Benson told Henry James a simple, rather inexpert story he had heard about the ghosts of evil servants who tried to lure young children to their deaths. James recorded the hint in his Notebooks and eventually used it as the starting-point for his classic ghost story, The Turn of the Screw. Benson died from cardiovascular disease in 1896.
Benson is best remembered for devising the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols, an order first used in Truro Cathedral on Christmas Eve, 1880 - a service that is now used every Christmas around the world.
Benson and his wife Mary Sidgwick Benson, the sister of philosopher Henry Sidgwick, had six children. Their fifth child was the novelist E. F. Benson. Another son was A C Benson, the author of the lyrics to Elgar's Land of Hope and Glory and master of Magdalene College, Cambridge. Their sixth and youngest child, Robert Hugh Benson wrote several novels. Their daughter Margaret Benson was an artist, author and amateur Egyptologist.