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Benhall Parish

British Isles Genealogy | County of Suffolk

Benhall, or Benhala

In the 5th of King Richard II. (1381), William de Ufford, Earl of Suffolk, was found by inquisition, to have held the Manors of Benhall and Thorndon, as parcel of the honor of Eye; which were escheated to the King, through the failure of male issue of the said Earl.

In the 6th of King Henry VIII., the Countess of Suffolk held this lordship; and Sir Robert Southwell was found to hold of the said Countess, the manor of Upton, in Norfolk, as of her manor of Benhall, in Suffolk, valued at 16 per annum.

The Dukes, of this parish, derive their descent from a family of that name, who were possessed of Brampton, in this county, ever since the Norman conquest, and who became allied in marriage with most of the leading families in tin's part of the kingdom.

In the time of Queen Elizabeth, Edward Duke, Esq., purchased this estate from the Glemhams; and Edward Duke, his grandson, the first Baronet of his house, built the seat called Benhall Lodge, in 1G3H. The alliances of that branch of the family who became seated here, will appear from the following:


     George Duke, of Brampton, Esq. = Anne, dau. of Sir Thos. Blennerhasset, of Frenze, in Norfolk, Knt.

Edward Duke, son and heir, who purchased
Benhall, died in 1598
= Dorothy, daughter
of Sir Ambrose
Jermyn of Rushbrook, Knt.
George Duke, 2nd=
son, of Honiogton, in this co.
Elizabeth, daught. and co-heir of Augustin Curties, of Honington
Ambrose Duke, Esq, son & heir, died 1610. =Elizabeth, daug. & co-heir to Barth. Calthorpe, Esq George Duke, of Wandsworth. = Catherine, dau. of Richard Braham, of Wandsworth.
Edward Duke, the first Baronet =Ellen, d. & co-heir of John Panton, of Brunslip, co. Denbigh, Esq.1 Edw. Duke, M.D. of Middlesex, 3rd son. =Elizabeth, dau. of Robert Talmach, of Helmingham, Esq.
  Sir John Duke, r Bart. M.P. for Orford in 1640. =Elizabeth, daught. and co-heir of Edw. Duke. M.D  
Sir Edward Duke, Bart, only son, succeeded 1705 .=Mary, d. and sole heir of Thomas Rudge, co. Stafford, Esq., died without issue, 25th Aug. 1732, when the Baronetcy became extinct.
1st. Elizabeth d. young
2nd Jane, John Brame, of Campsey Ash
3rd.Anne, m.Thomas  Tyrell, of Gipping  Esq. 
Issue:Edmund Tyrell, of Gipping, Esq.
4th Arabella, m.Maurice Shelton, of Barningham, Esq.
Issue:Thomas Bokenham Tyrell, of Belstead. Esq

Sir Edward Duke, Bart., died without issue, and this estate passed to his nephew, Edmund Tyrell, of Gipping, in this county, Esq., who sold it to his brother, Thomas Bokenham Tyrell, of Belstead, near Ipswich, Esq.; who sold it to John Rush, Esq.: from him it passed, in 1767, to Samuel Rush, Esq., his only brother and heir; who deceased about 1784, and devised it to his nephew, Sir William Beaumaris Rush, Knt. In 1790, he sold it to his cousin, George Rush, Esq., and of him (it was purchased, in 1801, by the late Admiral Sir Hyde Parker, Knt., who made it his residence.

He was second son of Admiral Sir Hyde Parker, Bart., who was lost in the "Cato," in 1782, and brother to the late Sir Harry Parker, Bart., of Long Melford, in this county. Sir Hyde was Knighted for his gallant services in the American war; and died at his house, Great Cumberland Place, London, March 16, 1807, aged 67 years.

Edward Holland, Esq., was the next proprietor, who pulled down the former house, and built the present.2 He served the office of High Sheriff for this county, in 1814, and Nov. 25th, in that year, his seat here was the scene of gay festivity: upwards of 200 of the nobility and gentry were present at a splendid fete, given by that gentleman; which, in point of magnificence and effect, surpassed any thing of the kind ever offered in this neighborhood.

This estate, comprising the mansion, park, with farms, containing 1644 acres; with the manor of Benhall, the advowson of the vicarage, and the impropriation of the parish, with the great or corn tithes thereof, were brought to the hammer, May 19, 1830, and knocked down at 78,000 guineas. It now belongs to the Rev. Edm. Holland, of Grosvenor Place, London.

ARMS. Duke: azure; a chevron between three sterns close, argent, beaked and membered, gules. Parker: sable; a buck's head, cabossed, between two flaunches, argent.

Writhington White, vicar of this parish, was appointed Archdeacon of Norfolk, October 28th, 1629. The present vicar is the Rev. John Mitford, the editor of Gray; whose tasteful residence, the parsonage here, contains one of the best libraries in the county, particularly rich in the department of old English poetry.

In 1806, Mr. J. S. Wade, of this parish, received at the anniversary meeting of the Society of Arts, a gold medal, for planting onions; and the following year he received another from the same society, for having planted 15 acres of osiers, between Oct. 1804, and May J805, 12,000 sets per acre. In November following they were ready for basket-making.

CHARITIES. In 1731, Sir Edward Duke, by will, desired 1000 to be settled by his executors, for or towards the maintenance of a person able to be a schoolmaster; who should, at the town of Benhall, teach the several poor children belonging to the same parish, to read and write, without any reward other than the profits to arise from the said 1000. Part of this legacy was laid out in purchasing and building a school premises; and the residue was expended in the purchase of stock, Old South Sea Annuities, the dividends of which are paid to the schoolmaster. The sum of 5 a year is paid to the schoolmaster here, for teaching four children of Saxmundham, agreeably to the bequest of William Corbold, in 1746.

1. Blomefield makes Sir Edward Duke, 1st Bart., to have married Catherine, daughter of Sir Thomas Holland, of Wortwell, Knt. He probably had two wires, as Wotton says he had twenty-nine children, none of whom survived, except Sir John, his successor.

2.  A view of this appears in "Davy's Seats of the Noblemen and Gentlemen in Suffolk;" and in his "Suffolk Antiquities," an etching of the south entrance to this parish church is given, as a good specimen of the Norman style of architecture.


County of Suffolk

Topographical and Genealogical, The County of Suffolk, 1844, Augustine Page

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