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History of Benson
Chairperson of the Bensington Society History Group in 2015
It is probable that there was a small settlement, or “tun”, beside the Thames named after the leader, Banesa. The place-name “Baenesington” was recorded in the Anglo Saxon Chronicle but it is most likely that this was a much earlier tun built by the first Saxons who may have settled peacefully with the Romano -British of the region. Only later when the full scale Saxon invasion occurred was it recorded that “ Cutha captured Bensington in 571.”
Bensington was a royal vill, and in the Domesday Book it was described as the richest royal manor in Oxfordshire – a manor stretching from the Thames to Henley - and was valued at £85 or £80 and 100 shillings.
The name , with several variations of spelling, persisted but by the 17th century the shortened version,
" Benson", began to appear. By the 18th century “Bensington” had largely fallen into disuse.
It is now preserved in the name of the village society to which this History Group belongs.
Benson history
The village of Benson is fortunate to have several written articles about its history. Some of these can be read using the following links.
BENSON AND BENSINGTON  Click here to read this article by Michael Byard, Chairman of the Bensington society in 1977. It covers the history of the parish since Anglo-Saxon times.    (Use the back button to return here.)
BENSON CONSERVATION AREA STUDY Click here to read a comprehensive history of village from pre-history to the present day. (Close the window to return here.)
THE CIVIL WAR IN OXFORDSHIRE Click here to read this article by Edith Ditmas,
     which explains the circumstances in which King Charles I wrote a letter,                               "Given at our court at Benson this 3rd of November 1642"
20TH CENTURY DEVELOPMENT OF BENSON Click here to read an article about changes to the road system and housing development in Benson by Janet Burtt and Peter Clarke
SWING RIOTS IN OXFORDSHIRE Click here to read an article about the
first outbreak of Swing-violence in Oxfordshire, which happened at Benson on
Sunday 21 November 1830.
To read a detailed account of the Swing riots in Benson see chapter 5 of
"Benson, a village through its history," by Kate Tiller
(available from the Bensington Society.)
FRANK WEST'S MEMOIRS   Frank West grew up in Benson in the early part of the twentieth century and as an adult became a naval hero.      Click here to read his childhood memories.
GILLIAN'S ESSAY   Click here to read an essay about Benson, written by Gillian Pether at the age of 14.  It describes Benson village life in the 1950's.      
History of Benson
Children in Benson High Street, over one hundred years ago. The Free Church is just visible on the left and the Crown Inn can be seen in the distance.
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