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Joseph Benson Papers

Date range: 1766-1820

Medium: Archive

Joseph Benson (1748-1821) was born in the parish of Kirkoswald in Cumberland, the son of John and Isabella Benson. He was educated locally until the age of sixteen, when he was introduced to John Wesley. Shortly after this first meeting, Benson was appointed classics master at the Wesleyan Kingswood School near Bristol. In 1769 Benson was entered at St Edmund Hall, Oxford, but left the following year to take up the post of headmaster of the Countess of Huntingdon's ministerial training institution at Trevecca in Wales. He resigned after less than a year to join the Methodist itinerancy.

Benson served as President of the Conference in 1798 and 1810 and was regarded as one of the leading Wesleyan ministers in the generation after Wesley. From 1803 until his death he held the important position of editor of the Methodist Magazine.

The collection comprises some 150 items, the majority being letters written by Benson concerning Methodist affairs. Correspondents include John Wesley, John and Mary Fletcher, Thomas Coke, Jabez Bunting and Adam Clarke. There are also engravings of Benson, biographical notes, fragments of letters and other papers.

Further information:

  • Part of the Methodist Archives and Research Centre (MARC). For more information see our subject page for Methodist Collections.
  • Catalogue available online via ELGAR.


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