Edward White Benson, 94th Archbishop of Canterbury

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Edward White Benson, D.D.

Birthdate: (67)
Birthplace: Highgate, Birmingham, Lancashire, England, United Kingdom
Death: October 11, 1896 (67)
St. Deiniol's Church, Hawarden, Flintshire, Wales, United Kingdom (Apoplexy or stroke)
Place of Burial: Canterbury, Kent, England, United Kingdom
Immediate Family:

Son of Edward White Benson and Harriet Benson
Husband of Mary Benson
Father of Martin White Benson; Arthur Christopher Benson; Mary Eleanor Benson; Margaret Benson; Edward Frederic Benson and 1 other

Occupation: 94th Archbishop of Canterbury
Managed by: Jason Scott Wills
Last Updated:

About Edward White Benson, 94th Archbishop of Canterbury

From the Logansport Reporter of Loganstown, Indiana, Monday afternoon, Oct. 12, 1896

A Prelate's Death: Archbishop of Canterbury stricken with apoplexy at church

London, Oct. 12 - The Archbishop of Canterbury, primate of all England and metropolitan, Rt. Hon. and Most Rev. Edward White Benson, D.D., and privy councilor, died suddenly Sunday while attending divine services in the church at Hawarden. The archbishop was the guest of Mr. Gladstone through whom he was appointed to the archbishopric of Canterbury and, in company with the Gladstone family, wen to the Hawarden church Sunday morning. After the services had commenced a commotion was noticed in the Gladstone pew and immediately thereafter church attendants were seen removing the archbishop, who, it was supposed, was suffering from a fit. He was taken to the rectory, and medical assistance was hastily summoned. The doctors worked over him in vain, and at 11:45 o'clock, he died. The physicians state that death was caused by apoplexy. Archbishop Benson was 67 years of age.

The archbishop and his wife arrived at Hawarden castle, Mr. Gladstone's residence, Saturday evening, from the north of Ireland, where they had been visiting. The archbishop appeared to be in the best of health. He attended communion at the Hawarden church at 8 o'clock Sunday morning, and then breakfasted with Mr. Gladstone and family. Later he attended the morning service. The "confession" was proceeding when he fell forward. The church attendants removed the archbishop to the rectory as quickly as possible. Rev. Stephen Gladstone, the rector of the church, continued the service until he received a message that the archbishop was dead. He then closed with the prayer for the dead from the burial service. As the congregation left the church, the organist played a dead march, and a muffled peal was rung on the bells.

Mr. Gladstone was not at the church, weather preventing. He was greatly distressed at the death of the archbishop. Thy had been close friends for a long time. ArchbishopBenson was esteemed by all sects for his moderation and broad-mindedness. His death was announced at St. Paul's, London, at the afternoon service. The news quickly spread and Sunday evening there was a great assemblage at the cathedral. The preacher highly eulogized the dead archbishop for his services to the church, his personal uprightness of character and loveable disposition. After the service the organist played the "Dead March," the congregation standing as the solemn strains filled the edifice, the great bell of the cathedral meanwhile being tolled in memory of the dead. Dean Farrar paid an impressive tribute to the deceased archbishop in Canterbury cathedral.


Rt. Hon. and Most Rev. Edward White Benson, D.D., primate of all England and metropolitan, was born near Birmingham in 1829. He was educated at King Edward's School, Birmingham, and at Trinity College, Cambridge, of which he was successively scholar and fellow, and where he graduated B.A. in 1852. He graduated M.A. in 1855, B.D. in 1862, and D.D. in 1867; Hon. D.C.L. (Oxford), 1884. He was for some years one of the masters in Rugby school and held the head mastership of Wellington college from its first opening in 1858 down to 1872. Among many dignities he attained were honorable chaplain to the queen in 1873 and chaplain in ordinary, 1875-77. In December 1876, he was nominated to the newly-restored bishopric of Truro and was consecrated in St. Paul's cathedral April 25, 1877. During his occuapation of the see he began the building of a new cathedral at Truro, of which the outward shell has cost over 100,000 pounds, much of the sum having been gathered through the energy of the bishop. In December 1882, Dr. Benson was appointed by the crown, on Mr. Gladstone's recommendation, to the archbishopric of Canterbury, in succession to Dr. Tait. Dr. Benson has published sermons and other works. Dr. Benson married in 1859 Mary, daughter of the late Rev. William Sidwick, of Skipton, Yorkshire. The annual value of the see of Canterbury is 75,000 pounds and the archbishop is the patron of 195 livings. In addition to his archepiscopal residence at Lambeth Palace, he had a seat at Addington Park, Croyden, Surrey.


From The Cedar Rapids Evening Gazette of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Friday, Oct. 16, 1896:

The Primate Buried: The ancient fane of Canterbury filled today with great crowd of mourners - the ecclesiastic laid to rest with all of sacredotal rite and impressive ceremony - a notable occasion

Canterbury, Eng. Oct. 16 - There is general mourning throughout England today. The bells are tolling almost everywhere and memorial services in honor of the late archbishop of Canterbury and Primate of All England, the most Reverend Edward White Benson, have been held in hundreds of churches. The lying in state of the deceased prelate in Canterbury cathedral was the occasion for a wending around the aisles of the vast edifice of a continuus stream of clergy and notabilities of all classes of societies to take a last look. The rain fell outside and the interior of the old cathedral was exceedingly gloomy in its hangings of violet velvet, in spite of the countless tapers burning. The floor above the grave, which is situated in the northeast corner of the cathedral, was covered with scarlet cloth and the grave was lined with violet velvet.

The doors were besieged from an early hour and it became necessary to reinforce the police with troops to preserve order. The first service was held at 8 o'clock in the mornin, when Canon Farrar celebrated holy communion. The second service was at 9 and consisted of prayers for the dead. The principal sermon began at 12:30 in the Martyrdom Chapel, where the remains we empalled in white and gold embroidery, on which rested the superb floral offerings. A crowd of the most distinguished people were present.

A funeral procession composed of the clergy of the diocess, rural deans of the House of Lords and Commons, many church dignitaries, 20 bishops, 50 canons, and the Archbishops of Dublin and York andeight pallbearers escorted the body to the tomb. The family followed the casket, then came the Duke of York representing the Queen, and others representing British and foreign royalty, etc.

The funeral service was fully choral, participated in by Canon Mason, the Bishop of Winchester, the Archbishop of Dublin, the Archbishop of York, Archdeacon Farrar and Rev. Hugh Benson. The casket was then lowered into the grave. Floral tributes from royalty and nobility were numerous.

From The Portsmouth Daily Times of Portsmouth Ohio, Saturday, Oct. 17, 1896

Funeral Services: Over the Remains of Most Rev. Edward White Benson, Archbishop of Canterbury

London, Oct. 17 - The funeral services over the body of the Most. Rev. Edward White Benson, Archbishop of Canterbury, and primate of all England, who was stricken with apoplexy during the services in the Hawarden Church last Sunday morning and died almost immediately afterward, were held in the Cathedral at Canterbury Friday forenoon. The great edifice was crowded with people, among whom were the Duke of York and Prince Charles of Denmark, as the representatives of the Prince of Wales, the Duke Connaught, Duke of Cambridge, and a host of Ecclesiastical, political, and social dignitaries. There were several distinct services, the first one beginning at 8 o'clock in the morning. The coffin containing the body of the deceased archbishop was covered with a white and gold-embroidered pall and was placed in front of the altar surrounded by lighted tapers. Very Rev. F. William Farrar, D.D., Dean of Canterbury, opened the series of services by celebrating the function of holy communion. The weather was extremely disagreeable, a heavy rainfall accompained by high winds prevailing, but this state of things had no effect in keeping people away from the cathedral. Everybody present wore deep mourning, and the primate's throne was heavily draped with black.

At 12 o'clock, the funeral procession was formed in the cloisters of the cathedral, the cleargy attached to the diocese leading, followed by the members of the House of Commons, members of the House of Lords, bishops and members of the convocation. Then came Most. Rev. William D. MacLagan, D.D., Archbishop of York and primate of England, Most. Rev. William C. Lord Plunkett, D.D., Archbishop of Dublin, Very Rev. F. William Farrar, Dean of Canterbury, and Rev. Hughes Benson. Next came the coffin with the pall bearers, the Earl of Cranbrook, Lord Ashcomb, Lord MacNaighton, the Dean of Lincoln; Sir E.M. Thompson, and the chancellorof Truro.

Within the cathedral the family and relatives of the dead archbishop, the family of the Archbishop of York and other representatives of the private mourners occupied places in the rear of the choir. As the procession reached the nave, the choir sang Gounod's "Send Out Thy Light," and afterward a special anthem composed by Sir Herbert Stanley Oakley, composer to her majesty in Scotland and professor of music in the University of Edinburgh. The clergy who officiated at the internment comprised Canon A. J. Mason, of Canterbury; Rt. Rev. Randall T. Davidson, Bishop of Winchester; Rev. Hugh Benson, and the archbishops of Dublin and York.

The internment took place in the vault of the Canterbury Cathedral.


From the London Mid Surrey Times And General Advertiser, Saturday, Oct. 17, 1896

Will be buried in Canterbury

Death of the Archbishop of Canterbury: Seizure at Hawarden

Scene in the Church

We regret to announce that the Archbishop of Canterbury (Dr. Benson) died suddenly at Hawarden on Sunday morning, whilst on a visit to Mr. and Mrs. Gladstone. He had arrived at the Castle at 8 o’clock on Saturday evening from Carlisle, and appeared to be in his usual health and in excellent spirit. On Sunday, he attended the 8 o’clock morning Communion at Hawarden Parish Church, to which he was driven in a carriage. He returned from the church with Mr. Henry Gladstone, and breakfasted with the family. Shortly before 11 o’clock the Archbishop walked to church for the forenoon service with Mrs. Drew and Mr. Henry Gladstone. Mr. Gladstone, owing to indisposition, did not accompany them; but Mrs. Benson and Miss Dorothy Drew drove in a closed carriage and reached the church a few minutes later than the Archbishop. The latter, attending as a private worshipper, sat between Mrs. Gladstone and Mrs. W.H. Gladstone in the part of the chapel usually occupied by Mr. Gladstone. The service had begun, and the Absolution was being read, when Mr. Haswell, a member of the choir, observed a peculiar twitching of the Archbishop’s arms; a gurgling noise in the throat was heard, and attention having been attracted by this, a considerable portion of the congregation saw the Archbishop droop forward in a state of helpless collapse. He had been kneeling up to this time. Mr. Henry Gladstone and Mr. C.B. Toller, a churchwarden, hastened to his assistance, and, with the help of other members of the congregation, carried him into the Rectory, only a few yards from the church, and laid him on a couch in the library. The Archbishop was quite unconscious, and breathed very faintly. Dr. Burlingham, one of the village doctors, happened to be among the congregation, and he immediately rendered medical aid. Mrs. Drew, Mr. Henry Gladstone, two professional nurses, Dr. Roberts, the other Hawarden doctor, who had been fetched, and others rendered every possible assistance. All their efforts were, however, unavailing; the Archbishop never recovered consciousness, but passed away peacefully and almost painlessly at 25 minutes to 12 o’clock. Mrs. Benson, who up to this time had preserved great presence of mind, was prostrated by the suddenness of her bereavement.

The members of the Gladstone family and all present were grief-stricken on hearing Dr. Burlingham’s announcement that life was extinct. Mrs. Gladstone and Mrs. W.H. Gladstone were fetched out of church, and both were painfully affected. A messenger had been dispatched, before death occurred, for Dr. Dobie of Chester, but that gentleman did not arrive in time to be of assistance.

The congregation in church did not appreciate the seriousness of the attack, for after the Archbishop’s remove from the building, the Rector, the Rev. Stephen Gladstone, said: “I am asked to state that the Archbishop of Canterbury, who had been in our midst, has taken suddenly ill with a fainting fit. He has been carried out, and has everything necessary around him. He has had an especially fatiguing time in Ireland, and this has, no doubt, affected his health. He attended early Communion here this morning. May I ask you to remember him when we say the Litany?”

The service was then resumed, but during the prayers, some ominous goings in and out of the church were noticed, and the fears of the congregation were strengthened when Mr. Henry Gladstone and Mr. Toller in succession interrupted the Rector while the latter was reading the Litany. After the Litany, special prayer was offered for the persecuted Armenians. Then the Rector rose, and, addressing the congregation, said: “I think it better to tell the congregation that I have just heard the Archbishop has passed away. We shall, therefore, sing the last hymn now, and then I will read the funeral collects at the Communion table.”

The announcement produced a sensation almost akin to stupefaction. The hymn, “For ever with the Lord,” was given out immediately after the collects, and this having been sung, the organist, Mr. Pringle, played the “Dead March” in Saul, the congregation standing. A bell was tolled, and subsequently a muffed peal was rung.

The Most Revered Edward White Benson, Archbishop of Canterbury and Primate of All England, was born near Birmingham in 1829. His father, Mr. Edward White Benson, was manager of some extensive lead works at Birmingham Heath, and the son was educated at Edward VI’s grammar school, having among his contemporaries Dr. Lightfoot and Dr. Westcott, the late and present Bishops of Durham, and being in the same class with Prince Lee, afterwards the first Bishop of Manchester. At Cambridge he was Scholar and Fellow of Trinity, a First Classman and Senior Medallist in Classics, and Senior Optime in the Mathematical Tripos. Shortly after taking his degree he was appointed to a mastership at Rugby, under Dr. Bouburn, and quitted it, together was appointed to a mastership at Rugby, under Dr. Goulburn, and quitted it, together with his chief, in 1858, when he was chosen to be the first head-master of Wellington College. He held this post for 14 years, and then exchanged it for the Chancellorship of Lincoln Cathedral, together with a Residentiary Canonry. With the active work which he performed in this capacity, he combined the duties of Examining Chaplain to Bishop Wordsworth. He was several times Select Preacher both at Oxford and Cambridge, and he was Chaplain in Ordinary to the Queen from 1875 to 1877. In 1876, he was recommended by Lord Beaconsfield for the new diocese of Truro, and was consecrated on April 25, 1877. Lord Beaconsfield having made him a Bishop, it was reserved for Mr. Gladstone to make him an Archbishop; and in 1882, he was chosen to succeed Dr. Tait at Lambeth.

Pulpit References

Scene at St. Paul’s

The sad intelligence of the Primate’s death was received at St. Paul’s Cathedral just at the close of the afternoon service, when the choir had left their stalls and the congregation were preparing to depart. It was then that the Bishop of Stepney was handed a telegram from Chester announcing the death of the Archbishop. The choir at once returned to their places, and the congregation, apprised by this unwanted proceeding that an event of great moment had occurred, waited in expectant silence for some pronouncement from the pulpit. The Bishop of Stepney, who had preached the afternoon sermon, re-ascended the steps almost immediately, and in tones of deep emotion announced the sudden death of the head of the English Church. The intelligence created a very painful impression. Dr. Martin then played the Dead March in “Saul,” the audience standing in silence. When the last strains of the music had died away the choir again left their stalls, and the congregation quietly dispersed. From half-past 5 to half-past 6, the old great bell was tolled, and during the evening a large number of people, attracted by the unusual sound and anxious to learn the meaning of it, assembled in front of the cathedral. The news was passed rapidly from mouth to mouth, and quickly spread throughout the City. At the evening service the cathedral was filled with a vast congregation. The preacher was the Rev. F.J. Jomini, Vicar of St. Thomas’s, Stepney, who in the course of his sermon said: “Since I entered this cathedral I have heard the sad, sad news of the Church’s great loss. I mean the death of our great and beloved Archbishop, the Primate of England. We could ill spare him at a time like this, but God knows best, and though his spirit has passed from here to the spirit world, it will be many and many a long day before the influence of that great Archbishop has passed from us.” At the conclusion of the service, the Dead March in Saul was played on the organ.

Dean Farrar at Canterbury Cathedral

The Dean of Canterbury, addressing the congregation on Sunday night in Canterbury Cathedral said: My friends, I am entirely unable to preach to you this evening. Just before I was preparing to come to church a very sad telegram reached us, of which probably most of you are already aware, and you will have heard by the tolling of that solemn bell during our service, which only rings at the death of a King or Queen or Archbishop, that it has pleased God to take away from us our beloved Archbishop, whom we saw in this Cathedral so short a time ago. It is impossible for me now to say more about him than this: That of all the Archbishops of Canterbury who have preceded him there has certainly not been one endowed with more graceful learning, with more charming geniality of manner with holier and truer wisdom than himself. He was devoted to the service of the Church of England, and his mind was full to the last, as his letters show, of two events – one, the celebration in this Cathedral of the 13th century of the introduction of Christianity into southern England; the other, the great meeting of Bishops at the Lambeth Conference; and now suddenly, as in a moment, it has pleased God, in Whose hands all our lives are, to cut short his thread of life. There is nothing sad in a sudden death to him who dies prepared, but to us whom he leaves thus suddenly, or to all friends who loved him, to all who knew his beautiful character and his blameless life, we may be pardoned if natural sorrow greatly influences our thoughts.

The Bishop of Exeter, at the Cathedral, referring to the death of the Archbishop of Canterbury, said a beloved friend had been taken away from them, a noble leader of the Church. God has seen that his work was finished, and He had taken him to his rest.

At the Temple Church, Canon Ainger paid a high tribute to Dr. Benson, speaking as he did, from many years’ friendship. On the conclusion of the services the organ played the “Dead March,” the entire congregation upstanding.

In the course of his sermon at the City Temple the Rev. Dr. Parker referred to the great loss which the Church of England had sustained by the death of the Archbishop of Canterbury. He recognized the beautiful spirit and the noble character of Dr. Benson. “What,” he inquired, “are all differences, controversies, and alienations in the presence of the King of Terrors?” The only occasion on which he had come face-to-face with the Archbishop was at Lord Tennyson’s funeral. He was then struck by the fine face, the calm and lustrous eyes, and the pensive look of the great prelate. Alluding to recent deaths, Dr. Parker said: “We shall soon be strangers in the land, so swiftly is the harvest sickle cutting down the wheat fields we have known and loved so well.”

The evening service conducted by the Rev. Hugh Price Hughes was attended by a very large congregation at St. James’s Hall, Piccadilly. Alluding to the death of the Archbishop, Mr. Hughes said that Christians of every creed would lament the loss of one who had done so much for the Christian faith.

At Addington and Croydon

The Archbishop’s death came as a great surprise to his friends at Addington Palace and Croydon. The Vicar of Croydon received a telegram from Hawarden during the day, and at the close of the service the “Dead March” was played. That the deceased Archbishop possessed the love of people of all denominations and shades of opinion was shown by the pulpit references in Noncomformist places of worship in Croydon on Sunday night. At Addington the news came as a great shock, for, although the Archbishop had been ailing for 12 months, nothing had arisen to cause fear. Twelve months ago, Dr. Ross-Todd was called in to combat an attack of lumbago and vertigo, and the doctor’s treatment was so successful that in a short time the Primate was able to resume his usual exercise on horseback, of which the deceased Prelate was very fond, being frequently accompanied by Miss Tait, daughter of the late Archbishop and Mrs. Benson on a bicycle and tricycle. Close observers of the Archbishop’s habits aver that he had never been the same in health since the loss of his daughter, who died at the Palace. Her grave in Addington Churchyard was frequently visited by the Prelate.

Message from the Queen

Monday’s Court Circular contained the following reference: “The Queen is much grieved at the terrible sad and untimely death of the Archbishop of Canterbury. To the country the Queen feels it is a serious loss of an eminent and gifted Primate, to her Majesty that of a friend for whom she entertained strong regard, affection, and the highest respect.”

Messages of sympathy have arrived in large numbers at the Castle. One of the first was a telegram from the Queen to Mrs. Benson, as follows: “I am stunned by the awful news. My heart bleeds for you, but my own sorrow is great, for I was so fond of the dear, kin, excellent Archbishop. A terrible loss to all. My dear daughter joins me in my expression of sympathy to you. – V.R.” The Prince of Wales also telegraphed on Sunday, and other messages have been received from the Duke and Duchess of York, the Duchess of Albany, the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress of London, besides nearly all the Bishops and many members of the nobility.

The Queen sent kind messages inquiring as to the health of Mrs. Benson.

A sympathetic message was also received from the Empress Frederick.

Mrs. Benson, who is bearing up well in her great sorrow, has been deeply affected by the messages she has received. She has been sustained by the presence of her two sons, Mr. Arthur Benson and the Rev. Hugh Benson, who arrived at Hawarden on Sunday night. Another son and daughter reached the village during Monday afternoon, while the Bishop of Winchester, who is an old personal friend of the deceased, and who is at present staying at the Castle, has done all that is possible for the afflicted ones.

Mr. Gladstone has not suffered physically from the terrible shock, but he is much depressed and is keeping almost entirely within doors. This, however, is partly due to a slight cold from which he is suffering.

Funeral Arrangements

The funeral of the late Primary is fixed for Friday, the place of interment being Canterbury Cathedral.

In Hawarden Church

The body of the late Archbishop of Canterbury enclosed in a coffin of dark oak and brass mountings, and covered by a white gold-embroidered pall, was on Tuesday morning placed before the altar in Hawarden Church where Communion service, attended by Mr. and Mrs. Gladstone, was held. A cast had been previously taken of the face, the features of which bear a placid aspect. The remains were removed on Wednesday morning to Canterbury for interment in the Cathedral. Before the removal, however, a celebration of the Holy Communion was held at half-past 8. A procession, consisting of the parish clergy, the surplice choir, the church officers, and a number of friends followed the coffin, which was taken on a wheeled bier to Sandycroft Station, whence it was conveyed to Canterbury.

Mrs. Benson, Miss Benson, the Rev. Hugh Benson, and Mr. E.F. Benson, left Hawarden Castle on Tuesday for Addington; but Mr. Arthur Benson and the Bishop of Winchester, with the late Archbishop’s chaplain (the Rev. E. L. Ridge), remained to travel in charge of the coffin. Before leaving, Mrs. Benson received additional messages of condolence from the Princess of Wales, Princess Christian, the Duke of Cambridge, and others. Mr. and Mrs. Gladstone have sent a beautiful floral cross. The coffin plate bears the inscription: “Edward White Benson, born July 14th, 1829; died October 11th, 1896.” On Tuesday night, as during Sunday and Monday nights, the body was again watched by the clergy of Hawarden parish and of St. Deiniol’s Hostel, the altar candles being alight throughout the watch.

Removal of the Body

After a simple but impressive service on Wednesday morning the body of the late Archbishop was taken from Hawarden Church to Sandycroft Station, for conveyance by train to Canterbury. The bier was attended from the church to the station by a procession, in which Mr. and Mrs. Gladstone and many members of their family joined, stoppages being made in the village streets and on the highway to permit of the singing of suitable hymns. On its arrival in Canterbury, the Dean and other ecclesiastical dignitaries received the body, which was placed ina temporary chapel in the Cathedral, where it was “watched” through the night. On Thursday, the coffin was placed near the high altar, preparatory to Friday’s funeral service. The body is to be deposited in a part of a large private vault, under the north-west tower and near the west door.


From The London Mid Surrey Times and General Advertiser, Saturday, Oct. 24, 1896

The Late Primate: Imposing Funeral Ceremony

Amid tempestuous surroundings and the most unpleasant circumstances of hurricxane and rain, the final rites in connection with the burial of Edward White Benson, Primate of All England, were carried out in the ancient City of Canterbury on Friday. Those who traveled from the metropolis by early morning train to take part in the closing scenes connected with the dramatic end of the beloved Archbishop of Canterbury went through a gale which was intermittent over the whole county of Kent, and the day was truly one to which the poetic sentence might be applied: "The vapours wept their burden to the ground."

A special saloon was attached to the 10 o'clock train from Victoria for the convenience of royal personages and representatives of royalty attending the funeral.

The Duke of York represented the Queen, and there traveled with him Prince Charles of Denmark, Sir Dighton Probyn (representing the Prince of Wales), General Bateson (representing the Duke of Cambridge), and Lord Lathorn. A number of Church dignitaries traveled by the same train, which also conveyed several wreaths, including those sent by members of the royal family. A special train was also run and took a large number of passengers. Among them were Colonel Egerton (representing the Duke of Connaught), Captain the Hon. D. J. Monson (representing the Duke of Saxe-Coburg), the Hon. Schomberg McDonnell (representing Lord Salisbury), the Rev. Stephen Gladstone, Mrs. Henry Gladstone, Mr. Rucker Jenisch (representing the German Ambassador), Sir Richard Webster, Mr. Henniker Heaton, MP for Canterbury, Canon Claughton (representing the Dean and Chapter of Worcester), the Head Master of Winchester, Professor Ramsay (representing Glasgow University), and very many cleargymen of all grades.

At 8 o'clock, the first of the series of services forming the obsequies of the late Archbishop was held in Canterbury Cathedral. The coffin, covered by a white gold embroidered pall, upon which had been placed a magnificent floral offering, lay in front of the altar, surrounded by lighted tapers. Dean Farrar celebrated Holy Communion, at which the prelates and other dignitaries who are at Canterbury for the funeral assembled. Notwithstanding the unfavorable atmospheric conditions, the choir was crowded by a large congregation, the majority of whom were in deep mourning. The late Primate's throne was draped, and bore on a silver ground the arms of the Archepiscopal See. While the service was proceeding, there were numerous visitaants to the north-west corner of the nave, where the position of the grave was denoted by surface squares of crimson cloth, the final place of sepulture laying in an inner lining of black. At 9 o'clock, the stately fane was the scene of a second service, the Dean officiating at morning prayer in the presence of a number of private mourners, clergy of the diocesee, and public.

The Funeral Procession

At quarter past 12, a procession was formed in the cloisters. This comprised the clergy of the diocese in their robes, the Rural Deans, representatives of the diocese of Truro, the mayor and corporation of the city, the Archbishop's legal and private secretaries, members of the two Houses of Parliament, Deans, and invited Church dignitaries, the representative of the University of Cambridge, the Lord-Lieutenant of Kent, the Prolocutor of the Lower House of Convocation, about 20 Bishopes, the Six Preachers, Honorary Canons, Residentiary Canons, and other members of the Capitulary body. Then came the Archbishop of Dublin, Dean Farrar, the Archbishop of York, the Rev. Hugh Benson, and the principal officers of the province and diocese. After these came the body, with the following as pall-bearers: The Earl of Cranbrook, the Head Master of Wellington College, the Dean of Lincoln, Lord Macnaghten, the Master of Trinity, Cambridge, Lord Ashcombe, Sir E. Maunde Thompson, and the Chancellor of Truro Cathedral. Next followed the family of the late Primate; the Duke of York, General Sir Dighton Probyn, Colonel Abadie, and Colonel Onslow, commanding the garrison; the rear being brought up by private mourners.

On arriving at the west door, the choir sang the opening sentences of the burial service, the procession passed up the nave into the choir. The clergy of the diocese proceded to the presbytery, where they remained to the end of the service. The members of the Cathedral body - Six Preachers, Canons, and the Dean - were provided with seats within the sanctuary, where also sat the Archbishops, Bishops, and the Rev. H. Benson. The service then proceeded, the special anthem being "Send out Thy light" (Gounod). The memorial anthem by Sir Herbert Oakeley, "Comes at times a stillness as of even," was included in the selection of choral music. After the special anthem, the procession was reformed in a somewhat different order, and passed down the nave to the place of interment under the north-west tower. Here was sung a hymn from the Wellington College chapel hymn-book. The sentences at the grave were said by Canon Mason, the committal sentences by the Bishop of Winchester, the Lesser Litany and Lord's Prayer by the Rev. Hugh Benson, and the two concluding prayers by the Archbishop of Dublin. Before the Grace, which was pronounced by the Dean, the hymn, "Thine for ever," was sung. After the "Nunc Dimittis," the Archbishop of York gave the Blessing at the Holy Table, and the final Blessing from the steps at the choir -screen.


In Memoriam. E. Cantaur:

  • No poisonous pain that mars the trembling brow,
  • No fluttering of the tortured soul were his;
  • Death, like some rich flower shaken from its bough,
  • Swept softly downward, and its touch a kiss.
  • Clasped in a burning perfumed cloud of prayer,
  • Faint from the arduous upland path he trod,
  • Sighing he sank thro' veils of blinding air:
  • Then, close around him, felt the Arms of God.
    • -Edmund Gosse, in St. James's Gazette


Sermon by the Archbishop of York

Funeral sermons were preached at Canterbury Cathedral on Sunday by the Archbishop of York, the Dean of Canterbury, and the Bishop of Lincoln. The attendances at each service were such that not nearly the whole could be accommodated in the nave. Funeral hymns were sung, and at the close of both the afternoon and evening services, the Dead March in "Saul" was played. - The Archbishop of York, in the course of his sermon, said they would long remember the striking face of the late Primate, so full of power blended with sweetness; so serious and yet so sunny; a face in which welcome ever smiled on all he loved. Nor could they easily forget the quiet humor which from time to time, like summer lightning, brightened up the features of that noble countenance. How strong he was, and yet how tender; how learned, and yet how humble. He doubted whether in the whole history of the Church of England there had ever subsisted between two Archbishops a concord so complete, a friendship so affectionate. In their work and in all their ways they were truly of one mind and of one heart. His removal was so sudden and so peaceful, so wonderful, and so beautiful in all its surroundings, that they could hardly think of it as death, but rather as Translation.

In most cathedrals and churches on Sunday, allusion was made in the sermons to the death of the Archbishop of Canterbury. At St. Paul's, the Bishop of Stepney mentioned that just prior to his death, the late Primate had been engaged in preparing a reply to the recent Papal Bull, which he said had excited the Archbishop's greatest pain and indignation. On the day before his death, when at Hawarden Castle, the Archbishop wrote a few sentences addressed to the English Churchmen, counselling them to go on their way unshaken, and the morning he died he revised and added a few words to the document, which was now to be given to the world in its own unstudied simplicity. The Dean of St. Paul's preached to a large congregation in the afternoon. At Westminster Abbey, in the afternoon, Canon Duckworth dwelt upon the intellectual gifts and noble character of the late Primate.

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Edward White Benson, 94th Archbishop of Canterbury's Timeline

July 14, 1829
Birmingham, Lancashire, England, United Kingdom
August 19, 1860
Age 31
Crowthorne, Berkshire, England, United Kingdom
April 24, 1862
Age 32
Crowthorne, Berkshire, England, United Kingdom
October 16, 1863
Age 34
Crowthorne, Berkshire, England, United Kingdom
June 16, 1865
Age 35
Crowthorne, Berkshire, England, United Kingdom
July 24, 1867
Age 38
Crowthorne, Berkshire, England, United Kingdom
November 18, 1871
Age 42
Crowthorne, Berkshire, England, United Kingdom
October 11, 1896
Age 67
Hawarden, Flintshire, Wales, United Kingdom
October 16, 1896
Age 67
Canterbury, Kent, England, United Kingdom