William Awdry

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The Rt Revd
William Awdry
Bishop William Awdry
Province Church of England
Personal details
Born (1842-01-24)January 24, 1842
Wiltshire, England
Died 4 January 1910(1910-01-04) (aged 67)

William Awdry (24 January 1842 – 4 January 1910) was the inaugural Bishop of Southampton and Osaka who subsequently served South Tokyo.

He was the fourth son of Sir John Wither Awdry and his second wife Frances Ellen Carr, second daughter of Thomas Carr[1] Awdry was educated at Winchester College [2] and Balliol College, Oxford. While at Oxford, he rowed in the Oxford eight in the Boat Race in 1863 and 1864 and his crew won both times.[3]

Ordained in 1865 his early career was an academic one. He obtained a first-class in Literae Humaniores in 1865;[2] and he was successively Fellow and Lecturer at Queens College, Oxford, 1866–1868,[4] Second master at his old school and finally Headmaster of Hurstpierpoint, 1873–1879. In 1879 he became a Canon Residentiary at Chichester Cathedral and Principal of the nearby Theological College. After seven years he was appointed Vicar of Amport, his final post before ascending to the episcopate.

Awdry was consecrated Bishop Suffragan of Southampton by Archbishop Benson at St. Paul's Cathedral on June 29, 1895.[5] Awdry was appointed Bishop of Osaka in 1896 and was then installed as the Bishop of South Tokyo in 1897, after the death of Bishop Edward Bickersteth.

As the Bishop of South Tokyo, Awdry led the diocese during a period of growth, improved Anglo-Japanese diplomatic relations, as well as rapid social and political change. The Nippon Sei Ko Kai, benefited from greater protections enshrined in the Meiji Constitution of 1899, but a new era of Japanese nationalist politics and an expansionist foreign policy also tested the leadership of the young church. As Bishop, Awdry was also instrumental in founding the Central Theological College, Tokyo[6]


In 1868 Awdry married Frances Emily, daughter of the Rt Rev. George Moberly, Bishop of Salisbury. There were no children from the marriage.[2]

A nephew, Rev. W. Awdry was the creator of Thomas the Tank Engine and author of the acclaimed children's Railway Series.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Burke, John (1862). Sir Bernard Burke, ed. A Genealogical and Heraldic Dictionary of the Landed Gentry of Great Britain and Ireland. vol. I. London: Harrison. p. 39. 
  2. ^ a b c “Who was Who” 1897–1990 London, A & C Black; page 30
  3. ^ George Gilbert Treherne Treherne; John Haviland Dashwood Goldie (1884). Record of the university boat race, 1829–1883. London: Bickers & Son, Leicester Square. p. 167. Retrieved 2011-02-22. 
  4. ^ The Times, Friday, Jun 07, 1867; page 5; Issue 25831; col E University Intelligence. Oxford, June 6
  5. ^ "Consecration of Five Bishops". Guardian. July 3, 1895. 
  6. ^ Ion, A. Hamish (1993). The Cross and the Rising Sun. Waterloo, Ontario, Canada: Wilfrid Laurier University Press. p. 169. ISBN 978-1-55458-216-7. 
Church of England titles
Preceded by
Inaugural appointment
Bishop of Southampton
Succeeded by
George Carnac Fisher
Preceded by
Inaugural appointment
Bishop of Osaka
1896 –1898
Succeeded by
Hugh James Foss
Preceded by
Edward Bickersteth
Bishop of South Tokyo
Succeeded by
Cecil Henry Boutflower