The Revd. William James Jay

1827  - 1869

William James Jay was Curate of Goldhanger between 1847 and 1849 and is listed in the White’s Directory of 1848 as Curate at the time when Revd. C.B. Leigh was the Rector. After less that two years at Goldhanger he joined the East India Company and moved to India. He worked for the Company throughout the Mutiny period and while at Fatehgarh in Uttar Pradesh instructed the young Maharajah Duleep Singh, who was the last Maharaja of Lahore and of the Sikh Empire.  The Maharajah was converted to a Christianity, and was baptised by the Revd. Jay in March, 1853.


the young Maharajah Duleep Singh

 the Maharajah’s original palace


No photograph of the Revd. Jay has been found, but this picture of the Maharajah (on the right) with friends could include him.

From documents and websites now available it seems that the Revd. Jay played a significant part in the anglicising the very young Maharajah, and perhaps albeit unwittingly, creating the circumstances in which the British Empire acquired all the Maharajah’s lands in Lahore and the Punjab, as well as transferring ownership of the famous Kohinoor diamond to Queen Victoria, which is now in the Coronation Crown. The main perpetrators of the scheme appear to have been the Viceroy of India, Governor-General Dalhousie and surgeon Dr. John Spence Login, as extracts from these websites indicate…


After the death of the Maharani Jindan Kaur in 1863, in England, her personal jewellery was inherited by her one and only son Duleep Singh, who married twice. His first wife was Maharani Bamba Muller, by whom he had six children, three boys and three girls. After the death of his first wife in 1887, Maharajah Duleep Singh, took his second wife Ada Douglas Wetherill, by whom he had two children, both girls. Maharajah Duleep Singh was anglicised and converted to Christianity before being exiled to Britain in 1854. He was eleven years old at the time he was deposed by the British on March 29, 1849, and was entrusted to the care of Dr. John Login, by Governor-General Dalhousie. Dr. Login took Duleep Singh from Lahore to Fatehgarh, in Uttar Pradesh, on December 21, 1849, perhaps on the instructions of Dalhousie, in order to keep the boy away from the influences of the Punjab, his former domain. He was provided lavishly furnished houses in Fategarh and also in Lucknow, where he spent his remaining days in India, before being exiled to Britain in 1854.

Thus he spent almost five years in India after he was deposed, before being exiled to Britain. During this period he came under the tutelage of both Dr. Login and Bhajan Lal, a Christian convert, both of whom exposed the boy to a lot of Christian text and literature. Governor-General Dalhousie had instructed Dr. Login, that the boy should be completely anglicised before he was sent to Britain. It was in keeping with these instructions that Duleep Singh was raised in complete isolation from his own countrymen and tight restrictions were placed on who he was allowed to meet.

No Indians except trusted servants, were allowed to meet him in private. Duleep Singh's closest childhood friends were both English, one the child of an Anglican missionary. The child's brain-washing was complete before he attained his 15th birthday, and he was converted to Christianity, at Fatehgarh, with the blessings of Governor-General Dalhousie. After the Child's Anglicisation was completed, he was exiled to Britain in 1854.



The Kohinoor jewel was signed away to queen Victoria in 1849 by 11 year old boy King Duleep Singh while in exile.  As a reward he could play with the royal kids in London. Duleep Singh's closest childhood friends were both English, one the child of an Anglican missionary.  The child's brain-washing was complete before he attained his 15th birthday, and he was converted to Christianity, at Fatehgarh, with the blessings of Governor-General Dalhousie.  He was then exiled to Britain in 1854.





By 1860, after nine years at Fatehgarh the Revd. Jay’s health had deteriorated and he returned to England with his wife and young family and became Chaplain and Superintendent at Poplar Hospital in the East end of London. Later when the Maharajah, who was befriended by Queen Victoria, came to England and lived at Elveden Hall near Thetford, the Revd. Jay was installed by the Maharajah as Rector of Elveden. In 1866 he christened the Maharajah's son Prince Victor Albert Jay and when eight months later Queen Victoria ordered a second christening, Queen Victoria was godmother and the Revd. Jay was godfather. Prince Victor Albert Jay Duleep Singh (1866-1918) was the eldest son of Maharani Bamba Müller and Maharaja Duleep Singh. Notably, this eldest son has “Jay” as a third Christian name following Victor(after Queen Victoria) and Albert(after prince Albert).


In 1869 Revd. Jay died and was buried in the Churchyard at Elveden near to where Duleep Singh and his wife were subsequently buried. There is a memorial window in St Catherine's College, Cambridge dedicated to the Revd. Jay,  which was commissioned by his younger son, the Revd. Arthur Osborne Jay, known as the “Boxing Parson”.



The window below was given in St Catharine's College Cambridge, 1913 by the Revd. Arthur Osborne Jay, vicar of Holy Trinity, Shoreditch, in memory of his father, also a member of the College. the Rev. Arthur Osborne Montgomery Jay(1858-1945) was an undergraduate of the College between 1876-80 and was known as "The Boxing Parson' and was author of Life in Darkest London. His father, the Rev. William James Jay(1819-69) was an undergraduate of the College between 1843-7…

Window in memory of the Revd. William James Jay

in St Catharine's College, Cambridge


There is much more about the Maharajah Duleep Singh on these sites…


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