Project Canterbury

Bishop's College Calcutta 1820-1970

No place: no publisher, 1970.

Reproduced by kind permission of Bishop's College, Kolkata, 2006.

Most Rev. Lakdasa Demel
Bishop of Calcutta and Metropolitan

15th November 1970


Training for the sacred ministry is one of the most important tasks in the Church, and this was realised by the first Bishop of Calcutta, Thomas Fanshawe Middleton, who 150 years ago built well and effectively for future generations. The students of Bishop's College have gone forth to proclaim the Gospel, to teach the faith, and to minister to the souls for whom our Blessed Lord laid down His life. Even so must we daily follow the Master bearing our cross.

In the years to come, underlying the confusion in which we are involved, there are fruitful possibilities. A devout and learned clergy must break the Bread of Life to the hungry multitudes. God grant that, entering into the labours of others, we may go forth to do our own tasks faithfully for the benefit of generations to come. Let us lift up our souls in prayer and with confidence seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit for the future.

Bishop of Calcutta and Metropolitan

The Most Reverend A. M. Ramsey, D.D.

1st November 1970



The 150th anniversary of the foundation of Bishop's College evokes feelings of great gratitude to Almighty God for a wonderful record of theological teaching, corporate sacramental life and pastoral training which the College has enjoyed through the years. It is hard to exaggerate what the College has given to the Anglican Communion in India through the diffused influence of the men whom it has trained and sent out to serve Christianity in India in many ways. I remember with special happiness a visit which I was privileged to make to the College in 1961.

With the inauguration of Church union, the College has before it exciting prospects of change and new service. It will find itself increasingly serving the growing wider ecumenical scene. While it will be called upon to change, it will also be called upon to conserve, and what it conserves will be the strong emphasis on worship, prayer, sacramental life and personal discipline which belonged to it in its Anglican days. May God greatly bless the College in a deepening and widening service to Church and people both in India and beyond.


Bishop A.J. Appaswamy

The College Chapel in the foreground and in the background, beyond the court, the "Barracks"--the quarters for unmarried (and unaccompanied) students.

A lecture in progress in the College Library.

Intercessions in the College Chapel

Volley ball is the favourite game at Bishop's College with both students and staff.


For the past five years Bishop Stephen Neill's A History of Christian Missions has been more or less compulsory reading for 2nd Year Church History students, and many of them must have raised an eyebrow when they reached p. 267 and discovered that, in the view of the learned author, their College was a premature and grandiose undertaking, producing a steadily declining number of clergy for most of the first century of its existence. Mercifully, premature babies often show remarkable signs of vigour and longevity. On several occasions in the 19th century it seemed that Bishop's College would come to an ignominious and untimely end. Racked by internal quarrels and harrassed by external pressures, the College struggled manfully to implement the vast designs of its founder. Not until 1918 did Bishop's College find its true role, as the central English-medium seminary for that portion of the Anglican Communion subject to the jurisdiction of the Metropolitan in Calcutta. That the College managed to weather so many crises in its long history was due to the courage and wisdom of those who, reading the signs of the times, were prepared to cut their losses when necessary and adapt themselves to changing circumstances and needs and opportunities.

We celebrate our 150th anniversary only a month after reaching yet another such crossroad. The inauguration of the Church of North India and consequent disappearance of the Anglican Province of India, Pakistan, Burma and Ceylon poses urgent problems as well as new opportunities of service. Recent trends in theological education in India, and the policy at present being pursued by the Senate of Serampore College, have reopened a number of old controversies and called in question many of the things which the College has stood for in the past. 1970 is thus perhaps a providential moment at which to take a sober look at our past as well as our future. It would be tempting to make this an opportunity for self-congratulation and to propose the toast: "Here's to us, and who's like us?" Rather, the times call for self-criticism and an honest assessment of our failures and short-comings. There is much to be proud of, and grateful for--a stream of devoted and well-trained priests (many subsequently have become bishops) to serve the Churches in Asia and further afield, a rigorously-maintained standard of academic proficiency and personal conduct, a vision of the Church and its Ministry which is both 'Catholic' and 'Evangelical', and a grounding in personal devotion and corporate life which has left its mark very widely. Yet equally we must [i/ii] not lose sight of the other side of the coin. If the College does not rise to the occasion and adapt itself to the demands of the new situation, it is unlikely that our successors will have anything to celebrate in the year 2020 A.D.

In this little book we have tried to gather together something of our history and our life in the past century and a half. Inevitably, many gaps remain--personalities and events which others will recall, and anecdotes which have had to be omitted.

We are particularly fortunate to be able to include Miss Gibb's specially-written history of the College. She will shortly be publishing her long-awaited History of the Anglican Church in India, and there is certainly no one better qualified than she to remind us of our past. She has an intimate knowledge of the sources (mostly in the archives of U.S.P.G. and C.M.S. in London), and only she could have written this major piece of scholarly research at two months' notice. Her article reveals some of the tensions and difficulties of the early days, as the College (planned on too ambitious a scale) experimented with one plan after another for attracting and training the right kind of students in the right kind of way. There were moments of drama, as in 1842 when Street, the Vice-Principal, leaped into a budgerow on the Hooghly and pursued a young convert who had been 'hijacked' by his relations. There were theological crises, as when the Oxford Movement began to make its influence felt on the life of the College, to the indignation of the Evangelical and pugnacious Bishop Wilson. (How many people realise that the future Cardinal Manning nearly became Vice-Principal in 1839?) We meet the great Krishna Mohan Banerjea and Nehemiah Goreh (who owed his discovery of the 'Catholic' view of the Church to Bishop's College), and many others whose pioneering books were printed at the College Press. Miss Gibbs describes the statesmanlike decision to move the College from its grandiose buildings in Sibpur to its present site in the 1880s, and brings the story down to the present day on an optimistic note.

We are equally grateful to others who have contributed their own personal reminiscences. Dr. Thomas Sitther was one of the original batch of students to join the newly-reconstituted College in 1918, and he has sent us some memories of those days, though he has modestly declined to write of his further eighteen years as a member of the staff. For that period of his life we have had to turn to the Principal's Report of 1935, where he is spoken of in the following terms:

"The College owes to his quiet and unassuming influence a debt of gratitude which cannot be over-appreciated. His efficiency, his astonishing flair for organization [iii/iv] and attention to detail, his ready and eager loyalty to three Principals in turn, his readiness to do the donkey-work and to leave to others the credit, coupled all the time with frank and always wise advice, his friendship and his deep spiritual life have been an inspiration."

One of Dr. Sitther's contemporaries was the Rev. J. Y. Barnabas, who was inspired to enter the Ministry by Sadhu Sundar Singh when the latter visited the Ootacamund Y.M.C.A. where Barnabas was Secretary in 1918. In a letter he recalls that even fifty years ago volley-ball was the most popular game in the College, though he hastily adds that "the Chapel was, of course, the centre of our daily life, devotion and discipline"; a twofold emphasis which we are glad to think has remained unscathed over the years!

About Bishop Pakenham Walsh, Principal from 1923 to 1934, stories are as abundant as they are often apocryphal. He was one of the 'characters' of the Church of his day, and unquestionably a saint. With the arrival of Fr. Peacey to replace him, a rather different atmosphere prevailed. He tells his own story; and it is interesting to those of us who already regard the pre-War days as past history, nearer to the Flood than to 1970, to discover that many of the problems with which we now wrestle (such as the tension between the examination system and our ideas about Ministerial training) were live issues in the 1930s. One problem seems to have solved itself, in these days of rice and flour-rationing. We no longer have to maintain three separate Messes for students from different parts of India. The rapprochement between rice and chappattis perhaps reflects an ecumenical advance--or perhaps students are more adaptable? The Vice-Principal still finds it necessary to keep a large bottle of Macleans Stomach Powder prominently on his desk in June and July, to ease the digestive problems of new students from North and South respectively.

The question of numbers must always have been a headache. Is the College 'plant' being used to the full, at an economic level? How can we maintain the broad spreadover of students from different parts of the Province and from other Churches, which has always been a characteristic of the College? In 1935, apparently for the first time, the number of students from the North outweighed those from the South (seventeen as against ten), while two others came from Rangoon and Polynesia. Of the southerners, three were from Colombo and one each from the Syrian Orthodox and Mar Thoma Churches. Two years later the number of students had risen to thirty-one (of whom four were Europeans), and by 1940 two students from Egypt and [iv/v] Sarawak had appeared. In 1941, despite the World War, there were thirty-six students, including two Armenians, recalling the fact that as long ago as 1825 Merop David, an Armenian deacon, was amongst the first students of the College. By 1945 the effects of the War had been reflected in the intake of students, and numbers were down to twenty (of whom three were Syrian Orthodox and one was from the Mar Thoma Church). Statistics are a thoroughly bad index of the life of the College, and its usefulness; yet we hope that it may be possible to make up for the loss of students from Burma and Pakistan by attracting others from further afield to enrich our common life--and perhaps to enrich them too?

A note in the Annual Report for 1940 mentioned field-work at the C.M.S. hospital at Ranaghat, where staff and students "took temperatures, washed the sick, gave their blood for transfusion, carried bed-pans, opened sores, cut off a finger, etc." Today this tradition of practical service continues with the close link between the College and the (R.C.) Kidderpore Brothers of Charity. Once a year members of the College spend a week doing very much the same work; though we have not yet been called upon to perform surgery, apart from giving odd injections. Field work today is perhaps less evangelistic than it used to be, reflecting a new conception of the Servant Church rather than a cooling of evangelistic ardour. Whatever form it may take, the need has always been recognised of "keeping our feet on the ground" and resisting the temptation to become purely an academic Ivory Tower. Some of the experiments in this direction are mentioned in Fr. May's article; while the underlying conviction that all preparation for the Ministry must begin on our knees in the Chapel is brought home, in his own inimitable way, in Fr. Sambayya's contribution to this volume.

To all who have contributed material, including photographs, for this 'family album', we offer our warm thanks. We would have liked to include contributions from many others, both former staff and old students; but in a booklet of this size it would have been impossible. Perhaps we may be permitted, in this anniversary year, to conclude with some words written by our most recent Principal, Dr. A. F. Thompson:

"Theology is a function of the Church." Old students of Bishop's College might or might not recognize this as the second sentence of Karl Barth's Church Dogmatics. It states tersely a basic truth about Christian theology and one that is illuminating in the present situation of the college--and perhaps also in the situations of many old students engaged in the Ministry in various fields.

[vi] It asserts in fact two fundamental principles. In the first place, theology is 'alive': it is thinking about God and our existence under God and our tasks for God, and as such it is never finished. Theology is the intellectual engagement of faith, hope and love in the business of living, a function, therefore, of the Church. On the other hand theology is a function of the Church: it is not a game for gifted individuals, but a corporate work. The theologian--like any other 'scientist'-- stands within a tradition and functions as a member of a community. Does it need to be added that theology is a quite vital function of the Church? Without a live theology there is no self-criticism, no clarification of the meaning of the Church's life, no discrimination in its operations, no reformation; there is instead blindness and stagnation.

I have said this dictum is illuminating in the present situation of the college. It is sometimes assumed that theology is a function of the seminary; a man comes and 'does' theology for three years. There is of course a measure of truth in this. Generations of teachers in Bishop's College have understood that a task of paramount importance within their total work of forming men for the Ministry is to force men to think. A seminary should form a capacity for theological reflection and launch the ordinand on a lifelong career as a theologian. But it is no more true that theology is done only in a seminary than that a doctor's medical practice is confined to his medical school. Theology is not a function of the seminary but of the Church. The seminary in its theological work is a vital organ of the Church, sustained by it, and itself nourishing and (one dares hope) guiding the Church."

The Rev. Canon R. W. Bowie

The Rev. I. D. L. Clark


Miss M. E. Gibbs

I Bishop Middleton's Dream

At a General Meeting of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts held at St. Martin's Library, Westminster on March 13th, 1818, "His Grace the President (the Archbishop of Canterbury) stated to the Board that, time having been now allowed for the due settlement of the Episcopal authority in India, it did appear to him that the moment was at length arrived when the operations of the Society might be safely and usefully extended in that quarter of the world, and that with the security derived from proper Diocesan control it now became the Society to step forward with some offer to co-operate with the Lord Bishop of Calcutta in such plans as, with the concurrence of the constituted authorities for the Government of India, his Lordship might be inclined to recommend; and hereupon it was agreed that the subject be referred to a special Committee consisting of the Bishops of London and Gloucester and Joshua Watson Esq. to devise the best measures for carrying these objects into execution". [S.P.G. Committee Minutes. U.S.P.G. Archives.] The Committee reported to a second General Meeting five days later, on March 18th, its recommendation being that "a correspondence be opened with the Lord Bishop of Calcutta tendering generally such assistance towards the support of the existing Missionary Establishment and the promotion of Christianity as to the Bishop may appear most desirable, and inviting the Bishop's more particular suggestions as to the most prudent and practicable mode of promoting the objects which the Society have in view". £5000 were to be placed at the Bishop's disposal and an appeal made to the public for funds. [Ibid.]

It was not till May 1819 that the Bishop's reply to this offer was received. Thomas Fanshawe Middleton had arrived in Calcutta in December 1814 as the first Bishop of a diocese which included all the Indian territory under the control of the East India Company, as a result of certain clauses in the East India Act of the previous year. Another clause in the same Act opened India to the arrival of missionaries, which the authorities of the Company had previously blocked in the fear that their preaching might so provoke non-Christians as to endanger British rule. These religious clauses were carried against considerable opposition, largely by the efforts and eloquence of Wilberforce, backed by his friends, Evangelicals of the so-called [1/2] Clapham Sect. The foundation of the bishopric of Calcutta met with less opposition than the admission of missionaries, because it could be represented as merely a completion of the establishment of chaplains which the Company had maintained from the beginning of its existence for the benefit of its European servants. Middleton was no Evangelical; in fact it was impossible that anyone of that way of thinking could have been proposed for the see of Calcutta at that time, when everybody agreed that what was required was the utmost prudence; and Evangelicals were reputed all to be touched with "enthusiasm", which in the usage of the time was the exact opposite of prudence. But as vicar of St. Pancras in London, he had been a warm supporter of S.P.G. and S.P.CK. and had become a friend of Joshua Watson, the leading High Church layman of the day. He was therefore inclined to be sympathetic to missions, but arrived in India strongly imbued with the idea that great caution would be needed in promoting their interest. But four years' experience of the conditions which actually obtained in India, including an extensive visitation tour of the south and Ceylon, which had been added to his diocese, convinced him that the alarm had been greatly exaggerated. As he told the Committee in the long letter in which he replied to their offer. "The danger, generally speaking, of attempting to promote Christianity in India is not the difficulty with which they have to contend. Ordinary discretion is all that is required and every proceeding the Bishop would consider which did not offer a direct and open affront to the prevailing superstition. In any attempt to enlighten, to instruct or to convince, experience has abundantly shown that there is not the slightest ground for alarm and this the Bishop believes is now admitted by many who once regarded such attempts with manifest apprehension". He did not feel that much was to be hoped for at present from preaching alone. "What is further required seems to be a preparation of the Native mind to comprehend the importance and the truth of the doctrines proposed to them, and this must be the effect of Education, the Scriptures must be translated and other writing conducive to the end in view". Consequently Middleton proposed the establishment of a Mission College in the neighbourhood of Calcutta, with four chief aims in view:--

"Firstly, of instructing Native and other Christian youth in the doctrine and discipline of the Church in order to their becoming Preachers, Catechists and Schoolmasters. ("Other Christian youth" he explained to mean the sons of European parents born in India, especially the sons of missionaries.)

"Secondly, for teaching the elements of useful knowledge and the English language to Mussalmans and Hindoos [2/3] having no object in such attainments beyond secular advantages. (It was explained that enlightenment and general knowledge would be a preliminary condition of the reception of the Christian message and that a desire to learn English and become acquainted with western knowledge was gaining ground.)

"Thirdly, for translating the Scriptures, the Liturgy and Moral and Religious Tracts.

"Fourthly, for the reception of English missionaries, to be sent out by the Society, on their first arrival in India."

£5000 would suffice for the buildings and land. For the staff at least two, and later three, permanent professors or teachers would be needed, who should be clergymen of the Church of England, with two munshis. After a few years a printing establishment and native schools would be necessary. "When the scheme is in full working order, each Mission Station would have an English Missionary Clergyman, one or two Missionaries to be educated in the College and ordained as Missionaries, or Catechists or as Schoolmasters, all from the College."

As for the qualifications of the clergy sent out to the College, "They should be, if not distinguished for general scholarship, at least respectable divines, acquainted with the Scriptures in the Originals, of frugal and laborious habits and possessing a talent for languages; and without a certain order of character, a deep feeling of the importance of the duty committed to them, and a disposition to value success in that enterprise more than in any other human pursuit, they would not.....answer the end proposed. The Senior should not be more than thirty years of age, and his colleague might be somewhat younger.....They should be men of sedate habits and serious piety." [General Meeting of May 18th, 1819. U.S.P.G. Archives.]

The plan was adopted. The Earl of Liverpool, then Prime Minister, approved of it, S.P.CK. promised an additional £5000 and the British and Foreign Bible Society granted another £5000 to be appropriated exclusively to the translation of the Scriptures into Indian languages. At a General Meeting on May 19th, 1820, the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel announced the reception of a letter from Middleton, conveying his thanks and the news that the Marquis of Hastings, the Governor General, had given land for a site. This was at Sibpur near Howrah, across the as yet unbridged Hoogli from Calcutta; and no doubt it seemed particularly suitable to Bishop Middleton because it combined comparative seclusion from the city with a near enough neighbourhood to it to make the Bishop's supervision as Visitor a reality.

[4] Meanwhile the Rev. W. H. Mill, Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge, and J. Alt of Pembroke College in the same University, were appointed by S.P.G. to the new establishment. Middleton was away on visitation when they arrived in Calcutta early in 1821, but when he met them on his return, he was delighted with Mill:

"His attainments are indeed pre-eminent. It would be an honour to any learned establishment to have such a man at the head of it. I sometimes converse with him two or three hours together upon books and their subjects; and knowing pretty well, as I do, the measure of men's minds here, I will take upon me to say that his knowledge, both in area and in depth, has nothing to equal it in India". [Le Bas, Life of Middleton, Vol. II p. 222.]

It was obvious, however, that it would be some time before the College was ready, and Mill filled the interval with an extensive journey through India, which took him to the south, introduced him to the Christians of Travancore, and brought him also to Bombay and Poona.

Middleton's relations with the C.M.S., which had begun to-work in India at the same time as he became Bishop of Calcutta, had always been difficult and ambiguous. A voluntary society with a large measure of lay control was a novelty which he found it difficult to understand and which he did not altogether approve of. He entertained serious legal doubts about the extent of his authority over their ordained missionaries, and was also unwilling to recognise them lest their presence should be an excuse for the failure of the Government to fulfil what he conceived to be its duty to provide sufficient chaplains for all its Christian subjects. On their part, C.M.S. regarded Middleton with a considerable degree of distrust; and there was undoubtedly misunderstanding on both sides. On hearing of the proposed foundation of Bishop's College, however, the Parent Committee of C.M.S. voted a sum of £5000 for the new institution: and at the same time their Secretary, Josiah Pratt, wrote inquiring about the placing of its ordained missionaries in India under the Bishop's authority, which would mean that he would license them, a thing he had hitherto felt unable to do; and also expressing the hope that they would be allowed to educate students in the College at their own expense. [Minutes of C.C.C. of C.M.S. Sept. 19th, 1819.] Middleton replied cordially but cautiously, declaring himself unable to give a definite answer till he should receive the statutes of the new-College from England.

Middleton was deeply engaged in all the details of the plans for the foundation of his College; and on April 3rd, 1820, he wrote to a friend in England, "If it please God to preserve me amongst so many dangers till the College is well established, I [4/5] hardly know what more I shall have to desire on this side of the grave"; but his prayer was not to be granted. [Le Bas, Life of Middleton, Vol. II p. 139.] He died on July 19th, 1822, when the College was still far from being finished. When his successor Heber arrived in October 1825, he found that all had not gone well with it. The architect, Mr. Jones, had died at the end of September 1821, and the building was now being completed under the supervision of Captain Hutchinson, an officer of the Bengal Engineers. The site had been discovered to be swampy and the expenditure greater than had been estimated; and apparently nothing had been allowed for the necessary furnishings. All this had delayed matters, and meanwhile, in the course of 1823, Alt returned to England. It was not till January 11th, 1824 that Mill was able to begin to live in the College, of which he was for a time the only inhabitant, being shortly joined by Mr. Tweddle "our only domiciliary from Europe", who was, however, not to work on the College staff, but in a local mission. The first student was received on March 9th. Meanwhile the Baptist missionaries at Serampore were also busy building their college, and had applied to the King of Denmark for a charter to grant degrees, Serampore being still a Danish possession.

II Principal Mill Takes Charge, 1820-1837

By this time the building of Bishop's College was finished, with the exception of the chapel, morning and evening prayer being performed in the library. In June the Bengal Merchant arrived after an unusually long passage with eight hundred and thirty-two books for the library, and communion plate for the chapel presented by Mrs. Middleton, the Bishop's widow. It also brought Townshend who was to start the printing establishment. Mill had also bought the late Bishop's books from Mrs. Middleton, together with "Major Harry Latter's French library respecting Jesuit and other Roman Catholic missions in China, Tartary, and Malabar", which had been offered for public sale in Calcutta. [While stationed at Titygarh Major Latter had hoped to open a mission to Tibet and as a preliminary had employed Schroeter, a C.M.S. missionary in Lutheran orders, to study Tibetan, but the deaths, first of Schroeter and then of Latter himself, put an end to this enterprise at a very early stage.]

James Dunsmere, the first student on the foundation was "a youth of very superior acquirements, being admitted by the Bishop's dispensation a little above the age fixed by the Statutes" [Mill to Hamilton, June 19th, 1824. U.S.P.G. Archives.] which was about fifteen; and with him came Daniel Jones. In April came James Thompson, a non-foundation student recommended by C.M.S.; and in May, W. A. Godfrey from Madras, where he had been educated by S.P.C.K. missionaries; and with [5/6] him Christian David, a Tamil who had worked as a catechist under Schwartz and since then as what was called in Ceylon a "proponent" in the north of that island. He was forty years old and had been appointed to a colonial chaplaincy in Ceylon. He was ordained deacon on Ascension Day and priest on Trinity Sunday, the first Indian and the first student of Bishop's College to receive Anglican orders. Mill said of him "His presence has already diffused a spirit among the students which it is highly desirable to encourage and which may lead, under the divine blessing, to the production of similar fruits."

Since Alt had returned to England, Mill was for a time single-handed in the work of the College, but in 1826 he was joined by the Rev. Charles Craven and the Rev. Frederick Holmes, as second and third professors, both of whom were graduates of St. John's College, Cambridge; and the infant College could be said to be complete. According to the statutes, Mill, the First Professor, was also to be Principal with general responsibility for the working of the College. The Second Professor, Craven, was to be Librarian and also to act as Secretary for the S.P.G. mission which began to be established in connection with Bishop's College. The Third Professor, Holmes, was to be Bursar, with general responsibility for the buildings and grounds. The three Professors together formed the College Council, which was the supreme authority under the Bishop as Visitor.

The students, who now numbered ten, included Augustus Caemmerer, the son of the last Danish Lutheran missionary at Tranquebar, and two from Ceylon, Garstein and Dryberg. They were European or Anglo-Indian, and their previous education had been extremely sketchy, for which reason Mill welcomed the attempt which was being made by some of the better-off Anglo-Indians in Calcutta to found a Grammar School. The plan was for these students, entering about the age of fifteen, to remain some five years in the College, during which they were to lay the foundation of a good education as it was then understood in England--Greek and Latin classics and mathematics, with some divinity and general knowledge, and perhaps a little Hebrew--together with the study of Indian languages. After this they were to be sent as catechists to various S.P.G. missions; and if they acquitted themselves satisfactorily were then to be called to the College as probationers to prepare directly for ordination. All the foundation scholars were admitted free of charge, but on the understanding that, when their education was complete, they would serve S.P.G. missions. There were also students sponsored by C.M.S., who in 1824 and 1825 contributed £1000 to the College, but after the death [6/7] of Heber decided to make their contribution instead in the form of Heber scholarships in his memory.

The year 1827 was an unhappy one for Bishop's College. On May 11th Mill rose from a sick bed to attend a meeting of the College Council at which Craven, who was also a sick man at the time, made a violent attack on Holmes's administration as Bursar, accusing him of unnecessary extravagance in laying out the grounds of the College. Craven had also his complaints against Mill, whom he accused of arrogating to himself autocratic powers as Principal, whereas he should have been only primus inter pares in the College Council; and of unfair criticism of Craven's diligence and competence as Librarian. Heber had died the year before, and the diocese was being administered by Archdeacon Corrie as Commissary. Corrie was regarded with suspicion by the Bishop's College professors, as an avowed Evangelical and as Secretary to the Corresponding Committee of the C.M.S., of the soundness of whose churchmanship they entertained grave doubts. On hearing of the trouble in the College. Corrie wrote to S.P.G.:

"the late unhappy division which has arisen among the Professors seems to call at once for the appointment by the Society of a visitorial authority in case of the see becoming again vacant. Had there been an appeal to anyone on the spot, the Division could not have arisen to the height it has and must at best have given place, till the final decision of the Society should have been known; but the assertion of power by the Senior Professor and the denial of such power by the Second Professor led to irritating discussions which are it seems to deprive the Institution of a most valuable member".

In his hurry to despatch this letter by a ship that was just about to sail, Corrie unwisely gave it to be copied by Dunsmere, a student of the College who often visited him, and Dunsmere carried a garbled version of it back to his fellow-students, who cannot have been unaware of the state of things among their seniors, and who no doubt heard with glee that their Principal was likely to be recalled, or at least severely censured. The matter was taken up by the College Council with grim humourlessness. A solemn inquiry was held into what Dunsmere had actually said, and he was condemned to a humiliating punishment, which included degradation from the first to the second class. This, which would have been petty and tyrannous if he had been a mere schoolboy, was intolerable for a young man of the mature age of twenty-three, and it is not surprising that Dunsmere left the College. The professors were left with the [7/8] idea that he had all along been a spy of Corrie's and that Corrie had all along been working against them. Meanwhile Craven left the College on an urgent medical certificate. But Corrie wrote to the C.M.S. Committee in London on May 28th, "The College is calculated to become a great instrument of good, and will not always be in the hands of its present professors. I hold it therefore of importance to maintain the connection with C.M.S." Nevertheless it was shortly afterwards arranged to send Thompson, the C.M.S. student, to England to study at the C.M.S. Institute at Islington.

Corrie was not the only person with whom the Bishop's College professors quarrelled at this time. Bishop Middleton, on visitation in the Bombay Presidency, had met Thomas Robinson, a chaplain who was proposing to make a Persian translation of the Old Testament; and after some question about how far Persian could be considered an Indian language, it was adopted as the first important work to be undertaken in connection with Bishop's College. When Bishop Heber passed that way in 1825, he found Thomas Robinson junior chaplain at Poona, and appointed him his domestic chaplain. Robinson accompanied Heber for the rest of his life, and after his death obtained leave to stay at Bishop's College to complete his translation. At the end of 1827 the Pentateuch was ready, but the Syndic of the College, consisting of the professors with one or two additions, claimed the right to scrutinize the work, for which Robinson considered them unqualified, and another irritating quarrel resulted. In fact the picture of Bishop's College at this moment is the unedifying one of a little group of men, suffering from illness and the enervating climate of Bengal, at odds among themselves and morbidly suspicious of outside interference.

In September 1828 Mill himself was forced to go on sick leave to Europe, leaving Holmes as acting principal; but before this happened Bishop James had arrived to succeed Heber, and on Ascension Day--May 15th--he consecrated the College Chapel. From the moment of his arrival Bishop James had been abnormally sensitive to the sun, and the consecration consequently took place at the curious hour of five o'clock in the morning. Corrie described how:--

"We mustered at Mill's; and from thence proceeded to the place appointed for a burial ground. M. had prepared a shepherd's crook gilt with an ornamental staff; and this was carried before us by a Native Christian from Madras, with a coat of crimson colour, such as you know they wear on the coast. We then assembled in the antechapel of the chapel and the consecration service began, the gilded crook being carried before us up [8/9] to the communion table. The ceremony was then gone through, and M. preached the sermon from Malachi I. 2: "From the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same, my name shall be great among the Gentiles &c". In the conclusion he quoted part of the prayer used by Bishop Middleton in laying the first stone; and pointed to his monument on the wall. I was perhaps the only person present besides himself who had taken part in that ceremony. Mr. Schmidt, the Old Church organist, had been engaged, with his three school singing boys and also a finger organ for the occasion.........The Armenian deacon was present in his festival robes.........The Bishop provided a breakfast in the hall, to which forty persons sat down." [Corrie, Memoir by his brothers, pp. 422-4. The Armenian deacon held a scholarship which had been founded for students of Eastern episcopal Churches, but the scholarship was rarely held.]

Bishop James died on August 22nd, and Bishop's College was again without a Visitor, a suggestion put forward by him on his first arrival, probably at Corrie's prompting, that the visitorial powers during a vacancy should be exercised jointly by the Archdeacon and two senior chaplains, having been opposed by the professors, partly on the extraordinary ground that all the chaplains were prejudiced against the College for fear that the clergy educated there should deprive them of their occupation. In these circumstances it was not unnatural that Corrie should refuse to act as attorney for the College during the vacancy. Another echo of these unfortunate quarrels was an extraordinary letter from Holmes to Robinson, by this time Archdeacon of Madras, accusing him of cruelty to Godfrey, who had come to the College from Madras, and leaving a little early because of ill-health had not immediately been placed with a missionary as catechist. Godfrey, Holmes said, "has long been a favourite pupil of the learned and excellent Dr. Mill (to which circumstance he probably owes your ill-offices which he underwent from you)............Mr. Corrie who is by no means friendly to this institution had offered no objection to the location of Catechist Godfrey's three class fellows as Catechists with the S.P.G. missionary here". The Madras Diocesan Committee of S.P.G. laid this letter before the Parent Society as "highly indecorous and obviously calculated to bring the ecclesiastical office into disrespect in opposition to the fundamental principles of the Incorporated Society". They requested that certain points in the statutes of Bishop's College relating to the placing and payment of catechists should be clarified, and resolved that Robinson should submit Holmes's letter to the Bishop of Calcutta. This bishop was now Turner, who had arrived in December 1829; and he wrote to Mill, who had returned to India in the following January, giving his ruling on the point. "No student can henceforth be removed from the College and [9/10] appointed Catechist unless with the express sanction of the Archdeacon under whose authority his functions are to be exercised and the Bishop". He added a rebuke to Holmes: "Sirs, ye are brethren, why do ye wrong one to another?" [Letter Books of Madras Diocesan Committee of S.P.G. 31.]

On the whole the return of Mill in renewed health and accompanied by G. U. Withers, a young graduate of Trinity College, Cambridge, at this time still in deacon's orders, who was to give long service to the College as professor and then as Principal, seems to have opened a happier epoch--Holmes himself went home on sick leave in 1831, returning for a few more years' service. [He was priested by Wilson on his arrival in 1833.]

Meanwhile a second quadrangle was being added to Bishop's College, which was completed in 1831; and during his stay in England in 1829 Mill consulted the Bishop of London on an important question of policy. Were the students to continue to be, as at present, all maintained by S.P.G. or other similar bodies? This would mean that even when they had gone out as catechists, schoolmasters or ordained men, S.P.G. would still be responsible for their support; and of course it implied that the College would remain strictly a theological seminary. Or was it to be open also to "all indigeneous Christian youth" without any particular missionary objects, for whom fees would be paid? Heber had put forward this idea in 1825, but it had then been rejected. Yet without such students it would be difficult to fill the new buildings, since as many as forty students could now be accommodated; and the presence of such "general" students might in fact be an advantage to the others, if they were carefully chosen. The latter alternative was accepted and the College statutes amended accordingly, but the result was disappointing, since there turned out to be little demand for the kind of higher classical education offered by Bishop's College except among families, whether European or Anglo-Indian, who preferred and could afford to send their sons to England for their education.

Meanwhile, some useful and promising students were beginning to emerge from Bishop's College. Several of these were from the Madras Presidency, whither they returned to work. A. F. Caemmerer, of pure European stock, son of the last Royal Danish Lutheran Missionary at Tranquebar, was a man of considerable energy who, partly by copying the methods of his neighbours, the C.M.S. missionaries, not only brought the mission at Nazareth in Tinnevelly into excellent order, but extended its work into the villages for a considerable distance round. He had a long career, ending in Tanjore. Of the same class was Christian Samuel Kohlhoff, who entered Bishop's College [10/11] in 1831, the son of John Caspar Kohlhoff of Tanjore, the last of the old S.P.C.K. missionaries who passed in 1825 into the service of S.P.G. He was in fact the third generation of his family to serve in this way, his grandfather, John Baltazar Kohlhoff having come to Tranquebar in the service of the Royal Danish Mission in 1737- He too had a long and useful, if not particularly distinguished career. Another student from south India was V. D. Coombes, who had been educated at the C.M.S. Seminary at Madras and came to Bishop's College in 1832 as a C.M.S. student; but the tactless and fussy treatment he received from the C.M.S. Corresponding Committee in Madras caused him to transfer his services to S.P.G. His career, however, though useful, was short. Another C.M.S. student of this period was John James Moore, who was admitted in 1831, being then in his twentieth year. He had had a wandering youth, spent partly in Ceylon, and a very desultory education, but by ability and application he made up for his deficiencies. As a catechist he did useful work in the early days of the C.M.S. mission at Gorakhpur, and after his ordination he did notable work at Agra among the famine orphans, which led to the foundation of the Sikandra orphanage. Later he became a chaplain, the first to take charge of the new civil-lines church of St. Paul's in Agra, built in 1841; but he died there not many years afterwards. Yet another early student was C. E. Dryberg, who came originally from Ceylon and was for many years in charge of the S.P.G. mission at Barripur.

On 27th August 1832 a special meeting of the College Council was held to consider the admission of the first student of a different type. This was Mahesh Chandra Ghose, who had been a student at the Hindu College, and was about to be baptized by Thomas Dealtry, then in charge of the Old Church in Calcutta. He was admitted on the C.M.S. foundation and became a C.M.S. catechist in 1836, but died the next year, having given "the happiest promise of future usefulness among his countrymen". A student of the same origin who followed him was found wanting, but at the beginning of 1837 five Hindu youths (that is, Hindus converted to Christianity) were admitted, and a "class of Native Students formed for the first time." [Withers to Campbell (S.P.G. Secretary) June 12th. 1837. U.S.P.G. Archives.]

Mill wrote a little later that "our present Diocesan and Visitor" Wilson, who had been Bishop of Calcutta since 1832, had "enriched our establishment" with them "to our great joy and satisfaction from the fund which the late Begum Sumroo placed at our disposal". [Mill to Secretary, S.P.G. 28th October 1837. Ibid.] The most distinguished of these was Krishna Mohan Banerjee, who had been educated at Hindu College, where he later became a teacher, and was turned out of his home because he joined a group who desired moral reform and [11/12] the utter destruction of Hinduism. He came under the influence of Christianity and was baptized by Duff in 1832. Soon afterwards he was placed in charge of the C.M.S. school in Amherst Street and joined the Anglican Church. He joined Bishop's College as an ordinand, and was made a deacon by Bishop Wilson in 1836, after which he took charge of Christ Church, Cornwallis Street, a new church which had been built from the Evangelical Fund of the Old Church. Another was Madhu Sudan Seel, who spent much of his later part of his life in charge of the Dent Mission whose centre was St. Barnabas' Church, Kidderpore.

In 1836 there were renewed differences of opinion between Bishop's College and C.M.S. This was part of a complicated three-cornered controversy between Bishop Wilson, the Parent Society of C.M.S. and their Corresponding Committee in Calcutta. Bishop Wilson was a strong Evangelical who had given warm support to C.M.S. from its beginning, but as Bishop he found them by no means easy to deal with and he was a strong supporter of Bishop's College. The Corresponding Committee, influenced by one of the C.M.S. missionaries, Haeberlin, a German in Anglican orders, wished to establish a Head Seminary independent of Bishop's College, for the training of their own workers, of which Haeberlin hoped to become Principal. He drew up his objection to Bishop's College under three heads:--

"(1) the instruction there given, the knowledge there imparted is both deficient in variety and depth and ill calculated, even that which is given, for the preparing Native Ministers for the Mission Work, and the Ministry among their own countrymen. What may be good for Europeans is not necessarily so for Hindus. (2) No provision further than the regular compelled attendance upon stated services is made for the advancement in personal piety and religious improvement, without which all learning, at all events for such sacred work, is to say the least useless. (3) The expense in the College itself, and the expensive habits which all the students will get, would not only counteract but entirely destroy the very purpose for which a native ministry is required. Neither the Society to any extent, nor any native congregation would be able to support men with all the artificial wants of Europeans, in fact taking all these points--learning, habits and piety, if we mean to make it impossible physically and morally that Christian congregations and not only teachers should become indigenous, if we wish to entail upon India misery, perpetual ignorance as a consequence and a lame, crippled, impotent Church, if we [12/13] desire to oust the Brahmins and put in their stead upon the necks of the people Christian priests eating up the hard-earned pittance of the poor and wretched millions, then establishments like Bishop's College will be fit places for preparing a Native Ministry." [U.S.P.G. Archives: Bishop's College.]

In spite of the exaggerated language in which it was expressed, the question of the right standard of living for an Indian clergy to which Haeberlin had called attention in his last point was one which was long to vex the Church in India.

Mill was naturally alarmed, for he knew that in the infant state of the Church in India, a rival establishment like the Head Seminary might be a disaster to Bishop's College. There was a conference and much correspondence, but in the end the Head Seminary was stillborn. No suitable candidates for it ever appeared, and Haeberlin's health failed and he had to leave for Europe. On his return he separated from C.M.S. and founded an independent mission at Dacca, where he died not long after.

In 1836 Bishop's College had to face yet another difficulty, when the College Council received a resolution of the Parent Society that, in consequence of the state of their finances, one of the three professorships in the College was to be suppressed and Holmes allowed to retire immediately on full pension. The College Council agreed that there had been a disappointing number of general students, but pointed out that in fact, as a result of absences through illness, the College had seldom had its three professors all in residence at once. Mill argued the case at greater length in a letter to the Secretary of S.P.G. written on October 28th, 1837, just before his own resignation took effect:--

"To be bound to the spot beyond the lot of other functionaries in India by untransferable duties without provision for any emergency.........To be deprived of leisure for general literary occupations, all this was to be borne.........and they are too warmly attached to the daily services and other ordinances of the Church of which their chapel exhibits the only witness in India think of consulting their own ease and liberty by abandoning these while they have life and breath for that service. But so many duties were heaped on them, that they had no leisure for the production of the learned works which had been one object of the foundation". [Ibid.]

Mill's resignation had been long foreshadowed. In 1831 he had been a candidate for the newly established professorship of Sanskrit at Oxford, but though he received influential support, [13/14] he was passed over in favour of a greater Sanskrit scholar, H. H. Wilson. In 1834 his health was again failing and he accompanied Bishop Wilson on part of his visitation in order to recover it. By 1836 his resignation was tendered after fifteen years service, and in October 1837 he set sail for home. He subsequently became Regius Professor of Hebrew at Cambridge and died on Christmas Day 1853. He was clearly a man of scholarship and devotion, who served the College faithfully in spite of some obvious faults and limitations. He was a high churchman, considering episcopacy to be of the "esse" of the Church and setting a high value on sacramental grace; but he also took a very narrow view of the extent to which co-operation with non-episcopal Churches was possible. It was natural that he should criticize C.M.S. for obtaining Lutheran orders for two of their missionaries in 1820, but less so that he should complain of them because a Presbyterian chaplain made a complimentary speech at a meeting called by them in Calcutta, and should doubt the ecclesiastical propriety of the Bishop's licensing their ordained missionaries. Such rigidity was hardly appropriate in a non-Christian land, and indeed we hear rather less of it towards the end of Mill's Indian career.

III Tractarians & Evangelicals

On Mill's departure, Bishop's College was left to the guidance of Withers, who became Acting Principal at the beginning of 1838 and Principal in 1842. He was single-handed for a time and Malan, who arrived as professor in 1838, was forced by ill-health to leave the next year. Withers had himself gone to Bombay for his health at the time when Malan's breakdown occurred, and the College was saved in its extremity by the help of Bishop Wilson and his chaplain, J. H. Pratt, afterwards Archdeacon. Shortage of staff made it necessary for the few students to be formed into a single class.

At the end of 1839, however, Bishop's College was inforced by the arrival of Arthur Wallis Street of Pembroke College, Oxford, S.P.G. having refused an application from Henry Manning on account of his extreme Tractarian views. Wilson recorded his first impressions:--

"Professor Street is about thirty years of age, ripe scholar, iron constitution, fine health, active, enterprising, zealous for missions, prodigal of his strength, rides twenty miles of a morning in the sun, manners [14/15] good, no great talker, in short he would have been a capital professor if he had not been imbued for seven years--steeped--in Tractarianism". [Bateman. Wilson. Vol. II p. 185.]

Wilson's prejudice was further aroused by the recommendation Street brought with him from Newman, "He is a gentleman and a man of serious mind, and sound doctrinal views."

Street set to work with vigour, visiting the growing S.P.G. missions in Calcutta and its environs in the direction of Diamond Harbour, for which, as Second Professor, he acted as Secretary, as none of his predecessors had done. He was equally effective in the work of the College, of which he was left in sole charge in the hot weather of 1841 when Withers was again on sick leave. Characteristic of him was the dramatic episode of September 1842 when Guru Charan Bose, a Hindu youth who had become convinced of the truth of Christianity, had taken refuge in Bishop's College. His mother and other relations came in a budgerow to take him home and he was enticed into the budge-row to speak to her. Immediately he was surrounded by his relations and by a number of other boats filled with men with lathis. Street with students and servants pursued in a boat. The lathi-bearers swam to the shore, whilst Guru Charan's cousin beat him and threw him into the river. Street rescued him and took him back to the College, where he was shortly afterwards baptized, after which he had a long career as teacher and Christian worker in the C.M.S. school at Agarpara.

Unfortunately much of the advantage which Bishop's College derived from the presence of Street was counter-balanced by the Bishop's prejudice against him. Wilson had been a leading Evangelical before he became Bishop of Calcutta; he had been one of the first to take alarm at the Tractarian movement and his episcopal charge of 1838 was regarded by Evangelicals as a notable statement of their case against the new school of thought. On February 24th, 1842, in a long letter to Hawkins, the S.P.G. Secretary, in London, Street unburdened himself:--

"In Oxford a teacher teaches them [his views] to his pupil if he hold them; here I do not, have not. His Lordship now takes up his ground that their very existence in me must be pernicious ... The Bishop's charge of 1838 had whetted everyone's curiosity, wherever I go I am asked, do the Oxford men do this, believe that, do that? What was I to answer but the truth? When his Lordship requires, as he declares he shall of them on their going out as Catechists, positive disclaimers of certain things, they will have to disclaim what they have not known of as far as myself and the Principal are concerned".

[16] Again in August of the same year he wrote, "One scarcely dares mention even the simplest truths of the Prayer Book for fear of the misrepresentation that will forthwith ensue". [U.S.P.G. Archives.]

The result of this was to interrupt for many years the excellent relations which had obtained between Wilson and Bishop's College. In 1845 Wilson, who had been seriously ill with malaria, returned to England for eighteen months' furlough, the first Bishop of Calcutta ever to return to England alive, and was received by the General Committee of S.P.G. with a complimentary address. With characteristic forthrightness, he took advantage of the occasion to refer to the mischief done in his diocese by the few zealous clergy who were imbued with the views of the Tractarians; and at a later date, when his speech was being prepared for the press, he replied to a question whether anything unfavourable to the cause of missions had appeared in any of the professors of Bishop's College, that there had. But Wilson refused to put forward a definite case against Street, and the question whether the Society could legally recall a professor untried and uncondemned by his Bishop was referred to counsel whose report only became known to him long after. Street therefore continued his work in Bishop's College, but the former good relations between the College and its Visitors were almost completely interrupted, and from about 1848 Wilson dropped his correspondence with S.P.G. almost entirely. [Bateman, Wilson, Vol. I, pp. 232-263.]

The third professor at Bishop's College at this time must have been more to Wilson's mind, since he had been appointed on the recommendation of his son-in-law, Josiah Bateman, once his chaplain, and now Vicar of Huddersfield. He was George E. Weidermann, fellow of St. Catharine's Hall, Cambridge, then an Evangelical stronghold, and he arrived in 1843. "He had". Wilson wrote of him, "not the brilliant and attractive qualities and perhaps not the learning of Professor Street. But his views were far more simple and Evangelical and I never had occasion for a word of remonstrance or reproof. His quiet, retiring, unostentatious cast of character made him a most valuable person.........In the College, being the third, his influence was not and could not be commanding......but he did what became his position and tone of character." [Wilson to Hawkins. April 7th, 1852. U.S.P.G. Archives.]

In 1848 Withers' health finally failed and he returned to England and resigned as Principal. On this occasion the Archbishop of Canterbury wrote to the S.P.G. Secretary, Hawkins, that he could not agree that Street should be acting Principal because of the opposition of the Bishop, though he was so de facto; and of course it was impossible in the circumstances that he should be Withers' successor. There must be a new appointment.

[16] IV Principal Kay, 1848-1865

The new Principal was Dr. William Kay, Rector and Fellow of Lincoln College, Oxford, and a man of some distinction. He was a moderate High Churchman who found considerable tact necessary to avoid provoking his Bishop's prejudices; but he was ready to accept the necessity for this, perhaps all the more because Wilson was now an old man in his seventies. On Kay's arrival the Bishop wrote to Hawkins:--

"Reverend Sir,

I have received your letter of November 19th, and beg to assure the Venerable Society that nothing shall be wanting on my part to assist the Rev. Principal Kay in carrying out the Evangelical designs of Bishop's College in that pure Protestant spirit which the semi-Popish Sect (now, thank God, extinct) so grievously marred. I have written to His Grace the Archbishop (to whom I beg to present my duty) to state my entire satisfaction with the new Principal's first proceedings". [U.S.P.G. Archives.]

Opportunity was taken of the change in the principalship to review the position of the College and its statutes; and some amendments were made. It was discovered that the numerous scholarships with which the College was endowed had for some years not been appropriated to particular students, but thrown into the general funds of the College, all the foundation students being maintained free of cost. There was again much discussion about whether non-Christians and Christians seeking only a general education should be admitted to Bishop's College. Street seems to have wished for this, but the general opinion seems to have been that it would interfere too much with the theological purpose of the College. Another question which arose at this time was whether all clergy educated at Bishop's College should be paid at the same, rate, or whether there should be a different scale for those of Europeans habits. Street confessed that he had at one time been in favour of equality, but had come to the conclusion that 'to pay the pure born natives the same literal amount of rupees is to give them virtually much more than the man trained in European habits gets". The latter were paid Rs. 200 a month, and Street suggested for the Indians Rs. 50 for a catechist, Rs. 75 for a deacon and Rs. 100 for a priest, except for those of quite exceptional abilities and attainments, like K. M. Banerjee. [Street to Hawkins, April, 21st 1850.] Kay himself favoured a simpler style of life. "We have now an opening (if I am not mistaken) of making a [17/18] great change in our system by the introduction of a new set of students, who will be less highly educated in European learning but more in all that will fit them, humanly speaking, for missionary work, and also at much less expense". [Kay to Hawkins, April 5th, 1850.] In the event some action appears to have been taken on these lines, and Kay reported to Hawkins that several leading members of CM.S. had expressed very strongly their satisfaction at the admission of such Indian students on a pledge to conform to local habits, and that four such students--two married and two unmarried--had come as volunteers from CM.S. It is a little curious to read Kay's account of what European habits were considered to entail. "The other (Indo-European and Cingalese) students have, since Easter, been allowed wine only two days (Sundays and Thursdays) a week, hitherto with the best results. There has been less sickness than usual. The doctor, however, (whom I consulted before taking this step) thinks it may be advisable to allow it every day during the latter part of this month and the whole of next". [Kay to Hawkins, August 5th, 1850.]

Unfortunately just at this time Street once again incurred the displeasure of Bishop Wilson by the publication of a book of sermons which he complained did not sufficiently teach the doctrine of justification by faith alone; and he wrote on May 30th, 1850 to the London Committee of S.P.G. bringing the book to their notice and strongly urging that it should be repudiated or condemned. Before any decision could be come to, Street was dead. A violent infection of the throat ended fatally on April 29th, 1851, after a few days' illness. Bishop Wilson visited him on his deathbed and was struck by his "language of pious resignation and trust in the merits of his Saviour". It was fear that Street's theological opinions precluded or obscured this which had led to Wilson's opposition to him; but with Street's death all Wilson's real generosity of nature was aroused; he immediately dropped his objections to his book and exerted himself to obtain for his widow and children the pension which would have been his due after three years' more service. Further, the old happy relations between the Bishop and Bishop's College and with S.P.G. headquarters were fully restored.

Almost exactly a year later, Bishop's College suffered a similar loss when Weidermann, returning from visiting Calcutta and Howrah in the College boat, was upset in the middle of the river by a sudden violent gale. It was two and a half days before his body was found.

To fill the vacancies thus created, Samuel Slater and Krishna Mohan Banerjee were appointed. Slater, a graduate of King's College, London, had arrived in 1847 and had been at first [18/19] employed in the Moslem mission of S.P.G. in Calcutta, from which he had been taken by Bishop Wilson in 1850 to fill a sudden vacancy in the Rectorship of St. Paul's School. [The high school, later moved by Bishop Cotton to Darjeeling, not the present St. Paul's School in Amherst Street.] He retired in 1860 on account of his wife's health. Krishna Mohan Banerjee, who became third professor and bursar, was the first Indian to hold such a position in the College, and he remained till his retirement in 1868, dying in 1883. Wilson, speaking of these appointments, said characteristically of Banerjee "He is cold; but sound in faith and of very fine abilities and acquirements", and of Slater, 'Neither he nor Krishna is the warm, simple, devoted, spiritually-minded person, full of the love of Christ and of souls which I could have desired". [Wilson to Hawkins, Sept. 3rd, 1851. S.P.G. Archives.] Wilson's own suggestion for one of these appointments was Thomas Valpy French, who had just landed in India as a CM.S. missionary with the object of founding St. John's College, Agra, and who had been a friend of Kay's at Oxford. But French had made up his mind to work at Agra and wrote to the Bishop thanking him for his offer, but politely and firmly refusing it.

From this time until Kay's retirement in 1865, Bishop's College was the scene of a partnership between Kay and Krishna Mohan Banerjee. After Slater's retirement Kay was very anxious to secure the appointment of French, who had retired from St. John's College and was at this time curate at Clifton near Bristol; but he was unwilling to accept, and when he returned to India it was first to set on foot a mission to the Derajat, and then to found a theological college of his own in Lahore in connection with the CM.S. on original lines rather different from Bishop's College. In default of French, Thomas Skelton, of Queen's College, Cambridge, who had originally come to India to revive the S.P.G. mission to Delhi, almost extirpated by the Mutiny, was appointed in 1863, not Second Professor, but Vice-Principal. The title of professor came in time to be dropped altogether, the other members of staff being known as tutors.

Another change which occurred at this time was a result of the establishment of the University of Calcutta in 1857. Students were now prepared for the appropriate examinations of the University, an undertaking which took up much of the time of the teaching staff and risked an undue concentration by the students on their secular studies at the expense of theology; but which was generally considered to have advantages which outweighed these dangers. From 1860 Kay was relieved of the work of Secretary of the S.P.G. missions, which he had held since 1856, by the arrival of the Rev. Frederick Ross Val-lings expressly for this work. Vallings lived in Calcutta and was Secretary to the Diocesan Board which dealt particularly with S.P.G. affairs; though later, after Kay's retirement, when [19/20] the College was shorthanded, he lived there and helped with the teaching and discipline.

Though numbers remained obstinately small, rarely exceeding twenty, and being often a good deal less than this, sometimes only ten or eleven, the period when Kay and Krishna Mohan Banerjee worked together at Bishop's College was in other ways one of the most prosperous in its history. It produced some learned works, among them Kay's Bengali Psalter, in collaboration with Banerjee. From 1860 Banerjee published in parts his Examination of the Hindu Systems in the form of dialogues with an apologetic purpose, which were warmly approved of by Bishop Cotton; but his most important book. The Arian Witness was published in 1875 after his retirement. In this he drew on current archaeological knowledge in an attempt to show that similarities between Hinduism, particularly its sacrificial system, and the Old Testament might be accounted for by contacts which had taken place before the Aryan invasion of India, an interesting thesis which the development of archaeology has invalidated. In 1857 one of the most distinguished Indian Christians of his generation, Nehemiah Goreh, began a year's residence at Bishop's College. He had been converted by William Smith, the C.M.S. missionary at Benares, and had learnt from him the Evangelical view of Christianity. At Bishop's College he learnt from Dr. Kay and from books that he found in the library the Catholic view, and this new discovery of the Church made him anxious for ordination, which he had hitherto refused, thinking himself unworthy. His new views meant a separation between himself and his old friends of the C.M.S. though it was greatly to the credit of both that, at a time of considerable theological bitterness, their personal friendship was unbroken. One result of Goreh's stay in Bishop's College was his most important book A Mirror of the Hindu Philosophical Systems published in 1860, originally written in Hindi and intended for orthodox Hindu pandits. It was later translated into English and much revised with extensive notes, justifying his position by extensive quotations from Sanskrit philosophical works. In his last part he proved conclusively, against the rather vaguely based current opinion of the Brahmo Samaj, that the Vedanta is non-theistic and the Brahman almost equivalent to nothingness. This was also a period of lectures to the English-educated gentlemen of Calcutta, in which Kay, Banerjee and Goreh took part with others, including Bishop Cotton and Archdeacon Pratt.

The events of 1857 did not affect Bishop's College directly, for they were geographically almost confined to the present Uttar Pradesh and Delhi; but the S.P.G. missions at Delhi and Cawnpore were among the worst sufferers and these included [20/21] several students of Bishop's College. At Delhi, Daniel Corrie Sandys, second son of Timothy Sandys, the veteran C.M.S. missionary at Mirzapore "a very excellent and delightful young man", as Midgely John Jennings (the energetic chaplain to whom the founding of the mission had been largely due) called him, was in charge of the mission school and would in a few months' time have returned to Bishop's College for his final preparations for ordination. On the fatal morning he was returning from taking a small boy belonging to his school home to his parents when he was cut down by some troopers. A second catechist from Bishop's College, Louis Koch, who had only been in Delhi three months, also perished. At Cawnpore, the S.P.G. missionary, Haycock, who was shot down as he was entering Wheeler's entrenchments, had never been a student at Bishop's College, though he had originally been a printer and had been connected with its press. One of the two catechists at Cawnpore had been recalled to Bishop's College just before the troubles began for his final preparation for ordination; the other, Cockey, perished in the boats. Evidence is conflicting as to whether he or the chaplain read the funeral service at the last fatal moment.

Another bye-product of the Mutiny was the coming into residence at Bishop's College in 1859 of three interesting students, Tara Chand, Madhu Ram and Safaraz Ali. Tara Chand had been a student at the Government College at Delhi, where he had been in touch with Midgeley John Jennings and Hubbard, the S.P.G. missionary there, both of whom perished in the Mutiny, and with Ram Chandra, who had escaped. Tara Chand had gone to Agra to complete his studies in the Government College there, had come into touch with French and had been baptized. After his ordination he was for many years one of the chief supports of the revived Delhi Mission of S.P.G. Madhu Ram had been a student of French's at St. John's College, and had been baptized shortly before he arrived in Calcutta. Safaraz Ali, who came from Delhi, was baptized shortly after his arrival. Neither knew enough English on his arrival to be entered as a regular student. Safaraz Ali became a catechist in the Delhi Mission. Madhu Ram, after working for a time as a catechist in Mauritius, was ordained, the first student of St. John's College to be so, and had a long career in the service of C.M.S., as parish priest, first of St. John's Church, Agra, and then at Jabalpur.

In 1862 an outstanding student of a different class came into residence. This was John Ebenezer Marks, who had already worked for three years as a lay schoolmaster under S.P.G. in Burma, and who was now preparing for ordination. He remained in Burma till 1898, where his career was both eventful and fruitful.

[21] V From Sibpur to Calcutta, 1865-1883

Kay resigned as Principal of Bishop's College in 1865, having been on sick leave in England since 1863. In 1857 he had written to the S.P.G. Secretary, Hawkins, "But indeed there is little in my work that is satisfactory, except that I believe I am where the Head of the Church placed me, and that He only knows what is good for us or the College.........whether the College as a place of missionary training be given up or not, it should for every reason be retained as a missionary institution .........some place where quiet thought may find a refuge". The question of the future of the College became much more urgent after Kay's retirement and was the subject of earnest debate all through the seventies.

To begin with, it was not easy to find a satisfactory successor to Kay, although he had pressed the necessity of finding one for some years before his and Banerjee's retirements. His immediate successor was Skelton, who was appointed in 1866; but Skelton's health was bad and he had several periods of sick leave before he retired altogether in 1873. Much of the burden of the College fell upon the Rev. John William Coe, who had been appointed tutor in 1868. Coe was one of those steady, dutiful, unobtrusive people who often save a difficult situation when more brilliant and apparently better qualified men fail. In 1873, however, it appeared that he could not possibly be appointed Principal in succession to Skelton because he was not a graduate, having been prepared for ordination at St. Augustine's College, Canterbury. Instead, the Rev. R. M. Stuart, of Worcester College, Oxford, was appointed, but proved utterly unfitted for the work. As Bray, then S.P.G. Secretary in Calcutta, wrote of him, "As a tutor with a good Principal over him he would have done very well, for he can teach, but we want much more than a teacher in the Principal of Bishop's College". Stuart's weakness of character led to his enforced resignation in November 1874, and now there was nothing for it but to appoint Coe. In 1877 at Bray's suggestion, Coe was awarded a Lambeth D.D. to his own astonishment, and was thereby relieved from much embarrassment, for by this time Indian opinion had come to attach an exaggerated importance to degrees; and a new graduate, Clinton, appointed to the College had had, as Bray said, "the bad grace to wear his hood in chapel. Coe of course wears none". [Bray to Bullock, May 18th, 1877.] Coe continued as Principal till 1883, presiding over some of the most critical years of the history of Bishop's College.

[23] Yet Bishop's College had not been without its successes. By this time some sixty ordained men had gone out from it, and though there had been a few utter failures and more who had died too soon to do very much, they had included some distinguished names and many devoted pastors and missionaries who had given long and faithful service. But the numbers of the students remained obstinately small, and there was a general feeling that it was not fulfilling the intention with which it had been founded, or providing the Church in India with as useful a service as it might have done.

One reason for this feeling was the growth of a rural Church which needed catechists, and presently clergy, of a rather different type than Bishop's College could provide. In 1867 a vernacular class was formed of six young Bengali men from the S.P.G. missions to the south of Calcutta; but it was felt that to receive them into the existing college buildings might give them ideas of grandeur which would unfit them for the work they were intended to do, and special accommodation was built in the College grounds for them. But the class was not very satisfactory, and a few years later it was dropped for a time because its prospective members demanded higher pay than the College was prepared to give them. In 1869 S.P.G. took over the former Gossner Mission in Chota Nagpur, and there was a proposal that some young men from this mission should join the vernacular class in Bishop's College; but this proved impossible because this was a Bengali class and the young men from Chota Nagpur required to be taught in Hindi. This failure made a very bad impression on the Home Society and in 1873 Skelton, still nominally Principal though on leave in England, felt bound to protest against such deprecatory remarks in the S.P.G. reports as "And though during the year the College has had its rooms occupied by English and Eurasian students competing for honours at the Calcutta University, a more direct missionary work has been carried on within its walls in patiently teaching native students of the 'Vernacular Class'". [Skelton to Bullock, May 29th, 1873. enclosing a paper from which this extract is taken.]

So the discussion was joined. In January 1870 the Commemoration Day at the College was celebrated by a conference on its position and prospects, at which the causes of its present state were considered to be--insufficiency of staff--small demand for labour in the mission field--the site, unsuitable for men from the North West Province (now Uttar Pradesh) and separated from Calcutta by the river--departure from the rules laid down by the founder and opposition almost from birth. Suggested remedies were not very helpful, the most desperate of all, apparently, being to make the College over to C.M.S. if all else failed. Vallings, the Secretary, in reply to this discussed [23/24] the founder's intentions, showing that he had contemplated theological education in English and pointing out that there was no substitute for it until there was a better supply of theological works in Indian languages. Bishop Milman, asked for his opinion, wrote to the Secretary, Bullock, in London about the same time, offering his suggestions. He thought the reception of Indian theological students to be prepared for the ministry and scholastic work the first requisite of all; and for this end, teaching power in the native languages--Bengali, Hindi, the importance of which had only just been realised, and Urdu was necessary as well as Sanskrit and Persian. Though he thought the English class, to which the College had chiefly been devoted in the past, of less importance, he would continue it on the present lines, except for dropping the preparation in it for the degrees of Calcutta University; but he looked forward to a time when a university degree might be a preliminary condition for ordination. To ensure a supply of duly prepared candidates for the theological class, he suggested a boarding school for Christian boys in the College but under separate management, which might be partly taught by members of the senior English class. He proposed that the English staff should be bachelors and lead as much of a common life as possible. These plans, however, were never carried out, nor was the proposal which Wilson and Cotton had also favoured, that the College should become truly diocesan. Milman explained the meaning of this by saying that the whole management, including appointments, should be lodged in the bishop of the diocese, with such a council in India as might be necessary; and he added, "Bishop Cotton gives his opinion that this is advisable and after long consideration I am of the same opinion". S.P.G. did not agree to this, and Milman's comment was "Poor Bishop's College languishes. I wished it to be emancipated but this the Home Committee has refused .........Possibly if other deficiencies were supplied this decay might be corrected and the College become useful, instead of remaining 'the cenotaph of a good idea'". [Memoir of Bishop Milman by his sister, pp. 159-9.]

In 1876 Milman was succeeded by Bishop Johnson, an active administrator who was not likely to delay in attempting to solve the problem of Bishop's College. Early in 1877 he presided at the consecration of two assistant missionary bishops for Tinne-velly, Caldwell and Sargent. Caldwell was the ablest and most distinguished S.P.G. missionary then in India, and Johnson apparently asked him to examine and report on Bishop's College. This he did in a long letter, written at Bombay on April 14th, in the course of his homeward journey. He found that there were at that time eleven students in the English department of the College and five or six in the Bengali department. Their health was not good, two of them being absent through fever at [24/25] the time when Caldwell examined them, and the College had a general reputation for unhealthiness, though the European staff did not appear to have suffered. Of the fifteen students present, only five had originally been connected with S.P.G. missions; five others coming from C.M.S. missions and two each from L.M.S. and the Baptists. Eleven of them came from Bengal, including obviously all the Bengali class. Of the others there was one from Bhagalpur, a foundling from Cawnpore, a European from Sealkote and two men from Tinnevelly who had been sent to Bishop's College "because it seemed advisable to help a venerable institution to get something to do"! The most active S.P.G. missions--Burma, Chota Nagpur and Delhi--were not represented at all, perferring to make their own local arrangements for training their workers. Nor were there any from Colombo, where, since the establishment of the diocese in 1846, the Bishop had had his own training college, or from. Bombay. In fact, as Caldwell remarked, the existence of educational advantages at least equal to those of Calcutta in Madras and other centres made it unlikely that students would be sent thence to Calcutta in the future. Caldwell made two criticisms of the methods of Bishop's College, the most substantial of which was that students should be given practical training in evangelism, as was done in French's new college at Lahore; the other was that the students were too westernized in their dress. Here differences in the customs of north and south India made Caldwell's criticism less valid, though he anticipated later practice in advocating white cassocks for all the students. In conclusion, Caldwell found some of the faults of the College to be the result of a general want of missionary zeal in Bengal.

The second part of Caldwell's letter was taken up with a discussion of the buildings of Bishop's College. The impressive sight of Bishop's College looming up on the opposite bank of the Hoogli as he came up the river to Calcutta had stimulated the zeal of many a new missionary in the days when that was the usual manner of arrival; but by now most people arrived at Bombay and went up-country by rail; and for some time the buildings of Bishop's College had been felt to be something of a white elephant, unsuitable for their purpose and expensive to keep up. Moreover, even though the Hoogli was now about to be bridged, the distance from Calcutta had long been felt to be a disadvantage and Kay had longed for an adequate S.P.G. centre in the city itself. Caldwell agreed with this, and thought that the College should be moved to simpler and more suitable premises in Calcutta; but he found it difficult to suggest any profitable use to which the present buildings could be out and despaired of finding a purchaser if it was decided to sell them. [Caldwell to Johnson, April 14th. 1877. U.S.P.G. Archives.]

[26] In this last matter Caldwell turned out to have been too pessimistic. Next April Coe was able to report to Bullock, now S.P.G. Secretary, the offer of the Lieutenant Governor of Bengal to buy the buildings for an engineering college, for Howrah was now developing fast industrially, and would be a very suitable place for such an institution. Coe himself, the Bishop, Bray, the local S.P.G. Secretary, were all anxious that the offer should be accepted, provided the purchase price included a more suitable site in Calcutta: but the Home Society was not convinced, and sent a telegram on July 15th requiring reconsideration of the offer. This caused great consternation in Calcutta, and Bray and Coe both wrote at length urging that the offer should be accepted. Their pleading prevailed and on November 2nd, Johnson was writing to Bullock that he was very glad that the Committee had reconsidered their former refusal. Rs. 200,000 were given by Government for the buildings; it was arranged that the chapel should be maintained for the benefit of the Christian staff of the institution and the cemetery kept up; and a new site in Calcutta was promised. There was some difficulty about this. A site in north Calcutta which was first thought of turned out to be unavailable; it was then hoped to build the new College next to the cathedral, but various difficulties arose about this too, and eventually the present site in Lower Circular Road, as it then was, was decided on. The official document recording the transfer was signed on September 25th, 1879.

The new buildings could not, of course, be ready immediately, and Bishop's College for a time occupied temporary premises at 26 Theatre Road; but early in the eighties the new site was occupied, and the College entered on a new phase of its existence. It must have been about the same time that Coe retired, in 1883.

VI Doubts and Difficulties, 1883-1917

Bishop Johnson was anxious to find a really good man to succeed Coe as Principal, and during a period of leave in England his attention was drawn to Henry Whitehead, a Fellow of Trinity College, Oxford, who was at this time thinking of offering himself to the newly formed Oxford Mission to Calcutta. Johnson persuaded him that he was more urgently needed as Principal of Bishop's College and he accepted the position, though he worked closely with the Oxford Mission. A report of 1891-2 gives a picture of what the College had become after [26/27] he had presided over it for some eight years. There was a lower-grade boarding school for Indian Christians with an industrial department attached to it, a High School and a College. The boarding school contained ninety-eight boarders, forty from the S.P.G. Sunderbans Mission, most of the rest from Calcutta and Howrah, a few from the C.M.S. missions at Krishnagar and Burdwan, and one from Tezpore in Assam. The industrial work consisted of a carpenter's shop and printing press, the latter the property of the Oxford Mission, for the original Bishop's College press had been sold in Skelton's time, despite some protest from S.P.G. headquarters. It was hoped that the Government would start an artisan's class at the new Engineering College at Sibpur (the old College buildings) and grant scholarships to boys of affiliated Industrial Schools, which would provide openings for the Bishop's College boys. The High School contained forty boys, partly paid for by a grant from the Oxford Mission, as well as a scholarship fund collected in England. For teaching purposes the boys of the two schools were combined, and they could all read up to the entrance examination of Calcutta University. The College itself contained twenty-three students, of whom only seven were reading theology. The numbers of the College were certainly greater than they had ever been before, over a hundred and sixty young men and boys being regularly educated as boarders there, and in addition there was a vernacular theological class of readers from the Sunderbans, five or six of whom at a time were sent to the College for a month's training. It seems a little doubtful, however, if this kind of institution really represented the founder's intention, nor could the atmosphere in which the seven theological students had to work have been really the best fitted to prepare them for their future work.

The early years of the Oxford Mission to Calcutta were difficult with deaths and breakdowns in health among the first Brothers; but the greatest shock came in 1889 when the Superior, Charles William Townsend, was received into the Roman Catholic Church; a shock all the greater because there were still many people who thought of men of the school of churchmanship to which the Oxford Brothers belonged as a papistical fifth column within the Anglican Church. A Brother reporting the event wrote, "I am glad to say that his secession represents the working of a very unique and solitary mind. He has kept it all to himself and influenced no one. No one will follow him; but a great many, I fear, will be chilled and saddened and scared".

In this emergency the Mission turned to Whitehead, who they decided should be their next Superior. After a year's probation demanded by the Committee, he was admitted to the [27/28] Brotherhood and installed as Superior at Epiphany in 1891. He continued, however, to be Principal of Bishop's College until in 1899 he was appointed to succeed Gell as Bishop of Madras.

Whitehead's successor at Bishop's College was Nanson who had come out to India as an associate of S.S.J.E. (the "Cowley Fathers") at Bombay, though he was not a professed member of that Society; and naturally his school of churchmanship was not likely to attract theological students from C.M.S.

At length, in 1912, the Episcopal Synod decided that things could not go on like this at Bishop's College. At their meeting in February 1912 they resolved:--

(1) that it is desirable that Bishop's College should be remodelled in the direction of its original purpose, to be a Theological College for all India, and that with a view to this the Synod recommend that

(a) the secular department of the College be abolished.

(b) the theological department be strengthened by an adequate staff of tutors.

(c) The College be placed under the management of a Board of Governors fairly representative of all elements in the Church of India.

(d) the College be moved from Calcutta to Hazaribagh, where the climate, the general conditions of life and the spiritual and intellectual atmosphere are specially suitable for a Theological College.

(2) It was further resolved that the Metropolitan (Copies-ton), with the Bishops of Madras (Whitehead) and Chota Nagpur (Foss Westcott) be appointed as a Committee to consider what steps can be taken to give effect to this resolution; and that the Principal of Bishop's College and Canon Waller be requested to join the Committee, which shall have power to add to their number.

This Committee reported in 1915, after full consideration, their conclusion:--

(1) That there are in all circumstances great disadvantages in attempting to combine in one College students who are being prepared for the Sacred Ministry and students who are preparing for secular careers.

(2) That the attempt to do this in the case of Bishop's College has resulted in serious injury to the tone of the College regarded as a Theological Institution.

[29] (3) That it is therefore desirable to close the University Classes and revert to the primary intention of the College as a Theological Institution.

They believed that, with adequate support by all the Bishops, accompanied by the closing of any rival institutions in their dioceses, fifteen or twenty students could be found with whom to reopen Bishop's College as a central theological institution for ordination candidates able to make full use of instruction conveyed through the medium of English. Accordingly, the Committee recommended that "the University Classes be discontinued at the conclusion of the present Session and that the existing Theological Classes be closed in April 1916, and that an interval of not less than six months intervene before the reopening of the new Theological Classes."

The Committee felt unable to recommend the removal of Bishop's College to a site outside Calcutta. They understood that S.P.G. had cordially agreed to make the Bishops of the Province the Governing Body of the College with final control in all matters except those affecting the Society as Trustees of the property. The Supreme Governing Body was to be assisted by a Board of Management of which the Metropolitan and the Bishops of Madras, Lucknow and Chota Nagpur should be ex officio members, with eight other members clerical and lay. The appointment and dismissal of the Principal and Vice-Principal was to be in the hands of the Bishops on the Board of Management, subject to the confirmation of the Supreme Governing Body, the rest of the staff being appointed by the Board of Management on the recommendation of the Principal. The Bishop of Calcutta was to be Visitor of the College. The Statutes of the College, as being entirely inappropriate to existing circumstances, were to be withdrawn and their place taken by the Regulations issued by the new authorities. [Appendix to Minutes of the Episcopal Synod of 1915.]

VII A New Start, 1918

The plan put forward by the Committee was accepted, and in 1917 Bishop's College opened in its new incarnation; and though it was not without its problems, it turned out to have found a new sphere of usefulness, for a development which had been foreshadowed as early as the seventies had by this time become definitely established. Theological education in India needed to be of two types--one for the clergy needed in each language-area, where there was a fairly numerous and generally [29/30] mainly rural Church who must be ministered to in their own language; the other for a minority of men of higher education and capacity for leadership, who, although their actual ministry-might be in churches where the congregation spoke their own mother tongue, would yet be able to study, preach and minister in English on occasions. Theological schools for the first type of clergy were needed for each language-area, and though some of their students might have a competent knowledge of English, training could only be conducted in the local language. For the second type, an adequate theological college was only possible on an all-India basis, where English would be the only common language and therefore the only possible medium of instruction. Moreover, only in English would an adequate range of theological literature be open to them, the first type of student having to remain largely dependent on his Bible, Prayer Book and lecture notes.

The first Principal of Bishop's College under the new regime was Norman Tubbs, who had been born in 1879, taken his degree at Conville and Caius College, Cambridge, and trained for the ministry at Ridley Hall. He came to India as a C.M.S. missionary in 1907 and first worked in the Oxford and Cambridge Hostel (later Holland Hall) in the University of Allahabad. On January 1st, 1910 he became Principal of St. John's High School, Agra, the junior branch of St. John's College which was then for the first time separated administratively from the College proper. From here he was called to Bishop's College in 1917, where he had as Vice-Principal and colleague R. L. Pelly. In 1923 he became Bishop of Tinnevelly, whence he was transferred to Rangoon in 1928. He resigned this see in 1934 and spent the rest of his active life in Chester as canon, archdeacon, assistant bishop, and in 1937 Dean. He retired in 1953 and died in 1965.

Tubbs' successor was Herbert Pakenham Walsh, the son of an Irish bishop, who had come to India in 1896 to join the Dublin University Mission in Hazaribagh. In 1903 he went south to become Principal first of the S.P.G. college at Trichinopoly, then of the Bishop Cotton School at Bangalore, where he founded a teaching order which did good work for a time. In 1915 he became the first Bishop of Assam, where his simplicity of life-- he and his wife travelled a great deal about the extensive diocese on bicycles--energy and lively Irish humour were greatly valued. After a few years at Bishop's College he retired with his wife to an ashram mainly for Syrian Orthodox, where he spent the rest of his life. From its earliest days Bishop's College had opened its doors to students from episcopal Churches not in communion with Rome, and it was contact with such students [30/31] which decided Pakenham Walsh that he was called to end his days among them.

Pakenham Walsh was succeeded by the Rev. Ralph Peacey, whose period of office included the second World War. This brought a great upheaval to Bishop's College, since in 1942 its buildings were taken over by Government for war purposes, and the College took refuge at Khatauli, sharing accommodation with the North India Clergy Training Centre which had recently been established by C.M.S. to train clergy and other Church workers for the Urdu-speaking area. At this time the Vice-Principal was C. K. Jacob, who was elected Bishop of Travancore and Cochin in April 1945. Peacey resigned as Principal in July 1945 owing to his wife's health, and was succeeded by Peter May, who had arrived only the year before, but had previously been Vice-Principal of Westcott House for four years.

It was not till July 1946 that Bishop's College was able to re-open in its own premises in Calcutta. By this time the Vice-Principal was Canon Manuel, whose sudden death a few years later was a serious blow to the College. For many years the staff had included Emani Sambayya, a Brahmin convert who succeeded him as Vice-Principal, and eventually Peter May as Principal. About this time, too, Bishop's College added another year to its three-year course for students who wished to take a Serampore B.D.

Such, in brief outline, is the later history of Bishop's College, to be filled out by the personal reminiscences of those who took part in its life. An ancient and dignified institution which was perhaps founded too soon and on a scale which did not take sufficient account of the fact that in 1820 it was still the day of small things for non-Roman Christianity in India, it yet had its quiet successes in its earlier years. In the seventies, however, it fell into deep trouble, and after the sale of the imposing but unsuitable buildings which had hitherto housed it, its work was for some years, though moderately useful, hardly in accordance with its founder's intention. Its reconstruction in 1917 was more satisfactory, and though the numbers were always small, it was filling an evident need. With Church Union, a new page of history has opened, to which Bishop's College has again to adapt itself, but it seems certain that it will find a useful place in this new world.


K. K. SHAH, B.A.

It was in 1902, after the Michaelmas holidays, that I entered the Bishop's College school. It was the coronation year of Edward VII and there was feasting both in and out of the school. In those days the school was of 'Entrance' standard, but in 1910 changed to Matriculation standard. It was intended for Christian boys, and almost all were boarders, though I was one of the day scholars. Boys from different parts of India came to the school, from Bihar, Assam, Central India and even Madras; and almost all were stipend holders or free students.

There was another school at 1 Ballygunj Circular Road, popularly known as "Moti Babu's School", where technical subjects such as carpentry and metalwork were taught. Boys who showed merit in the "three R's" were sent to Bishop's College School, run by the S.P.G. mission, of which the Rev. Moti Lall Ghose was Superintendent. The School consisted of a large two-storey building on the southern side of the spacious compound. It was approached by long stairs, thirty feet wide, and it was here that the afternoons and pre-study hours were often spent by the boarders. On entering there was a large hall, used for study by the boarders. The southern side was used as a dormitory, and the south was open to a small field with a lone palmyrah tree. On the western side was a box room and two big rooms for the housemaster; and here Andrew Panja (later Canon Panja of the Garo Hills) lived. The first floor was used mostly as a dormitory for the small boys, and on the east side were rooms for masters, one of whom was our Latin teacher, Mr. Mitter. The kitchen and dining-room were on the west side of the field, with the bathing room on the south. The main classes were held in a long brick country-tiled building at the side of Ahiripukur Lane which was later replaced by a pucca building south of the tank. All these old buildings are now demolished, except for the lonely one-storey house at the southern gate, occupied by "John Sahib" (Mr. John Winifred, chief housemaster and organist, from South India), and the College Science Laboratory near the main gate.

There was no electricity in those days, and a 'masalchi' was in charge of the kerosine lamps, and was fully engaged all day in cleaning, trimming and oiling the hanging lamps, hurricane lamps and big glass table lamps used for study. In those cheap days the bill of fare for boarders was very satisfactory: rohu fish in the morning and mutton in the evening, besides dal and vegetable curry. Occasionally egg was served, and there was a feast once a month.

[34] The first Headmaster I saw was Mr. Isan Chandra Chowdury. The Rev. G. Milburn succeeded him in 1912, and for the first time Hindu boys were admitted. Later, Mr. Satinath Chatterji, a Hindu, became Headmaster with Brother Cowgill as Rector. Of the masters in those days I remember Dr. Ferdinand Christian, Dr. Suren Mondol, Mr. Titan Das and several others.

After leaving the School I entered the College in 1911, and after a year's absence joined again in 1914 for graduation. There were two sections: Secular and Theological. There were four or five theological students, housed in the one storey building on the north of the campus [the present married-quarters]. The secular students lived in the long two storey building beside the Lane, and numbered about thirty. The College was open to Christian students only, and they came from all parts of India. There were also a few day students. Classes, being very small, were held in rooms in the residential block and also in the ground floor rooms of the Principal's quarters near the gate. The Chapel was used as a meeting hall and examination room. Of the professors I remember Mr. Zemin (English), Mr. S. K. Lahiri (English), Mr. R. K. Dutt (Logic and Philosophy) and Mr. Ghosh (History). I do not recollect the names of the Sanskrit and Science professors. The College was up to B.A. standard, with Honours in English and Philosophy. The secular college was closed in April 1915.

The discipline and morale of the College was of a very high standard. Each Saturday there was a Test: the students gathered in the Chapel Hall and sat in such a manner that no two students of the same class sat side by side. The Principal distributed the question-papers and left saying, "On your honour". There were text-books on the table and no invigilator. After two hours the Principal came and collected the answer papers. There was never a case of copying or talking. There were both indoor and outdoor games, and the students took a keen interest in tennis. There were two well maintained courts, and the Principal and students took part in games together. There were two gala days for the students. One was the "At Home", when the students invited their relatives and friends, and admission was by card only. The afternoon was spent in meeting friends and relatives and entertaining them with cakes, sweets and coffee. The function closed with a dramatic performance by the students in the Chapel Hall. The other was the Old Students' Dinner, in pucca English style. The function, with toasts, speeches and singing continued far into the night, and I remember sometimes leaving at 12.30 a.m. The end came with all joining hands to sing "Auld Lang Syne" followed by "God Save the King". There were, however, no strong drinks.


THOMAS SITTHER, M.A., B.D., D.D. (1918-1921)

LECTURER 1921-26


I was one of the first batch of students who joined the College after it was reconstituted as a higher grade Theological College in 1918. Before joining the College I had spent four years as Y.M.C.A. Secretary in Madras. This was an advantage in many ways over those who came straight from an Arts College. This contact with the outside world enabled me to take my studies more seriously and to get more out of them. I remember one instance in which my connection with the Madras Y.M.C.A. came in useful almost at once. The new Principal of the College (the Rev.--later Bishop--N. H. Tubbs) had engaged with the best of intentions a local Bengali cook for the Students' Mess. But he could not produce the special curries to suit the parochial tastes of the many South Indian students in the College. So I had to send a telegram to the Madras Y.M.C.A. asking for a Madras cook for the College mess. He saved the situation and was a great success. He stayed on for a number of years.

In the early years of the College there were many experiments. One of them was a laudable attempt to eat together at least one meal. But there were innumerable difficulties, chief of which was the impossibility of having meals common to all. It was decided to have breakfast together in a common hall. What was practicable was that the members of the common mess brought their food to the common table, and married students and staff brought their own food separately. What killed the scheme was the discovery that the latter were eating the major portion of their breakfast at home and only bringing to the table the tailend of their repast! This seemed a farce, and the common mess scheme was dropped.

What was, however, a much more serious experience to the College was the large number of deaths that took place in the early years of the newly reconstituted College. First of all, the world-wide epidemic of influenza carried away some of the promising students of the College. One pathetic instance was the case of the mother who came from a long distance to attend the funeral of her son but was too late for it. She was in time for the funeral of another student, and could only imagine what her own son's funeral was like. Another death was that of a Tamil [35/36] student from Ceylon who was learning how to swim in the College tank and, going beyond his depth, was drowned. There was also the tragic death by drowning of a brilliant Sinhalese student in the tank at Behala, a few miles away from the centre of the city. This was a place of pilgrimage for the College, owing to the presence there of Father Douglass of the Oxford Mission. He was the Father Confessor of a great many people, including Governors of Provinces, business men and padres. Those of us who survived these sad experiences felt that we were left behind in the land of the living for some special purpose. It was a humbling experience and it proved to be a severe test of our vocation.

Our theological studies were well taken care of. Besides the Principal, we had the Rev. Dick Pelly, a brilliant student and a good mixer. The gaps were more than filled up by the Visiting Lecturers supplied by the Oxford Mission and the local clergy. In the early years the College was affiliated to Serampore University for the B.D. degree, and this kept us up to a high standard.

We also had our student union, known as the Middleton Union, and this proved to be a training-ground for the development of administrative ability and free discussion of public affairs. On Sunday nights we had our Coffee Squashes in one of the staff houses, when we talked about anything under the sun except theology. Special visitors were invited to enlighten us on current topics.

Wives of students who could be accommodated in the College premises were given some suitable training. Our physical side was also not forgotten. Popular games were volley ball and tennis. Very occasionally cricket and football matches with outside teams could be got together by pooling our resources.

The cosmopolitan nature of the College population, with students hailing from different regions of India, Burma and Ceylon as well as Europeans and Anglo-Indians on an equal footing, was a great asset to knock off the edges of narrow provincialisms. Students were trained to have an independent outlook and to cultivate self-confidence.

As far as my limited knowledge goes, I do not think that Bishop's College has produced many brilliant thinkers and writers. But, thank God, the College has certainly produced many faithful pastors, and a good few Bishops (though Bishop's College was not meant to train bishops as such, in spite of the fact that some ignorant people thought so!) It can confidently be asserted that nearly all men produced by the College will unhesitatingly accept any jobs assigned to them by their Church and make them a success.


R. L. PELLY, M.A., VICE-PRINCIPAL, 1918-1926

The first world war was drawing to its close when I set out for Calcutta in September in 1918. I had been invited to go and join Norman Tubbs who was already in residence at the College as its new Principal. With a small group of students he was busy inaugurating the new order by which the College was to become exclusively theological.

My ship called at Madras and there I got a letter from Tubbs, saying he would want me to teach "Comparative Religion", as we used to call it. It was a subject of which I knew next to nothing! It was not included in my Cambridge theological course. I rushed ashore and found a Y.M.C.A. bookshop and bought a few books on the subject. I worked hard at those books during the next two days before landing at Calcutta. Next day I started lecturing on Hinduism!

I have always felt that Bishop's College is strategically placed to give a lead on this subject, not only to the Church in India, but also to that of Western Christendom in general. It has been and still is badly neglected by the theological schools of Europe and urgently needs competent handling.

We were, I think, a very happy little community in those days. I have before me a photograph of a volley-ball team, which defeated all its rivals. Besides Tubbs and myself, it includes Satthie Clarke (Madras), J. S. Isaac (Ceylon), C. K. Jacob (Travancore), Peter Kin Maung (Burma), Jim Barnabas (now Madras) and others. Their names recall many happy memories.

Here is one such incident. It happened when Tubbs was away on leave and I was left in charge and Cyril Pearson had been loaned to us by the Oxford Mission to help me. It was about midnight one night, when I was awaked by a frightful noise from the students' quarters. I thought it was my duty to stop such an unseemly row. I threw on a dressing gown and strode across the compound. There was a group of students on the top floor, shouting and singing and beating drums,--and there in the middle of them, leading the revels, sat Cyril himself. I crept quietly away. Fortunately I had not been seen.

There is another story. L. E. Browne, who subsequently made a name for himself in the theological world, joined our staff for a time. He was a very ingenious fellow and besides the more [37/38] serious gatherings at the Middleton Union, he used to make lantern slides and show us pictures, slyly poking fun at various aspects of College life. It happened that I was about to go on leave to England. So he produced a lantern slide which showed simply two tickets, with the caption "Mr. Pelly takes his tickets". On one ticket was written "Calcutta to London. Return"; on the other "London to Calcutta. Single". But as a matter of fact I returned a bachelor on that occasion.

Yet another memory, of a more serious kind. It was the Christmas vacation and all the students had gone home and we had lent the College to the S.C.M. for an All-India Women Students' Conference. They were a magnificent set of young women, who took their religion very seriously, but were also very ready for all sorts of fun and games. Prominent among them, both in the worship and the sports, was a particularly able girl from Travancore.

One night I had been out at some function, and came home very late. The whole place seemed asleep; all was silent and dark. Then I noticed there was a light in the chapel. Thinking it had been left on by oversight, I went to turn it off. The light from it caught the brass cross on the altar. It shone out in the surrounding darkness. I was just about to switch off the light when I saw there was something on the floor in the middle of the chapel. Looking more closely I saw it was that girl from Travancore, lying flat on the ground, prostrate in front of the cross. I left her there. How long she stayed I do not know. I stole away, feeling that I had seen something strangely beautiful and strangely holy.

In those days our staff was almost entirely British. I think Thomas Sitther, who had been one of our first batch of students in 1918, was the first Indian to be appointed to the staff. The Indian Church had not yet produced that fine crop of competent theologians on which it can draw today. Bishop Azariah of Dornakal was one of the few outstanding leaders. He often visited us. Other noteworthy visitors were Sundar Singh and C. F. Andrews, who often wandered in.

But these can only be names to the present generation. "We fold our tents like the Arabs, and silently steal away", but the College we loved goes on and must go on,--into a new world, needing new men and new ideas, but not a new gospel. "The grass withereth, the flower fadeth, but the Word of our God shall stand for ever". And that Word is Christ.


THE REV. V. T. KURIEN, S.T.M., 1936-1938 LECTURER 1970

How little I can recall of the life and activity of the college when I was a student more than three decades ago! Also I cannot be sure that what I recall are the things that helped me most in my personal life or in my work as a minister of the Church of Christ.

I joined the College in 1936, the year in which the Bishops of the Church of India, Burma and Ceylon, the Supreme Governing Body of the College, decided that it should be disaffiliated from Serampore but had not yet drawn up a full and comprehensive syllabus of studies. The Bishops had also recommended that the traditional Anglican forms of morning and evening prayer, as well as daily intercessions, compline and the Sunday Eucharist should be made compulsory for students. These were unfailingly said in the Chapel, but I had serious doubts about the usefulness of such regimentation in regard to prayer life. What is needed in theological colleges in regard to worship and study is, I think, a discipline which is not oppressive and a freedom which does not degenerate into licence; and such a healthy atmosphere can be worked out by free and frank discussion between staff and students.

I do not remember anything significant about the chapel services or our class-rooms, except that almost all the students tried to do their best in both places. The things that I remember of the College are not so much what happened in the chapel or the class-rooms, but outside both, and probably they helped me much in the preparation for the ministry of Christ. The Sunday evening service in St Paul's Cathedral was an attraction to most of the students and they made it a point to occupy the side pews sufficiently early. The activities of the S.C.M. took the students to Scottish Church College, St. Paul's College and other places, and put them into contact and dialogue with arts and science students and lecturers. The annual provincial S.C.M. conferences were occasions of lively discussion and Christian fellowship. Two persons who stimulated the students in their thinking were Augustine Ralla Ram, General Secretary, and Malcolm Adisehaya, Lecturer at St Paul's College. I remember attending annual conferences at Ranchi and Khulna.

[40] Another important movement which attracted the students at that time was the Oxford Group Movement, of which Metropolitan Foss Westcott was an active member and promoter. Whenever the group met at the Metropolitan's house, the students and staff of the College were also invited and a number of them were present. Of course they enjoyed the coffee, but the house party also provided them with an opportunity to test their personal life by the four absolutes popularised by the Group.

The students of my batch numbered thirty-one, including eight married students, and they were all attached to one congregation or another for parish visiting. The Malayalee students, who were four in number, had no parish to visit, so they got together with the Principal's permission and organised a Sunday service in the college chapel for the non-Roman Christians from Kerala. The students took their turns in conducting services and in preaching; and they also visited the homes of the Malayalee Christians. It is from such small beginnings that the Orthodox, Mar Thoma and C.S.I, congregations in Calcutta were formed. The services organised by them were most valuable from the point of view of practical experience.

The College also had a preaching-tour programme every year. One year we went to Delhi. It was an experience in more than one sense. The students got the opportunity to see historic sites and places: e.g., Benaras, Taj Mahal, Qutb Minar, Red Fort, Church of the Redemption, and several other places. We also went to some of the villages outside Delhi and saw the small congregations which needed pastoral care. So the students knew at first hand the challenges and opportunities of a Christian minister, and they came back with increased knowledge of India and its people. The annual College Day with its sports for children and students, garden party and the drama with which it concluded, is fresh in. one's mind. Murder in the Cathedral, acted at one of the anniversaries, won the unstinted praise of all who witnessed the play. Fr. Dart and Mr. Daniel, a student, played their parts remarkably well. Another play, whose title and theme I forget, was repeated at the request of the public. This event drew out the talents of some of the students.

One of the welcome features of college life was the opportunity for games. Volley-ball was played during the Rains term and tennis during the Advent and Lent terms. There were two tennis courts and both were occupied soon after 4 o'clock. Bishop Westcott, who was a good tennis player, occasionally visited the College and played tennis with students. Sometimes [40/41] he invited the better players to his court at Bishop's House, and I too had the privilege of being invited.

The College had its library, but how much use was made of it and what encouragement was given to students to dig through the books, I cannot now recall. There was no sermon class or sermon criticism. No doubt we all escaped the pain of criticism, but we also lost the opportunity to prepare sermons and discover our strong and weak points in preaching. Instead of the sermon class, the Principal asked each student to write two sermons. The best sermon of the lot was read in Chapel. If anyone volunteered to preach he was given the opportunity, but during my period only one person dared to do so.

Most of the students were mature men who had come at considerable sacrifice. They also had had experience in church and school and office. They could have been consulted on many points of study and corporate life, and such consultation would have produced a new dimension in Christian worship and life together; but that would have been a radical departure from the accepted pattern of theological training in both East and West. The friendship and fellowship which my wife and I have been able to form and develop we cherish, and probably that is the most valuable part of the life in the College



1935 was in many ways a critical year for Bishop's College. In the first place it had lost as its Principal a saint and got in exchange a schoolmaster. Bishop and Mrs. Pakenham Walsh after twelve years had resigned to take up the next stage of their great ministry of love and healing in an ashram at Tadagam, Travancore (Kerala), which they were founding with some of their former students in the College. There they would spend the rest of their lives healing the wounds of the divided Syrian Orthodox Church and in prayer for and healing of the sick. If, as experience has taught me, the Church lives and grows chiefly through the lives of its saints, then the debt of the Indian Church to them is incalculable. How many lives they touched! How many of the older clergy reflect in their lives the holiness which they learnt from them! It so happened that they even laid their hands upon me! For they spent a night in Bishop Cotton School, Simla, where I was then Headmaster, so that the Bishop might anoint an English schoolmistress, who had been ordered home by the doctors. Many years afterwards she died in India, still teaching, in her seventies! At the same time he taught me that the ministry of healing is part of every priest's vocation.

So Bishop's College had got a schoolmaster from a European school as its new Principal! There was no justification for this, except that nothing had been further from my mind or from anybody else's; so God must have had a hand in it (or the devil!; no, not in such company!). Years later Bishop Barne told me that at the meeting in which the appointment was made it suddenly crossed his mind that I had spoken to him of my desire to be more involved in the life of the Indian Church and that I had read theology. So it happened! At the time my wife and I were in South India, visiting Nandyal in Dornakai diocese, where my sister had been an S.P.G. missionary, and there Bishop Azariah broke the news to us.

But there was a second crisis facing the College, which the Rev. T. Sitther, who was acting as Principal, communicated to me. Both the staff and the Governing Body, i.e. the diocesan Bishops, were seriously disquieted about the quality of the training. Not long before the Lindsay Report had been published. This had rightly emphasized the need, both of more vernacular theological schools, and of all clergy being able to think and speak [42/43] in the vernacular and idiom of their people. More questionably, it had recommended the removal of Bishop's College to Bangalore on the ground that Calcutta, with its western, urban way of life, was an unsuitable site for it and that, in any case, there had been no Bengali student in it for years and only a minority of students from North India; the major part of our Church was in the south and that was where most of the College's students came from.

There was further cause for concern. At that time the College was affiliated to Serampore University and took its L.Th. and B.D. These, it was felt, had loomed altogether too prominently on the students' horizon, causing some of them to get their priorities wrong. Most of the students would start with hopes of a B.D. At the end of the first year a third of them would be relegated to the L.Th. or to struggle to take again the papers in which they had failed. At the end of the second year there was a further slaughter, resulting in disappointment and a sense of failure in those who only secured the College diploma.

There was also, it was said, a lack of discipline. It was the age-old problem of the relationship of love and law. "Love and do what you like" is an admirable adage for the mature Christian. But how many of us have reached that stage? For almost all of us law is the necessary framework for learning the right use of liberty. Since clergy are the complete masters of their time, it is all the more necessary that in their training there should be a regular time-table of worship, play, ministry and study, in order that they may have already learnt the lesson of strict self-discipline. There had been, it was felt, too much freedom, and it had sometimes been abused.

To add to the crisis, S.P.G., which from the College's foundation had been largely responsible for its financial support, was now demanding that the Church should "think out its whole system of training" its clergy, and that Bishop's College, as its "apex", should "re-plan and re-think" its whole course, if it was to justify the continuation of the Society's annual grant.

The meeting of the College's Governing Body, therefore, at the beginning of 1936 was a particularly critical one. Important decisions had to be taken.

Canon Stacy Waddy, the General Secretary of the S.P.G., attended it and stayed in the College. I shall always remember his bigness of vision and of heart. By then there were three Bengali students and no less than six men sent from Lahore diocese. Turning to me one day, he said:--"I notice that many of your students come from C.M.S. areas and yet you have no C.M.S. member of Staff. I must talk to my friend Cash (General [43/44] Secretary of C.M.S.) when I get back and get them to contribute a man". At that time such an idea of cooperation between the Societies was a very novel one and both he and the Society, in their conception of the Society as the servant of the Church, with the task of helping the Church to reach its full comprehensiveness of truth by partnership with other Societies, were well ahead of their time. As a consequence a few years later C.M.S. sent to us their first member of the staff. Meanwhile S.P.G. agreed to increase its financial help through a capitalisation fund and to support the Rev. T. H. Dart, already on the staff, and myself and our families as its contribution.

The first decision that the Bishops made was indeed drastic. It was that the College should no longer take the Serampore examinations, though it would not ask for disaffiliation. Moreover, it was hoped that the best students intellectually would spend an extra year in the College to take the B.D. In the place of the L.Th. and B.D. courses a new College diploma course was now drawn up, which was intended to be no less demanding in the number of subjects covered and in the thoroughness of their study. The chief difference, apart from the omission of Greek, was that the whole of the Bible was Tequired to be studied and the Church's doctrine and liturgy and history, together with moral theology and pastoralia, orientated very much towards the students' preparation for their ministry, to give them a practical rather than an academic knowledge of their ministry's tools.

A thesis was still required to be written in the last year and it was hoped that a piece of translation work into the student's vernacular would also be attempted. I remember that one of the best theses was written by the present Bishop of Chota Nagpur on the culture and customs of the Mundas, and Bishop Hall, then Bishop of that diocese, was anxious to have it published by the S.P.C.K.

It speaks much for the charity of Dr. Angus, then Principal of Serampore, and of the Senate that relations between the two Colleges were in no way affected. Not only were members of our staff retained on the Senate, and our games of volley ball continued uninterrupted, but Dr. Rawson, the Vice-Principal, came to spend the night with us once a week and to lecture to us on Hinduism, and I was still included in Dr. Angus' cricket team.

The lectures given by Mr. Dart on the Old Testament and by Fr. Carleton of the Oxford Mission on doctrine gave a wonderful start to the course, the subjects being made full of interest and relevance. Mr. Dart always asserts that for one [44/45] term he also lectured on Islam (on the grounds that he had a Moslem bearer!) This, if true, was soon put to rights with the welcome addition to the staff of the Rev. E. Sadiq and his wife. Mr. Sadiq took the place of Dr. (now Bishop) Appasamy, who unfortunately had been compelled by ill-health to send in his resignation before I arrived.

A second decision which was made was to provide a timetable which all students would be expected to observe, starting with Matins at 6 a.m. and ending with Compline about 9 p.m., which, however, was voluntary except on Fridays, when an address was given by one of us. It included mid-day intercessions and periods of study in our rooms. Inevitably there was some resentment over such excessive schoolmastering! Many of the students had already passed through a University. Yet it was my conviction that such discipline was as much needed as in an English theological college (I had spent one term in one! Could anyone be less fitted for such decisions?!) as a preparation for the disciplined life needed for the clergy with their constant temptation to laziness. Besides this, I was eager to build up a more corporate life in the College. Coming, as they did, from so many parts of India (Pakistan had not yet, happily, been invented), the students were apt to break into their own groups, in which they could speak their own vernacular. Between us we spoke sixteen different languages, and the only one which we had in common was English. There was also real difficulty over food, north preferring chapattis and south rice. Even the most willing stomach rebels, as I discovered in even ten days of a mission, against a totally foreign diet. So we built a new dining room, with quarters over it for the expected C.M.S. member of Staff. Mr. Shaw, then living as a contractor in our compound and later with the Oxford Mission in Behala, did a splendid job for us. Now all the single students dined together, though three diets had to be provided, and one at least from Ceylon shared with us my wife's cooking. But the principle of eating together was established, a habit which was, surely, essential in our all-India theological college if we were to believe in the Church as a world-wide fellowship without boundaries?

This ecumenical vision of the Church was increasingly driven home to us as year by year our numbers grew. In 1939 we had our maximum of 36 students. It looked as though the vision of our founder, Bishop Middleton, of the College becoming a centre for students from "all parts of the continent and islands of Asia" was beginning to be realised when not only were most of the dioceses of India represented, but also, with a family from Burma, we had an Egyptian, a Jew, who had had to flee from [45/46] his home in Iraq on becoming a Christian, a Sea-Dyak, now Bishop of Kuching, and two members of the Armenian Church in Calcutta. For many years there had been in the College members of the Syrian Orthodox and Mar Thoma Churches and one or two British students. The Egyptian student, now the Rev. Aziz Hanna, was so struck on a village mission with us at the freedom in India, unlike his own country, to preach in the open that he vowed that, had it not been for his wife and children in Egypt, he would have stayed in India!

There was another decision made which was both in keeping with the recommendations of the Lindsay Report and with Bishop Middleton's view of the College as "the Mission College", slowly spreading its influence throughout India by mission-stations established by the Collage which would overleap one another. We wished to do everything possible to make all students aware of their mission to their country and its villages.

With this object two missions were organised in the summer vacation each year, one in the north, the other in the south, to mass-movement areas, in order that all might get experience of village work (some, of course, already had it) and be inspired by such leaders as Canon Chandu Lai of Narowal in the Punjab, Canon Jacob of Bulandshahar in the U.P. and the Rev. (now Bishop) Stephen Neill in Tirunelveli. One year the Bengali students went under Fr. Carleton on a mission in Bengal and another year several students went for a short stay in Ranaghat Hospital to test out the thesis of Dr. Hatt, who was subsequently martyred there for his too Christian interpretation of what Christian medical service involved, that theological training should be linked with service in a hospital. They took temperatures, washed the sick, dug latrine-holes, opened sores; one of them even cut off a patient's finger under instruction!

Besides this, all students were expected during term time to do some practical work such as visiting on one day of the week and, as far as possible, were attached to a parish where they could worship and assist in their vernacular on Sunday. Under Bishop Pakenhan Walsh training had been given in St. Thomas' and St. fames' parishes, especially in Sunday school work under Deaconess Moore. One of the students had gone with the Bishop to the Gobra Leper Hospital where, I was told, the Bishop had always embraced the patients, a practice which I was not man enough to imitate. Tamil and Malayali students also had helped at St. Saviour's Tamil-speaking Church and at the services of the Syrian Orthodox Church in the College Chapel. All this was continued, but, in addition, St. Saviour's Church was now officially put under the charge of the College and a Hindi-speaking congregation under Mr. Sadiq was added to the Tamil one [46/47] under Mr. Sitther. When Mr. Sadiq left we had a catechist and I celebrated haltingly in a service which I enjoyed, even if few understood me! For the most part the students preached. The Bengali and Armenian students meanwhile attended their own Churches, and we had the privilege from time to time of attending a Syrian Orthodox Qurban or once a year the Armenian Service of foot-washing.

At this same meeting in 1936 the Bishops also decided that their men should be made deacons in their third year, in order that they might get some of the practical training from a priest which it is so difficult for them to receive in some of the wide village areas. In 1937 we had as many as eight deacons in the College.

A course for the wives was also continued, and the married quarters had to be expanded as more married students arrived. It was taken by the staff and their wives. In spite of the cramped, steamy quarters, the presence of the wives was undoubtedly valuable for them as well as their husbands. But it meant babysitting for the husbands. Undoubtedly it enriched our worship and our fellowship.

But what about producing truly Indian leaders, who could build up a genuinely indigenous Indian Church and pioneer the way to interpreting not only Christian doctrine, but also Christian worship and way of life in Indian idiom? Missionaries, I have noticed, have usually been keener on this than Indian Christians themselves, partly, perhaps, because they have known, as we have not, the dark side of pagan ceremonies and words linked with indigenous music, partly because of the suspicion that by "the Indian way" the missionary means the way of the poor (e.g. sitting on the ground), and that he is trying to pauperise his pupils. I know I was accused of this. But I had been enthused by seeing the Indian-style Cathedral of Dornakal and Church of Narowal and by the indigenous worship of lyrics and bhajans in those places. Moreover, I had had a catechist in Simla who had composed and sang the story of Our Lord's life in the same way as the Ramayana is sung, and he had drawn the crowds. We, therefore, started with the simple act of taking off our shoes on entering the Chapel and we removed all the prayer-desks. This met with general approval, only one student finding it beneath his dignity to be separated from his chap-plies. As to-day I fidget in solid wooden pews, with my elbows and knees always cramped or skewered, how I long for the freedom of limb which I then enjoyed, cross-legged, upright or prostrate, as you liked, even though, I fear, some of the prostrate figures were sometimes asleep! Later we were to experiment [47/48] with thanking God for members' birthdays once a month, because Bishop Azariah assured us that the Indian custom is to give on one's birthday rather than to receive. Our collections went up astronomically!

But it was Canon Chandu Lai on our first mission who really encouraged us to think seriously on the matter. He met us in a khaki cassock (the obvious dress for the dusty plains of the Punjab). He wore a saffron cape when attending the Offices. He celebrated Holy Communion on an out-of-door altar, with rose bushes planted at the corners, and we looked out over the waving corn as the sun rose behind it. He copied his Sikh neighbours in bringing in his congregations from the villages to a central point on a Festival, singing bhajans as they came. Ours had a cross at its head wrapped in purple paper.

We were also, however, taught to be cautious. At the great S.C.M. Conference in Rangoon in 1937, which twelve of us attended, including my wife, together with 800 others, travelling as deck passengers (mercifully it was calm), the much loved General Secretary, the Rev. Ralla Ram, put on a Service of Light, and we merrily dropped wax from a thousand candles all over the pews of Judson College! He was nearly excommunicated in Lahore when he attempted to repeat there this idolatrous (!) service. So, too, Canon Chandu Lai had his failures. He explained to me one day how the Indian custom is to throw flower petals in front of the shrine rather than to put flowers into vases. He then proceeded to cast flower petals upon the altar-cloth. When I went to celebrate I had to rescue the bread from the ants inside them! But my strangest experiment with indigenous worship was after Dr. Appasamy had taken me for a long walk on the maidan and inspired me with tales of his childhood and how his family always greeted the dawn with a beautiful Hindu prayer to the light. He suggested that we ought to do the same in the College, accompanying the prayer with a Christian prayer and morning hymn. So moved was I by his words that I spoke passionately on the subject at Compline and, all against my nature, dragged myself to the roof of our house at 5 a.m. the following morning. I was accompanied by Mr. Sitther, loyal to the core, and an English student! I never dared ask Dr. Appasamy whether I had misunderstood him. The experiment was not repeated.

So vivid are the days spent in Bishop's College in Calcutta. But another crisis was approaching. In 1939 war had broken out and it was now 1942. Already there had been changes on the staff. In 1940 the Rev. E. Sadiq left us to join the staff of the vernacular theological school in Khatauli, north of Meerut, where we were happily going to meet him and his family again. [48/49] He had been replaced by the Rev. (now Dr.) E. Sambayyar already a friend from the days when he first visited the College as an S.C.M. Secretary. Even more serious, our Vice-Principaf and Bursar, the Rev. (now Dr.) T. Sitther, had been appointed Principal of the new Tamil Theological College at Tirumaraiyur. Tirunelveli. In him we lost one whom we loved not only for his efficiency both as Bursar and Teacher and his indefatigable nature, but also for his absolute sincerity and never-failing jol-liness and laughter. Fortunately we were only exchanging one gem for another. Never was the remark made of Cuddesdon Theological College, when Bishop Gore was Vice-Principal, more applicable than it was of Bishop's College in my days:--"The College is more noted for its vices than for its principles (als)"! How fortunate we were, for we were now going to learn to the full.

The war drew nearer. H.M.S. Repulse and The Prince of Wales were sunk off Singapore. So was the Exeter, whose crew had been seen by us in the streets of Calcutta a few days earlier. Singapore fell. Burma fell. Some of us helped at the receiving station for the refugees, and some of the missionaries from Burma, passing through, stayed in the College. Air raids outside Calcutta followed. How we enjoyed the announcement one morning on the B.B.C.:--"There was an air-raid last night on Calcutta and Mofussil (Hindi for "outskirts"); we will spell that last name." Most of us joined the A.R.P., went through the gas chamber!, gave our blood for the blood bank, and patrolled the streets by the College at night. The rest, for there were some who felt that they could not take any active part in the war effort owing to Britain's failure to consult India before declaring war, manned the A.R.P. post and Medical Station in the College under Dr. Biswas, our doctor-student, my wife acting as the telephonist. Troops began pouring in, British and American, taking over all the Colleges and other available buildings. It was clear that our days in Calcutta were numbered.

Fortunately I had already written round to different dioceses asking if a home could be found for us. In each case the answer had been in the negative. Then at last had come an offer by the Rev. W. G. Brown, Principal of the Theological School in Khatauli, offering us quarters there in a block of buildings which had never been occupied. So when the blow fell and we were given three days to evacuate, the students, who were in the middle of their examinations, were sent home, our priceless library of books was packed into the Chapel, an inventory was made of what we were handing over to the British Army (at a great profit to the College accounts), and a whole railway-truck was filled with the indispensable books and equipment which we would need during our exile. Faithful Mrs. Torrens, [49/50] who for years had lived in the College compound, promised to open the doors and windows of the Chapel once a week in the hope of avoiding the ruin of the library books.

The Rev. and Mrs. T. H. Dart, alas, had to be left behind. He felt it to be his duty to offer as a Chaplain to the Forces, and was attached to the Cathedral staff. He had made quite a name for himself outside the College by the Biblical plays which he produced on each College Day, e.g. one on Jeremiah and another on Jonah. In the latter the ship of the Church was desperately rowed by a dozen students wearing dog-collars. Some of the clergy present were not happy about this! By members of the College he will always be remembered for the short original Compline addresses that he gave and both of them for the real, humble friendship which they shared with us all.

So "to fresh scenes and pastures new". Mr. Jacob handled the whole move and went ahead to supervise necessary alterations to the buildings. When we all arrived at the end of the College holidays everything was ready for us. Nothing could have been more different from our old home in Calcutta. Situated in the heart of the country, with fields of waving sugar-cane all around, we were completely isolated. Instead of Calcutta's traffic there was the yelping of pi-dogs, the ceaseless braying of a donkey, the howling at night of the jackals, and in the rains the brain-bursting throbbing of the frogs--the quiet of the country! For transport we had our two feet, an occasional ramshackle bus, a few bicycles, and a bullock cart belonging to a lady missionary (the beautiful bullocks were later stolen). There was one wide, dirty and dusty village street, with weighing machines, sugar bags, grain sacks, piles of wood and agricultural instruments in front of shops on both sides. There was a railway station a quarter of a mile away from which there was the occasional train to Meerut and Delhi. I usually caught a goods train, as the only convenient one, in the middle of the night. But there was also a century-old, wide canal only a few hundred yards away, with king-fishers and monkeys along its banks. There were, too, snakes, some of them deadly. Fortunately one of our students was a professional in dealing with them. Catching them by the tail, he twirled them round his head, then released them dead-dazed to be slain on the ground. With the Himalayas not far off, the climate was glorious except for the month when the "loo" blew, but we had already sampled the dust storms that it creates on our mission to Narowal. In the winter we had our classes out of doors, but the students from the south found it cold as they wrapped themselves in blankets, mufflers and mittens.

The buildings which we occupied were alongside a boys' school, on which the C.M.S. placed most of its hopes for the [50/51] future of the surrounding mass-movement. Here the Rev. J. Nicholas, the missionary in charge, had his house and he had built a magnificent Church, with an impressive dome, constructed in red brick, like all the rest of the buildings. Incidentally, the snakes were reputed to come out of the clay pits all around from which they had been made. Inside the Church was spacious and full of light, with a striking window over the altar containing the star of Epiphany, after which the Church was named. Here every Sunday we worshipped at the Family Eucharist with all the families of the compound to a lovely indigenous setting, much enlivened by the participation of the children.

As to our quarters, the students occupied two long rows of rooms, with kitchen and dining room and a little way apart we converted a small room into our Chapel. Mr and Mrs Jacob had a separate small house, whilst the Sambayyas and ourselves shared houses with the C.M.S. staff, who most nobly gave up half to us.

Here then we resumed our daily routine of worship, study and recreation. The fact that both the C.M.S. Theological School and ourselves had this regular routine of worship surprised the visiting team of the all-India Theological Commission to such an extent that they asked Mr. Brown to speak about it at the Conference which followed. They had apparently found nothing like it in the non-Anglican colleges which they had previously visited.

Our numbers were reduced to twenty, which was as well in view of the limited accommodation, and of these half, just to be awkward, were from the south. The majority of the latter were from Travancore (Kerala). In spite of this we settled down wonderfully and all accepted the strange climate and food uncomplainingly. There was a certain amount of sickness, Mr. Jacob getting enteric and several of us dysentery, but most fortunately we still had with us Dr. Biswas (the best doctor in the village had on his board the title "M.B.F. (F= "failed")). On the whole our health was good. We seemed to grow together into a closer fellowship. Partly, no doubt, this was because of our isolation, but much more it was due to Mr. Jacob, who was father-confessor to them all and set such an example of prayer and goodness. His rising at 4.30 a.m. to study his Bible, which he knew so well, shamed us all. One incident was to me very revealing. Like all the southerners he found Urdu extremely difficult and was almost speechless in it, and yet, as Bursar, he did all our purchases for us, getting in big quantities of sugar, etc., in the village when such things were strictly rationed, at [51/52] a very reasonable price. On one occasion I asked Mr. Brown's cook how Mr. Jacob managed it. "Mahabbat se", "By love" was his reply. Mr. Sambayya, too, was in his element of quiet time for study and was increasingly putting us in his debt by his scholarship and great gift for friendship.

We tried to continue some form of evangelism. This had to be done mainly by the Urdu-speaking students, who went out on Sundays with their fellow ordinands next door, and I sometimes went with Mr. Nicholas for the experience. Bicycling through a sea of dust or perched on top of a six-inch-wide ridge,, a foot up, was no mean feat! Often Dr. Biswas would accompany the students' party. I was greatly impressed by the compassion as well the skill which he showed in treating the poorest villager. I remember him no less as an evangelist. In spite of his short legs and stout body he would trot along with us wherever we went. I have a vivid memory of him singing with his strong voice, accompanying himself on the tabla and making up the words as he went along. Then he would preach on die theme of his song. On one occasion he heard a small boy singing some old folk song. At once he made him repeat it and wrote down the musical refrain for his own future use.

For myself there came a new interest. I acted as Chaplain once a month to the British troops in Roorkee, spending the Saturday night there and after the Service being brought home in a military lorry. I was, also, asked by the Metropolitan to give such pastoral direction as was possible at a distance to the 3-400 Ordinands in the British Forces scattered throughout the country. I did this by means of a printed letter, which I sent out three times a year. This would contain the latest information about plans for their testing and training when the war was over, an inspiring letter from one of our Bishops, and a devotional article from myself. I also gave them addresses of people all over India who would welcome them for a short stay, so that they could see something of the real India and Indian Church, if they got leave, and a number of them came to stay in the College and attended a Retreat with us. I think these letters helped some of them during the difficult days that they were passing through. One of them was a Chindit from Burma, who has remained a close friend, and others were in the Air Force or the Navy based in Ceylon or in the Army in Burma. In England quite a number of Ordinands and young Priests have introduced themselves to me with the words:--"Oh, I heard from you in India".

So at last the Rev. P. May reached us early in 1945, and my wife and I and our adopted daughter were free to go on leave. [52/53] We were ready for it after nine years, as Mildred had never really been well since she nearly died of malignant malaria in Calcutta, after contracting it on a visit to Nadia with a team of women to help during severe flooding there. I was appointed one of the Chaplains on a troopship, a P & O liner, built for a thousand passengers and now taking two thousand. In the greatest secrecy we set out for Poona on a first class pass, and were there held "incommunicado" in an embarkation camp for two days. Equally secretly we were then conveyed to the docks, where we were joined on our ship by a number of civilian passengers, all of whom had been summoned by open telegram! An undisturbed voyage followed, with gun drill most days and a noisy last night as we approached Liverpool in a convoy of about twenty 20,000-ton ships, we being the flag ship and happily in the middle! During this part of our journey we were surrounded by frigates, which periodically let off depth chargers, and we zigzagged, often in fog, at an alarming speed quite close to each other. We knew nothing of the secret radar! At Liverpool we had a united thanksgiving Service and the next day the Italian prisoners of war, who were used as dockers, had a jolly time dropping the nets, which contained the limited amount of luggage which we had been allowed to bring, with such force that no china had a hope of surviving! A few days later we visited S.P.G. headquarters and were told that Mildred could not return to India for at least two years.

So, as I look back on our nine years at Bishop's College, what is my chief reflection? It is one of deep gratitude for the people whom I encountered and with whom I lived. There was Canon Chandu Lai, who gave me my first love for the Indian Church when we were in Simla, and Paul, our catechist. There was Sadhu Sundar Singh, whom we met on Canon Chandu Lai's verandah and who spoke of the great number of sadhus who were only waiting for the right moment to reveal themselves as the Christians that they were. Did he imagine this? He disappeared in Tibet the following winter. There was C. F. Andrews, who preached in the School Chapel on Drummond's "The greatest thing in the world". I don't remember a word of it, but I remember him vividly. Isn't this true of most sermons? It isn't the sermon, but the man delivering it that we remember in his sincerity and Christ-likeness? He preached to us that evening because the Parish Church no longer wanted to have him after his public protest against the omission of the names of any Indian dead in the press account of the terrible earthquake in Quetta.

In Calcutta there were the giants of the Oxford Mission. There was Fr. Shore, to whom I used to make my confession in [53/54] the peace of the dim underground Chapel in Cornwalis Street whilst the gong of the Hindu Temple across the road almost always shattered the silence. One of the students once wrote of the Preparation to the Communion Service:--"Here shall the Priest confess his incompetence and the Server shall comfort him!" What better description could there be of a confessor's job, and how wonderfully Fr. Shore fulfilled it. I also once saw him saying his grace over his quinine! With me it would have been absent-mindedness!

Fr. Strong was allowed to take his last Retreat in the College Chapel. Being very deaf, he spoke very loud, and was quite unaware that we had to stop our ears so as not to hear what he said to each penitent. Roughly it was this--"How grateful, my dear man, God must be for what you are doing for Him!" I had never had that said to me before, nor have I since! Yet what sound psychology! We almost all need encouragement rather than analysis. The subject of the Retreat throughout was the ministry of love.

Finally, there was Fr. Douglass in his little wire cage at Behala. Woe betide you if you arrived before 4 p.m. during his quiet time, as I once did! But after 4 p.m. he welcomed you, whoever you were, with outstretched arms, as if you were the one person for whom he had been waiting for years. What a trio they were, not to mention Fr. Prior out in East Bengal. All were about 80 in our day. "See", said the Metropolitan at one of the Oxford Mission Festivals, "what a healthy climate this is" (he was 80 himself). "Survival of the fittest", commented Tommy Tucker, the Metropolitan's Chaplain, beside me!

A Quiet Day taken by Bishop Banerji, a visit by Bishop Azariah and fairly constant visits to the College by Bishop Tarafdar are all precious memories of a peculiarly Indian holiness, coupled with an interpretation of the gospel in terms of Indian thought and way of life. Bishop Tarafdar's presence was in itself a benison in its gentle humility.

No less gratefully, however, do I remember one Indian and one European in the Gobra Leper Hospital. The former, Martha, a burnt out case, totally blind and fingerless, who had been there for forty years since girlhood, loved singing hymns, and by the constant joy and peace that she displayed brought two others to Christ. The European, an ex-pilot on the Hoogli, was a Roman Catholic. When admitted he was told by the Priest:--"You are specially privileged by Christ in being given the opportunity now to give your whole time and thought to being formed in His image"! I watched him deteriorate, go [54/55] blind, lose his voice, etc., until the end, and during that time he taught me much of the strength of his religion and of Christian victory over suffering.

But the person outside the College who probably made the biggest impression on me was Bishop Foss Westcott. Loving to tell the story of the Hindu guru who came to look at Bishop's House in Chowringhee at the urgent summons of one of his anxious disciples, and who told him:--"You need have no fear of a religion, whose leader lives in a mansion like that", he lived himself in the greatest simplicity, giving away a large part of his salary to endow another diocese. He slept on the roof of his house, rising with the dawn to pray. Very exact (had he not read science at Cambridge?), he could be sharp. "There is no such thing", he said to my wife when she offered him "the bigger half", and. on another occasion, when she unwisely said that he was looking tired:--'You are a very bad psychologist, Mrs. Peacey". He was equally short with humbug. Perhaps this was what attracted him to the Oxford group with its four "absolutes". But its members were the first to receive his rebuke if there was any sign of self-righteousness:--"Confess your own sins, not other people's". Though none of his clergy followed him in joining the Oxford Group (I myself attended no less than three House Parties which he organised), it never made the slightest difference to the way in which he treated us. With him in the chair, no unchristian words were allowed in the Calcutta Diocesan Council. He often played tennis in the College, when there was still a tennis court there, and was as unwilling to admit that a ball was out as that he had on some other occasions been asleep, a frailty which made him the more loveable. He had played soccer for Cambridge and played a good game, though he had only one eye which functioned, a fact of which most people were ignorant. But most memorable was his course of pastoral lectures in the College, full of holy wisdom. "I find," he said, "that in my old age I only want to meditate on St. John's Epistles". He loved to quote his father, the author of the classic commentary on St. John's Gospel. He visited us at Khatauli and reminisced on the cholera outbreak, when he was a member of the Cawnpore Brotherhood, in which his brother died. Entirely fearless and practical, it had been as natural for him then to work amongst the cholera victims as later to refuse money from the Vicereine's special fund, given on ascending the gadi by the Princes, for the building of the Church of the Redemption in New Delhi.

I suppose my greatest privilege in life is to have known such people. Yet the greatest of all was the fellowship of Bishop's College itself. The friendship of the staff in Khatauli, [55/56] in which the families were all the time in and out of each other's houses, has often been used by me as an illustration that race or colour have nothing to do with human divisions. To live with the Jacobs and the Sambayyas and the Browns and the Sadiqs in close fellowship was something which could not help but leave its permanent memory. But no less true is it that student after student left his memory and taught his lesson. Bishop Cockin of Bristol once said:-- 'The trouble with Peacey is that a third of him is still in India." How could it be otherwise? I suppose it is true of every missionary that he cannot help but realise that, going to teach and give, he learnt and received so infinitely much more himself. "We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers".


Peter May M.A., Principal 1945-48

Vice-Principal 1948-49

Principal 1949-59

The period of Bishop's College life under review in this article can best be divided into two: 1945-49 and 1949-58.


These years were probably some of the more unsettled years in the life of Bishop's College as a theological college. The first year, 1945-1946, was our final year in exile in Khatauli. It was marked by the departure of Canon Peacey to England and of "the Venerable" (C. K. Jacob) to be Bishop of Travancore, by the arrival of Canon Manuel as Vice-Principal and by the appointment of myself as Principal; it would, I am sure, be true to say that both Canon Manuel and I, from our very different backgrounds to Canon Peacey and Bishop Jacob, approached the task of training clergy differently. That first year, 1945-46, had over it also the shadow of the return to Calcutta after Easter 1946, with all the plans that had to be made for that return; my diary records at least two trips with Canon Manuel to Calcutta (on one of which we had three quarters of an hour talk with Pandit Nehru, just released from prison) and long conversations there with the Metropolitan and our bearded contractor, Mr. Shaw. The main weight of the move back fell on Canon Manuel and the college clerk, V. I. Jacob; we others probably took this so much for granted that we did not realise the immense amount of work that the Canon and V. I. did during the course of the move to change 224 Lower Circular Road from a W.A.C. (I) hostel back into a theological college again. My letter in the Chronicle of 1946 has this comment about our first year back in Calcutta: "Externally there can have been few terms in the history of the College so marked by disturbances; the horror of the riots, the inconvenience of a postal strike, . . . torrential rain, with suspension of traffic for some hours, a bank strike, a newspaper strike, have all been our lot during these first three months of our College year." However at least six of the men who were in the College during this period are now bishops, so perhaps the unsettlement had its value.

[58] None the less the return to Calcutta did give us an opportunity to rethink our methods of clergy training. Some years earlier we had opted out of the Serampore system on the grounds that this placed so much emphasis on the academic side of training for the ministry that the pastoral and the devotional side, which we felt to be as important, were neglected. By the time we returned to Calcutta, we had worked out a concordat with Serampore by which some papers for the B.D. were set and marked internally by Bishop's College examiners, and others were set and marked externally by Senate examiners. This pattern of examination, eventually followed by all the other B. D. Colleges, gave us much more freedom not only in retaining our Anglican emphasis in the teaching and examining of certain subjects, for example pastoralia, worship and doctrine, but also in the planning of a more flexible timetable. Rather ambitiously we hoped that it would be possible to reduce the number of lectures and teach more by means of seminars and discussion groups. Canon Manuel's Pastoral Theology "lectures" were brilliant examples of this in that they started from a case history and developed theologically and pastorally from that. In practice however, although we did much more by way of tutorials and essays, the pressure of examination syllabi tended to defeat our good intentions, and lecture notes continued to be given and taken; I can recollect examining one of the Bishop's College men in doctrine on a question about free will, and finding that he had taken down my notes wrong, and stated that without free will we should be like puppies on a string (and not puppets!).

We had felt that in fact the timetable in "the premier Theological College of the C.I.B.C. (this was written before Independence) .... should be determined by the Church's year and not, as in secular colleges, by the demands of examinations." And so from 1946 the College Retreat always took place in the Ember week before Christmas--incidentally I wonder if any College has been more fortunate over the years in its retreat conductors. The College year always ended on Easter Monday --Holy Week, Good Friday and Easter Day thus becoming the crowning events of the College year. Every Red Letter Saint's Day in the calendar was marked by a Sung Eucharist (with sermon), a holiday and as often as not by a most enjoyable coffee squash in one of the staff quarters in the evening! Hindus were not the only people who could enjoy "holy days"!

Two events of great importance occurred in 1947, namely Independence Day, August 15th, and the Inauguration of the Church of South India, September 27th. Both had, in different ways, a profound effect on the life of the College. [58/59] "Independence Day celebrations" records the Chronicle, "began at the College with a three-hour vigil in the Chapel after Compline on the 14th of August . . . The ceremony of Blessing the Flag of the Indian Union was as moving as it was meaningful. . . . As the Principal blessed and returned the silk flag to the student representatives, one felt that God was giving His blessing to the newly-won freedom of India ... It was pointed out that August 15th was a day of deliverance for the Church from the great misunderstanding that the Church in India was the arm of British Imperialism." We were even approached by a Roman Catholic and asked whether the College compound and its buildings were for sale now that the British had gone!

I was due for six months' leave in February 1948 and took the opportunity of resigning the Principalship in order that Canon Manuel should take his rightful place as Principal. The Supreme Governing Body of the College agreed to this and I came back in September as Vice-Principal to the Canon. Alas, this was only to last for nine months, as on June 25th, 1949, the day after term began, Canon Manuel was, in the words of Bishop Hubback, "with startling suddenness, called from his work in this world to other work beyond the veil." A great many others besides myself owe a very great deal to the Canon --the Chronicle for 1949 deserves a re-reading to recollect what a wonderful person he was, as pastor, principal and friend; and how much the Church as a whole and Bishop's College in particular lost by his death. One of the last things that he did was to organize a month's refresher course or Summer Course (lasting for four full weeks) for clergy, "the first of its kind in the history of this Province." It was this kind of imaginative concern for ordinands, clergy and their needs that made Canon Manuel such an inspiring principal to work with, especially as he combined an appreciation of Western Christian traditions with a real desire for a more truly Indian expression of them; what Principal before or after has been able to administer the College so pastorally and so effectively from his charpoy?

One effect of Independence was that it became increasingly difficult for Pakistanis to cross the border into India to be trained for the Ministry in the College. We missed in particular the robust and evangelical flavour that the many men from Lahore were able to give us, and the completely different contribution that the occasional man from East Bengal brought to the College. Another of the effects of Independence was to make us realise how very dependent we were financially on the West, and on S.P.G. and C.M.S. in particular, for paying the salaries of staff members. We were able however about this time to take advantage of a scheme of S.P.G. by which, over a period of ten years, it reduced its annual grant to nothing, at [59/60] the same time giving us a large block sum which, wisely invested in India, was able to yield sufficient interest to pay the salaries of staff members, be they missionaries or nationals. In practice we tried, and succeeded, in having nationals and missionaries in equal proportion on the staff.

The Inauguration of the Church of South India in September 1947 created somewhat different problems. Initially relationships between the C.S.I, and the C.I.P.B.C. were somewhat strained, and we wondered whether any more men from the four South Indian dioceses would be sent for their training to Bishop's College. In practice, thanks to Bishop Jacob's affection for the College and to the widespread respect for Canon Manuel in the South, there was never a year when there were not at least two men from the C.S.I, in the College (in one year there were actually nine). Their contribution to the common life of the College was considerable, not only ecumenically but also intellectually and socially. Where the inauguration of the C.S.I, hit us hardest was in the staffing. We had always been able to draw staff members from the South where everyone recognised that the intellectual strength of the Church lay; and the contributions of Bishop Appasamy, Canon Sitther, Bishop Jacob, Canons Manuel (father and son) and Canon Sambayya to the College have been inestimable. The inauguration of the C.S.I, made it difficult either for the College to turn to the South or for South Indians to be released for staff members. On the other hand this made it essential that North Indians should be appointed to the staff; ultimately this undoubtedly in the long run made for a strengthening of the Church in the North, as men were released from dioceses in the C.I.P.B.C. to spend some time, away from their manifold pastoral tasks in the parishes, to develop their understanding and capacity to communicate the Christian faith.


The death of Canon Manuel meant a fresh look at the staffing of the College; Canon Sambayya had been on the staff since 1941, and was to be the sheet anchor of the College until his retirement as Principal in 1968. He became Vice-Principal in 1950, and for the rest of the period under review from 1952, when Mr. Pathak left to become Bishop of Nagpur and Mr. Craig (that delightful Irishman) returned to Dublin, we had the same four staff members, the other two being Basil Manuel and Cecil Hargreaves. It is probably true to say that these seven years saw the most constructive and creative work of my time in the College. We were of course happy to have visiting lecturers from the Oxford Mission, from Serampore (the Rev. E. T. [60/61] Ryder), from Calcutta parishes and from the Jesuit fathers at St. Xavier's (notably Father Courtois). One advantage of a more or less stable staff was that staff members were more free to be involved in extra-collegiate activities, especially in the academic fields. It was during these years that the three staff contributions to the Christian Student's Library were written, and that we assumed with Serampore responsibility for the editorship of the Indian Journal of Theology. We were moreover involved in varying degrees with the Calcutta parochial life, notably with the Tamil and Hindi congregations at St. Saviour's.

This period saw several developments which have evidently, to judge from their continuance, been accepted as useful contributions to the training of clergy. The first of these was the introduction of what we called Field Work for the final year men; this originally sprang from the evangelistic campaigns that had been held from Khatauli. One of the difficulties on these campaigns had been communication, since so few men were available to communicate the faith in any one language; and we felt that Field Work, visiting different areas of the Church's work as observers, would be of greater mutual benefit to both ordinands and to the receiving dioceses. Visits to Ranchi and district, Canning, Nadia and Banaras were valuable experiences which gave us new insights into the problems and work of the ordinary parish priest especially in the villages. The attachment of second and third year men to various Calcutta parishes, English-speaking as well as Tamil, Bengali, Hindi and Malayalam, gave them useful contacts and interests outside the College, both pastoral and social.

The second development of importance during these years was the annual Theological Students' Conference, held for the first time in 1950, and continued, I believe, every year since. Although the first conference was held at Serampore, in fact the idea of such a conference originated in Bishop's College. We felt it important that theological students from the three main B. D. Colleges in the North (Serampore, Leonard and Bishop's) should meet. The experiences of running such conferences, preparing papers and meeting in friendly debate and social intercourse, helped us to appreciate other Church traditions and other ways of thinking. In all this period also, though at first with some hesitation, we threw ourselves whole-heartedly into the work of the Bengal Student Christian Movement, and Bishop's College played its full part not only in the Triennials but also in local Calcutta activities and conferences.

A third area where we felt the need for further emphasis was that of communication; in a College where English was the medium of instruction, it was important that men should be [61/62] able to express themselves as fluently as possible in English. To this end we encouraged the production of plays--the Bishop's College nativity play was always one of the most popular Christmas events. One notable effort was a play about Origen which we wrote and produced ourselves; it was far longer than we intended, and even if the audience did not find it very enthralling, most of us learnt a lot about Origen and his contribution to Christian thought. Another was a Shadow Play of the Passion. In all this dramatic (and also musical) effort Cecil Hargreaves led us admirably and effectively. The Nightingales, with regular concerts, and the Middleton Society, with debates, discussions and "hat nights", gave us further opportunities for self-expression in English.

The Chronicle for 1954 mentions a further innovation: "The Common Life of the College has been further enriched by the introduction of a Sermon Criticism Class which the Principal insists on calling Sermon Appreciation Class but could simply be called Sermon Class. Two students are named as chief critics (or appreciators) and the sermon is dissected tenderly and painlessly, with we hope, benefit to both preacher and audience."

We had always felt that it was important that married men should if possible bring their wives and families to College for at least one year of their course, in order that the latter should appreciate and understand some of the problems and disciplines of their ordained husbands. We attempted to have a weekly "wives' class"; this was not always easy, owing to language difficulties. Canon Manuel's name for this was the "Lambeth Quadrilateral" because the first wives' class which he conducted consisted entirely of non-Anglican wives!

So far as College buildings were concerned, most of the developments here came in later years, but we did in fact in the early fifties build the two-storied house on the north side of the tank which housed the Truby King Mothercraft Centre. The shops on the corner of Beck Bagan Row were also built about this time, and we were happy to have Group Captain Cheshire using one of them as the office for his Homes in North India. The building that was for some years a hostel for the boys from St. Mary's School was eventually let out to a business firm. In all these ways the College benefited from the business acumen of Canon Sambayya and Basil Manuel as Bursars and the wise guidance of the Board of Management.

A list of visitors to the College during this period makes impressive reading; we were hosts once to the North India Reunion Scheme Consultative Committee, to a World Council of Churches Asia Committee, and of course on several occasions [62/63] to the Diocesan Bishops. The Metropolitan, as Visitor frequently celebrated and took part in the life of the College. Other visitors included: Dr. Visser't Hooft (then General Secretary of the World Council of Churches), Bishop Yashiro (Presiding Bishop in Japan), Dr. Emil Brunner, Prince Paul of Greece Bishop Roberts (then General Secretary of S.P.G.), Dr. A. C. Bouquet, Professor Charles Raven, Archbishop Joost de Blank (of Cape Town), and of course frequent dignitaries from the Jacobite Churches and the Church of South India. Calcutta as the site for a theological college always had its problems, but we were never lacking in interesting personalities or in exciting situations!

Finally we always hoped and worked that the common life of the College should centre round the Chapel: our morning celebrations and Sunday Eucharists were so much part of our life that it is easy now to take them for granted. We were not, I think, as experimental in our worship as we might have been; although we used the C.I.P.B.C. Liturgy, we were not allowed, except when we had visiting C.S.I. clergy, to use the C.S.I. Liturgy, and this seemed to me to be a loss. Undoubtedly the crowning event of each year in the Chapel was Holy Week, Good Friday and Easter, with the Dismissal Service on Holy Saturday night, and the College dinner and farewell on Sunday night. But the highlight of my own memories of worship in the Chapel was the ordination of seven men to the diaconate in 1948 by Bishop Hubback, a service that looked back to the years of training in Bishop's College and forward to the years of ministering in the wider Church of God, and sums up for me even today all that Bishop's College stands for.



Vice-Principal 1950-58

Principal 1959-68

For over half a century Bishop's College has served the Anglican Communion by training priests for pastoral and evangelistic work, and at the same time taken its share in the promotion of theological education in India. A long line of distinguished theological educators, both from the Indian Church and the Church of England have, in partnership, handed down the tradition of clergy training. But it is true that the ethos of Bishop's College was to a large extent moulded by such institutions as Westcott House (Cambridge) and Cuddesdon College (Oxford). Faithfulness to tradition rather than striking originality has perhaps been the keynote of the training.

From first to last the Chapel has dominated and inspired the life of the College community. A basilican structure of exquisite beauty, it is unique among the places of worship in India. The lofty roof, supported by a double row of stately columns, the beautiful Sanctuary with its well-proportioned altar of marble creates a wonderful atmosphere of worship, suggesting the smallness of man as he comes to bow before his Creator. It is here that the members of the College have learnt to pray, offering to God a worship worthy of Him. It is here that we have been schooled in meditation and have had a glimpse of the many-splendoured life of prayer, the life-breath of the priest. In the Chapel we have been taught that Christian life is Eucharistic life. The daily Eucharist has brought home to the members that the life of a priest is an out-poured life--poured out first in loving devotion to God, and likewise in diverse forms of service, for God's sake, for God's people. We were frequently reminded that as the Eucharistic Bread was broken at the Altar and distributed, so also the priest himself is expected to be broken and given for the nurture of others. This self-giving is the glory in which man is called to participate and thus to glorify God.

Life and worship in the College followed the guidance of the Liturgical Year, as also the singing of hymns at the various services of the day. Good singing meant unwearied choir practice week after week. How thankful one is to have been able to sing correctly at least the Office Hymns and the main hymns of the Christian Year, remembering that a good hymn is [64/65] noted for its sound theology! Compline, the last service of the day, though voluntary, was attended by a good many students. It is little wonder that many old students think back on their College days in terms of their experience of worship in the Chapel. Whenever they visit the College, they linger in the Chapel.

The rest of the daily life of the College is an overflow of the life from the Chapel. Rows, tensions and petty differences always existed, though they were not allowed to remain for long. They generally melted away in the milieu of the corporate life of worship and prayer. Repentance and a life of charity is a requirement for participation in the Holy Communion. Moreover, there is generally an opportunity for reconciliation either directly or through the regular ministry of reconciliation. What held the members together was the common bond of their common vocation.

Theological studies are not easy at any time or in any place. At Bishop's College this was particularly true. For one thing, there are two additional subjects. Moral Theology and Liturgiology, which are obligatory; and for another, two hours of the daily life of an ordinand is demanded by the Chapel. [Moral Theology is not now taught as a separate course. It is included partly in the Pastoralia Course, and partly in the new Social Ethics Course taught by members of the E.S.I.I., Durgapur and the Calcutta Urban Team Service--I.D.L.C.] Of course, there is also the Vernacular requirement for which the College has not been able to give much assistance. It is not surprising that once in a while the hard-pressed student throws up his hands in despair, saying How can anyone cope with all this? All this is very familiar.

Now what of the future of Bishop's College, with the rising academic requirements of the Serampore Senate on the one hand and the inauguration of the Church of North India on the other? There is the obvious need for a competent and experienced staff to ensure continuity and the maintenance of academic standards. The College happens to be one of the precious heirlooms of the Anglican Church in India, as well as a sound school of theology. It should readily recommend itself to the united Church. It has much to give, and probably more to learn. Looking back over my connection with the College for more than twenty-five years, I am thankful to be able to say that I owe an immense debt of gratitude to the College in its disciplined and ordered life of work and worship centred in the Chapel. The prospects of the College are as bright as the promises of God. Laus Deo!

The Original Buildings of Bishop's College at Sibpur

Project Canterbury