Mary Benson was the wife of Revd. Edward White Benson, who during their marriage became Archbishop of Canterbury, i.e. chief bishop of the Church of England and of the worldwide Anglican communion. Gladstone, the British Prime Minister, described her as the ‘cleverest woman in Europe’. They had six children. Their fifth child was the novelist, E. F. Benson, best remembered for the Mapp and Lucia novels (E. F. Benson never married but there is no evidence that he was homosexual, though thought so by many people). Another son was A. C. Benson, the author of the lyrics to Elgar's Land of Hope and Glory and master of Magdalene College, Cambridge. Their sixth and youngest child, Robert Hugh Benson, became a presbyter in the Church of England before converting to Roman Catholic Christianity and writing many popular novels. Their daughter, Margaret Benson was an artist, author and amateur Egyptologist. None of the children married. After her husband's death in 1896 Mary set up household at Treemans, South of Horsted Keynes, Surrey, with Lucy Tait, daughter of the previous archbishop of Canterbury, Archibald Campbell Tait. Lucy had first moved in with the Bensons in 1889. They lived together until Mary’s death when Lucy moved to Ludwell, which had just been enlarged and restored by Mrs. C.B.O. Clarke, to live with her sister Edith, widow of Randall Davidson. Mary and Lucy are both buried at St Mary the Blessed Virgin Churchyard, Addington, England.
Timeline & Places:
February 11, 1856: born
1896: lived at Treemans, Treemans Rd, Haywards Heath RH17, Regno Unito, sharing with Minnie Benson
1918: lived at Ludwell, Waterbury Hill, Haywards Heath RH17, Regno Unito
December 5, 1938: died. Buried at St Mary the Blessed Virgin, Addington Village Rd, Croydon CR0 5AS, Regno Unito. Buried near Minnie Benson (1841 – June 15, 1918).