WRIGHT, John Charles (1861-1933)


WRIGHT, John Charles (1861-1933)
Anglican archbishop of Sydney
son of the Rev. Joseph Farrall Wright, vicar of Christ Church, Bolton, England, was born on 19 August 1861. He was educated at Manchester Grammar School and Merton College, Oxford, where he graduated with honours in 1884. He was ordained deacon in 1885, priest in 1886, and after serving as a curate for eight years became vicar of Ulverston in 1893. Two years later he transferred to St George's at Leeds, an important industrial parish, where he did very good work for nine years. In 1904 he was made a canon of Manchester cathedral, rector of St George's, Holme, and chaplain to the bishop of Manchester. Early in 1909 he was appointed archdeacon of Manchester, but a few months later accepted the archbishopric of Sydney and was consecrated at St Paul's cathedral, London, on 24 August 1909. He was also metropolitan of New South Wales and in April 1910 was elected primate of Australia, the first occasion on which an election was held for this office. He was Ramsden preacher at Cambridge in 1913, and during the war of 1914-18 took great interest in work among the soldiers. The spread of Anglo-Catholic doctrines in Australia gave him much anxiety as he was strongly evangelical. About the year 1924 he had a serious illness and was henceforth compelled to go carefully. He was, however, an excellent chairman of synod during the long years of debate of the new constitution for the Church of England in Australia. He felt strongly that his church should adhere consistently to the evangelical doctrines of the Church of England in England, and eventually general synod agreed that they should be embodied in the new constitution. Early in 1933 Wright took ill while visiting a daughter in New Zealand, and died at Wellington following an operation, on 24 February 1933. He married in 1893 Dorothy Margaret Isabella Fiennes, daughter of Colonel the Hon. Ivo de Vesci, who survived him with a son and three daughters. He was the author of Thoughts on Modern Church Life and Work, published in 1909.
Wright was extremely modest and somewhat austere in manner. He had a lovable personality, his judgment was good, and he was an excellent preacher of the expository kind. Though never quite free from preliminary nervousness, he had a clear and charming delivery and was fluent and lucid. He was a sound administrator, and in endeavouring to reconcile the opposing parties in synod was patient and persuasive.
The Sydney Morning Herald, 25 February 1933; The Times, 25 and 28 February 1933; Crockford's Clerical Directory, 1933; F. B. Boyce, Fourscore Years and Seven, pp. 150-2.

Dictionary of Australian Biography by PERCIVAL SERLE. . 1949.

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