Henry John Williams

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Henry John Williams
Rev Henry John Williams.jpg
Born1838 (1838)
Died1919 (aged 81)
OccupationHumanitarian, animal rights and vegetarianism activist, rector
Known forFounding the Order of the Golden Age
FamilyHoward Williams (brother)

Henry John Williams (1838 – 1919) was an English humanitarian, animal rights and vegetarianism activist, and the founder of the Order of the Golden Age.


Williams was the son of an Anglican minister[1] and the younger brother of Howard Williams, the author of The Ethics of Diet and a fellow humanitarian.[2][3]

At the age of 40, Williams was inspired by his brother to become a vegetarian.[4] He later published the pamphlet A Plea for a Broken Law, which made a case for vegetarianism from a theological point of view.[5] He founded an animal rights society, the Order of the Golden Age in 1881, it was constituted in 1882.[6] Due to a lack of funds, the organisation was inactive until 1895, when Williams, Sidney H. Beard and others met and discussed how to remedy its dormancy.[6] Williams wrote for the Order's journal The Herald of the Golden Age.[7][8]

Williams was Rector of Kinross,[9] Hon. President of the Scottish Vegetarian Society[10] and a member of the Humanitarian League's Humane Diet department.[2]

He died in 1919, at the age of 81; his brother published an obituary in the May 1919 edition of The Vegetarian Messenger and Health Review.[4]

Selected publications[edit]

  • A Plea for a Broken Law


  1. ^ Preece, Rod (2011). Animal Sensibility and Inclusive Justice in the Age of Bernard Shaw. Vancouver: UBC Press. pp. 167–168. ISBN 9780774821124.
  2. ^ a b Grumett, David; Muers, Rachel, eds. (2011). Eating and Believing: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Vegetarianism and Theology. London: A&C Black. p. 126. ISBN 978-0-567-57736-8.
  3. ^ Gregory, James. (2007). Of Victorians and Vegetarians: The Vegetarian Movement in Nineteenth-Century Britain. Tauris Academic Studies. p. 109. ISBN 978-1-84511-379-7
  4. ^ a b Williams, Howard (May 1919). "Rev. Henry John Williams (1838-1919)". The Vegetarian Messenger and Health Review.
  5. ^ Williams, Howard (2003). The Ethics of Diet: A Catena of Authorities Deprecatory of the Practice of Flesh-eating. Champaign, Illinois: University of Illinois Press. p. 384. ISBN 978-0-252-07130-0.
  6. ^ a b Calvert, Samantha Jane (June 2012). Eden's Diet: Christianity and Vegetarianism 1809–2009 (PDF) (Thesis). University of Birmingham.
  7. ^ Williams, H. J. (January 1897). "Dark Ages, Past & Present". The Herald of the Golden Age.
  8. ^ Williams, H. J. (1900-12-15). "A Call to the Christian Church" (PDF). The Herald of the Golden Age. 5 (12): 143–144.
  9. ^ "Introduction – The Order of the Golden Age". The Vegetarian Messenger. October 1897. Retrieved 2020-07-01.
  10. ^ "Vegetarian Federal Union 1889-1911". International Vegetarian Union. Retrieved 2020-07-01.