Rev W.B. Wright of Tokyo

Rev W.B. Wright of Tokyo

Reverend William Ball Wright belonged to the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, an Anglican missionary organization first formed in 1701. According to A. Hamish Ion’s The Cross and the Rising Sun (1990): ‘A. C. Shaw and W. B. Wright, the first SPG missionaries in Japan, landed in Yokohama on September 25, 1873’. Their first convert was Shimada Daimaru, engaged to teach Japanese to the two British missionaries, who was baptized by Wright on 30 November 1874. Wright left Japan in 1882 and, due to his wife’s health, did not return.

Born at Foulksrath Castle in County Kilkenny [1911 census], he had previously served as the curate of St Augustine's at Haggerston in northeast London [The Times, 8 August 1868] having graduated with an MA from Trinity College, Dublin. He was later the vicar of Osbaldwick in Yorkshire [The Times, 25 June 1904] and a respected antiquarian and genealogist.

The following report appeared in The Times on Monday 28 October 1912, under the title ‘Disappearance of a Vicar’: ‘Anxiety has been caused by the disappearance of the Rev William Ball Wright, vicar of Osbaldwick, near York. Mr Wright, who is about 72 years of age and is married, left home about 8 o’clock on Saturday night, and has not been seen or heard of since. He had arranged to preach at a memorial service yesterday. His greatcoat, containing his old watch, with his name inscribed upon it, was found yesterday on the bank of the River Ouse, near Fulford Pumping Station, at a point about three miles from Osbaldwick. Mr Wright was appointed vicar of Osbaldwick in 1903. Before that he was rector of East Acklam, near Malton. In 1873 he went to Japan as [a] SPG missionary and worked at Tokyo for ten years. For five years he was organizing secretary to the SPG in Ireland, and from 1889 to 1896 he took mission work in the dioceses of Michigan and Albany’.

Photographed by Samuel A. Walker of 230 Regent Street, London.

Code: 123334
© Paul Frecker 2024