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John Wand

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John Wand

John William Charles Wand KCVO PC (25 January 1885 – 16 August 1977) was an English Anglican bishop. He was the Archbishop of Brisbane in Australia before returning to England to become the Bishop of Bath and Wells before becoming the Bishop of London.

Early life

William Wand was born in Grantham, Lincolnshire, the son of Arthur James Henry Wand, a butcher, and his wife Elizabeth Ann Ovelin, née Turner. Despite Wand's father being a staunch Calvinist, his mother brought him up in the Church of England. Educated at The King's School, Grantham and St Edmund Hall, Oxford, where he took first-class honours in theology (BA, 1907; MA, 1911), he prepared for ordination at Bishop Jacob Hostel, Newcastle upon Tyne and was ordained a deacon in 1908 and a priest in 1909. He served curacies at Benwell and Lancaster. On 11 October 1911 he married Amy Agnes Wiggins (d.1966) at St Leonard's parish church in Watlington, Oxfordshire.

World War I

Wand was appointed vicar-choral of the Diocese of Salisbury in 1914. On the outbreak World War I he enlisted as a military chaplain and reached Gallipoli in July 1915. He was a chaplain to the 2nd Australian Hospital and, after being invalided home with paratyphoid fever, served in France.

Demobilised in March 1919, Wand was made perpetual curate of St Mark's Salisbury, where St Clair Donaldson was bishop. In 1925 Wand became a fellow and the dean of Oriel College, Oxford and university lecturer in church history. Eight years later Bishop Francis Batty procured his nomination to the see of Brisbane as archbishop. Wand was consecrated in St Paul's Cathedral, London, on 1 May 1934 and enthroned in St John's Cathedral, Brisbane on 5 September.

Wand's arrival in Queensland was almost immediately clouded by the accidental death in Switzerland of his only son, Paul. Furthermore, those who had wanted a local dignitary as their new bishop united to oppose Wand. His attempts to eradicate slackness made him appear authoritarian to his clergy. Sturdy in appearance, shy and gracious, Wand was often seen as being aloof and something of an intellectual snob. The decision to move St Francis's Theological College from Nundah to the Bishopsbourne property proved unpopular, although Wand's relations with its students won him their respect and affection. His establishment of a property and finance board to handle the economic problems of the diocese did not meet with general favour.

As a member of the University of Queensland senate, Wand worked to promote biblical studies. During his episcopate he wrote a weekly article for the Courier Mail, translated the New Testament epistles and gave the Moorhouse lectures in Melbourne in 1936.

World War II

He consecrated the cathedral of St Peter and St Paul, Dogura, New Guinea on 29 October 1939. The date was continually altered due to the start of World War II. Dogura is in Milne Bay province.[1]

Wand made a lecture tour of the United States of America in 1940. He argued in support of a new constitution for the Church, but thought that the proposed appellate tribunal should have a majority of bishops, rather than legal laymen, to determine points of doctrine. With his friend Bishop Batty, he supported the early ecumenical movement.

During World War II, when Brisbane resembled a garrison town, Wand and his wife worked for the Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen's Help Society. His 1942 address to the Royal Society of St George defended the British war effort and was published as the pamphlet, "Has Britain Let Us Down?" It prompted questions in the Federal parliament and attracted the attention of such British politicians as Viscount Brendan Bracken and Winston Churchill. Early in 1943 Wand was surprised to be offered the see of Bath and Wells. He left Brisbane in July. Two years later he was translated to the diocese of London.


In London post-war difficulties, including the rebuilding of shattered city churches, challenged and revealed Wand's administrative gifts. As bishop, Wand was a privy counsellor; in 1955 he was appointed KCVO;[N 1] in 1946-57 he was prelate of the Order of the British Empire. After resigning his see in 1956, he officiated as canon and treasurer of St Paul's Cathedral, London, until 1969 and edited The Church Quarterly Review.[2] A wide-ranging and facile historian, he wrote forty books, among them a History of the Modern Church (1930), History of the Early Church (1937), White of Carpentaria (1949), Anglicanism in History and Today (1961) and an autobiography, The Changeful Page (1965). Survived by a daughter, Wand died on 16 August 1977 at the College of St Barnabas, Lingfield, Surrey, and was cremated. An obituary in the Church Times paid tribute to his scholarship, administrative genius and unsentimental piety.

Selected works

  • A History of the Modern Church from 1500 to the Present Day, 1930.
  • A History of the Early Church to A.D. 500, Methuen 1937.
  • Seven Steps to Heaven, Longman, Green & Co. Ltd, 1956.
  • The Church Today: A brief description of the Christian Church in its external variety and its inner unity, Penguin, 1968.



Anglicanism portal
  • F. R. Arnott, 'MUP, 1990, p. 377. Retrieved 19 January 2010

External links

  • Project Canterbury
Church of England titles
Preceded by
Gerald Sharp
Archbishop of Brisbane
Succeeded by
Sir Reginald Halse
Preceded by
Francis Underhill
Bishop of Bath and Wells
Succeeded by
Harold Bradfield
Preceded by
Geoffrey Fisher
Bishop of London
Succeeded by
Henry Campbell

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