History of Benson

Benson, once known as Bensington, is an Oxfordshire village with a long history.

It developed east of the River Thames, which once formed the boundary between British tribes. Fighting at Benson is recorded in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle.

Bensington was a royal manor for over 800 years from the days of King Offa, who built the first stone church here, to 1628 when it was sold by King Charles I.

Bensington was also involved in the 12th century Civil War between King Stephen and the Empress Matilda.

In the 17th century Civil War between Charles I and Cromwell, King Charles held his court at Benson. In 1642, he sent a letter from the Red Lion Inn to the mayor of Reading demanding passage for his troops over the bridge at Caversham.

A bustling prosperity came to the village with the growth of the stage-coach services when it became an important stop on the London to Oxford road. There was stabling for two hundred horses, blacksmiths, coach-builders, wheelwrights and saddlers, together with a number of coaching inns.

Click here to go to the Bensington Society History Group