Thursday 19 April 2007

The Missionary W. Henry Haden


Further to previous correspondence (see blog posts 10th and 14th April 2007) with Sue Kirkwood-Lowe of Mudeford in Dorset, who is seeking information on the Haden family who lived and traded as ironmongers in Warminster from c1839 to 1880, Danny Howell has discovered some more items of interest. In a letter to Sue he writes:

Dear Sue Kirkwood-Lowe,

In my letter of 10th April 2007, there was mention of W. Henry Haden, listed in the 1861 Census for Warminster, living with his parents James Burnett Haden (the ironmonger) and Sarah Haden, at High Street, Warminster. He was recorded as aged 16, and it was noted that he was a missionary pupil. I speculated that he was probably at the Mission College (later known as St. Boniface College) at Church Street, Warminster, and I can now confirm that this was correct.

The Warminster Parish Magazine, for March 1868, includes the following item:

"On February 3rd, Mr. W. Henry Haden, of this town, formerly of the Mission-House and S. Augustine's, sailed for India, to work under the Bishop of Calcutta in a new mission among the Khonds. We would ask that he may be remembered in the prayers of Warminster church people. His future course will be watched by not a few with great interest."

The Warminster Parish Magazine, for June 1868, includes the following note:

"Our readers will be glad to hear that the ship 'Rosslyn Castle,' in which our townsman, Henry Haden, sailed for missionary work in India, has safely reached Calcutta."

From what I can gather on various websites, including and the Rosslyn Castle (sometimes spelt Roslin Castle) was built for Donald Currie & Co. in 1863, by Robert Napier & Sons at the Napier Yard in Glasgow. She was one of four sailing ships commissioned by Currie at the time, the others being the Pembroke Castle, the Stirling Castle and the Warwick Castle. The Roslin Castle between 1865 and 1889 travelled London to Calcutta. In 1868, when Haden was aboard, the route went via Cape Town, South Africa (the Suez Canal was not opened until a year later in 1869). Haden's journey would have taken approx three months (another ship the Tantallon Castle broke the record to Calcutta in 1868 when it achieved a journey time of 80 days).

The most succinct history of the Rosslyn Castle/Roslin Castle I can find at the present time is on the website which states:

"ROSLIN CASTLE (1) was built in 1863 by Robert Napier & Sons at Glasgow as a three masted ship with a tonnage of 1168grt, a length of 200ft 6in, and a beam of 33ft 8in. She entered service on the Liverpool to Calcutta run in July 1863 but by 1865 she was sailing out of London. When the Castle Mail Steam Packet Co. Ltd was incorporated in 1876 the sailing ships remained under the ownership of Donald Currie. She was sold to Charles Barrie & Co. of Dundee in 1883 for operation within their Dundee & Calcutta Line of Clippers, renamed London and reduced to a barque rig. On 29th February 1892 she was wrecked near Key West in Florida during a voyage from Pensacola to Rio de Janeiro."

Fortunately, I have been able to discover a little about what Henry Haden (Harry Haden) did on the journey to India and also in the first few months following his arrival -
The Warminster Parish Magazine, for July 1868, notes:

"Our readers will rejoice to hear that Mr. Harry Haden, after a splendid voyage of little more than three months, has reached India, and is in comfortable quarters at Bishop's College, Calcutta, where he will probably remain until October. He writes in capital spirits and gives an interesting account of his voyage, in which he endeavoured, in the absence of any clergyman, to make himself useful to the crew."

The Warminster Parish Magazine, for October 1868, gave an update:

'Excellent accounts have been received of Mr. Harry Haden, who is at present employed in the large mission schools at Dehli, while waiting for ordination. He says there are 250 in the school, of all ages, some being married men with families. On his way to Dehli he spent an interesting day at Benares. He says - "To many of the temples there are bathing ghats attached, and the water is alive all day long, but especially morning and evening, with bathers. It was very amusing to watch the children splashing about, but painful to see poor wretches carried down half dead to be dipped in the sacred stream, and to wail out their cheerless prayers; others mumbling over a piece of mud which they had just made to represent Siva, and which, after they have invoked the spirit of Siva to enter it, becomes Siva itself." Mr. Haden, speaking of a visit he paid to Barripur, sixteen miles from Calcutta, says - "There is a school of native girls under the management of a Mrs. Brown, a very kind and hospitable lady. If those kind lady mission-workers at home could but see the clean and cheerful faces of the girls, and look over them when reading, writing, or sewing, and hear them chaunt and sing hymns, singing in parts, they would, I'm sure, feel the pleasure they already take in supporting such schools very much increased. I spent a Sunday there, and was glad to help in the service by playing the harmonium. I went to Barripur chiefly to make the acquaintance of a Mr. Harrison, who fifteen years ago visited the Gond country in company with Mr. Driberg, and who will, if it please God, take me there after the rains. It is proposed that he should stay with me six months, to put me in the way of carrying on the work, and then, when I shall probably be joined by some other man or men, leave again for his own mission station at Barripur."

While consulting the Warminster Parish Magazine I also gleaned something more on the deaths of Henry Haden's parents, James Burnett Haden and Sarah Haden. I let you have the announcements of these from the Warminster Herald. But here is what the parish magazines had to say:

The Warminster Parish Magazine, May 1867:

'The close of Easter-Day was saddened by the sudden removal from amongst us of one greatly respected in the parish. Mrs. Haden, who appeared to be in perfect health, after having enjoyed some sacred music with her children, was on the very point of starting with her husband and family for the evening service at the Parish Church, when she suddenly fell down dead. It has been said, we believe with truth of her, "Her life was spent with GOD and in her family." She walked in all the ordinances of the church, and brought up her family of four sons and three daughters to do the same. She was a regular communicant at the early services of S. Laurence, and often a worshipper there at the daily afternoon service. We may believe that her family's most grievous loss is her gain. A more devoted wife and mother there could not be. The whole town seemed to sympathise with this mourning family, and it was striking to see the number of houses and shops with shutters up and blinds down as the funeral procession passed through the town."

Burial: April 26th, Sarah Haden, Market Place, 60 years.

The Warminster Parish Magazine, June 1867:

'Within three weeks of his wife's death, our respected townsman, Mr. Haden, was called to follow her. His life seems to have been bound up in the bundle of her life, for although Mr. Haden had never altogether recovered from a serious illness he suffered from last year, there is no doubt that his sudden and unlooked-for loss was the cause of his death-illness. Mr. Haden was always very active in promoting anything likely to contribute to the prosperity of the town and was never backward with his purse. He will be remembered in connection with our County Club of which he was a stirring honorary member, and also in connection with the Rifle movement. His funeral was attended by the Rifle Corps, and by numerous friends. His family have the warm sympathy and good-will of our townsmen, and will meet with, we feel sure, generous support.'

Burial: May 13th, James Burnett Haden, Market Place, 51 years.