Jones, William West (DNB12)

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JONES, WILLIAM WEST (1838-1908), archbishop of Capetown, born at South Hackney on 11 May 1838, was the sixth and youngest son of Edward Henry Jones, wine merchant, of Mark Lane, by his wife Mary Emma Collier. From Merchant Taylors' School, which he entered in April 1845, he passed in 1856 as a foundation scholar to St. John's College, Oxford. He took a second class in classical moderations in 1858, but owing to ill-health from overwork was unable to take honours in the final schools, and was given an honorary fourth both in the final classical school and in mathematics. From 1859 until his marriage in 1879 ho was fellow of St. John's, and was made an honorary fellow of the college in 1893. He graduated B.A. in 1800, proceeded M.A. in 1803, B.D. in 1869, and was made an hon. D.D. on being consecrated a bishop in 1874. Ordained deacon in 1861 and priest in 1862, he was licensed to the curacy of St. Matthew's in the City Road, and from 1864 to 1874 held the living (in the gift of his college) of Summertown on the outskirts of Oxford.

He was preacher at the old Whitehall Chapel (1870-2), and rural dean of Oxford (1871–4). On 17 May 1874 Jones was consecrated in Westminster Abbey, bishop of Capetown, in succession to Robert Gray [q. v.], first bishop of Capetown and metropolitan of South Africa. Jones accepted the difficult post only on the urgent advice of Samuel Wilberforce, bishop of Oxford, with whom he was in cordial relations (Guardian, 27 May 1908). The protracted conflict between Gray and Bishop Colenso [q. v.] as to the South African church's independence of the Church of England was still a living issue on Jones's appointment. But when at his consecration he took the oath of allegiance to A. C. Tait, archbishop of Canterbury, he and the archbishop signed a document which safeguarded the independent rights and privileges of the South African church. The thirty-four years of Jones's episcopate were years of constant war of races in South Africa. But he steadily sought to encourage peace in both church and state without sacrificing principles or oonoealing his own views. In 1897 the see of Capetown was elevated to the dignity of an archbishopric. A strong high churchman and a member of the English Church Union, by virtue of his simplicity of character, courtesy, bonhomie, business aptitude, and dignified presence, Jones won the respect and friendship of English and Dutch, high church and low church.

At the close of the Boer war in 1902 he took part in the great peace thanksgiving service at Pretoria, and was busy at his death in raising funds for the completion of the Anglican cathedral at Capetown, in memory of those who had fallen in the war. Early in 1908 he came to England to attend the Lambeth conference, and died at the Lizard on 21 May 1908; he was buried in Holywell cemetery, Oxford, the third archbishop to be buried at Oxford, the other two being Laud and Juxon, all three members of St. John's College. He married in 1879 Emily, daughter of John Allen of Altrincham, Cheshire, and had two sons.

A portrait by Charles Wellington Purse, A.R.A., is in the possession of his widow, and another by William Orpen, A.R.A., is in the hall of St. John's College, Oxford. A third by Mr. C. H. Thompson is in the Diocesan College, Capetown; and a fourth by Mr. Tennyson Cole in the Diocesan Library, Capetown. A recumbent statue by Mr. Hartwell is in the memorial chapel of the cathedral at Capetown.

[Anglo-African Who's Who, 1907; The Times, 22 May 1908; Guardian, 27 May 1908; Cape Church Monthly, June and July 1908; Wirgman's History of the English Church and People in South Africa 1895; private information.]

C. P. L.