Bentham (St. John the Baptist)

BENTHAM (St. John the Baptist), a parish, in the union of Settle, W. division of the wapentake of Staincliffe and Ewcross, W. riding of York; containing 3535 inhabitants, of whom 2180 are in the township of Bentham, 10 miles (W. N. W.) from Settle. This parish is situated on the confines of the county of Lancaster, and comprises 25,811a. 13p., of which 7972a. 27p. are in the township of Bentham; of the latter portion about 2000 acres are common or waste: the soil is poor, resting on a substratum of gritstone. The surface is varied, and the lands are watered by the rivers Greta and Wenning; the former has its source in the higher parts of the parish, and the latter in the adjoining parish of Clapham, and both after flowing through the parish fall into the river Lune. The township contains the villages of Upper and Lower Bentham. The inhabitants are chiefly employed in the spinning of flax and the weaving of linen, for which extensive mills have been erected by Messrs. Hornby and Roughsedge; and there are some potteries for various kinds of earthenware. A market is held on Monday at Upper Bentham; and fairs take place on the 5th of February, Easter-Tuesday, the 22nd of June, and the 25th of October.

The living is a rectory, valued in the king's books at £35. 7. 8½., and in the patronage of James William Farrer, Esq.: the tithes have been commuted for £675, and there is a good glebe-house. The church, situated at Lower Bentham, is a handsome structure in the later English style, with a square embattled tower; the nave was rebuilt and enlarged in 1832. An additional church, in the later English style, with a square embattled tower crowned by pinnacles, has been erected at Upper Bentham, by Hornby Roughsedge, Esq., at an expense of £1800; the east window is embellished with stainedglass, and contains a painting of the Last Supper. There is a chapel at Ingleton, in the parish, a very ancient edifice: also one at Ingleton-Fell. The free school was founded by William Collingwood, Esq., who in 1726 left property for its endowment, and also for the foundation and support of an hospital for six widowers and six widows; the income is £240, of which £42 are paid to the master, and £35 to the usher, of the school, and £12 to each of the inmates of the hospital. Thomas Baynes bequeathed land producing £12 per annum, for the augmentation of the head master's salary; and Isabel Baynes left property worth £20 per annum, to be divided among poor housekeepers of the township.

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

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