Benefield (St. Mary)

Benefield (St. Mary), a parish, in the union of Oundle, hundred of Polebrook, N. division of the county of Northampton, 3½ miles (W.) from Oundle; containing 533 inhabitants. This parish, including the lordship of Liveden, comprises 4468 acres, of which above 300 are woodland, and the remainder chiefly pasture; the soil is a strong tenacious clay, with an upper surface of dark loam, and the ground is varied with some gentle undulations, though generally level. There are two villages about a mile apart, distinguished as Upper and Lower Benefield, the road from Oundle to Great Weldon proceeding through both. The living is a rectory, valued in the king's books at £35. 9. 7.; net income, £622; patron, Jesse Watts Russell, Esq., lord of the manor, and proprietor of the parish, with the exception of Liveden. The tithes were commuted for land in 1820: the old glebe, with a house and garden, is valued at £30 per annum; the entire glebe now consists of 470 acres. The church comprises a nave, north and south aisles, and a deep chancel with a chapel at the north side, and has a tower and spire; the style of the body of the edifice is the transition Norman, and of the chancel, the decorated. The whole has been just restored, and part rebuilt, and the chancel richly illuminated throughout with painting, as practised in medieval times; the windows are of stained glass, and the oak carving highly finished. About a furlong to the west of the village are nine of those cavities in the earth commonly called "Swallows," into which the waters of the land-floods flow and disappear.

Transcribed from A Topographical Dictionary of England, by Samuel Lewis, 7th edition, published in 1848.

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