Benjamin Kenton

Citizen and Vintner Born 1720 Died 1800

In the Vintner's Company
Apprenticed 1734
Liveryman 1749
Elected to the Court 1768
Master 1776

Benjamin Kenton amassed a fortune through learning his Master's secret of bottling beer for export to warm climes and carrying on his Master's business after his death.

When he died his estate amounted to £300,000. Considering that a good wage at that time was £18 per year, this was a considerable fortune. In his will, amongst other things, he left £2,050 for almshouses to be built at Mile End. These were destroyed by enemy action in 1940. Another provision of his will was that an annual sermon was to be preached in the almshouse chapel, the clergyman to chosen by the Master of the Vintners Company. It was decided to have it preached in Stepney Church, so that more members of the Company could attend, and afterwards to hold a dinner in the Vintners Hall.

Every year, in the Summer, the Company attends a service dedicated to the memory of Benjamin Kenton. Children from schools he endowed also attend, four of them wearing the clothes of Kenton's period.

The main beneficiary from the Company's charity, however, is education. One of the 'charity' schools with which the Vintners concerned themselves was Stepney Greencoat School. This had been a beneficiary under Benjamin Kenton's will and ever since the building of the almshouses at Mile End, the Company has shown an interest in the parish affairs of Stepney. An annual contribution is still made to Stepney Greencoat Church of England Primary School, Sir John Cass's Foundation and Redcoat Secondary School.