Rev. James Maurice Wilson (1836-1931) was a notable clergyman, theologian and educator of the late Victorian period. He was active as a writer and lecturer in many fields including science, mathematics, theology, and education.
Wilson was born on the Isle of Man, where his father was headmaster of King William's College. He was later educated at the school and at Sedbergh School. In 1855 , he entered St John's College, Cambridge. In 1859, Wilson was named Senior Wrangler for his performance in his mathematics finals. He became a fellow of St. John's and was employed as a schoolmaster at Rugby School. Here he taught science and maths, and became a great admirer of its reforming headmaster, Frederick Temple.
In 1868, he published a textbook Elementary geometry, which updated the subject for school students. Wilson was also known as an astronomer, particularly for his work on double stars. In 1879, he left Rugby to become headmaster of Clifton College, Bristol. From this period, he published widely on theological subjects. His theological views tended to be liberal and Broad Church in sympathy, and he wrote on social and political issues as they related to Christianity, and also on the connections between religion and science. Wilson believed that a reconciliation between Christianity and Darwinian evolution was both possible and desirable. He was ordained a deacon in 1879, despite some concerns about his unorthodox views on Biblical miracles. His theological views were summed up in Some contributions to the religious thought of our time (1888). Wilson was Hulsean lecturer (1898) and Lady Margaret preacher (1900) at the University of Cambridge.
In 1890, he was appointed vicar of Rochdale and archdeacon of Manchester, a move occasioned in part by a growing interest in social and economic issues. On leaving Rochdale in 1905, he became a canon of Worcester cathedral, a post he held until 1926. At both Rochdale and Worcester, he was active in civic life, promoting church schools and social amenities for local people.
Wilson was twice married, and had eight children. He died in 1931. Two of his children, the politician Arnold Wilson, and the operatic singer, Steuart Wilson, helped publish his autobiography posthumously in 1932.