William Day Wills   1797 - 1865

William and his Brother Henry devoted a significant part of their leisure time to their religious interests. They added much to the success and development of the non-conformist movement in Bristol - " as successful manufacturers, they perceived that the spread of the gospel, like the sale of tobacco and snuff, depended on an adequate level of capital investment" 1. They made regular donations to charities run by the Congregationalists. They were founder trustees of the Hanham chapel in 1841 and of the Barton Hill chapel in 1843. Also, in 1843 at Highbury on the boundary between Redland and Cotham (a newly developing middle class suburb) they initiated the building of a main chapel - the architect was William's nephew by marriage, William Butterfield.

W.D & H,O Wills and the Development of the UK Tobacco Industry 1786 - 1965 by B.W.E. Alford (1)


William  Day Wills was born in June 1797 and joined his fathers business in 1818 as a trainee travelling salesman. In 1820 he was given his own 'Journey'.

In 1838 William unsuccessfully contested the Redcliff ward in the local council elections but in 1846 he was successful as a Liberal candidate for St Pauls.


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