Edward and Charles Benyon were sons of Richard Benyon of Gidea Hall in Essex and younger brothers of Richard Benyon de Beauvoir. Whether they ever lived at Englefield is not known for their father stayed mostly at Gidea and it was only after he died in 1796 and Richard Benyon de Beauvoir inherited that Englefield became the family’s principal seat. Their monuments are sited fairly high on the east wall of the aisle in the space between the window and the arcade.
Edward Benyon was the second son, born 9 May 1779 and died 25 January 1806 at Nimes in France aged 26. It is not clear why an Englishman was in France at the height of the Napoleonic War and only a few months after the Battle of Trafalgar, although at this time Napoleon’s land campaign was concentrated against the Austrians with the battles at Ulm and Austerlitz that drove Austria to make peace with France.
Charles Benyon was the youngest son, born ten years after Charles, on 5 June 1789, and became a naval officer. He was a Lieutenant in HMS AJAX, a 74-gun third-rate ship of the line. Despite the modern connotations of the term, third-rate ships represented the optimum compromise between firepower and ship handling. This AJAX had only been launched the previous year after her immediate predecessor, a veteran of Trafalgar, was burnt by accident. A successor of the same name was to become famous for her part in the sinking of the German cruiser Graf Spee at the Battle of the River Plate in 1939. On 11 September 1810 AJAX discovered a French ship off the island of Elba in the Mediterranean and in an attempt to board her Lt Benyon was killed.