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.

Saint Helena island in the South Atlantic Ocean

Saint Helena is a volcanic tropical island in the South Atlantic Ocean, 4,000 kilometres (2,500 mi) east of Rio de Janeiro and 1,950 kilometres (1,210 mi) west of the mouth of the Cunene River, which marks the border between Namibia and Angola in southwestern Africa. It is part of the British Overseas Territory of Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha. Saint Helena measures about 16 by 8 kilometres and has a population of 4,534. It was named after Saint Helena of Constantinople.


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]

Lieutenant Sir William Earle Welby, 2nd Baronet was a British land-owner, baronet and Member of Parliament for Grantham from 1807 to 1820. He also served as High Sheriff of Lincolnshire from 1823 to 1824.

William Spry was a jurist and governor of Barbados.

Rugby School independent school in the United Kingdom

Rugby School is a day and mostly boarding co-educational independent school in Rugby, Warwickshire, England. Founded in 1567 as a free grammar school for local boys, it is one of the oldest independent schools in Britain. Up to 1667, the school remained in comparative obscurity. Its re-establishment by Thomas Arnold during his time as Headmaster, from 1828 to 1841, was seen as the forerunner of the Victorian public school. It is one of the original seven Great Nine Public Schools defined by the Clarendon Commission of 1864. Rugby School was also the birthplace of Rugby football. In 1845, a committee of Rugby schoolboys wrote the "Laws of Football as Played At Rugby School", the first published set of laws for any code of football.

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]

Christs College, Cambridge college of the University of Cambridge

Christ's College is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge. The college includes the Master, the Fellows of the College, and about 450 undergraduate and 170 graduate students. The college was founded by William Byngham in 1437 as God's House. In 1505, the college was granted a new royal charter, was given a substantial endowment by Lady Margaret Beaufort, and changed its name to Christ's College, becoming the twelfth of the Cambridge colleges to be founded in its current form. The college is renowned for educating some of Cambridge's most famous alumni, including Charles Darwin and John Milton.

A Lambeth degree is an academic degree conferred by the Archbishop of Canterbury under the authority of the Ecclesiastical Licences Act 1533 (Eng) as successor of the papal legate in England. The degrees conferred most commonly are DD, DCL, DLitt, DMus, DM, BD and MA. The relatively modern degree of MLitt has been conferred in recent years, and the MPhil and PhD are now available. The degrees awarded are dependent on which of the two ancient universities, Oxford or Cambridge, the archbishop chooses as his model. This is also tied with the nature of the academic dress used as well.


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

The army rank of captain is a commissioned officer rank historically corresponding to the command of a company of soldiers. The rank is also used by some air forces and marine forces. Today, a captain is typically either the commander or second-in-command of a company or artillery battery. In the Chinese People's Liberation Army, a captain may also command a company, or be the second-in-command of a battalion.

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]

The Diocese of Toronto is an administrative division of the Anglican Church of Canada covering the central part of southern Ontario. It was founded in 1839 and is the oldest of the seven dioceses comprising the Ecclesiastical Province of Ontario. It has the most members of any Anglican diocese in Canada. It is also one of the biggest Anglican dioceses in the Americas in terms of numbers of parishioners, clergy and parishes. As of 2018, the diocese has around 230 congregations and ministries in 183 parishes, with approximately 54,000 Anglicans identified on parish rolls.

Folkingham village in South Kesteven

Folkingham is an English village and civil parish on the northern edge of the South Kesteven district of Lincolnshire. It lies on the A15 road 11 miles (18 km) north of Bourne. The civil and ecclesiastical parishes have the same boundaries. The 2001 Census gave a population of 729, which rose to 796 at the 2011 census.

The Diocese of George is a diocese in the Anglican Church of Southern Africa.


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 2015-10-06 via British Newspaper Archive.
  8. "Ecclesiastical Intelligence" . Newcastle Journal. 31 May 1862. p. 3 col C. Retrieved 2015-10-06 via British Newspaper Archive.
  9. "Death Of The Bishop Of St. Helena" . Morning Post (39, 506). 17 January 1899. p. 7 col G. Retrieved 2015-10-06 via British Newspaper Archive.
  10. Crockford's Clerical Directory, 1898, p. 1186
  11. "Tragic Death Of The Bishop St. Helena" . Lichfield Mercury (1, 073). 20 January 1899. p. 6 col D. Retrieved 2015-10-06 via British Newspaper Archive.

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