Society for the Propagation of the Gospel Archives on Borneo Mission in Trinity Theological College, Singapore.

A Guide.

Michael Poon, October 2004

See Southeast Asian Anglican Source Documents

Brief History | Primary Sources | Chronology | Clergy and People | Further Reading | Maps

Brief History

The history of the Anglican Province of South East Asia is bounded with the mission of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts (the SPG).

SPG was founded as a result of an enquiry into the state of the Church of England in the American Colonies carried out by the Revd Dr Thomas Bray on behalf of the Bishop of London. The Church there was found to have little spiritual vitality and to be in a poor organisational condition. Therefore, King William III issued a charter on 16th June 1701, which established the SPG as an organisation able to send priests and schoolteachers to America to help provide the Church's ministry to the colonists. The SPG’s remit was soon broadened to encompass evangelisation of slaves and Native Americans, and by 1710 the Society stated that the “conversion of heathens and infidels ought to be prosecuted preferably to all others”. The Society's first missionaries began work in America in 1702 and by the time the USA claimed independence the SPG had supported the work of about 300 men and had made a substantial contribution to the foundation of the Episcopal Church.

The SPG's horizons began rapidly to expand, first in 1703 to the West Indies and soon after to Nova Scotia, and later in the 18th century to the rest of Canada, Australia, New Zealand and West Africa. Early in the 19th century the SPG began sending missionaries to countries where migrants from Britain and Ireland were not present in large numbers, such as India (1820) and South Africa (1821). Work among indigenous people came to have a higher priority than care of the colonists, although the Society’s emphasis on pastoral ministry and education remained. In 1866 the SPG established the “Ladies’ Association for Promoting the Education of Females in India and other Heathen Countries in Connection with the Missions of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel”, which became in 1895 the “Women’s Mission Association for the Promotion of Female Education in the Missions of the SPG” and which enabled British and Irish women to become missionaries in their own right, rather than only as the wives of male missionaries. The nineteenth century also saw increasing numbers of indigenous missionaries of both sexes being supported by the SPG, as was medical missionary work. In addition the SPG began to work in countries that were outside the British Empire, such as China (1863) and Japan (1873). Throughout the 20th century the SPG continued to represent the missionary aims of the Churches of England, Wales, and Ireland through its pastoral, educational and medical work, until its merger in 1965 with the Universities’ Mission to Central Africa and in 1968 with the Cambridge Mission to Delhi, to form the United Society for the Propagation of the Gospel.

Primary Sources

SPG’s archives are kept mainly Rhodes House Library, Oxford, and Lambeth Palace Library. A more detailed account of the holdings can be founded in M D Wainwright and Noel Matthews, A Guide to the Western Manuscripts and Documents in the British Isles relating to South and South East Asia. (London: Oxford UP, 1965), and J D Pearson A Guide to Manuscripts and Documents in the British Isles relating to South and South-East Asia. 2 Volumes. (London: Mansell, 1989-2000). Relevant Sections of the above volumes are available in TTC Library. See also Mundus Gateway: for details.

SPG Microfilm holdings in TTC Library:

CLR and CLS designate the Letters received and sent by the Mission Board.

Reel 1
USPG CLR 72 Borneo Church Mission Missionary Register Volume 1
1848-1859 pp. 1-497
Indexed to about p. 380
USPG CLR 73 Borneo Register Volume 2
1859-1893 pp. 1-550
Reel 2
USPG CLR 74 Borneo Church Mission
1893-1908; 519 pp.
USPG CLR 75 Borneo Church Mission
1908-1912; 202 pp.
Reel 3
USPG C/ASI/SIN2 MacDougall, F T (1848-1858)Coomes, S (Miss)
Chambers, Walters
Chambers, William
Fox, C J (Catechist)
Gomes, William
Hackett, William
Horsburgh, A
Kock, C A
Nicholls, W W (Catechist)
Owen, Daniel (Catechist)
Wright, W B
Reel 4
USPG CLR 69 Rangoon Letters Received Volume 5
1913-1928; 112pp.
With Index
Reel 5
USPG CLR 95 Siam Volume Letters Received Volume 1
1901-1927; 114 pp.
With Index
USPG CLR 96 Singapore Letters Received Volume 1
1909-1923; 302 pp.
With Index
USPG CLR 97 Singapore Letters Received Volume 2
1924-1928; 104 pp.
With Index
Reel 6
USPG CLR 76 Borneo Letters Received Volume 5
1912-1916; 250 pp.
With Index
USPG CLR 77 Borneo Letters Received Volume 6
1916-1923; 302 pp.
With Index
Reel 7
USPG CLR 78 Borneo Letters Received Volume 7
1923-1928; 204 pp.
With Index
Reel 8
USPG CLS 57 Borneo (Labuan and Sarawak) Letters Sent Volume 4
1912-1917; 302 pp.
With Index
USPG CLS 58 Borneo Letters Sent Volume 5
1916-1924; 291pp.
With Index
Reel 9
USPG CLS 59 Borneo Letters Sent Volume 6
1924-1927; 194pp.
With Index
USPG CLS 74 Siam Letters Sent
1906-1927; 108pp.
Partial Index
USPG CLS 75 Singapore Letters Sent
1910-1921; 202pp.
With Index
USPG CLS 76 Singapore Letters Sent
1921-1928; 142pp.
With Index
Reel 10
USPG CLS 50 Rangoon Letters Sent Volume 4
1923-1928; 260pp.
With Index
USPG CLS 54 Borneo Letters Sent Volume 1
1846-1902; 518pp.
Partial Index with Table of Contents
USPG CLS 55 Borneo Letters Sent Volume 2
1902-1910; 204pp.
No Index
USPG CLS 56 Borneo Letters Sent
1910-1912; 202pp.
No Index
Reel 11
USPG CLS 47 Rangoon Letters Sent Volume 1
1884-1908; 502pp.
Index at the end of the Book
(Letter to Bp of Victoria, 1859 enclosed)
Previous Letters in the Rangoon Diocese found in Calcutta Letters Sent Books)
USPG CLS 48 Rangoon Letters Sent Volume 2
1908-1912; 282pp.
Index at the end of the Book
USPG CLS 49 Rangoon Letters Sent Volume 3
1914-1923; 303pp.
Partial Index to p. 160
Reel 12 USPG X235 Richard Richard’s Collection of sermons, reports, and correspondences in Kudat 1892-1902, and St Andrew’s, Singapore 1902-1934
Reel 13
USPG C/ASI/RAN/1 Rangoon
USPG C/ASI/SIN/1 Singapore
Reel 14
USPG CLR 65 Rangoon Letters Received
1878-1885; 261pp.
No Index
USPG CLR 66 Rangoon Letters Received
1886-1898 496pp.
No Index
USPG CLR 67 Rangoon Letters Received
1898-1905 506pp.
Index at the end of the Book
USPG CLR 68 Rangoon Letters Received
1906-1913 280pp.
Index at the end of the Book

Chronology of Borneo and Singapore Mission 1805-1941

(B: on Borneo; otherwise, Singapore)

1805 . First chaplain appointed to Penang. Malaya under Calcutta to 1869
1826 .
EIC appoints Robert Burns as Chaplain in Bengal
1834 . First visit of Bishop Wilson of Calcutta to Singapore
1834 . Foundation stone laid for St Andrew's church (9 Nov 1834)
1836 B Singapore became seat of government for the British
1837 . Edward Squire (CMS) arrived
1837 . Church completed and first service held 18 June 1837 by Edward White
1838 . James Brooke arrived in Sarawak
1842 . Mrs Maria Dyer founded a girl's school to rescue girls from slavery, later named St Margaret
1842 . Spire and tower added to church in Singapore
1848 B Francis Thomas MacDougall and W B Wright arrived in Kuching 29 June 1848
1851 B Bishop Daniel Wilson of Calcutta consecrated St Thomas
1851 B Fox and Nicholls arrived
1851 B Walter Chambers posted to Sakarran
1851 B Gomes arrived from Ceylon to Lundu
1851 B Andrew Horsburgh arrived from Hong Kong to Sarawak
1851 B McDougall admitted five Chinese converts to Communion (September 7 1851)
1852 . St Andrew's Church became unsafe and was closed
1852 B McDougall returned to England (Autumn 1852)
1853 B SPG formally took responsibility for mission (January 1 1853)
1853 B Gomes opened Christ Church Mission Lundu, nearr Kuching
1855 B McDougall back to Sarawak, consecrated Bishop of Labuan (St Luke's Day). Sarawak added to jurisdiction
1856 . Foundation stone of new church (St Andrews's, Singapore) laid by Bishop Wilson
1856 . William Humphrey's WhitSun Sermon
1856 B Charles Koch and Miss Wooley arrived
1857 B Chinese insurrection in Kuching
1857 B SPG sent William Chambers, James Glover and W Hacket from St Augustine's Canterbury
1858 B Koch and Glover to Banting; Chambers to Quop
1858 B Chung Ah Luk went with Chambers to Quop, served for 66 years
1859 B Consecration of St Paul's Banting
1859 B T C Smyth wrote to ask Bishop Cotton of Calcutta to request missionary from SPG to work in Singapore
1862 . St Andrew's Church consecrated by Bishop Cotton 25 January 1862
1862 . Appeal to SPG. Edward Venn arrived to become Superintendent of Mission. Chok Loi Fatt, Peter Tychicus as catechists
1862 B William Mesney and William Crossland arrived from St Augustine's; two Lutherans Frederick Abé and John Zehnder joined; John Richardson arrived
1865 B Consecration of St James, Quop
1866 . Edward Venn died
1867 . Straits Settlement (1 April 1867)
1867 B Report stated Chinese congregation numbered 100, 100 baptized Dyaks. Four churches and three chapels built in outstations
1868 . John Beckles appointed Colonial Chaplain
1868 B McDougall resigned; Brooke died
1869 B Walter Chambers became Bishop
1870 B Chambers installed in Kuching
1870 B St Thomas' School built
1870 . St Andrew's Church made into Cathedral 20 Dec 1870 by Bishop Chambers
1871 . Tamil Mission began in Penang (R Balavendrum)
1872 . Henry Gomes arrived from Borneo
1874 B Chung Ah Luk ordained deacon
1875 . Mission Chapel opened
1879 B Walter Chambers resigned
1881 . Bishop George Frederick Hose became Bishop of Singapore, Labuan and Sarawak
1881 B George Frederick Hose became Bishop of Singapore, Labuan and Sarawak
1881 B North Borneo ceded to the British North Borneo Company
1882 B Hose visited Sandakan
1884 . Church of Saint John consecrated by Bishop Hose
1884 . Taiping Chaplaincy founded
1887 . church in Kuala Lumpur
1892 B Richards made deacon and served in Kudat
1893 . church in Seremban
1893 B Under William Henry Elton. St Michael's Church built in Sandakan (foundation stone laid on St Michael's Day)
1894 . Saint Matthew's Church built
1896 B F Perry and H J Edney posted to Keningau to serve the Muruts
1898 B Saint Michael's Sandakan dedicated
1902 . Richards arrived in Singapore, succeeded Gomes
1902 B Fong Hau Kong priested to take up Richard's work in Kudat
1907 B Chinese Institute established (19 January 1907)
1908 B Hose retired
1909 . Bishopric of Singapore created
1909 . Mounsey Bishop of Labuan and Sarawak
1909 . Charles James Ferguson-Davie Bishop of Singapore
1910 . First Clergy Conference at Kuala Lumpur
1910 . Dong Bing Seng from Foochow
1910 . Singapore Diocesan Magazine started
1911 . Auxiliary Association formed in England for recruitment
1911 . Chan Wing Tsuen from Hong Kong
1911 . St David's Hospital opened in Malacca by Dr Mildred Staley
1913 . Cathedral had two assistant chaplains
1913 . St Mary's School for Girls under Miss Eveleigh in Kuala Lumpur
1914 . Library founded in Cathedral
1914 . C R Simmons took up Greenstock's work in Bangkok. Schools built
1915 . Brief imitative in evangelizing the Malays in Singapore. Clinic opened in Pasir Panjang
1916 . Swindell became Archdeacon 1914-1929
1916 . Irregular services at Katong
1916 B F S Hollis arrived to work in Borneo
1916 B Bishop Mounsey resigned
1917 B Danson enthroned in Kuching
1917 . Only one side of the pews in the Cathedral were rented out, seated freed at five minutes before MP and EP
1918 . Dong, Chan and D S Ponniah (Headmaster of St Andrew's School) priested. First ordained priests in Singapore
1918 . Foochow congregation under Dong
1918 B W Linton arrived in Borneo
1919 . S Visvalingam ordained
1920 . Cantonese congregation under Chan Wing Tsuen
1920 B Si Migaat, first Lan Dyak made deacon
1922 . Church Council in Cathedral
1922 . Cantonese congregation became self supporting
1922 B A B Champion arrived in Borneo
1923 . Tamil Diocesan Association formed
1923 B St Columba's Miri consecrated
1923 B Thomas Buda, first Sea Dyak made deacon
1924 . Home for blind children in Malacca (St Nicholas' Home) under Miss Sherman
1925 B Matius Senang made deacon
1926 . St Nicholas Home in Malacca for the blind and crippled children
1926 B F W Synnott posted to Miri
1927 . Ng Ho Le, Tay Chui Lok, T Yessadian and D P Samuel ordained
1927 . Basil Roberts consecrated Bishop on 18 October 1927
1927 . Bishop Ferguson Davie retired and succeeded by Basil Coleby Roberts
1927 B Chong En Siong posted to Miri oil wells
1928 B Chung Ah Luk died
1928 B Five students under E Parry in the College of the Holy Way ordained priest
1929 B Church at Betong consecrated
1929 . Cantonese congregation moved to St Matthew's
1930 . St Nicholas Home transferred to Penang
1931 . Chinese Diocesan Association formed
1931 B Danson resigned, succeeded by Noel Baring Hudson
1931 B E D Logie Danson from Singapore became Bishop of Labuan and Sarawak
1932 . Gnanamani built parsonage for Tamil congregation
1932 . Home for the Bind in Malacca removed to Penang
1933 . Malacca Medical Mission closed due to lack of funds
1933 . Proposal of churches at Katong, Serangoon, Pasir Panjang.
1934 . Feeder schools to St Andrew's School at Upper Serangoon and Katong
1934 . Richards retired
1934 B St Andrew's Brunei erected and donated by Pehin Ong
1934 B Community of the Resurrection came to Kuching (Fr Phillips, Shelley, Thomas. Blair and Wrathall)
1936 . Yip Cho Sang ordained priest
1937 B Consecration of St Luke's Simanggang
1937 . John Lee ordained priest
1937 B Hudson resigned to become Secretary of SPG, Archdeacon Hollis succeeded
1938 B Hollis enthroned in Kuching
1938 . A J Bennitt replaced Richards to supervise Tamil and Chinese work in Singapore
1939 . Orthopedic Hospital built as an extension of St Andrew's Mission Hospital
1939 B St Philip's and James's Church Kuala Belait consecrated
1939 . P I S Baboo arrived Singapore
1940 . Yeh Hua Fen ordained priest
1940 . Mission in Bankok closed due to lack of funds and staff
1940 . Roberts resigned to become Warden of St Augustine's Canterbury
1941 . Bishop John L Wilson from Hong Kong became Bishop

Clergy and People

Bishops of Calcutta

1814 Thomas Fanshaw Middleton
1823 Reginald Heber
1827 John Thomas James
1829 John Matthias Turner
1832 Daniel Wilson First Metropolitan of India
1858 George Edward Cotton
1867 Robert Milman

Bishops of Labuan and Sarawak

1855-1868 McDougall
1869-1879 Walter Chambers
1881-1908 George Frederick Hose
1908-1916 Mounsey
1916-1931 Danson
1931-1937 Hudson
1937-1948 Hollis
1949-1962 Cornwall

Bishops of Singapore and Siam

1909-1927 Ferguson-Davie
1927-1940 Basil Colby Roberts
1940-1948 John Leonard Wilson
1949-1960 Henry Wolfe Baines

Residency Chaplains in Singapore

1826 Robert Burns B.A. (D. 1833 Buried On Fort Canning).
1833 Fred J. Darrah. (D. In Madras.)
1837 Edward White M.A. (D. 1845. Buried on Fort Canning.)
1845 Horatio Moule, M.A.
1852 Charles J. Quartley M.A.
1854 Charles H. B. Gladwin M.A.
1855 W. T. Humphrey.
1858 Thomas C Smyth. M.A.
1860 A. D. Nicholson, M.A.
1863 Charles J. Waterhouse.

Colonial Chaplains

1868 John Alleyne Beckles (d. Dorset, 1878, aged 37)
1874 George Frederick Hose, M.A. (d. at Normandy, Guildford 1922, aged 83.)
1881 Thomas Meredith, M.A. (d. at Wolston, Coventry, Aged 61)
1891 John Perham M.A. (D. At Chard,, Somers. 1928, aged 84)
1902 W. H. C. Dunkerley, M.A. (d at Leybourne, Maidstone, 1922, aged 61)
1905 Herbert C Izard, M.A. (Ret 1914)
1914 Frank G Swindell, M.A. (Ret 1929)

Acting Colonial Chaplains during periods of furlough or sickness
1869 GF Hose
1871 SR Dingley
1875 GF Hose
1876 WH Gomes
1881 LC Biggs
1901 WHC Dunkerley
1907 FG Swindell
1914 HG Peile
1919 BNMiles
1923 EA Hone
1926 GT Shetliffe
Chaplains of the Royal Navy and Seamen Chaplains
1845 Parish, W.E, HMS.Agincourt.
1848 Edwards, J., HMS Daedalus
Hannan, F. Gell, J. P.
1849 Thompson, J. HMS Macander
1850 Waldron, FW HM Amazon
1855 Grayling, T
1857 Jackson, N. R.N.
1862 Garrett, W.W. HMS Scout
1862 Venn, Edw. E. (SPG)
1863 Ince, JC Seamen’s Chaplain
1871 Kerr, WB, Seamen’s Chaplain
1874 Brown, J. Seamen’s Chaplain
The abovenamed ships were engaged in eh suppression of piracy.

Assistant Chaplains (Year of appointments)

1840 J Vaugham
1840 JNNorgate
1841 R Panting
1844 H Taylor
1845 WJ Parish
1848 WB Wright
1875 RJF Smith
1879 J Holland
1886 B Wonnacott
1890 H Powell
1882 A Sharp
1902 E Griffith Evans
1905 J Andrew Smith
1908 J Marsh Kirkby
Assistant Chaplains (cont'd)
1910 John H Smith
1910 W. S. Kelley
1911 John H.Smith
1911 E.L.Danson, A B Champion (Bishop’s Chaplain)
1912 H. G. Peile
1913 C.B.Wood
1916 R.V.H.Bune
1916 G. Dexter Allen.
1918 G. Dexter Allen.
1918 B. N. Miles.
1920 J Butterworth
1923 H. Parsons.
1925 G. T. Shetliffe.
1925 G. T. Shetliffe.
1926 J. V. Westlake

Early Chinese Catechists

Chung Ah Luk

1850 Admitted to Mission School
1860 assisted William Chalmers at Quop
1862 assisted and instructed by Abé at Quop.
1864 at Kuching
1874 ordained deacon for Quop and Sentah
1928 Died

Foo Ngyen Khoon, Chinese writer of McDougall. Formerly School teacher and religious leader at Pengangkat in Dutch Borneo.

1852 Baptised.
1864 at Kuching
1870 Opened school in his house. Already deaconed
1878 still in Kuching

Kong Kuin En

1900s Kuching
1913 ordained deacon
1918 ordained priest 29 April 1918

Further Reading: (available in the Trinity Theological College Library)

Borneo Mission Association. The Chronicle. A Quarterly Report of the Borneo Mission Association in Connection with SPG. Volume 6(1915)-.

Loh Keng Aun. Fifty Years of the Anglican Church in Singapore Island 1909-1959. Number Four: Singapore Studies on Borneo and Malaya. Singapore: University of Singapore, 1963.

O'Connor, Daniel and others, Three centuries of mission: The United Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, 1701-2000. London: Continuum, 2000.

Saunders, Graham. Bishops and Brookes. The Anglican Mission and the Brooke Raj in Sarawak 1848-1941. Oxford; Oxford UP,1992.

Thompson, H. P. Into all Lands. The History of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in the Foreign Parts. 1701-1950. London: SPCK, 1951.

Report of the Board of Missions of the Provinces of Canterbury and York on the Mission Field. London: SPCK, 1894.

Maps From Jan M. Pluvier, Historical Atlas of South-East Asia. Leiden: Brill, 1995.

Borneo, c. 1760-1920
West Borneo in the 19th and Early 20th Century
The Establishment of the Colonial Empires, 1862-1940
Sarawak Map 1
Sarawak Map 2

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