Bensington, or Benson (St. Helen)

BENSINGTON, or Benson (St. Helen), a parish, in the parliamentary borough and the union of Wallingford, partly in the hundred of Dorchester, but chiefly in that of Ewelme, county of Oxford, 1½ mile (N. N. E.) from Wallingford; containing, with the hamlets of Fifield, Preston-Crowmarsh, and Roke, 1254 inhabitants. In this parish was a strong fortress of the Britons, from whom it was taken on their defeat at Bedford, in 571, or, according to some authorities, in 560, by Cealwyn, third king of the West Saxons. It subsequently fell into the power of the Mercians, from whom it was seized by Cuthred, King of the West Saxons, who, revolting from Ethelbald, King of Mercia, defeated him at Burford in 752; but it was finally surrendered by the West Saxons to Offa, King of Mercia, who, enraged at the obstinate resistance of the garrison, dismantled the fortifications. The Roman way leading from Alchester to Wallingford crossed the Thames here; and there was anciently a royal palace in the vicinity. The parish contains 2880a. 2r. 13p., of which 2119 acres are arable, 344 meadow, 92 woodland, and 200 pasture. The living is a perpetual curacy; net income, £180; patrons and appropriators, the Dean and Canons of Christ-Church, Oxford. The great tithes have been commuted for £1046, with a glebe of 17½ acres, and those of the incumbent for £157. 10., with a glebe of 3½ acres.

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

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