Englefield History

Mary Benyon

 

The story of the Englefield inheritance is continued in the monument to Mary Benyon, who died in 1777.

 

The monument is said to be by Thomas Carter, after the style of Bernini. There were two sculptors in marble of that name: the founder of the firm, who died in 1756, and his nephew who died in 1795. So this is clearly by Thomas the younger. It was Mary's second son, Richard Benyon, who caused the monument to be erected according to the inscription.

 

Placed in the south-east corner of the aisle very close to that of her first son, this monument is in a somewhat cramped space on the south wall between the east wall and the new window from the 1850s, into which it intrudes. The Lysons do not include this monument in their Magna Britannia of 1813 but say that the one to John Paulet, Marquis of Winchester stood at that time in the aisle along with some monuments to the family of Wrighte, as does Fletcher in 1841. Fletcher, however, also places this monument in its current location.

 

Mary Tyssen (sometimes given as Tyson) was the daughter of Francis and Rachel Tyssen of Hackney and after her first husband, Powlett Wright, died in 1740 Mary married Richard Benyon of Gidea Hall in Essex. Richard Benyon was an orphan who joined the East India Company in 1710 aged only twelve. He was very successful in the Company and eventually became Governor of Fort George (later Madras and now known as Chennai). He came back to England with a fortune equivalent to approximately £9 million at today’s value and bought Gidea Hall in 1745. Mary was his third wife, his first having died in India and the second in England.

 

Mary and Richard Benyon had a son, also Richard, and together with her son Powlett from her first marriage to Powlett Wrighte, only six when his mother remarried, lived at Gidea and Englefield. When Powlett died childless in 1779 the estate passed first to his uncle Nathan Wrighte and then, on his death ten years later, to Powlett’s half-brother Richard Benyon. Richard Benyon married Hannah Hulse of Breamore in Hampshire and they had three sons: Richard, Edward and Charles and a daughter Emma. The family still lived mostly at Gidea and it was only after the sale of Gidea in 1802 following the death of Richard Benyon in 1796 that Englefield became the principal family seat.

 

 

© 2020 Richard J Smith

Englefield History

Englefield History
Englefield History
Englefield History