John Benbow Farm, Herefordshire, England
On March 4, 1840, Elder Wilford Woodruff arrived at the home of John and Jane Benbow at Hill Farm near the village of Castle Frome, Herefordshire, England. He preached that evening and spent the night there. Two days later, Elder Woodruff baptized the Benbows and several others into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in a pond on the Benbow farm. The influence and generosity of the Benbows was monumental in this chapter of Latter-day Saint history. The next number of months proved to be one of the most productive periods of missionary conversions in the history of the Church. During his time in the Herefordshire area, Elder Woodruff frequently used the Benbow home as a base for his missionary labors there and in several other counties.
Attached to the rear of the home on the east side is a long stone hall, visible to the right. When the Benbows lived there, one large room was legally registered for formal preaching. The current owner of the home (2021) believes that the stone hall at the rear of the home is likely that licensed room in which Elder Woodruff preached. In addition to allowing the gospel to be taught on their property, John and Jane Benbow gave tremendous spiritual and financial support to the missionaries including financing the cost to publish the Book of Mormon in Great Britain and helping new converts with the cost of emigrating to America.
The journal of Wilford Woodruff gives a number of insights into his time spent at the home of John and Jane Benbow while on his mission to Great Britain in 1840-41. Numerous individuals were taught at the Benbow home and many were baptized in a pond situated on that property. In his journal entry for March 7, 1840 Elder Woodruff noted, “I spent the day in preparing a pool to baptize in.” On the next day, he wrote that he baptized seven persons in that pool or pond. The pond and the path that leads to the pond are situated adjacent to Hill Farm which was once the farm of John Benbow. The pond and adjacent area within the gate and railings are now owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. There is a right of way for visitors to access the pond area.
Map and Directions
The Hill Farm, Castle Frome, Ledbury, Herefordshire, HR8 1HL,UK.
The former Benbow farm, now Hill Farm at Castle Frome, Herefordshire is a privately owned home and farm. The current owners are most gracious in allowing visitors to stop and view the pond. That notwithstanding, it must be recalled that this site is someone’s home and business and the owners’ privacy should be respected. Because of the number of visitors, it is not a place to ask for a drink of water, to use the restroom, or the like. Accommodating so many can be overwhelming. Hopefully, all who come to visit will bear this in mind.
Articles & Resources
Things in Heaven and Earth: The Life and Times of Wilford Woodruff, a Mormon Prophet, 92-93.
Wilford Woodruff journal, typescript, 1:433.
Wilford Woodruff, Leaves from My Journal: A Journey of Faith, 101-104.