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.
BENTLEY, RICHARD: English theologian and scholar; b. at Oulton, near Wakefield (25 m. s.w. of York), Yorkshire, Jan. 27, 1662; d. at Cambridge July 14, 1742. He was the son of a blacksmith,
Ordained 1690, probably at once Stillingfleet's house-chaplain, he became canon of Worcester in 1692, librarian to the king in 1694, chaplain in ordinary to the king in 1695, D.D. from Cambridge and Master of Trinity in 1699, vice-chancellor of the University 1700, archdeacon of Ely 1701. His intrigues secured his election as regius professor of theology in 1717. His apparent love of power led the academic senate, Oct. 17, 1718, to deprive him, illegally, of his academic degrees, which a decree of court restored to him in 1724. He was almost always in hot water either in literature, in his college, or in politics. Legally deprived of his mastership in 1734, he kept it, simply because the man who should oust him did not choose to move.
He delivered the first Boyle lectures (see BOYLE, ROBERT) in 1692, his intimate friend Isaac Newton helping him. He wrote against the freethinker Collins in 1713. Sterne quoted in Tristram Shandy his sermon on papistry, 1715. In 1691 he wrote to John Mill about the text of the New Testament, in 1713 he discussed the readings, and in 1720 he published his proposals for a new edition. At least from 1716 on, and apparently as late as 1732, he caused collations to be made in the libraries from London to Rome. But he did not publish an edition, probably because he found it impossible to give what he wished to give. His collations are in the library of Trinity College.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: The best life is by R. C. Jebb, in English Men of Letters, London, 1887. Consult also J. H. Monk, Life of Richard Bentley . . . with an Account of his Writings, 2d corrected ed., ib. 1833; A. A. Ellis, Bentleii critica sacra, Cambridge, 1862; DNB, iv, 306-314.
Calvin College. Last modified on 05/10/04. Contact the CCEL.