Also see Chaplain
- 1 The first Englishman in India
- 2 Charter Act 1813
- 3 FIBIS resources
- 4 British Protestant Missionary Societies in India and their archives
- 4.1 Baptist Missionary Society
- 4.2 Church Missionary Society (CMS)
- 4.3 Church of Scotland Missions
- 4.4 Eastern Himalayan Mission
- 4.5 London Missionary Society (LMS)
- 4.6 Methodist Missionary Society
- 4.7 Panjab Mission
- 4.8 Santal Mission
- 4.9 Scottish Churches Mission
- 4.10 Scottish Missionary Society
- 4.11 Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts (SPG)
- 4.12 United Reform Church
- 5 Other Protestant Missionary Societies in India and their archives
- 6 Other Indian Missionary sources
- 7 Schools
- 8 Recommended Reading
- 9 External links
The first Englishman in India
The Jesuit missionary, Father Thomas Stevens, or Stephens, (c1549-1619) has been generally accepted as the first Englishman to arrive in India. He had studied in Rome and, having sailed on a Portuguese ship, settled in Goa 1579. There he learned the local languages and taught Christian doctrine to the local people.
As his father was a prominent merchant in London the information he sent home no doubt generated a lot of interest and raised awareness of the trading advantages in the East. In fact, it was not that long after, in 1600, that the Queen eventually granted a charter to the East India Company.
Moreover it is also documented that in 1583 Stevens sent a letter in Latin to his brother in Paris which described his missionary methods. He lived in Goa for over 40 years producing works in local languages . His masterpiece was the Christian Purana , an epic poem based on the life of Jesus, written in the local Konkani dialect of Marathi. This was all the more ingenious as he had to adapt European script to embrace Indian language.
Charter Act 1813
Missionary activity in the areas of India controlled by the East India Company was finally permitted with the passing of the Charter Act 1813, sometimes called the East India Company Act 1813, as described from page 75 of The government of India; a brief historical survey of parliamentary legislation relating to India by Sir Courtenay Ilbert 1922 Archive.org. Before that it had been forbidden by the EIC, who did not wish to wish to interfere with the religious convictions of the Indians in case the Company’s trade was jeopardised.
Prior to 1813 the most significant European Protestant missionary activity had occurred in the Danish enclaves at Tranquebar and Serampore.
- Ministers and missionaries section of the FIBIS database
- Indian Missionary Directory and Memorial Volume 2587 names have been indexed from this book which records Protestant Missionaries who have served in India.
- "Elizabeth Martin of Madras and Walter Medhurst, Missionary" by John Holliday FIBIS Journal Number 32 (Autumn 2014 pages 38-44. They were members of the London Missionary Society. For details of how to access this article, see FIBIS Journals.
British Protestant Missionary Societies in India and their archives
British Christian missionaries were usually sponsored in India by missionary societies from the United Kingdom. There was a wide variety from non-denominational through to Scottish Presbyterians, the Church of England societies, the Baptists, and those who now come under the United Reform Church. The archives of these missionary bodies, often rich sources of names, careers, family details and correspondence, are accessible but variously held in libraries or other repositories depending on the society. The structures of societies differ widely, but most have an archivist, and he/she may be a useful first contact. Below are details of some of these, giving for each its current name and location and where its archives are kept. Missionary societies from outside of Britain and additional Indian missionary sources which may provide useful background have been added in separate sections below.
Baptist Missionary Society
Present title is the “BMS World Mission”. Contact details:
- PO Box 49, 129 Broadway, Didcot, Oxon, OX11 8XA
- Tel: (01235) 517700, Archives: Tel: (01235) 517626 , E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
- BMS World Mission website
Initially consult Historical Society website. Main Archive (Angus Library) is at:
- Centre for Baptist History, Regent’s Park College, Pusey Lane, Oxford, OX1 2LB
- Tel: (01865) 288142
- Archivist: email@example.com
- Centre for Baptist History and Heritage website
Church Missionary Society (CMS)
The CMS can be contacted at:
- CMS, Watlington Road, Cowley, Oxford, OX4 6BZ
- Tel: (01865) 787400;
- Archivist E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
The main archive for the CMS is at:
- Special Collections, Main Library, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham, B15 2TT
- Tel: (0121) 414 5838/39
- E-mail: email@example.com
For post-1960 archives contact the Crowther Centre at CMS, Oxford, Tel: (01865) 787400.
Church of Scotland Missions
Foreign Mission Committee formed in 1824. First missionary commissioned to India in 1829. In 1843 the Church of Scotland missionaries in India, with once exception, broke away and joined the Free Church of Scotland. In 1929 the Church of Scotland and the United Free Church of Scotland merged and records were consolidated. The work in India had foreshadowed this union, with most congregations uniting to form the Presbyterian Church in India in 1903.
A useful overview of the various Presbyterian denominations' missionary work in India is found in chapters two and four of The Scottish churches' work abroad by JH Morrison (Edinburgh: Clarke, 1927).
- “Church of Scotland World Mission Council”, 121 George Street, Edinburgh, EH2 4YN
- Tel: (0131) 225 5722
- E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
- World Mission Council web pages
Eastern Himalayan Mission
Founded in 1870 by the Church of Scotland. See Church of Scotland missions entry above for sources.
London Missionary Society (LMS)
Originally called the Missionary Society. Established in 1795. Interdenominational, but strongly Congregationalist.
Present title: “Council for World Mission”. Contact details:
- CWM, Ipalo House, 32-34 Great Peter Street, London, SW1P 2DB
- Tel: (020) 7222 4214
- E-mail: email@example.com
The CWM archives are at the School of Oriental & African Studies (SOAS) in London. Contact:
- The Library (LMS Archives), Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London WC1H 0XG
- Tel: (020) 7898 4180
- E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
A few organisations outside of the UK hold sections of the LMS archives on microfiche. See LMS entry on Mundus for holding bodies.
Methodist Missionary Society
For the archives, also at SOAS, contact:
- Lance Martin, Library (Methodist Archives), School of Oriental & African Studies, Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London WC1H 0XG
- Tel: (020) 7898 4148
- E-mail: email@example.com
Formed in 1857 by the Church of Scotland. See Church of Scotland missions entry above for sources.
Established in 1870 by the Free Church of Scotland. See Church of Scotland missions entry above for sources.
Scottish Churches Mission
Formed in Calcutta in 1908 incorporating the local work of the Church of Scotland and the United Free Church. See Church of Scotland missions entry above for sources.
Scottish Missionary Society
Known for a time as the Edinburgh Missionary Society. Founded 1796, nondenominational Presbyterian. First missionary sent to India in 1822. The Society ceased in 1835, when its work was transfered to the Church of Scotland. See Church of Scotland missions entry above for sources.
Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts (SPG)
Church of England mission founded 1701 by Royal Charter. First missionary sent to India in 1820.
For concise biographical information on ordained missionaries in India and related territories check the relevant years of Crockford's clerical directory : a directory of the clergy of the Church of England, the Church of Wales, the Scottish Episcopal Church, the Church of Ireland. (See the review in Churches and missions reading list for more information on this publication).
For ordained missionaries active prior to 1835 check The Clergy of the Church of England Database (CCEd).
Present title: “USPG – Anglicans in World Mission”. Contact:
- 200 Great Dover Street, London SE1 4YB
- Tel: (020) 7378 5678
- E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Pre-1965 Archives for the SPG are at:
- Rhodes House Library, South Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3RG
- Tel: (01865) 270908 or 270911
- E-mail: email@example.com;
Post-1965 Archives are at USPG, London.
United Reform Church
This modern title (website) includes English Presbyterians and Congregationalists. The latter often served with the LMS. Further information from the United Reform Church History Society at Westminster College, Cambridge; Tel: (01223) 741084. Archives for the English Presbyterian’s are at Westminster College, Cambridge; archives for the Congregationalists’ are at SOAS (see LMS above).
Other Protestant Missionary Societies in India and their archives
Arguably smaller numbers of Christian missionaries were sponsored in India by European organisations, such as the German Lutherans, or organisations and groups in America and the British colonies such as Australia, Canada and New Zealand. The archives of these missionary bodies, often rich sources of names, careers, family details and correspondence, may also be accessible but variously held in libraries or other repositories depending on the society. The structures of societies differ widely, but most have an archivist, and he/she may be a useful first contact. Below are details of some of these, giving for each its current name and location and where its archives are kept.
Established in 1706. Lutheran. The missionaries came primarily from Denmark and Germany. In addition to working in the Danish enclaves of Tranquebar and Serampore, there were other mission stations along the Mallabar Coast. Some worked in India under the auspices of other societies or on secondment to them, so there may be additional material held elsewhere (e.g. SPCK, see entry above).
Search the extensive archives of the Danish-Halle Mission through the online catalogues (in English), where there is biographical information in addition to indexes of the resources.
Archives held at:
Study Centre August Hermann Francke
Franckeplatz 1, Haus 24
06110 Halle (Saale)
Head of the study center: Dr. Britta Klosterberg
Tel.0345 2127 412
Other Indian Missionary sources
Indian Institute Library
Department of Oriental Collections, Bodleian Library, Oxford, OX1 3BG
Tel: (01865) 277082
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Henry Martyn (Missionary) Centre
Librarian (Jane Gregory)
Henry Martyn Centre, Westminster College, Madingley Road, Cambridge CB3 0AA
Tel: (01223) 741088
Librarian: 07973 965430
Royal Asiatic Society
Librarian (Kathy Lazenbatt)
Royal Asiatic Society, 14 Stephenson Way, London, NW1 2HD
Tel: (020) 7388 4539 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
A web-based guide to more than four hundred collections of overseas missionary materials held in UK. http://www.mundus.ac.uk
Missionary family stories on the web
- Faith and Family in South India by David Gore on the British Empire website
- Missionaries and Northern India by Tara van Brederode on the British Empire website
- Church Missionaries’ Children’s Home. This school in England was run by the Church Missionary Society for the children of missionaries. It was founded in 1850 at Highbury, London and moved in 1887 to Limpsfield, Surrey. Further details in The history of the Church Missionary Society Volume 4, page 494 by Eugene Stock 1916 Archive.org. Between the period 1907-1916 the school became known as St Michael's Limpsfield. Opening in 1887 Archiseek.com. Postcard 1907 TheWeald.com. The England and Wales censuses show the children at the school at the census dates.
- May, Andrew - Welsh Missionaries and British Imperialism: The empire of clouds in north-east India published 2012.
- A review of this book by David Macadam is contained in FIBIS Journal Number 30 (Autumn 2013) page 48
- O’Connor, Daniel - The Chaplains of the East India Company, 1601-1858, published 2012.
- A review by Richard Morgan of this book is contained in FIBIS Journal Number 27 (Spring 2012), pages 53-54.
- Pears, Walford - Schreyvogel's Mission: Lindau to Trichinopoly Pub 2011.
- Daniel Schreyvogel was a missionary in Tranquebar from 1803 to 1826. A review of this book is contained in FIBIS Journal number 28.
- Anglicanism on the Indian subcontintent, including Ceylon, from Project Canterbury. Contains biographies, online books
- “Missionary Activities of British in India” "First Phase", "Second Phase", "Third Phase", "Fourth Phase" from History of India by IndiaNetZone
- History of CSI Madhya Kerala Diocese by Rev. C. Y. Thomas . Includes a history of the Missions in Travancore and Cochin. Now an archived website.
- The CMS church in Kotgahr, Himachal Pradesh, previously the Punjab, established 1844. Scroll down to the article “Legacy to cherish”
- Priests, Chaplains, Missionaries in Madras Presidency A section of a family history website in which 400 clerical names and related histories are listed.
- “Leprosy in British India 1860-1940: Colonial Politics and Missionary Medicine” by Sanjiv Kakar Medical History 1996, 40, 215-230
- From criminals to caretakers : the Salvation Army in India, 1882-1914 by Emily A. Berry Northeastern University PhD thesis 2008
- Historical Background of the United Church of Northern India, a union of Presbyterian Churches of India, with a List of the Missions who joined the union.
- American Presbyterian Missions in India
- Mennonite and Brethren Churches in India
- Records of the Woman's Union Missionary Society, an American based organisation. Scroll down for India. Billy Graham Center Archives
- Lutheran Missions in India
- History of Lutherans in India. Lutheranmissions.org
- The Basel Mission
- The Basel Mission children-of-bangalore.com
- Introductory Chapter to Journeys and Encounters Religion, Society and the Basel Mission in North Karnataka 1837-1852 by Jennifer and Paul Jenkins html version original pdf library.yale.edu
- Basel Mission Image Archive Includes photographs of missionaries in India.
- India gaebler.info. Includes
- "German Missions in India" mainly in German language but includes
- extracts from the book German Missions In British India Nationalism: Case And Crisis In Missions by Paul Von Tucher 1980 concerning internment of German missionaries during World War 2 at Premnagar near Dehra Dun, Purandhar, about 40kms south-east of Poona and Satara.
- "German Missions in India" mainly in German language but includes
- Samuel Stearns Day collection, including biographical details of Samuel Stearns Day at the Southern Baptist Historical Library and Archives in Nashville Tennessee. Rev. Day was an American Baptist missionary in Southern India.
- Their Footprints Remain: Biomedical Beginnings across the Indo-Tibetan Frontier by Alex McKay International Institute for Asian Studies 2007, part of the Digital Academic Repository van de Universiteit van Amsterdam. Pdf file. Chapter 1 ( page 56) is called Missionary Medicine and the Rise of Kalimpong
- Dublin University Mission at Chota Nagpur (DUMCN) at Hazaribagh in Bihar (Society for the Propogation of the Gospel): Rare images of missionaries who worked in Raj India The Irish Times 16 February 2012; Details of the DUMCN and its archives at the RCB (Representative Church Body) Library, Dublin. Photographs ireland.anglican.org
- "Sex and Salvation: Modelling Gender on an Indian Mission Station" by Andrew Brown-May. The Welsh Calvinistic Methodist Foreign Missionary Society (WFMS) in the Khasi Hills of north-east India. From Evangelists of Empire?: Missionaries in Colonial History University of Melbourne 2008, now archived pages. The book Welsh missionaries and British imperialism: The empire of clouds in north-east India by Andrew May was published in 2012 by Manchester University Press (Studies in Imperialism).
- From The Cooperative Digital Resources Initiative of the American Theological Library Association
- Search AdHoc, a Yale Divinity School faculty-library initiative for texts and images using keywords such as India.
- South Asia Reading Guide , from John Roxborough’s Mission and Interpretation.
- "Pages from History: Documenting the flora of the Coromandel" by Dr A Raman Madras Musings July 16-31, 2009. Johann Peter Rottler Missionary (1749-1836). Scroll to the bottom of the page.
- Thomas Stevens by Jyotsna Kamat PhD
- Thomas Stephens Wikipedia
- Reminiscences of Missionary Work, by Worthington Jukes (1925) Project Canterbury website
- Laura and Charles Hope were Baptist medical missionaries from Australia, for most of the period 1893 to 1934 Australian DIctionary of Biography
- Mrs. Eve Ross, (as Miss Eve Croydon) was sent by the Methodist Society as a nurse in United Provinces, 1941-1946. See Nurse – Other Libraries and Archives for an interview to listen to, or to read the transcript, and details of her letters home.
- Adoniram Judson, Ann Judson-Pioneer American Baptist Missionaries to Burma Wholesomewords.org
- "Adoniram Judson And The Missionary Call" by Erroll Hulse 2007 html version original pdf
- The Scudder family of missionaries in India Wikipedia
- Cast a long shadow : a saga of three generations of a southern Illinois family, reaching from Williamson County to Belgaum, India by Ruth Childers Seamands , published 1994. The author was the wife of an American Methodist minister. Computer page 359 mentions her brief stay in India in 1941 before evacuation on a troop transport to the USA after the bombing of Pearl Harbour; computer page 394 onwards documents her life in India 1946-1959. familysearch.org
Historical Books Online
- The History of Christianity in India: from the Commencement of the Christian Era by James Hough Volume 1, 1839 Volume 2, 1839 Volume 4, 1845 Volume 5, 1860 Google Books
- History of the Missions of the Free Church of Scotland in India and Africa by Robert Hunter 1873 Archive.org
- Indian Missionary Directory and Memorial Volume by Rev B. H. Badley of the American Methodist Mission. This Directory provides details of Protestant missions throughout India and biographical information about the missionaries. Archive.org
- A Hand-Book of India and British Burmah by W E Robbins, Missionary 1883 Archive.org. The author appears to be an American, possibly Presbyterian. "Chapter VI: Evangelization of India" page 220.
- The Church Missionary Atlas- Church Missionary Society published 1862. Contains a section on India, with maps from page 21, including a section on the languages of India Also includes an Appendix of missionaries’ names, with some biographical details. Google Books
- Memoirs of the life and correspondence of the Reverend Christian Frederick Swartz, to which is prefixed a Sketch of the history of Christianity in India by Hugh Pearson, Dean of Salisbury 2nd Edition 1835 Volume I, II, First American edition (abridged) 1835 Google Books
- The Church in Madras : being the History of the Ecclesiastical and Missionary Action of the East India Company in the Presidency of Madras by Rev Frank Penny 1904 Archive.org
- Memoir of an Indian Chaplain, the Reverend Charles Church, M.A, of the Madras Establishment of the East India Company, by Rev James Hough 1859 Google Books
- Bishop Wilson's journal letters, addressed to his family, during the first nine years of his Indian episcopate Edited by his son, Daniel Wilson 1863 Archive.org
- The history of the Church Missionary Society, Volume 4 by Eugene Stock 1916 contains chapters on India from Chapter 14, page 137 Archive.org
- The Punjab and Sindh missions of the Church Missionary Society Giving an account of their foundation and progress for thirty-three years, from 1852 to 1884. Second edition, considerably enlarged, of a book entitled "Thirty years of missionary work of the C.M.S. in the Punjab and Sindh" by Robert Clark 1885 Archive.org
- The Baptist Magazine 1839 Published by George Wightman. Page 636 mentions the formation of the Baptist Church in the Madras Presidency under Rev Day.
- A memorial of the Futtehgurh mission and her martyred missionaries: with some remarks on the mutiny in India by the Rev. J. Johnston Walsh 1859 Google Books. Presbyterian Board of Foreign Missions (USA)
- History of the Missions of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions in India by Rufus Anderson 1875 Archive.org
- Our Gold-mine: The Story of American Baptist Missions in India by Ada C. Chaplin 1879 Archive.org
- The India Mission of the Methodist Episcopal Church [USA] by Rev J E Scott, 1906 Archive.org
- The Life of John Thomas, Surgeon of the Earl of Oxford, East Indiaman, and First Baptist Missionary to Bengal [1757-1801] by C B Lewis, Baptist Missionary 1873 Archive.org
- The Story of the Lall Bazar Baptist Church, Calcutta: Being the History of Carey's Church from 24th April 1800 to the Present Day by Edward Steane Wenger 1908 Archive.org
- Thirty-nine years in Bombay City being the history of the mission work of the Society of S. John the Evangelist in that city by Rev. Father Elwin 1913 Archive.org. An Anglican religious order for men
- Jubilee Number 49th Annual Report of the Woman's Foreign Missionary Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church 1919 includes Chronology 1869-1919 and India Archive.org where there are numerous other Annual Reports
- A Glimpse of India being a collection of extracts from the letters Dr. Clara A. Swain, first medical missionary to India of the Woman's Foreign Missionary Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church in America 1909 Archive.org and Clara A. Swain, M.D.: first medical missionary to the women of the Orient by Mrs. Robert Hoskins. 1912 Archive.org
- Pennell of the Afghan frontier; the life of Theodore Leighton Pennell, M.D., B. SC., F.R.C.S. Kaisar-i-Hind medal for public service in India by Alice Maud Pennell 1914. Dr Pennell of the Bannu Medical Mission died at the age of 44.
- Shelton of Tibet by Flora Beal Shelton 1923 Archive.org. Dr Albert Leroy Shelton, 1875-1922, was a medical missionary, for the Foreign Christian Missionary Society of Cincinnati, USA, from 1903 until killed by bandits.
- "The amazing adventures of Sue in Tibet and her creator" by Tricia Kehoe 16 March 2016. BBC News.Dorris Shelton Still was the daughter of Dr Albert Shelton and his wife Flora, and spent her childhood in Tibet. Includes photographs.
- The Khaki Kook Book: A Collection of a Hundred Cheap and Practical Recipes Mostly from Hindustan by Mary Kennedy Core 1917 Project Gutenberg. The introduction indicates the author was an American missionary. She also wrote articles in the Woman's missionary friend, Volumes 47-48 1915 and Volume 70 1937 published by the Woman's Foreign Missionary Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church.
- Dr Ida: The Story Of Dr Ida Scudder Of Vellore by Dorothy Clarke Wilson 1959. Archive.org. Dr Ida Scudder was an American medical missionary who practised as a doctor in India from c 1900, who was the driving force behind the establishment of the Vellore Christian Medical College and Hospital
- Josiah Nelson Cushing, Missionary and Scholar, Burma by Wallace St. John 1912 archive.org. American Baptist Mission.
- Missionary tropics : the Catholic frontier in India (16th-17th centuries) Ines G. Županov. 2005 Contents Hathi Trust Digital Library
- Many editions of the Church Missionary Atlas are available on the website Archive.org
- Mission Field, a monthly record of the proceedings of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel at home and abroad Archive.org. Issues published in the 1870s-1880s. Includes items about India.
- India pages 96-99 A Handbook of the Church of Scotland by James Rankin. Second edition 1881 Archive.org
- The Missions of the Scottish Churches in India pages 123-125 The Missionary Ideal in the Scottish Churches by D. Mackichan 1927 Archive.org
- The Scottish Churches' Work Abroad - Chapter 4 "Scotland in India" by J. H. Morrison 1927 electricscotland.com
- Anglo-Indian Evangelisation Society. 1901 Thirty First Annual Report. The chief object of the Society is "The maintenance of an unsectarian itinerant evangelisation among the widely scattered groups of Europeans and Eurasians in India, otherwise destitute of Gospel ordinances, at Railway Stations, on Tea Estates, &c". Many similar editions from 1886-1915 AdHoc, a Yale Divinity School faculty-library initiative.
- Rangoon Diocesan Association: Quarterly Paper Church of England. 48 quarterly issues from 1897 to 1908, published in London. SOAS Digital Library. London University.The issue for June 1898 listed Clergy and English Missionaries throughout Burma. If the link is not permanent Search using keyword Rangoon.
- Our Mission Field in India: The Report of Rev C V Sheatsley, Commissioner, on the Indian Field from July 15 to December 1, 1920 . Published by the Evangelical Lutheran Joint Synod of Ohio, [USA]. Archive.org. Lacks the Illustrations from the book.
- Seventh-Day Adventist Church Online Archives: Periodicals published in India Scroll down to Herald of Health 1910-1917; India Union Tidings 1917-1919; Signs of the Times and Oriental Watchman 1898- 1919; Oriental Watchman and Herald of Health 1924- onwards; Eastern Tidings 1904-1953, which then became Southern Asia Tidings.