Benjamin Bailey (missionary)

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Benjamin Bailey
The statue of Benjamin Bailey at the CMS Press compound, Kottayam
Born Benjamin Bailey
(1791-11-00)November 1791
Died 3 April 1871(1871-04-03) (aged 79)
Sheinton, Shropshire, England
Known for Translating Bible into Malayalam language, Standardized the Malayalam types, Compiled the first Dictionary in Malayalam, started the first college in India—CMS College[1]
Spouse(s) Elizabeth Ella

Benjamin Bailey (Dewsbury, November 1791 - 3 April 1871 in Sheinton, Shropshire, England) was a British Church of England missionary in Kerala for 34 years. He was ordained 1815 and moved to Kerala in 1816 where he founded a mission station in Kottayam,[2] and in 1821 established a printing press. He translated the Bible into Malayalam and 1846 published the first English-Malayalam dictionary. In the Hindu paper (May 29, 2016) Graham Shaw says:" Exactly 300 years ago, on May 12, 1716, a small edition of an English schoolbook rolled off the press at Tharangambadi. This was Thomas Dyche’s A guide to the English tongue, printed for use in the charity school for poor Protestant children, established in Chennai in 1715 by East India Company’s chaplain, William Stevenson. This was the first book to be printed in English in India, or in the whole of Asia."

He finally left Travancore in 1850.[3]

A life-size bronze statue of Bailey was installed at the Municipal Park at Nagampadam on 30 September 1996. The Indian Express daily newspaper reported on 22 December 1996: “As a land of letters, Kottayam is definitely indebted to Benjamin Bailey, the English missionary who came to Kerala, in Kottayam in 1816. In all sense Rev. Bailey is the architect of modern Kottayam. Recently, a statue was erected near the municipal park in Kottayam in his memory.[4]


  1. ^
  2. ^ "The Church Missionary Atlas (India)". Adam Matthew Digital. 1896. pp. 95–156. Retrieved 19 October 2015. (Subscription required (help)). 
  3. ^ George Milne Rae The Syrian Church in India 1892 p388 "Benjamin Bailey went on furlough in 1831, returned 1834, and finally left Travancore in 1850. He had still twenty years of work in him. He became a rural dean, and the rector of a quiet village in Shropshire."
  4. ^ Benjamin Bailiyum Malayala Saahityavum. By Dr. Babu Cherian. Published by the Department of Printing and Publishing, Mahatma Gandhi University, Kottayam.

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