Foundations for Mission and the Study of World Christianity: the Legacy of Henry Martyn BD

by Graham Kings

Date added: 28/07/2020



Lecture given by Canon Graham Kings in Westminster College, Cambridge 22 January 1996

to celebrate the opening of the Henry Martyn Library at its new location.




Thank you, Dr. Thompson for your words of introduction and thank you  all for coming. The weekly newsletter of Westcott House has a wonderful slogan:  Underneath the title is the line “never knowingly understood”.  We shall see what happens this evening!





“My Dear Sir,

Grieved I am to communicate to you the most distressing intelligence of Mr. Martyn’s death at Tokat in Asia Minor on his way either to Constantinople or to Aleppo. From the account being given by Mr. Isaac Morier, I apprehend Constantinople was the place to which he was proceeding. His papers and property are secured. He had set out from Tabriz on the first of September (much too soon for the state in which he had been) and died about the 16th of October; but whether from the heat and fatigue of travelling, or from the plague, which was raging there, is uncertain. Just what words can express the loss which India, and the whole world has sustained!


This letter is dated February 11th 1813 and was written to Charles Grant, Chairman of the East India Company, by Charles Simeon, Vicar of Holy Trinity Church, Cambridge.  I found it in the archives of Ridley Hall.  Simeon was Henry Martyn’s spiritual father and had been close to him since his conversion at Cambridge in 1800.


Martyn died at Tokat in Armenia at the age of 31.  He had been a chaplain in the East India Company serving at Dinapore and Cawnpore and had in under five years translated the New Testament into Urdu (then called Hindoostani)  and Persian and supervised its translation into Arabic.


He came up to St John’s College, Cambridge nearly 200 years ago in 1797 and was Senior Wrangler (first in his year in Mathematics) in 1801 and later winner of a Latin prize. He wrote in his journal “I obtained my highest wishes but was surprised to find I had grasped a shadow.” He was elected a Fellow of St. John’s, and served as a curate at Holy Trinity, before sailing for India in 1805. Tragically he left his heart with Lydia Grenfell in his native Cornwall: she never followed him to India and he never made it back to persuade her.


Valentine Cunningham, Fellow in English at Corpus Christi College, Oxford, has written recently supporting the theory that St. John Rivers in Jane Eyre is based on the life, if not the character, of Martyn. Charlotte Brontë’s father had been helped by him as a young student at St. John’s College and Martyn was his hero. He had arranged for Patrick Brunty, as he was called at that time, to received £10 a year from each of Henry Thornton and William Wilberforce. [1]


What is Martyn’s legacy? I would like to suggest that there are three foundational aspects to it. His translations (which laid the foundations for future mission), the inspiration of his life (for later missionary vocations) and the stimulation of his ideas for the academic study of mission and of world Christianity.




He wrote to his friend David Brown in October 1809 [2]:


There is a book printed at the Hirkara Press, called Celtic derivatives - this I want; also grammars and dictionaries of all the languages of the earth. I have one or both in Latin, Greek, French, Italian, Portuguese, Dutch, Hebrew, Rabbinical Hebrew, Chaldee, Syriac, Ethiopic, Samaritan, Arabic, Persian, Sanscrit, Bengalee, Hindoostanee.


Kenneth Cragg, another scholarly interpreter of the Christian faith to Muslims, and of Islam to Christians, who is with us this evening officially to open the library, has written in Troubled by Truth: Life-Studies in Inter-Faith Concern:


His brief career in missionary translation is as telling as any concerning the problematics of words and terms in the transactions of faith. Martyn encountered the ‘x into y will-not-go’ situation and faced it with a strong equipment of scholarship sustained by steady anguish of spirit. .....‘Grace’, ‘truth’, redemption’, ‘church’, ‘hope’, and other vital words in his New Testament currency struggled to fulfil themselves in Indian idiom.


It is evident in Martyn how he was more vitally in encounter with theology-in-philology than any academic professor. For he was made to feel, via his robust munshis, or local scholar-aids, the full strain, and even the venom, of the resistance to meaning implicit in the otherness of words.


Theology-in-philology is a fine phrase: it captures the essence of meticulous, sustained Bible Translation.


Concerning his relationships with Indians Martyn wrote in his journal:


I learnt that the power of gentleness is irresistible and also that these men are not fools. Clearness of reasoning is not confined to Europe. [3]


Stephen Neill [4] has noted the important  influence exercised by the translation of the New Testament into Urdu.


Urdu prose literature was in its infancy; there was no accepted standard to which Martyn might attempt as far as possible to approximate. To a large extent he had to rely on his own judgement and on the linguistic intuition with which he was so well endowed;


Avril Powell, in her excellent recent book, Muslims and Missionaries in Pre-Mutiny India: mentions the legacy of Martyn:


During his short posting in northern India he created a new channel both of communication and of subsequent controversy between the next generation of evangelical missionaries and the ashraf  [noble] classes of the Gangetic core. For Martyn’s first Urdu translation of the New Testament, which began to be disseminated from Calcutta shortly before the first Urdu translations of the Qur’an .......provided the means to transform the ulamas’ (Islamic scholars’)perception of Christianity.[5]


Joseph Wolff, the eccentric missionary traveler, records in his journal for 31 January 1833:


The Mussulman Mullahs are in possession of the Arabic Bible, and the Persian New Testament of Henry Martyn; they have marked passages with red ink throughout, which proves that they had been reading it diligently.[6]


Martyn at first focused particularly on translating the New Testament into Urdu and supervised others working on the Persian and Arabic translations. His anarchic, phlegmatic scholar aid, Sabat, however was better at Arabic than Persian. Martyn confides his feelings about him in his journal in terms of a  Cambridge University Sermon:


 I smile to observe his pedantry. Never have I seen such an instance of dogmatical pride, since I heard Dr. Parr preach his Greek sermon at St. Mary’s, about  to ov.   [7]


When Martyn discovered numerous infelicities he resolved to perfect the translation in situ.  The essential importance of context is not a modern missiological insight. He decided to travel through Persia, Damascus and Arabia on his way to England hoping to improve his tuberculosis and discover scriptural manuscripts . His friends in Calcutta tried to dissuade him but he set out in 1811.


Thomas Thomason , a friend from Cambridge days, Chaplain in Calcutta and later translator of the Old Testament into Urdu  wrote to Simeon:


He is on his way to Arabia, where he is going in  pursuit of health and knowledge. You know his genius, and what gigantic strides he takes in everything. He has some great plan in his mind of which I am not competent to judge; but as far as I do understand it, the object is far too grand for one short life, and much beyond his feeble and exhausted frame....... In other respects he is exactly the same as he was; he shines in all the dignity of love; and seems to carry about him such a heavenly majesty, as impresses the mind beyond description. But if he talks much, though in a low voice, he sinks, and you are reminded of his being “dust and ashes”. [8]


David Brown wrote to Martyn when he first heard about the Arabian plan, “ burn with the intenseness and rapid blaze of heated phosphorus.” [9]


In Persia he found he had entirely to retranslate the New Testament. He stayed in Shiraz for a year learning, translating and disputing with Muslim scholars. Samuel Lee, Professor of Arabic at Cambridge, in 1824, published some of these apologetic tracts and the plaque in Holy Trinity Church refers to his “defending the Christian faith in the heart of Persia against the united talents of the most learned Mahomedans”.


From Shiraz he continued his debilitating journey to Constantinople via Tabriz and died en route at Tokat having in effect ridden himself to death. Sir Gore Ouseley, the British Ambassador in Tabriz who had nursed him, made good his pledge to Martyn by personally delivering his Persian New Testament to the press in St. Petersburg and proof reading it for publication in 1815.


Simeon wrote to Grant on 18 October 1814 about further chaplaincies and mentions Martyn’s Persian New Testament in an enthusiastic postscript:


My Dear Sir

Is there a chaplaincy to Bombay? If there be, I have some hope of a good one for that settlement - But, till I have your answer I cannot take any further steps in relation to it.

I am, My Dear Sir, Most Affectionately yours, C. Simeon

Mr. Martyn’s Persian Testament is safe in Petersburgh. The King of Persia admires it much, and has copied it for himself, and had it copied for some of his friends and written a Recommendation of it with his own hand and seal. A copy of it is taken by the Bible Society at Petersburgh in order to be put to press immediately -

Hallelujah! Hallelujah!    [10]


In the current exhibition in the Henry Martyn Library, there is a first edition of that New Testament which was presented to Holy Trinity Church by the church in Shiraz in 1936.


It is a great delight to have Christian friends from Iran with us this evening.  Guli Francis Dehqani is the daughter of Bishop Hassan Dehqani Tafti, who was the first Iranian Anglican Bishop and Sayeed Khani is a doctoral student in the Faculty of Divinity, writing a dissertation on John’s Gospel.





    Martyn wrote in his journal when he was feeling depressed:


    Even if I never see an Indian converted, God may design by my continuance in the work to encourage future missionaries. [11]


    Shaikh Salih was brought to faith in Christ by Martyn’s life and preaching at Cawnpore (1809-10). He followed Martyn to Calcutta and was baptized Abdul Masih in 1811 by Daniel Corrie, another Simeonite chaplain to the East India Company. Avril Powell, using Corrie’s account in the Missionary Register of July 1813, mentions his influence:


    On a visit to Kanpur [Cawnpore] to see his father who was then ‘engaged as private tutor in the house of a rich native’ Shaikh Salih discovered that living next door was  the padre, Henry Martyn,  whose Sunday sermons in the courtyard of his house he could overhear from his father’s quarter. He decided to go close, he said, in order ‘to see the sport’ ... Using the Munshi, Sabat, as an intermediary he obtained entry to Martyn’s domestic circle  and made himself useful in bookbinding in order to satisfy his curiosity about Christianity. The crux came while binding Martyn’s newly completed Urdu New Testament for he ‘perceived there a true description of his own heart.’:


    Later Masih was ordained by the Lutherans and again by the Anglicans (causing not insignificant discussions of faith and order!). He was thus the first ordained Indian Anglican minister and became a foundational pioneer evangelist and medical missionary in Agra.


    Last Thursday I was in Partnership House in London, in the offices of the Church Mission Society where there is a large magnificent oil portrait of Masih. This particular original watercolour portrait, on loan from Ridley Hall, has written on the back that it was given to Ridley Hall by George Corrie, Master of Jesus College (Daniel Corrie’s brother). 


    So Martyn influenced people during his lifetime. This inspiration continued through the publication of John Sargent’s Memoir (1819), Martyn’s Journals and Letters edited by Samuel Wilberforce (1837), and the biographies of George Smith (1892) and Constance Padwick (1922). His intimate, intensely sensitive journal has become a classic of spirituality. In  Cambridge and elsewhere his life  has been a stimulus for countless people to offer themselves for service overseas, particularly since 1887, when the Henry Martyn Memorial Hall was opened , next to Holy Trinity, as a meeting place for University missionary societies with the specific aim of encouraging missionary vocations. 


    The Hall was founded through the energy of John Barton, Vicar of Holy Trinity and former missionary in India. He persuaded senior members of the University, including Brooke Foss Westcott, Regius Professor of Divinity and founder of the Cambridge Delhi Mission, to launch a fund in 1881, the centenary of Martyn’s birth. Rereading recently the minutes of the committee has been enlightening. 


    After mentioning the plans for a memorial at Truro Cathedral [12] the minutes report that Barton:


    then referred to the fact that the University Church Missionary Union, which had been in existence 23 years, and of which no less than 49 former members had gone forth into the mission field, had still no settled local habitation of its own...


    He went on to recommend:


    ...a permanent and separate building in which its meetings could be held, with suitable arrangements for a Library and Missionary Museum.[13]


    So the idea of a Library was there from the beginning. In the beginning was the Library.


    In the minute for 1887 is the following extract from The Mission Field  “The hall was opened on October 18, at a full meeting of senior members of the University, with lady friends.”


    It continues with a quotation  from the sermon  preached by Dr. Butler (the new Master of Trinity College)  at Holy Trinity Church during the opening ceremony.  This is particularly significant in that it affirms Martyn’s zeal and academic gifts but gently reinterprets  them to the new situation later in the century (having, it seems to me,  affinities to Brooke Foss Westcott’s theology of mission). The quotation also relates to this month’s publication of the doctrine commission of the Church of England on salvation. Butler gives a fine catalogue of qualities needed in a missionary which he wished to add to Martyn’s list, in his journal, which were “knowledge of men and acquaintance with Scriptures... communion with God and study of my own heart”. Butler comments:


    What acquaintance, we would add, must the Indian Missionary have with the history and the growth of human creeds! What sympathy with all upliftings of all human hearts! What a grasp of the breadth and range, as well as the simplicity and the directness, of the Gospel! What a richness of mental culture! What a making of himself all things to all men! What a firm and ungrudging hold of the truth - the truth which in these later days has gained so much in brightness - that in every nation, nay, in every tribe and caste of every nation, he that feareth God and doeth righteousness is accepted with Him!


    Such a faith as this may, doubtless, modify the tone of the faithful Missionary’s teaching, while it leaves its substance unimpaired. If he speaks less of perishing souls, he will speak more of renewed lives. If he is less appalled by the vision of the whole world lying in wickedness, he is more cheered by the conviction that in no soul God hath left Himself without witness. The language of his heart will, I believe, be less and less what Martyn wrote a few days after he reached India: ‘The sight of men, women, and a children, all idolaters, makes me shudder, as if in the dominions of the Prince of darkness.  I fancy the frown of God to be visible.’ Rather it will be the confidence of the soldier who has heard his Captain’s voice, and knows that it was never deceived or deceiving, ‘Be of good cheer; I have overcome the world’.



    Martyn’s tragic love for Lydia Grenfell, who would not in the end come out to India with him, is reflected in his letters in the Ridley Hall archives. This letter was to John Hensman dated October 3 1804 is from Cambridge but concerns his time in Cornwall:


    Having occasioned to stop at a friend’s house by the seaside, I walked out alone with Lydia G. and listened with no small delight, as you may suppose, to the remarks which the beauty and grandeur of the scene drew from her pious heart. In the afternoon we read together some of Watts, but the gloomy moment arrived when I parted with her perhaps for ever in this life.


    And so it was. In the Ridley archives I also found a medallion of Martyn set in brass in a velvet case. Being curious I took it out of the velvet, turned it over and found the back of the case to be of glass. Inside was a long lock of hair. Here is the medallion. Is this Lydia’s hair?


    At the end of the 19th Century, and into the 20th up to today, the Hall played a significant foundational role in encouraging a large number of Cambridge students to offer themselves for mission overseas. In 1979 the Hall was extended and since 1981 there has been a world mission adviser, based there (first John Cooper and now Gill Stedeford who is also our Librarian). They give counsel to students concerning vocations and vacations. Next month there is an exhibition of mission agencies in the Hall. It is still a base for the CICCU prayer meetings and for the African Christian Fellowship and Japanese Christian Fellowship. This double use of the Hall by both British undergraduates keen on mission and missionary fellowships specifically formed for the support of African and Japanese Christians in Cambridge, leads us into our final section of Martyn’s legacy.





    The Hall was opened in 1887 but the Library only really came into being ten years later when a fund raising brochure was printed outlining the need for a missionary library for Cambridge University. It was to be called the Henry Martyn Library and was planned originally to be located on the ground floor of the Hall. The brochure stated:


    An important outcome of the International Students’ Missionary Conference, held at Liverpool last year, is a movement which aims at giving permanence to the present revival of Missionary enthusiasm in Cambridge University by the establishment of Missionary Library and Reading Room…


    During the last three months of 1896, 19 Cambridge men volunteered for Missionary Service, and over 100 are now formed into Bands for the study of Missionary facts, history and principles. This study has been systematised by the new Educational Programme of the Student Volunteer Missionary Union, which covers the whole Field of Missions during the average academical course.


    Everything points to the “Henry Martyn Library” as the natural sequel and supplement to the “Henry Martyn Hall”.


    The Library was functioning in 1898 but its seems that it was not on the ground floor, but in a room at the back of the Hall, since Eaden Lilley were granted a further lease on the ground floor for their shop.  The Library began well but ran into difficulties in the early 1930’s and  in 1933 Dr. Barber, at that time the sole Trustee of Library,  made a proposal, which was accepted, that the  Library fund be handed over to the Henry Martyn Trustees. This was on the understanding that the library be managed by a committee of three Anglicans and three non-Anglicans. The new Library Sub Committee first met on 11 Dec 1934 to consider the future of the library. I quote from the minutes of the Trustees:


    There being only  one member of the Library Subcommittee present ie Dr. Strachan  it was decided to call another meeting early next term and to invite the following to attend.

    L.L. Newbigging [14] Westm Col., Pres. of the Students Christian Movement

    T. Revor Hughes Wesley House Cambr President C.I.C.C.U. and Dr Barber and Lt Col Molory. After prayer the meeting was adjourned. [15]



    At the meeting of 22 Jan 1935 the committee decided on reducing the holdings of the library drastically. It records that “L L Newbigging” (who later became an editor of the International Review of Missions) was not present at the meeting. A tragic minute reads:


    Proposed by Lt Col Molony and seconded by Dr Flew that “the international review of missions be destroyed.” Carried.


    On 5 March 1935 it was resolved “to distribute to the Librarians of certain colleges certain books”. This, I believe, accounts for the books in Ridley Hall library which still have Henry Martyn Library plates in them! 


    From 1945 to 1950 a new Library committee was convened which included  as chairman from 1947-1949 Norman Anderson (written in the minutes as Col. J.N.D. Anderson O.B.E. warden of Tyndale House) and as a member Professor R. Whitehorn of Westminster College (in the minutes “Senior Friend of S.C.M.). The last entry in the minute book is 22 February 1950.


    The next record, so far available, of a library committee is in March 1994. We reconvened it to consider expanding the library into a specialized resource for the academic study of mission and of world Christianity in the Federation and in the University. The present library committee includes the librarians of two priceless special collections in the University Library - those of the British and Foreign Bible Society (Alan Jesson) and of the Royal Commonwealth Society (Terry Barringer). The latter collection, acquired in 1993, has over 250,000 items and 70,000 photographs. These provide an immense resource for the social and political background to the modern missionary movement from Britain.


    Some greatly appreciated recent gifts to the Henry Martyn Library include the letters and photographs of Murray Titus (an American specialist on Islam and missionary to India ), Max Warren’s personally annotated books,  Patrick Crampton’s collection of  articles on West Africa,  Kenneth Cracknell’s own  mission library and  Kenneth Cragg’s  collection of Dominican journals from Cairo.


    The Henry Martyn Library committee, and the Trustees, are very grateful to the Principal of Westminster College, Martin Cressy, for the generous offer of space for the library. Westminster has an honourable tradition of mission, which includes the former Principal Alan Macleod. He served in what is now Bangladesh. The arrival of the Henry Martyn Library continues the Westminster link that was there with Strachan and Whitehorn and it is appropriate that it took place, last September, in the year of the bicentennial celebrations of the London Missionary Society.


    The list of  Cambridge scholars  who have developed  the study of mission includes George Augustus Selwyn,  whose memorial is on Grange Road,  C.F. Andrewes, Max Warren, Stephen Neill, John V. Taylor, Lesslie Newbigin, John Stott,  Simon Barrington-Ward, Michael Nazir-Ali (whose mother tongue is Urdu!) and Kenneth Cragg.


    In its new location the Library provides a foundational resource for the study of mission and world Christianity in the Faculty of Divinity’s new Centre for Advance Religious and Theological Studies (CARTS).


    What is likely to be significant in such studies? In November 1988 Andrew Walls, then the Director of the Centre for the Study of Christianity in the Non-Western World at the University of Edinburgh, gave the second series of Henry Martyn Lectures in the Faculty of Divinity of the University of Cambridge. [16] He reiterated and developed his fundamental thesis from the 1970’s that the demographic centre of gravity of world Christianity had shifted towards the non-western world. [17] There was now a new shape to the Church of God in the world and Christian history is being re-written in the light of it.  In a more recent article he applies the impact on Europe of the “discovery” of the New World in 1492 to the challenge of Western theology recognizing the fact that the Southern continents have become the heartlands of the Christian faith. He summarizes the work of J.H. Elliott, The Old World and the New, 1492-1650, [18] who has shown how long it took for the discovery to register.


    The discovery of America did not mean that people threw their maps away and got new ones; still less did it mean that learned people abandoned ideas about humanity and society that were the product of European ignorance of the world beyond their own. In fact, the new discoveries were intellectually threatening, requiring the abandonment of too many certainties, the acquisition of too many new ideas and skills, the modification of too many maxims, the sudden irrelevance of too many accepted authorities. It was easier to ignore them and carry on with the old intellectual maps (and often the old geographical maps too), while accepting the fact of the discovery and profiting from the economic effects. [19]


    When Professor Walls was in Cambridge in November 1988 our family were on leave from missionary work in a Kenyan theological college and I was preaching that Thursday at Ridley Hall. We arranged to meet on C staircase for afternoon tea. He told me of the tragedy of his gathering of Nigerian church archives in the 1960’s only to have them totally destroyed in the Biafran War. Out of that meeting flowed into me an interest in preserving living archives for historical research and eventually this led to the new library and archive centre at St Andrew’s Theological College, Kabare being opened in 1991.


    Professor Walls’ pioneering work in the study of non-Western Christianity has been shared with Kwame Bediako, from Ghana. He has recently published Christiantiy in Africa: the Renewal of a Non-Western Religion,[20] three chapters of which were his Henry Martyn Lectures in 1993. In chapter one Bediako focuses on the legacy of Edward Blyden, who was “a West Indian-born Liberian citizen, statesman, diplomat and educator”.  Blyden gave the inaugural address as President of Liberia College in January 1881 and in 1887 [21] wrote in his Christianity, Islam and the Negro Race: [22]


    Africa may yet prove to be the spiritual conservatory of the  world. Just as in past times, Egypt proved the stronghold of Christianity after Jerusalem fell, and just as the noblest and greatest of the Fathers of the Christian Church came out of Egypt, so it maybe, when the civilized nations, in consequence of their wonderful material development, shall have their spiritual perceptions darkened and their spiritual susceptibilities blunted through the agency of a captivating and absorbing materialism, it may be that they may have to resort to Africa to recover some of the simple elements of faith; for the promise of that land is that she shall stretch forth her hands unto God.


    Harold Turner, in a seminal chapter in entitled, ‘The contribution of studies on religion in Africa to Western religious studies’ published in 1974 [23] comments:


    Theology as a science depends upon access to its appropriate data in their most authentic and vital forms. If we regard the data of theology as being the revelations and acts of the Divine, the post-biblical and contemporary manifestations of these data will occur less vividly in a dispirited Western Church with declining numbers and morale. On the other hand, the data will be more evident and accessible in unsophisticated churches where the living God is taken seriously as present in the healing and conquering power of the Spirit, with a gospel-generated growth and a spiritual creativity and confidence. Here at the growing edges of Christianity in its most dynamic forms, the theologian is encouraged to do scientific theology again, because he has a whole living range of contemporary data on which to work. It is not that these dynamic areas of the Christian world are free from imperfection; but being full of old and new heresies they need theology and offer it an important task.



    On the foundation of the Henry Martyn Library two new full time research posts in CARTS have been funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts of the USA for the North Atlantic Missiology Project, which began this year at Westminster College. This three year grant, renewable for two further years, links the Universities of Edinburgh, Cambridge and London with Yale, Harvard and Wisconsin. From April Brian Stanley will be directing the project assisted by John Casson. We will be considering the development of Protestant mission theology, theory and policy from 1740-1968 in Britain and North America, and the radical changes brought about through the interaction with Christians in Latin America, Africa and Asia. It will form a study of the intellectual background to the modern Protestant missionary movement, which itself contributed to the development of Christianity in the non-western world.


    In March 1995 a CARTS conference brought together 38 theologians, africanists and missiologists to discuss “Searching for God in Europe and Africa” and in April we held a small consultation on Christianity in Asia.  Last term Lamin Sanneh, from Yale, gave the Henry Martyn Lectures in the Faculty of Divinity on public policy issues in Christian- Muslim relations in Africa and Jyoti Sahi, from Bangalore, expounded his

    theology of art through his Teape lectures on his exhibition of paintings.


    Henry Venn, the influential Honorary Clerical Secretary of the CMS from 1841-1872, used to stress the importance of missionaries planting churches which would eventually be independent of the missionary  societies - self-governing, self-supporting and self-propagating. In the twentieth century these churches, as we have seen, have added their fourth “self” which concerns their own theological reflection. Christ comes to Africa from the Father not from Europe and America. In Paul’s letter to the Galatians we see gentiles flooding into the early church, producing tensions, changing its character and renewing  its theology. Now that the centre of gravity of world Christianity has shifted from the ‘North’ to the ‘South’ we may perceive that a similar movement and renewal is happening. Perhaps we shall respond in Cambridge to the invitation of Ben Okri’s poem “To an English Friend in Africa”:


    Be grateful for the freedom

    To see other dreams. [24]


    In conclusion then, we have seen foundations laid for mission by the blaze of Henry Martyn’s short life,   and also exciting  ways forward for the study of world Christianity. As with all legacies, where there is a will there is a way.


[1] Valentine Cunningham “Mary Hill, Jane Eyre and Other Missionary Women” in Fiona Bowie (ed. et. al.) Women and Missions: Past and Present. Anthropological and Historical Perceptions  (Oxford: Berg, 1993) p. 96.

[2] Letter from Henry Martyn to David Brown, October 1809 cited in Padwick 1922:194

[3] Journal citation from Bendor Samuel

[4] Neill 1985:514

[5] Avril Powell, Muslims and Missionaries in Pre-Mutiny India, (London: Curzon Press, 1993) p. 102

[6] Joseph Wolff, Journal 31 January 1833 Researches and Missionary Labours among the Jews, Mohammedans and other Sects (2nd ed. London, 1835) cited in Powell ibid.


[7] Contance Padwick, Henry Martyn Confessor of the Faith, London: SCM, 1922, p. 209.

[8] Ibid p. 239.

[9] Ibid p. 239.

[10] Ridley Hall archives.

[11] David Bendor-Samuel, My Love Must Wait, Leicester: IVP.

[12] In the current exhibition in the Library there is a card showing the Baptistery built in memory of Martyn with four stained glass windows together with a letter from the present Dean of Truro giving greetings for today’s opening of the Library.

[13] Henry Martyn Memorial Minute Book p. 4.

[14] A difficult name to spell correctly! This was Lesslie Newbigin.

[15] Minutes of the Henry Martyn Trust  11 December 1934

[16] The first series were given by the Rt. Revd. Lesslie Newbigin in 1986, the third by the Rt Revd Michael Nazir-Ali (1990), the fourth by the Revd Dr. Kwame Bediako (1993) and the fifth by Dr. Lamin Sanneh (1995).

[17] Andrew F. Walls, ‘Towards understanding Africa’s place in Christian history’, in J.S. Pobee (ed.), Religion in a Pluralistic Society, Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1976, pp 180-9.

[18] J. H. Elliott, The Old World and the New, 1492-1650, Cambridge: CUP, 1970.

[19] Andrew F. Walls, ‘Structural Problems in Mission Studies’ International Bulletin of Missionary Research Vol. 15, No.4 October 1991 pp.149-150.

[20] Kwame Bediako, Christianity in Africa: the Renewal of a Non-Western Religion, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1995. Chapters 6, 9 and 11 were the Henry Martyn Lectures in 1993 and Dr. Bediako preached the commissioning sermon for the new Henry Martyn Lectureship in Missiology in the Cambridge Theological Federation on 21 January 1992.

[21] John Barton started fund raising for the Henry Martyn Hall in 1881 and it was opened in 1887.

[22] Edward Blyden, Christianity, Islam and the Negro Race, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1967 (2nd edition) p. 124 (original edition London, 1887)

[23] H. W. Turner, ‘The contribution of studies on religion in  Africa to Western Religious Studies’ in Mark Glasswell and Edward Fasholé-Luke (eds.) New Testament Christianity for Africa and the World, London: SPCK, pp. 169-78.

[24] Ben Okri,  An African Elegy, London: Jonathan Cape, 1992, p. 82.


Graham Kings

Graham Kings


Wood panel

Wood panel

A bronze