Edward White Benson (14 July 1829 – 11 October 1896) was Archbishop of Canterbury from 1883 until his death. Prior to this, he was the first Bishop of Truro, serving from 1877 to 1883, and began construction of Truro Cathedral.
He was previously a schoolmaster and was the first Master of Wellington College from 1859 to 1872.
Edward White Benson
|Archbishop of Canterbury|
|Installed||29 March 1883|
|Term ended||11 October 1896|
|Predecessor||Archibald Campbell Tait|
|Birth name||Edward White Benson|
|Born||14 July 1829|
Birmingham, Warwickshire, England
|Died||11 October 1896 (aged 67)|
Hawarden, Flintshire, Wales
|Parents||Edward White Benson, Sr.|
|Spouse||Mary (Minnie) Sidgwick|
Edward White Benson was born at Lombard Street in Highgate, Birmingham, on 14 July 1829, the eldest of eight children of chemical manufacturer Edward White Benson senior (26 August 1802 – 7 February 1843) and his wife Harriet Baker Benson (13 June 1805 – 29 May 1850). He was baptised in St Martin in the Bull Ring, Birmingham, on 31 March 1830. The family moved to Wychbold when his father became manager of the British Alkali Works at Stoke Prior, Worcestershire.
From 1840, he was educated at King Edward's School, Birmingham and then Trinity College, Cambridge, where he graduated BA (8th in the Classical tripos) in 1852. At King Edward's, under James Prince Lee, Benson "manifested a deeply religious tone of mind and was fond of sermons".:7–8
The Cambridge Association for Spiritual Inquiry, known informally as the Cambridge Ghost Society or the Ghostlie Guild, was founded by Benson and Brooke Foss Westcott in 1851 at Trinity College. Westcott worked as its secretary until 1860. The society collected and investigated reports of ghosts. Other notable members included Alfred Barry and Henry Sidgwick. It has been described as a predecessor of the Society for Psychical Research.. According to the Notebooks of Henry James, his source for the novella The Turn of the Screw was the Archbishop of Canterbury (i.e. Benson) at Addington Palace on 10 January 1895..
Benson began his career as a schoolmaster at Rugby School in 1852, and was ordained deacon in 1852 and priest in 1857. In 1859 Benson was chosen by Prince Albert as the first Master of Wellington College, Berkshire, which had recently been built as the nation's memorial to the Duke of Wellington. Benson was largely responsible for establishing Wellington as a leading public school, closely modelled upon Rugby School.
He was appointed the first Bishop of Truro, where he served from 1877 to 1882. He was consecrated bishop by Archibald Campbell Tait, Archbishop of Canterbury, on St Mark's day, 25 April 1877 at St Paul's Cathedral. The Diocese of Truro was established in December 1876. Construction of Truro Cathedral began in 1880 to a design by the Gothic Revival architect John Loughborough Pearson. From 24 October 1880 until 1887 a temporary wooden building on an adjacent site served as the cathedral. As archbishop, Benson consecrated the cathedral on 3 November 1887.
In 1883 he was appointed Archbishop of Canterbury.
Five years later Benson avoided the prosecution before a lay tribunal of Edward King, Bishop of Lincoln, under the Public Worship Regulation Act 1874 for six ritual offences by hearing the case in his own archiepiscopal court (inactive since 1699).:354 In his judgement (often called "the Lincoln Judgement"), he found against the bishop on two points, with a proviso as to a third that when performing the manual acts during the prayer of consecration in the Holy Communion service, the priest must stand in a way that is visible to the people.
In September of the same year, the papal bull Apostolicae curae, which denied the validity of Anglican orders, was published and Benson had started on a reply before his sudden death of heart failure. He was taken ill while attending Sunday service in St Deiniol's Church, Hawarden, Wales, on 11 October 1896, during a visit to the former Prime Minister, William Ewart Gladstone. Three days later his body was put on the train at Sandycroft station to be returned to London.
He was buried at Canterbury Cathedral, in a magnificent tomb located at the western end of the nave. The tomb is emblazoned with the epitaph Benson had chosen: Miserere mei Deus Per crucem et passionem tuam libera me Christe ("Have mercy on me O Christ our God, Through Thy Cross and Passion, deliver thou me").
Benson is best remembered for devising the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols, an order first used in Truro Cathedral on Christmas Eve, 1880. Considerably revised by Eric Milner-White for King's College, Cambridge, this service is now broadcast every Christmas around the world.
Benson told Henry James a simple, rather inexpert story he had heard about the ghosts of evil servants who tried to lure young children to their deaths. James recorded the idea in his Notebooks and eventually used it as the starting-point for his classic ghost story, The Turn of the Screw.
In 2011, a book about Mary Benson characterised her husband as living "a life of relentless success".
Benson married his second cousin Mary (Minnie) Sidgwick, the sister of philosopher Henry, when she was 18, having proposed to her when she was 12 and he was 24. The couple had six children. Benson also supervised the education of his younger sister Ada Benson who was left an orphan in 1852.
Their fifth child was the novelist Edward Frederic Benson, best remembered for his Mapp and Lucia novels. Another son was Arthur Christopher Benson, the author of the lyrics to Elgar's "Land of Hope and Glory" and master of Magdalene College, Cambridge. Their sixth and youngest child, Robert Hugh Benson, became a priest in the Church of England before converting to Roman Catholicism and writing many popular novels. Their daughter, Margaret Benson, was an artist, author and Egyptologist. None of the children married; and some appeared to suffer from mental illnesses, possibly bipolar disorder.
After the archbishop's death, his widow set up household with Lucy Tait, daughter of the previous Archbishop of Canterbury, Archibald Campbell Tait. A biography of Mary Benson, using her numerous letters, was published in 2011.
The Benson family was of Scandinavian origin with the name of Bjornsen. The Bensons "emerge into history" as an English family in 1348 when John Benson held a "toft" from the Abbey at Swinton-by-Masham in Yorkshire.:1–2
Arthur Christopher Benson, the Archbishop's son, wrote a genealogy of his family. He found that "Old" Christopher Benson (born 1703) was the "real founder of the fortunes" of the Benson family having acquired a "good deal" of land. He also "established a large business.":7–8
Archbishop Edward White Benson's grandfather was Captain White Benson, of the 6th Regiment of Foot. The Archbishop's seal and the Captain's coat of arms show their branch of the Benson family arms were blazoned: Argent, a quatrefoil between two trefoils slipped in bend sable, between four bendlets gules.
The Archbishop's father was Edward White Benson (born in York in 1802, died at Birmingham Heath in 1843). He was a Fellow of the Royal Botanical Society of Edinburgh and the author of books on education and religion. He was also an inventor whose inventions made "considerable fortunes" for others, but not for him.
|Church of England titles|
|New diocese|| Bishop of Truro
Archibald Campbell Tait
| Archbishop of Canterbury
Events from the year 1829 in the United Kingdom.1880 in the United Kingdom
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Lloyd was the son of William Lloyd of Newport, Monmouthshire, and was educated at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge — whence he was awarded his Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in 1876, his Cambridge Master of Arts (MA Cantab) in 1888, and a Doctorate of Divinity in 1891. He married in 1883.Made a deacon in London in 1876, he at first served as curate of Roehampton, Surrey; he was ordained priest in 1877 and became curate of Storrington, West Sussex. He served as vicar of St Peter's Church, Carmarthen from 1889, then a canon residentiary of St David's Cathedral from 1890; he became vicar of Jeffreston and Reynalton, Pembrokeshire, in 1900 and vicar of Lampeter, Cardiganshire, in 1903.Nominated to serve as the first Bishop of Swansea — to assist the Bishop of St David's —, Lloyd was ordained and consecrated a bishop on 24 June 1890, by Edward White Benson, Archbishop of Canterbury, at St Paul's Cathedral, and was sworn in on St Peter's day (29 June) 1890.Katharine Esdaile
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Lincoln Theological College was a theological college in Lincoln, United Kingdom.Mary Benson (hostess)
Mary Benson (née Sidgwick; 1841–1918) was an English hostess of the Victorian era. She was the wife of Revd. Edward Benson, who during their marriage became Archbishop of Canterbury. Their children included several prolific authors and contributors to cultural life. During her marriage, she was involved with Lucy Tait (11 February 1856 – 5 December 1938), daughter of the previous Archbishop of Canterbury. She was described by Gladstone, the British Prime Minister, as the 'cleverest woman in Europe'.Province of Canterbury
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Between the years 787 and 803, a third province, (of) Lichfield, existed. In 1871, the Church of Ireland became autonomous. The Church in Wales was disestablished in 1920 and therefore was no longer the state church; it consists of six dioceses and is an ecclesiastical province of the Anglican Communion.
The province's metropolitan bishop is the Archbishop of Canterbury who also oversees the Falkland Islands, an extraprovincial parish. The Church of Ceylon - Anglican Church in Sri Lanka has two dioceses - the Diocese of Colombo and the Diocese of Kurunegala which are extraprovincial dioceses under the jurisdiction of the Archbishop of Canterbury.Truro High School
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Italics indicate a person who was elected but not confirmed.