The link to John Wesley, George Smiley and the University of North Carolina is the Rev. Vivian Hubert Howard Green. I am currently reading Green’s book Young Mr. Wesley, focused on Wesley’s years at Oxford and published in 1961. Wesley graduated from Christ Church at Oxford in 1724. He later became a fellow a Lincoln College. Green was a Fellow of Lincoln College, Oxford, for over 30 years and its Rector from 1983 to 1987. He wrote a full biography of Wesley in 1963.
One of Green’s students at Lincoln was John Le Carre, known for his spy novels. His trilogy that includes Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy tells the story of George Smiley. While Green never served in the British Secret Service, Le Carre acknowledged that he used Green’s temperment and outlook in creating the character of Smiley.
In the early 1980s, Green served a short period as a visiting professor at the University of North Carolina.
Read more about Green in this 2005 obit.