CHURCH MISSIONARY SOCIETY ARCHIVE
Section IV: Africa Missions
Part 1: West Africa (Sierra Leone), 1803-1880
Part 2: West Africa (Sierra Leone), 1820-1880
Part 3: Nigeria - Yoruba, 1844-1880
Part 4: Nigeria - Yoruba, 1844-1880
Part 5: West Africa (Sierra Leone), 1820-1880
Part 6: Nigeria - Niger, 1857-1882
Part 7: Sudan, 1905-1949
Editorial Introduction by Rosemary Keen
The Church Missionary Society (CMS) came into being on 12 April 1799 at a public meeting at the Castle and Falcon Inn, Aldersgate, London. Why was it begun then, and into what kind of world was it born?
Its roots go back to the middle of the eighteenth century when there was a great revival in the Church of England inspired by the preaching of John Wesley and others. Although Wesley’s followers left the Church (and founded Methodism), other Anglican clergy aimed to revive and reform it by bringing personal conviction into religion at a time when clergy were often negligent and worldly. Their emphasis on individual conversion and justification by faith led them to be called Evangelicals.
As this movement grew there was an increasing desire to spread the Gospel where it had not been heard. At the same time there was a gradual realisation of the essential value of the individual and therefore the infamy of slavery. By the 1780s two groups in London were particularly concerned with these ideas, the Eclectic Society, and the Clapham Sect (members of John Venn’s church at Clapham).
The Eclectic Society had at various times discussed missionary needs and methods, partly inspired by the general interest in such matters which had led to the formation of the Baptist Missionary Society in 1792 and the London Missionary Society in 1795. At a meeting in March 1799 John Venn raised the specific question of how they themselves should spread the Gospel overseas and his call for action led to the April meeting at the Castle and Falcon. There a resolution was passed, “It is the duty highly incumbent upon every Christian to endeavour to propagate the knowledge of the Gospel among the Heathen;” and the Society for Missions to Africa and the East was formed (in 1812 renamed The Church Missionary Society for Africa and the East).
At the March Eclectic Meeting Venn had propounded certain fundamental missionary principles and these served and still serve as the Society’s guide. They were these:
- to follow God in the same way as the missionaries of the early Church
- to begin humbly and on a small scale
- to put money after prayer and study
- to depend on the Holy Spirit
The Society was ready to start work: but at first there were difficulties and delays. As the Society was seeking clergy as missionaries it could not begin work officially until the Archbishop of Canterbury had expressed his opinion of its proposals. He took sixteen months to consider their aims and then returned a neutral answer that “he would look on the proceedings with candour and that it would give him pleasure to find them such as he could approve”. He and other leaders in the Church of England did not see the need for another missionary society. Indeed no bishop gave formal approval to the Society until 1815.
There was a further difficulty in choice of mission field. West Africa was the natural first choice, for at Freetown there had been a colony for freed slaves established in 1786, under the charge of the Sierra Leone Company (of which some CMS founders were directors). Elsewhere, however, few places were open. The East India Company did not approve of missionaries to the Indians, although it accepted chaplains for the British communities; in China no foreigners other than traders were admitted; Japan was closed to outsiders.
The final delay was caused by inability to find missionaries. No suitable Englishmen could be found, although many candidates were interviewed and financial support was received from the first. It was not until 1804 that two German Lutheran clergy, Melchior Renner and Peter Hartwig, trained in the seminary at Berlin, sailed for Freetown.
Renner and Hartwig were sent to work amongst the Susu tribe, but after the abolition of the slave trade in 1807, opportunities were also opened up at the invitation of the Colonial Government among people rescued from slave ships and settled in Sierra Leone. More missionaries, both German and English, were sent there and many people were converted.
The death toll among missionaries was heavy from the start and reached a climax in the yellow fever epidemic of 1823. CMS therefore considered training Africans for the ministry, realising that they stood the climate better than Europeans did and in 1827 a training institution was opened at Fourah Bay. This was the future University of Fourah Bay, where so many leading Sierra Leoneans were to study, though none perhaps more famous than the very first student, Samuel Crowther.
From the first, education was of prime importance in evangelism and every mission station had its school, at first with the missionary and soon with an African Christian schoolmaster in charge. In 1845 CMS opened a grammar school in Freetown to give secondary education to boys not only from the Colony, but also other parts of the coast. In 1849 a secondary girls' school was begun, later to be renowned as the Annie Walsh Memorial School.
By this time most of the people in the Colony were Christian. Henry Venn was then chief Secretary at CMS headquarters and his judgement and experience had convinced him that all mission churches should be self-supporting, self-governing and self-propagating. His idea was supported by the Society and an independent Sierra Leone church was gradually achieved. The bishop was European, but all the pastors were Colony born.
People were encouraged to take their full share in running the church. In the 1870s they began their own missionary society to work amongst neighbouring districts. Work was resumed amongst the Temnes at Port Loko, where Christian Schlenker had worked and studied the language in the 1840s. The missionaries sent there by CMS London were among the first to learn their modern role of servants rather than leaders of the indigenous church.
At the turn of the century CMS was forced through financial crises to reduce the number of missionaries in Sierra Leone and withdraw its support from the Port Loko work. In 1919 it even considered leaving the country entirely. By 1922 this possibility had passed but over the next forty years the missionaries were confined to working in the chief educational institutions. They provided a series of European principals for Fourah Bay College and the two Freetown grammar schools and they also shared with the Wesleyan Methodists and the United Brethren in a Union teacher training college at Bunumbu, which was opened in 1933.
The Sierra Leone Church had developed self-support and self-government, though the bishops who led it remained European. The enormous diocese which covered not only Sierra Leone but also Gambia and North Africa was divided in 1935 and Bishop Wright suggested an African, Rev A W Howells, as his successor. CMS however nominated Canon Horstead the principal of Fourah Bay College with T S Johnson, a Sierra Leonean, as assistant bishop. It was not until 1961, with the consecration of the Rt Rev Moses Scott, that Sierra Leone would have its own African bishop.
The opening up of Nigeria to Christian mission originated in the desire of British merchants to extend their trade on the West Africa coast. Following the discovery of the source of the Niger in 1830 Thomas Fowell Buxton combined commercial argument with his zeal against slavery and urged the government to undertake expeditions into the interior.
The first Niger expedition was in 1841 and two CMS men were members of it. One of them was Samuel Crowther, by then a teacher at Freetown, who was chosen because he was himself a Yoruba from Western Nigeria. The expedition was a failure but the Society, impressed by Crowther's ability, invited him to England for training and ordination. Shortly after his return to Sierra Leone some of the liberated slaves, who had returned as prosperous merchants to their native country around Lagos, asked for Christian teachers. Crowther and a young Englishman, Henry Townsend, were sent to them and began the Yoruba mission, with its headquarters at Abeokuta.
Venn strongly supported economic development as a means of spreading the Gospel. Industrial institutions at Abeokuta (and later also at Onitsha and Lokoja in the Niger mission) provided apprenticeship schemes for the fast developing cotton trade, instigated by Manchester merchants. The missions also led the way in building and architecture, printing and medicine.
In the 1860s the Dahomian wars interrupted European mission work around Abeokuta, but by that time the local Christians were fully capable of continuing unaided and the Church grew.
Meanwhile, in Eastern Nigeria the CMS Niger mission had been started. In 1857 following a successful private expedition up the Niger, Samuel Crowther was commissioned to establish an African mission to evangelise Africans. In Yoruba country the Christians from Sierra Leone had been returning to their own families. Here they came as missionaries, strangers to the country, though of the same peoples.
CMS supported the work with a small grant, but urged Crowther to make the Church self-supporting. In 1864 he came to England to be consecrated Bishop of the Niger Territories, with eventual responsibility for the whole area from the Nupe country in the north to the Delta States in the south. A special endowment fund was set up to support the bishopric. For Crowther both academic and practical education were of the greatest value in evangelism. He centred the mission stations on schools, and at the same time emphasised the need for missionaries and converts to exercise direct Christian influence on the laws and customs of the people.
It was difficult for Crowther always to recruit the type of men he wanted, for although the work swiftly grew there was no increased support from CMS either in money or men. By 1875, with growing commercial interest in West Africa, there was friction between the European traders and the African missionaries. There was a ferment of new ideas in Europe. Venn was dead and Crowther no longer had support from Salisbury Square. Hutchinson, who had taken over Venn's responsibility for the Niger mission, tried to introduce European supervision and sent out young missionaries to report on the state of the mission. Years of controversy followed, exacerbated by the impetuous stubbornness of the English missionaries who were trained in new ways as were the fresh group of Secretaries in London. Confidence between Crowther and CMS was lost.
In 1887 J A Robinson was appointed secretary of the Niger mission which was by then administered by a committee at Onitsha of which Bishop Crowther was chairman. At a meeting in 1890 Robinson attempted to usurp the chairman's power over the clergy and Crowther resigned. His son Dandeson, archdeacon of the Delta, removed his churches from CMS control and established the Niger Delta Pastorate Church. The estrangement between the Society and
the Delta church was to continue for more than thirty years, although the first signs of reconciliation were to come in 1897 with formal approval of its constitution as an independent church.
Crowther died in 1891 and the Niger and Yoruba missions were united in one diocese, Western Equatorial Africa, under an English bishop J S Hill. Not until 1952 was there an African successor to Crowther. Hill's jurisdiction extended over the whole of modern Nigeria and at the very end of the century, his successor, Bishop Tugwell led a small party some 600 miles from the coast near Lagos to Zaria in the north. This was the beginning of the church in that largely Muslim area.
Over the next fifty years in Nigeria the Society's role changed. The government played an increasing part in the financing of education, while as dioceses were created the Society gradually handed over its authority to the indigenous church.
For the long-established work in Western Nigeria it was a time of consolidation. CMS increasingly worked with others, particularly the Methodists, in education and shared in supporting the United Missionary College at Ibadan. The CMS Bookshop at Lagos, supervised by C W Wakeman, supplied schools and mission stations, outstripping similar CMS Bookshops in the Niger mission to become the chief schools' supplier in West Africa. Medical work was not so prominent. The hospital at Ado Ekiti opened in 1936.
In the Niger area CMS extended its work to Awka, where it founded a teacher training college, then to Egbu and Patani and by 1910 to the Isoko people. Archdeacon Dennis translated the Bible into Ibo, producing a Union version in 1911 to replace the Onitsha version till then used in the schools; Henry Procter translated the Book of Common Prayer into the Brass language. For CMS however there was greater interest in the development of the Bookshop at Onitsha (started 1896) with its branches at Egbu (Owerri from 1923) and Port Harcourt 1920. There was also medical work at Iyi Enu from the 1890s, a small hospital being opened in 1908.
The diocese on the Niger was created in 1922. Its jurisdiction included the Niger Delta and Bishop Lasbrey was able to win the confidence of the leaders of the Delta Church as well as the CMS clergy. Integrating the diocese took time, skill and patience but by 1931 a constitution was approved.
The work in Northern Nigeria expanded in four areas. Work amongst the Hausa was pioneered from 1905 at Zaria by Dr Walter Miller, a man of vision and a brilliant linguist. From 1926 it gained a series of recruits from a group of Cambridge University men, the Hausa Band. Max Warren, one of their number, was later to become CMS General Secretary.
Guy Bullen, who proved a leader of sound judgement and a patient negotiator developed the work at Wusasa, where another member of the Band, Dr Norman Cook, was in charge of the medical mission and the building of the hospital from 1930.
Another group of missionaries from Cambridge, the Cambridge University Missionary Party, had been working on the Bauchi plateau since 1907. CUMP like the Hausa Band was a largely self- supporting group within CMS. A new station among the Angass at Kabwir was opened in 1910 and in 1915 the first converts were baptised. It remained a small mission however and in January 1930 the work was handed over to the Sudan United Mission.
Work among the Nupe began in 1903 at Bida and extended to Katcha in 1909. Progress was affected by the isolation of the mission and the lack of reinforcements, but the first Nupe was ordained in 1935.
The Bassa district was a region where the Aladura movement made great impact and Miss K E Ritsert and Miss Christine Matthews were transferred from Lokoja to Kpata in 1931 to work among those influenced by it. They started medical work. By 1936 there were about eight thousand worshippers in the district.
It was Captain Allen Gardiner RN who first brought South Africa to the attention of the Society. He visited Dingaan, the Zulu chief, in 1834 and obtained permission for missionaries to be sent to them. On Gardiner's return to England he spoke at the CMS anniversary meeting and as a result Rev Francis Owen offered to return with Gardiner. When the party got to Cape Town a CM Association for the colony was formed. Owen and his wife and sister then journeyed to Dingaan's town arriving in August 1837. Within months however Dingaan's killing of the Boers abruptly terminated the mission.
Meanwhile CMS, being unaware of what had happened, sent out a lay agent, W Hewetson and a surgeon, R Philips to join Owen. They agreed to try to work at Mosita, a site north of Grahamstown, which had been occupied earlier and then abandoned by the Paris Missionary Society. But that Society sent out fresh missionaries and CMS then decided to withdraw entirely from the country.
At the time that CMS was first considering work in Nigeria and shortly after the closure of its short-lived mission to the Zulus (1837-41), the Rev Ludwig Krapf came to Mombasa.
He and other CMS missionaries had been forced to leave Ethiopia and Krapf decided to attempt to reach the inland tribes from the East Coast.
John Rebmann joined him in 1846 and they established a mission at Rabai, embarking on several expeditions, which were to bring them incidental fame as explorers, not least as the European discoverers of Mount Kilimanjaro. Krapf returned to Germany in 1855 and for twenty years Rebmann was to work on alone, studying the language and cared for, after he became blind, by a small band of Christians.
In 1872 a fresh start was made. The British government sent Sir Bartle Frere to negotiate a treaty with Zanzibar for the suppression of the slave-trade. On Frere's return he urged CMS to establish a settlement near Mombasa for the slaves freed from Arab raiders. The Society sent out the Rev W S Price, who had been working among such slaves at Nasik in Western India. Land was purchased for an industrial colony (named Frere Town) and work began in 1875.
Progress was slow but in 1885 work began to spread to the interior in Taita and Chagga country. Soon afterwards, however, German annexations in Tanganyika led to opposition from the local people and cut off communications. As a result Frere Town and Rabai remained the two centres of the Kenya mission for the remainder of the century.
There were many missionary societies and Christian denominations working in Kenya and as their work grew it led to overlapping of effort. A series of inter-mission conferences was held from 1908 seeking church unity and a federation of societies. The former was not achieved but in 1918 a conference at Kikuyu appointed a representative council of which the main members were Anglicans, Scottish Episcopalians, and Methodists. The alliance aimed to work towards a united ministry based on united training, but its most enduring contribution was in education - in the Alliance High School at Kikuyu which opened in 1926 and to which a CMS missionary, Carey Francis, was appointed headmaster in 1940.
CMS opened a hospital at Maseno in 1920, but in both medicine and education the government was so vigorous in its policies that individual institutions were not so important in mission development as they were in other countries in which CMS worked.
The missionaries did play an important part in political and social problems however. Issues such as compulsory unpaid labour on public works, the emancipation of women and girls, and the ownership of land (particularly relating to the discovery of gold in the Kavirondo reserve) were all taken up on behalf of the Africans by church leaders and missionaries, of whom Archdeacon W E Owen was the outstanding CMS exponent throughout the 1920s and 1930s.
In November 1875 the Daily Telegraph published a letter from the explorer Henry Morton Stanley. The King of the Baganda, the Kabaka Mutesa, had received Stanley, as he had the earlier explorers Speke and Grant and listened to their account of Christianity. Now he sent a message that he would welcome white men in his country. Three days after the publication of the letter £5000 was offered to CMS to organise a mission to Uganda. The Society's established work at Frere Town gave them added incentive to accept the offer and preparations began.
In 1876 a party of eight men was sent out. They were beset with illness and only two, the Rev C T Wilson and Lt Shergold Smith, reached Uganda in June 1877. Smith was killed that December and Wilson remained alone for a year until Alexander Mackay, who had been detained ill at the coast, joined him.
As usual in pioneering days, education and religion went hand in hand. Mackay (working alone, for Wilson had returned to England) was teacher, evangelist, builder and printer. The early Christians were known as 'readers' and by 1880 the first translations of parts of the Bible were circulating, printed on Mackay's own press.
In 1884 Mutesa died and his son Mwanga turned against the Christians. His bitter persecution culminated in about 30 of the pages in his court being burned alive. In 1885 James Hannington, sent out as the first bishop of Eastern Equatorial Africa, was murdered in Busoga. Years of religious wars and political unrest followed and the Christians were scattered.
Yet in suffering the church found a vital and infectious faith. When Bishop Alfred Tucker came out in 1890, he was greeted by thousands of Christians and a flourishing church. The century was to end with a decade of expansion. The first Ugandan priests were ordained in 1893, the Luganda Bible was completed in 1896 and in 1897 the diocese of Uganda was formed. That same year Dr Albert Cook began his long career at Mengo hospital and, of far greater significance, Apolo Kivebulaya, who had been taught at one time by Mackay, was sent as a missionary to Mboga and began his long ministry in the Congo.
The twentieth century continued the expansion of the 1890s. At Mengo hospital J H Cook (who was later CMS Medical Secretary) joined his brother Albert and a medical school was opened in January 1917. A maternity training school founded and run by Mrs Albert Cook opened in 1918. Dr. Ashton Bond opened a hospital at Toro in 1903, though it was forced to close as an economy measure in 1934. Medical work at N'gora started in 1922 and a leprosy settlement at Ongino was set up in 1926, both still flourishing in the 1940s.
Because the Anglican church was fully organised the responsibility for the schools, including boarding schools, lay with the diocesan council which worked in co-operation with the African chiefs and without government supervision. There were two diocesan public schools, Budo Kings School for boys and Gayaza High School for girls, both founded in 1905 and staffed by CMS missionaries. For clergy training there was Mukono Theological College, which had begun as a small divinity class at Kampala and moved to Mukono in 1913. J C Jones in the late 1930s and J V Taylor (later CMS General Secretary) in the 1940s were outstanding members of staff.
The 1930s were notable for the Revival Movement which had begun among the African staff in Gahini hospital in Rwanda. In 1935 C E Stuart succeeded Bishop J J Willis who had retired after 34 years in Uganda, 22 of them as bishop. Bishop Stuart invited a team from Gahini to lead a convention at Mukono and this led to a campaign of evangelism in 1937 to mark the Diamond Jubilee of the CMS mission. Dr Joe Church was seconded from Rwanda to organise and develop a "true holiness movement in Uganda based exclusively on the Bible". There was a danger in the early 1940s that some of the converts might have separated themselves from the local churches but the patience of Bishop Stuart and others prevented a split.
The mission in German East Africa (Tanganyika) sprang directly from the Uganda work. The first station, Mpwapwa, (occupied in 1878) acted as a support station for the supply route from the coast. The main areas allocated to CMS were in the Usagara and Ugogo districts and in 1880 a second station was opened at Mamboya.
The early years were not easy for although the German administration was not unfriendly, the mission did not attract the same interest as the Kenya and Uganda missions further north. Even the division of the diocese of Eastern Equatorial Africa in 1897 left the missionaries with remote episcopal supervision and encouragement.
In 1900 work began at Berega and Mvumi, spreading to Buigiri the following year. The work at Mpwapwa was moved to Kongwa in 1904. There followed some years of increasing response to the Gospel, but on the outbreak of the First World War all the missionaries were interned. They were able to return to work in 1917 but then had to face reduction in numbers during the retrenchment of the 1920s.
It had been recognised for some years that a separate diocese was needed for Tanganyika. As there were a number of Australian missionaries working in the country it was proposed that CMS Australia should nominate and help to fund a bishop. In 1927 George Chambers, General Secretary to CMS Australia, was chosen and the Australian society took responsibility for the financial support of the entire mission and diocese.
Despite financial worries and shortage of staff the work grew. The divinity school and teacher-training institute at Kongwa, which had been established in 1913 with T B R Westgate as its first principal, moved to Dodoma in 1928, where it was served for some years by a CMS Bookshop. From 1929 work spread along the shores of Lake Tanganyika. One of Lionel Bakewell's assistants in the work was Yohana Omari, who was later to become the first African bishop of the diocese. In the same year the Africa Inland Mission, the German missions, the Universities' Mission to Central Africa and CMS united in a Christian Council for Central Tanganyika. Medical work developed. Hospitals were opened at Kilimatinde in 1933 and Mvumi in 1938 and infant welfare centres were introduced.
By the time Bishop Chambers retired in 1947 the number of missionaries and African clergy had greatly increased, while in the Western part of the country there was a thriving young church of about 10,000 adherents.
RWANDA AND BURUNDI
The major partner agency of the Church of England in Rwanda is now Mid-Africa Ministry, a daughter society of CMS, originally named Ruanda Mission (CMS). Its origins can be found amongst the records of the CMS Uganda mission, for MAM's two pioneer missionaries worked for CMS before going to Rwanda.
Dr Leonard Sharp and Dr A C Stanley Smith were convinced of God's call to work in Rwanda and offered to CMS for that work. They were sent at first to Mengo hospital in Uganda, but in December 1916 made an exploratory visit to Rwanda. In 1917 the CMS Uganda missionary committee received an appeal for medical help from Rwandans in Rwanda and Kigezi. The CMS committee in London were unable to agree to this expansion of work because of the lack of funds, but the two doctors began to raise funds independently and by 1919 were able to guarantee support both for four years' work and for a hospital. There were some remaining difficulties over staffing and finally the Kigezi district of South West Uganda was suggested and agreed as a place to start rather than beginning in Rwanda itself. In 1920 the CMS committee in London accepted the doctors' offer, the work to be accountable to the Uganda missionary committee.
In the early days support was given and organised by 'Friends of Ruanda', but in 1926 the Ruanda Council was formed as a CMS committee in charge of the administration of the work. In 1929 it took full financial responsibility for the mission, though it was not separated from the CMS mission in Uganda until 1933.
The Sharps and Stanley Smiths arrived at Kabale in Kigezi in 1921, but it was seven years later when they actually moved into Rwanda and settled at Gahini. Medical work was welcomed from the start and hospitals were opened at Kabale, Gahini, Kigeme and Shyira, while a leprosy treatment centre was established at Bunyonyi on Bwama Island.
In 1934 it was agreed that work should begin in Burundi with three centres Buhiga, Matana and Ibuye. As in Rwanda the aim was to establish a church, hospital and school in each place.
Ecumenical relations with other missions were good and in 1935 the Alliance of Protestant Missions in Ruanda-Urundi was formed. This co-operation was particularly notable in translation work in which Harold Guillebaud was the outstanding figure. By 1949 there was a rapidly growing church.
CMS work in Sudan began at Omdurman in 1899 and Khartoum in 1900. Llewellyn Gwynne, Dr Frank Harpur and Archibald Shaw were members of the pioneer party which aimed to reach the pagan areas of the south, but it was not until 1905 that they were allowed to enter the area. Funds that had been collected in memory of General Gordon were used for the mission and the first station, Malek was opened in 1906.
As far as the development of the church was concerned the Sudan mission was considered by CMS as two distinctly different areas. The Northern Sudan mission was closely linked to Egypt and remained in the diocese of Egypt and the Sudan from its inauguration in 1920 until Sudan was made a diocese in its own right in 1945. But in 1920 the Southern Sudan mission was placed by CMS under the episcopal oversight of the bishop of Uganda and became part of the CMS Elgon mission. Six years later Bishop Leonard Kitching was consecrated first bishop of the Upper Nile diocese, whose jurisdiction covered the whole Elgon mission area. It was not until his death in 1935 that the Southern Sudan was restored to the diocese of Egypt and the Sudan.
The difference between the north and south of the country is also reflected in the ways in which the missionaries worked and in the results of their evangelism. In the north the work was mainly among Muslims, missionary activity was restricted and the church was small in numbers and largely identified with a few missionary institutions. Medical work centred on the hospital at Omdurman, though from 1926 there was also a dispensary in the north of the city at Abu Rof. In the 1930s there was added a baby welfare clinic, children's home and girls' elementary school. There were also girls' schools in Omdurman itself, Atbara (where work had begun in 1908) and, from 1916, in Wad Medani. In the 1930s the government asked CMS to open schools in the Nuba Mountains and they chose two centres, Salara in 1935 and Katcha in 1939. These schools were taken over by the Sudanese government in 1959.
In the south of the country there was a similar emphasis on education and medicine but the work was among the tribal peoples. Missionaries worked among the Dinka at Malek and Akot, the Nuer at Ler and Zeraf Island, the Zande at Yambio and Maridi and the Bari at Yei, Loka, Juba and Kajokaji.
The mission suffered from a shortage of staff and money in the 1920s and 1930s and found it difficult to fulfil some of the government's requests regarding education. All the stations had elementary vernacular schools for boys and girls but there was only one secondary school. This was the Nugent school, which was begun at Juba in 1920 and moved to Loka in 1929. The best pupils from all the mission schools were sent to Nugent either to the school itself or to its technical department.
By the late 1930s the mission and church were growing. The Revival spread from Uganda to the south of Sudan and by 1941 there were approximately 18,000 Christians. In that year the first ordinations took place, one of the ordinands being Daniel Deng who in 1955 was to become the first Sudanese Anglican bishop.
The CMS were keen to work in areas such as Egypt and Palestine and in 1825 CMS men were sent to Egypt to make contact with the Coptic church. A mission was established in Cairo but relinquished in 1862.
After the British occupation of Egypt in 1882 CMS sent F A Klein to Cairo and the mission there was reopened. In 1883 work was also begun in Baghdad but this latter station was given up at the end of the First World War.
The Anglican Church in Egypt grew as a partnership between the missionaries and the British expatriates who had built churches and formed small congregations in Cairo and elsewhere. These groups came under the jurisdiction of the Anglican bishop in Jerusalem but in 1908 Llewellyn Gwynne, a CMS missionary, was appointed assistant bishop of Khartoum.
In 1920 Egypt and the Sudan were made into a separate diocese with Gwynne as bishop until his retirement in 1947. The Egyptian membership of the Anglican Church was small because CMS preserved its original intention from 1818 not to proselytise the Coptic or Evangelical churches but to aim at the evangelisation of the non-Christian population.
Cairo was a strong centre with not only schools for boys and girls but with the renowned Old Cairo Hospital which opened in 1889 under Dr Frank Harpur. In 1905 a book depot opened in Cairo. Its most famous publication was "Orient and Occident", a magazine in Arabic on religious and general subjects, begun by Douglas Thornton and W H Temple Gairdner. Its circulation spread far beyond Egypt and it was still being published in the 1980s. Thornton died in 1906 and Gairdner continued on his own until 1923 when Constance Padwick came as his assistant. All three considered Christian literature work an essential way to advance evangelism in a country of ancient culture and wide literacy.
THE ORGANISATION AND CLASSIFICATION OF THE ARCHIVE
The arrangement of the archive reflects the administrative growth of the Society. The Society is basically run by committees and the Secretaries to the main committees are heads of departments at headquarters and in many ways act as a board of directors. The work of the Society is in two parts; home (i.e. within the British Isles) and overseas.
The overseas part of the work was originally the responsibility of the Committee of Correspondence. It was to seek out prospective missionaries, to prepare them for service overseas and to be responsible for them from then on. In effect its role combined the tasks of what were later to be the Candidates, Medical, Africa and Asia departments. For the archives of the Candidates and Medical departments the classification system for work within the British Isles has been used. The Africa and Asia departments have their own classification system for the papers commonly known as the “mission
archives” for the period 1799 to 1949. Their post-1934 papers on general subjects however, use the classification system for work within the British Isles.
The two other committees set up when the Society began were the General Committee, which directed overall policy, and the Committee of Accounts (later the Finance Committee) which was responsible for administering the funds. These became the General Secretary’s department and the Finance department or division. Both these departments’ archives have also been treated as part of the work within the British Isles.
In 1811 a Committee of Funds was appointed whose task was to augment the Society’s funds. This developed into the Funds and Home Organisation Committeee in 1881 and the work moved out of the sphere of the Finance department, though it remained closely linked with it. The Home Secretary was head of the Home division whose archives use the classification system for work within the British Isles.
The General Secretary’s department is the most important because the General Committee was ultimately responsible for CMS policy. There are three areas of responsibility for the General Secretary. The first is as chief Candidates’ Secretary. Apart from a short time during Henry Venn’s secretaryship the work of seeking out and training missionary candidates belonged to the General Secretary. The heavy pressure of work led to the formation of a Candidates department in 1897 and this was considered part of the General Secretary’s responsibility until 1914 when it became a branch of the Foreign department. However the General Secretary continued to consider himself the chief Candidates Secretary until the major reorganisation of the Society’s headquarters administration in 1982. The department’s records therefore include the records of Islington College and other training institutions.
Until 1880 the Secretary to the General Committee was also Secretary to the Committee of Correspondence and as such was considered the chief Foreign Secretary (a term not formally used until later). When the three Group Secretaries took over the routine administration of the work in the missions overseas the General Secretary remained responsible for overall policy and continued to be the designated secretary for correspondence with the Archbishop of Canterbury and with overseas bishops. This responsibility has continued to the present day. The department’s records therefore comprise not only a major source for the policy underlying the activities of the Society abroad, but are the main source on the formation of churches and dioceses and the appointment of bishops.
All the Secretaries have equal authority in the administration of the Society, but because the General Committee (now General Council) was the Society’s ultimate authority the General Secretary is considered “first among equals”. He is the representative of the Society in dealing with bishops and archbishops. He is also responsible for all spiritual matters. The department’s records therefore contain papers on staff welfare and much personal and confidential correspondence which reflect his role of final arbiter and highest court of appeal.
The Medical department was set up in 1891 and served both the Medical Committee, which was responsible for the administration of medical missions overseas, and the Medical Missions Auxiliary Fund Committee, whose task was to arouse support within the British Isles to enable the MMA “to increase the number and equip thoroughly the medical missions of the Society”. The department’s archives contain correspondence with all the hospitals and other medical institutions founded and staffed by CMS. The medical periodical called Mercy and Truth contains articles about the institutions and the medical work (though emphasis is on evangelistic opportunities rather than purely medical details).
The Candidates department dates from 1897 but the work of seeking out and training missionary candidates was the responsibility of the Secretary to the General Committee from the founding of the Society. In 1891 pressure of work led to the appointment of an Assistant Clerical Secretary whose sole job was to work with prospective candidates. In 1897 this Assistant was made a full Secretary of the Society and the Candidates department was formed.
Its task was to correspond with and be responsible for prospective missionaries from the time of their first application until their departure to their work. The Secretary was also responsible for corresponding with the five Colonial Church Missionary Associations, whose candidates, from the 1890s until about the 1920s, had to be approved by CMS London before being accepted. The department also corresponded similarly with the West Indies Church Missionary Council, which negotiated the employment of West Indian agents in West Africa.
At first the department was considered part of the General Secretary’s responsibility but in 1914 it was proposed that for administrative purposes it should be a branch of the Foreign department (Africa and Asia). In practice it appears to have retained independence while being very closely linked with both the Foreign department and the General Secretary’s department.
The Candidates department’s papers mainly comprise the application papers of prospective missionaries. Unfortunately it was this department that suffered when an incendiary damaged headquarters in the Blitz. The committee minutes survive, but for the correspondence there is one set of bound volumes of letters for 1846-65 and then a gap until the early 1890s. A small tin trunk full of the “blue packets” of application papers was all that survived for the period up to 1940.
The Finance department existed from the founding of the Society in 1799 when the Committee of Accounts was set up “to receive subscriptions, to regulate the accounts and to undertake the charge of fitting out and conveying the missionaries to the place of their destination”. The receipt of money, including that derived from legacies, and the keeping of the accounts remain the chief work of the Finance department today. In 1842 following a financial crisis a Finance Committee was appointed “without whose sanction no expense of any kind was to be incurred”. Besides dealing with purely accounting functions, the Finance department has always been responsible for the Society’s property at home and overseas and for special funds set up for specific purposes (mainly connected with foreign work). The Finance Secretary has also been responsible for the physical administration and organisation of headquarters and for the payment of salaries and pensions to the missionaries and staff. The department has the usual financial volumes, papers about property etc. There is also interesting correspondence with the Foreign Office and other government departments 1876-1914.
The Home department or division began in 1871 with the appointment of a Central or Home Secretary. The department’s earliest responsibility was for the deputation work, through which interest in and support for mission might be stimulated. For this it was largely dependent on the local Associations for which it supplied magazines and other publications as well as missionary collecting boxes. The Home Secretary was also in charge of the field staff (agents from headquarters who were stationed at convenient centres throughout the British Isles and who provided support services for the local CMS supporters).
The work of the department expanded quickly and it became responsible for all the publications of the Society, with an Editorial Secretary (formerly the editor) at the head of a large section. By 1915 when Eugene Stock was Editorial Secretary there were sections dealing with such matters as women’s work, missionary study, education (public schools, Young People’s Union), exhibitions, and the Gleaners’ Union. It was also responsible for organising meetings such as the Summer Schools, congresses, the Day of Intercession and the anniversary meetings (Annual Sermon etc.). The division’s responsibilities were at their greatest in the 1940s and 1950s, when there were four departments in charge of 36 sections. The four comprised the Deputy Home Secretary (responsible for deputation work and the field staff), the Editorial Secretary (in charge of all the Society’s publications) the Publicity Director and the Education Secretary (who was also responsible for work amongst children and youth).
There are the usual files of correspondence and often minute books for each section of the Home division, though the ephemeral nature of the work means that some sections’ records are sparse or incomplete. The Editorial section includes the file set of all the Society’s publications.
A. Work within the British Isles
Each Secretary to a CMS main committee has a department at headquarters. These departments have been allocated a reference letter, e.g. C Candidates, F Finance, G General Secretary. The files of each department have then been divided into groups according to the use which the department gave them e.g. A Administration, C Committee work. Where this grouping is very large (notably with the administrative files) there are further sub-divisions, e.g. AC Correspondence, AT Training.
The files or volumes in each group or subdivision are then numbered so that each can be individually called up for reference. Volumes are always individually numbered and occasionally for certain series of correspondence etc. each individual item has its own number. For the most part, however, the reference is for a group of papers comprising a file.
When quoting the file reference it is essential to have the department letter as well as the rest, for the sub-references occur in the papers of nearly all the various departments at headquarters. AC1, for example, merely indicates the first entry in the correspondence series (ref.AC) and must be further differentiated as to whether it is, for example, in the Finance department’s records (F/AC1), the Medical department (M/AC 1) or the Candidates’ department’s files (C/AC 1).
B. Overseas (Missions) Series
Each mission area, as soon as it was allocated a mission secretary, had its own administrative machinery of committees, conferences etc. At the same time it had its own series of correspondence and papers at headquarters. For the period before 1880 the work was under the Committee of Correspondence (C); then in 1880 the work was divided into three groups, each with its own sub-committee East Asia (G1), West Asia (G2) and Africa (G3).
1799-1880 Under the Committee of Correspondence (C)
At some point between 1805 and 1810 the early incoming and outgoing correspondence was collated, bound and indexed and this series continues until 1820 (E). From 1820 until 1880 the copies of outgoing letters were pasted into letter-books (L) and there is a separate series of incoming papers (O). Copies of the incoming papers were made by clerks at headquarters on quires of papers which were bound into mission books (M).
1880-1934 Under Group Committees (Groups 1-3: East Asia;
West Asia; Africa: reference G1, G2, G3)
The main series of letter-books continue for this period (L) and consist almost entirely of official letters to the mission secretary. Private and confidential letters to individual missionaries are entered in a series of individual letter-books (I), the incoming papers (O) were kept year by year in a sequence numbered for each year, while a summary was kept in the précis books (P) (which also acted as agenda for the committee meetings).
1935-1949 Under Africa and Asia Committees
The incoming and outgoing correspondence is kept together in a series of files comprising correspondence with the mission secretary and papers of other local CMS committees in a numbered sequence prefixed by the mission area’s own reference; then follows the correspondence with the bishop and diocesan authorities (d); series of files for each educational (e) or medical (m) institution or place (g) in which CMS missionaries worked.
Each mission area has it own classification reference. The African missions (A) are numbered in the order in which work began in the country or area e.g. A 1 Sierra Leone, A 3 Niger, A 8 Tanganyika. The Indian missions likewise: I 1 North India, I 5 Travancore and Cochin. Other missions have letters e.g. CE Ceylon, SN Northern Sudan etc.
N.B. Because all mission archives series have the same sets of letter-books etc., it is essential, when giving references at all times to distinguish the series, e.g. I 4 (Punjab and Sind), CE (Ceylon) and whether it is pre-1880 or post-1880 (i.e. C I 4 or G2 I 4). An incomplete reference such as L 1 (for first letterbook) or P 2 (second précis book) could refer to any of eleven African missions, ten Indian missions, five China missions or many others.
HOW TO USE THE ARCHIVE
A. Start with the printed material
Both Stock’s History of the Church Missionary Society (for the years 1799-1915) and Hewitt’s The Problems of Success (dealing with the period 1910-42) will give you the background for the mission area you will need to study. Both have name and place indices; Stock’s are particularly comprehensive. If your interest is in the overseas part of the Society’s work you will then need the “Proceedings” or Annual Reports which list all the missionaries each year arranged under the mission in which they work. Each mission has its own series of archives and it is essential to know the names of the missions rather than the names of the countries as they do not always correspond. For example Nigeria had three missions but the earliest Yoruba mission papers are to be found in the Sierra Leone mission series, as until 1844 all West Africa affairs were administered locally by the Sierra Leone mission secretary. In a similar way the work in Uganda was administered as part of the East Africa mission from 1889 to 1897 and in the “Proceedings” for those years the Uganda missionaries are listed with those working in Kenya and their letters are to be found in the Kenya mission archive series.
The “Proceedings” also include a summary of affairs for each mission which until the 1930s is in considerable detail and includes quotations from letters and reports. The Society’s periodicals, such as the C M Gleaner and C M Intelligencer contain not only articles on CMS and mission affairs but also lengthy extracts from journals, reports and letters sent by missionaries and others.
Reading printed material has the additional advantage that it enables you to become familiar with, for example, the nineteenth century spellings of place names, before you are faced with difficult to read manuscript material.
B. Read the catalogues
There are catalogues for all the departments/divisions at headquarters. The records of the foreign departments cannot be understood properly without consulting the papers of the other departments. Please note also that entries in the mission series catalogues draw attention to particular papers, not by assessment of their possible importance for mission work, but on the basis of whether the document or its content may be viewed as unusual in the context of routine mission business.
The catalogues for the mission series include summary notes on the development of the work, giving the main stations; the arrangement and classification of the mission archive series; notes about the citing of reference numbers; lists of the names and dates of office of the Secretaries with primary responsibility for the mission area; lists of the General Secretaries and the Lay (Financial) Secretaries for the period covered by the catalogue. The names are given in full which is necessary as many of the papers are initialled after being read and it is often vital to know which Secretary or other member of staff has dealt with the item.
The catalogues for the other departments at headquarters include lists of Secretaries and officers; a history of the department; a note about the citing of reference numbers and occasionally notes of any relevant material in other departments’ papers.
C. Search the card indexes
The main indexes (name, place and subject) contain entries from all the mission catalogues, plus the usual mass of useful information found when listing or browsing through the archives. They will eventually cover all the catalogues. Occasionally an individual document or correspondence series has been indexed in minute detail e.g. the correspondence within the British Isles in the 1872-1901 series in the General Secretary’s papers (ref:G/AC4). As the pre-1880 mission catalogues list the missionaries and agents in alphabetical order and also give their mission stations it has been possible to incorporate in the place index an alphabetical list of agents (with dates) for each station. In a similar way there are lists of the CEZMS stations with their agents. The name index also includes lists of CEZMS and FES missionaries, authors of articles in the C M Intelligencer and Mercy and Truth and obituaries in the C M Intelligencer and the C M Gleaner. For both names and places there are indexes of the illustrations in the periodicals C M Gleaner and Mercy and Truth. These indexes in particular are invaluable as nearly always the presence of an illustration means that there is something else about the subject in the contents of the periodical.
How to search by person
If the person you are interested in is a missionary, the first item to consult is the Register of Missionaries, which gives the biographical details together with details of where the missionary worked. Check in the “Proceedings” to find which mission the place is listed under. The overseas mission section of the archive is divided into three periods 1799-1880, 1880-1934 and 1935-1949. Each period has its own type of archive.
For the period 1799-1880 you will find letters to the missionary from the Secretaries in London in the outgoing letter-book series; letters from the missionary will be in the series called “original papers incoming”.
For the period 1880-1934 you will find the letters to the missionary from the secretaries in London in the letter-books, but for the letters from the missionary you will need to work your way through the précis books. These are a set of volumes containing the précis of all the papers sent to London from the mission numbered year by year in the order in which they arrived in London. They are printed or typed and each entry gives the number of the item, the date it was written and received, the name of the writer and the précis of the contents. The originals of these papers are kept in packets arranged numerically year by year. All you need is the number of the item and the year. Be careful because you need the year in which the committee dealt with the item, not necessarily the year in which the item was written. For example, the January committee meeting each year obviously dealt with December letters and in that case the December letter will be found in the January year. The number itself will give a clue in many cases. A high number is not likely to be dealt with in January. The précis is useful if there are not many letters because it is quick to use, but it is also useful because some of the items are missing from the series because they were transferred to other departments after the précis clerks had dealt with them, e.g. the Finance department dealt with requests for grants from trust funds and the Editorial department published the Annual Letters and kept the originals in their own papers.
For the period post-1934 the incoming and outgoing correspondence was kept together in each file. The files for each mission series consist of correspondence with the mission secretary, minutes of local governing bodies, correspondence with the bishop (arranged by dioceses), educational institutions, places and medical institutions. For these it is essential to know where the missionary was working.
Remember that with the entire overseas correspondence for any period there will be much about the missionary in the mission secretary’s papers and possibly also among the diocesan and bishop’s papers if he was a clergyman.
The first contact a prospective missionary had with the Society was when he applied to CMS. The earliest letters from prospective candidates are to be found in the papers of the General Secretary’s department. As they are part of a massive series of incoming correspondence within the whole of the British Isles (ref:G/AC 3) which at present is largely unindexed it is easiest to work through the indexes to the main series of Committee minutes which until 1853 have an exhaustive name index in each volume. The entries note the receipt of letters with their date. Many of the originals do not survive but there is often a very adequate summary of their contents in the minutes.
There are also registers of candidates, each volume having an index. They include people who did not actually become missionaries. The volumes do not give much detail but include the names and often the addresses of their referees. They also usually include the address of the candidate.
Letters from prospective missionaries for the period before 1867 are included in the series of correspondence within the British Isles (G/AC 3) until they finally sailed from England i.e. while they were sailing round the English coast their letters were included in the G/AC 3 series. When they came home on furlough their letters were again entered in the General Secretary’s volumes, but they may also occur in the appropriate mission series. After they retired or left CMS their letters revert to the General Secretary’s series again.
There are some papers relating solely to missionaries in the Finance department’s papers and the series of the Goodwin Fund for Widows is particularly useful for information on missionaries’ children 1852-1888.
For anyone who is not known to be a missionary the simplest way is to start with the main name card index. For committee members there is some information in the General Secretary’s papers, but for the most part there is no personal information about anyone other than the missionaries. Even the Secretaries themselves are often not described. But the obituaries in the C M Gleaner and C M Intelligencer are all included in the name index and these often provide a few clues.
How to search by place
The place index includes lists of the CMS missionaries at each station for the period pre-1880. It also includes similar cards for the CEZMS and FES staff. The most important thing to remember with places is that for the mission series the place will be in the archive series to which CMS administratively allotted it. In other words the place may be in Uganda, but if it was being administered by the Kenya mission secretary then the archives about it will be in the Kenya series.
How to search by subject
Obviously subjects are the most difficult to deal with and if you can possibly discover a person or place vitally connected with your subject your task will be much simpler. If the subject involves looking at the mission archive series for a limited period, say a decade, then for the pre-1880 period it would probably be simpler to work your way through the mission books rather than the incoming papers; for example the development of the Church in Sierra Leone in the 1840s or the history of the causes of the war known as the Indian Mutiny.
For correspondence with the Foreign Office and government you need the General Secretary’s papers, though there is also a series of correspondence with the Foreign Office for 1876-1900 in the Finance department.
EXAMPLES OF SEARCHES FOR MISSIONARIES
1. Suppose you want to find out about Julia Emily Sass who worked in Sierrra Leone.
First look in the Register of Missionaries. The women are in List II. The information in the Register gives the place where she was domiciled at the time she applied to the Society; very occasionally it gives her place of birth and educational qualifications; date when she sailed and to which place (Kissey, Sierra Leone); dates of furloughs i.e. return on leave to England or elsewhere; date of leaving the Society’s service and whether she retired or resigned etc.; note of relationship to any other CMS missionaries; date of death.
This information will show you which mission series you will be working on: in this case Sierra Leone; and the period you need: 1848-1891. Now you can look at the catalogue for the Sierra Leone mission series. The main entry in the catalogue for Miss Sass (C A 1/O 187/1-89) shows that there are 70 letters from her to the Secretaries in London (/1-70), a letter to Mr Jones (/71), a letter to the bishop (/72) and her quarterly and half-yearly reports (/73-89). The catalogue shows her as superintendent of the Female Institution, Freetown and in this instance Freetown was her official mission station. Note that sometimes the place listed in the catalogue is only the place from whence the letters and papers were written i.e. the missionary might be away on sick leave or attending a conference etc. (Her official mission station is the one under which her name is listed in the Society’s Proceedings (or Annual Report) ). The letters that she wrote (/1-70) would all have been seen and sent on to London by the mission secretary so you could expect to find references to her in the secretary’s correspondence (/O 3) as well as references to her in the papers of other missionaries stationed in Freetown. There will also be letters to her and about her in the main series of letter-books in the Sierra Leone series (/L 4-8). These letter-books have a name index of correspondents but obviously the index does not include people who are mentioned in the letters. There may also be letters to her in the Individual Letter-books series written from London and containing private and confidential letters to the individual missionary, usually of condolence or censure (/I 1). There are also bundles of papers on educational and other matters relating to the organisation of local mission affairs which may shed light on her work.
For the period after 1880 you will need to work on the 1880-1934 archive series for Sierra Leone, when it was allocated to the Group 3 (Africa) Committee in London (reference G 3/A 1). In this series the letter-books (/L) continue in the same way as before and letters to Miss Sass will therefore be indexed in the volumes. The original incoming letters from Sierra Leone are filed year by year in the chronological order in which they were received at headquarters, each item being given a number, and therefore the easiest way to find the item numbers for Miss Sass’s own letters is to work your way through the précis book (/P). This contains the summarised entries in numerical order and as they are printed (later typed) they can be quickly scanned. As before there will be references to her in other people’s letters as well as items about her in the local conference and committee minutes. Such matters as change of work or station had to be approved by the local committees.
If you need to find the whereabouts of the mission station you should find it in the Missionary Atlas, which contains maps of all the mission areas showing the places at which CMS had work ( and also the stations for other Protestant missionary societies). In the précis books themselves you will note that some of the items are marked “M” for “missing”. This has been done by the archivist and indicates that that item is not in the packet of papers for that year in the Sierra Leone mission series. Where possible the archive reference for its present whereabouts is entered e.g. papers used for the Centenary Review Committee are now in the General Secretary’s department’s papers. Where there is no clue as to the present whereabouts it is often because the item was in some way connected with finance and unfortunately the Finance department to which the item was transferred did not preserve routine correspondence on financial matters.
In comparison with the documentation for male missionary candidates the information for women is sparse and scattered. In order to find out more about Miss Sass before she was accepted by CMS as a missionary you need to consult the series of correspondence from 1846-1865 (C/AC 1) containing letters from candidates and referees, as well as candidates’ “answers to questions” which were their application forms.
For the period before 1846 this correspondence will be found incorporated in the massive series of correspondence within the British Isles (G/AC 3). It is also well worthwhile searching the outgoing series of letter-books for correspondence within the British Isles (G/AC 1) which often contains letters mentioning possible women missionaries. Bear in mind that before the 1890s CMS sent very few single women as missionaries and that in this respect the surviving archives of the Female Education Society (FES) and the Church of England Zenana Missionary Society (CEZMS) are far more fruitful. The CMS Register of Candidates for women which is in the records of the Candidates Department (C/ATw 5) does not begin until 1905 when the department was set up.
After her retirement any letters that Miss Sass wrote to headquarters would have been entered in the General Secretary’s department’s papers. There is a very large series of incoming letters 1872-1901 (G/AC 4) which has now been indexed by names, places and some subjects. This includes letters from retired missionaries, members of committees and others concerned with affairs within the British Isles as well as some correspondence within the British Isles about overseas affairs. Note that correspondence between Miss Sass and headquarters while she was in England on furlough would normally be entered in the British Isles series of papers and not in the overseas correspondence (in her case the Sierra Leone mission series). The entries in the Register of Missionaries giving the furlough dates will give the clue as to which series to search.
When Miss Sass died there would have been obituaries in the C M Gleaner and the C M Intelligencer. As she died after retirement in the British Isles the letters reporting her death would be in the G/AC 4 series and the letters of condolence would be in the outgoing letter-books (G/AC 2).
There remains one other source of information about Miss Sass which needs to be used in conjunction with the series described above. This is the card index of names.
The cards for Miss Sass, in addition to references already given in this example, reveal that there are several letters from her while in England in the 1840’s to 1861, three of them giving her address (Ravenstone 1854; Orton Longueville 1861) (G/AC 3 series). In the General Secretary’s department’s papers there are also letters concerning the proposed extension of the schoolroom at the Female Institution at Freetown and the proposal that it should change its name to the Annie Walsh Girls’ School, together with a plan 1877 (G/Y/A3/1/4M; there are also references to her in the minute books of the Female Education Society (FES/AM 2, 3, 5) and an obituary notice for her in the C M Gleaner (1891 p 195).
2.Suppose you are doing research on Rev Valentine Faulkner who worked in Nigeria.
First look in the Register of Missionaries. As he was a clergyman he will be in List I. The information in the Register gives you his age in the year he was accepted; where he was domiciled at the time he applied to the Society; where he was educated; date of his ordination; date when he sailed and to which place [1860 to Abeokuta]; where he was stationed, with dates; dates of his furloughs i.e. return on leave to England or elsewhere; date of his leaving the Society's service and whether he retired or resigned etc.; the entry may include clerical posts held after his leaving CMS; note of his relationship to any other CMS missionaries; date of marriage(s) and name(s) of wife; details of any of his publications and his translation work; date of death.This information will show you which mission series you will be working on: in this case Nigeria 1860-83.
Now you can look at the catalogue for the Nigeria mission series where you will find for the period up to 1880 that there are 146 items in his entry comprising 123 letters 1861-80, eleven journals 1860-79 and twelve Annual Letters 1861-79 [reference C A 2/O 37/1-146]. The entry in the catalogue lists him as being at Ake, Lagos, Owu, Igbein, Lagos and Ebute Meta because those were the places from whence he wrote his letters. Often the place would also be his official mission station, but this cannot be assumed to be so. [His official mission station is the one under which his name is listed in the Society's Proceedings (or Annual Report) and in this case would be Lagos. If you do not know the exact location of the station you can find it in the Missionary Atlas, which has maps of all the mission areas showing the places at which CMS had work (as well as the stations of other Protestant missionary societies)]. The letters that he wrote [/1-123] would all have been seen and sent on to London by the mission secretary so it is probable that there may be letters about him in the secretary's correspondence as well as references to him in the papers of other missionaries stationed in Lagos. If the mission secretary was writing about him to the Secretaries in London then it is highly probable that there will be letters about him in the series of outgoing letter-books which contain the letters from London to Nigeria [C A 2/L]. These letter-books have a name index of correspondents but obviously the index does not include people who are mentioned in the letters. There may also be letters to him in the Individual Letter-books series written from London and containing private and confidential letters to the individual missionary, usually of condolence or censure [C A 2/I]. The journals [/124-134] comprise his diary kept from the time he left England. Copies or extracts were to be sent quarterly to London and describe, often in great detail, everything that the writer did, including everything that he saw. Extracts from these journals were often used in the Society's printed reports and journals, including the Proceedings and as the originals were not always returned for filing it is worthwhile checking in the publications for missing material. The Annual Letters [/135-146] are the annual private reports made by missionaries directly to the Secretaries in London. As the originals do not always survive it would be worth checking in the mission books series [C A 2/M] which include a set of copies of the Annual Letters for each year. There might also be extracts published in either the Proceedings or the C M Gleaner.
For the period after 1880 you will be working on the 1880-1934 archive series for Nigeria (Yoruba mission), when it was allocated to the Group 3 (Africa) Committee in London [reference G3 A 2]. In this series the letter-books continue in the same way as before and letters to Faulkner will therefore be indexed in the volumes. The original incoming letters from Nigeria are filed year by year in the chronological order in which they were received at headquarters, each item being given a number, and therefore the easiest way to find the item numbers for Faulkner's own letters is to work your way through the précis book. This contains the summarised entries in numerical order and as they are printed [later typed] they can be quickly scanned. As before there will be references to him in other people's letters as well as items about him in the local conference and committee minutes. Such matters as change of work or station had to be approved by the local committees. In the précis books themselves you will note that some of the items are marked 'M' for 'missing'. This has been done by the archivist and indicates that that item is not in the packet of papers for that year in the Yoruba mission series. Where possible the archive reference for its present whereabouts is entered eg papers used for the Centenary Review Committee are now in the General Secretary's Department's papers. Where there is no clue as to the present whereabouts it is often because the item was in some way connected with finance and unfortunately the Finance Department to which the item was transferred did not preserve routine correspondence on financial matters. Another group of papers often missing in the précis book entries are the Annual Letters, which are the annual private reports made by missionaries directly to the Secretaries in London. However there is a printed set of Annual Letters dating from 1887 to 1913 while from 1916 onwards the original letters are available in a separate series [G 3/AL] arranged by name of the writer.
In order to find out more about Faulkner before he was accepted by CMS as a missionary you need to consult the Register of Candidates which is in the records of the Candidates Department [C/ATm 5]. This is a series of volumes which contain entries for every person applying as a missionary. The entries are numbered and give the name, address and occupation of each candidate, names of referees, dates when seen by the committee and proceedings. They begin in 1850 and run through to 1940. The address will be the one from which he wrote the application, not necessarily his home address; the names of the referees will give further clues to his background. The dates on which he was interviewed by the committee enable you to find which volume of the committee minutes to search. There is also a series of correspondence from 1846-1865 [C/AC 1] containing letters from candidates and referees, as well as candidates' "answers to questions" which were their application forms. For the period before 1846 this correspondence will be found incorporated in the massive series of correspondence within the British Isles [G/AC3].
Faulkner did not die until 1902 and for the period between his resignation and death any letters that he wrote to headquarters would have been entered in the General Secretary's Department's papers. There is a very large series of incoming letters 1872-1901 [G/AC 4] which has now been indexed by names, places and some subjects. This includes letters from retired missionaries, members of committees and others concerned with affairs within the British Isles as well as some correspondence within the British Isles about overseas affairs. Note that correspondence between Faulkner and headquarters while he was in England on furlough would normally be entered in the British Isles series of papers and not in the overseas correspondence [in his case the Yoruba mission series]. The entries in the Register of Missionaries giving the furlough dates will give the clue as to which series to search.
When Faulkner died there would have been obituaries in the C M Gleaner and/or the Intelligencer. As he died after retirement in the British Isles the letters reporting his death would have been in the G/AC 4 series and the letters of condolence would have been in the outgoing letter-books [G/AC 2].
There remains one other source of information about Faulkner which needs to be used in conjunction with the series described above. This is the card index of names.
There are several cards for Faulkner. One gives the references for the main material in the Yoruba mission series, but usefully includes references which occur in the catalogue in other than the main collection of his papers, e.g. C A 2/O 37 are the papers for his own work in the Yoruba mission but there is also a reference to him in C A 2/O 11 which is his correspondence with Charles Phillips in 1874, while C A 2/O 14 includes an estimate which he presented to the Finance committee in 1875 for completing his house at Ebute Metta and a letter from J.H.Ashcroft with a brief list of the plant and stock of a brickworks handed over to the committee 1870. Another card gives the exact references for the G/AC 4 letters series referred to above; there is a reference to material in the General Secretary's Department for 1884 [G/Y/A 2 1/3A]; details of the date and page numbers for his obituary in the Gleaner and an article entitled 'North-West of Lagos' published in the Intelligencer 1876 p.151. There is also a card listing the letters from his wife Jane which are included in the G/AC 4 series.
From this it will be seen that the name index is valuable, but it is not a good tool with which to begin your research. You need to know how the archive series work and to have done your background study first in order to make the best use of it.
3.Suppose you are doing research on Rev Llewellyn Gwynne who worked in Sudan.
First look in the Register of Missionaries. As he was a clergyman he will be in List I. The information in the Register gives you his age in the year he was accepted; where he was domiciled at the time he applied to the Society; where he was educated; dates of his ordination; date when he sailed and to which place [1898 to the Sudan]; where he was stationed, with dates; dates of his furloughs i.e. return on leave to England or elsewhere; date of his leaving the Society's service and whether he retired or resigned etc.; the entry may include clerical posts held after his leaving CMS; note of his relationship to any other CMS missionaries; date of marriage(s) and name(s) of wife; details of any of his publications and his translation work; date of death.This information will show you which mission area series you will be working on: in this case Sudan 1899-1946.
Begin by looking at the catalogues for the Sudan mission series. You will see from the introductory notes that work in the Sudan was administered by the Egypt mission from 1899 until 1905 so for the first years of Gwynne's life as a missionary you need the Egypt mission series. At headquarters responsibility for work in Egypt belonged to the Group 3 (Africa) Committee [G3/E] You will find copies of the letters to Gwynne from the Secretaries in London in the letter-books [G3 E/L]. There are indexes in the volumes though obviously these will not include references to Gwynne which may occur in letters to other workers such as the mission secretary. Letters from Gwynne and other letters and papers about him sent in from Egypt are to be found mixed up with all the other incoming documents from the Egypt mission area [G3 E/O]. Every item was allocated a number in the chronological order in which it arrived at headquarters, the numbering starting afresh in January each year. This would be very time-consuming for research were it not for the précis books [G3 E/P]. These volumes contain summarised entries for all the incoming papers made for the use of the Africa Committee and as they are printed [later typed] they can be quickly scanned. If you need to look at the original item you need only a note of its number and the year in which the Committee dealt with it. There will be references to Gwynne in other people's letters as well as items about him in the local conference and committee minutes. Such matters as change of work or station had to be approved by the local committees. In the précis books themselves you will note that some of the items are marked 'M' for 'missing'. This has been done by the archivist and indicates that that item is not in the packet of papers for that year in the mission series. Where possible the archive reference for its present whereabouts is entered eg papers used for the Centenary Review Committee are now in the General Secretary's Department's papers. Where there is no clue as to the present whereabouts it is often because the item was in some way connected with finance and unfortunately the Finance Department to which the item was transferred did not preserve routine correspondence on financial matters. Another group of papers often missing in the précis book entries are the Annual Letters, which are the annual private reports made by missionaries directly to the Secretaries in London. However there is a printed set of Annual Letters dating from 1887 to 1913 while from 1916 onwards the original letters are available in a separate series [G 3/AL] arranged by name of the writer.
Gwynne resigned from CMS as a missionary in 1905 when he was appointed Archdeacon of the Sudan and in 1908 he was consecrated suffragan bishop for the Sudan. The main bulk of the correspondence he had with CMS for the period from 1905 until his retirement in 1946 will be found in the Sudan mission archive series [G3/S] and the Northern Sudan series [G3/SN]. Until 1935 these letters are arranged in exactly the same way as the Egypt mission described above. Then for the period between 1935 and 1949 the incoming and outgoing correspondence is kept together in a series of files and the correspondence with Gwynne as bishop will be found for each mission area in files for the dioceses.
In order to find out more about Gwynne before he was accepted by CMS as a missionary you need to consult the Register of Candidates which is in the records of the Candidates Department [C/ATm 5]. This is a series of volumes which contain entries for every person applying as a missionary. The entries are numbered and give the name, address and occupation of each candidate, names of referees, dates when seen by the committee and proceedings. They begin in 1850 and run through to 1940. The address will be the one from which he wrote the application, not necessarily his home address; the names of the referees will give further clues to his background.
Some letters that Gwynne wrote to headquarters will be found in the General Secretary's Department's papers as correspondence while he was in England on furlough. It would normally be entered in the British Isles series of papers and not in the overseas correspondence [in his case the Egypt or Sudan mission series]. The entries in the Register of Missionaries giving the furlough dates will give the clue as to which series to search. For the time when Gwynne was a bishop there will be material for him in the series of correspondence with overseas mission areas in the General Secretary's Department's papers as the General Secretary had the ultimate responsibility for correspondence with bishops.
There remains one other source of information about Gwynne which needs to be used in conjunction with the series described above. This is the card index of names.There are several cards for Gwynne. One gives references for the main material in the Sudan mission series, another provides references to material in the General Secretary's Department papers. There are details of the date and page numbers for two articles by him published in the C M Review one on 'The Gordon Memorial Mission' 1909 p.624 and another on 'Missionary work in the Sudan' 1926 p.245. There are also details of material amongst the unofficial deposited papers series of archives.From this it will be seen that the name index is valuable, but it is not a good tool with which to begin your research. You need to know how the archive series work and to have done your background study first in order to make the best use of it.