Osmar de Carvalho/Sandbox
James Ingall Wedgwood was born at May 24, 1883, London, son of Alfred Allen Wedgwood (1842-1892) and Margaret Rosena Ingall (1854-1922), great great-grandson of the potter Josiah Wedgwood (1730-1795), and the grandson of the spiritualist Hensleigh Wedgwood (1803-1891), and the great nephew of Charles Darwin (1809-1882). He was an prominent English Theosophist in Theosophical Society (Adyar), also the first Presiding Bishop of the Liberal Catholic Church, Freemason, Co-Mason and Martinist. Passed away on March 13, 1951 in Farnham, Surrey, England.
Little is know about his early years. The following extracts are quoted from a short autobiography which he wrote for the Adyar Bulletin:
Wedgwood attended Pretoria House School at Folkestone in Kent, and then went on to his father’s old school, Rugby. After leaving school he studied chemistry at University College, Nottingham, on the advice of the famous chemist, Sir Henry Roscoe (1833 – 1915).
He was for a time employed as an analytical chemist in York, where he lodged with the Reverend Patrick John Shaw (1869-1952), the newly appointed Rector of All Saints Church, North Street. Wedgwood also studied music at the Nottingham College of Music, and he studied the organ at St Albans, Nottingham under Dr Harold Gibbs (1928-1945). He then spent four years as an articled pupil at York Minister under Dr Tertius Noble (1867-1953).
Wedgwood also felt he had a vocation to the priesthood of the Anglican Church, and began theological studies whilst staying with Patrick Shaw despite the opposition of the Wedgwood family.
In 1904, in the midst of his musical and theological studies, Wedgwood attended two lectures by Mrs Besant. He had probably been introduced to Theosophy by his aunts, Effie and Hope, who had joined the Theosophical Society around 1892, having been attracted to it through their father’s spiritualism and by Mrs Besant’s social activism. As a result of his conversion to Theosophy, Wedgwood was obliged to leave the lodgings and his studies because the Rector disapproved of his newly found faith. Wedgwood renounced all thought of a vocation in the Church of England, and devoted himself entirely to the work of the Theosophical Society.
For some time Wedgwood attended the Sorbonne in Paris, returning to the physics of organ music, for which studies he was awarded the degree of Doctor of Sciences.
Theosophical Society involvement
In 1926, Wedgwood presented the Blavatsky Lecture on the topic "The Distinctive Contribution of Theosophy to Christian Thought".
Liberal Catholic Church
Bishop Wedgwood wrote several books and numerous articles. The Union Index of Theosophical Periodicals lists 14 articles by or about James I. Wedgwood, 64 articles under the name JI Wedgwood, and 9 under the name Bishop Wedgwood.
- Wedgwood, James Ingall in Theosopedia.
- J. I. Wedgwood in Wikipedia.
- History in Liberal Catholic Church website.
- The Liberal Catholic Tradition: A Farewell Note by Pedro Oliveira.
- James Ingall Wedgwood in CWLeadbeater.Wordpress.com.
- Theosophy in New Zealand, December, 1916
- Theosophical Society General Membership Register, 1875-1942 at http://tsmembers.org/. See book 3, entry 26458 (website file: 3A/14).