In 1870-72, John Marius Wilson's Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales described Benwell like this:
BENWELL, a township and a chapelry in St. John parish, Northumberland. The township lies on the river Tyne, the Roman wall, and the Newcastle and Carlisle railway, 2 miles W of Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Acres, 1,346. Pop., 1,771. Houses, 350. Here are collieries, the oldest in England; one of which, in the beginning of last century, took fire from a candle, and burned for nearly thirty years. Benwell is believed to have been the Condercum of the Romans; and urns, coins, inscriptions, and other Roman remains have been found. ...
Benwell tower belonged at one time to Tynemouth priory, and afterwards to the Shaftoes. Benwell High Cross, to the E, was named from a cross that formerly stood at it. The chapelry is more extensive than the township; and was constituted in 1842. Pop., 4,323. Houses, 749. The living is a p. curacy in the diocese of Durham. Value, £150.* Patron, the Vicar of Newcastle. The church is a Gothic structure with a tower, built at a cost of £1,607.
A Vision of Britain through Time includes a large library of local statistics for administrative units. For the best overall sense of how the area containing Benwell has changed, please see our redistricted information for the modern district of Newcastle upon Tyne. More detailed statistical data are available under Units and statistics, which includes both administrative units covering Benwell and units named after it.
GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth, History of Benwell, in Newcastle upon Tyne and Northumberland | Map and description, A Vision of Britain through Time.
Date accessed: 26th November 2014
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