Edward White Benson

Edward White Benson

Infobox Archbishop of Canterbury|
Full name = Edward White Benson

caption =
birth_name =
began = 1883
term_end = October 11 1896
predecessor = Archibald Campbell Tait
successor = Frederick Temple
birth_date = July 14 1829
birthplace = Highgate, Birmingham
death_date = October 11 1896
deathplace =
tomb =
Anglican Portal

Edward White Benson (July 14 1829 – October 11 1896) was Archbishop of Canterbury from 1882 until his death.


Born in Highgate, Birmingham and educated at King Edward's School in Birmingham and Trinity College, Cambridge, Benson began his career as a schoolmaster at Rugby School in 1852. In 1859 Benson was chosen by Prince Albert as the first Master (headmaster) of Wellington College, Berkshire, which had been built as the nation's memorial to the Duke of Wellington. Benson was largely responsible for establishing Wellington as a great English public school, closely modelled on Rugby School, rather than the military academy originally planned. He later served as Chancellor of Lincoln Minster from 1872-77, and Bishop of Truro from 1877-82. He founded Truro High School for Girls [Amy Key Clarke, "The Story of Truro High School, the Benson Foundation". Truro: Oscar Blackford, 1979] in 1880.

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 hint in his "Notebooks" and eventually used it as the starting-point for his classic ghost story, "The Turn of the Screw". Benson died from cardiovascular disease in 1896.


Benson is best remembered for devising the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols, an order first used in Truro Cathedral on Christmas Eve, 1880 - a service that is now used every Christmas around the world.

Benson and his wife Mary Sidgwick Benson, the sister of philosopher Henry Sidgwick, had six children. Their fifth child was the novelist E. F. Benson. Another son was A C 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 wrote several novels. Their daughter Margaret Benson was an artist, author and amateur Egyptologist.

External links

* [http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=21821 Memorial Page for Edward White Benson]


External links

* [http://www.birminghamnet.co.uk/galleries/features/blueplaque/benson.html BirminghamNet: Edward White Benson]

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