History of the Village


Photo by Barnes collection

Benington Village

Benington village abuts the North Sea by the wash in eastern England.  The parish lies about 5 miles northeast of Boston with Leverton parish to the north, Butterwick to the west and south.  The parish covers almost 2,800 acres and includes the hamlets of Sea Bank and West End.  If visiting take the A52 out of Boston towards Skegness and you will pass through Benington.

The Name Benington is from the old English Beonna+ing+ton.  “Farmstead of a man named Beonna”.  In the 12th century, the name is found as Benigton with some old sources using the name Benningtone or Beronineton.

For governance the parish was in the ancient Skirbeck Wapentake in parts of Holland.  In December 1880 a local government board order transferred a detached part of this parish with 76 inhabitants to Leake.   The population has only slightly fluctuated in the last two hundred years with 362 in 1801, 542 in 1881, 524 in 1931and 460 in the present day.

Pishey Thomsons, Kelly’s Directory and Whites Directory all have interesting facts about Benington so let’s travel back in time to hear the all inspiring horn from the direction of Leverton winding through the air.  As the spick and span coach and its four horses come bowling round the bend from Skegness and pulls up at the Admiral Nelson changing for the last part of its journey into Boston.  It was not exactly a pleasure to go from Benington to Boston, because you had to take your place amongst those on top or squeeze inside without more delay than possible.  With another blast of the horn the coach was soon rattling and rocking on its journey again.

Before the Second World War the centre of Benington (A52/Davids Lane/West End) was more of a grassed area and Queen Eleanor, mother of King Edward I claimed to have liberty, to hold a weekly market on a Thursday; with the power of pillory, ducking stool and gallows and free warren in her manor of Benington.  The jury decided that the Queen had such manor in right of Dower, and that reversion of such manor belonged to the King.  This decision was made in 1281 by Edward I.  The village stocks also stood in the village centre.

On the corner of the main road and West End Road there was a Blacksmith’s Shop, with the smithy run by Mr Peter Foster.  Also at the back of this on the Skegness road was a greed wooden shed that served as a cycle shop and garage owned by Mr D Coates who lived in the adjoining house.  

Photograph of the admiral nelson floral displays, benington

Photo by Barnes collection

Admiral Nelson Floral displays

The village now has one Public House, 'The Admiral Nelson' known for its floral displays in the summer months.  In 2008 the Admiral Nelson was awarded the winner for its Floral Display and External Appearance having been the runner-up in 2007 and gaining 3rd place in 2006.  It was also the winner of the Category ‘B’ Batemans Floral Competition in 2004 and 2005.  But back in September 1897 (from a copy of an actual sale notice) a Beerhouse and premises in the village centre was sold by action for £660 to Mr Thomas Horry.  In April 1924 Mr Cyril Bontoft purchased 'The Butchers Arms’, from the trustees of the will of Mr T Horry for £850.  In the particulars of the sale it stated “used as a Beerhouse and known as ‘The Butcher’s Arms’ with Domestic Offices, small Butchers Shop, Slaughter House, Garden and Paddock, containing in the whole 3r 24p (under an acre).   In Kelly’s Directory of 1937 it mentions Joseph Pears, Brewers Agent who resided in Finkle Street.

A white-washed cottage opposite the Church was the home of John Clark, a butcher of Benington.  He was also a preacher and held prayer meetings.  To help him in his trade, he carried on an extensive system of sheep stealing.  He was the last man in England hanged for this offence and was hanged at Lincoln Castle in 1830, where a plaster cast of his face was preserved until it fell and was broken.  At the same time Thomas Strong and Timothy 'Tiger Tom' Brammer were executed for housebreaking.  See attachment in this section - John Clark.

A chapel was built by Mr Richard Clarke in 1858 on the Benington and Leverton border  serving both villages.  (No evidence now remains)   A further Chapel (now private residence) is on the corner opposite the Old Rectory.

The Village Hall which opened in October 1926 by Mrs A W Dean wife of the member for the Holland Division, supplants the old reading room. The outside consists of rusticated weather-boards on brick and concrete foundation.  There is a main hall, with a kitchen and cloakrooms.  In 2007 new disabled toilets were added.  The Hall closed in 2018 due to the proposed opening on The Beonna at All Saints.

On the main A52 Kosyat Tea rooms was started up in 1922 by Edith Harding who married Mr Len Taylor.  Later this became Hoggs Coach Station, followed by Brylaine and is still business premises.

Mention has also been made of a castle in Benington near the Manor.  The manor was sold to the trustees under the will of Sir John Cheshire who resided in a small manor near the castle, which stood westward from the Church and most likely stood the Palace of the Saxon Kings.  The old manor house that had been inhabited by the Ceasors stood in the Park at a short distance from the village, but was burnt down.  What a pity it is there seems nothing that can bring us nearer than this one brief glance at Benington Castle and Palace of the Saxon Kings.  It may have been but a rugged erection of no particular coherence of design or ordered plan.  Strong it would be, most surely built for defence if necessary.

Chantry pasture was west of the old Rectory this being the mansion referred to in the early times and known under the title of the Chantry of the Blessed Mary.  Founded by the ancestors of Tom Darby, exact period unknown, but believed to be before 1306.  About 37 acres 3 roods of Land enumerated as belonging to the Chantry.  It is stated the chief house or mansion of the Chantry and four acres of pastures.  The chantry is mentioned in a deed dated 28th June 1425 in which William Darby of Benington granted a piece of land in Benington called Monks Green and Chantry pasture, were parts of the possession of this institution.

The school on the main road north of the Church was founded on 20th February 1704 by a will from Richard Cowell.  He left the house, building and shop with a piece of land of 1½ acres.  Soon after Mr Cowells death the shop was converted into a school room in which six children were taught.  In 1725 Wm Porrills bequeathed property now yielding £130 per annum for the foundations and endowment of a free school.  Porrills school was then incorporated with Cowells in 1728.  It became a school for all children of Benington and some from Leverton. The school closed on the 23rd July 1970. with Mrs D M Hopkins retiring as the head, and Miss B E Coy as a teacher.  The primary-age children transferred to Butterwick Primary School.  (see separate page for The Last Day at School)

Porrill also bequeathed for the upkeep of the Bedehouses for four poor men and women of Benington and Leverton and for a fifth for the school master.  A report says that Wm Porrill, once a poor Benington boy went to London and made a fortune as a merchant.  His old shop and granary stood where the Bedehouses are today which was just a part of the property he left.  In 1834 the school house was in a very dilapidated state, so the trustees applied a legacy of £100 left by John Westland of Boston to the use of the school and rebuilding of the school house.  There is no longer a school in Benington but the original building is now a dancing studio.

Main road, benington

Photo by Barnes collection


The Grade II listed Bedehouses on the Main Road by the side of the Churchyard were at one time considered derelict, and the Trust considered demolishing them and replacing with a pair of modern bungalows.  (see separate page for the press article at he time)  However this was not supported by the Secretary and State, and they have now been modernised and continue to be still owned and maintained by the Porrill & Cowell Trust for the four tenants.


Cowell and Porill Charity Trust - see separate link

Plough Monday - The rent from land left by Thomas Blythe, Richard Briggs, John Cockler, Richard Gannock, John Gilbert, John Willsby, and one Brotherton is distributed to the senior residents of the village on Plough Monday.  (ie the first Monday after the Feast of the Epiphany, the day when the ploughboys in olden time returned work after their holiday).

The Old Rectory in Churchway (now a private residence) was built in 1830 with alterations made during the 20th century; and is a Grade II listed building.   It is a very outstanding residence and the last Vicar to live there was Canon Hodge before a new residence for the clergy was erected beside the Church.  The Old Rectory was then bought by Thos J Mason in 1924 and stayed in the family until the beginning of the 21st century.  It stands in approximately 3½ acres, together with a coach house and other outbuildings.

On the marsh years ago a small three roomed parlour known as Cockleshell Hall stood, now in the grounds stands Council houses.

Tradition says that Bay Hall, (now a private residence in Hall Lane) and classified as a Grade II listed building was built in the 16th century by Wm Bay a spitafields weaver. In the the Lewis Dictionary published in 1847 we read, that this place formally belonged to the Bay family of whom Wm Bay was summoned to the Grand Council at Westminister in 1353 as a member for Boston.

A further Grade II listed building is The Limes in David's Lane, a further private residence.  All Saints Church is classed as a Grade I listed building together with a Grade II listed gravestone one pace south of the south aisle, and 4 paces from the east end in the Churchyard.

Back in 1919 the 237 acres of Glebe Farm was bought for £5900, sold in 1934 for £4100, sold again in 1946 for £25,000 and in 1970 Crown Estate Commissioners purchased the Farm for £120,000.  The auctioneer at the 1970 sale, Mr D Parkinson, a partner in William H Brown & Son told the “Standard” afterwards, it was a marvellous sale, I think it went extremely well.

Compiled by J W & Mrs J Barnes from local knowledge together with information taken from:

Boston Library (Benington - reference), Kelly's Directory and Whites Directory

Freiston with Butterwick - A compilation by The Rev J R Trotter MA (1936

History and Antiquities of Boston by Pishey Thompson (1856)

last updated August 2014