Family and early life
Born in Bromley, Kent, Henry Chadwick was the son of a barrister (who died when Chadwick was five) and a music-loving mother. He had a number of accomplished siblings: Sir John Chadwick served as the British Ambassador to Romania, and the Revd William Owen Chadwick and his other brother also became priests. Despite this, it was one of his sisters he would later describe as "the brightest of us all". Chadwick was educated at Eton College, where he became a King's Scholar. Although he did not show much aptitude as a Grecian, his lifelong love of music made its first appearance and resulted in his receiving organ lessons from Henry Ley.
After leaving Eton, he went to Magdalene College, Cambridge, on a music scholarship, and was expected to make music his career. A highlight of his undergraduate musical career was playing a two piano arrangement of Chabrier's España with Boris Ord, then organist of King's College, Cambridge. However, Chadwick chose to further his interest in Evangelical Christianity, which had existed from his school days. He graduated in 1941 and began his theological training in 1942, at Ridley Hall, Cambridge, being ordained deacon by the Archbishop of Canterbury, in Canterbury Cathedral, in 1943 and priest by the Bishop of Dover in 1944. He served a curacy at the Evangelical parish of Emmanuel, Croydon, arriving towards the end of the Second World War, as Croydon was attacked by German V-weapons, which provided a difficult pastoral challenge. From there, he became an assistant master at Wellington College. He married Peggy Browning in 1945, and they had three daughters.