John Kensit

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John Kensit
Born12 February 1853
Died8 October 1902
Resting placeHampstead Cemetery, Fortune Green, England
NationalityUnited Kingdom
OccupationProtestant Lecturer & Publisher
Spouse(s)Edith Mary Kensit (nee Eves)
ChildrenEdith Elizabeth, John Alfred Kensit, Amelia Louisa, Florence Mary
Parent(s)John Kensit, Elizabeth Ann

John Kensit (12 February 1853 – 8 October 1902) was an English religious leader and polemicist. He concentrated on a struggle against Anglo-Catholic tendencies in the Church of England.

Life history[edit]

Kensit, a bookseller from London, had in his youth been attracted to the Ritualist elements of church services, but in later life became a Protestant leader and anti-Ritualist campaigner.[1] In 1889 he founded the Protestant Truth Society[2] to oppose what he saw as the excessive influence of the Oxford Movement on the Church of England, despite the Public Worship Regulation Act 1874.

Kensit, along with other campaigners, such as William Harcourt, believed the government and the courts were not dealing with the issue of Ritualism vigorously enough.[1] Kensit would deal with the issue by attending churches where he believed Ritualism was still being conducted or appear at courts where Ritualist cases were being tried, and would vocally disrupt proceedings.[1][3]

Kensit made international news in 1899 when he announced that he would run as a candidate in the 1900 General Election in Manchester East against Arthur Balfour, the leader of the House of Commons.[4] In fact, he stood in Brighton as the 'Protestant' candidate where he won 4693 votes (24.5%).

Kensit died aged 49 on 8 October 1902, of pneumonia and blood poisoning, the result of a wound he received in September that year when he was struck by a chisel thrown by a protester as he arrived at a meeting in Birkenhead.[2][5]


  1. ^ a b c Yates, Nigel (1999). Anglican Ritualism in Victorian Britain: 1830 - 1910. Oxford University Press. p. 316. ISBN 9780198269892.
  2. ^ a b Gordon Murray (March 2003). "Contender or agitator?". Evangelical Times. Retrieved 2011-11-22.
  3. ^ "Protest Against Ritualism". The New York Times. 10 May 1899. Retrieved 14 July 2013.
  4. ^ "The Ritualists in England". The Mercury (Tasmania). 15 February 1899. Retrieved 14 July 2013.
  5. ^ "Murder of John Kensit". The Capricornian. 8 November 1902. Retrieved 14 July 2013.