Bailey, Wellesley Cosby (1846–1937), worker for leprosy sufferers, was born 28 April 1846 near Abbeyleix, Queen's Co. (Laois), his father being agent to a local estate. He was educated at Kilkenny College. Having been unsuccessful in attempts to make a career in Australia and New Zealand in his twenties, he returned to Ireland. Some years later he sailed for India and – already a man of deep religious conviction – engaged in missionary work there as a teacher. On 13 October 1871 he married, in Bombay, Alice Mary Grahame, also from Queen's Co., but in 1873 her health necessitated their return to Ireland. In 1874, largely as the result of accounts he gave of his encounters with leprosy sufferers in India, the inter-denominational Mission to Lepers (later the Leprosy Mission) was founded in Monkstown, Co. Dublin, owing much to the support of the Pim family and local quakers. In time Bailey became secretary, then superintendent of the mission; he and his wife undertook strenuous tours of its work, which spread from India to China and attracted worldwide support. He died 28 January 1937 in Edinburgh, their home since 1882, his wife having died in 1924. They had three sons (the second of whom was killed in the first world war) and one daughter.
Walter Fancutt, With strange surprise (1974); Abbeyleix parish registers (RCB library)