Willson, Robert William

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Bishop, Church leader, advocate of prison and hospital reforms; b. Lincoln, England, 1794; d. Nottingham, June 30, 1866. He was the son of William Willson, a builder, and Clarissa Tenney. He studied at Oscott and was ordained by Bishop milner Dec. 16, 1824. Having been for 18 years pastor of Nottingham, where his gifts of leadership won universal recognition, Willson was appointed first bishop of Hobart, Tasmania, Britain's main penal colony until 1853. For 10 years the bishop devoted his services almost entirely to the welfare of convicts, the insane, and orphans. He fought for and won many reforms and had much to do with ending the system of transporting convicts. Churches, schools, and parishes with resident clergy appeared in all the populated areas of the diocese, which embraced the whole of Tasmania. Sir W. Denison, the governor, and public bodies associated with charitable and philanthropic movements paid frequent tributes to the bishop's services to religion and the state.

Bibliography: w. b. ullathorne, "Bishop Willson," Dublin Review 3d ser. 18 (1887) 126. Hobart Church Archives.

[j. h. cullen]