Born in 1846 in Stafford near Birmingham, Wright became a preacher before moving to Canada in 1870 and spending two decades promoting American mining companies. Facing multiple shareholder lawsuits, he returned home in 1889. In 1894 he set up the London and Globe Company, which focused on acquiring mines and shares in various mining companies. Touting the companies boosted their shares, allowing him to sell at a profit. He earned enough to be able to spend £250,000 (£28.4m in 2018) on buying Lea Park (now Witley Park) in Surrey in 1896, followed by an estimated £1.15m (£130.7m) on renovating it.