Senior, Benjamin (1847-1920)

Primitive Methodist Magazine 1909
Primitive Methodist Magazine 1920
Primitive Methodist Magazine 1909

Early years

Benjamin was born in 1847 at Farnley, Yorkshire.

Benjamin was converted at the age of seventeen whilst at Burncross, Sheffield. He began almost immediately to exhort and pray and was soon recognised as an evangelist.


Whilst at Dartford, Benjamin became friendly with a young Anglican curate, Randall Davidson, who went on to become Archbishop of Canterbury.

Benjamin’s best known work was carried out at Surrey Chapel. The congregation had in 1876 migrated to a new church in Westminster Bridge Road but sustaining a lease at £1,000 per annum constituted insuperable difficulties. Despite this Benjamin embarked on a vigorous mission. When he left the station, Benjamin had preached to 2,000 persons, and at the close seventeen hundred partook of the Lord’s Supper. Benjamin believed that a New Surrey Chapel should be built. Freehold property was secured and foundations laid on Good Friday 1888. On 26 September 1888, the new chapel was dedicated for worship by Charles Haddon Spurgeon. The cost of the chapel was over £14,000, toward which Benjamin collected £8,000.

Benjamin wrote pamphlets on gambling, Pentecostal Power and other subjects which reached a total circulation in excess of 200,000 copies.

After he superannuated, Benjamin settled in Ramsgate. There his hearing became heavy and he lost his sight. These conditions were accentuated by raids during WW1 when his home was damaged by a shell explosion.


Benjamin wrote the following.

A hundred years at Surrey Chapel, 1892

A hundred years of evangelistic work at Surrey Chapel, 1895


Benjamin married Annie Elizabeth Dennis (1847-1930) in the summer of 1876 at Hendon, Middlesex. Census returns identify four of five children.

  • Albert Scarth (1877-1957) – a nurseryman (1901); emigrated to California where he became a poultry producer.
  • Annie Margaret (1879-1936) – married George Tuck, a civil servant
  • Florence Mabel (b1883) – married George William Holland, a stationer and newsagent
  • Rowland Hill (1885-1978) – a shop assistant (1911)

Benjamin died on 16 February 1920 at Ramsgate, Kent.


  • Sunderland
  • 1872 Ramsgate
  • 1873 Kingston
  • 1875 Gravesend
  • 1876 Dartford
  • 1879 Surrey Chapel
  • 1893 Bath II
  • 1895 Sunderland II
  • 1897 Bradford I
  • 1899 Ramsgate
  • 1904 Manchester IV
  • 1905 Ramsgate
  • 1906 Margate
  • 1908 Margate (Sup)


Primitive Methodist Magazine 1909/591; 1920/514

PM Minutes 1920/268

R Newman Wycherley, The Pageantry of Methodist Union, 1932, p169

W Leary, Directory of Primitive Methodist Ministers and their Circuits, 1990

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

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