Willen People

Rev. John Benthall

His early years

He was born, in 1806, into a respectable middle class family from Totnes, Devon. (His mother was the daughter of a local doctor). John was part of a big family, but like all his brothers, John was educated at Westminster School (see right) where he was considered a bright pupil. He went on to Trinity College, Cambridge to do a degree.
He obtained his BA in 1828, was ordained as a vicar in 1829 and went on to get his MA in 1831.After doing his degree John returned to Westminster as an Usher (a junior teacher). Later he was promoted to Housemaster.
He married Harriet Everett in 1835 and had two sons: John Everett (born 1836) and William Henry born the following year.

His brothers, like most of the middle classes, went on to follow careers in finance or the 'professions'. William, 1803-1877, became a banker in Totnes. Thornton, 1814-98, perhaps the black sheep of the family, fought as a soldier in the Danish Army during the Prussian-Danish war of 1848-9, then lived in Christiania, and founded Tourist Office in name of Thomas Bennett, in Norway. Francis, 1816-1903, became a solicitor in London's Lincolns Inn Fields, and was then called to the bar in 1864. Arthur, 1825-82, also went into law; he became a solicitor in 1850 and later a senior Post Office Official. His sisters were Laura and Louisa, who were 'gentlewomen' i.e. they did not work. Both of these lived with John when he arrived in Willen.