John Francis Bentley

Architect of Westminster Cathedral

By Peter Howell

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This is the first biography of John Francis Bentley (1839-1902), best known as architect of Westminster Cathedral, since his daughter Winefride de l’Hôpital’s 'Westminster Cathedral and its Architect' (1919).

Bentley was born in Doncaster, Yorkshire, and went to London to work in the office of Henry Clutton, a distinguished High Victorian architect who became a Roman Catholic in 1856. Bentley also converted, and, after setting up his own practice in 1860, came to be widely recognised as the best Catholic architect of his time.

He built comparatively few complete churches, but did extensive work in adding to and furnishing other architects’ churches. He had remarkable skill in the design of woodwork, metalwork, stained glass, and organ cases, all of which are covered in the book. His finest parish church is Holy Rood, Watford, but the climax of his career was the commission in 1894 to design Westminster Cathedral, which was almost complete when he died in 1902.


  • Preface
  • John Francis Bentley
  • Architectural principles and practice
  • Church buildings
  • Additions to churches
  • Church furnishings
  • Church restorations
  • Secular buildings
  • Stained glass
  • Metalwork
  • Woodwork
  • Organ cases
  • Westminster Cathedral
  • List of works
  • Bibliography

Additional Information

  • Series: Architectural History
  • Publication Status: Completed
  • Pages: 176
  • ISBN: 9781800346734


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