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Edward White Benson

(1829-1896), Archbishop of Canterbury

Sitter in 54 portraits
Beginning his career as a schoolmaster Benson became the master of the new Wellington College in 1859. He was ordained in 1854, and was appointed Bishop of Lincoln in 1869. He served as Chancellor of Lincoln Minster from 1872 until 1877 when he was offered the bishopric of the new diocese of Truro. Benson is best remembered for devising the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols, first used in Truro Cathedral on Christmas Eve, 1880. This service is now used every Christmas around the world. In his day however, the event that gave him most notoriety was the trial of Edward King, Bishop of Lincoln. King had been accused of ritualism in 1887, and Benson presided over the hearing, finding in favour of King.

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