Clement-Jones family - Person Sheet
Clement-Jones family - Person Sheet
NameRt Rev Edward White BENSON , 8709
FatherEdward White BENSON , 13966 (1802-1843)
FatherRev William SIDGWICK , 8700 (1806-1841)
MotherMary CROFTS , 8699 (1807-1879)
ChildrenEdward Frederick , 8705 (1867-1940)
 Arthur Christopher , 8706 (1862-1925)
 Robert Hugh , 8707 (1871-1914)
 Margaret , 8708
Notes for Rt Rev Edward White BENSON
Edward White Benson (14 July 1829 – 11 October 1896) was Archbishop of Canterbury from 1883 until his death.

Edward White Benson was born in Highgate, Birmingham, the son of a Birmingham chemical manufacturer. He was educated at King Edward's School, Birmingham and Trinity College, Cambridge, where he graduated BA (8th classic) in 1852.[2] 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 (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 Cathedral from 1872–77, and first Bishop of Truro from 1877–82. He founded Truro High School for Girls[3] in 1880.

While at Canterbury, to avoid the prosecution before a lay tribunal of Edward King, Bishop of Lincoln, under the Public Worship Regulation Act 1874 for six ritual offences he heard the case in his own archiepiscopal court which had been inactive since 1699. [4] 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 so that they can be seen by the people. Benson also tried to amalgamate the two Convocations and the new houses of laity into a single assembly. In 1896 it was established that they could 'unofficially' meet together.[5]. In September of the same year, the papal apostolic letter Apostolicae Curae was published and Benson had started to work on a reply before his sudden death of a heart attack while attending Sunday service in St. Deiniol's Church, Hawarden, Wales on October 11, 1896 on a visit to former Prime Minister William Gladstone.

His great devotion to Cyprian bore posthumous fruit with the publication of Cyprian, his life, his times, his work the following year.


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 used 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 hint in his Notebooks and eventually used it as the starting-point for his classic ghost story, The Turn of the Screw.

Personal life

Benson married his distant cousin Mary Sidgwick, the sister of philosopher Henry. The couple had six children. Their fifth child was the novelist E. F. Benson, best remembered for his Mapp and Lucia novels. 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, became a minister of the Church of England before converting to Catholicism and writing many popular novels. Their daughter Margaret Benson was an artist, author, and amateur Egyptologist. None of the children married; and some of them appeared to suffer from mental illnesses, probably 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[7], and a full-length biography of her was published in 2011, casting light on the Bensons' domestic life.
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