BENSON, Henry (1578/9-1643), of High Street, Knaresborough, Yorks.
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Family and Education
b. 1578/9, 1st s. of Peter Benson, yeoman, of Knaresborough and Jane Denison. m. lic. 2 Apr. 1633, aged 54, Elizabeth, da. of Thomas Bullocke of South Holme, Yorks., wid. of John Dearlove of Pannal, Yorks., s.p. suc. fa. 1640. admon. 9 Oct. 1643.1
Benson’s father, though a mere yeoman, held 16 burgages in Knaresborough, succeeded Sir Henry Slingsby* as deputy steward of the honour in 1615, and presented a house and garden for the use of the new grammar school in 1616. The family may have been related to Robert Benson, a servant of Sir John Savile*, and it is possible that the latter encouraged Benson to stand for election at Knaresborough in 1626, replacing Henry Slingsby*, whose father was associated with Savile’s rival Sir Thomas Wentworth*. Benson left no mark upon the records of the session, even on 8 June, when Savile was attacked for a letter Robert Benson wrote on his behalf criticizing MPs for their preference for attacking Buckingham rather than handling the grievances of the Yorkshire clothiers. In 1628 Henry Benson defeated Slingsby in a close contest, decided by the disqualification of female burgage-holders; once again he left no trace on the parliamentary record.2
Benson was again returned at both elections in 1640, but by then much of his property had been mortgaged to Thomas Stockdale†, who persuaded the Long Parliament to expel him for abuse of privilege in November 1641 in order to provide a seat for Sir William Constable*, 1st bt. A royalist at the outset of the Civil War, Benson was in prison for debt when he drew up his will on 8 Mar. 1643; it was proved at York on 7 October. No other member of this family entered Parliament.3
Ref Volumes: 1604-1629
Authors: Karen Bishop / Simon Healy
- 1. Geneal. Hist. Stubbs Fam. (Yorks Arch. Soc. rec. ser. lv), p. ix; Vis. Yorks. ed. Foster, 498; Borthwick, York wills 1643.
- 2. W.A. Atkinson, ‘Parl. Election in Knaresborough in 1628’, Yorks. Arch. Jnl. xxxiv. 213-14, 217; Procs. 1626, iii. 392-401.
- 3. M.F. Keeler, Long Parl. 107-8; Fairfax Corresp. ed. H.E. Bell, ii. 290; Borthwick, York wills 1643.