Details of CHARLES CHURCH

Born: 1785

Died: 1822

Source: Chaplains in the HEIC 1805 to 1835 (Rev Frank Perry, The Church In Madras 1904)

Biography: CHARLES CHURCH was one of the sons of the Rev. Charles Cobb Church, J.P., Rector of Gosforth and Incumbent of Trinity Church, Whitehaven. His mother was the daughter of Anthony Benn of Hensingham House, Cumberland. Born 1785. Educated at St. Bees Grammar School; matriculated at Trinity College, Cambridge, 1804; migrated to Jesus College and graduated in honours B.A. 1807, M.A. 1811. He was ordained to the curacy of Beckermont and afterwards became vicar of Hensingham. He was nominated for a Chaplaincy by Simeon and appointed in 1816. He arrived at Madras with his wife and child in 1817, and was hospitably entertained by Marmaduke Thompson. His first station was Cuddalore, one of the oldest mission stations of the S.P.C.K. This was unfortunate for both the mis sion and the Society. Kerr, Thompson, and Church belonged to the new evangelical party which had been to some extent frowned upon by the S.P.C.K. and those in authority. Other nominees of Charles Simeon belonged to the same party, but only these three carried their antagonism to the Society to India with them. Church ignored the old S.P.C.K. Mission at Cuddalore and its historic chapel. He held services for Europeans in the Magistrate's office in New Town, and hired a house in Old Town for similar purposes. He opened two mission schools in opposition to the S.P.C.K. missionary, and supported them at his own expense. On the other hand he acquired a knowledge of Tamil with a view to making himself useful in his missionary ventures. In 1819 he was sent to Vizagapatam in the Telugu district, where his knowledge of Tamil was of very little use to him. Here he had to minister to 500 British soldiers in the Fort, and a few families of civilians at Waltair * in the country four miles off. In 1820 he was appointed Chaplain of Black Town, Madras, and became secretary of the C.M.S. Corresponding Committee and President of the Friend in Need Society, in succession to Marmaduke Thompson, who had gone to England on furlough. He founded the Madras Auxiliary Bible Society and was its first honorary secretary. One of his duties was to visit the military station of Poonamallee. This he did in 1821. (He mentions the Asylum for orphans of British soldiers at Poonamallee, which cannot be traced. He probably meant the Military Asylum in the Poona mallee Road at Madras.) At this time his own health began to suffer, and he lost two of his children. He left India on sick leave in March 1822, and died at sea the following month. The Life of Church was written by a Madras civilian, J. M. Strachan, and James Hough wrote the preface.