Born in about 1878 in Rangemoor, near Tatenhill, Staffordshire, William Henry Burney Bennett was the son of William Bennett and Jemima Burney Snow. He was one of five children, two of whom died before reaching adulthood.
His father was a head gardener and may have been a member of the staff at nearby Rangemoor Hall as the family home was Rangemoor Bass Gardens, named after one of the owners of the stately home. The Bennett family employed one domestic servant. When his father retired, his parents moved to Bushey and lived at ‘High Level’ Merry Hill Road.
William grew up at Rangemoor but by 1901, when he was 24, he had moved to Hertfordshire to become a student at the Herkomer Art School in Bushey. He boarded with Elizabeth Rogers, an elderly widow and her daughter, who was a dressmaker. She lived at 138 Albert Cottages, High Street, Bushey, near the foot of Clay Hill, very close to The Fishmonger’s Arms and the Meadow Studios. He was still there in 1911 and was joined by Herbert Gibbs, another artist. He was a friend and contemporary of Albert Ranney Chewett, who later purchased ‘Reveley Lodge’, 88 Elstree Road, Bushey Heath.
William Bennett, who was 5 ft 4ins tall and had a moustache, played hockey in Bushey and entered into many other social activities.