Allan Webb (bishop)

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Allan Becher Webb
Bishop of Grahamstown
Church Anglican Church of Southern Africa
Diocese Grahamstown
In office1883 to 1898
Predecessor Nathaniel Merriman
Successor Charles Cornish
Other post(s) Bishop of Bloemfontein (1870–1883)
Dean of Salisbury, Church of England (1901–1907)
Consecrationc. 1870
Personal details
Allan Becher Webb

Died1907 (aged 6768)

Allan Becher Webb (also spelled "Alan"; 1839–1907) was the second Anglican Bishop of Bloemfontein, afterward Bishop of Grahamstown and, later, Dean of Salisbury. [1]


Early years

Webb was born in 1839 in Calcutta, India, the son of Allan Webb, a surgeon in the Bengal Army who later became a professor of anatomy at the Calcutta Medical College and built a pathological museum of physical specimens for medical pedagogy. [2] Allan Webb was baptised on 17 November 1839 in India. [3] He was educated at Rugby School and subsequently at Corpus Christi College, Oxford University, becoming a fellow and tutor at University College (1863-1868). From 1864 to 1867 he was vice principal at Cuddesdon Theological College. He married Elizabeth, the sister of hymn-writer George Hugh Bourne, who served as his chaplain (1879 – 1898). [4] They had three children: Cyprian, Charles (The Rev. Charles Johnstone Bourne Webb, 1874–1963), and a daughter, who died young and is commemorated in the window to Webb in the North choir transept of Salisbury Cathedral.

Webb's first posting was as rector of Avon Dassett.

Bishop of Bloemfontein

On St. Andrew's Day (30 November) 1870 Webb responded to an appeal from Bishop Robert Gray of Cape Town to accept the Bishopric of Bloemfontein in the interior of South Africa. He was consecrated at Inverness Cathedral in Scotland and sailed for the Cape on 25 April 1871, arriving in Cape Town on 28 July.

One of Webb's first tasks was to oversee the establishment of the Anglican Church on the Diamond Fields in the west of the Diocese of Bloemfontein. From this foundation would eventually spring (in 1911) the Diocese of Kimberley and Kuruman. Other major works included the establishment of the Community of St Michael and All Angels, a nursing order based in Bloemfontein and Kimberley, where Sister Henrietta Stockdale pioneered aspects of nursing and provided for the first state registration of nurses in the world. Under Webb the Brotherhood of St Augustine of Hippo grew in strength at Modderpoort in the eastern Free State. [5]

Bishop of Grahamstown

In 1883, on the advice of the Archbishop of Canterbury (Edward Benson) and of the Metropolitan Archbishop of Cape Town (William West Jones), Webb accepted his unanimous election as the Bishop of Grahamstown. There the cathedral congregation had been split by controversy between St George's and a pro-cathedral of St Michael. Webb's arrival is referred to as the "era of pacification" and by the end of 1885 he had succeeded in reuniting the divided factions. The building of the St. Michael and St. George Cathedral commenced in the 1890s, [6] the chancel being consecrated in 1893. [7]

Webb resigned from Grahamstown in 1898, going first as provost at Inverness Cathedral.

Dean of Salisbury

In June 1901, Webb became dean of Salisbury, [8] where he died in 1907. A set of three stained glass windows in Salisbury Cathedral were dedicated to his memory. [9]

Role in creation of sisterhoods

Webb was one of the first Anglican bishops to support and nurture corporate women's work in the church through the formation of sisterhoods: [10] The Community of St Michael and All Angels in Bloemfontein and Kimberley (a foremost member being Sister Henrietta); and the Community of the Resurrection of our Lord and St Peter's Home in Grahamstown (under the leadership of Mother Cecile) [9]

Styles and titles

Notes and references

    1. Lewis & Edwards 1935.
    2. Mitra, Durba (2020). Indian sex life : sexuality and the colonial origins of modern social thought. Princeton: Princeton University Press. pp. 104–113. ISBN   978-0-691-19702-9. OCLC   1134484617.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: date and year (link)
    3. "British India Office Ecclesiastical Returns- Births & Baptisms Transcription" . Retrieved 4 November 2015 via Findmypast.
    4. Lewis & Edwards 1935, p. 408.
    5. Lewis & Edwards 1935, pp. 408–434.
    6. "The Bishop Of Grahamstown In Cheltenham" . Cheltenham Chronicle. No. 4133. 13 April 1889. p. 6 col B. Retrieved 7 September 2014 via British Newspaper Archive.
    7. Lewis & Edwards 1935, pp. 274–281.
    8. "No. 27323". The London Gazette . 14 June 1901. p. 4001.
    9. 1 2 Lewis & Edwards 1935, p. 280.
    10. Webb 1883.
    Anglican Church of Southern Africa titles
    Preceded by Bishop of Bloemfontein
    1870 – 1883
    Succeeded by
    Preceded by Bishop of Grahamstown
    1883 – 1898
    Succeeded by
    Church of England titles
    Preceded by Dean of Salisbury
    Succeeded by

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