« Bensly, Robert Lubbock Benson, Edward White Bentley, Richard »

Benson, Edward White

BENSON, EDWARD WHITE: Archbishop of Canterbury; b. at Birmingham July 14, 1820; d. at Hawarden (6 m. e. of Chester) Oct. 11, 1896. He studied at Trinity College, Cambridge (B.A., 1852); became master at Rugby 1852; was ordained priest 1857; in 1859 was appointed first head master of Wellington College (on the border of Windsor forest, near Wokingham, Berkshire); was appointed examining chaplain by the bishop of Lincoln (Christopher Wordsworth) in 1868, prebendary of Lincoln 1869, and chancellor and residentiary canon 1872, when he resigned his mastership and took up his residence at Lincoln. In 1877 he was consecrated first bishop of Truro (Cornwall); and was translated to Canterbury in 1883. He was a man of great energy, determined, and self-reliant. His industry was unremitting, and he found time for reading and study, the fruits of which appeared in the posthumous publications Cyprian, his Life, his Times, his Work (London, 1897) and The Apocalypse (1899). His administrative ability was shown in the development of Wellington College, which was practically his creation, and the thorough and efficient organization of the new diocese of Truro, where he formed a divinity school to train candidates for holy orders, began the erection of a cathedral, and founded and strengthened schools. He was the first bishop to appoint a canon missioner. As archbishop he strove for legislation effecting reforms in church patronage and discipline; opposed and prevented the disestablishment of the Church of Wales; created, in 1886, a body of laymen to act in an advisory capacity with the convocation of his province; cultivated cordial relations with the Nestorians and other Eastern Christians, but repelled what may have been intended as an advance to his own Church from Rome. He sat as judge in the trial of Bishop King of Lincoln, charged with certain ritual offenses (1889–90), and in the judgment which he delivered produced a masterly exposition of the law of the prayer-book, based upon the entire history of the English Church. Besides the works already mentioned, a volume of Prayers, Public and Private appeared posthumously (1899), and he published during his lifetime several volumes of sermons and addresses.

Bibliography: A. C. Benson, Life of E. W. Benson, 2 vols., London, 1899, abridged ed., 1901 (by his eldest son); J. H. Bernard, Archbishop Benson in Ireland, London, 1898; DNB, Supplement, vol. i, 17l–179.

« Bensly, Robert Lubbock Benson, Edward White Bentley, Richard »
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