Cambridge Mission to Delhi

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The Cambridge Mission to Delhi was an Anglican missionary initiative to India established in 1877 under the leadership of Rev. Edward Bickersteth (1850 - 1897).


In 1877, Rev. Edward Bickersteth a Fellow of Pembroke College accompanied by Rev. John D.M. Murray, of St. John's College set out to India to support the mission work and educational initiatives of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel.[1]

Although Rev. Murray was obliged to return to England early due to ill health, the Rev. H.F. Blackett of St. John's College, the Rev. H.C. Carlyon of Sidney Sussex College and the Rev. Samuel Scott Allnutt of St. John's College all joined the mission in 1878.[2] The mission further expanded in 1879 with the addition of Rev. George Lefroy, who subsequently was assigned Bishop of Lahore in 1899 and later Calcutta in 1912.

With the arrival of a larger group of Cambridge educated Anglican missionaries, Bickersteth moved to establish a more structured residential community for the mission, which came to be known as the Cambridge Brotherhood. This pattern of communal living for unmarried mission clergy was replicated at a later date by Bickersteth in Tokyo, with the establishment of the St. Andrew's Brotherhood on his appointment in 1886 as missionary bishop to Japan.[3]

Among church pastoral initiatives in support of the work of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, the Cambridge Brotherhood in 1881 established St. Stephens's College, a constituent College of the current University of Delhi.

In 1904 Rev. Frederick Western and Rev. Charles Freer Andrews travelled to India to join the mission community and teach at St. Stephen's College. As a close friend and associate of Mahatma Gandhi, Andrews was also later widely known for his work on social reform issues and support of the Indian Independence Movement.

The Delhi Brotherhood Society[edit]

The Delhi Brotherhood Society, a mission focused NGO running programs related to shelter, education, and social advocacy, traces its origins to the work of the original Cambridge Mission. Today the Brothers continue to live a semi-monastic lifestyle, participating in church outreach and welfare initiatives benefitting underprivileged communities throughout the city.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Stanton, Vincent Henry (1908). The Story of the Delhi Mission: The SPG and the Cambridge Mission to Delhi, 1852 - 1907. Westminster: Society for the Propagation of the Gospel. p. 28. 
  2. ^ Stanton, The Story of the Delhi Mission, p.29
  3. ^ Arnold, Alfreda (1905). Church Work in Japan. Harvard College Library: Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts.