John Francis Bentley

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Portrait of John Francis Bentley by William Christian Symons, 1902

John Francis Bentley (30 January 1839 – 2 March 1902) was an English ecclesiastical architect whose most famous work is the Westminster Cathedral in London, England, built in a style heavily influenced by Byzantine architecture.


Westminster Cathedral was designed by John Francis Bentley and constructed between 1895 and 1903.

Bentley was born in Doncaster, and died in Clapham. Other examples of his work include the convent of the Sacred Heart at Hammersmith, St John's Beaumont School, Corpus Christi Church, Brixton, the Church of the Holy Rood at Watford, St Mary's, Cadogan Street, Chelsea (1879), St Gabriel's, Warwick Square, and St Luke's Church, Chiddingstone Causeway (1897).[1] He was a master of the neo-Gothic and Byzantine Revival styles.

The great opportunity of Bentley's career came in 1894, when he was commissioned to design a new Roman Catholic cathedral in Westminster, London. After deciding on a Byzantine Revival design, Bentley travelled to Italy to study some of the great early Byzantine-influenced cathedrals, such as St Mark's Basilica in Venice. Because of illness and an outbreak of cholera in Istanbul, he was unable to complete his tour with a study of the Hagia Sofia. Bentley ended his tour in Venice and returned to London to begin work on Westminster Cathedral.[2]

Architectural work[edit]


  1. ^ Homan, Roger (1984). The Victorian Churches of Kent. Chichester: Phillimore & Co. Ltd. p. 105. ISBN 0-85033-466-7.
  2. ^ Paul Waterhouse, Bentley, John Francis (1839–1902), rev. Peter Howell, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 accessed 31 Jan 2011


  • This article incorporates text from The Modern World Encyclopædia: Illustrated (1935); out of UK copyright as of 2005.
  • Wikisource-logo.svg Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "John Francis Bentley". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.
  • Philip's Encyclopedia Comprehensive Edition 2008. Octopus publishing Group. 2007. p. 147. ISBN 978-0-540-09151-5.

External links[edit]