Joseph Benson Papers

Date range: 1766-1820.

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 in Newcastle. Shortly after this first meeting Wesley appointed him classics master at Kingswood School near Bristol.

In 1769 Benson was entered at St Edmund Hall, Oxford, but left in the following year to take up the post of headmaster of Trevocca College.

He resigned after less than a year, following a dispute with the College's founder, the Countess of Huntingdon. Benson became a Methodist itinerant after being refused Anglican Orders in 1771.

He was soon regarded as one of Wesley's foremost preachers. He served as President of the Conference in 1798 and 1810, and from 1803 until his death held the post 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.

Finding aids

Catalogue available online via ELGAR.


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