Thomas Welby

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Thomas Earle Welby
Church Anglican
Province Southern Africa
Diocese St Helena
Consecration29 May 1862
Personal details
Born(1810-07-11)11 July 1810
Died6 January 1899(1899-01-06) (aged 88)
Jamestown, Saint Helena

Thomas Earle Welby (11 July 1810 – 6 January 1899) was an English missionary, clergyman and former soldier. The younger son of a baronet, he served in the army for eight years, but, after leaving 1837, served as a missionary in Canada, where he became a rector, and later as an archdeacon in South Africa, before going on to be consecrated as the second bishop of the island Saint Helena in the Anglican church.


Early life and education

Thomas Earle Welby was born on 11 July 1810, the second son of Sir William Earle Welby, the second Baronet, and Wilhelmina Spry, daughter of William Spry, a Governor of Barbados. He was educated as a boy at Rugby School. [1] [2]

At the age of 16, Welby joined the army as an ensign in the 26th Foot, becoming a lieutenant in 1829 and then a lieutenant in the 13th Light Dragoons in 1830, at which rank he remained until leaving in 1837. [3] After marrying (see below), he was admitted to Christ's College, Cambridge in 1846; he also received two Lambeth Degrees: an M.A., on 22 May 1848, and a Doctor of Divinity on 27 February 1862. [1] [4] [lower-alpha 1]


Welby married, in 1837, Mary Browne, daughter of A. Browne; [5] she died in 1897. Together, they had ten children: [2]

Ecclesiastical career

Welby, having left the army and ceased his studies at Cambridge without taking his degree, went to work as a missionary in Canada, where he was ordained in the diocese of Toronto, becoming (in 1842) the rector of Sandwich in Western Canada; he remained there for five years, before returning to England, where he served as the rector of Newton-near-Folkingham, Lincolnshire, which was under his father's patronage. He resigned this benefice and, after completing missionary work, he became an archdeacon in the Diocese of George, South Africa, in 1856. [7] When Piers Claughton, the first bishop of St. Helena, was translated to Colombo, Welby was consecrated as the second bishop of St Helena at Lambeth Palace on 29 May 1862; it was at this time that he was conferred with his second Lambeth degree, a Doctor of Divinity, by Charles Longley, archbishop of Canterbury. [8] His obituary in the Morning Post states that he declined several subsequent offers of translation to "more important" posts, being a "firm believer" in the principle that colonial bishops should not return to England. [9] He served as bishop until his death in 1899. [10]


He was killed in a carriage accident at Jamestown on 6 January 1899. [11]

Notes and references

  1. Venn gives the year of the MA as 1843, as does Crockford's Clerical Directory, 1898, p. 1186.
  1. 1 2 Venn 1954, p. 398.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Massue 1911, p. 49.
  3. "Welby, the Rev Thomas Earle (WLBY846TE)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  4. Barber, M. "Lambeth Palace Library Research Guide: List of Lambeth degrees" (PDF). Lambeth Palace Library. pp. 14, 17. Retrieved 2 May 2014.
  5. Venn 1954.
  6. 1 2 3 4 Massue 1911, p. 50.
  7. "Denton. — The Venerable Thomas Earle Welby, Rector Of George Town and Archdeacon Of George, Southern Africa, Preached At Denton On..." . Grantham Journal. 16 November 1861. p. 5 col A. Retrieved 6 October 2015 via British Newspaper Archive.
  8. "Ecclesiastical Intelligence" . Newcastle Journal. 31 May 1862. p. 3 col C. Retrieved 6 October 2015 via British Newspaper Archive.
  9. "Death Of The Bishop Of St. Helena" . Morning Post. No. 39, 506. 17 January 1899. p. 7 col G. Retrieved 6 October 2015 via British Newspaper Archive.
  10. Crockford's Clerical Directory, 1898, p. 1186
  11. "Tragic Death Of The Bishop St. Helena" . Lichfield Mercury. No. 1, 073. 20 January 1899. p. 6 col D. Retrieved 6 October 2015 via British Newspaper Archive.

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