Margaret Wedgwood Benn

Margaret Eadie Wedgwood Benn (Viscountess Stansgate from 1942) (née Holmes) (7 June 1897 – 21 October 1991), was a British theologian, the President of the Congregational Federation, and an advocate of women's rights.


She was the daughter of politician Daniel Holmes. In her youth, in the 1920s, she was a member of the League of the Church Militant which was the predecessor of the 'Movement for the Ordination of Women' and was rebuked by Randall Thomas Davidson, the Archbishop of Canterbury, for advocating the ordination of women.

Over the 20th century, many British congregationalists became convinced of the merits of ecumenical cooperation. The majority of Congregational churches moved to union with the Presbyterian Church of England in 1972, and the re-formed Association of Churches of Christ (in 1981). However, significant minorities did not share this conviction. A significant group left the Congregational Union on the formation of the Congregational Church to form the Evangelical Fellowship of Congregational Churches (EFCC); the major part that did not join the United Reformed Church became the Congregational Federation, a new association to promote and develop common interests. Margaret Benn became the Congregational Federation's first President, helping to shape its principle of 'unity within diversity'.

Personal life

In 1920, she married the politician William Wedgwood Benn. The couple had four sons, including the Labour politician Tony Benn; Jeremy, their last son, was stillborn.

Margaret Benn's theology had a profound influence on her son Tony, as she taught him that the stories in the Bible were based around the struggle between the prophets and the kings and that he ought in his life to support the prophets over the kings, who had power, as the prophets taught righteousness.[1]

See also


  1. ^ Benn, Tony (2003). Free Radical. Continuum. p. 226. ISBN 0-8264-6596-X. 

External links