Benson, Peter (c.1570–1642), builder, was born in London, son of John Benson. He had three brothers and three sisters; one died of plague. A London bricklayer, he was selected in 1614 to build the walls of Derry, and also supervised the building of houses in the city. The work cost at least £10,000, and was completed by 1618. The walls withstood the famous siege of 1689 and are still virtually intact. Benson built other plantation fortifications, as at Lizard Manor, Aghadowey, Co. Londonderry, for the Ironmongers’ Company, and also a strong bawn and a village of ten houses for the settlers on his own proportion at Shraghmiclar, near Lifford, Co. Donegal. He was still owed £1,157 2s. 10d. for work on Derry's walls in 1624, three years after he had become one of the city's first burgesses under the new charter. He was mayor in 1639, and died 24 August 1642 in Derry.
He married first (1597) Jane Hobson at Barton-upon-Humber, Lincolnshire, England; they had three sons and three daughters. He married secondly Margaret Pateshall, who with her three sons and a daughter were listed in 1654 as co-owners of Benson's 1,500 acres at Shraghmiclar. In 1625 Prudence Benson, a daughter of the first marriage, married Thomas Knox, bishop of the Isles; one of their descendants was Cornelius Grogan (qv) (d. 1798). Richard Benson, a son of Peter, refused to give up the manor of Elagh to the mayor of Derry, and is said to have held Barnstaple, Devonshire, against the king's forces in the English civil war.