The First World War and Bishop Winnington-Ingram

This is a further blog post in a series to commemorate the centenary of the First World War. We have recently acquired this photograph of Arthur Foley Winnington-Ingram (1858-1946), Bishop of London 1901-39, one of a set of photographs of Bishops and other clergy (MS 5069) kindly donated to the Library. Pictured here in uniform, the Bishop was a strong advocate of Britain’s cause during World War One and he visited the Western Front in 1915, the Grand Fleet at Rosyth and Scapa Flow in 1916, and Salonica in 1918. He also served as chaplain to the London Rifle Brigade.

Bishop Winnington-Ingram in uniform
Bishop Winnington-Ingram in uniform

His official papers held here at Lambeth, which are not voluminous in comparison to the length of his episcopate, do not include material relating to the First World War. However, the Library does hold an additional volume (MS 3406) which includes a few letters from leading naval and military commanders of the First World War: Admirals John Fisher, 1st Baron Fisher, John Jellicoe, 1st Earl Jellicoe, David Beatty, 1st Earl Beatty, and Field Marshal Sir William Robertson. The volume also includes a list of officers confirmed at St. Omer on Palm Sunday 1915, and a two-page printed item by Bishop Winnington-Ingram recounting his impressions of ‘The British Soldier’s Religion’ arising from his visit to the Front. He reflects on over 50 services held in the open air and in cinemas and warehouses, and observes that some of the men waiting to be confirmed had “the mud of the trenches still wet on their puttees”. The Library also holds items which he published in connection with the National Mission of Hope and Repentance, an initiative begun in 1916 to renew the country’s religious life in wartime.

For more information on Library sources for the First World War, please see our research guide, timeline and online catalogues.

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