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HANBURY, BENJAMIN (1778–1864), nonconformist historian, was born at Wolverhampton on 13 May 1778. He was a great-grandson of Joseph Williams of Kidderminster, whose diary (much commended by Hannah More) he edited. Most of his education was received from his uncle, the Rev. Dr. Humphrys, pastor of Union Street congregation, Southwark, afterwards principal of Mill Hill School. For a time he was engaged in a retail business for which he had no taste. On 16 June 1803, through the influence of Ebenezer Maitland, he obtained a situation in the Bank of England, and remained there till 1859. He became one of the deacons at Union Street on 2 May 1819, and held office till 1857, when he removed to Clapham and thence to Brixton. He wrote a monograph on the origin of the Union Street congregation. Hanbury was a strong nonconformist; for more than thirty years he was one of the ‘dissenting deputies,’ the guardians of the political rights of the associated nonconformist bodies; and he entered, as an advocate of the voluntary principle, into the controversy on establishments which followed the repeal of the Test and Corporation Acts (1828). He was a member of a ‘society for promoting ecclesiastical knowledge,’ instituted for the publication of works bearing on nonconformist theories. He edited Hooker's ‘Ecclesiastical Polity,’ and his polemical notes show ability and research. For the ‘Library of Ecclesiastical Knowledge,’ he wrote a short life of Calvin. On the formation (1831) of the ‘Congregational Union of England and Wales’ he became its treasurer, and held that post till his death. His most important literary service to his denomination was a digest of the materials for their earlier history, including a rich and accurate collection of documents illustrating the rise of nonconformity. He died on 12 Jan. 1864 at his residence, 16 Gloucester Villas, Brixton, and was buried on 19 Jan. in the Norwood cemetery. On 18 Sept. 1801 he married his relative, Phœbe Lea (d. 1824) of Kidderminster, by whom he had a son (d. 1836) and a daughter, who survived him.

He published: 1. ‘Extracts from the Diary … of Mr. Joseph Williams,’ &c., 1815, 8vo. 2. ‘An Historical Research concerning the most ancient Congregational Church in England … Union Street, Southwark,’ &c., 1820, 8vo. 3. ‘Historical Memorials relating to the Independents … from their Rise to the Restoration,’ &c., 1839–44, 8vo, 3 vols. His edition of Hooker (including Walton's ‘Life,’ &c.) appeared in 1830, 3 vols. 8vo. The volume to which he contributed a life of Calvin appeared in 1831.

[Bennett's Hist. of Dissenters, 1839, p. 226; Nonconformist, 20 Jan. 1864; Evangelical Mag. 1864, p. 166.]

A. G.