Portrait of Wilson Carlile

Portrait of Wilson Carlile

Prebendary Wilson Carlile

Dates: 1847 - 1942

Profession: Religion and Philosophy

Address: 34 Sheffield Terrace, W8

Dates at address: 1881 - 1890

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Carlile was the son of London merchants. Suffering from spinal weakness he did badly at school but proved an excellent linguist, learning fluent French, German and Italian on his travels. Following bankruptcy and illness Carlile became a staunch Catholic. He married Flora Vickers in 1870 and had five sons.

Joining his grandfather as a silk merchant at 13 Carlile traded in France during the Franco-Prussian War. After setting up on his own in 1873 he was ruined by a trading slump. He entered St John’s College in 1878 and was ordained in 1881, becoming curate of St Mary Abbots Church, Kensington. He resigned in 1882 to establish the Church Army that worked in the Westminster slums and established a free school in Oxford to train working-class evangelists of both sexes. They were also heavily involved in World War I and feeding and housing the urban poor. Carlile was made prebendary of St Paul’s in 1906.

While curate at St Mary Abotts Wilson concentrated largely on his working-class parishoners. He held regular outdoor meetings and indoor events complete with magic lantern shows. The outdoor meetings became so popular that they stopped traffic and he was forced to give them up. He was also part of a group of curates under Edward Glyn who shared and shaped his ideals.