Robert Hugh Benson (18 November 1871 – 19 October 1914) was the youngest son of Edward White Benson, Archbishop of Canterbury, and younger brother of Edward Frederic Benson. Benson was educated at Eton College, and then studied Classics and Theology at Trinity College, Cambridge, from 1890 to 1893.[1] In 1895, he was ordained a priest in the Church of England by his father, Edward White Benson, who was then Archbishop of Canterbury.
Monsignor R. H. Benson in Oct. 1912, Aged 40

Msgr. R. H. Benson, 1912, age 40

His father died suddenly in 1896, and Benson was sent on a trip to the Middle East to recover his own health. While there, he began to question the status of the Church of England and to consider the claims of the Roman Catholic Church. His own piety began to tend toward the High Church variety, and he started exploring religious life in various Anglican communities, eventually obtaining permission to join the Community of the Resurrection.

Benson made his profession as a member of the community in 1901, at which time he had no thoughts of leaving the Church of England. But as he continued his studies and began writing, he became more and more uneasy with his own doctrinal position, and on 11 September 1903 he was received into the Roman Catholic Church.

He was ordained a Catholic priest in 1904 and sent to Cambridge. He continued his writing career along with the usual elements of priestly ministry. He was named a monsignor in 1911.

"Robert Hugh Benson: Life and Works," a biography by Janet Grayson was published in 1998.

Partial bibliography

The texts of many of these works can also be found at

Science fiction

  • The Light Invisible
  • The Mirror of Shalott
  • Lord of the World ([2] Complete text at Project Gutenberg.)
  • Dawn of All ([3] Complete text at Project Gutenberg.)

Historical fiction

Contemporary Fiction

  • The Sentimentalists
  • The Conventionalists
  • The Necromancers (B. Herder, 1909) ([8] Complete text at Project Gutenberg.)
  • None Other Gods ([9] Complete text at Project Gutenberg.)
  • The Winnowing
  • Loneliness

Children's Books

  • Alphabet of Saints, with Reginald Balfour and Charles Ritchie (Burns, Oates & Washbourne, 1905)
  • A Child's Rule of Life, illustrated by Gabriel Pippet
  • Old Testament Rhymes, illustrated by Gabriel Pippet

Devotional Works

  • Friendship of Christ
  • Life in the World unseen
  • More About Life in the World Unseen
  • More Light
  • Facts
  • Here and Hereafter

Apologetic Works

  • Confessions of a Convert
  • Religion of the Plain Man
  • Paradoxes of Catholicism ([10] Complete text at Project Gutenberg.)
  • Papers of a Pariah
  • Christ in the Church: A Volume of Religious Essays

Non-Catholic Denominations


  • Cost of a Crown, a Story of Douay & Durham; a Sacred Drama in Three Acts
  • A Mystery Play in Honour of the Nativity of Our Lord (Longmans, Green, and Co., 1908)
  • The Upper Room, a drama of Christ's passion
  • The Maid of Orleans, a drama of the life of Joan of Arch



  • Bleiler, Everett (1948). The Checklist of Fantastic Literature. Chicago: Shasta Publishers. p. 48. 

External links

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