Arthur Christopher Benson (1862-1925) was an English author, poet, biographer and essayist, who is best known for his literary works on a wide range of subjects, including history, art, literature, religion, and nature.
Benson grew up in Wellington College, Berkshire and later Cornwall. His father was the first Master of Wellington College, and eventually became Archbishop of Canterbury in 1882. Benson’s best remembered achievement is his collaboration with the composer Edward Elgar to write the lyrics of the song “Land of Hope and Glory,” which is a beloved British anthem that celebrates the greatness of Britain and its people at the beginning of the C20th. Benson’s involvement in the creation of the song has made him an important figure in British history. Although Benson spent most of his life in Cambridge, he often visited Rye, to stay with Henry James or attend Lady Maud Warrender’s musical weekends at Leasam. In 1920 he took the lease of Lamb House, with his brother, the writer E.F.Benson. His love for the town is evident in his writing, and he wrote extensively about the natural beauty of the surrounding countryside, and was a keen bird watcher.
Benson’s connection to Rye is commemorated with a slate plaque on the wall of Lamb House, a historic house in the town where he once lived.