Chauncy Maples

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This article is about the Anglican missionary and sixth Bishop of Nyasaland. For the ship named after him, see SS Chauncy Maples.
Archdeacon Chauncy Maples (on the left) with fellow missionary William Percival Johnson in 1895

Chauncy Maples (1852–95) was a British clergyman and Anglican missionary who became Bishop of Likoma, on Likoma Island, in East Africa.[1][2]

Born in 1852, Maples had sailed for Zanzibar in 1876 where he set up clinics and schools for released slaves. Ten years later he founded the Anglican Mission on Likoma Island.[3] In 1895 Maples received recognition[4] when he was consecrated as the sixth Bishop of Nyasaland.[5]

A man of the cloth, while on the way to take up his duties, his steel boat the Sherriff (named after the late captain Sherriff of the Charles Janson) capsized during a storm on the lake and Maples and a layman missionary Joseph Williams drowned.[6] All eighteen African men and boys swam safely ashore but Maples was pulled down because of the weight of his cassock.[7]

In recognition of his role in East Africa, in 1901 the ship SS Chauncy Maples, the first steamship on Lake Nyasa (now Lake Malawi), was named after him. The ship continues to serve as a floating hospital to this day.


  1. ^ Dictionary of African Christian Biography
  2. ^ Maples, Ellen (1897) Chauncy Maples: Pioneer Missionary in East Central Africa for Nineteen Years. London: Longman [1]
  3. ^ Maples, Chauncy (1880) Masasi and the Rovuma District in East Africa. London: Royal Geographical Society
  4. ^ Maples, Chauncy (1899) Journals and Papers of Chauncy Maples, Late Bishop of Likoma, Lake Nyasa. London: Longman [2]
  5. ^ Hermitage-Day, E. (1901) Chauncy Maples, Second Bishop of Likoma, Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 1901
  6. ^ Frere, Gertrude (1902) Where Black Meets White: the Little History of the UMCA. Westminster: Office of the Universities' Mission to Central Africa [3])
  7. ^ The steamer parish: the rise and fall of missionary medicine on an ... - Page 95 Charles M. Good - 2004 "Both missionaries perished two and one-half miles from shore despite rescue efforts by the African crew. All eighteen African men and boys swam safely ashore (CA 19 [19o1]: 124). Maples tried swimming to save himself but was dragged down by his wet cassock."