Webb was born in 1839 in Calcutta. He was educated at Rugby School and subsequently at Corpus Christi College, Oxford University, becoming a fellow and tutor at University College. From 1864 to 1867 he was vice principal at Cuddesdon Theological College. He married the sister of George Hugh Bourne, the hymn-writer, who served as his chaplain (1879 – 1898).
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 planting 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.
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, the chancel being consecrated in 1893.
Dean of Salisbury
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: The Community of St Michael and All Angels in Bloemfontein and Kimberley (a foremost member being Sister Henrietta); and the Community of the Resurrection and St Peter's Home in Grahamstown (under the leadership of Mother Cecile)
Styles and titles
- Mr Alan Webb ( - 1863)
- The Revd Alan Webb (1863 - 1870)
- The Rt Revd Alan Webb (1870 - 1871)
- The Rt Revd Dr Alan Webb (1871 - )
Notes and references
- Lewis & Edwards 1935.
- Lewis & Edwards 1935, p. 408.
- Lewis & Edwards 1935, pp. 408 – 434.
- "The Bishop Of Grahamstown In Cheltenham". Cheltenham Chronicle. 13 April 1889. Retrieved 2014-09-07 – via British Newspaper Archive.
- Lewis & Edwards 1935, pp. 274 – 281.
- London Gazette 1901.
- Lewis & Edwards 1935, p. 280.
- Webb 1883.
- Lewis, Cecil; Edwards, G. E. (1935). South Africa: The Growth of the Church of the Province. London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge.
- Bibliographical directory from Project Canterbury
- Portraits of Allan Becher Webb at the National Portrait Gallery, London
|Anglican Church of Southern Africa titles|
|Bishop of Bloemfontein
1870 – 1883
George Wyndham Hamilton Knight-Bruce
Nathaniel James Merriman
|Bishop of Grahamstown
1883 – 1898
Charles Edward Cornish
|Church of England titles|
George David Boyle
|Dean of Salisbury
William Page Roberts