Becket, Massachusetts

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Becket is a town in Berkshire County, Massachusetts, United States. It is part of the Pittsfield, Massachusetts Metropolitan Statistical Area. The population was 1,755 at the 2000 census.



Becket was first settled in 1740 and was officially incorporated in 1765.[citation needed]

The original "Beckett" for which the town of Becket was named, is an estate or "tithing" which once belonged to the Admiral Lord Barrington (as in "Great Barrington, MA). It is located in Shrivenham, formerly in Berkshire, England, about five miles east of the important railroad town of Swindon.

Sir Francis Bernard, the Royal Governor of Massachusetts in 1765, was a close friend of Lord Barrington and was himself a native of Berkshire, England. It is said that he enjoyed many a happy restful holiday in the beautiful surroundings of Beckett, and that these pleasant memories influenced him in 1765 to give the name Becket to Township Number Four when he approved its incorporation.

The early town was the site of an experiment in the late eighteenth century involving the local church.[citation needed] Seeing the problems involved with communities who supported congregational churches, the town established its own church society, where local citizens supported the church without any tax monies. It was one of the first frontier communities to employ this model of supporting churches.[citation needed]

From its earliest days, Becket was involved in the woodland industries of lumber and quarries. As time went on, dairy production, basketry and silk also were products of the town. After a flood in the early twentieth century, most of the industries died out, and today Becket is mostly known as a resort town with an artists' community surrounding the Jacob's Pillow Company.[1][2]

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