is a large Thames-side village at the foot of the Chiltern
Hills and the Ewelme Brook (a small Chilterns chalk stream)
joins the River Thames at this point. In places in the
village the Ewelme Brook flows beside the road although
elsewhere it has now disappeared into a culvert.
village is well served with local amenities and, with
around a dozen shops, the High Street is very busy. On
the edge of the village on the river is Benson Lock and
also a boating marina and popular riverside cafe.
village's name comes from the Anglo-Saxon Bænesingtun meaning a farmstead of the people of (or a man called)
Benesa. The village is reputedly the site of the Battle
of Bensington. The village developed on the fertile river
silts and gravel just above the surrounding marshy land.
village occupies the site of an ancient British town and
there is evidence of human presence dating back to the
Palaeolithic period - around 10,000 BC, and there is known
to have been occupation during the Roman period. Benson
is one of several key sites of the Civil War in South
Oxfordshire, lying between the site of the battle of Chalgrove
Field (which took place on 18th June 1643) and Wallingford
Castle, reputedly the last Royalist stronghold to surrender.
1870 the present Benson Lock was built although previously
a flashlock had been built in 1746, and a poundlock in
parish church is is the Church of St. Helens parts of
which dates from the 12th century, although the interior
was rebuilt in the 1970s. One of Benson's claims to fame
is the air raid on "an airfield near the village whose
clock had two elevens" promised by the Nazi broadcaster
Lord Haw Haw. The clock in the tower of St. Helens had
the nine (IX) painted, in error, upside down as XI and
hence the clock had two elevens. RAF Benson was duly bombed!
Benson lies to the east of the village between Benson
and the village of Ewelme. It is a front line support
helicopter base working within the Joint Helicopter Command
(JHC) and is home to Puma helicopters of 33 Squadron,
Merlin HC3 helicopters of 28 (AC) Squadron and the Tutor
T1 Aircraft of Oxford University Air Squadron. There is
also the Helicopter Support Squadron, also Thames Valley
Police helicopters of the Chiltern Air Support Unit.
temperature at Benson is frequently mentioned in winter
weather forecasts as the village is in a frost-pocket
and sometimes records the lowest night-time temperatures
in the UK.
is about a mile and a half
north-east of Wallingford and about half way between Reading
and Oxford on the A4074.