Basil Wynne Willson
Bishop of Bath and Wells
Memorial in Wells Cathedral
DioceseDiocese of Bath and Wells
In office1921 – 1937 (ret.)
PredecessorGeorge Kennion
Opposed toFrancis Underhill
Other post(s)Dean of Bristol (1916–1921)
Consecration1 November 1921
by Randall Davidson
Personal details
Born(1868-08-28)28 August 1868
Died15 October 1946(1946-10-15) (aged 78)
ParentsW. Wynne Willson (priest)[1] & a daughter of Michael Alexander[2]
SpouseLilian Wills[1]
Alma materSt John's College, Cambridge

St John Basil Wynne Willson (surname Wynne-Willson;[3] 28 August 1868 – 15 October 1946) was an Anglican bishop in the first half of the 20th century. He was the Bishop of Bath and Wells from 1921 to 1937.[1][4]

The maternal grandson of Michael Alexander, Bishop of Jerusalem,[2] Willson was educated at Cheltenham and St John's College, Cambridge.[5] He was an Assistant Master at The Leys School and Rugby before Headships at Haileybury College and Marlborough.[6] Ordained in 1904, he was appointed Dean of Bristol in 1916,[7] a post he held for five years.[8] The Bishop of Bristol (George Nickson) and the Dean were strong supporters of Britain's involvement in the Great War and Willson, although 48, volunteered for the Army Chaplaincy. He was interviewed on 7 February 1917, and he asked to be posted to France or Salonika;[9] but bouts of colon pain and shortsightedness meant that he had to serve in England.[10] He left the army in 1918. He married Alice Lillian Wills in 1919, and died in 1946.[11] He was consecrated a bishop on All Saints' Day 1921 (1 November) by Randall Davidson, Archbishop of Canterbury, at St Paul's Cathedral.[12] He then served as Bishop of Bath and Wells until his retirement on 1 November 1937.[13]


A classical scholar, Willson's translations included AeschylusPrometheus Bound; Julius Caesar’s Gallic Wars, Books 4 and 5; Virgil's Aeneid, Books 5 and 6; and Lucian of Samosata's Wonderland (Vera Historia).[1]


  1. ^ a b c d "Willson, St J. Basil Wynne". Who's Who & Who Was Who (1 December 2007 online ed.). A & C Black. Retrieved 17 April 2021. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  2. ^ a b "Bishop Basil Wynne-Willson". geni_family_tree. Retrieved 1 July 2018.
  3. ^ "What's on > the Bishop's Palace".
  4. ^ List of Bishops[permanent dead link]
  5. ^ "Willson, St John Basil Wynne (WL887SJ)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  6. ^ "Genealogy web-site". Archived from the original on 29 October 2008. Retrieved 6 April 2009.
  7. ^ National Archives
  8. ^ Crockford's Clerical Directory 1940-41 Oxford, OUP 1941
  9. ^ Index Card Museum of Army Chaplaincy
  10. ^ TNA WO374/77407
  11. ^ Crockfords 1946
  12. ^ "A Consecration at St Paul's". Church Times. No. 3067. 4 November 1921. p. 439. ISSN 0009-658X. Retrieved 17 April 2021 – via UK Press Online archives.
  13. ^ "Bishop of Bath and Wells". Church Times. No. 3867. 5 March 1937. p. 286. ISSN 0009-658X. Retrieved 17 April 2021 – via UK Press Online archives.
Church of England titles Preceded byFrancis Pigou Dean of Bristol 1916–1921 Succeeded byEdward Burroughs Preceded byGeorge Kennion Bishop of Bath and Wells 1921–1937 Succeeded byFrancis Underhill