BENFIELDSIDE, a township, in the chapelry of Medomsley, parish and union of Lanchester, W. division of Chester ward, N. division of the county of Durham, 14 miles (N. W. by N.) from Durham; containing 1074 inhabitants. The bishops of Durham formerly appointed foresters or keepers of their woods of Benfieldside, and elsewhere, within the parish. The township is on the river Derwent, which here separates the county from Northumberland; and is intersected by the Derwent and Shotley-Bridge, and the Newcastle and Stanhope, roads. It comprises 1828a. 1r. 25p., of which 1019 acres are arable, 410 pasture, 318 wood, and 80 acres highways, buildings, waste, &c.; the soil is generally clay upon a substratum of freestone rock, and the surface hilly, some of the highest hills being 700 or 800 feet above the level of the sea. There are mines of coal and ironstone, quarries of freestone in great variety, and some fine clay; the manufacture of paper is extensively carried on, and there are an iron-foundry, a saw-mill, a flour-mill, &c. A branch to Medomsley of the Pontop and South Shields railway terminates about 1½ mile from Shotley-Bridge. The lands are chiefly tithe-free. One of the first meeting-houses for the Society of Friends in the north of England was established in the township; there are also places of worship for Primitive Methodists and Wesleyans.See Shotley-Bridge.