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Abel, Charles William (1862–1930), missionary, was born at 509 Oxford Street, Bloomsbury, London, on 25 September 1862, the youngest of three sons of William Edward Abel, a cashier at Mudie's Circulating Library, and his wife, Harriett Agnes, née Dobson. He was brought up in his parents' Congregational faith. After an education at ...

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Caldwell, Robert (1814–1891), missionary and orientalist, was born near Belfast, Ulster, on 7 May 1814, into an impoverished family. He began working at the age of nine, after his family moved to Glasgow. Largely self-educated, at fifteen he went to live with his elder brother in ...

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John Campbell (1766–1840) by Thomas Hodgetts, pubd 1819 (after John Renton) © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Campbell, John (1766–1840), Congregational minister and missions activist in Africa, was born at The Cowgate, Edinburgh, and was educated at the Royal High School (c.1772–c.1778), where he was a classmate of Sir Walter Scott. Both his parents died in his early childhood, and he was brought up by his mother's brother. Under the influence of his family's piety, he became a deeply religious young man who served as session clerk in ...

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Campbell, (William) Howard (1859–1910), missionary and entomologist, was born in Londonderry on 20 September 1859, eldest of the nine children of Thomas Callender Campbell, businessman and lay Christian worker. Known to his family as Howard, he was an avid collector of insects and with his six brothers built up a nationally famous collection of Irish moths and butterflies. He was educated at the ...

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William Carey (1761–1834) by Robert Home, 1811 [with his chief pandit, Mritunjaya] original owned by BMS World Mission, PO Box 49, Didcot, OX11 8XA, England

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Carey, William (1761–1834), orientalist and missionary, was born on 17 August 1761 at Paulerspury, Northamptonshire, the eldest of the five children of Edmund Carey and Elizabeth Wells. His father, originally a weaver, became in 1767 parish clerk and schoolmaster, which gave Carey access to a wide range of books. At the age of about fourteen he was apprenticed to a shoemaker in the hamlet of nearby ...

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Cave, Sydney (1883–1953), Congregational minister, missionary, and theologian, was born at 2 Park Place, Regent's Park, London, on 18 November 1883, the second of the five sons of William Cave (1843–1910), a trunk maker, and his wife, Sarah (1851–1939), who also had two daughters. He was a nephew of ...

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James Chalmers (1841–1901) by unknown photographer © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Chalmers, James (1841–1901), missionary and explorer, was born at Ardrishaig, Argyll, on 4 August 1841, the son of John Chalmers (1802–1869), a stonemason from Peterhead. His mother, Mary, née Glen (1808–1876), came from Luss on Loch Lomond. Brought up in Ardrishaig, Lochgilphead, and ...

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Dower, William (1837–1919), missionary, was born in Banchory, south-west of Aberdeen, on 5 November 1837, son of John Dower, a builder, and his wife, Jean, née Forbes. Like his father, he became a staunch Congregationalist and was apprenticed as a builder, but he attended ...

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Eccles, Solomon (1617?–1682), musician and Quaker missionary, was probably baptized on 14 September 1617 at Hatfield, Hertfordshire, the son of Solomon Eccles. His father was a musician, but little else is known of Eccles's early life. He appears to have lived at ...

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Eliot, John [called the Apostle to the Indians] (1604–1690), minister and missionary in America, was born at Widford, Hertfordshire, and baptized at St John the Baptist Church there on 5 August 1604. He was the third child and second son of seven children of ...

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William Ellis (1794–1872) by C. Taylor, pubd 1826 (after Derby) © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Ellis, William (1794–1872), missionary, was born in London, on 29 August 1794, in humble circumstances; details of his parents are not known. At an early age he left the family home to work as a gardener. Inspired by the preaching of John Campbell...

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Evans [née Canual or Canval], Katharine (c. 1618–1692), Quaker missionary, declared to the Maltese inquisition in 1658 that she was the daughter of Anne and Roger ‘Canual’ and that she was then aged about forty; this was an Italian rendering of her maiden name, which may have been ...

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Farquhar, John Nicol (1861–1929), missionary and Indologist, was born on 6 April 1861 in Constitution Street, Aberdeen, the eldest of three children and only son of a local businessman, George Farquhar, and his wife, Christian Alexander. At the age of twelve he was apprenticed to an ...

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Gilmour, James (1843–1891), missionary, was born at Cathkin in the parish of Carmunnock, to the south-east of Glasgow, on 12 June 1843, the third of six sons of James Gilmour (d. 1888), a wright and joiner who made a comfortable income, and his wife, ...

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R. M. J. Jones

revised by Lynn Milne

Griffiths, David (1792–1863), missionary in Madagascar, was born at Glanmeilwch, Llangadog, Carmarthenshire, on 20 December 1792. He joined the neighbouring Congregational church at Gwynfe in 1810, and began to preach soon afterwards. He conducted a school of his own at Cwmaman in 1811–12 and entered the college at ...

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Henry Grattan Guinness (1835–1910) by Robinson © National Portrait Gallery, London