Edward White Benson

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Benson, Edward (1829–96). Archbishop of Canterbury. Born in Birmingham and educated at Trinity College, Cambridge, he taught at Rugby and was successively first master of Wellington College (1859–72), first bishop of Truro (1877), and archbishop (1883). Close to Frederick Temple, he wrote supporting him over Essays and Reviews (1860). At Truro he successfully campaigned for a cathedral and planned the first service of Nine Lessons and Carols. Less at home in politics than Tait, as a friend of Gladstone he firmly supported church establishment. A lover of pageantry, with a high sense of the dignity of Canterbury, he dealt with the ritualist case against the saintly Bishop Edward King of Lincoln in a revived archiepiscopal court, thus reclaiming for Canterbury oversight of common worship. Benson acquitted King on all but two counts—‘the most courageous thing that has come from Lambeth for the last 200 years’.

Revd Dr William M. Marshall

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