The day the Archbishop was stopped

There’s a tiny town in South Yorkshire, England, that you’d never guess has influenced history around the world. I told a version of this story on West Bremer Radio.

Hoyland (pictured above) is that town in South Yorkshire. Hoyland developed from the hamlets of Upper Hoyland, Hoyland and Hoyland Common. The town has also been known as Nether Hoyland which was used to prevent confusion with High Hoyland up the road. With such historic grandeur, it’s little wonder that the town’s influence has reached around the globe.

The region hosts the ancestral homes of John Doncaster Hoyland who had a remarkable impact on the history at Ipswich in Queensland, Australia.

John Hoyland was born in Hoshangabad in India in 1915. John’s father was the famous historian and missionary John Somervell ‘Jack’ Hoyland. Jack was the nephew of the famous mountaineer Howard Somervell who made two unsuccessful attempts on Mount Everest in the 1920s and was awarded the 1924 Olympic gold medal for mountaineering.

Howard Somervell

In 1934, our John Hoyland was a nineteen-year-old medical student at Oxford and enjoyed the growing reputation as being one of the six best mountain climbers in England. This was in the golden age of Himalayan exploration, it wasn’t for another twenty years that Hillary and Tenzing would finally be the first to climb Everest, and Hoyland was for now one of the rising stars.

And so it was in 1934 – 88 years ago last month – that John Hoyland caused complete chaos in the Australian city of Ipswich. The result can still be seen on opposite sides of the world to this very day.

It was on the 5th of September 1934 that The Most Reverend William Wand became the third Archbishop of Brisbane in a lavish enthronement ceremony at St John’s Cathedral. Just fifteen days later on the 20th of September, he was getting ready to be welcomed to Ipswich with a civic reception hosted by the Ipswich mayor himself.

Archbishop William Wand

But as the archbishop was preparing for the visit, his Ipswich plans were thrown into disarray because of John Hoyland.

You see, John Hoyland was the budding British star in Alpine exploration, and that morning news had broken around the world from mighty Mont Blanc which is the highest mountain in the Alps and Western Europe.

Mont Blanc

John Hoyland had disappeared and almost certainly perished on the Italian side of the mountain. The famous Himalayan explorer Frank Smythe had set out to search for him. There was none better to lead the search because Smythe would take part in all three British expeditions to Everest in the 1930s. John Hoyland was the English-up-and-comer and so the best of British set out on a rescue bid.

Frank Smythe

But there was further bad news because not only had Hoyland certainly lost his own life, but he had also led the archbishop of Brisbane’s only son to his death as well.

The twenty-two-year-old Paul Wand had joined Hoyland on the climb. It was found that both young men had perished. The bodies of the two Oxford students were recovered only after a month-long search. They had met their deaths by falling six hundred feet into a crevasse.

Paul Wand

The story was worldwide news, and the pain was felt no more than in Queensland by Archbishop Wand.

His landmark visit to Ipswich was cancelled on the morning that it was to happen. It wasn’t undertaken until the following year.

The archbishop’s son today is commemorated in the chapel of the St Francis Theological College at Milton in Brisbane. Above the altar is a painting by the famed Queensland artist William Bustard. In the centre is the nativity, and to the left is a shepherd, with the face of the archbishop’s son Paul Wand.

Paul Wand painting

Archbishop Wand later became the Bishop of London. In the chapel at Fulham Palace in London, which is the traditional home of the bishop, there’s a stained-glass window on the eastern side that depicts an angel. It also has the face of Paul Wand.

The Hyland town and family created havoc in Ipswich almost a century ago, and there are memorials on both sides of the world that commemorate that awful day when the archbishop’s visit to Ipswich had to be cancelled.


Photo credits
Hoyland Road, Hoyland 2014 – Wikimedia Commons.
Howard Somervell – jakenorton com.
Archbishop William Wand, Archbishop of Brisbane 1934-1943 – State Library of Queensland.
Mont Blanc pinnacles – Encyclopaedia Britannica.
Frank Smyth – Made for Minds.
Paul Wand – Telegraph, Brisbane, 5th February 1934, page 7.
Paul Wand as a shepherd in the triptych of The Chapel of the Holy Spirit, St Francis College – image by Eve James, Library Manager, St Francis College.


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