His father struggled with alcoholism and died when Justin was 21. Jane had gone on to marry the banker and Labour peer Lord Williams of Elvel.
Between school and university, Justin Welby spent a gap year in Kenya, working on a voluntary project. His motivation was not faith, because that did not come until his second year at Trinity College, Cambridge.
Welby was a skilled cox of the rowing team, and loved to sail. He also fell in with a group of Evangelicals who were exploring the Bible and the Holy Spirit together. The conversion to Christianity that followed was apparently powerful, and personally overwhelming, but what interested him most was how his new faith might change the world.
Then again, he has been defying expectations all his life. He is a former City treasurer who has spoken out against greedy bankers. He is an Evangelical convert with experience of the gifts of the Spirit, who has a Roman Catholic spiritual director and reads the Rule of Saint Benedict “most days”.
He was rejected for ordination at first by the Bishop of Kensington, who told the future archbishop: “There is no place for you in the Church of England.”
What do my Anglican and Episcopalian readers think of their new man?