Basil Wilberforce was born in Winchester in 1841, the son of Samuel Wilberforce, the famous Church of England bishop and anti-Darwinian. Queen Victoria was one of Basil’s godparents. He trained for a career in the church and in 1871 became rector of St Mary’s Church in Southampton. While in Southampton he campaigned nationally and locally against the evils of alcoholic drink. As an alternative to the public house he founded a Church of England Young Men’s Association (YMA) in the town. The association’s football team, ‘The Saints’, was a forerunner of Southampton Football Club. Basil was their first president, a position he kept when the club severed its links with the YMA in 1887-88. He left Southampton in 1894 to take up a post at Westminster Abbey.

Canon Albert Basil Orme Wilberforce

Image Unavailable

Photograph from the Sothern Reformer, July 31st 1880

Further reading:

Sothern Reformer, July 31st 1880, p1-3. (HS/y)


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