 10. 6., and there are 27 acres of glebe. The church is an ancient cruciform edifice, with a window of stained glass. A school was endowed with six acres of land, now let for £14 per annum, by the Rev. Samuel Juice in 1703.

Bisbrooke, or Pisbrooke (St. John the Baptist)

BISBROOKE, or Pisbrooke (St. John the Baptist), a parish, in the union of Uppingham, hundred of Wrandike, county of Rutland, 1¾ mile (E.) from Uppingham; containing 211 inhabitants. It comprises about 2000 acres of land, of which the soil is invariably red, light, and very fertile, and the situation rather hilly; a considerable quantity of vegetables and fruit of excellent quality is grown. The manor is one of the most ancient possessions of the Duke of Rutland. The living is a discharged vicarage, valued in the king's books at £6. 0. 4.; net income, £252; patron and impropriator, the Duke of Rutland. His Grace holds an allotment of land in lieu of the rectorial tithes; and there are about 100 acres of glebe, chiefly at Bisbrooke, but partly at Uppingham.

Biscathorpe (St. Helen)

BISCATHORPE (St. Helen), a parish, in the union of Louth, E. division of the wapentake of Wraggoe, parts of Lindsey, county of Lincoln, 8 miles (N. E. by E.) from Wragby; containing 63 inhabitants. The living is a discharged rectory, valued in the king's books at £5. 11. 4., and in the patronage of the Crown; present net income, £180.

Biscott, Bedfordshire.—See Limbury.

BISCOTT, Bedfordshire.—See Limbury.

Bisham (All Saints)

BISHAM (All Saints), a parish, in the union of Cookham, hundred of Beynhurst, county of Berks, 4½ miles (N. W.) from Maidenhead; containing 659 inhabitants. The parish comprises 2341a. 3r. 35p., of which 1662 acres are arable, 231 meadow and pasture, and 385 woodland and coppice; the soil is gravelly, with a small portion of chalk, and the surface in general hilly. On the north flows the river Thames, the banks of which are adorned with interesting scenery and many pleasing seats. The rolling of copper into sheets, and the making of copper-bolts for the navy, and of pans and other vessels in copper, are carried on to a considerable extent. Temple mills, esteemed among the most complete and powerful of the kind in the kingdom, received their name from having been in the possession of the Knights Templars, who established a preceptory here on receiving a grant of the manor from Robert de Ferrariis, in the reign of Stephen. This institution, on the dissolution of the society, was succeeded by an Augustine priory, founded in 1338 by William de Montacute, Earl of Salisbury, and the revenue of which, in the 26th of Henry VIII., amounted to £327. 4. 6. It was surrendered in 1536, was re-founded by the king for a mitred abbot and thirteen Benedictine monks, and was finally dissolved on the 10th of June, 1538. The abbey was frequently visited by Henry VIII., and also by Elizabeth, who resided here some time, a large state apartment being still called the Queen's council-chamber: a very small portion only of the conventual building can be traced in the mansion which now occupies its site. The living is a discharged vicarage, valued in the king's books at £7. 13. 1.; net income, £156; patron and impropriator, George Henry Vansittart, Esq. The church contains some costly monuments of the Hoby family, who resided in the abbey from the time of Elizabeth till about the year 1780: one of them, in beautiful preservation, was brought in the sixteenth century from Paris, where Sir Thomas Hoby died ambassador to that court.

Bishampton (St. Peter)

BISHAMPTON (St. Peter), a parish, in the union of Pershore, Middle division of the hundred of Oswaldslow, Pershore and E. divisions of the county of Worcester, 4 miles (N. E. by N.) from Pershore; containing 410 inhabitants. The parish comprises 1828a. 1r. 1p., mostly arable land, the remainder pasture, and is situated near the Avon: stone is quarried for the repair of roads. The living is a discharged vicarage, valued in the king's books at £7. 9. 9½.; patron, the Bishop of Worcester; impropriator, the Earl of Harrowby. The glebe consists of 80 acres of land, given in lieu of tithes, and valued at £100 per annum; with a glebe-house in good repair. The church, which is partly in the pointed style, was erected in the sixteenth century, and has a noble square tower with six bells, and an organ presented by the vicar, for the period of his incumbency, in 1839. A school is partly supported by the Earl of Harrowby.

Bishop-Auckland.—See Auckland, Bishop.

BISHOP-Auckland.—See Auckland, Bishop. And all places having a similar distinguishing prefex will be found under the proper name.

Bishop's-Bourne (St. Mary)

BISHOP'S-BOURNE (St. Mary), a parish, in the union of Bridge, hundred of Kinghamford, lathe of St. Augustine, E. division of Kent, 4 miles (S. E. by S.) from Canterbury; containing 334 inhabitants. It comprises 2002 acres, of which 437 are in wood. The living is a rectory, valued in the king's books at £39. 19. 2.; net income, £1240; patron, the Archbishop of Canterbury. The tithes of the parish have been commuted for £500; and the glebe, which consists of 1a. 20p., with premises, is valued at £60 per annum. Richard Hooker, author of the Ecclesiastical Polity, was incumbent.

Bishop's-Castle (St. John the Baptist)

BISHOP'S-CASTLE (St. John the Baptist), an incorporated market-town, and a parish, having separate jurisdiction, in the union of Clun, locally in the hundred of Purslow, S. division of Salop, 19 miles (N. W. by N.) from Ludlow, 20¼ (S. W. by S.) from Shrewsbury, and 157 (N. W. by W.) from London; containing 1781 inhabitants, of whom 1510 are within the borough. This place derives its name from a castle belonging to the bishops of Hereford, that stood here, but of which the site alone, now a bowling-green attached to the Castle inn, and some small portions of the inclosing walls, can be traced. A subterraneous passage is said to have led from this castle to another at some distance; the arched entrance to the passage is shown in the garden of an adjoining house; but it is scarcely distinguishable from the heaps of stones found in various parts of the hill on which the castle stood.

Corporation Seal.

The town is partly situated on the summit, but chiefly on the steep declivity, of a hill: the houses in general are meanly built of unhewn stone, with thatched roofs; though, in detached situations, there are several good edifices of modern erection. The market is on Friday, and is well supplied with grain, which is sold by sample: the market-house, built by the late Earl of Powis, is a handsome structure of stone, supported on piazzas; the area is used as a corn-market, and the upper part as a schoolroom. The fairs are on the Friday before the 13th of Feb., for cattle and sheep; on the Friday preceding the 25th of March, which is a very large fair for horned-cattle; on the first Friday after Mayday, a pleasure and statute fair; July 5th, formerly a great wool-fair; and Sept. 9th and Nov. 13th, for horned-cattle, sheep, and horses. The government, by charter granted in the 15th year of the reign of Elizabeth, and confirmed and extended by James I., is vested in a bailiff, recorder, and fifteen capital burgesses, assisted by a town-clerk, chamberlain, two serjeants-at-mace, and subordinate officers: the bailiff, late bailiff, and recorder, are justices of the peace. The elective franchise was conferred in the 26th of Elizabeth, from which time, until its disfranchisement in the 2nd of William IV., the borough returned two members to parliament. The corporation hold a court of session quarterly for the borough, on the next Wednesday after the general quarter-sessions for the county; the bailiff, the late bailiff or justice, and the recorder, preside. The powers of the county debt-court of Bishop's-Castle, established in 1847, extend over the registration-district of Clun, the parish of Churchstoke, and the township of Aston. The town-hall is a plain brick edifice on pillars and arches, built by the subscription of the burgesses, in 1750, with a prison on the basement story for criminals, and above it one for debtors.

The township of Bishop's-Castle comprises 1717 acres, of which 96 are common or waste. The living is a vicarage, valued in the king's books at £9. 12. 1.; net income, £350; patron and impropriator, the Earl of Powis. The great tithes of the borough have been commuted for £125, and the vicarial for £230, with a glebe of 12 acres, and a house. The church is a fine old structure, partly in the Norman style, with a square embattled tower crowned with pinnacles: it was burnt in the parliamentary war, by Cromwell, and has been repaired without a due regard to the original architecture. There are places of worship for Independents and Primitive Methodists. The free school was founded in 1785, by Mrs. Mary Morris, in memory of her first husband, Mr. John Wright, of Wimbledon, in Surrey, merchant, a native of Bishop's-Castle, and was endowed with £1000 in the three per cents., since increased to £1598. Jeremy Stephens, author of various doctrinal works, and the learned coadjutor of Sir Henry Spelman in the compilation of the English Councils, was a native of the place.


BISHOP'S-DALE, a township, in the parish of Aysgarth, wapentake of Hang-West, N. riding of York, 12 miles (S. W. by W.) from Middleham; containing 107 inhabitants. This place comprises 4805 acres of land, adjoining the mountainous part of the West riding; 915 acres are common or waste. The neighbourhood contains several waterfalls, and abounds with picturesque scenery: small quantities of lead-ore are found. The tithes have been commuted for £76. 15., payable to Trinity College, Cambridge.


BISHOP'S-FEE, a liberty, in the parish of St. Margaret, union and borough of Leicester, though locally in the hundred of Gartree, S. division of the county of Leicester. The magistrates for the borough and county exercise concurrent jurisdiction throughout the liberty, the inhabitants of which pay church and poor rates to the parish of St. Margaret, but are assessed for the king's taxes with the hundred of Gartree, the petty-sessions for which are occasionally held here.

Bishopside, High and Low

BISHOPSIDE, HIGH and LOW, a township, in the chapelry and union of Pateley-Bridge, parish and liberty of Ripon, W. riding of York, 10½ miles (W. S. W.) from Ripon; containing 1937 inhabitants. The township includes the market-town of Pateley-Bridge, and the hamlets of Fell-Beck, Raikes, Smelt-house, Wath, Whitehouses, and Wilsill; and comprises 5813 acres of land, on the northern acclivities of Nidderdale: about 4000 acres are high uncultivated moor, abounding in grouse and other game. The tithes have been commuted for £55, payable to the Dean and Chapter of Ripon. At Raikes is a school endowed under the will of Miss Alice Sheppard, in 1806, with £1000 navy five per cents., for clothing and educating twenty-two boys and four girls; and for a similar purpose Dr. William Craven left £800 of the same stock, in 1812. John Lupton, in 1720, bequeathed a house and 12 acres of land, latterly let for £36 a year, for four widows; and there are a few smaller charities.


BISHOPSTON, a chapelry, in the parish of Old Stratford, Stratford division of the hundred of Barlichway, S. division of the county of Warwick, 2¼ miles (N. N. W.) from Stratford; containing 51 inhabitants. This place was originally called Bishopsdone, and owed the former part of its name to the bishops of Worcester, to whom Stratford belonged, and the latter to its situation at the foot of a hill. For many generations the hamlet was the property of a family who took their name from it. It was at length conveyed by a female heir to the family of Sir William Catesby, after which it had several possessors. The living is a perpetual curacy; net income, £25; patron, the Vicar of Stratford. A new chapel was consecrated in 1843; it is in the early English style, contains 192 sittings, and cost £1000.

Bishopston (St. John the Baptist)

BISHOPSTON (St. John the Baptist), a parish, in the union of Wilton, hundred of Downton, though locally in the hundred of Chalk, Salisbury and Amesbury, and S. divisions of Wilts, 3½ miles (S. by W.) from Wilton; containing 569 inhabitants, and comprising by estimation 4265 acres. The living consists of a vicarage and a sinecure rectory united, the former valued in the king's books at £12. 1. 3., and the latter at £19. 14. 2.; patron, the Earl of Pembroke. The tithes have been commuted for £960, and there are 30½ acres of glebe. The church is a handsome cruciform edifice, in the decorated English style of architecture; and in it are preserved two stone coffins, said to have contained the relics of two bishops, from which circumstance the parish is traditionally reported to have derived its name.

Bishopston (St. Mary)

BISHOPSTON (ST. MARY), a parish, in the union of Highworth and Swindon, hundred of Ramsbury, Swindon and N. divisions of Wilts, 6½ miles (E.) from Swindon; containing 704 inhabitants. It comprises by computation 4000 acres, and is situated near the Wilts and Berks canal, and the Great Western railway. The living is a vicarage, valued in the king's books at £6. 6. 8., and in the gift of the Bishop of Salisbury: about 150 acres of land, valued at £200 per annum, were allotted at the time of the inclosure in lieu of tithes; and there is a vicarage-house. The Primitive Methodists have a place of worship; and a parochial school is supported by bequests, amounting to about £40 per annum.


BISHOPSTONE, a hamlet, in the parish of Stone, union and hundred of Aylesbury, county of Buckingham; containing 274 inhabitants.

Bishopstone (St. Lawrence)

BISHOPSTONE (St. Lawrence), a parish, in the union of Weobley, hundred of Grimsworth, county of Hereford, 7 miles (W. N. W.) from Hereford; containing 304 inhabitants. It comprises by measurement 672 acres, of which 307 are arable, 322 meadow, and 38 woodland; the surface is hilly, and on Bishopstone hill is a quarry of good freestone. The living is a discharged rectory, with the vicarage of Yazor annexed, valued in the king's books at £7. 7. 6.; net income, £429; patron, Sir R. Price, Bart.: the glebe comprises 60 acres. The church is an ancient structure in the early English style, containing some monuments to the Berrington family, and has been recently repaired and decorated.

Bishopstone, Monmouth.—See Bishton.

BISHOPSTONE, Monmouth.—See Bishton.


BISHOPSTONE, a tything, in the parish of Montacute, union of Yeovil, hundred of Tintinhull, W. division of Somerset; containing 257 inhabitants.


BISHOPSTONE, a parish, in the union of Newhaven, hundred of Bishopstone, rape of Pevensey, E. division of Sussex, 1¼ mile (N. W. by N.) from Seaford; containing 288 inhabitants. The parish comprises 1810a. 10p., of which 1040 acres are arable, and 770 down and pasture land; it is bounded on the west by the river Ouse, and on the south by the English Channel, which within the last twenty years has made considerable encroachment on the land. The road from Newhaven to Seaford passes through. The living is a discharged vicarage, valued in the king's books at £8. 13. 4.; patron, the Bishop of Chichester; net income, £88. The church is an ancient structure in the early Norman style, with a tower. The Rev. James Hurdis, D.D., professor of poetry in the University of Oxford, and author of the Village Curate and other interesting poems, was born in the hamlet of Norton, in the parish, in 1763, and was buried in the church. On the Downs are several barrows.

Bishopstrow (St. Adelme)

BISHOPSTROW (St. Adelme), a parish, in the union and hundred of Warminster, Warminster and S. divisions of Wilts, 1½ mile (E. S. E.) from Warminster; containing 296 inhabitants. It is situated on the river Wily, and bounded on the north by the Downs; and comprises 1030 acres. The living is a rectory, valued in the king's books at £11. 10., and in the gift of Sir Dugdale Astley, Bart.: the tithes have been commuted for £225, and there are about 11 acres of glebe. In the parish is an estate called the Berries, supposed to have been a Roman station, where in 1791 two earthen vessels were found, containing several thousand small brass coins of the Lower Empire; there is also a meadow called Pitmead, where, in 1786, a discovery was made of the remains of some extensive Roman villas, and of several tessellated pavements within them.